Thursday, 18 May 1922
Dáil Éireann Debate
MR. W.T. COSGRAVE: I have an estimate here for £100,000. I am associated with the Minister of Labour in connection with this vote. The particulars have been I think to some extent dealt with in the Report submitted by the Local Government Department. The situation in certain counties is little short of economic distress of the most pronounced order. It is approaching  famine in some areas. I have had one elaborate report from Cork. I have already answered some questions from Wexford, which pointed to a very serious state of unemployment there. Something like two thousand employees, largely engaged in the foundries in Wexford are unemployed, and but for an extension of the unemployment benefit I think they would be entitled to no contribution whatever. There was no other course open to them but to apply for relief from the rates. I think I left out one item from Tory Island, £308. It seems from information received from our inspector they do not pay any rates in Tory Island and an Inspector remarked that they were good judges. They had advantages of Government without payment of rates. I have had an interview with the Chairman of the Kerry County Council and he informed me that the situation in the western coasts of Kerry was very serious. It appears in certain districts—Donegal and Galway—there is considerable distress. The amount is made up of a contribution of £12,000 from the Board of Works and £3,000 from the Donegal Co. Council. Something like £14,000 will have to be put up by other means to enable works of this character to be started. I have put down this sum of £100,000 and it is a totally insufficient sum for the purpose we have put forward—that is, the relief of distress. To some extent, responsibility for the present situation touches this assembly and some provision ought to be made by this assembly to stabilise conditions. The local authorities are anxious to embark on capital expenditure. The higher cost of labour makes capital expenditure almost prohibitive. I think there have been sufficient examples on the continent of the extraordinary effect of the printing presses in the reduction of securities. The high contracting parties, due to the enormous obligations during the war have insisted in further printing in order to pay off interest on some of the amounts that have been borrowed. If we adopt the same thing here, we will have the position unstable as to our business relations at the moment. I am not inclined to recommend any indulgence in project of that kind. I am not able to outline any particular works in connection with the expenditure of this money. Until the sum that would be voted by the House would be known it would be impossible for us to see how far it could be used to relieve distress and restore economic order in these districts I have mentioned. I move for this vote, £100,000.
CATHAL BRUGHA: At such a time as the present, when there is a possibility that the two sides in the Dáil could be brought together, it is most unfortunate that such a request as this should be brought before us. I have not the slightest hesitation in characterising this as a deliberate attempt to deplete the Dáil Exchequer. It is the third attempt, well in advance of the other two, that has been made. We saw the question that was put up a couple of weeks ago with regard to subsistence allowance that were being drawn by certain members of this House. A question was asked and a certain answer given. The answer was, in effect, that such was being done. Thirteen or fourteen supporters of the Treaty were drawing since. January subsistence allowances per month at the rate of £250 a year. It was decided on during the war, when numbers of members of this House, owing to their being connected with it, were on the run and could not attend to their business. It was a most necessary decision for the Dáil to come to, that such Deputies, when they asked for it, should be given this subsistence allowance. We found comparatively recently that since the majority of the Dáil approved of this Treaty that thirteen or fourteen of them were drawing this subsistence allowance, though some of them are people who have apparently a fairly good livelihood. We saw, moreover, that a certain gentleman, another supporter of the Treaty, was sent to America recently to spend three months there and in order to compensate him for the alleged loss in his business he was given £1,000 with a honorarium of £250 in addition to his expenses. I say this, the third attempt to deplete the Dáil Exchequer is well in advance of the other two. £100,000 it is suggested to spend. I am not exactly certain, as I have not the Finance Minister's figures before me, what would be left if this were assented to. It would mean that the Dáil could not function if by some chance those who are opposed to the Treaty came into control of the Dáil. What would the result be? There would be that much less anyway in the exchequer  to carry out the activities of the Republic. Now I know that there are a number of honest Deputies who think that they are doing the right thing and that they did the right thing in supporting this Treaty here in the Dáil. I would ask these people to vote against this and see that the Dáil funds are not depleted. This money is doubtless wanted but it may be got from some other source.
