Thursday, 7 May 1925
Dáil Éireann Debate
Mr. HEFFERNAN: In opposing this resolution, I will deal at the same time with amendments which I have down to Resolutions Nos. 7 and 8. I do not intend to debate the other amendments which I have down, because the principle involved is the same in regard to the three. Neither do I intend to go fully into the question of protection versus no protection or free trade. That subject has been fully discussed, and I do not intend to go anything like fully into it. But my Party fear it would not be right to let this resolution pass without stating our attitude in regard to it, and in regard to the other protective tariffs imposed under the Budget. We take exception to this resolution because we object to the imposition of tariffs. We do not believe that the time is ripe for the imposition of protective duties in this country. We are convinced that the effect of tariffs on certain articles will be that gradually the Government will find themselves forced to extend the system of protection and that we will not have protection on a limited number of articles but will have practically a general tariff in the course of time. I believe that in the interests of the predominant industry of agriculture it is not wise to embark on a system of tariffs at present.
It is acknowledged by the Government and by the industries that are being protected that the effect of the tariffs will be to increase the cost of the articles upon which they are placed. The inevitable result of such an increase will be to increase the cost of living. The increase in the cost of living will eventually come down to the industries engaged in the production of articles for export, and those engaged in these industries will find that the cost of living and production has increased, while at the same time they cannot derive any benefit from the tariffs.
It is acknowledged that agrigulture cannot be protected—at least the  amount of protection which it might get will be so small as not to be worth considering. But the result of the imposition of these tariffs will be that the cost of production in the agricultural industry will be increased. We maintain that the cost of production is already too high and that those engaged in the industry are finding it almost impossible to make both ends meet.
In regard to this particular protective duty which is involved in this resolution, it is perhaps rather unfortunate that these particular articles have been chosen, because the collection of the duty upon them is going to involve a considerable amount of inconvenience and expense to the State in regard to the staffing of the Customs, as well as a considerable amount of inconvenience and annoyance to ordinary people. To a certain extent the disadvantage of the imposition of this tariff has been cloaked, I might say, by the remission of the duties on tea and sugar. It would be well that Deputies and people outside should keep the two things separate, because there is no real connection between them. There is no reason why the duties on tea and sugar could not have been reduced to a considerable extent, if not to the extent to which they have been reduced, without tariffs being imposed. There is one advantage at least in regard to the collection of taxes from tea and sugar: they are easily collected, the people are accustomed to paying them, and they hardly recognise the fact that they are paying them. Therefore, they involve very little expense and very little trouble to the Customs authorities.
In regard to the duties placed on different articles of wearing apparel, it is apparent from the discussions here that they are very involved and intricate, and are going to cause great trouble and annoyance, so that even with the greatest possible desire on the part of the Customs authorities to facilitate travellers coming to the country, they will, to a certain extent, interfere with and annoy such people.
Certain estimates have been made by the Minister for Finance in regard to the revenue to be produced from those  tariffs, and it is liable to be assumed that the estimated revenue of £520,000 is to be the cost to the people of the country. That is not so. In my opinion the cost to the people of the country, in revenue and the extra price which they will have to pay for the articles produced in this country, will come very near to £800,000. If we take the imports of textiles as given in the trade and shipping statistics issued by the Department of Industry and Commerce we find that, excluding boots and shoes, the total value of the imports for the past year is something like £5,245,000. My contention is, that on account of the duty which has to be paid on the textiles coming in and the extra price which will have to be paid for the textiles produced in this country, the cost of the tariffs to the people of the country will not be much less than £800,000. That is taking it for granted that the price of articles of wearing apparel produced in this country will increase.
I think the experience of all countries that have protective tariffs is that the price of protected articles do increase. The probability, in my opinion, is that the price will increase very closely to the actual amount of the protective tariff. That is, that the cost of the articles produced in Ireland will be the same as the cost of the articles produced elsewhere, plus very close on 15 per cent.
We have been told that prices have not increased to any appreciable extent in boots. I say that the experience in regard to boots has been too short and that we have not had an adequate opportunity of forming judgment on that question. It is almost impossible, I maintain, to find out what has been the exact increase to the consumer. I do not know where the Department of Industry and Commerce got its figures, but the information I got casually from retailers of boots and shoes is that the cost of home-made and foreign boots has increased up to the amount of the tariff. They told me in fact that in many cases the price of the protected article has increased beyond the 15 per cent. duty. That means that the Irish retailer who imports boots increases the price he  pays to the manufacturer by the 15 per cent. duty as his purchasing price, and he adds to that his profit, so that the actual price charged the ordinary consumer is more than a 15 per cent. increase.
