NOMINATION OF THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL.

Thursday, 20 September 1923

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 5 No. 2

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The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  My nomination as President of the Executive Council has been approved by the Governor-General, and I now beg to submit formally, for the assent of the Dáil, the names of the following Deputies as members of the Executive Council:—

Deputy Kevin O'Higgins as Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs;

Deputy Ernest Blythe as Minister for Finance;

General Richard Mulcahy as Minister for Defence;

Deputy Joseph McGrath as Minister for Industry and Commerce;

Deputy Desmond Fitzgerald as Minister for External Affairs; and

Deputy Eoin MacNeill as Minister for Education (when he will have complied with Article 17 of the Constitution).

I regret that I have found it necessary to consult the members of the old Executive Council—those of them who are present—with regard to the Ministry of Finance, and that I do not feel justified in keeping that portfolio myself. I have asked the Deputy who has been Minister for Local Government to accept that portfolio, and he has kindly consented to do so, with the approval of the other members of the Executive Council. I do not think it is necessary to do more than formally move for assent, and I now formally do so.

[34]Mr. THOS. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  The motion that has been made by the President of the Executive Council asks the Dáil, in effect, to approve the re-election of the same Deputies to act with him as an Executive Council as have been so acting for the last year. He is quite entitled to do so, and it is necessary that the President should call to his aid those persons who may have the confidence of the Dáil and the country to act with him as the Government of the country. It seems to me that before the Dáil approves of this selection, we should have something to say, and we should hear something from the President in regard to the intentions of this Ministry, and rather to suggest to the new Executive Council which will be elected certain lines of policy which the Dáil thinks, or the individual members of the Dáil may think, should be carried out by this Ministry which has now been nominated. The fact that the same Deputies are to be associated with the President in the future suggests that there is no change in policy, or if there is to be a change in policy it seems to me, at any rate, that we might have some indication from the President as to what his mind is in calling these gentlemen to his assistance in the Government of the country.

It may be said that the party which the President leads has been returned by a majority to the Dáil, has presented a programme to the country, and has got the confidence of the country for that programme. I have followed, as carefully as it has been possible for me to follow, the various statements made officially by that party and by the President, and I have failed to divine what is the intention in regard to policy of the President and his party. We know, of course, that what was put before the country was the re-establishment of peace and the maintenance of the Constitution. Well, that, of course, is a kind of thing that is usually put before an electorate by a Ministry which has happened to come through successfully military disputes and military conflicts. We are all old enough to remember the khaki election in England and the results of it, and, I think, the Dáil should express itself rather upon other matters, such as the means [35] whereby that Constitution is to be consolidated and the intentions of the Government regarding the problems that are really important. We heard, of course, officially from the President and his organisation that it was the intention of the party and the Government to deal with problems of reconstruction, house-building, industrial development, industrial disputes, domestic and foreign trade and commerce, agriculture, fisheries, manufactures, transport system, etc. Well, the Ministry to be established will necessarily have to deal with these things; but what we really desire to know is what method will be adopted in dealing with them; what is the purpose of that method; what is the policy that is intended to be carried through in dealing with these various problems. I would like this occasion to be used in such a way that the Dáil may express its views upon the methods of dealing with these problems.

We have in this motion an intimation that Deputy Kevin O'Higgins should be appointed as Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs. I could, perhaps, with pleasure to myself, perhaps displeasure to many Deputies of the Dáil, require some enlightenment and utter some words of criticism regarding the policy of the Ministry of Home Affairs during the past month or two, since the Dissolution, and make suggestions regarding the immediate future of the policy of that Ministry. I might deal with the question of the imprisonment and internment of 10,000 to 15,000 people. I might deal with the question of the treatment of internees and prisoners. I think it is the duty of someone to be here to deal with those questions and to raise them and to criticise the policy of the Government with regard to them. But for my part it has been intimated fairly and clearly by the electorate that they do not desire that we, of the Labour Party, should take the responsibility of criticising Government action upon these matters.

Mr. O'CONNELL:  Hear, hear.

Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  Questions of this kind have, if we interpret the intentions of the electorate rightly, been [36] relegated rather to the Deputies of the Government Party and to the Deputies of what is known as the Republican Party, and I have the right to assume that both these Parties will accept the responsibility which has been imposed upon them. While saying that, I want to say as definitely as it is possible to say that we stand where we stood all through last Session in saying that men and women who have been arrested, men and women especially who have been arrested in time of peace or comparative peace, ought not to be detained one hour beyond the necessary time that is required to bring them to trial. We say, as definitely as it is possible to say, that in our opinion these men and women ought to be released, and we are prepared to vote for any proposition brought forward with that object in view, by any person who deems it to be his or her responsibility to raise that question in this Dáil. But our interests rather lie in questions of social and economic difficulty, problems that I fear are going to prevent the re-establishment of peace and the stabilisation of the State, unless they are dealt with on lines very differently from those hinted at and suggested by the Government, and the Government supporters, whether in the country or in the Dáil in the last Session.

So far as I can see the mind of the Government is running in the direction of allowing the development of economic affairs to follow the beaten path, and to trust to the ordinary operations of commerce and exchange to bring about prosperity in this country. During one of the Debates in the Dáil last Session I drew attention to the state of unemployment in such countries as Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and the Netherlands, each of which countries is somewhat in the same position as Ireland is towards the neighbouring countries. Economically each of these countries lives to a very great degree, indeed, upon export trade, upon the markets abroad. The figures which I quoted in that discussion showed that even such a country as Denmark, which was prosperous as-an agricultural country, comparatively prosperous, had within the last year a percentage of unemployment as high [37] as twenty-five, and Sweden had a percentage of unemployment as high as thirty-two in March, 1922. This country is dependent for the export market upon prosperity in England. You are trusting to the development of the ordinary methods of commerce, and you are hopeful that the times will grow better in this country, with the coming of military peace, and that the trade of this country will revive, and a market will continue to be found across the water for Irish produce. That is the proposition, that is the mind of the Ministry, that is the mind of the supporters of the Ministry in this country.

The market in England is not improving. We were told by leading British industrialists three or four weeks ago that they expected, as things were going, an unemployed population in Great Britain of two millions. It is steadily rising since the middle of the summer, notwithstanding the fact that twelve months have elapsed since the enforcement of the wage reduction campaign in that country. People in England were told by the employers there that they must accept reductions in wages if they wanted to improve trade, to regenerate the commercial system. Reductions were enforced, but the promise has not been fulfilled. Trade and commerce have not improved, and unemployment has increased. The market for Irish goods has decreased in that country because of the decrease in employment, and because, still further, of the reductions in wages of those who are employed.

I want to know whether it is the intention of the Ministry here, whether it is the mind of the Government here, or, shall I say, whether it is the mind of the majority on the Government benches and those behind the Government benches, to continue that policy and to assist and encourage the present policy in this country towards reduction in wages. The plea is put forward here, just the same as it was in England, that employment can only be revived by reductions in wages. That was the cry in England, and it has not been fulfilled. Is there any reason for thinking that reductions in wages in Ireland will be followed by an increase [38] of employment in Ireland to any appreciable extent? I deny it. I say, on the other hand, as I said before in this Dáil, that the true policy is to keep up wages and to readjust your economic system in such a way as to ensure that those high wages will be spent in the purchase of Irish commodities. I want the Ministry to realise, and I want some of the new members of the Dáil to realise, that even though trade were to improve to an unexpected extent in England within the next few months, that in itself is not going to improve your industrial prospects in this country. Everyone who has studied these matters knows that the power to produce cheaply in this country, even on similar rates of wages, is not as great as the power to produce cheaply in England, or one might even say in Germany, or in any of the continental countries where the standard has been lowered within recent years. But the power to produce cheaply of our industrial manufacturers in this country is not as great as the power to produce cheaply in England. During the European War we all know how manufacturers took advantage of the opportunity of lavish expenditure of Government funds to enlarge their establishments, to improve their facilities for production, and generally blind the Exchequer by spending what should have been paid in taxes—excess profits tax—in the refurbishing of their machinery and their productive processes. That was not done to anything like the same extent in this country, because the foundations were not there, and your comparative position for cheap production in Ireland as compared with England is much worse than it was prior to 1914. Assume a revival of trade in England, where are your competitive industries to be? That revival of trade in England means an easing of the opportunities for those cheap manufactures to come into Ireland and to compete with your Irish manufactures. Neither the hope of improved conditions in England nor the hope of lower wages in Ireland are going to make your industrial position satisfactory.

