Seanad Éireann - Volume 15 - 04 May, 1932
Covered Cattle Market at North Wall—Motion.
Mr. Counihan Mr. Counihan
Mr. Counihan: I move:—
That in the opinion of the Seanad the Executive Council should give immediate effect to the recommendation of the Ports and Harbours Tribunal in favour of the erection of a covered cattle market at the North Wall and of a public lairage convenient thereto.
The proposal to remove the cattle market from Prussia Street to the North Wall and to erect there a covered cattle market on most up-to-date lines and a public lairage convenient to the quays is not a new proposition. It has been advocated by responsible representatives of the cattle trade for a number of years. I have on several occasions raised the question both in this House, at meetings of the cattle traders and in the Press. The proposals were always received very sympathetically, but nothing was ever done. On the last occasion, when in 1928 I moved a similar resolution in this House practically on the same lines as the motion we are discussing to-day, the then Minister for Industry and Commerce, Mr. McGilligan, speaking on behalf of the Government, said that the proper place for me to make the case was before the Ports and Harbours Tribunal, and he advised me to do so and I did it. I gave evidence before the Ports and Harbours Tribunal and so did several representatives of the cattle  trade, but not a single witness came forward to oppose the scheme. That impartial Tribunal, after considering the evidence given and considering the statements made, which were all made on oath, and after visiting the North Wall and several other places, brought in a report. As many of the Senators have not read it, I propose to read it to them now. On page 130, paragraph 164 of their report they say: “Animals for disposal at the Dublin market are usually sent by rail from country fairs to the Great Southern Railway station at Cabra, near the markets. The stock is then driven direct from the waggons at Cabra to the market or to fields in the vicinity, but in any event the cattle must be walked to the market as there is no direct railway connection. Considerable numbers of animals from the counties adjoining Dublin reach the market on foot. After disposal in the market, the animals for shipment are driven on foot to the pens of one or other of the shipping companies at the port, about two miles away. The distances which animals have to be driven (a) to the market, (b) from the market, and (c) when short shipped from the port pens to grazing, cannot but be detrimental to their condition, especially in the case of cattle already tired after a long railway journey. Moreover, the movement on foot through miles of the city streets of large numbers of live stock causes delay to road traffic generally and frequently results in injury to the animals themselves through accident or ill-treatment. The advantages which will follow the removal of the cattle market to a site near the port and the provision of covered lairages need no emphasising. With the combined lairage and market situated as close as possible to the shipping berths and directly connected with the main railway system, animals could be unloaded direct from the waggons to the covered lairages, where they could be fed and rested. Lairages adjoining the market would enable stock to be transferred from the one to the other in good condition and with the minimum of movement. After sale, the stock for shipment could be retransferred to the  lairage to undergo detention and examination.
“The witnesses who appeared before us on behalf of the cattle trade and the Department of Agriculture were in agreement as to the advantages which should attend such a rearrangement of marketing, lairage and shipping accommodation at Dublin. We are fully aware of the great difficulties which must be faced and surmounted before a fresh site nearer the port can be found for the Dublin Cattle Market and for adequate lairage, and we do not propose to express any view upon the respective responsibilities of the City authorities and the Port Board in such a matter. But we do feel that, having regard to the very great importance of the live stock export trade to the country as a whole and having regard further to the position occupied by the Port and City of Dublin in relation to that trade, any proposal which would tend to improve the conditions under which the trade is carried on to facilitate the delivering of live stock in good condition in the cross-Channel markets, and thereby to enhance their value to the home producer, or which would add to the advantages offered by Dublin to buyer and seller is entitled to the closest consideration of the local authorities both of Borough and Harbour. The proposal for a new market and lairage close to the port appears to us to be one for early examination and decision before sites which may now be available are acquired for other purposes. We are satisfied that there is room for improvement, and if the difficulties in the way, financial or other, should not prove insuperable, we feel that the time has come when an effort should be made to provide the most up-to-date facilities at what is not always realised to be the largest live stock exporting centre in Europe.”
Dublin is the largest port in the world for the export of live stock. In 1930, 410,171 cattle were shipped from Dublin, while the total number of cattle shipped from the Free State was only 721,441. For the same year  the number of sheep shipped from the port of Dublin was 378,086, whilst the total number of sheep exported altotogether was 534,882. The total live stock exports from Dublin for that year amounted to over 900,000, or well over half the total export of live stock from the Free State. In its cash value the live stock exported from Dublin would represent two-thirds of the value of all the live stock exported. This trade, which is of such vital importance to the country, is carried on in what I might describe as a most antiquated and inhuman manner. The cattle trade has been restricted for years in this way, and in view of that report I contend that it is the duty of the Government to give immediate effect to it. More than half the live stock passes through the Port of Dublin and is first in the Dublin market, I believe, and I believe it is the case that a good deal of the damage caused to cattle consigned to cross-Channel ports is caused by the bad marketing conditions in Dublin. In bringing them to the market or from the market to the ship one would be ashamed to consider the facilities that are given for dealing with these cattle. The objection may be made that there is not sufficient accommodation at the North Wall, but we have ascertained that the L.M.S. Railway Company have about 14½ acres, with about five houses. The Dublin traffic manager sent a memorandum to me to be submitted to the Minister for Agriculture with the proposal to allow that area to be used for the lairage of cattle if the Company would get a charter to charge tolls on the cattle entering that market. They would even be prepared to put up a covered market at their own expense. I sent the memorandum to the Minister for Agriculture and told him that the cattle trade would not agree that it should be handed over to any private company for that company's profit, and that finished the proposal so far as the L.M.S. was concerned. There is another site available—the Great Southern Railways Company has about 20 acres of land with very little building  on it, which I think they would be glad to give over to us. This would do away with the existing lairages along the quays, which are most unsuitable, and the expense of maintaining them would not be required if their need was supplied by a public lairage. The next question would be a question of financing the market, and a good many objections would come from people who would say that it would cost the ratepayers a lot of money. It would cost the ratepayers no money, because the owners of the cattle would have to pay the toll or a charge for the use of that market, and that would pay the interest and sinking fund of the outlay to build the market and its upkeep. It would do away with the complaint of some of the Dublin ratepayers that they would be mulcted for the benefit of the cattle trade.
