COMMITTEE ON FINANCE. - ESTIMATES FOR PUBLIC SERVICES. VOTE No. 43—MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE (RESUMED).
Thursday, 10 July 1924
Dáil Éireann Debate
Mr. JOHNSON: I notice there is an officer charged with agricultural labour disputes work and I would just like to know whether that is a permanent office and if this officer has permanent work. Am I to understand that this is an officer who has been transferred from the old Ministry of Labour, or is he a special officer appointed from the departmental staff without any previous experience of the work of negotiation and conciliation? The chief point is whether he is an officer primarily or solely for this purpose or whether he has anything to do when there are no agricultural disputes.
MINISTER for LANDS and AGRICULTURE (Mr. Hogan): As to whether the name will be permanent or not I cannot say, but as regards the officer there is no doubt he will be permanent. The officer in question was transferred from the old Ministry of Labour, has had previous experience in settling agricultural and industrial disputes, has been highly successful, and I think Deputy Johnson will agree with me when I go as far as to say that he has given general satisfaction in that matter.
MINISTER for LANDS and AGRICULTURE (Mr. Hogan): The officer in question is one of the most hard worked officers in the Department of  Agriculture, and I will prepare for Deputy Wilson a list of his duties and of the work he has done if he wishes.
MINISTER for LANDS and AGRICULTURE (Mr. Hogan): I cannot allow that to pass even as a joke. The officer in question does not do as suggested by the Deputy. He has been doing and is doing extremely important work in connection with the creameries in the South and West of Ireland, and wherever else they are situate. He has succeeded in making arrangements of all kinds for these creameries. By doing this, he has taken them out of difficulties and enabled them to reorganise their business more successfully. I think anybody here who has been in touch with the creamery business in the South of Ireland knows perfectly well what that officer has been doing.
Mr. JOHNSON: I would like that the Minister would give us some little information regarding the position of the Statistics Department of the Ministry. We have a Superintendent of Statistics, an Intelligence Branch, and an Inspector of Statistics, but I gathered from the Vote for Industry and Commerce that most of the work of compilation of these statistics is now done under the supervision of the Minister for that Department. I think it is quite satisfactory that there should be a single Department deputed to conduct the work of compilation of statistics, but I would  like to have some general statement from the Minister as to the position of the officers under his control and their relation to the Statistics Department of Industry and Commerce. There has been, I think, rather a considerable change in the publication of statistics. There has been a good deal of delay, and one is not yet in a position to say how many of the old returns are to be continued. Some of those old returns no doubt were found to call for more trouble and expense than they were worth, but some of them that I think were valuable are not now being published. There was one annual return published for a good many years. I think it was called the Pretyman-Newman Return, and it gave particulars of prices of commodities for a five-year and ten-year period. For the last number of years we have not had those particulars, and I think it is a great pity not to have such a return available. I believe most of the former statistics which were published periodically ought to be available. I know that quite a considerable number of tables were prepared for the Agricultural Commission, and I am very strongly of opinion that they ought to be printed and made available. So far as I can gather, they are not yet available. Some of them are being published occasionally in the Quarterly Journal, but I think they should be gathered together and published as a Volume of Agricultural Statistics.
I do not want to go into the general question which has been raised by Professor Oldham in regard to the faultiness of the statistics, but I desire to know whether the work of compiling statistics is continued, and whether the result of that work is to be published. I think it is not enough to have them available for the officers of the Department. They should also be made available for the public, particularly those who are interested in the industry, whether practically or theoretically. I do not think it is enough to have a collection of details and the preparation of statistics merely for use in the Department, and I would like to have more light thrown on this by the Minister.
Mr. HEWAT: When the Estimates were under discussion yesterday a retort was drawn from the Minister which I would like to develop a little further, and that was that in connection with the stations or farms at Glasnevin, Ballyhaise, and some other places, there was no profit shown, and I think the Minister supplemented that by saying that he hoped a profit never would be shown. I have been getting some information generally from the discussion that has taken place here as to the basis of technical education, farm education, and education in other directions, and I take it these stations or farms are being run for demonstration purposes. In so far as they are experiments they may not necessarily be profitable, but is there any necessity for assuming that because a thing is an experiment that there should not be a profit? And is it not very desirable that the large number of men who are engaged in demonstrating to the farmer the proper way to deal with his land, and the proper crops to grow, should be in the position of saying to the farmer: “If you follow our experience and our directions, then you are going to do——” What? What is the object of the farmer in life? I take it the farmer has the same object as any man in business. He is not growing crops for amusement; he wants to make a profit. Does it not seem a much more valuable demonstration if as the result of experiments these farms, that are being operated under ideal conditions, should show a profit? I think an ounce of practice is worth a ton of theory. If this expenditure is justified, it is not justified simply by a man going round the country and telling the farmers this, that, and the other thing, or circulating pamphlets telling them what to do or what not to do, if they are not able to show by demonstration that by doing these things there will be a return satisfactory to farmers. That is the reason why I raised the question with the Minister about these farms not being productive and hoping they never would be productive.
Mr. HEWAT: Well, it is much the same thing. I think that is a case of splitting straws. If these places are run on lines of experiments which do not pay and which the Minister hopes never will pay——
Mr. HOGAN: Deputy Hewat quoted me quite correctly in the beginning. I said these institutes were not run on commercial lines for the purpose of making money, and I hoped they never would be run on commercial lines or run from the point of view of making commercial profit.
Mr. HEWAT: Well, have I won out? Following on what the Minister has said, it must be repugnant to the ideas of any Minister who is asking for a Vote that such a thing as mercenary motives or results should be proved, but if Agricultural Colleges, under the most favourable circumstances, for some reason of State are not expected to pay, may I say to him that the sooner he puts up a place on commercial lines where he can demonstrate under the advice of the technical and other experts in connection with his Department how a farm should be run to pay, the better.
Mr. HEWAT: As a commercial man, I will not accept that from the Deputy on the Farmers' benches. I do not notice any great rush on the part of the farmers to give away their land for nothing, and in cases of the kind one would expect that they would be very glad to give away the farms they have.  If that is the frame of mind I venture to say they would get a great many people to take the farms off their hands. In connection with the discussion that has taken place on these Estimates, I venture in a very mild and peaceful way to suggest that the sum of £349,343 is a lot of money.
Mr. HEWAT: I am much obliged for the various corrections. £349,743—I am reading from the book—that I stand by. I thought it was a lot of money and I ventured to say so. Deputies Gorey and Wilson say it is not half enough. Deputy Gorey said that it was not anything like as much as was spent by Denmark, Sweden or other countries in connection with the development of agricultural colleges. I am not of a disputative disposition, but I would ask the Minister for Lands and Agriculture if he can tell us what Denmark spends. If the Minister can say that Denmark spends twice the amount, I may begin to think, with Deputies Wilson and Gorey, that it is not sufficient. But looking through the list of salaries, listening to Deputy Wilson saying that the whole thing was run on wrong lines and knowing very little about agriculture, I am thirsting for information. If the Minister can give us information on those lines I certainly would then expect to hear from the farmer's representatives a close criticism of the value that they are getting for each individual item on the list. In the absence of the enlightenment which I was expecting to get, I can only say I think the amount is a very large one. We are very strong on the question of education and this is, I understand now, another branch of education. After listening to what has fallen from the various Deputies I venture to think that these educational Estimates want very close scrutiny and I would like this Vote to get very close scrutiny. I have not the ability or knowledge to go deeply into the subject, but before the Estimate is passed I hope that we will get  some enlightenment, either from some of the farmers representatives or from the Minister.
Mr. BAXTER: There are one or two points on which I want some information. Under sub-head A we have “Marketing Inspector” and at the foot of page 146 we have a note that the post is vacant at present. I want to know how long that post is vacant. If there is one thing more than another that the Department of Agriculture ought to concentrate on, in the best interests of the farmers, it is marketing. I do not know how long this post is vacant, or what exactly the Inspector was expected to do. It seems to me that one Inspector could not possibly do all that we would expect of him. It will be conceded I think by every section of the Dáil that the farmers of the country have very much to learn in regard to marketing and some one must be there to teach us. Naturally we look to the Department to do this and when we look to see what they are doing we find that the one Inspector provided for in the Estimates is not employed at all.
The Department of Agriculture ought to obtain for us all the information that can possibly be obtained as to methods of marketing in every other country—methods that have proven through time to be successful—and that information ought to be passed on to us. That information would have to be obtained probably by inspectors visiting other countries and passing on to us the knowledge they have gained. I assert that in no other branch of our industry is there greater need for reform than in marketing methods. We do look to the Ministry to teach us what they can in this way. One marketing inspector is not sufficient. Sufficient attention has not been paid by the Ministry to this all-important matter and I would suggest to the Minister that this post ought not to be vacant. Instead of one inspector we should have two or three inspectors.
Some years ago we had in the Department an inspector who went around sampling the produce which was being sold in the towns and cities. In a good many cases this inspector discovered that Canadian hams were  being sold as Irish and that butter and eggs from other countries were also being sold as Irish, with the result that penalties were inflicted to such an extent that the practice ceased. I am informed that to-day we have not anybody in that position. I would like to have information as to that. It certainly is of very great importance to us that where we can compete with the farmers of other countries we should, through our own Department, be in such a position that the farmers of other countries will not be able to send produce into our markets which can be sold as the produce of Irish farms; that Canadian bacon, Russian eggs or butter from some other country should not be sold under the pretence that they are Irish produce. I want to know if anything is being done by the Department to prevent that. My information is that nothing is being done or at least that it is only being done to a limited extent. Very good work was done by these inspectors in the past and I suggest, if there are not at present inspectors engaged in this work, that some persons should be appointed to do it.
With regard to the point made by Deputy Hewat, I do not think he would suggest that he is as competent to speak on agricultural matters as he would be on matters affecting the city of Dublin. He has certainly made a very good point. Perhaps he mixed up what we term an agricultural college with what he believes ought to be an economic holding, or a holding that would be a commercially sound one. You cannot expect an agricultural college to make returns which will more than pay for its running, any more than you can expect a university to make a return in hard cash. I agree with the Minister that that is not a policy he should keep in mind. If men are to be taken from laboratory work and put to do hard manual labour in the fields, in order that they may produce food which will pay for the time they have spent in the laboratory, I do not think that will be a successful method of imparting information, or that it would, in the end, be the most beneficial.
I say to the Minister that that is a  point that is worthy of consideration: whether or not we should have in every county, or even in two or three counties, these smaller agricultural colleges and alongside them, or in some place in the county, an economic holding of twenty or twenty-five acres, to be run directly under the Department's Instructor in that county. All the work on this holding should be done by and its whole control should be directly under, the Instructor, with the idea of proving to the people in the surrounding districts that the science the Instructor employs in the management of the farm is more effective and productive of better results than the methods employed by the farmers alongside it. Beyond doubt, the feeling generally in the country is that a large part of the instruction given under the Department's schemes is not practical; in some cases it is not always possible to do what the Instructor advises and suggests. When farmers come to apply the theory that is passed on to them by the Instructors who have been trained in science colleges, they find that they are not able to get the returns which the Instructors suggest they ought to get. That, I say, is the general impression in the country, and it is desirable that it should be disproved. In my opinion, the only way in which that idea can be disproved is by the establishment of an economic holding on the lines I have suggested. By working an economic holding in the way I have suggested, the holding to be under the direction and control of the Agricultural Instructor in that county, you can prove to everyone that more money will accrue to the farmer by the adoption of the scientific methods employed by the Instructor in the working of that economic holding. If the Agricultural Ministry were to adopt that suggestion it would, I believe, succeed in bringing home to the minds of the farmers of the country, big and small, that the scientific methods propounded by the Department for farming are the right methods, and that they are the methods that ought to be employed by all our farmers. Such a system would be a far more successful one  than the present one of giving lectures and distributing literature. The successful management of such a farm by the Agricultural Instructor would do more in two or three years than the schools or colleges could do in ten years for the progress of agriculture. The Minister, I suppose, will argue about the cost of carrying out such a scheme. I am inclined to think that the money spent in the way I have suggested would be the best spent money distributed by the Department under his control.