I want to say to the President that if his Ministry, when formed, tends to [39] proceed on the lines of least resistance, simply to allow the ordinary processes of commerce as they have been known in the past to proceed and develop of their own volition, seeking the highest profit irrespective of human effects, seeking to buy in the cheapest market and to sell in the dearest, then the industrial and economic position of this country, in my opinion, is going to be a very bad one indeed, and any hopes that the country had that the revolution which has been accomplished would lead to improved material life for the people would be lost and unfulfilled.

We have on the Statute Book a Bill dealing with unemployment insurance. It was passed during the last Session, and affects the system of unemployment insurance, abolishing the system of uncovenanted benefit and re-establishing what might be called pure insurance schemes. During the discussion on that Bill, I pointed out from these benches that, unless there was an extraordinary revival of trade and an increase in employment between that date and October, we were going to find the winter a very serious one, because of the fact that from the middle of October we shall have a steadily increasing number of men coming on to unemployment or continuing unemployment without any unemployment insurance whatever. The dole, as it was called, was abolished, and it was hoped by the Assistant Minister in charge of the Bill that trade and commerce would so improve, between the date of the introduction of the Bill and the middle of October, that the forecast, or, rather, fears that were given voice to would not be fulfilled. There is no improvement. There is very much to the contrary. There has been an increase of several thousands in the numbers of unemployed on the Unemployment Exchanges, quite irrespective of any effects of the trade disputes. There will be a still further increase with every man demobilised, and I think it is well to ask the Ministry, or the President, whether they have taken into account the position of these people during the coming winter. During the debate on the Second Reading of the Unemployment Insurance Bill, Mr. Whelehan stated that by the middle of [40] August 10,000 persons would have exhausted all their contributions, and would have no right to benefit but for the special arrangement proposed in the Bill. He also stated that when the first benefit year terminates, on October the 7th, about one-third of the unemployed will, if they continue to draw benefit until then, have no contribution left unexhausted with which to restart the new benefit year. “It is hoped,” he said, “that by that time economic conditions will have so improved as to have absorbed all, or nearly all, of these workers into employment.”

Now, what are we to contemplate, if nothing is done to substitute for the dole, as it was called, something better? Are we to look on calmly and without fear at the increase in unemployment, and the steadily and rapidly growing number of men, who are not only unemployed, but are not receiving any insurance benefit? Do you think that that large number of people in the country are going to be contented and satisfied to rest silent, quiet, and patient until the Government is satisfied that peace has been re-established, and that the ordinary processes of commerce will have solved this problem? I have no such hopes. On the contrary, I have very great fears that this growing number of unemployed, with nothing to fall back upon in the way of insurance benefit, will make your social problem, perhaps make your military problem, a very, very great one indeed. It seems to me that the Government, and that any Ministry that may be elected, is faced, at this moment, with the question of whether they are going to choose to follow on the ordinary British and European system of commerce—laissez faire in commerce—or whether they are going to show some imagination and resist the temptation to take the easy line of life and leave things to find their own level. I hope the decision of the Government will be to follow on and bring into practical application those principles which they advocated, which we advocated prior to the establishment of the Free State, principles which laid it down clearly that it was the duty of the State to see that the children of the State would have opportunities for employment, for wealth production and opportunities [41] to live in the country to which they belong. I would ask Ministers to spend a day or two in looking back upon the propaganda that they indulged in prior to the signing of the Treaty, during the agitation which led to the signing of the Treaty, and to face the implications honestly, and to bring them into practical operation. If they will do that they will get our support to the utmost possible extent, but if they do that they will lose the support of many others, whose support, I imagine from the signs we have seen, they will much rather have than the support of those who have spoken on behalf of labour in the past.

Mr. McGARRY: Information on Seán McGarry  Zoom on Seán McGarry  I am very much surprised to hear the tone of Deputy Johnson's speech. It seems to me that he has taken the advantage which he complains the English manufacturers took during the war. They took the opportunity to make profits during the war, and he took the opportunity of the President's motion to make a long speech and to profiteer on it. The motion before the Dáil, as I understand it, is that certain Ministers be appointed or reappointed. Deputy Johnson made a speech in which he has not had a single word to say about any of the Ministers, but puts a series of questions to a Minister that has not yet been appointed. He has not said a single word why those Ministers should not be appointed. We have instead listened to a lecture on political economy in which he talked about everything but the President's motion. I suggest that it is the duty of every member to criticise the Government, if the Government ought to be criticised, but the criticism ought always to be helpful. I can get up and talk without any responsibility, but Ministers have responsibility, and if I am going to criticise them my criticism ought to be helpful. I do not think it right for any member to stand up here and waste the time of the Dáil with a lecture on political economy and criticism of a Ministry that is not here. Anybody may get up and propose an alternative Ministry, but lectures on political economy are no use.