MR. BOLAND: I just want to raise a question on the motion before the House. I had experience in America in the raising of some of this 6,000,000 dollars, that was raised for the purpose for which this grant is asked from the Dáil. I know people who subscribed to it purely as a relief fund. People subscribed to it who had not very much sympathy with the struggle here in Ireland for independence. The vast number of subscribers were assured that this money would be devoted to the relief of distress in Ireland. I have no objection to any reasonable sum being voted by this House for distress; I myself would like to see every effort effort made to secure some relief. I would ask the Minister for the Local Government Board if he has taken into account that there must be at least a sum of 4,000,000 dollars unexpended by the White Cross. That being so, will he use whatever effort he can to see that that money is first expended in relief before he asks the Dáil for this sum.
MR. D. CEANNT: I wish also to protest against giving this sum. I agree with what the member for Waterford said about depleting the funds of the Dáil. Ever since this Dáil came into session last December there was no effort on the part of this Dáil to raise any revenue whatever for carrying on the Government of the Republic. I would remind members here of the statement made by the Minister of Finance last September at our meeting, when he was making preparations for raising a loan of 20,000,000 dollars in America. In making his suggestion his words were that he would have no difficulty whatever in getting the money. He would have got the money but in the time that elapsed between that and the signing of the Articles of Agreement he dropped the matter, because every one is now thoroughly well aware that they never intended to carry on the Republic for another period, and there is no such attempt being made. We had a statement yesterday by the Minister of Finance in which he said that owing to the instability of rule in the country the receipts from Customs and Excise and other sources were not sufficient to pay expenses. It is no wonder when we see hundreds of recruiting officers paid an enormous amount in salaries, with an unlimited amount of expenses, in getting up a tremendous army to force the Irish people against their will into the British Empire.
MR. BOLAND: So that there should be no misapprehension, I wish to say that the money I, referred to was collected by the Committee in America who were associated with the White Cross Association here.
MR. J. MCGRATH (MINISTER FOR LABOUR): I am associated with this motion. I am sorry that the member for Waterford says he is satisfied that it is a third attempt to deplete the funds of the Dáil. Now I can assure him that it is not, at least as far as I am aware. Every day brings to my Department complaints from every part of the country as to the state of unemployment. You are aware that under the British Government there was an unemployment scheme. Each man received an average of fifteen shillings a week for a certain period—15 weeks probably in the year. That ran out lately. I may tell you that the Provisional Government have renewed it temporarily and have tried to relieve the terrible suffering going on in the country, particularly in Wexford, where there are 3,500 men drawing that dole. I suppose that it may be taken that at least half of these are married men with families. It takes a big sum to keep that up all over the country. Assuming that some of you say that you have no responsibility to the people—at least some of the speeches would lead one to believe it—surely the people are not going to die of starvation. We are responsible to the people for the state of the country at the present day. Consequently, it is our duty if at all possible, to provide employment. With reference to the £100,000 there is nothing definite to be put before you as to how it is to be spent. In Donegal, Galway, Wexford, Cork, not forgetting Kerry, there are certain schemes. Some of them, I think, expect they will get the money to spend without committing the local  authorities to any expense, but they will not unless they are prepared to put a figure which shows their honesty of purpose in starting these schemes and that they mean to complete the work and do it honestly. Otherwise, they will get no money from the Dáil and unless the schemes are approved by the engineers of the Department no money will be granted. At a time when there is a possibility of both sides uniting I think the least we might do is to pass this amount. Whether the member for Waterford has before him the statement of the Minister for Finance or not, I can tell him that there will still be a large amount to the credit of the Dáil if you sanction this. If any Deputies come across to my office to-morrow, I will put before them facts as to the state of distress. If it were possible to get the money anywhere else it would be got. That £100,000 will not go near relieving all the distress in the country.