Professor THRIFT: I think there is a rather serious misapprehension underlying Deputy Hewat's remarks, and for that reason I just want to say one or two words. I think his remarks tended rather to confuse and to confound two very different and very important things. One very important thing, no doubt, is to show that a farm can be run on profitable lines, even from the farmer's point of view, but a much more important thing is that research cannot be conducted so as to be in itself profitable. Therefore, I heartily agree with the words used by the Minister that research conducted on the lines to make itself profitable is almost doomed to failure. I heartily endorse his words when he said that any department in itself will not be a paying department where research is conducted. Whether in agriculture or in any other science research has to be entirely unhampered from that restriction. Therefore, I think, the Minister said he hoped these institutions would not be paying institutions, and with that hope I entirely agree. But the research may pay for itself a thousand times over in the end, even though it may not pay for itself in the department in which it is conducted. It may pay for itself in some other way. The advantages, for instance, that the results of the research may confer on the country may be almost beyond computation.
Professor THRIFT: The results will be decided by the effect of the research on the country and on science generally. Still it might be that the department  in which that most important research work was conducted with success might remain itself a loss to the State.
Sir JAMES CRAIG: I am glad to see here that there is a sum of £700 given as a salary for the director of the Veterinary Research Laboratory. I do not think that we can have too much research. I think that one of the evils in connection with farming at the present day is that farmers have not been able, up to the present, at all events, to appreciate or to receive the benefits which research will bring to them. A great deal has been said about education. Education in this direction is more necessary than in any other direction. We must catch the pupils young. However, I do not think it is possible to educate a farmer who has reached middle life in the importance of bacteriological investigations. At all events I am perfectly sure that at my age I could not be taught the things that I know it is necessary to teach to the young men who are coming on. I am not going to go fully into the advantages of research. I am going to speak more particularly with regard to the question of milk. I am sure that you, A Chinn Comhaire, will not allow me to go into the price of milk, but what I am going to deal with is of far more importance to the community than the price we pay for the milk. I propose dealing with the milk supply to Dublin.
Sir JAMES CRAIG: I want to show that a certain amount of research work has been done, and it has been found, so far as the milk supply to Dublin is  concerned, that one specimen out of twelve contains virulent tubercular bacilli sufficient to give tuberculosis to children. So far as bovine tuberculosis is concerned, the bacilli in cattle are somewhat different from those in human beings. I want to impress on the Dáil that the tubercular bacilli of the bovine species are not a great evil so far as adults are concerned, but are a most potent evil so far as the food of children is concerned. Nearly all the crippled children, suffering from bone and joint disease, are practically all poisoned by tubercular milk of bovine origin. That is a very serious matter, and research does not get very far if we merely stop at research and discover that the milk contains bacilli. If we are not prepared to meet the case and say that it must be treated so as not to destroy the public health of the country the evil will not be met. In addition to this, it is capable of carrying various diseases, such as enteric fever. The milk contains a certain number of bacteria, many of them of a virulent type. The most important disease that arises from this is summer diarrhoea, which kills three or four hundred children in the city of Dublin in a year. What is being discovered with regard to this research is that in the winter there are six hundred thousand bacilli per cubic centimetre, and in the summer the number rises to four millions. That is largely due to the want of good milk. It has been said that it is impossible to get pure milk, but investigations have been made.
Sir JAMES CRAIG: I say that this evil should be dealt with when so many people are destroyed through want of  something being done. We prosecute people for adding water to their milk, and for removing fat from their milk, but we allow people to sell milk which is actually spreading disease and killing children, and we do not prosecute them.
Mr. JOHNSON: Is it not a fact that a sum of money is spent on the inspection of agricultural goods for sale, and does not the quality of agricultural produce which is being sold come within the scope of the Minister's Department to some extent?
Mr. JOHNSON: I understand that certain officers of the Department have power to inspect goods sent from agricultural Ireland to market, and to see if their quality is satisfactory and to prosecute if that quality is not according to description. I suggest that, as milk is an agricultural product, it is within the competence of officers of the Department to inspect milk.
Mr. HOGAN: On a point of explanation, it is for you, sir, to decide whether officers who inspect goods under the Merchandise Marks Act are officers whose Vote would entitle us to discuss investigations into milk. I think it would be on Public Health and would come under the Local Government Vote.
Mr. GOREY: That is the reason I intervened, because the matter raised by Deputy Sir James Craig was of such vital importance that I did not think that it was going to be dealt with adequately and that we had not the right Department represented here. It was not my intention to interrupt the Deputy.
Major BRYAN COOPER: I am glad that the matter was out of order and that the Minister for Justice heard Deputy Craig, because he recommended us to take a glass of milk instead of a glass of liquor before going to bed, but I now see that milk is highly dangerous. The first point under sub-head (a) is the payment to an officer in charge of agricultural labour disputes work.
Major BRYAN COOPER: Then I pass on to C, about these various delegations to international congresses. Who are these delegations? Are they merely a sort of extension course for  officials of the Ministry, or are representative farmers sent to these congresses? I can imagine that, say, a man like Mr. Fahy, of Cork, would learn a good deal if he went to such a congress as that of the International Institute of Agriculture. What is the “Institute International du Froid”? Is it for freezing meat?
Major BRYAN COOPER: That is a deserving thing, but is it worth twice as much as seed testing? I think that seed testing is of more importance, because we are relatively near our markets. If it has not been done in the past I hope it will be done in the future, namely, that some of the delegates sent to these congresses will be representative farmers and not merely officials. The Journal of the Department is a very excellent volume, but it does not get as wide circulation as it ought, and steps should be taken to acquaint people what is being done at these conferences; otherwise the thousand pounds or so voted for that service will be either wasted or will only benefit a small number of people.
Mr. DAVIN: I want to say a word in connection with a matter briefly referred to by Deputy Johnson, and that is, the Statistical and Intelligence Branch, where an Inspector of Statistics is provided for this year at £472 per annum.
I think it is to be regretted that the responsibility for the preparation and publication of statistics of our trade and commerce is at the present time divided up between the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, and the Ministry of Lands and Agriculture. I think that if we are to arrive at a proper system the responsibility must be placed, if at all possible, upon one Minister and that that Minister must be held responsible to the Dáil for the preparation and publication of accurate trade and commerce statistics. Everybody, I am sure, will recognise that in the early stages of our history as a new State it is very, very essential that the Statistics of our trade and commerce should be as accurate as they possibly can be.  And as one who has seen some of these statistics prepared from time to time, I feel that there is not given to their preparation that attention which is necessary for their preparation in the proper form by the Department that is responsible, and I do not know what Department it is.
Since the coming into operation of the Customs barrier it is necessary that persons sending out of this country goods whether dutiable or not dutiable should sign a specification form in connection with the assignment. I am aware as a matter of positive fact that no proper attention is paid by the people who are responsible for preparing that specification form so as to give accurate and detailed information concerning the goods exported. And unless we have the matter definitely established and unless some penalty is imposed upon people exporting goods and failing to give a proper return and a detailed explanation of them, then this Government or the Government that will follow will not be in a position when it comes to a matter of dealing with the finances of the county and the revenue of the State to look upon the matter in proper light. I hope the Minister will explain the exact duty of the Inspector in this respect.
The Minister has on many former occasions referred to the fact that 85 per cent. of the wealth of this Nation comes from the land. I will go a little further, and say that the source of all wealth in this or in any other nation springs from the land, the mines, and the fisheries. Ireland is not different from any other country in this respect. If, as the Minister states, 85 per cent. of the wealth of this country comes from the land one would like to know what amount of the products of the land is exported; and in that connection we would have accurate statistics giving in detailed form, as far as possible, the different articles that are exported and a correct description of them. Existing Acts of Parliament, whether they are Acts taken over from the British or Acts passed in this Dáil, provide in many cases for the preparation and publication of certain figures. During the course of a discussion  in this House not very long ago I had occasion to endeavour to get information which, under a previous Act of the British Parliament, it was the duty of the Government officials to provide. I found that that information was not being made available to the members of the Dáil. I had to go to the Statistical Branch of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce at the Castle, and I found lying there information which it was the right of members of this Dáil to have prepared and published and made available to them.
I want the Minister to make it clear whether it is the fact that statistics and information that should be prepared, and to prepare which instructions are contained in existing Acts of Parliament, are not being prepared and are not being published, and whether if that is the fact it is due to the action of the Ministry of Finance in refusing to give authority for the publication of these statistics. It is well that we should know that before we come to the Vote dealing with the Ministry of Finance. If Acts of Parliament provide for the preparation and publication of certain information for the guidance not alone of members of this Dáil but for the information of the community as a whole, surely it is necessary that these statistics should be prepared and that they should be also published.
I would ask the Minister for Lands and Agriculture is there any difficulty in having published the information that is provided for in existing Acts of Parliament, or is there any relation between the activities of this Intelligence Branch and the Statistical Department of Industry and Commerce. I have read very valuable reports circulated from time to time by the Ministry of Lands and Agriculture from this Intelligence Officer, who is, I presume, the individual provided for here; and I say that the information given is very valuable to those who desire to take advantage of it. If the specification forms concerning the export produce of this country are not being prepared for the information of the Government in the way that they should be I believe it is the duty of this inspector to see that this is done;  and if it is necessary, in order to see that that work is done, that he should have at his disposal more assistants, the Dáil would be quite justified in increasing the Vote under this head, but steps must be taken to see that the statistics that we and the country are entitled to have concerning the trade and commerce of the nation should be provided and provided in the proper detailed form; and if it is laid down in an Act of Parliament that they should be prepared, it is essential that they should be published at the same time. And the Minister should make it quite clear whether there is any difference between his department and the Minister for Finance as regards having these statistics printed and published.
Mr. McKENNA: I wish to support Deputy Johnson with reference to his remarks on agricultural and trade statistics. I think they should be brought up to date and compared with those of other countries. We are losing a great deal of money in this country, because of the fact that our agricultural population are not in possession of information as to the opposition they have to meet with in this new war for trade and commerce. The pig industry is a very important industry in this country. It employs a large number of our people. During the war the number of pigs in Ireland was reduced to about 600,000. We had no statistics here to tell us what opposition we had to contend with in this commercial war. We had a little practical experience here in Ireland during the war of how Denmark stole a march on us. In Denmark the Government subsidise the breeding industry. The animals accumulate quickly, and the result is that to-day they have in Denmark 1,800,000 pigs as against 1,000,000 that we have here in Ireland. If we had statistics in this country to show us the opposition that we have to meet with from Denmark, we should be in a position to make better arrangements than we are making. In Denmark their killings run to 50,000, 60,000 and 65,000 a week, as against our 16,000 to 18,000. An avalanche of pigs coming from Denmark into England week after week is a big fact, because supply and demand regulate the market. During the big war I met a man in  this city, not less a personage than the American Consul in Dublin, and he told me that his Government were at that time collecting agricultural statistics from all the countries of Europe with a view to seeking what the position would be after the Great War. That shows you how active other countries are in regard to the markets, and if we are going to succeed as an agricultural country, I think that our Government Department should see that our people are posted better than they have been. I approve of the suggestion of Deputy Baxter in reference to Inspectors under the Trade Acts. I think the Minister himself will agree that he has not a sufficient staff of transit inspectors. I am told that there are only two now, whereas there used to be three. Their duties, so far as I understand them, were to attend fairs and markets and see that railway wagons were disinfected and properly cleansed for conveying live stock, and that special trains left at the proper time and that there was no overcrowding. They had other duties to perform, as mentioned by Deputy Baxter, with regard to food, and in connection with the prevention of the sale of other countries' produce as Irish. I think that staff should be increased, because two men are no use at the present time. You want, for instance, to have proper supervision over the cleansing of wagons, especially when you have foot-and-mouth disease rampant within a hundred miles of you. With regard to the suggestion of Deputy Cooper I approve of that, too.