Mr. WM. HEWAT: Information on William Hewat  Zoom on William Hewat  I rise, with a good deal of hesitation, as a new [42] member, to speak in this Dáil, and I ask your indulgence in dealing with a matter that the leader of the Labour Party has raised. I take a good deal of exception to his attitude towards this problem. In the first instance, he refers to the fact that at an earlier stage the common sense of employers and workmen in England came to the conclusion that the situation justified a reduction in wages, which the men there, through the advice of their leaders, were prepared to accept. Those reductions were put into operation and were largely based on the argument that in reducing the wages it was necessary for the maintenance of trade, but also behind that was the very important argument that as the wages had been inflated during the war owing to exceptional circumstances, the business community claimed that in the reflex action the fall in the cost of living ought also to be taken into account. Now, Deputy Johnson has referred to the fact that these reductions have not been as successful in stemming the tide of bad trade as was expected at the time.

I say on the other hand if the reductions had not taken place and if the Labour Party at the other side had adopted the same attitude as is advocated by the Leader of the Labour Party that, bad as the situation to-day is, as far as the trade of the country is concerned, it would be infinitely worse with the palliative which was not as successful as it might have been, owing to the fact that continental politics came in and interfered with the revival of trade which had undoubtedly set in by that stage. Now, applying that to this country we, on this side, cannot help but be affected by the economic operations and the economic laws on the other side of the Channel. We might reasonably have expected that labour and the labour leaders would have recognised that and that coming out of troubles at home, troubles from other causes, that at all events we might have the opportunity of sitting down calmly and of being able to reason out all those matters as between Capital and Labour, without having to come to the deadlock that is at present holding up the country and is threatening increased unemployment in the near future. I claim that the policy of [43] the Labour Party has not been as intelligent as one would expect from a Party who put forward a claim that they are able and willing to govern. The question of unemployment is a serious one, and the outlook, as far as winter is concerned, is serious also.

Deputy Johnson has referred to the abolition of the dole. The dole has been very useful in some cases, but I think that as far as Ireland is concerned it has been grossly abused, with the help and assistance of the Labour Party. Go down the country, into any part you like, and anyone there will tell you about obviously manufactured cases. What we want to get at is the man who is willing to work, and if he cannot get the work he has got to get assistance from the State. I would join with Deputy Johnson in saying to the Government that that is obviously a situation that must be attended to. On the other hand the only remedy for the man who is prepared to put his back to the wall, to stand all day and do nothing, is to make him feel in his stomach, if necessary, the need for work. The country needs that the work must be done on a fair basis. That to-day is holding up an immense amount of work. That to-day is putting a strangle-hold on all individual enterprise. If any man has money to spend in advancement let him look around. Let him compare his cost to-day of any building as compared with pre-war costs and he will see that it is not reasonable. What the country wants to-day is an opportunity to develop every resource. To do that we must have a position in which a man willing to extend his capital shall do so in security and with a fair expectation of a reasonable return for his money. Take the question of the North Wall to-day——

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Is this a question of the Executive Council's policy?

Mr. HEWAT: Information on William Hewat  Zoom on William Hewat  I have to apologise for transgressing. It is my ignorance in this matter. I say in these matters the position that ought to appeal to the Ministry is that they must help to encourage individual trades and individual [44] enterprise, rather than unnecessarily interfere in connection with matters that are not properly under their control. I would like to say that Deputy Johnson's argument seemed to me to appeal in this way, that if wages are not to be governed by competitive conditions and if they are to be subject only to the wish of the person receiving the wages, I am afraid the country would be very different to live in for the ordinary man who has an income which is not liable to those fluctuations.