There is another reason why I should bring this matter on at the present time. There is a very suitable site which may be acquired later on for an extension of the market in Commons Street, Sheriff Street and that neighbourhood, the houses in which I believe have been condemned by the Corporation. If this area is cleared away and new buildings erected we will not be able to get it, and what we want at the moment is an immediate survey of the place to see what is available and an undertaking that nothing should be done without consulting the cattle trade as to the most suitable sites. The next point I want to raise is the objections and who objected. I understand that there is a Dublin Salesmasters' Association in existence and a number of them objected, but I hold here a document which I will take the liberty of reading and which is a memorial signed by some of the most important members of the Dublin Salesmasters' Association, in which they agree to the proposal. When I read the names, Senator O'Connor will agree that some of them are very important members.
Mr. O'Connor Mr. O'Connor
Mr. O'Connor: Why is the Senator bringing in the name of Senator O'Connor?
Mr. Counihan Mr. Counihan
 Mr. Counihan: He is a member of the Association and should know the names of some of the men who signed this memorial and whether they are important members of the Association or not. This is the memorial:—
We, the undersigned, who are salesmen in the Dublin Cattle Market, are of opinion that it is most desirable in the interests of all concerned in our live stock trade to change the situation of the Dublin Cattle Market to the North Wall and to have an up-to-date covered market and lairage erected there convenient to the quays. We are convinced that the situation and lay-out of the present market are most unsuitable and that the hardships and cruelty which must unavoidably be inflicted on our live stock trade are causing enormous loss to producers and exporters and damaging the reputation of our fat stock. We strongly urge the Government to give immediate effect to the recommendations of the Ports and Harbours Tribunal for the changing of the Dublin Cattle Market.
G. H. Hannon.
John P. Cuffe, Ltd.
Rourke and Molloy.
John E. Ferris.
J. J. McCarthy.
Luke Nolan, of C. Hannon and Co.
John McKeown & Co.
James F. Joyce.
Thomas Bell & Son.
Laurence Rowe, of Rowe and Co.
James J. Rooney & Co., Ltd., 42 Prussia Street.
If this thing is put to a test or any sort of a conference I think that more than half the existing salesmen would sign that petition for a change. I think, Cathaoirleach, that the necessity for a change has been sufficiently demonstrated before now, and for the  moment I have nothing further to say but to move the motion, and I hope the House will agree to it.
Mr. Wilson Mr. Wilson
Mr. Wilson: I beg to second the motion. The only reason I am doubtful about this at all is whether it may be considered that there may be any necessity for changing live stock at all. I agree that the present state of this premier export trade is very bad and that it is not getting what it is entitled to from the Dublin Corporation, which is getting revenue from the trade every year but is giving no services. For every beast that goes to the markets the Corporation charges tolls of 9d. per head, for every sheep 1½d. per head, and for every pig 1½d. per head, and this revenue if properly applied would give a market that would provide for care for the live stock instead of sending them out of the country in the condition in which they are going out at the present. There is absolutely no doubt but that a covered market and a covered lairage should be provided for the cattle. I will not elaborate on the question of danger to traffic on the North Circular Road on Thursdays. It is a cattle walk, and is constantly covered over with manure and is a danger to traffic. We should not have dirt of that sort in the streets of our city. I am in sympathy with the motion and I believe the Government is going to spend money in Dublin in giving employment, and this is a scheme which is one of necessity and will pay its own way, and is a scheme of improvement and everybody will consider that it is a scheme which will advance the great export trade on which the farming industry of this country depends for its livelihood.
Mr. O'Neill Mr. O'Neill
Mr. O'Neill: I have listened to Senator Counihan and to Senator Wilson in their pleading as to why we should pass this motion. Senator Counihan, whom we all admire for his usual tenacity of purpose with everything concerning the cattle trade, has pleaded well for his cause, and personally I congratulate Senator Counihan for showing the faith that is in him. I cannot see the point of Senator Wilson seconding this motion, but I can quite  see the seriousness of Senator Counihan when he is not afraid to show the faith that is in him by coming before us and saying that he is prepared to spend a tremendous lot of money in the building of a new cattle market. I think that Senator Counihan is really to be congratulated, but Senator Wilson is to be found fault with, and, further, Sir, it struck me in listening to Senator Counihan that he is possessed of one of the greatest attributes of human kindness, namely, humanity, when he wants the Irish cattle for the last few hours that they are being left in their homeland to be sheltered from the winter's wind and the summer's sun and a roof to be erected over them before they take their last look at poor Ireland before they go away to be marketed at Wakefield or slaughtered in the stock yards at Birkenhead. All this has been heard about providing comfort for the poor dilapidated-looking cattle, but not a word fell from any of the Senators as to the number of people that will be unemployed. There was not a word from either Senator about the filthy living conditions of the poor in Dublin. We are told of the tremendous amount of money that they are prepared to spend on these new markets, but there is nothing about the 20,000 families who are living in one-roomed habitations in the city; in many cases there are husband, wife, and ten children living in one room.