The Dáil provided expenses for a delegation from the Labour Party to the International Trade and Labour Congress. I understand that at present they have an International Institute of Agriculture, with headquarters in Rome. If our Department is not already affiliated with that, I think they ought to be, because it would be very useful from time to time to send representatives of our industry to conferences similiar to the International Trade and Labour Congress. I notice that there was a very important Conference in London some time ago, known as the Imperial Economic Conference. I was interested to see if there were any representatives from the Department of  Agriculture at that Conference, but on looking through the report, which was a verbatim report, the only representative of Ireland that I could find was a Mr. MacWhite. I complained to the Minister about it, and he told me that Senator Butler and Senator Sir John Keane had been deputed to attend, but I could not discover that they were there. A big debate took place in connection with the importation of Canadian cattle to Great Britain. Things like that require very careful watching at the present time.
Mr. CONLAN: With reference to agricultural statistics and the method of collection, I think the present system does not make for accuracy or reliability. Forms are sent down to farmers in the country, and it is left to their own volition to fill them up and return them. I think a great many of them neglect to do so. Under the old régime this work of collecting agricultural statistics was done by the Royal Irish Constabulary, at a very slight rate of remuneration. I think it is a duty that might well be undertaken by the Civic Guard. A Deputy informs me that they are doing it, but as far as my own observation goes they are not. They certainly have not called on me in connection with statistics, but I have got a form through the post. If they are not doing this work, it is a duty that might be given to them. It would give them an opportunity of seeing the country and of making themselves acquainted with the people.
Mr. WILSON: I want to say a word in connection with research, which has been so ably advocated by Deputy Thrift, and to let him know what research is in connection with this Department. Research, which comes under G (1), according to the Minister of Agriculture consists, under the various Committees of Agriculture all over the country——
MINISTER for LANDS and AGRICULTURE: On a point of order, I might at least be quoted accurately. I pointed out that this was called “research” in the Estimate, but that it was not my idea of research. I pointed  that out in answer to Deputy Wilson's complaint.
Mr. WILSON: I want to explain to Deputy Thrift what research is, as interpreted by the Agricultural Department. On page 146 it will be seen that there are twenty-three agricultural inspectors, costing £9,000 a year. From what the Minister for Agriculture said last night, that sum was included in the £30,000 under sub-head G (1). Perhaps I took him up wrongly. Those are the inspectors who go around on research; those are the research men. They have a plot here and another plot there. They put a little bit of superphosphate here and another bit there and say “look at the result.” That is the £9,000 worth of research that we are getting from the Agricultural Department. I would like to know also from the Minister what results we are getting from the Economic Geologist. He is getting £500 a year. How is he employed? Where is the employed? What are the results of his investigations since the Ministry was formed, and where are we getting any research from him? There is a subscription of £700 a year to a delegation of the International Institute of Agriculture. Deputy McKenna asked that a delegation should be sent. Provision is made here, and they have been sent. They consisted of officials. A delegation was also sent to America consisting of officials. I want now to enlighten Deputy Hewat. If he turns to page 185 he will see that £329,000 are spent on the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. The producers of this country we are told are the farmers. We spend £240,000 on farming and £329,000 on the so-called trade and commercial gentlemen.
Mr. GOREY: Reference has been made to the Agricultural Research Farms. Deputy Hewat wondered why some of these farms are not made commercial successes. The Minister said he hoped they were never would. What he meant, I think, was that a Research Farm should not confine itself to the things which have been proved to pay, but should continue to experiment, and experiments are not always paying propositions, though in the end they sometimes pay and are of vast value to the nation. Our educational farms are the practical branch of the Research Department in the Colleges, and if they are to be useful they should not be viewed from that point of view. But there is no use in having experiments carried out on these farms, and experiments carried out through the country year after year. Let us have one place for experiments and another place for practical paying propositions. We have not the paying propositions at present to put before our people. Demonstration plots in the country are of very little use. The policy of the predecessors of the present Ministry was to put a little quarter-acre plot here and a little plot there and carry out those experiments so that nobody saw them. The people would not get down off their traps to see a quarter-acre or a few drills of potatoes of a certain variety. What the people would like to see would be a farm of from fifty to a hundred acres worked under the supervision of their agricultural instructors. That is the sort of demonstration we want. I asked for that class of farm twenty years ago, and I did not get it. None of the instructors wanted to come on a farm and prove he could farm better than anybody else and make it a better paying proposition than the ordinary farmer. The Department did not like it. But they could be accommodated with a farm, and perhaps two or three farms, in each  county, where the occupier would conduct the work strictly according to their instructions. That is the class of farm the people of the country would go to see. If they can do things better than the ordinary farmer, that is the sort of education that we want to bring to our people. That would go further to popularise our efforts in improving agriculture than all these twopence-halfpenny places in the country. Sometimes they put up a notice board at these demonstration plots, and it is blown down in a week or a fortnight, and nobody hears anything more about it. The plot itself may be two or three fields in off the road, or, perhaps, half a mile.
What we want in the counties is a farm run on the most up-to-date lines and made a commercial success. If it can be proved to be a commercial success and an improvement on our present methods every farmers in the country will be copying it. Until you do that, I do not think you will ever reach the people to the extent that you want to reach them or that you will make their education as effective as it should be. Years have been spent, and a good deal of money has been spent, in experiments in feeding pigs and trusting somebody to carry them out. Very little has come of these experiments. All we hear is that the use of such a food was not a success. There is another way of finding out the value of experiments. The officials of Departments in other countries have gone round the best feeders of pigs and cattle, the best growers of different crops, and they have reported the result of their enquiries. Those reports are in black and white. The people to whom they went gave their lifetime to this class of work. In that way we could get hold of the best methods in six months and it would be more simple than trying to carry out a lot of these useless experiments. Some of them are, of course, valuable, but they take a long time. Very few men in the country—even the up-to-date farmers—have either the means or the time to visit the best farms in Ireland. England or the Continent to see what is being done there. It would be useful if we had representatives of our Department visiting those highly-successful farms where  the different branches of farming are carried on.
Pig feeding, for instance, is a subject in itself. It could be carried on in a five-acre farm. I know people with a few acres of land who are feeding about 1,200 pigs. Those people are making a success of their business. The average man in Ireland believes nothing except what he sees, and if this were brought to the door of the farmer we would have done more and spent money to better advantage than we have ever done in our lives. We could show them the proper way of feeding pigs and cattle and the proper way of running a dairy, and we could enlighten them as to the breeding of dairy cattle. It is not the experiment that appeals to our farmers; it is the commercially successful farms. The farm that is not commercially successful and that is not run as an economic proposition is no use at all to the country. Our people are not dullards. If we can prove to them that a farm can be made to pay better by a certain form of management they will accept it. In that way you can reach the people and make those agricultural farms the success they ought to be made.
Mr. D'ALTON: I wish to refer, in the first instance, to the veterinary branch and to the veterinary inspectors employed at the ports. I think that branch is one of the most important, so far as the farmers of the country are concerned. I consider that there should be a larger Vote and that the salary paid these men should be greater, because the possibilities of disease at the ports is very great. That has been found by other countries, and what they expend on this branch is far in excess of what is spent in Ireland.
Transport Inspectors were referred to by Deputy McKenna. It is very important that there should be Inspectors at the fairs where cattle are handled in a very bad way at times. That is very often due to lack of rolling stock to get those cattle away, and also because there appears to be no authority to prevent the ill-treatment of cattle. In the Dublin cattle market steps have been taken to deal with those who beat cattle. Cattle are supposed to be goaded and their meat is not supposed to be destroyed by the  cattle being flogged as is done in a great many places at the loading at the docks. I think there ought to be more inspectors employed and that their powers ought to be more drastic than they are at present. There should be a greater sum of money voted for that purpose and more inspectors employed.
Deputy Baxter referred to a marketing inspector, as distinguished from the inspectors employed at the ports. One inspector would not seem to be sufficient, considering how much lies in the hands of such an official in regard to the placing of market produce as it ought to be placed. I certainly think there ought to be an increased number of inspectors for that purpose and I quite agree with Deputy Baxter. As to the point raised by Deputy Gorey in connection with instructors supplied under the Department of Agriculture, these men are doing an amount of useful work in some parts of the country. I know that what the Deputy has suggested has been done by some of these men. They have gone into the farms and discussed their work with the farmers to whom they gave the benefit of the knowledge and experience gained in the college, and laboratory, and also the knowledge they acquired in Denmark and Canada. That has been a decided advantage to these farmers. As Deputy Gorey has pointed out, the full value of the information may be summed up in the answer to the question: what has been the profit to the farmer at the end of the year. These men have learned a better way of doing their work and some of their neighbours have benefited by it. The question is how to make that instruction reach a larger number of farmers. The idea of an agricultural college in every county may not be practicable.
Mr. D'ALTON: Yes, but I would  have them all on the same lines as the farm in Glasnevin—a small one for the man with seven or eight cows and a larger one for men with fifty cows and upwards, for the information of value to a large farmer would be of little use to the small farmer. The bulk of the men engaged in dairying and rearing stock are small farmers. It would be a good thing to have in connection with your schools, if possible, demonstration plots and charts. They should be of easy access to those that require them. At the Royal Dublin Society Show results of the feeding of cattle and pigs are very valuable, and it is a pity these charts are not available all over the country. Of course, in connection with the feeding of stock you have to remember the breeding of them. No matter what method of feeding you have, if badly bred you will not make them what they ought to be. You have to combine the two things. I believe that if Deputy Gorey's idea was taken up, and I think he stated that he advocated it 20 years ago, it would be very important. That was done by the Department of Agriculture in connection with the poultry industry and we know what the result has been. A good many decried it at the time, and did not think it of any importance, but we know now its value in the number of eggs and poultry exported. What was done there was the Department sent instructors through the country, and they did valuable work. The money in that connection was well spent. The same applies to the other instructors. They are doing good work but the results, as Deputy Gorey stated, are not coming within the reach of those who require the information. Dealing with the point of research referred to, if you look up the returns of agricultural countries such as Denmark. South Africa and Canada, you will find that they have spent far larger sums than have been spent on research in Ireland. I do not agree with Deputy Hewat in his references to these experimental farms being run for profit. They are not run for profit; they are run with the one intention of experimenting on the various methods and then to point out the right method to the farmers. They have  tried all methods, and they have to try methods they know are not going to be profitable. Having done this it is for them to pick out the profitable method, so that the farmers may take that up and get the value of all the research that has taken place in these farms. I agree with Deputy Gorey in connection with placing the information possessed by the inspectors within reach of farmers generally. I would press again on the Minister the importance of increasing the number of inspectors, and of seeing that the work of the veterinary surgeons will be more complete than it is, though they have done valuable work.
