Committee Reports::Interim Report and Final Report - Shop Hours (Drapery Trades, Dublin and Districts) (Amendment) Bill, 1925::16 December, 1925::Appendix



Evidence will be given by the Drapers’ Representatives that 50 per cent. of the trade done by small drapers is done on Saturday, and that 50 per cent. of Saturday trade is done between 6 and 9 p.m. on Saturday, and that such trade will be irrevocably lost if they are not permitted to remain open.

This evidence can be verified by books if same will be treated as confidential by members of the Committee.

The reason why the hours 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays are so important is that a large number of the community can only get out for their requirements between these hours.

A great number of the artizan class who attend Football matches and other Sports Fixtures on Saturday afternoon go direct to same, and can only go on Saturday after tea hour (with their wives or singly) to get their necessary requirements.

These hours are also very important for domestic servants, the farming class, nurses and others of that class who cannot very well get out until their household duties have been performed, which duties are rarely performed until after the evening meal has been disposed of, and those are the hours at which ready money is available with this class, and if not spent by them on Drapery wear may be spent in a manner not very beneficial.

If facilities are not offered to this class they may possibly shop by Post from English centres as some of them are already doing (a policy detrimental and which must be stopped).

Evidence will also be given that all the legislation has been directed against the small shopkeeper, and that prior to the 1912 Act the larger shops ordinarily closed at 6 p.m. and at 4 p.m. on Saturdays, and the small Drapers (who have been affected by the 1912 Act and the 1925 Act) were previously permitted to remain open till 7 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. on week-days and up to 11 p.m. on Saturdays, so from this it will be seen that legislation seems to have been only directed to their class.

Dealing with Section 6 of the 1925 Act and the suggested amendment of Deputy Bryan Cooper enlarging on same our Representatives will give evidence regarding the hardships caused (by this exemption) to the Drapers’ Assistants.

The ill results of such limited exemption is the creating of hasty partnerships, and the vagueness of the definition of relationship, etc., makes it almost a moral impossibility for the local Body (on whom the working of the Act falls) to carry out same.

By the Amending Act a further reduction in the working hours has been brought about, a point which must appeal greatly to the assistants.

Under the 1925 Act the working hours were 49. Under the Amending Act the hours are 47.

It has been suggested that there is a 12 hours working day on Saturday. This is not correct as upwards of 2 hours are taken off Saturday on account of meal times.

It may be suggested by those opposed to the Amending Act that the 1925 Act was the result of an Agreement entered into at the Gresham Hotel. This is incorrect.

The only agreement entered into at the Gresham was that before any action took place with regard to the opening or closing of shops a plebiscite should be taken as provided in the 1912 Act (Sections 5 to 8) to ascertain the views of those in the trade.

The plebiscite was in point of fact taken and resulted in a substantial majority for remaining open. The figures were as follows:—

For remaining open ..................................

Against remaining open ...........................*

It is scarcely necessary to point out that if the Statutory majority of those concerned in the trade desire an early closing hour the local Authority has ample power under Sections 5 to 8 of the 1912 Act to make a Closing Order. The result of the 1925 Act has been to wipe out the equitable and democratic provisions of Sections 5 to 8 of the 1912 Act.

Evidence will also be given by the representatives of the Drapery Trade who will attend, against the suggested amendments.

*See Qns. 336-7 .