Mr. O'Farrell Mr. O'Farrell
Mr. O'Farrell: How far is the Senator going to extend the scope of his description? I suggest that he is out of order in bringing in the housing question in Dublin.
Cathaoirleach: I was wondering when the Senator was going to come to the motion before us.
Mr. O'Neill Mr. O'Neill
Mr. O'Neill: I am not surprised at anything that happens in this life, particularly in the Seanad, but it does not occur to the people who want this cattle market transferred, that if they do so the livelihood of many people is going to be destroyed. The amount of unemployment that would be created does not occur to these gentlemen. They are not as long in the City of  Dublin as I am, and they do not understand that even the appearance of this motion on the agenda will set the landsharks going buying up lands creating corners, and each and every one of them making their own little bit. Senator Wilson referred to the Dublin Corporation. I happen for a long time to be a member of that obnoxious body, but I think it is the duty of the Seanad and the bounden duty of the Seanad, before they take any action on this matter, to see that, at least, the representatives of the City of Dublin should be consulted, but of course it is another of these insults often levelled at the Dublin Corporation. I could go on for a fortnight raising objections against this motion, but I will content myself, whether seconded or not it does not matter to me, by proposing as an amendment that the consideration of this matter be postponed for five years. At the end of that time I hope we shall still be here, but it is a poor hope, because as the political weathercock points, there is very bad weather ahead at present for the Seanad.
Mr. Dowdall Mr. Dowdall
Mr. Dowdall: I beg to second Senator O'Neill's amendment.
Cathaoirleach: I am afraid I cannot take such an amendment to the motion. It is a case of yes or no.
Mr. Dowdall Mr. Dowdall
Mr. Dowdall: I beg to support the opposition to the motion. The late Minister for Agriculture, Mr. Hogan, who, whether he was right or wrong in his agricultural activities, certainly worked consistently, visited this market, I believe, practically every week. He saw its working, and I never once heard a word from him—and I would have heard a word from him in connection with it if the condition of affairs were as objectionable as has been pointed out here to-day. In coming to Dublin, as I do every week for a considerable number of years, I pass that cattle market and it always struck me that it was very admirably laid out and a well-kept place. I am told—I do not know of my  own knowledge—but I am told that a very large number of the cattle marketed there come from districts where the roads converge into this place, and as a matter of actual convenience it is a very suitable site for the cattle market. In addition to that, there are abattoirs practically adjoining it for the supply of meat to the city and surrounding districts. All those would be rendered relatively valueless if this important and very well-kept cattle market were removed down to the North Wall. My business has brought me, occasionally, to the North Wall, and anybody who has any knowledge of the quays and docks in cities knows that the quays and docks district of every city are about the most unsavoury portion of them. The cattle are now driven in from the country to the market, and there are fields, or paddocks, where they can be rested for a day or night previous to being brought into the market. There are no such available resources or facilities in the neighbourhood of the North Wall. We are told that the London, Midland and Scottish Railway Company have land available and that the Great Southern Railways have land there. Surely the last thing to do is to get into the tentacles of the carrying companies? The London, Midland and Scottish Company would undoubtedly give facilities. That is their duty and business, but at whatever price those facilities are given to the cattle traders they would be paid for by the farmers. I heard Senator Counihan say that the cattle traders and exporters would guarantee interest and sinking fund on this scheme. They would, at some cost, of course, and everybody knows that the cost would come out of the pockets of the farmer. Where else would it come out of?
Mr. Counihan Mr. Counihan
Mr. Counihan: The £500,000 that has been lost in the deterioration of the stock. Whose pockets will that come out of?
Mr. Dowdall Mr. Dowdall
Mr. Dowdall: Anything that is lost in the way of freight or charges is a loss to the farmer.
Mr. Counihan Mr. Counihan
 Mr. Counihan: Agreed.
Mr. Dowdall Mr. Dowdall
Mr. Dowdall: When I am told that the North Circular Road is congested and made filthy by those cattle—well, it will continue to be made filthy by the cattle, because the cattle will be driven over the same road, whether the Cattle Market be where it is at the moment or whether it be at the North Wall. Cattle which are now marketed and slaughtered in the adjoining abattoirs do not pass over the area from the Cattle Market to the North Wall, but under this scheme they would pass over it twice, because they would be driven down to the Cattle Market at the North Wall and driven back again. That is clearly shown in the proposal. Senator Counihan cannot defend that.
Mr. Counihan Mr. Counihan
Mr. Counihan: I did not hear the statement of the Senator.
Mr. Dowdall Mr. Dowdall
Mr. Dowdall: The cattle now marketed at the existing Cattle Market— that is, for the supply of the home market—are kept there and put into the local abattoir, but if we are to have the Cattle Market removed to the North Wall, then the cattle for local consumption will be walked down to the North Wall and must be walked back again to the abattoir from the North Wall.
Mr. Counihan Mr. Counihan
Mr. Counihan: Roughly, it means only five per cent. of the total in the big markets.
Mr. Dowdall Mr. Dowdall
Mr. Dowdall: Another charge on the farmers. I am told that this Cattle Market is hardship on the cattle and that it is uncovered. The fields in County Meath are not covered. I know a few markets in England, the Ailesbury market and one in Cheshire, and another market, and these are not covered markets. In fact, I know of no covered cattle market. I think it would be a very malodorous place. I would go further and say, although I do not know any of the people concerned,  that there are hotels up in that area which really have been erected and established to suit the interests of the cattle trade—very valuable interests, all of which would be destroyed by the removal of this place to a district which, I consider, is both morally and physically unsuitable. I can see no reason whatever for the change.