MR. ROBINSON: I wish to support this motion because of my local knowledge of the problem. I was sent down to Connemara in connection with seed loan schemes. Representations came from all classes—from clergymen and people of different political views and of no political views—regarding the appalling condition in the west. In parts of Donegal and Kerry—in fact on the whole western seaboard from Donegal to Cork —one universal cry went up as to the serious condition of the people—the only real industry of the people—the fishing industry—was an abject failure last year and the potato crop was a failure and people there who had store cattle could not get a market for them. If any member of the other side wishes to come to our office he can see complaints from all classes of people as to the appalling conditions in the west and they would be slow to say this motion was put up for Party purposes. There was one district in Connemara where children had not seen milk for three months, and in another district the seed the people were going to put into the ground had to be consumed for food. We had in one district in the west of Ireland to raise seed loans for £5,000. We were not able to give them the seed they required. A good many of the schemes had to be abandoned because they were not in time. In the Erris district in Mayo it was represented to us that the death rate was steadily rising and that the cause was that the people were dying of malnutrition. We sent down our best inspectors and they said the thing was in no way exaggerated. Other agencies have been feeding children in the schools. The White Cross has put up £25,000 for the western seaboard. They came to us asking if we could place our local knowledge at their disposal. They know, and we know, that that £25,000 is inadequate. Hunger is definitely facing the the people in these districts. Every question should not be made a Party question. There is no doubt that starvation is facing a big population in the south-west.
MR. SEAN T. O'KELLY: I am surprised that the Minister for the Local Government has decided to come before a body of this kind without any scheme or any statement showing how the money is going to be spent and ask us to hand him over a blank cheque for £100,000 to spend in any way he may think fit. No doubt he may find good, useful ways of spending that money. I am sure he can do so. No doubt, the statements that have been made in support of the proposal as to the state and condition of parts of Kerry, Galway and Mayo may be true and probably are, but since this proposal was put on the agenda there has been plenty of time, in my opinion, if they were serious in wanting this money for the relief of distress in these districts, at least to give us an outline of how they propose this money should be spent and also what the people in the districts referred to can do themselves by local rate to get over the distress their representatives complain of. That is one great objection that I could raise to this body handing over such a large sum of money to any Minister, however we may believe in his ability to spend that money well. I do not think there is any public body, or private body, or directors of a firm in any part of Ireland—we are a fairly hard-headed people—who would hand over a blank cheque to any responsible authority in their own business, or at least at the head of their own Council or Corporation, whatever it may be, and say “There is £100,000 for you; we know you will spend it well; go ahead and do what you like with it.” I do not think we are foolish enough here in this assembly to deal with money that was got with such sacrifice, even in the case of the Minister for Local Government, whom a great many here respect—to  hand him over a cheque in that fashion. I am not satisfied yet if this money can be spent at all for such a purpose as is suggested here. I do not know that the money was subscribed for relief in Ireland but let us put that aside for the moment. Granted that there is urgent need for money in parts of Ireland to get over distress, we as men having to bear responsibility for the proper expenditure of monies entrusted to us, ought to demand, at least, that a proper scheme be put before us before we give out even £1,000, much less £100,000, to spend by any Minister in his Department. Then there is another point which appeals to me also and it is the question of precedent. If we give a cheque of this kind now, we are setting a precedent which will be followed. Every Deputy here will have the right to come along to the Minister of Local Government or some other Minister and explain regarding the distress in his district. I know I would be one of the first, if this £100,000 is granted, to go and explain—I do not know if it will be necessary to explain— the distress existing in my area in Dublin. They do not need seed but they do need food. In many districts in Dublin there is poverty. We are told often, of course, that all the poverty and all the economic stagnation that exists in the country is due to myself and men like me for not voting for certain Articles of Agreement. We are told now that the failure of the potato crop, the failure of seeds and the general economic conditions are not confined to Ireland. But leaving this question aside, as I would not be in favour of dragging Party into a matter of this kind, from the point of view of business men, from the point of view of men having serious responsibility for monies collected, as these monies have been handed to us for a certain specific purpose, I doubt if we would be right in handing over monies to be spent on relief of the nature suggested. If we are, I think, we ought at least as business men suggest that those responsible—the Minister for Local Government and the Minister for Labour—bring forward a scheme and if they do bring forward a scheme here setting forth how this money is to be spent by them, I think the House will give it proper and earnest consideration. For these reasons, I would move that the consideration of the proposal of the Minister for Local Government be postponed pending a statement of a detailed and considered scheme.