Mr. T.J. O'CONNELL: Information on Tomas O'Connell  Zoom on Tomas O'Connell  I rise principally to express regret that the President, in nominating his Executive Council, has again this year deemed it advisable to include as one of the Ministries within the Executive Council, the Ministry of Education. I think, from any point of view, that decision is to be regretted, but in saying that I would like to make it clear that I do not wish to be regarded as indicating the unsuitability in any way of the Deputy who is named as the Minister for Education for that particular position. What I do say is, that under the provisions of our Constitution we have some Ministers within the Executive Council, and some who are outside Ministers responsible only to this Dáil. I say that if there is one Ministry more suitable than another to be regarded as one which should be directly responsible to the Dáil, and only to the Dáil, it is the Ministry of Education. The Executive Council is responsible for policy, and I take it the main policy for which this Executive Council, now about to be chosen by this Dáil, will be responsible is the maintenance of the Treaty, and that all its actions and all its acts will be governed by a consideration of that policy. Now we know, and it is admitted by every Party, that the necessity for an improvement in our education, and in our educational system, is one of the most pressing problems that this Dáil will have to face. In my opinion at least it is not right that the proposals which might be brought forward to improve our educational system should be governed by considerations which have to do with matters of broad policy such as the Executive Council will have to deal [45] with. The Minister for Education should be in the position that he could take the Dáil fully and wholly into his confidence, and every Party in the Dáil, in framing his proposals. He cannot do that if he is a member of the Executive Council, because it would mean if the proposal that he brings forward happens to be defeated, and happens not to meet with the wishes of the Dáil, it is immediately a question of policy, and as the Minister is a member of the Executive Council, the Council stands or falls, the Government stands or falls, on this educational proposal. I hold strongly that that is not as it should be. While knowing that the President would naturally find it necessary to call to his aid a man of the experience and wisdom and wise judgment of Deputy MacNeill, I must express very great regret, and I believe that regret will be shared by a great many people in this Dáil and in the country who believe that education should be dealt with and kept as far as possible from politics or political concerns, that the President has again included in the inside or Executive Council this Ministry of Education.

Mr. R. WILSON: Information on Richard Wilson  Zoom on Richard Wilson  In looking through the Ministries which in future are to be the inner Cabinet, which in reality will be the Governors of this country, it seems strange to us here representing the farming interests that the Minister for Agriculture, who has to deal with the greatest industry in this country, is excluded from the inner Councils of the Cabinet and thereby deprived of the support which he should necessarily be expected to have in a country that is mainly agricultural. It must seem strange that I should be asking that the Minister for Agriculture should be included in the Executive Council, while my friend on my left is desirous of excluding from the Executive Council the Minister for Education. My reason for making the request I have made is that in the very near future the fiscal problem in this country will have to be dealt with, and when it comes to be dealt with, we are afraid that unless we are properly [46] represented, or rather the great industry in which we are interested is represented, in that Executive Council our interests will be overlooked. Five out of every six men in this country are engaged in agriculture, and if our industry is not given proper representation, we are afraid that it will be let down and become impoverished. If it is necessary to have in the Executive Council the Minister for Industry and Commerce, surely it is of far greater importance that the agricultural industry, which gives employment to five out of every six men in this country, should also be represented in the Council so that the necessary proposals for the protection of our industry could there be put forward directly. With regard to the nominations for the various Ministries, I have nothing to say further than this, that most of the Deputies named have given faithful service in the past, and as far as we are concerned, not being able to form our own Ministry, we must of course accept them as the best substitutes that could be found.

Mr. SEAN LYONS: Information on John Lyons  Zoom on John Lyons  I should just like to say that I am sure, from all that has been said of the Ministers whose names have been put before the Dáil on nomination, they certainly have a right to feel honoured and proud of the confidence they inspired. Not one word has been said against any Minister who has formed part of the Government of the country; it certainly speaks well for them. During the propaganda employed outside we were told that we must not recognise these Ministers at all. This Assembly is the place, and this is the opportune time for anyone to say anything they have to say in criticism of the Ministry. I have listened with intense interest to every speech that has been delivered, and I have not heard one word as to why we should not recognise outside in the country the men whom we recognise as Executive Ministers inside in this Dáil. The majority of the Teachtaí in this Dáil may not probably value my independent manner of speaking, but I am very pleased myself, and so is my Party. I am the Party known as the Town Tenants' Party, but I may say that I have several colleagues in the Independent [47] Party. It is a great consolation to be able to stand up here and say that no Party in this Dáil has ventured to put forward one of their own members in opposition to members of the Executive nominated, and in that connection we have only had an expression of regret from Deputy Wilson on behalf of the Farmers' Party that they were not numerous enough to form a Cabinet.