Mr. O'Connor Mr. O'Connor
Mr. O'Connor: May I ask your permission, Cathaoirleach, to look at this statement which I have prepared? I anticipated this motion, and I ask your permission that I may look closely at this statement when I am making it.
Cathaoirleach: Certainly, Senator.
Mr. O'Connor Mr. O'Connor
Mr. O'Connor: I cannot understand at all why Senator Counihan has taken such an interest in this matter and has gone out of his way to emphasise this matter. As one of the oldest members of the cattle trade, I may say that I was not asked by anyone in connection with this Ports and Harbours Tribunal to give evidence nor were any of my sons. I do not wish to speak disrespectfully of the members of that Ports and Harbours Tribunal, but I see their names, and I can say that as regards the members of that body not one of them ever sold a beast in the cattle market of Dublin. Senator Counihan must consider that he is the uncrowned king of the cattle trade and that he can lay down rules and regulations that we entirely disagree with. I think he ought to be the last to come forward as the spokesman for anything in connection with the cattle trade. I wish to state that I am at a loss to know on what ground these recommendations of the Ports and Harbours Tribunal were arrived at, as I am sure there must have been an oversight as regards the opposition on the matter referred to. A matter like this is of such importance to the people interested in the Dublin cattle market that such a recommendation must be given more than my private views. There are so many sound reasons for the non-interference in the  existing state that I feel that I may overlook many of them, and not do full justice to the faith of my colleagues whom I represent when I place before you the following points:
I have an experience of over 60 years attending the Dublin Cattle Market. I can claim intimate knowledge of the working of our live stock trade. I have been in the old market at Smithfield and have seen the present market being built up into the great organisation that it is now. I know that the present market site was chosen and laid out on the most approved plan by the City Engineer and Corporation of Dublin. It is ideally situated, being at the north-west boundary of the city and 75 per cent. of the stock comes from that side. The fact that it is on the north-west boundary of the city makes its situation more suitable for the enormous quantity of stock which reaches the market by road from Dublin, Meath and Kildare districts, without passing through the streets. I say with all sincerity that the Dublin Cattle Market is admittedly one of the greatest successes in Irish agricultural enterprises. Apart from the first class beef sold there, these successes arose through the exertions, and business abilities, of the salesmen in Dublin who, by their energy and capital outlay, extensions of credit and attention to business, have made the market what it is.
I can give the following Resolution which was passed by the Dublin Cattle Salesmasters Association on the 2nd April, 1925, when there were suggestions made to change the market to the sloblands at Clontarf.
“That we, the members of the Dublin Cattle Salesmasters Association assembled in general meeting do protest in the most emphatic terms against any removal of the Dublin Cattle Market from its present site, believing as we do that the present market which has been so long established any change would probably destroy it altogether.”
 I say that unless coercive reasons showing national advantages can be adduced it would be a dangerous policy to make any alterations. The situation of the North Wall would be most inconvenient for the arrival of the stock and the owners would much prefer the present market as they would run less risks in delivering their stock. An enormous proportion of the cattle and sheep sold in the market come from the counties of Dublin, Meath, Westmeath and Kildare.
They are walked either direct to the Market or to grass lands almost beside the Markets, and they are in good condition when placed for sale. A change of site would compel all these cattle to be walked through the streets of Dublin the night before the sale, and the advantage suggested to prevent cattle being walked through the streets after sale for export would not exist, in fact, because the cattle would have to be walked before sale to the Market. It may be suggested that the railway facilities could be provided at the North Wall to deliver stock to the Market. The fact may be overlooked that not one per cent. of the stock arrives by rail on the morning of the market—all railed stock requires to be rested overnight, and in some cases owners send their consignment two full days prior to the market for this purpose. It must be remembered that by far the greater number of Irish fat cattle are grass fed, and, therefore, must be rested in fields and not in lairages. For this purpose, salesmasters and exporters use a very large area of land, stretching from Cabra out to Ashtown, Blanchardstown, Dunsink, Cappagh, Finglas and Glasnevin. There is no corresponding area of suitable land in the vicinity of the North Wall, and the existing parks would be required even if the market was at the North Wall, and this would entail much more walking of the stock than to the present Market.
The Market is one of the healthiest in the world. It stands about 100 feet over the Liffey, and has a southern aspect with a considerable sloping surface.  This makes it most adaptable for thorough cleansing. It is easily washed and dries almost immediately, rendering it free from any stagnant, offensive odour. The present Market is big enough to satisfy all the demands made on it, and the suggested change could not be of any advantage. The cost of removing the Market to another site would be an unjustifiable burden on the city ratepayers, and this enormous outlay made unremunerative. Besides, both store sales and sheep sales have helped to create the Dublin market, and in the vicinity of Prussia Street the salesmen, at considerable expense, have made perfect arrangements for carrying out these great sales.
The present Market is big enough, and my long experience of the supplies that come to it is that the present accommodation is ample. It has comfortable accommodation for 6,000 cattle, 15,000 sheep, and 2,000 pigs. Even in the days of its greatest expansion there was ample accommodation. The City Abattoir is adjacent to the Market. It has been constructed at a cost of about £50,000, and has been recently brought up to date with a further outlay of approximately £40,000. The Corporation have always collected tolls on the stock shown in the Market, and it is out of this revenue that such improvements of the city's Abattoir are made possible. It would not be reasonable to scrap an up-to-date abattoir on hearing the resolution of the Dublin Victuallers' Association, which is as follows:—
“That we, the Committee of the Dublin Victuallers' Association, desire to express our opinion that the proposal to move the Dublin Cattle Market from its present site to the North Wall would be uneconomic and contrary to the convenience of the vast majority of the victualling trade.”