Mr. JOHNSON: I want to support the view that has come from the Farmers' benches in favour of the introduction of commercial demonstration farms which would show the practical working out of the result of these experiments at the experimental farm. I believe that it is not desirable they should be large farms which would do all the work that Deputy D'Alton rather suggested, but that they should be demonstration farms typical of the farms in the district where they may be established. The Agricultural Commission advocated the establishment of a single State farm for a beginning. It laid stress upon the necessity that in any such demonstration farm there would have to be very accurate costing accounts kept, and that it might not be possible to find a considerable number of people in the beginning at any rate able to do that work accurately. I am inclined to dissent from the view that the majority held that this operation should be confined to a single experimental farm, but even when there are precise and accurate costing accounts it would be desirable good value should be obtained, as I think there would be very little cost after a few years, and any preliminary cost would be covered, if we were in a number of districts and eventually in every county or every part of a county to establish a select farm, if not State experimental farms, where the farmer would sympathetically conduct and follow the instructions of the departmental instructor and be insured against loss in doing that. I think the  idea is very well worthy of consideration and I hope of accomplishment under the auspices of the Minister. There have been a number of contentions here from various quarters of the Dáil in regard to the value or non-value of much of the work that has been done experimentally. I am not inclined to follow the extreme of criticism that is directed against the old Department, much of which, no doubt, is well warranted, but, on the other hand, I think that the tendency to simply throw bricks at the old Department should be restrained, and that they do not deserve the condemnation that has been so generally laid at their door, and I would ask consideration of a very definite piece of evidence which until it is controverted stands as a monument to whatever departure has led to the change in the productivity of Irish agricultural operations during the period of the Department's life.
It may be contended that that increased productivity was not due to the activities of the Department. It may be contended that it was due to the operations or co-operation, of the Farmers' Union, or elementary education. But, at any rate, it coincided with the operations of the Department, and it so happens that it was the Department's work that was directly and primarily affected, the work of increasing productivity. In his evidence the ex-Secretary (Mr. T.P. Gill), who, of course, it must be borne in mind, was testifying to his own success—but it was testimony based upon statistical information; not information gathered for the purpose, but information which was available for any Deputy, selected over a series of years—said:—
Through one set of schemes, those addressed to the land and including the results of scientific research in plant breeding, seed propagation, fertilizer ingredients, elimination of inferior manures and seeds used in the country, and better farming methods, the average yield of our main crops per acre grown has been raised by a more striking proportion since the establishment of the Department, and the improvement is a continuing one. Comparing the  periods 1895-99 and 1913-17, the average increase in yield per acre, thanks to the causes already enumerated, was no less than 25 per cent., and the additional money value to the country at the prices then prevailing might be placed at £15,000,000 a year.
Quite apart from the question of prices, that is a very remarkable statement. Apart from statistics, I think any observer who knew the country 25 years ago and who knows it to-day, and knows anything of pastures, breeds of cattle, qualities of beef, potato crops and the like, will agree, speaking generally, that there has been an actual increase in productivity, without touching the financial operations, whether that productivity cost more than the gain or anything of that kind. As I contend, the purpose of agriculture is to grow food. If there has been an increase of 25 per cent in 25 years, that is a very remarkable testimony to some activity, and I think that the Department is entitled to a very big share.
I have been asked if I could show the increased crop yield in terms of food energy. The increased crop yield is equivalent to an annual increase of two and a quarter million litre calories. Allowing 4,000 calories per day (on the estimate of the recognised authorities) as the ration for a man doing hard muscular work, this means that the increased crop yield secured through the work of the Department since it started would maintain 1,500,000 hard-working men per year.
If food production is the primary and ultimate objective of agricultural operations, and if the statement is well based, that in that period there has been produced by the farmers and farm labourers from the fields of Ireland an increase of food stuffs equivalent to the food requirements of one and a half million hard-working men per annum over the period of 25 years, then I think that is a testimony to some one, and the Department's plan, their experiments, their method of conducting  operations, have in a great measure contributed to that result. I have no doubt the old officials of the Department would agree that, in some respects, their methods failed, and were wrong. But, speaking generally, I say that the result speaks for itself and we ought not to be so generous in our condemnation of the operations of the old Department.
Mr. O'DOHERTY: It is a very pleasant circumstance in this discussion that Deputy Johnson has such veneration for the old Department. While undoubtedly agricultural inspectors throughout the country, from all accounts, have done valuable service, I think that demonstration farms would be more effective by teaching more scientific methods of culture. That is not the aspect which I wished to bring before the Dáil. I wished to call attention particularly to the congested areas, which is a big problem.
Mr. HOGAN: So far as Deputy Johnson dealt with the growing habit of attacking officials, regardless of whether they are officials of the Ministry of Agriculture or any other Ministry, I am glad to identify myself with him entirely. I am getting just a little tired of it. I have only to advise Deputies that in future when they wish to attack officials they should attack the Minister who is responsible. If he is not able to surround himself with competent officials, then he should find some other sphere for his activities. With regard to the question raised as to the old Department and the new Department, when I hear the old Department attacked I always listen and say nothing, because I know the new Department is going to get just the same amount of criticism in one or two years' time. Where farmers are concerned, and I am a farmer myself, you will always find a certain amount of criticism, largely because everyone thinks he is  capable of talking on agricultural subjects.
With regard to statistics, the present arrangement is that the Ministry of Industry and Commerce is responsible for the collection of statistics and, in that sense, the collection of statistics is vested in one Ministry, so that the sub-division which Deputy Davin is afraid of does not exist. The Ministry of Industry and Commerce, in fact, collects all statistics.
Mr. HOGAN: I will explain that. The arrangement which has been made amounts to this, that the Ministry of Industry and Commerce collects statistics. They get a certain amount of the data from our inspectors and instructors, from our marketing inspectors and so on, just as they get them from the Customs officials. Up to the present our inspectors have collected a certain amount of statistics in order to supplement the work the Civic Guard were doing in that connection. That is the reason the collection of statistics is included there. When these estimates were being prepared we were collecting certain statistics, but by arrangement we are no longer doing that.
On the other hand we do require a sub-department for the purpose of collating and digesting the statistics that are collected, and, to a certain extent, analysed by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
Mr. HOGAN: Certainly, that is done. There is perfect collaboration between the two departments. We are consulted before the various forms are sent out asking for data, and we advise accordingly. Possibly, the arrangement that has just been made may be altered if experience shows that it is necessary to alter it. The Department of Agriculture collected statistics in this country previously, because at that time there was no Ministry of Industry and Commerce in this country. A Ministry of Industry and Commerce has now been constituted, and as a result a new situation has been created, and it has been arranged that the Ministry of Industry and Commerce shall collect the statistics. I fully realise that there should be the closest co-ordination between the two Ministries, and as a matter of fact there is.
Any arrangement that we make will be a most elastic one, and can be changed at any time as experience shows the necessity for making a change under what are, in fact, new arrangements for meeting unforeseen contingencies. With regard to the publication of statistics, they have not been published as extensively as they should have been during the last two years for various reasons. One, of course, was the state of the country, and the difficulty of collecting statistics during the year 1922-23. Another reason was the transfer of the necessary machinery for collecting the statistics. The new statistics are to be collected on a totally different basis to that on which they were collected in the past. If the Department of Agriculture did not publish as much statistics during the last two years as they did previously, they published a considerable amount of statistical information through pamphlets, leaflets, as well as through the daily papers and in their journal. I agree with Deputy Johnson that new and better arrangements should be made for the publication of statistics. At present we are in consultation with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to effect that purpose.
Mr. HOGAN: That is a point that I overlooked. The Deputy suggested that the statistics and tables furnished to the Agricultural Commission should be made available in book form. I will consider that. I doubt if it would be worth while publishing all that material, but certainly the tables and statistics furnished to the Commission should be examined, and I will see if it would be worth while publishing all of them, or how many of them should be published. With regard to the question of farm institutes, I need add nothing to what Deputy Thrift has said, that farm institutes should not be commercial farms. They are educational. The most important research work that the Department does is done in the farm institutes. The suggestion was made by Deputy Gorey and supported by Deputy Johnson that the Department should establish commercial farms wherever possible. But nobody specified the number.
Mr. HOGAN: I doubt very much if a commercial farm would produce all the results that Deputies think it would. Assume that we have one in each county under the control of the Agricultural Instructor. One in each county is very little from the point of view of disseminating knowledge. From that point of view certainly, the instructors could disseminate more ascertained knowledge than could be disseminated from any one farm by farmers visiting it. I have no doubt that if the instructors were doing their duty they could give ordinary advice and ordinary farming knowledge to many more farmers than could be disseminated by one farm in each county. There can hardly be any doubt about that if the instructors are doing their duty in the matter. Then, again, if you are only to have one farm in each county the size of it will make all the difference for the purpose supposed to be effected. You have, say, a fifty-acre farm in this county, a dairy farm in another, and a 200-acre farm in another. There are 200-acre farmers who can do, and do useful work and who serve a useful purpose in farming  economy. Between them all you will find that if you have only one farm in every county it cannot effect substantial results inasmuch as you have five or six different types of farm in each county. In the dairy counties you have five or six. In the South, say, you may have one farm run on dairy lines in Tipperary. You may have another in Cork, a mixed farm. A certain percentage of the Cork farmers do mixed farming, and they would get a certain amount of information if they were to go to such a farm in Cork. But what about the farmers who do mixed farming in Tipperary and Limerick?
Mr. HOGAN: That is a difficulty I always find when a practical proposition is put up to farmers, when you examine it as such and point out the practical difficulties. I am dealing now with one farm in each county. Say two or three if you like, but two or three raise entirely different financial considerations. For instance, if one farm in each county was run commercially it might be a successful proposition from the point of view of effectively disseminating knowledge. But if you had two or three farms in each county disseminating knowledge to any extent, then you might find that it was costing you more than it was worth, and if you spent that money in another way you could get better results. It is very easy to state generally and in an airy sort of fashion the first idea that comes into your head, say that of a commercial farm. When, however, you come to examine it and point out the practical difficulties people get annoyed.
Mr. HOGAN: You can never get anywhere in that direction. Of course. the thing has a lot of good in it, but a dicision is always the balance between good and bad, and you have to make up your mind in the long run. I think the commercial farm, run by an instructor, is not feasible. Deputy  Johnson's suggestion is a good one, namely, that farmers should be picked out in each county, guaranteed against loss, and asked to run farms under the auspices of the agricultural instructors.
Mr. HOGAN: Let any farmer think of that proposition for a moment. Take a good farmer in any county. He may be quite willing. An instructor comes in who may be a first class instructor and he suggests certain changes, say, that the farmer could do better with mechanical power rather than with horses. They get in an engine and he is guaranteed against loss but the farm does not pay. Then if the farm pays what do the neighbours say? They say: “Oh, this fellow is guaranteed against loss, but if he had to do it like me, and have to see what would happen in three months' time he would not have got in the engine.” It is almost impossible for the State to run anything commercially.
Mr. HOGAN: It would be easy for me to agree that commercial farms would be a good thing. I am aware there is a good deal to be said in favour of them, but I am trying to point out that there are certain difficulties in the way.
Mr. HOGAN: My own belief is that they will not be overcome. My own belief is that instructors who do their work properly will spread knowledge much more effectively than by having one or two farmers in a county running  such farms. I do not believe that the State could run a farm commercially. The instructors could not do it. The instructor knows that he has the Department behind him, and if he wants a machine he can get it, and he is not taking the same risk as the farmer. You can show, for instance, that man-golds, with certain fertilizers, could give better crops, but that is the sort of work that is being done in farming institutes. I will tell you the sort of commercial farm that I want to see developed, but it will, of course, take time and education to do so. It will come when we have farm institutes, when we have sound agricultural education of which advantage will be taken by the sons of farmers. At present Ballyhaise is empty, as the farmers' sons do not go there. This will all take some years, but then you will have the son of a good farmer, with forty, fifty, or a hundred acres, with just a little capital, and you will have him coming back to his farm educated agriculturally and demonstrating to his neighbours what can be done. I agree, he would be more effective in that parish than six instructors, but I doubt if we could do it through the medium of instructors.
