Committee Reports::Interim Report and Final Report - Shop Hours (Drapery Trades, Dublin and Districts) (Amendment) Bill, 1925::20 January, 1926::MIONTUAIRISC NA FINNEACHTA / Minutes of Evidence


(Minutes of Evidence)

Dé Céadaoin, 20adh Eanair, 1926.

(Wednesday, 20th January, 1926.)

The Committee sat at 11 a.m.

Members Present:—






T. Hennessy.







DEPUTY RODDY in the Chair.

Mr. Bernard McMullen recalled and examined.

1053. Chairman.—Are you in a position to make a statement with regard to the figures which have been supplied us?— Mr. Calvert was to have been here, but unfortunately he is still absent in Belfast. We got an auditor to go round five houses. We have the auditor here, and if you wish he will give you a statement on those figures. I could not make a statement because the auditor abstracted the figures himself.

1054. Seemingly, the only person who would be competent to deal with the figures would be the auditor, who prepared them?—I could not tell you the name of each firm. The traders would not have their names simply shouted out. I think they are given by way of initials or something like that.

Deputy Johnson.—Is the auditor (Mr. McNally) authorised to speak on behalf of the Association?—Yes.

Mr. M. J. McNally called and examined.

1055. Chairman.—It would be well if you would give us a general explanation of the figures which have been supplied to us?—I inspected these five houses and looked over the books. My instructions were to take the second week in September, October and November, 1923, and the second week in September, October and November,1924. I examined the cash book for all these months and abstracted therefrom the total takings for every week, and also abstracted the takings for the Saturdays. I made out the percentage that Saturday’s takings formed of the total week’s takings and I appended that to the schedule, which has been submitted. That applied to all the five houses. With regard to one house, I was able to get the takings from the opening until 6 o’clock and from 6 o’clock until the closing. In that particular case I made out the percentage that the takings from the opening until 6 o’clock formed of the total day’s takings and the percentage that the takings from 6 o’clock until closing formed of the total day’s takings. I have submitted these figures and percentages in the schedule.

Deputy Cooper.

1056. I would like to ask you a couple of questions with regard to the final table—the analysis of the Saturday’s takings. That refers to one shop?—Only one shop.

1057. That is shop “B,” employing three assistants?—Yes.

1058. You have taken from 6 o’clock until the hour of closing. Did the books show, or were you able to ascertain, what the hour of closing was in 1923?—I could not say that definitely.

1059. You could not say what it was in 1924 either?—No.

1060. You do not know whether the shop is complying with the Act passed last year or not?—I do not know what the hour of closing is, but I have given the figures from 6 o’clock until whatever time they did close.

1061. The book, I suppose, had a line ruled across it at 6 o’clock. Is it a shop that closes to give its employés tea?— No. I thought it strange at first that this arrangement should be in operation, but I went over the books for every year as far back as 1919, and in every case that I took this particular shop had that system in operation. I got a very reasonable explanation of it. I took the books haphazard. There was a note in the margin of the book of the takings up to 6 o’clock.

1062. They invariably had a check at 6 o’clock?—They always had. I found no exceptions.

1063. There was no other hour indicated in the margin?—There was—two o’clock—but I did not deal with that.

1064. There was nothing to show 7.30? —No.

1065. What the Committee are mostly concerned with is not so much the takings from 6 o’clock until closing time as the takings from 7.30 to 9 o’clock. There was no data on which you could get that information?—No.

1066. And you did not ascertain the closing hours?—No.

Deputy Johnson.

1067. Could you tell us the locality of this shop, “B”? I do not want a precise indication, but I would like to know whether it is in the centre of the city or on the outskirts?—It is in the centre of the city.

1068. The evidence given on behalf of the drapers was to the effect that 50 per cent. of the weekly trade done by small traders was done on Saturday, that 50 per cent. of Saturday’s trade was done between 6.30 and 9 p.m., and that there would be irrecoverable loss if they were not permitted to remain open until that time. They were to bring forward documentary evidence in proof of that. Could you tell us the position in regard to Saturday’s takings from 6 to 9 o’clock in respect to A, C, D, E shops?—I cannot divide the day except in one case. That was the only case where this system prevailed.

1069. That is much the smallest shop of the five?—It would be.

1070. Can you give us any idea of the character of the trade. Is it a drapery or a clothier trade? Is there anything to distinguish it in character from the other shops?—It is a general drapery trade.

1071. You have a good deal of experience in examining the books of drapers? —I have.

1072. Is it your experience that the books are kept in such a fashion usually as to enable one to abstract the amount of the day’s takings as distinguished from the amount of the week’s takings? —In all cases that is done.

1073. It is not usual to show the period of the day?—No. I have never seen it except in that case.

1074. These books are available if any of the Deputies require to see them?— Yes.

1075. Deputy Hennessy.—You complied with the directions issued by the Committee, as far as possible?—Yes.

1076. Deputy Johnson.—Perhaps the Committee Clerk would read the query of the Committee regarding this matter.

Query read.

1077. Deputy Johnson.—You had that request of the Committee before you, as to endeavouring to abstract the amount of the takings on Saturday and divide them according to the period of the day? —Yes.

1078. You could only get that in respect of one shop?—I adhered rigidly to the months mentioned.

The witness withdrew.

Chairman.—The Secretary has obtained from the Town Clerk of Dublin information in regard to the procedure followed in taking the plebiscite, and that information has been circulated to all the members of the Committee.

Deputy Cooper.—What was the hour named in the Early Closing Order? There was an Order then in operation and there was a question of a new Order. I would like to know the hour in the Order in operation and the hour in the new Order.

Notice of Intention to Revoke Closing Order dated 19th April, 1918 (of 17th November, 1922), read.

Deputy Johnson.—I want to direct attention to the information supplied by the Town Clerk, which corrects a pretty widespread misapprehension on the part of members of the Committee. The Town Clerk states that the maximum number of votes for any shop was three. It was stated here that as many as 15 votes might be given by one shop.

Chairman.—Was that stated in the course of the evidence?

Deputy Johnson.—It was stated in the course of the examination.

Deputy Hennessy.—I think that was put by me by way of interrogation— “would it be possible that a shop would have 15 votes?” Now we see that the highest number of votes for the purpose of the plebiscite was three. I only desired to direct attention to the fact that there was plural voting.

The Committee proceeded to discuss the Bill.