§ In the case of any public-house, hotel, or other licensed premises, which have been destroyed or damaged in the recent disturbances, and in which business has in consequence been interrupted during the period of rebuilding or restoration, the licence shall be deemed to be still existing at the time of the completion of such rebuilding or restoration, and to be vested in the person legally entitled to the said premises, and it shall be competent for such person to apply for a renewal of said licence, and for the court to consider such application, although same not to be made to the annual licensing petty sessions. Upon any such application, any certificate as to the conduct of the business, required for the purposes of renewal, shall be a certificate as respects the conduct of the business during the period between the date of the last renewal and the destruction of or damage to the premises, and the Licensing (Ireland) Acts, 1833 to 1902, shall be deemed to be amended accordingly.—[Mr. Nugent.]
§ Clause brought up, and read the first time.
I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a second time."
Hon. Members will at once recognise the necessity for this. Under the ordinary law, if incensed premise? are not kept open for a period of twelve months or so, the licences would lapse.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Mr. DUKE
I propose to move a series of small Amendments that are really drafting Amendments. Perhaps I may explain the position of the Government in regard to this new Clause. Owing to the destruction of these premises the right of renewal, which is the vested interest in Ireland, will probably be lost, unless some provision is made in this Bill for its continuance. Hon. Members opposite, and those who are acting with them, have, in view of the premises destroyed by 1237 causes beyond the control of those in charge, urge that the licence-holder shall not be put in a worse position than before so far as the licence is concerned, and shall be as though the licence had remained in existence. That is a reasonable proposal. That is a proposal I desire to meet. I have a few drafting Amendments the purpose of which, as I conceive it, is to bring the Clause into conformity with Irish licensing law.
Amendment made: "Leave out the word 'interrupted'—['has in consequence been interrupted'], and insert instead thereof the word 'suspended.'"—[Mr. Duke.]
§ Mr. DUKE
I beg to move, after the word "licence" ["the licence shall be deemed to be still existing"], to insert the words "for the purposes of renewal and any certificates required for renewal but for no other purpose."
It is necessary to make some limitation there, because otherwise a man whose premises have been destroyed might set up a shanty for the sale of liquor upon the ruins and he would be protected. That is not the object which the Clause has in view, and I therefore propose to limit the operation by this Amendment.
I confess I do not either like the words proposed to be left out or the words proposed to be inserted, because it seems to me this would create a liability for the licence money which the Excise exact from the licensed property. It seems to me if you enact that a licence shall be in existence, it follows that the Government can come down upon the licensed property for a sum of £30, or as much as £50 in the case of large premises, and it would undoubtedly be argued by the Excise as regards some of these large hotels, "Oh, here is a Statute which continues your licence during three, four or five years before building, and therefore you must pay the Government £40 or £50 a year." If these words are inserted in the form now proposed, I ask for some assurance that the Excise authority can make no demand for duty. That is especially necessary by reason of the words the right hon. Gentleman proposes, because if the Government made a demand upon the licensed property, the licensee would have a right to set up the shanty to which the right hon. Gentleman objects, whereas he leaves the man at the mercy of the Excise authority, and says, "You shall not do a 1238 stroke of business on the premises during the three or four years they are being rebuilt." If the Government say they do not intend to levy the Licence Duty during any portion of the rebuilding, my fears would be entirely removed; otherwise I think I should prefer the Clause as originally proposed.
§ Mr. DUKE
Perhaps I may say that the object of the Amendment which I have proposed is not to give the Commissioners of Inland Revenue any rights, but really to give effect to the intentions of the Amendment. It is the certificate of the Excise which is deemed to be in existence, and it is only to be deemed to be in existence for the purposes of the renewal of the licence, and not for the renewal of any other purpose. It is certainly not intended to be in existence to inflict upon the owner of the premises something to the effect that he is carrying on business. I think my hon. and learned Friend may rest quite assured on the point.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendments made: Leave out the words "be still existing at," and insert instead thereof the words "continue in force up to."
§ Leave out the words "a renewal of said licence," and insert instead thereof the words "any justices' certificate required for renewal."—[Mr. Duke.]
That would not be necessary, except in the case of off-licences. I do not know whether this is intended to apply both to off- and to on-licences. Certainly it is wholly unnecessary as regards the on-licences.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendment made: Leave out the words "Upon any such application."—[Mr. Duke.]
§ Clause, as amended, added to the Bill.