Mr. GOREY: I did not suggest that agricultural instructors should be put in possession of these farms, but I suggest getting a farm and getting things carried out according to the wishes of the agricultural instructor, and a man would learn in twelve months what it would perhaps take twelve years to learn in a college.
Mr. HOGAN: I think I have said enough on that point to indicate the way my mind is running in the matter. The next question is that with regard to marketing and transport, upon which Deputy Baxter raised a question. He noticed that there is a vacancy for one market inspector. These inspectors were operating on the other side, but the High Commissioner took over their functions. There were three, but one resigned in 1922, and his place was not filled. That left two. Three or four temporary inspectors were employed in 1923, so that instead of having one market inspector on the other side you  have three or four extra. They are employed temporarily, because we had to consider whether the employment of a whole-time marketing inspector is the best way of doing the work. I believe it is not. At present we have permanent men working as usual, but we have practically brought about an arrangement under which we have picked out various part-time men from different centres in England who will do this work far more effectively, and who need not be paid salaries as large as those of the whole-time men, and, if they do their work properly, we will have five or six times as many officers operating. We have at present in Ireland not one or two, but eight inspectors in marketing work. Some of these inspectors are doing the work mentioned, namely, taking care that goods that are being sold are up to the quality, and that, if they are sold as Irish, they are really Irish. Deputy McKenna raised a point as to transit, and said that inspectors used to go round the fairs and markets seeing how the cattle were loaded. There were two such inspectors, but two inspectors are useless. The two best inspectors in the world could not see that all the cattle at all the fairs and markets in Ireland were properly treated. They would want the co-operation of the farmers.
Mr. HOGAN: And especially the co-operation of the drovers. I have succeeded in making arrangements with the Ministry of Justice under which the Civic Guard will take over the work of seeing that cattle at fairs and markets and at railway stations are not subject to cruelty. They could do that work, as well as their ordinary work, much more effectively than any two inspectors, with two hundred legs apiece, trying to cover the whole country.
Somebody referred to the fact that Irish cattle arrived at the other side in a shocking condition, largely, they said, because of the treatment they received at the stations. That is quite so. But it is not entirely because of the ill-treatment from drovers, nor is it entirely  because of the shortage of accommodation in wagons, and the want of facilities at railway stations. These are railway matters which can be attended to effectively now that the Railway Bill is through.
Mr. HOGAN: I think it is. Certainly one of the reasons for the condition in which the cattle arrive is the ill-treat-ment that the Irish drover gives them. I do not know why it is, but, as a man who has been at a good many fairs, I can say that an Irishman cannot see a bullock without going for him with an ashplant, and he cannot drive him without doing the same thing. It may be a tradition. That does a great deal of harm, undoubtedly. But there is something even worse, and that is the failure to feed cattle and to feed stock at the railway stations and on loading at the North Wall, with the result that stock go over weak, that they have fallen in the wagons from want of food and all the rest of it. These two causes resulted in this, that Irish beef in England was losing its reputation as against Scotch beef, that Irish beef was so injured in its reputation that when good beef, uninjured beef, came over from Ireland, it used to be Iabelled Scotch beef. In order to meet that situation, as well as taking the precautions which I have mentioned, as well as making arrangements with the Minister for Justice with the intention of asking the Civic Guard to take charge of the cruelty side of the matter, we have brought out an Order under which all cattle must be fed at the North Wall before loading. So that the old excuse that they were fed within two hours will not longer do. And I am informed by our agents on the other side that that has done more to meet the particular problem which has been referred to than was thought possible at the beginning.
We are asked whether we send officials always to congresses; and the Imperial Economic Congress was mentioned. There were two meetings mentioned. One was the Imperial Economic Congress, and the other was  the Institute of Agriculture Conference at Rome. We send officials when we think that officials should be sent—to conferences between experts. We send what a Deputy called up-to-date farmers, when we think they should be sent; and in this case we have done one thing as regards one gathering and the other thing as regards another gathering. We sent—and I think Deputies know it—Senator Butler and Senator Sir John Keane to the Imperial Economic Congress, and they were there the whole time; and if Deputies failed to see their names in the Press, that is because they are not extra good at publicity.
Deputy Wilson wants to know about the Economic Geologist. The Economic Geologist, I am sorry to say, is no longer in my Department. He is transferred to the Department of Industry and Commerce. But the Economic Geologist is doing extremely good work at the present time for my Department. He is making a survey for me of the location of limestone in Ireland for the purpose of carrying out a project which I hope to carry out in connection with the use of lime. We have already got a map made out by the Department showing the lands and the localities in Ireland that require lime, and the next step for the Economic Geologist is to show the centres where the limestone is to be had.
Mr. HOGAN: Agricultural education and research is a time-honoured sub-head of the Department's Vote, and, being extremely conservative, I do not like to change these sub-heads. Research can only be effectively done in the universities. I pointed out yesterday that, under this sub-head there is as much money being spent this year as last year, and I also pointed out the reasons. I pointed out that £6,700 was deducted from the Estimate by agreement last year. So that as much money is being spent this year on this sub-head. We hope to establish two Agricultural Faculties before this year is out— two first class Agricultural Faculties —one in Dublin and one in  Cork. And these are the only places where research can be done. And we hope to give them all the facilities that they will require for that purpose, so that Deputies ought to remember when they are talking about agricultural education and agricultural research that, in addition to the amount of money that is on this Vote for that purpose, they must take into consideration the amount of money that will be required to establish these two Faculties—one in Cork and the other in Dublin—for research purposes. Further, I do not think that Deputies should approach this question from the point of view of how much money is spent. It is an easy way to approach any question to say: “£200 was spent last year and only £100 this year, and therefore there is only half as much work done.” That may go to a certain distance, but it is not a sound general principle. It is not sound to spend money on an existing arrangement which we are going to change.
Mr. HEFFERNAN: I would like to make a few remarks on this sub-head of the Vote, and in connection with it I think a change might be made in the system of presenting accounts to the Dáil in regard to this matter and also in regard to other matters. I find under this head, H (7)—“Veterinary Research Laboratory £1,400,” and I find Veterinary College Research is in another place under A, £2,568, and then under F (5) there is a Vote for £10,265, portion of which is apparently used towards paying the teachers in the Veterinary College. What I object to is the manner of presenting these Votes. I suggest to the Minister that something in the nature of a statement might be put before the Committee so that we could tell at a glance what the Veterinary College costs, what the research costs, what is the cost of the agricultural stations and what each service in this department costs. Perhaps my objection applies  equally to all the Estimates, but it applies particularly in regard to agriculture, because I find it difficult, having some little knowledge of agriculture and of accounting to understand it. I say that these accounts should be placed before the Dáil and the country in a manner that they could be understood by the ordinary man on the farm. They are not understandable at all in the manner in which they are presented now. I think that something in the nature of costing accounts might be suggested also, and that such statements should be laid before the Dáil and the people showing the total costs of agricultural research, veterinary inspection, and so on, so that we would know what agriculture is really costing this country.
I do not believe that the Land Commission should be included in the Estimate at all, because I think it is hardly right to say that the cost of the Land Commission is a definite agricultural cost. That is a very debatable matter. I think it should not be accepted by the Dáil that it is definite agricultural cost, or a definite expenditure, exclusively, for the benefit of farmers and agriculturists. I will call the Minister's attention to H (4)—“Improvement of Dairy Cattle.” This Vote last year was for £13,440; this year it is £12,906, showing a decrease of over £500. I was very much astonished and disappointed to see such a decrease.
Mr. HOGAN: I gave the figures last night clearly and at great length, and I gave good time for every Deputy to take them down, and I said that this Vote has been increased considerably this year even without including the cost of the Dairy Bill.
Mr. HEFFERNAN: I am very sorry; I must not have been here at that moment, thought I heard most of the Minister's statement. Perhaps he will be good enough to tell me now what the actual increase this year is?
Mr. HOGAN: The Vote appears in the Estimates as £12,906. That is correct. It is proposed to spend from endowment £2,000; that makes £14,906. Between the Vote and the endowment last year there was less than that spent. In addition, it is proposed to spend  £16,000 under the Dairy Bill, which is not included.
Mr. HOGAN: Let me finish, and then the Deputy can make what observations he likes. The total, therefore, that is proposed to be spent on dairying is about £31,000 this year, as against £13,000 last year. Now, we were dealing with this subject from the point of view of the amount of money spent on the service. The question where that money comes from is another question, and can be dealt with when it arises. I repeat again that between £13,000 and £14,000 was the amount provided last year, while this year it is proposed to spend about £31,000.
Mr. HEFFERNAN: I accept the Minister's statement to a certain extent, although it is important to know where the money comes from. If £5,000 or £10,000 of that amount comes directly from the creameries the Minister has no right to include it in his Estimate as money spent for the benefit of agriculture. I am sure the Minister will acknowledge that, and it is a very debatable point, how much will be spent by the Ministry for the Dairy Bill and how much will be contributed by the creameries and, therefore, the farmers.
Mr. HEFFERNAN: I am worrying about it, but I am worrying lest the Dáil should accept what the Minister has stated on the point. Now, with regard to the item which I was dealing with with regard to dairy cattle, even allowing that the amount spent is £14,906, I consider that amount is altogether inadequate in view of the importance of the particular service that it is spent upon. I think it is recognised by the Dáil and by agriculturalists in general that the greatest prospect in agriculture in Ireland rests in this matter of improving the dairy herds. In connection with this, I see there has been some criticism of the Department  and criticism of the action of the Department in the past in regard to this matter of dairy cattle breeding. I think a great deal of that criticism is justified, and upon that is based my claim that all is not as it ought to be in the Department, and that some amount of reorganisation is still necessary. During the past 20 years or more, up to the time of the establishment of this improvement in the dairy herds, which only started about 7 years ago, the Department devoted all its money and time to improving the beef qualities of our cattle, and it completely overlooked the necessity for the improvement of the dairy cattle, with the result that although the Department improved the beef qualities of our cattle during that time, their milking qualities disimproved and decreased. Scotch shorthorn bulls were introduced, and not by any means the best type of shorthorn bulls, to improve the beef qualities of our cattle, and these were spread throughout Ireland, and the farmers were asked to use them for breeding purposes, with the result that there was a very vast decrease in the milk yielding qualities of our cattle.
I will acknowledge that an improvement was brought about in the cattle from the point of view of beef production, but it should have been obvious to the Department and those responsible for its policy that at the same time they were doing considerable injury to the milk-yielding qualities of Irish cattle. The statement has been frequently made that the old Irish cattle were much better milkers than the present-day Irish cattle. In my opinion that statement amounts to a strong indictment of the policy pursued by the Department of Agriculture in the past. I know it is not an indictment of the policy of the present-day Department of Agriculture, because the Department is evidently changing its policy, but it is difficult for the tiger to change his stripes or the leopard his spots. But supposing we were to have any change in the present Ministry, it is possible that the policy of the Department would revert back to the same trend of thought that persisted in the old days. I had intended to give some figures and to refer to the report of the Agricultural Commission, but I think it is  not necessary to do so, as these figures should be known to Deputies in the Dáil, and in view of the statement made by the Minister, I will not quote the Commission's report. The feeling throughout the country is that, on this matter of dairy herds, depends a great deal of the future of Irish farming, and I would strongly urge the Minister to spend more money on these dairy herd schemes than he is actually spending.