I need hardly go to much further rounds to convince you that the recommendations should not be approved.  The farmers of Ireland are our friends, and it is in their interests that I am working. We carry on our export business through their support, and it is my duty to them to do all in my power to prevent any person or party from destroying the one great need we have in Ireland whereby the best customers we have come over from England and Scotland to our Market in search of the best livestock that the country has produced for export, and I will not advise you to sanction any schemes which are not in the interests of the plain farmers of Ireland, whose interest is that of our Government.
Mr. MacEllin Mr. MacEllin
Mr. MacEllin: We have heard two of the greatest cattle traders in the City of Dublin expressing two different points of view on the merits of the present cattle market, and the North Wall. I do not profess to know very much about one place or the other, but I will try to point out what the position is from the point of view of the country farmers. I think this motion is worded altogether wrongly. The Report of the Ports and Harbours Tribunal does not recommend that a new cattle market should be set up. What it did recommend was that a Committee of Inquiry should be set up to inquire into it. At page 131 of the Report it is stated:—
“...and we do not propose to express any view upon the respective responsibilities of the city authorities and the Port Board in such a matter.”
Further down on the same page there is this:—
“The proposal for a new market and lairage close to the port appears to us to be one for early examination....”
Surely, that is not recommending a new market at the North Wall? This motion is altogether wrong. Apart from that at all you can see that there is considerable controversy about the respective merits of the two places and I feel that the system on which the cattle market is run at the present  time is altogether wrong. No farmer has the right to come in there and sell his own cattle. He must hand his stock over to a salesmaster for the salesmaster to sell for him, and he will be charged about 10/- for a £20 beast. I call that an exorbitant cost, and I believe myself that in any cattle market, whether the present one or at the North Wall, any farmer should be entitled to claim his pen on the principle of first come first served. That is not the system in this country, but it operates all over England. I hold that the same system should operate here, for every man who owns stock and who has stock for sale, and that he should have the right to sell them himself. The cause of the whole trouble, from the countryman's point of view, is that there is a sort of ring of salesmasters established in the Cattle Market in Dublin. This may not be a proper thing for me to say, but I do say that the principle on which the Cattle Market is run at the present time is altogether wrong.
The salesmasters have the last word; they charge those prices and they are an intolerable burden on the countryman who sends his stock to Dublin for sale. In my opinion, if there is any inquiry being set up in connection with this Cattle Market, it ought to be set up to inquire into the system prevailing at the present time, and give everybody a reasonable chance to sell his stock with everybody else in the Market. As far as the erection of a cattle market at the North Wall is concerned, I think we would not be any better off than we are at the moment. The cattle for home consumption will return back to the Abattoir, and the cattle that are sold will, in all probability, for nine months of the year, be sent from the North Wall out to the land surrounding the city. So whether it is the North Wall or the present Cattle Market, the stock will be going backward and forward just the same as at the present time. I believe it is the intention that, if the Cattle Market was transferred to the North Wall, the stock should be housed and fed there, but I am not too sure that, from March to December,  the farmer would not much prefer to water the cattle and look after them in the fields surrounding the town than feeding them in the lairages at the North Wall. Wherever the Cattle Market is, it seems to me that we will have the same kind of ground to cover, and, apart from that altogether, the cost would be enormous. I do not think Senator Counihan told us what the cost of those new lairages would be. Roughly, I believe, it would cost £1,000,000, judging by the cost of lairages in England. If that is to be the cost, would it not be an intolerable burden on the producer showing cattle at the North Wall?
Take the cost at Birkenhead. They have a new lairage. Before they started a new lairage all the producers had to pay was 3d. a head for beasts and 1/- a score for lambs. To-day they are paying 4/- a head in the lairages. Surely it would be as well to have weathered it and to keep the 3/9 in their pockets rather than to pay for the covered cattle lairages they have at Birkenhead? If we are to take that as a ratio of the difference, what would they be charging at the lairages down at the North Wall? These are all matters that require investigation. I believe the whole thing should be investigated. It is far more important that the present system in the Cattle Market should be abolished. We have an organisation here in this city, known as the Livestock Exporters' Association, and we see them passing resolutions protesting against the railway companies charging exorbitant freights and charges, and other bosh of that sort; but I do not see a single resolution protesting against the exorbitant charges to the farmers who sell their stock in the Cattle Market.
Mr. Comyn Mr. Comyn
Mr. Comyn: I would like to know whether it is true that the Ports and Harbours Tribunal made a recommendation in favour of the erection of a cattle market at the North Wall? I would like to know whether that statement is true or not? It is contained in this resolution. We are accustomed to accept absolutely a statement of  fact made or written by a Senator. Now if that statement of fact is not true it may have very serious repercussions in this House. It is contradicted by Senator MacEllin, and I, for one, hope to hear from Senator Counihan an explanation of that. Of course, when we see a resolution containing a statement of fact we accept it as true. I, for one, took it for granted that the Ports and Harbours Tribunal did, in fact, recommend the construction of a lairage at the North Wall, and that had an effect on my mind until I heard the speeches of Senator O'Neill and Senator O'Connor. I completely changed in my opinion in consequence of what I heard in the course of the debate, and I certainly will vote against any recommendation for a lairage at the North Wall to be considered. We have now a city market beautifully situated, well laid out, well planned; we have an abattoir adjoining constructed at an expense of £100,000; we have paddocks near the markets in the north of the city. The North Wall was in existence when the city markets were built 50 or 60 years ago, and when the markets were then constructed the people had before them the question as to where would be the most suitable place. They did select the north city Cattle Market as the most suitable place with paddocks adjoining, and then the Corporation, at the expenditure of £100,000, built the abattoir. Then you have all the trade that is concentrated about these markets. You have hotels suitable for the cattle traders, you have houses of various kinds and you have merchants and the establishments of merchants adjacent, and is it desirable at this stage to change all that, and to destroy the property of the Corporation? I suppose that you would be destroying about £400,000 or £500,000 worth of property in order to satisfy a few people who want the lairage at the North Wall. There may be ground at the North Wall suitable, but I do submit to the Seanad, and suggest to the Seanad, that in the course of time that ground would be more useful for other purposes than for the lairage of cattle. I was greatly attracted by it, I must say. I am not attracted by it now  and I will be greatly astonished if I do not find some explanation of the conflicting statements that have been manifested in the course of this debate. Why was not Senator O'Connor consulted before this motion was brought up? Why were not the Dublin Corporation and Port and Docks Board consulted, and Senator O'Neill, a respected citizen, who for 20 years has held high office in the Corporation of Dublin, why was he not consulted? This motion arouses great suspicion in my mind. That is all I wish to say at the present moment, and I certainly will not vote in favour of it.