Mr. GOREY: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  What about your own Party?

Mr. LYONS: Information on John Lyons  Zoom on John Lyons  With regard to the remarks made by Deputy O'Connell, I am sure that the Government or Cabinet, when appointed, will certainly do everything that is necessary to promote the education of the children of this country, and I am sure that matter is safe in the hands of Deputy MacNeill. I have nothing further to say only that I am quite satisfied, and I believe that if some Parties in the Dáil had sufficient power they would try and nominate somebody from their own ranks for the Cabinet.

Mr. ALFRED BYRNE: Information on Alfred Byrne  Zoom on Alfred Byrne  Before the President replies I will take this opportunity to ask the Minister for Industry and Commerce to say whether the Government intend to take any steps in the near future with a view to bringing about a Conference between the parties in order to bring about a settlement of the North Wall strike. Many thousands of pounds have been lost by the public Board of which I am a member.

A DEPUTY:  Hundreds of thousands of pounds have been lost to the country.

Mr. BYRNE:  I think we ought to have a statement whether it is the intention to make some effort to bring that unfortunate dispute to an end.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  The purport of the speeches which have been made refer to matters of policy, and it will be within the recollection of the old members of the Dáil that last year the policy was outlined in the speech delivered by the Governor-General. Much the same objection was made last year when forming the Ministry as has been made now, to the inclusion of particular Ministries, or rather a particular [48] Ministry, and the exclusion of another Ministry. With the exception possibly of two or three Ministries the selection of the Executive Council is not a matter of particular Ministries, but the inclusion of certain persons.

I explained last year, as I observed just now, in reading over the report, my very great regret at not being able to include the then occupant, and, I hope, the future occupant, of the Ministry of Agriculture within the Executive Council. Last year when making up the Ministry I consulted with the other Ministers. It was within the period known as the Provisional Parliament in the Third Dáil, and I got their advice and their assistance, and I took the advice and counsel separately of some of the Ministers—I think more than of any other that of the Minister for Agriculture. The success or improvement of the development of agriculture in this country does not, in my view, depend upon the inclusion or otherwise of the Minister for Agriculture in the Executive Council. If it be thought that the work of a Ministry is of great importance to the particular subject under that Ministry, there is the fact of the maximum amount of time if the holder of that office is not a member of the Executive Council. He is not troubled by questions of policy, and he has not to attend Executive meetings, and he has not to accept responsibility unless he so desires. But I would like to say, on the part of the present occupant of that office, that he so desired and he accepted responsibility for every action of the Government as if he were a member of the Executive Council. I think the same thing might be said of the other Ministers. The circumstances of the times may have suggested to these Ministers that that was the patriotic policy. I believe that at any rate in the case of the particular Minister mentioned it was more than his conception of patriotic policy, that it was the real individual, the man himself who stood for that policy and his belief that, where there was a case in which his counsel might have altered our decision that nevertheless he was a loyal, conscientious and energetic supporter of the Government in its policy. I have only to repeat what I did say on [49] the last occasion, that it was with regret that I could not include him in the Executive Council.

It does not interfere with what the Farmers' Party have put forward; it does not interfere with the development or improvement or the existence of the industry of agriculture in any way whatever, and when the time comes, when the farmers form their own Government, I think they will come to the conclusion that what I am saying now was not far short of the real state of the case. Now, with regard to the other Minister, I think I mentioned that the Ministry of Education was an institution in itself. That is what is in the report. But my recollection of that particular reference at the time was that I said the Minister for Education was an institution in himself. I think that Deputy O'Connell will practically admit that. I do not know, having given the matter still more consideration, that the Minister for Education should not be included within the Executive Council. After all, how are you going to reconstruct this nation? Upon what basis is the superstructure to be built? Will you not depend and must you not look to the Minister for Education to mark out the Gaelicisation, if I might so say, of our whole culture? While we have complaints that in the past that has been neglected, and that the country has not been fashioned according to the best wishes of the thinking people who are anxious for nation building, ought we not now look with hope and confidence that we will get some inspiration from the Minister for Education? I think it will be admitted upon a question of such importance as that, that the Executive Council would not be doing its duty if it did not include the Minister for Education within its ranks and accept responsibility for whatever proposals he would put forward in an attempt to make our nation separate and distinct and something to be thought of.