It is a fact that the number of cows under test in Ireland is very much less than it should be. I believe the number is less than 35,000. The actual number of cows which should be under test should be very much higher, but at the moment I cannot give the exact figures. Another item I want to call the Minister's attention to is that of horse breeding. There are two Votes for this—“H (3), Improvement of Horse Breeding, Grant in Aid, £1,600; H (6), Horse Breeding Act, 1918, £300.” Both these amounts are very much decreased this year. The Grant in Aid for the Improvement of Horse Breeding is decreased by £400, and the other one, for the licensing of stallions, has decreased by £700. I think it is a very unwise policy to economise in this matter. These horse breeding schemes have probably to do with the breeding of Irish hunters and of Irish draught horses. There is no differentiation in the Vote, and I cannot tell for which purpose the money is to be applied. The quality of the Irish hunter has depreciated very much since the time of the war. In fact since that time the value of the Irish hunter has decreased enormously, and for that reason people have ceased to breed from that type of stallion which would produce the best type of Irish hunter. For that reason it is known that the quality of the animals which yield the best type of Irish hunter has not improved. Rather the quality has disimproved. I think it would be advisable that the Department, instead of decreasing the Vote, should increase it. The value of Irish hunters exported from the country during the first three months of this year amounted to £153,000. These are not the three best months for exporting. I have not the figures for a whole year before me, but I should imagine that the value of Irish horses exported from Ireland during the year would run up to £600,000.
 Horse breeding is a most important industry and is closely allied with farming, even with the business of the small farmer. The breeding of Irish hunters is not confined to the large farmer at all. The Minister must be aware that it is a very common thing for a small farmer who keeps a mare which is suitable for breeding to put her to a thoroughbred stallion. In that way he runs a very good chance of getting a high-class hunter. It is not an uncommon thing for a small farmer to get up to £60 or £100 for a four-year-old horse, and at five years of age to get as much as £200 for him. The breeding of horses in that way has proved to be a profitable and suitable sideline for the small farmer even. There is always a good sporting chance for a small farmer who has a good type of mare and puts her to a good horse to get a good type of hunting horse. I would suggest to the Minister that he should pay more attention to the state of the horse breeding industry in this country. There is another item here, “H (8), National Stud, £5.” I do not think you could have much of a national stud for that sum.
Mr. McKENNA: There are a few points on this Vote to which I desire to call attention. One has reference to the administration of the Diseases of Animals Act. For a number of years I have had a good deal of experience of the work done by that branch of the Department. I might say in view of the circumstances with which they were faced that the people in charge of that Department did their best and got on fairly well. Still, I think that the Act could be better administered than it is at the present time. As the Minister and many Deputies must know, we have in almost every county three or four veterinary surgeons appointed by the county councils at small salaries of £50 or £60 a year. I think it would be much better to appoint, as is done under the Tuberculosis Act, a whole-time officer for each county instead of having the system that is in force at present. That is one suggestion I have to make. With regard to some of these contagious diseases such as swine-fever, I stated yesterday evening that the Department was trying to cope with it  since it came into existence on lines similar to those adopted by other countries where they have succeeded in stamping it out. A good many of the rural districts are practically immune from the disease, but a good deal of it still remains in the cities, and especially in cities like Dublin. The reason while it still remains in the cities is not so much the fault of the Department, but it is rather due to this fact, that the public officers employed by the Department have no right to interfere with people who feed pigs in cities so long as the sanitary conditions are kept all right. That is a matter which rests with the Medical Officer for Health, and it is only when the disease breaks out in a particular place that the veterinary officers employed by the Department can be called in. I think that the Minister for Agriculture should have more power than he has at present over the matter of pig feeding in cities, and particularly in relation to this virulent disease. Another point I wish to raise under this Diseases of Animals Act is to ask the Minister whether any steps have been taken since we had the debate here on a motion that I put down in connection with the exportation of live stock from Ireland to Great Britain, especially in cases where cattle shipped from Ireland contract foot and mouth disease at the other side. I want to know whether any arrangement has been come to between the two Governments as to the payment by the British Board of Agriculture of compensation to the owners of the cattle for the losses they sustain by reason of the slaughter of cattle.
Of course we were very fortunate up to the present in this country in escaping the disease. But there is always that danger. The men engaged in the livestock trade are in a very nervous condition, as well as many of the agriculturists who understand the losses that would accrue in the event of the disease breaking out. For that reason it is better to be prepared, and have some definite arrangement, even if legislation is necessary to safeguard the interests of the people in the trade. I notice that the Agricultural Commission reported in favour of continued improvement in the pig  industry. And I see no mention at all in this of that item. I see a reference to dairy cattle, goat breeding, horse breeding, and so on, but the pig industry seems to be left out. It is more or less neglected. It is stated in the report that only about thirty per cent. of the pigs produced in Ireland are of the right quality for bacon. Some years ago the Department more or less monopolised the breeding of pigs at places like the Model Farm, Athenry, and other places, and the County Committees of Agriculture used to get their boars from those institutes under the Department. Now we all know that there are sometimes only two or three what you might call top bonhams in a litter of pigs that are suitable for stud purposes and the department used to charge £5 for one of these “sucks” of four or five months, as the case may be. Oftentimes they would send down a weakling and that fellow would do more harm in a parish than a regiment of Black-and-Tans. For that reason I submit that the Department ought to exercise more caution in selecting boars for the different County Committees. I was a member for years of our County Committee, and I saw this going on, and I know that in different parts of Ireland it was going on. I suggested to the Department, and they adopted my advice, that other breeders, who bred a good type of pig, should be patronised as well as the Department. That system has been adopted: I think that some competent judge should be selected, because, oftentimes, a man applies through the County Committee for a premium boar and he pays his money, but he has not an opportunity of seeing what he is getting beforehand; sometimes he gets a good one, sometimes he gets a bad one. They are very prolific, and for that reason there ought to be great care exercised in the selection of boars. I am glad to see that the National Stud is paying. I notice in the Estimates that it is the one institute under the Government control that is paying. I hope it will remain the property of the State. It is a great asset to the country. Horse breeding is a big industry in Ireland and we are all pleased to see the success of the National Stud under the home Government.
Sir JAMES CRAIG: Can the Minister tell us to what extent the tuberculin test is being availed of in the case of dairy cattle; and will he say whether the Department is encouraging the use of the test amongst dairy farmers?
Mr. CONLAN: In reference to sub-head HH, National Stud, I would like if the Minister would inform the Dáil as to how we stand in relation to that institution. I see here that an Estimate of £5 has been put down under that head. That would be a very inadequate sum to vote towards the maintenance of that institution. I would like to know what are the commitments of the State towards the institution and whether they have any voice in the management. I think it is of the utmost importance that the National Stud should be maintained, as it has tended to raise the standard of Irish blood horses immensely. As has been pointed out, the horse-breeding industry is of the greatest importance to the country, and as this institution has done such good work in that direction, I think that it should be maintained and kept up to the standard it has reached. I do not know what our commitments to the National Stud in that direction are, and I would be pleased to know.
Mr. GOREY: On sub-head H, I support what Deputy Sir James Craig has said. Tuberculosis and disease amongst cattle is, perhaps, more rampant than the Department or the general public know. If tuberculin tests were applied to a good many herds in this country, it would perhaps astonish many people. Ordinary dairy herds, with all the appearance of reasonable health and condition, when put to the tuberculin test, will reveal something we would not anticipate, and that we do not realise. Deputy Heffernan referred to the horse-breeding scheme. Horse-breeding supplies great amusement and great recreation to the sporting men of the country. I, as a horse breeder, not as a sportsman, am very doubtful of the blessings or profits of horse-breeding. The Deputy talks about a man who will breed a good horse from time to time and sell it at the age of four years for £50 or £60. That is not good enough for me. He would want  to breed a good one every time, and, when selling it at four years old, he would want to get more than £50 or £60 for it. There has been money made out of horse breeding in this country by people on the other side of the Channel, but I am very doubtful if people in this country have ever made anything out of it. However, if we are to breed horses at all, let us breed the very best. I think a good many people in this country have favoured horse breeding for the amount of profit it has brought to a few people, that is to the dealers and those concerned.
I come down to the most important subject that is facing the country at the moment, that is the question of dairy cattle. It has been said that the introduction twenty five or thirty years ago of a certain type of shorthorn improved the cattle in this country. The cattle in this country have been improved by the introduction not alone of shorthorns, but by the introduction of other breeds, such as Aberdeen-Angus and Herefords. This improvement has been very marked in certain districts. It has been very marked in Mayo and Galway and the North West. It has been very marked in the County of Wexford, which, as a tillage county, did not pay much attention to its cattle. It has been the other way about in Limerick, Tipperary and parts of Kilkenny. There has been a deterioration of good dairy cattle in these parts. The beef type of shorthorn that we have been breeding is not improving the breed of cattle coming out of those great old dairy districts. I clearly remember that thirty-five years ago we had a better type of store cattle in these counties than we have now. I will admit that in the West the beef type have been improved, but not by the shorthorn alone. But I will dispute with anybody that in Tipperary, Limerick, Kilkenny and, perhaps, Clare, the cattle have been improved. No improvement whatever has come about, and the good old milking strains have been almost obliterated.
It is only where men stuck or held on to the old Limerick and Tipperary breeds that the milking strains were preserved. We want to get back to that. I do not advocate breeding from  a type that is unsuitable with regard to symmetry. Get a certain amount of symmetry, but by all means get the milking type back again. I would go so far as to say that where we are aiming at milk-production no type should be used except the dairy shorthorn type. Where we are aiming at store cattle, it is a different matter. Where we are aiming at producing stores for beef, it is another matter, but where we are aiming at developing our dairy, we should use the dairy shorthorns. We should use as much discretion as is right in the selection, and we should certainly encourage and spend money in developing this type. It is by the development of this type of beast that this country is going to get back to its old position and be a competitor with other countries. We know our type is poor. Our average milk production is poor. Take the average cow in this country and compare it with the cow of any other country that is a competitor with us in the dairy line, and we are hopelessly behind. But we are improving, and it is only by paying attention to this particular type that we will improve. If we had gone on as we were going, with the peculiar type of beef shorthorn, the dairy industry would have disappeared out of the country. Although I am a farmer, I must express my regret at the attitude of farmers in the country to the milking type of cattle. Men who were by no means pressed for money, men who were in good positions and who had a really good cow which would fetch good money took that cow out and sold it, and it left the country. It was a cutthroat policy, but it was a policy that was very largely practised. All these good milk cows were taken and sold to middlemen either here or across the Channel. These men used them as milking machines for periods from six to twelve months and then they were killed. These middlemen do not breed from the cows. They use them to force milk from them, and as soon as they become a non-paying proposition they are fattened and sent to the butcher. The drain on the country every year owing to the big percentage of our cows which are lost in that way is a national calamity.
 As regards goat breeding, if you could keep them from eating hedges and destroying fences throughout the country, I think it would be a good thing. If the Department could by experiment or otherwise try to prevent them doing damage it would be a step in the right direction.
Mr. WHITE: I am endeavouring to make myself as agreeable to the Minister for Agriculture and to the Minister for Fisheries as possible. Some of my party—the leader included— seem to think that this harsh northern accent of mine is irritating and my suggestions and my views are consequently turned down. There are two or three matters I wish to draw attention to and one of these is the system of farm apprenticeships which is in existence in England and Scotland, and which I think might be applied with some advantage here——
Mr. WHITE: Deputy McKenna dealt with the want of attention that was being given by the Department to the breeding of pigs. Some 20 years ago, in a number of congested districts the Board imported sow slips. They imported them into Donegal and distributed them amongst the small farmers and cottiers with very good results. I believe myself that if the same system were followed again it would give good results. The bringing of a number of sow slips—say 50—from some of the best breeding districts they could find and distributing them amongst the small farmers and cottiers in the various congested areas would be a very practical and worthy system for the Department to try. Under the head of Agricultural Education and Research——
Mr. WHITE: As regards Veterinary Research, it has been brought to my notice that some of the County Committees in the appointment of instructors recently, turned down some young fellows who graduated from the College of Science with a degree and appointed men of inferior qualifications in their stead.