DR. MCCARTAN: I would suggest that a Committee composed of both sides of the House should go into this matter of finding employment in the different parts of the country, and that they have power to expend the money, if it is granted, subject to the approval of the Minister of Local Government. The question has been raised as to whether or not we have the right to spend this money, and whether is was subscribed for that purpose or not. That money was subscribed for the Government of this country. This is the Government of the country, and it has the right to spend the money as it sees fit in the interests of the country. It is not for the subscriber, who will get his money back to say how the money will be spent. It is for the Dáil to say how the money will be spent, because it is the Dáil and people of Ireland who have got to pay back that money. I would, in the circumstances, make the suggestion that a Committee on both sides should examine the whole matter and see how the money could best be spent, subject to the approval of the Minister for Local Government.
MR. ART O'CONNOR: I would like to support the suggestion of the Deputy for Offaly. Indeed, if he had not spoken, I myself had intended to speak from this side in favour of money being made available for the relief of distress, in order to show that I, at least, did not regard it either as a Party business or a trick. We, as the Government of the country, have a grave responsibility to see that, at least as far as we can prevent it, none of our people should be hungry. I suppose until Dcomsday it will be argued how the present state of affairs has come about. Some men will insist that the the poverty and suffering is due to our attitude. Others will insist it is not. Personally, I believe a lot of the distress in the west is due to the acute economic depression in England. Everybody here is aware there are between one and two millions of people idle in England. Well, when there are so many idle in England, it stands to reason migratory labourers going from Ireland have absolutely no chance of getting employment there. Consequently, the people in the west and part of the south who were accustomed to going to England in order to look for work, must stay at home. There is another reason operating as well. I mentioned it before when I was speaking on the Agricultural  Report, and I will mention it once more. It is that owing to this depression in trade all over the world distress naturally exists. American depression affects us here, because there are between five and six millions of people unemployed there. They are not eating so much. Instead of being an importing country from Canada, as in 1913, they are exporting a lot of their foodstuffs to England. The English are able to get sufficient supplies of cheap food from America and the results are naturally felt by the food-producers in this country who usually export their stuff. They are not able to sell with any hope of profit, and farmers and others are affected. The result of all this is that in the west of Ireland, particularly, where all the young cattle are reared and from which the store cattle are brought to Leinster and other finishing places in Ireland, the animals are left on the hands of the small farmers, and that tends to create additional poverty and hunger. I am sorry the Minister for Local Government or the Minister for Labour has not been able to indicate to us how far the existing sources of revenue to meet distress could be availed of. Personally, I do not believe in the dole system, unless as a last resort. There are four or five leading methods by which unemployment could be relieved. It could be relieved through the instrumentality of the land, by housing, by the making or the improvement of roads, by the drainage of rivers, and the building of piers. Heretofore, there used to be a fund accumulated through taxes paid upon motor cars and petrol, and this was available for the improvement of roads. I would like very much if the Minister for Local Government—I do not care very much whether he speaks in his capacity as a Minister for the Dáil, or in any other capacity—could let us know whether any of these sums are available, and also whether there would be any possibility of relieving any of the distress in any part of the country through housing schemes or through the drainage of some very, very bad rivers. The summer is coming now and it would be quite a propitious time for doing some drainage. Personally, from the little experience I have had of seeing piers built in the west, I regard them—a few of them anyhow— as worse than useless. The bulk of them could be called follies. To do anything of the folly nature, in order to give poor people unemployment and wages, to my mind would be ridiculous. There is a chronic example of what was nothing less than a folly at Maynooth, where there is a huge obelisk called “Connolly's Folly,” built in 1857. It served no purpose except for people to look at. I would like to support thoroughly the suggestion of the Deputy for Offaly. I believe we could not go into the details necessary, now, or hammer out details of a scheme adequate to relieve distress. I do not care where the funds come from or what they were subscribed for; if they are the funds of this national Government, we are perfectly entitled to utilise them to the best of our ability and, as far as they will go, to see that none of our people is left hungry.