The economic questions that have been raised are raised at a time when the industrial atmosphere is not perhaps best constituted to lend to any statement that I might make, any degree of stability, or any hope of leading towards a more peaceable settlement of [50] the present condition of affairs. This much I would say, that it certainly appears to me that there are certain trades or certain businesses—I have one particularly in mind, I think it was mentioned by Deputy Hewat in his maiden speech—which are not an economic proposition no matter from what angle they could possibly be considered, and that is, the provision of houses. It has always appeared to me during my experience of towns and cities in Ireland that the housing problem was a matter of the most vital importance to our people. If one examines the Census Returns of the City of Dublin I think it will be found that 62 per cent. of the people are native born. The drain from the country to supply that citizenship is enormous, and that drain will be continued until there are more satisfactory conditions prevailing with regard to the housing of the people. But does anybody suggest that the present prices, the present cost of building houses, is a cost that can be borne by the State or by any component part of the State? We know that it is not, and we know furthermore that there is something more at issue than the mere question of wages, that it is a very serious and very complicated problem, and though at this moment Deputy Johnson gave us a prescription, the patient is scarcely in a fit state to get that prescription. But even if we had agreement there is something more than agreement wanted upon the mere question of wages. There must be an admission by all parties that greater sacrifices must be made if we are to achieve the solution not only of that problem, but of many others. These are, however, problems which might be very well discussed another time. I had not any information that these questions would be raised. I should say that it may be inferred from some of the statements made, that we have not been considering these industrial disturbances. We have. I have been in consultation with the Minister for Industry and Commerce some times or at least many times in the day. He has kept me very well informed of the movements and fluctuations, and I regret to say, from what I have learned of them, that the fluctuations do not [51] promise very well. If circumstances to-day are favourable towards one side, that side hardens. If the circumstances are reversed to-morrow, that side hardens. That is not the spirit upon which there is very great hope for a solution of these difficulties. I hope that in the matter of the consideration of these problems that are very serious—and more serious than things that affect this life—that they will bring with them very serious consideration for the future and upon the future of this country and upon the future of every order that is in the country. If we can only get some real earnest spirit of accommodation from both sides I have no [52] fear whatever but that the result will be satisfactory to the country.

Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  On a point of order, the motion that was put into our hands is really not a motion; it is a statement that the President nominates certain Deputies as members of the Executive Council.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  I was going to put it in the form of a motion. The nominations were not ready when the Order Paper was printed, and I asked the President to circulate the names at the earliest possible moment. The motion has to be in accordance with Article 53 of the Constitution, and it is as follows:—

“Go n-aontuigh an Dáil le ainmniú na d-Teachtai seo leanas mar bhaill den Ard-Chomhairle:— “That the Dáil assent to the nomi nation of the following Deputies as members of the Executive Council:—
CAOIMHGHIN O hUIGIN mar Leas- Uachtaran agus Aire um Ghnothai Duithche; KEVIN O'HIGGINS, Vice-President and Minister of Home Affairs;
EARNAN DE BLAGHD mar Aire Airgid; ERNEST BLYTHE, Minister of Finance;
RISTEARD O MAOLCHATHA mar Aire Cosanta; RICHARD MULCAHY, Minister of Defence;
SEOSAMH MagCRAITH mar Aire um Thiuscal agus Thrachtail; JOSEPH McGRATH, Minister of In dustry and Commerce;
DEASMHUMHAN MacGEARAILT mar Aire um Ghnothai Ciogcriche; agus DESMOND FITZGERALD, Minister of External Affairs; and
EOIN MacNEILL mar Aire Oideachais (nuair a bheidh Airtiogal 17 den Bhun-reacht co-lionta aige).” EOIN MacNEILL, Minister of Educa tion (when he shall have complied with Article 17 of the Constitu tion).”

Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  May I suggest a verbal alteration to keep this motion in conformity with previous motions? The suggested alteration is that we delete the word “of” and substitute the word “for” in each case where it is mentioned “Minister of.”

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Very good.

Alteration agreed to.

Motion, as altered, put and agreed to.


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