Mr. WHITE: That is the very point I tried to bring out. When I start to speak and put forward any views they are turned down and I am immediately tripped up myself. In my opinion, there is a conspiracy on the Government benches to muzzle me. About those instructors——
AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: I have no objection to the Minister getting good advice, but he must get it at the right time always. That is my difficulty. I do not know exactly what the point is that the Deputy wishes to raise.
Mr. WHITE: Various county committees have turned down young fellows, who had a degree from the College of Science and who were applicants for the position of instructor, and have appointed inferior men. That is a matter that the Minister should look into.
Mr. JOHNSON: I want to raise a matter in connection with H4. I agree that probably the most quickly valuable and remunerative expenditure is the Vote for the improvement of dairy cattle, by which is meant, in the main, the encouraging of cow-testing associations and the financing of such associations. I hope that there will be an increase in the number, but I am driven to the statement that the more we advocate the merits of cow-testing and the elimination of the unfit and unprofitable, the more we advocate the development of the scheme because of its benefit to the farmer, the more surely are we informing the Minister for Finance that it is his duty to put a stop to the expenditure and to throw the expenditure upon the farmers. That is because it is more surely profitable and most obviously profitable. I do not want to do that, but I think it is well to utter a warning in the private ear of the farmer that that is likely to be the conclusion within a reasonable number of years, and that, therefore, farmers would be well-advised to endeavour to organise this kind of thing within the limits of agricultural orgation apart from State assistance. I hope State assistance will not cease. I hope it will increase. I hope it will be increased concurrently with support from the farmers, who receive the immediate benefit or the early benefit themselves. But I want to draw attention to a matter associated with this which has not been touched upon, desirable as it was that the farmers themselves should discuss the matter from the point of view of agriculture proper.
We have a sum of £12,906 given here and in this case there are no details of how that it to be spent. I think it is obvious that it is mostly spent in the payment of organisers and inspectors of the cow-testing associations. I  would like to have seen the details of what is paid to those inspectors—the rate of remuneration and the number of farms they are supposed to visit. I have fairly reliable information that it is only the enthusiasm of the men themselves, their belief in the good work they are doing, that keeps them up to the mark. They are doing is very largely out of their enthusiasm, their belief in the value of their work, and the ultimate benefit that it will bring to the country, and they are not being by any means adequately paid. In some districts they cover a very big, area, travelling on bicycles, and work very hard indeed for a very small remuneration. Perhaps the Minister will tell us what the scale is and whether he is satisfied that it is adequate for the valuable work they are doing. Otherwise he may find that the enthusiasm that carries them through at present may wane somewhat and that there will be sufficient dissatisfaction engendered as to result in less satisfactory work being done. Perhaps when the Minister tells us exactly what the rate of pay is that these very energetic and active agents receive, we shall realise that it is too small, and perhaps the Minister will use his influence to get an improvement.
Mr. WILSON: I wish to point out that so far as cow-testing is concerned it is practically non est. Three per cent. of the cows in Ireland are under test. In Denmark 25 per cent. are under test. So that if it is contemplated taking away this Vote in a few years it might as well not be here at all. The difficulty is to get farmers to pay the three shillings which they must subscribe as against the 4/- given by the State. While they are willing to have their cows tested, if all the expenses are paid, it is very hard to get them to pay the 3/-. It is a very serious matter and I wish we had some means of forcing them to keep their cows under test. The amount expended in the Northern area is double the amount expended in this area. I want to know from the Minister why the provision made this year is £500 less than last year for the improvement of dairy cattle.
Mr. HOGAN: I have already explained that three times in the Deputy's hearing. I agree with Deputy Heffernan that the general form of the Estimates is not particularly illuminating to the layman. That applies to all the Estimates. I put it to the Deputy, as a man who knows something about accounts, that it is very difficult to avoid that. The Deputy points out that this veterinary service is dealt with in three sub-heads. I agree that such a heading as F (1) and payments of that sort could be simplified, but I am afraid it would be quite impossible to divine any Department into sub-departments or sub-heads and to say what the cost of each of these various branches is. In a Department the same officers deal with two or three of them. They have other expenses in common, and it is quite impossible to publish Estimates showing, let us say, what the farm institutes are costing, what the Veterinary College is costing, what the horse breeding scheme is costing, or what education is costing, because you have the same officers administering three or four of them, and there are other common expenses, headquarters' expenses and so on. It is difficult to do that, while I admit that the Estimates in general should be simplified, especially in regard to that system of grants-in-aid.
Mr. HEFFERNAN: Would the Minister say that it is impossible to keep an exact costing system? The Minister has advised farmers about keeping costing accounts, and I think it is easier for the Department to do that than farmers. Farm labour is divided up on different occupations, and it is suggested the value of that labour can be calculated. I suggest that the same thing could be done by the Department.
Mr. HOGAN: How many pages of Estimates would you want under that system? The Deputy knows well enough that Government Departments are well able to keep accounts. They are all here to the last penny. It is a question of presenting the accounts so that the layman will understand them. Unfortunately, in this life, to get at any knowledge, you have to take a certain amount of trouble, and while I agree that the Estimates might be altered in some respects, in order to  make them simpler for the layman, Deputy Heffernan knows, as well as I do, that it would be impossible to simplify them, so that any man could see at a glance what any sub-head of any Department is costing. You would have such masses of figures that if you started to divide and appropriate the work of each officer in a Department under each sub-head I think the costing department of any one Department would be almost as big as the rest of the Department put together. Any accountant knows that. As to dairying, when I said that we were dealing with estimates, I meant that both the figures given here, as well as £16,000 which I mentioned as the possible cost of the dairy scheme, were estimates.
They are both estimates. It was not to the point exactly to say that the figure mentioned—£16,000—might not be the cost of the service mentioned. I might reasonably say, also, that all the money that appeared on the Estimates last year for any sub-head was not spent. Hence, when you compare Estimates, the Estimates last year might be larger. Nevertheless, more money may be spent this year than was spent last year. In dairying we intend to spend something like £31,000 this year, as against £13,000 or £14,000 last year.
Mr. HOGAN: Is there nothing else attempted in the Dairy Produce Bill except the grading of butter—to give it its name, the national brand? Does the Deputy really think that one of the indirect results of the money spent on the Dairy Produce Bill will not be an improvement of the quality of our dairy cows?
Mr. HOGAN: With regard to the number of cows under test, Deputy Wilson is right. I agree with him on this occasion without altering a single word. The number of cows under test in this country is lamentably small. The fact is, we find it extremely difficult—even with the money available— to get farmers to organise cow-testing associations. For instance, all the money available last year was not taken up. Deputy Johnson might say that if that was the case, we did not advertise properly. We did advertise that we had this money. The scheme was pushed and was mentioned in the Dáil. The instructors advocated and encouraged it, and still it was with the greatest difficulty we could get cow-testing associations to take the matter up. That is the way still. The Farmers' Union could give a lot of help in that direction. That should be remembered when a demand is made for more money for the improvement of dairy cows. As things are at present, it is the lamentable fact that it is extremely difficult to get farmers to organise for that purpose, although it is obvious that one of the farmers' first interests is the selection of cows, and that any money spent—even out of the farmer's pocket—is money well spent, and likely to bring about a profitable return.
Deputy Johnson was right when he reminded farmers that when advocating a scheme like this, that is obviously in the best interest of farmers themselves, and that costs very little money, that that is all the greater reason they should find the money as far as possible themselves. I applied that, for instance, to the Dairy Bill, and I apply it also to the expenses of the cow-testing associations. Obviously these cow-testing associations are going to effect the purpose we all desire—the elimination of bad cows. The State has done a good deal. It has given 4/- for every cow tested, and the farmers are asked to put up 3/-. It is not expecting too much, at this stage, that farmers should see to it that moneys for a service like that should be put by themselves, and that they should reserve all their energy and enthusiasm for the purpose of helping me, to persuade the Minister for Finance to give us money for other purposes,  which might be equally necessary, but which, probably, are not going to bring such immediate benefit, but cost more. I would like farmers to remember that in connection with the Dairy Bill.
Deputy Johnson wanted details in connection with the dairy cattle improvement scheme. There are eleven instructors against, I think, ten last year. There are also supervisors. The instructors are paid by us. The supervisors are paid by the associations, and it is to these, I suppose, that Deputy Johnson was referring. The supervisors are paid out of the fund formed from the 4/- per cow tested, given by the State, and the 3/- per cow given by the farmer. I could not give the exact figures as to the wages of the supervisors, as some of them are not whole-time officers. I know they are not well paid. Of course, some of them are paid no more than £2 a week. That is because the associations have not sufficient funds, in spite of the fact that the Government contributes four shillings for each cow. There are not enough cows under test. You have to do this cow-testing well, and it has to be done on a certain scale. It can be done by forming larger associations with a greater number of cows so that a whole-time officer could be employed and could be paid better. Unless the State takes on the expenses of paying not only the eleven instructors but also paying the supervisors we cannot help the supervisor, who is at present very badly paid.
Mr. HOGAN: I think that practically all these funds go to pay the salaries of the supervisors as there is no other expense. As Deputy Wilson pointed out, if the association is a small one and there are very few cows under test, what happens is that the money is used  so far as it goes to get the best man. There is no way out of that difficulty that I can see.
Mr. HOGAN: The supervisor visits every farm where there is a cow under test. Does the Deputy mean that we should encourage more farmers to have more cows under test, or that we should not pay anything unless we get more cows?
Mr. HOGAN: That is begging the question. We hear that, say, in Wicklow, the farmers wish to set up a cow-testing association, and we find that X number of farmers have Y cows. We send an instructor down and he tries to persuade other farmers to join the association. After encouraging the project we reach a limit of Y cows. We find that the receipts, with the Government contributing 4/- and the farmers 3/- per cow, are not enough to give the instructors more than 30/- a week. We are then in a dilemma. We can take the attitude of not recognising the association, but probably the most energetic man in the neighbourhood says that we can get so and so to do the work. Surely the Deputy would not suggest that we should prevent these thirty or forty farmers from forming their association under such circumstances? I see no way out of the dilemma except to ask the Treasury to pay a bigger contribution, and I am not prepared to do that. With regard to the Inspectors, their salaries are as follows:—One has £459, three others  have £330, five others have £280, one has £238, and one has £210, and they all have expenses. That is all I have to say on that question. I do not know whether it is a fact or not that, what people call the old Irish cow, gave more milk than the modern shorthorn does, and I doubt if anyone knows for certain, because there were no record kept.
Mr. HOGAN: I probably was not old enough to milk what is called the old Irish cow. Now, as regards H (6) and this reduction of £700 under the Horse Breeding Act in connection with the licensing of stallions, cost of inspection, etc., this Act came into operation in 1920, and licensing commenced in that year, but it has been practically completed now. All the preliminary work has been done and it is calculated that the sum of £1,600 in the Estimate will enable us to complete the work under the Act so far as we can do it this year. The amount was £2,000 last year, but not nearly that amount was spent. The experience of the inspectors of the Department leads them to the conclusion that they are not likely to get demands for nominations to any greater extent than will be covered by the £1,600, as mares are not coming forward. There is no point in putting down money which you know will not be spent. We believe that for the demands which we will get this year, this sum will be sufficient. That is easily explained. This section deals entirely with Irish draught schemes. Mares are not paying. Again, it may be said that this is because publicity has not been given to the scheme, but every County Committee of Agriculture and every farmer know about this scheme, which has been in existence for a long time. The scheme has been debated here and elsewhere, including the County Committees of Agriculture, and if the farmers do not know about it I do not think that any possible amount of propaganda will get it further publicity.