MR. P.J. RUTTLEDGE: I do not agree with this scheme, and one of my objections to it is there are no details. There is no information given as to how this money is going to be spent. Further, in my area—I come from an area mentioned here by the Assistant Minister for Local Government, the area of Erris —the conditions are such as to render it one of the poorest in Ireland. What sum of money has been included for relief in that area, I would like to know, because there is a motion by Dr. Crowley for a grant of £5,000 and I am already informed that is not in order, as it must come from a Minister. A certain sum of money has been allocated by the White Cross for the relief of distress in Erris. I am very glad the information has been given here to-day that the money was being distributed on the instructions and with the aid and assistance of Inspectors acting under the Local Government Department. If any money is going to be allocated to Erris or any other area, I would like that an undertaking should be given by the Minister for Local Government that it would not be distributed over the heads of the local bodies, simply because they are Republicans, as was done in Erris. If it is in the hands of the Local Government Department to have these funds distributed, then I would expect the local bodies under the Local Government Department would at least be sufficiently respected as local mediums for the distribution of money to relieve distress, and not have it done as it has been done in Erris. It would be also advisable in the Mayo area if the people there were allowed to have the money to which they were legally and properly entitled, and not have them penalised, and penalties imposed on them, and the  grant withdrawn from them, because they had a certain point of view. All the grants have been withdrawn by the Minister of Local Government because members of the Mayo Co. Council took up a certain attitude. I regret I was not here when the report of the Minister for Local Government was under discussion. I was serving on the Committee at the time. There was a definite charge —at least it was given in his report why these grants were stopped. It was no reason why the unfortunate people of Erris and Mayo should be penalised in the way they were. I acted illegally perhaps when I refused to play the game of allowing any official under my control to send minutes to the British Local Government Board. Last year there was an illegal rate struck in Mayo and other counties and there was nothing about it except in Mayo. Last year we struck a penny in the pound for the maintenance and the strengthening of the Gaelic language, and the Local Government Department told us it was illegal. This year other Councils in Connacht struck a rate for the Irish language, including Mayo, and they were told it was illegal but there was no stoppage of grants. The Mayo Co. Council struck a rate, as it was perfectly entitled to do, for the laudable purpose of providing some means of subsistence for the soldiers who kept the Council going and the soldiers who had guarded the lives of the people of the country for the last two or three years. And for that reason we are told the people of Mayo must be penalised and the people of Erris starve, and the whole responsibility rests on our shoulders. That kind of bluff will not succeed. Because of some peculiar technicality—some peculiar British legal technicality—the people of Mayo must be punished. And there is starvation in Mayo. There are the most awful conditions existing in any county in Ireland existing there at the present time. And then when there is a grant made by the White Cross, and the Minister of Irish Local Government Department comes to administer it, they must go around Mayo, instead of to the local bodies, and pick out men who are now stated to be Free Staters, but who a year ago were Britishers, and get them to distribute it. For that reason, I want an undertaking to be given here that the local bodies, who have the obedience and respect of the people, will be recognised as the proper channels for the purpose of distributing relief amongst these poor and unfortunate people.
MR. SEAN ETCHINGHAM: I was just going to raise the point raised by the Deputy for Mayo about the administration of the money. This thing appeals to me, and I would be sorry to think it was a Party dodge; but whether it is or not, I think we should try to support it. The suggestion made by the Deputy for Offaly, Doctor McCartan, is that a Committee from both sides of the House should go into this matter. I think they should go into it at once and consider it. I heard from the Minister of Labour that none of the money would be distributed unless they had a certificate from the engineer. I think we should go into the matter as soon as possible and act on the suggestion of Dr. McCartan. I think it was in September last at a private session of the Dáil that we voted a certain sum for the relief of distress in the town of Wexford. We unanimously voted it then; there was no Party question raised. Any effort to go on with the building of houses should be encouraged. It is admitted here we have distress in the country and we should try if possible to relieve it. But we should leave the administration of the money in the hands of the local bodies and that would remove all the tinge of Party administration of the funds. I think we can get on with this matter. The atmosphere we have here is less Party than it used to be, and thank God for that. I think we should appoint that Committee and go into this matter. I think the Committee ought to be appointed at once.