Mr. Jameson Mr. Jameson
Mr. Jameson: I would just ask the Seanad, before voting on this, to look at what they are asked to do, “that in the opinion of the Seanad the Executive Council should give immediate effect to the recommendations of the Ports and Harbours Tribunal in favour of the erection of a covered cattle market at the North Wall and of a public lairage convenient thereto.” I expected that Senator Counihan would, at least, outline for the Seanad the action which he proposes the Executive Council should take, but I have not heard a word about it.
Mr. Counihan Mr. Counihan
Mr. Counihan: I said to make a survey of the ground at the North Wall and consult the cattle traders.
Mr. Jameson Mr. Jameson
Mr. Jameson: Surely the Executive Council do not own the ground? This is surely a matter for our own Corporation? We, as citizens of Dublin, have some interest in this matter. We are also, of course, interested in the cattle trade, but the Senator would seem to think that the Corporation are going to scrap a huge property and spend another huge sum of money on the erection of a cattle market at the North Wall, and that the Executive Council, in some way or another, are to come in like a cog in a machine and tell our Corporation what they are to do, and apparently you ask the Dáil  and the Seanad to compel the Corporation to do a thing they do not want to do. Surely the Senator should have outlined what steps he expected the Executive Council to take? He has not told us, and how can he expect us to rush into a matter which a great many of us really do not know anything about? You can see that the cattle trade hold extremely different views as to what is the right thing to do, and for a person to come into the Seanad, knowing just what we know, and suggest that we should rush in and put it up to the Executive Council that they are to take certain action which we have heard nothing about, seems to me as if we would be placing ourselves in a ridiculous position. I doubt if we would be in any way wise in going on with this matter, and I think the Seanad would be much better to leave this motion alone, and not to rush in and pass a resolution on matters which are really not our affair.
Mr. Farren Mr. Farren
Mr. Farren: I would suggest to Senator Counihan that he should withdraw this resolution, seeing that himself and Senator O'Connor, who is also greatly interested in the cattle trade, cannot agree as to the extreme amount of kindness that they would bestow on the cattle. I view this question of the cattle market purely as a citizen of Dublin, and I know a more unsuitable site could not be found for a cattle market than the one we have in Dublin at present. Whatever might be said in favour of its location in former days, there is certainly no reason why it should be retained now at this stage. They talk about paddocks for cattle around Cabra. My ambition is to see the site of these paddocks used for the housing of the working classes. We know a great scheme has been taken up in the Cabra area for the housing of the working people of the city, and the crowd of children in that area and the constant stream of cattle there are not conducive to the public health. There are still paddocks there that could be used for housing schemes, if the cattle market is removed to the  North Wall. We have had here the opinion of the organised cattle traders. There is another opinion—the opinion of the people living in the neighbourhood of the cattle market, and how would they feel about it? I am sure it would be a great relief to them to know that they could sleep in comfort during the market period. Now, with regard to the cattle market at the North Wall, I believe that in any new scheme adopted it would provide for the transport of the cattle right into the market by means of the railway. In that neighbourhood there are a great number of slums. The land is almost under the level of the Liffey; it is a very unhealthy area, and the clearing out of that and putting cattle on it would tend more to the better health of the people than having them on the high ground up at Cabra. Anyone living in the centre of the city having to go through these streets, and even to the North Wall, will appreciate the necessity for a change there, with the enormous traffic and passage of cattle on market days. The condition of the streets is a public menace and danger generally, and if that can be abolished through bringing the cattle market down near the port it would be a great advantage. But I think Senator Counihan, according to Senator MacEllin, has misled the Seanad in putting down the resolution in the way he has. Senator MacEllin's contention is right, and if the Ports and Harbours Tribunal made no such recommendations, then I think Senator Counihan is misleading the House, and certainly I believe, like the previous people, that it is not the duty of the Government to intervene in this matter; it is the duty of the Dublin Corporation, who get the revenue from it. Reference has been made to the waste through the removal of the market. If one recognises that that market is situated in a splendid housing area, the removal would be more than compensated for by the number of houses that could be erected there. The Corporation ought to be taken into account in connection with this matter. In recent times there is a tendency to go on asking the Executive Council to do this, that and the other  thing, as if they were responsible for everything. I think some sections of the community should adopt the slogan that “God helps those who help themselves,” and not try to put the Executive Council in the position of a God in these matters. I am suggesting that the motion should be withdrawn, because I believe I will have to vote against the motion as it stands, while being in sympathy with the removal of the markets from the present position. I will suggest that the motion be withdrawn, and put down in a more comprehensive form.
Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Connolly) Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Connolly)
Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Connolly): I am sorry the Minister for Agriculture was not able to wait for the finish of this debate, because I think he would have learned a good deal. In his absence—and I am in complete ignorance of the cattle trade—I will try to explain our point of view about it. Senator Jameson really put his finger on the issue and Senator Farren also corroborated his outlook. This is, strictly speaking, not a matter for the Executive Council at all. The parties involved are the Dublin Corporation, and, in the event of anything being done on the lines of Senator Counihan's motion, the Port and Docks Board, the owners of the land down there, and the cattle trade themselves. Senator Jameson overlooked for a moment, I think, the fact that Senator Counihan has been thinking in terms of Commissions. I can assure him that the Executive Council at present thinks in terms of the Corporation and public boards. The Executive Council say that the Government do not own the ground, and the matter is one that will have to be agreed mutually between the Corporation, the Port and Docks Board and the cattle interests. There has been some doubt expressed as regards the terms on which Senator Counihan's motion has been put down. I have been looking through the Tribunal's Report, but only at very short notice, as I did not expect to speak on this at all, and I cannot, at this short notice, trace any definite recommendation in the report. The  merest thing that one can get to is, perhaps, on page 31, as already quoted by Senator MacEllin, in which it states:—
The proposal for a new market and lairage close to the port appears to us to be one for early examination and decision before sites which may now be available are acquired for other purposes.
That does not clearly indicate the viewpoint that the ground down at the docks is either a proper place for a market or a lairage. I must confess that I was surprised, and interested, to hear the point of view expressed by Senator O'Connor, coming particularly from a man of his knowledge and experience of the cattle trade. The reason he gave with regard to the necessity for the paddocks—a remarkable statement to me—is that a big percentage of these cattle are walked into the market. All this is an open question yet. The Executive Council have not really got down to an examination of the problem, and I doubt very much if they will get down to an examination of it, until steps are taken to review the position by the Corporation and the other parties concerned. The various arguments, I am sure, that have been put forward here to-day will be read with interest by both the Minister for Agriculture and the Minister for Industry and Commerce and by, I am quite satisfied, every member of the Executive Council. I think a considerable amount of light has been thrown on it from all points of view, particularly in view of the conflicting opinions between the cattlemen themselves. There are several points mentioned which I would like to reassure the Seanad on. Senator O'Neill discussed the possibility of the land sharks getting busy, without the citizens of Dublin being consulted. I do not know what he had definitely in mind. Of course we all know, if it becomes a sort of definite rumour that certain developments will take place in a certain area, that of course the land speculators will get busy. That type of speculation has been very common, not only around the docks but in every  part of Dublin, and Dublin to-day is paying very dearly for it. It is a problem, apart from the merits of this question, which, in my judgment, will have to be faced. I think it would be no harm to let it clearly be understood that this is a problem that will certainly be faced, and those who are speculating in land in these places may find that they have made a very bad deal. The other problem is leaving ourselves in the hands of the carrying companies. That, of course, is another breed of sociological problem that we will have to deal with. All these matters can be controlled. The main interest that has arisen out of the debate is the different points of view that in many cases were quite new to me, and the position of the Executive mind is this, that this matter must be settled between the Corporation and the Port and Docks Board, with, of course, the Executive having the right to intervene to see that the public interests are safeguarded. I do not know what Senator Counihan proposes to do, or whether he wishes to withdraw his motion, or whether he will explain from what page in the report he deduces the statement that this was a definite recommendation. It may be that he was confusing the recommendations of witnesses who gave evidence before the Tribunal, rather than actually the report of the Tribunal itself.
Mr. Comyn Mr. Comyn
Mr. Comyn: On a point of explanation, I would like to say that I have looked through the report since—
Cathaoirleach: You have already spoken, Senator.
Mr. Comyn Mr. Comyn
Mr. Comyn: This is in connection with what appeared in the report.
Cathaoirleach: Senator Counihan can give the explanation when he is replying.
Mr. Johnson Mr. Johnson
Mr. Johnson: I have gone through the report for the parts that I can find touching on this question, and while  I think the resolution is not as precise as it ought to have been, the report does favour something like what Senator Counihan put down here, and it certainly does recommend further inquiry. That is the only point I want to touch on. If it were possible to bring in a Scottish verdict of not proven, that is what I would vote for on this motion. The Senator ought, at least, to have given us, as it is not in the report, some reasons as to the necessity for having the lairages at the North Wall and the Dublin Cattle Market in the one area. I would imagine it is quite possible to have lairages for the cattle that are shipped, and a cattle market for the cattle that are sold for use in the city, but there is a lot more information required before the Seanad should be asked to decide such a matter as this. As the Minister has hinted at the possibility that several Ministers might have to give consideration to this question at some time, he might have included the Minister for Local Government; and, if I might say so, a very important measure ought to be passed before any consideration should be given to this matter, and that is the Town Planning Bill which has been framed, because this is certainly a matter that should form part of a plan for the City of Dublin development. Perhaps the Minister will take that hint.
Mr. Counihan Mr. Counihan
Mr. Counihan: I want to say, at the start, as regards Senator O'Connor's references that I am not a bit ashamed of the part I have taken in the dead meat factory. Every Senator in the House knows perfectly well that we started that factory in a time of terrible depression, and it was almost impossible for any new company, with a limited amount of capital, to succeed. I am not convinced, and plenty of men in the country are not convinced, that the dead meat industry should not be encouraged. I possibly may be in some way responsible for getting the Government to advance the loan in connection with that undertaking, but the Government lost very little on the loan, and the directors and their friends lost the whole amount; they lost everything, and there was never such an unselfish  body of directors ever working for a public company. We never drew directors' fees, and very little expense for the working of the undertaking, and if Senator O'Connor thinks it is a disgrace to be identified with a failure in that way, I do not agree with him. With regard to the motion, I contend that the recommendation points out very clearly what should be done. It says:—
The advantages which would follow the removal of the Cattle Market to a site near the Port and the provision of covered lairages need no emphasis.