The position regarding the National Stud is simple. There is no question as to who owns the land. We own the land. There is a question as to who  owns the horses or, at least, who owns all the horses. That is probably the most valuable stud in the world. There are mares in that stud that money could hardly buy. If you let an American millionaire loose in that stud he would probably spend a lot of money in a very short time. We are not interested in who is to be the final owner of the land but rather in what is to happen to the mares. We own the land and what we concentrate on is to keep the mares in this country. Deputy McKenna made a suggestion that we should appoint one whole-time veterinary officer instead of the three or four who are in the county at the present time. I agree with him and we have already made arrangements to do that for the last two months and have communicated with every county council in Ireland. We are not getting exactly all the co-operation we might get. The system of three or four veterinary surgeons in each county does not work well. It costs too much and we have not got value for our money. We believe that one man in most counties would do the work more efficiently. Those officers are only appointed by the county councils and sanctioned by us, and we are asking county councils to make different arrangements and to appoint a whole-time officer and we are taking up the attitude that we will not sanction any other arrangements. Deputy Craig asked me what percentage of the farmers were availing themselves of the tuberculin test. I could not give figures. Leaving out the pedigree herds the percentage is small. It would be impossible to give figures that would be anything like accurate without very considerable trouble, but I can say that the number is extremely small. “Payment for slaughter at the ports,” is an old friend. We debated this question this time last year and I do not intend to go at any length into the merits of that case again. A few farmers have lost three or four thousand pounds in the last outbreak. Some of them are small farmers and the loss to the individual is extremely serious. Possibly some of them were put out of business. The amount is not very large. As a charge on the State it  would be extremely small. On the other hand, the few farmers, especially one or two small farmers, who have lost a sum of money are extremely hard hit but we cannot afford to do anything in the way of making a special payment which may be a precedent or may be regarded as a precedent by other authorities in other countries for changing the whole system for payment for cattle slaughtered in England.
We cannot afford to take any risks with the whole cattle trade and with the arrangements by which any cattle slaughtered in England, except those at the ports, are paid for by the British Government, because of the loss amounting to £3,000 or £4,000. I hope for the credit of the cattle trade itself that it is not a fact that the particular farmers are still out of pocket, because every one of the spokesmen of the various organisations fully realise the danger of making any proposals now, or of doing anything now which, while it might be in the interests of the farmers who have lost three or four thousand pounds would, on the other hand, leave the British Government to make a change in its present system.
Mr. McKENNA: There were thousands lost as well as this money. The Minister speaks of holds-up at the ports. Twelve thousand pigs were held up, and it cost £12,000 to feed them while they were being held up, until we had satisfied the English authorities that they were not diseased. There were thousands of pounds lost which were not taken into account by the Minister.
Mr. HOGAN: We ought not to confuse them. I say that, without prejudice to whether there was money lost or not. Animals that left here during the foot-and-mouth disease in England were interned in England at quarantine stations. I am not dealing with losses incurred by owners because their cattle were held up for a certain period at the quarantine stations at English ports. It is a debatable question whether that in itself was a real loss to the Irish cattle trade, but in any event  that is another question. That is a question of cattle not only held in the quarantine stations in England, but slaughtered there. I am pointing out that during the last outbreak, the most serious for a hundred years in England, three or four thousand pounds were lost by farmers in the Free State. While I admit that to the farmers that is a big loss, at the same time we cannot save the individual farmer from loss of that magnitude, and take any risks with the present arrangements regarding payment for Irish cattle slaughtered in England. I would be sorry to think, for the credit of the cattle trade, that those particular farmers are out of pocket.
Major MYLES: May I ask the Minister what risks or precedents would he be setting up by paying those unfortunate men? Those men are out of pocket, and some of them are being ruined. Is there any precedent set up by coming to the assistance of your own people? What precedent are you setting up by paying your own people? What action has the British Government taken? Where is the precedent to be set up, and where is the risk to be run?
Mr. HOGAN: Surely the Deputy must know. He cannot be quite so ignorant on the question as he pretends. Why should we pay for these cattle? They were slaughtered in England. There are only three or four hundred cattle. I forget how many millions of cattle we ship per annum to England. Why should we pay for three or four hundred cattle slaughtered in England? Why do the British Government pay for all the rest?
Mr. HOGAN: The British Government pays the full value of all Irish cattle slaughtered in England as a result of foot-and-mouth disease, except  the cattle slaughtered in the quarantine stations, and every farmer knows that as well as he knows his A. B. C. We are shipping millions of cattle per annum. They are worth tens of millions. The English would pay, and as the law stands, would have no option but to pay, no matter what number of Irish cattle were slaughtered there, provided they were not slaughtered at the ports; but they draw the line at paying for Irish cattle slaughtered in England if they are slaughtered at a quarantine station at a port in England. Supposing we admit our liability to pay for cattle slaughtered in England at all, where does it lead us?
Mr. HOGAN: Sub-head H (1) says: “Grant in Aid of the Cattle Pleuro-Pneumonia Account for Ireland of the General Cattle Diseases Fund, £500.” This is the total Vote for cattle slaughtered because of foot-and-mouth disease.
Mr. HOGAN: This £500 is the total Vote. As the law stands at present, we pay for cattle slaughtered in Ireland  only. Deputies are advocating that we should extend that to a limited number of cattle in England for which the British Government do not pay.
Mr. McKENNA: Before the Minister departs from that, I would like to have some definite arrangement made in the near future, because it is a very important matter for this country. We have been fortunate up to the present in escaping foot and mouth disease, but supposing we get it what would the position be? There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth all over the country, and you will have all your fairs closed down.
AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Deputies are constantly forgetting this, that my objection to a discussion is nearly always an objection to a discussion at a particular time. If Deputies read the Official Reports, they will nearly always find that when I rule on a matter I say: “This matter cannot be discussed now.” The word “now,” or some such word, nearly always occurs. This matter has been discussed before, and I have no doubt that opportunity may be found for discussing it again, but it cannot be discussed now, and if Deputies would recollect that the whole function of the Chair is to see that things are discussed at the proper time,  not to keep them from discussion altogether, which is a different matter, it would be of great assistance to the Chair, and possibly Deputies would be relieved in their own minds, too.
Mr. HEFFERNAN: I want to make a slight explanation with regard to the supervisors, and I may be able to give some information to Deputy Johnson. I am not sure that the Minister has properly grasped the exact state of affairs. He is right in saying that most of these supervisors are part-time officers. They are mostly sons of farmers who do this work in their spare time. I do know that they are badly paid, and one of the great difficulties in making this cow-testing business successful is the difficulty of getting competent men to do the work. But there is one aspect of it I want to point out to the Minister, and that is that the men acting as supervisors in the most difficult districts get the least pay. You get a good man acting in a good dairying district in Limerick or Tipperary, with the farmers' houses close together, and each farmer having large bawns of cows. That man can cover a great number of cases in a small district, travelling very little, and earning perhaps a rather reasonable remuneration with no great amount of trouble. He may make £100 or £120 a year. Another supervisor acting in another part of the country, a sparsely populated part from a dairying point of view—and there are parts of Tipperary, for instance, which are sparsely populated in that sense— has to travel great distances to get to the farmsteads. There may be few cows in a farmstead under test, with the result that he does a great deal more work at a great deal more trouble and physical expense, and he gets less for it.
For that reason I think the Minister's view that the farmer should be responsible for the proper payment of these officers is hardly quite sound. I cannot exactly see any way out of it, but there may be some way out of it, such as the Minister guaranteeing a minimum amount for these officers and, perhaps, varying that amount in accordance with the distance the supervisors have to cover. There is a real  and genuine grievance here and it is one of the reasons why this matter of cow-testing is not the success it should be. There is another matter in regard to dairying that I think the Minister should recognise—that the comparison with Denmark hardly stands in this regard either, that there are only certain districts which are devoted to dairying and are keenly interested in this matter of cow-testing. There are other districts which are not, so that the demand for these cow-testing associations is not universal and a great deal of propaganda and organisation will have to be carried on before it will be taken up in a general manner. I might say that we who are closely associated with the Farmers' Union did give all the help we could and encouraged it in every way we could. We are very anxious to see it a success and probably the Minister knows that. It is a difficult matter to know where the fault lies but there will have to be a great deal more energy put into it to make it a success.
Mr. JOHNSON: I would ask the Minister to give us some information as to the present position regarding allotments. What is the attitude of the Department to the Land Cultivation scheme, whether they are damping down interest in this matter, and whether the promised Bill dealing with allotments has been finally abandoned or only postponed?
Mr. COLOHAN: I would like to ask the Minister if he is prepared to consider the applications of some 18 small holders living on the edge of the Curragh for grazing rights on portion of the Curragh, north of the Great Southern and Western Railway line? They have sent in an application for grazing rights there. I think that would be one way of helping the milch-cow industry. As these men are holders of from one acre to something like thirty acres, I think he should consider their application favourably. I understand there was an Act passed in 1870 restricting  the grazing right to sheep, but since then these people were allowed to graze milch cows on that portion of the Curragh at a nominal rent of 1/- per month. I can give the Minister particulars of the men and the number of cows that they are looking for grazing rights for, if he would consider the matter favourably.
Mr. HOGAN: I think I will answer the last question on the Land Commission Vote. With regard to Deputy Johnson's question, we have ample powers under the Land Bill to deal with allotments down in the country. Apart from Dublin, and perhaps Cork, and a few big places of that sort, allotments in the neighbourhood of small towns can be provided under the Land Act and can be provided more effectively under the Land Act than in any other way, because we have a section in the Land Act which enables us to vest land in trustees either for pasture or tillage. That section has been availed of and it is intended to avail of it as far as possible. We can do it quite simply. Generally this land amongst land acquired compulsorily is for the relief of congestion, but it is not all required, and quite simply under the Land Act we can vest some of it in trustees either for allotments or tillage purposes. That, so far as it can be done, is the most satisfactory way of doing it. When you come to places like Cork or Dublin, or to Waterford, or county boroughs generally, that system is very little good. The position in these county boroughs is this. In Dublin allotments have been surrendered voluntarily and to a pretty large extent. Dublin Corporation have given up some allotments. I am extremely sorry to see that myself, because the policy of the Department is to encourage as far as possible in Dublin, the allotment system.
One of the things that does surprise me is that unskilled labourers, tradesmen, small shopkeepers, and people in a small way generally have not supported this allotment system as it should have been supported. It was the obvious way of cheapening the price of vegetables in Dublin. We all know that it is in cabbages, onions and the sort of vegetables used by middle-class  people and tradesmen that the grossest profiteering goes on, and yet here in Dublin the Corporation was obliged to surrender these allotments because they could not get people to take them. I think that is a lamentable state of affairs. It is the policy of the Department to encourage the development of the allotment system, but in view of that I think it would be pointless to bring in the Allotment Bill, which was drafted, at this stage. It is postponed, and I do hope that there will be signs at least that the passage of the Bill will be welcomed by the people who would most benefit under that particular system.
As regards the miscellaneous development scheme, Deputy Baxter asked me what is this for, and I feel inclined to say I do not know. The money voted under this sub-head is in the hands of the Department if they are asked by some interest to make inquiries or researches not contemplated at the beginning of the year. I cannot think of anything that would be appropriate at the moment, but supposing some other inquiries in connection with sugar-beet not covered by any other Vote, were asked for, that sum of money was there to meet it. There is ample provision made in other Votes for special enquiries and for unforeseen enquiries, but it is possible some contingency might arise where we would find it necessary or advisable to make enquiries in some matter not contemplated now, and that small sum is there to meet that contingency.
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