MR. JOSEPH MCDONAGH: I would be agreeable to the appointment of the Committee provided the £100,000 is not passed before the formation of the Committee. I would be agreeable to this course: That the Committee should examine schemes, ascertain what monies are required, and then bring that report before the Dáil, and if the Dáil sees fit, it can then vote the money. I presume the Minister for Local Government would not have any objection in the meantime to postponing this motion. At the present time, all we know from the statement is that there are schemes. Surely the Dáil should not be asked to pass this sum without even seeing the schemes. We are asked to give absolutely a blank cheque to the Minister for Local Government to spend as he thinks  fit. After all, no matter what anybody says, the money that was subscribed to the Dáil was not subscribed for the relief of distreses. There was a separate and distinct fund raised in America, and to some extent in Ireland—the White Cross fund. That was raised for the relief of distress in Ireland caused by the war. There was a large balance of that fund a short time ago available. I understand that the Committee of Reconstruction of the Irish White Cross got into touch with the Board of Works of the Provisional Government and agreed to hand over whatever sums were in their possession to the Board of Works of the Provisional Government to carry on reconstruction. I understand that that sum runs into some hundreds of thousands of pounds, and before the Dáil money proper is touched for any such relief, I think such sums should first be exhausted, to say the least of it. The White Cross Relief Funds run to over £100,000 and it is not too much to expend the White Cross funds, even though the sums are ear-marked to carry out the relief outlined by the Minister for Local Government, who asks for this money. I am in favour of the setting up of this Committee, provided no sum is voted prior to the report of the Committee.
MR. W.T. COSGRAVE: I suppose I will take the last point first. The motion has been put forward in accordance with the Standing Orders. Whether they are wrong or hastily conceived, I must take them as they are. I am not responsible for any imperfections that may possibly exist in them. What has been done, as far as I and the Minister of Labour are concerned, is in accordance with the Standing Orders. Unless we have some information as to the amount of money available, there is no use in putting up schemes, because I could put up schemes for millions if millions were available. If we know what the sum is definitely, then some sort of schemes can be arranged and sums can be assessed and some constructive work can be done. The Provisional Government has already provided £1,000,000 for housing and every possible step is being taken to expedite that work. In two cases the work has already been started. Nine out of ninety-four local authorities have refused to strike the rate to carry out this thing. £275,000 is also made available for local authorities. Now, as regards the Deputy for Mayo, it is a pity he did not tell the whole of the truth. He did not tell what the Minister of Defence wrote in connection with the Co. Council. He did not tell us that the Minister of Defence has made available £3,900 for the I.R.A. in the county, and although he was to have got vouchers and receipts by March 14th, he has not got them yet. Whether there was a greater sum than £3,900 due by the I.R.A. down there I do not know. It transpired there was also an amount of £4,000 due, and that there was a special rate to be struck by the County Council for a sum of £8,000 in order to pay the debts of the I.R.A. in County Mayo as far as they went. It was the only rate of the kind struck by any County Council. Now I was prepared to meet the Deputy on the day the report was discussed.