I think that is a very definite recommendation. The report goes on to say:—
The proposal for a new market and lairages close to the port appears to us to be one for early examination and decision before sites which may now be available are acquired for other purposes.
Senator Johnson says it is not a matter for the Government, and the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs agrees with him. I have raised this matter, I think, on two or three occasions, with regard to covered lairages at the North Wall. We could not find who the authority was. Nothing ever will be done with the removal of the Dublin Cattle Market unless the Government intervenes, and except the Government intervenes the vested interests will stop any progress. Senator O'Connor, on the last occasion I raised a question here, was wholeheartedly for the public lairages at the North Wall.
Mr. O'Connor Mr. O'Connor
Mr. O'Connor: I beg your pardon, do not use my name in a misstatement. I was never in favour of any such thing. It is unfair to make that statement. I never even suggested such a thing.
Mr. Counihan Mr. Counihan
Mr. Counihan: On the 18th October, 1928, if the Senator will look up the records, he will find I moved a motion  asking the Government to put up a covered lairage at the North Wall. The Senator will find that he supported the motion.
Mr. O'Connor Mr. O'Connor
Mr. O'Connor: I beg your pardon. There may be some twisting in regard to a “lairage” and a market.
Mr. Counihan Mr. Counihan
Mr. Counihan: Very well then. Senator O'Connor supported lairages. There are, of course, vested interests in this matter, and I admit that vested interests have a right to be heard. I am not turning them down and saying that the vested interests in connection with the Cattle Market and the owners of lairages there have not a right to be heard. I would be the first to admit, if such a change takes place, that they should be compensated. Senator O'Neill raised the point as regards unemployment and housing. The building of the public cattle market and lairages at the North Wall is going to relieve unemployment, and it will have nothing whatever to do with the housing of the people. Senator O'Neill, I am afraid, is more indebted to his imagination than to facts for his arguments. Senator Dowdall speaks about the paddocks. For six months of the year there are no paddocks wanted. The cattle sold, say, for six months of the year are stall fed, and would anyone contend that we would want fields in the county for stall fed cattle? These stall fed cattle at present are brought out of their warm houses, brought to the market and left there in hail, rain or snow, until about 3 o'clock in the day. They are then brought off through the streets to the North Wall and kept in open pens for another two or three hours. Anyone who knows anything about beef knows that cattle must be killed under the most perfect conditions. Those cattle, after such terrible hardships, arrive at the slaughterhouses in England in a feverish condition, and cannot be in the best condition for sale. Experts have said, time and again—and reliable experts—that the loss through deterioration and hardship which the cattle suffer in the Dublin markets, amounts to £500,000 a year. Senator  MacEllin asks who is going to pay all this. I believe that the farmers and producers have to pay for everything, but the producers of the stock have to pay half a million of money which is lost in this way, and no one has anything to gain by it. Another reason why the cattle market should be removed is that the Dublin cattle market is too small. If Senator MacEllin wants to sell 5 or 15 cattle he cannot do it without handing them over to a salesman, who has to be paid commission. I say that there should be sufficient ground for anyone to come in and sell his cattle. At the present moment you cannot enlarge the market. There is no place available there to enlarge it. I say the Dublin salesmasters have done a service to the cattle trade of the country; they are a most honourable lot of men, but it is no use for the salesmasters to think, because their particular interests are injured in this, that they are going to hold up the trade of the country, and that we have to continue this enormous loss which is brought about owing to the hardships which cattle receive in the Dublin market. Who are the people opposing this scheme of the removal of the market? I think Senator O'Connor will agree that the people most concerned are the English exporters and can he produce a single exporter of live stock who will say that the cattle market should still be retained in Prussia Street? Every single body connected with the Dublin market, with the exception of a minority of the Dublin Salesmasters' Association, are in favour of the removal of the market, and they all admit that great advantages would accrue to the cattle trade by the removal of the market. Senator Jameson thinks that we should go to the Dublin Corporation and the Dublin Port and Docks Board. The Dublin Port and Docks Board at the present time is largely represented by the shipping interests, and they will not have a public lairage. We go to the Dublin Corporation, influenced, we can see here to-day, by one of its representatives, Senator Alderman O'Neill, who won't go on with this, because it would injure some  particular section of vested interests. I think I have proved clearly from that report of the Ports and Harbours Tribunal, which has had sworn testimony from people interested in the trade, that it is the duty of the Government to carry out their recommendations so far as they refer to the Dublin cattle market. A good many of the Senators who volunteered to support the motion stated that they cannot do it because the motion is wrongly worded. In the circumstances, and from what the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs has said, with regard to the doubt of the Minister for Agriculture, I beg leave of the House to withdraw the motion, with permission to reintroduce it at a future date on similar lines.
Cathaoirleach: I think you have taken the proper course to withdraw it. It is slightly ambiguous.
Mr. Connolly Mr. Connolly
Mr. Connolly: I would like to explain clearly to the House and Senator Counihan that I would not like it to be taken that in the attitude of the Executive there is any hostility to the motion or the proposal made. What I do want to make clear is that the Executive, as such, has not yet got down to the point of considering it, and we do feel that it will be a matter that will have to be considered by the Corporation in conjunction with the other interests involved.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
Seanad Éireann 15 Covered Cattle Market at North Wall—Motion.