I have got to tell him the Dáil never authorised any Co. Council in Ireland to strike a rate for the I.R.A., and as far as the Local Government Department is concerned, it carried out the law as adopted by the Dáil. The proper time for the Deputy to bring forward this matter was when we were discussing the report. He can if he likes put down a motion to discuss it again, and can explain how the sum of £3,900, which was adequate to pay the debts of the I.R.A. up to a certain date, has now run into £11,900. I do not understand it, and I think I can claim to have an elementary knowledge of figures at any rate. Now as regards the distribution of money in Erris, the White Cross made that money available. We made the services of our Inspectors available to the White Cross for the distribution of that money and I do not know why the White Cross should be compelled to use the services of the local authorities if they did not think fit to do so. It was their business and we did not interfere with them. I am not prepared to recommend the issue of money to any local authority which will not carry out its business in a regular, orderly, and lawful manner, and I think I am entitled to do that. I have got some responsibility at any rate for the distribution of these monies. If we are not satisfied they are going to be used for the purpose for which they were collected and for which taxes were levied, that is our affair. We are distributing funds to local authorities who make application for them in those areas where there are disaffected people like the Deputy. We are making payments to the mental hospitals and other local  authorities for any sums that are due to them. One place at any rate has applied for it, and money will be sent there according as it is due to them. I am satisfied that a Committee should be set up representing both sides of the House, and I wish the Committee joy of its work. I want to be relieved of it as far as I can. I believe my duty is ended when I point out the places from which applications have come to the Department for relief, or assistance, or work, or something of the sort. Now, for instance, there is a report here from one county. There are ten pages in it, and four of them deal with the extraordinary conditions that are prevalent. In one place it is mentioned that unless something is done these people are going to starve. It is unusual to ask for a sum without an estimate; but it was not my intention, as was suggested, to take this money and distribute it as I thought fit. It was my intention to submit regular estimates. The money cannot be used generally over the country. There are certain places where the economic conditions are such as to warrant the expenditure of a huge sum of money. A number of Dublin constituencies, for instance, would not be likely to be considered at all in relation to the expenditure of these sums.
I do not know that there is the same terribly acute distress in Dublin as there is elsewhere. I believe we will be able to provide this Committee which is to be set up with the particulars, as far as we know them, from the various Departments; I believe we will be able to supply all details of the applications coming in. The distress is very much more pronounced in certain areas by the withdrawal of the English troops and the consequent unemployment resulting from that. The question to be settled by the Dáil if they are going to set up this Committee, is when are they going to set to work? This is a matter that brooks no delay. Sufficient information is compiled to enable us to fix some proportion of the amount of assistance that would be required from local authorities in order to carry out constructive schemes. When I first brought this proposition before the Dáil, I was met with all the arguments alleged against it here, and many more beside. The members of the Cabinet, according to my mind, have a much more able appreciation of the possible arguments that would be put up against it than we have heard here. One of them even suggested it was because the elections were coming that I brought forward this stunt, as he called it. I believe the distribution of the money will create more discontent in the various places by reason of the small amount of work it will afford than be an advantage to any man from the point of view of the support it would gain for him. I have some experience of the dissatisfaction caused by certain places not getting the amount required, and my suggestion to the Committee would be to concentrate on particular places where the most useful work could be done, and draw from other places unattached labour in order to relieve the situation. In one particular town, where the population is under 10,000, there are 500 unemployed, getting no assistance from any fund whatever. They are not insured persons and consequently get no assistance. I expect when the motion is put in connection with the Committee that the Committee will be nominated. There are three names that I would suggest by reason of their position: they are the Mayor of Wexford, the Lord Mayor of Cork, and the Mayor of Waterford. I would suggest them as members of the Committee. That is all I have to say.
MR. W.T. COSGRAVE: May I take it there is no objection to the Chairman of the Committee being the Minister of Labour. He has the most expert knowledge in connection with it. Without a Chairman you get nowhere.
AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: This is it: “And that a Committee of Deputies  Ruttledge, Art O'Connor, T. O'Donoghue, the Lord Mayor of Cork, the Mayor of Wexford, the Mayor of Waterford, and P. O Maille be appointed to devise a scheme for immediate employment in districts affected by distress, and report to the Dáil.”
MR. W.T. COSGRAVE: I might be allowed to suggest that this matter be allowed to stand over until to-morrow, and we can consider in the meantime the work which the Committee would likely be engaged at, together with suggestions as to the general lines on which they proceed to carry out the scheme. I may say I really have not had time to pay attention to this matter of constructing the exact machinery and I would like to meet the views expressed by those Deputies who were anxious something should be done which would take from this proposal the Party colouring which would appear to have been attached to it from the commencement. I do not want that. We will fix this matter up in such a manner that it will be acceptable to the vast majority in the Dáil.
MR. R. CORISH: Will the Committee meet to-morrow? I cannot see what good is to be derived from this question being raised again to-morrow. There are people in parts of Ireland on the verge of starvation while we are talking here.
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