Another matter in connection with these duties is that at present they must remain, to a great extent, revenue-producing duties. The State has to depend on these duties for revenue, and if it does not get revenue from them it will have to get it otherwise. As a result, as these duties cease to become revenue-producing and become more protective duties, revenue will decrease and will have to be got from another source. The Minister thinks that the productive capacity of the country will increase to such an extent that the revenue produced from ordinary sources will increase and that it will not be necessary to go in for other sources of revenue, or fall back on the taxes that were formerly in force. That may or may not be the case. If it is not the case, and if it is found that the ordinary receipts from taxation do not increase, despite the protective duties in force, the Minister will have to go back again to tea and sugar or some other articles to make his revenue and meet expenditure.
I maintain that it is inadvisable to embark on the imposition of tariffs, and that it would be well if we devoted our attention, until the country has got into a stronger position, towards improving our agricultural industry. We should try to produce more revenue from agriculture by getting that industry into such a position that it will give more employment. When we have succeeded in doing that, the question of tariffs might be brought forward, and we might be prepared to consider them seriously.
Mr. HEFFERNAN: To consider their imposition seriously. Those engaged in the agricultural industry are constantly being told to watch and to model themselves on Denmark. If we are to model ourselves on Denmark we will not become a protective country.  I would ask the Minister to explain how he expects farmers to compete with Denmark with the additional cost of production that the tariffs impose saddled on them. Tariffs are a hamper and an obstruction to agriculture, and I maintain that agriculture and the few other exporting industries cannot afford them. Agriculturists want additional power given them in order to push their industry, but these tariffs are no help. Tariffs have the opposite effect, and while they may produce extra employment in some industries, they will have the effect of producing unemployment in agriculture.
The whole tendency of farming in recent times is to go out of tillage and into grass. That has not happened because farmers desire to go into grass but is due to economic reasons. Farmers have not been able to make tillage and its subsidiary industries pay. They have to keep down expenses and cut down labour to the minimum. Although the profit on grazing cattle is not very large, allowing for the lesser expenses, they find it pays best. The imposition of tariffs instead of stimulating the agricultural industry, in my opinion, will have the opposite effect. This country's prosperity, I maintain, depends upon the success of agriculture, and we cannot afford tariffs at present. I ask the Dáil to agree with me in that view.
Mr. JOHNSON: In this motion dealing with tariffs on imported wearing apparel the Deputy has dealt with the general question, because he has other motions of a similar kind in respect to other proposals. I gather from him that he is opposed to tariffs on imports. I did not gather from him that he is opposed to assisting industries by bounties or by subsidies. I take that to be admitted, that the issue is not the assistance or the protection of industry, agriculture, or other, but the particular form of assistance or protection. That is to say, it is agreed that industries, agriculture, or other, should be assisted by bounties or subsidies, but must not be assisted by a protective tariff.
Mr. JOHNSON: Are we to understand that the Deputy who spoke on behalf of the Farmers' Party is against bounties and subsidies, because they are protective in their effect, just as he is against tariffs? I take it that is the position.
Mr. JOHNSON: It is possible, in view of the Deputy's speech, that the Farmers' Party may be in favour of a bounty or subsidy, but that it is implacably opposed to protective tariffs. The case the Deputy made is that the imposition of the tariffs proposed in these resolutions is going to increase the cost of production. The emphasis was on the “cost of production.” Occasionally he spoke of the increase in the cost of living, but the main case he made was that this was going to increase the cost of production for agriculture and, therefore, was militating against the prosperity of agriculture. I cannot understand how the Deputy arrives at that conclusion in respect of any of those proposed duties, inasmuch as they are not directed to articles which enter into agricultural production.
Mr. JOHNSON: The Deputy made, in the course of one of his sentences, the statement, that the tariffs would result in an increase in the cost of living, and that, thereby, there would be an increase in the cost of production. From that, I take it the inference is that it would increase the cost of living, that as a consequence wages would be raised, and that the charge upon agriculture would be increased. Is that the position? That is assented to. I find that on agricultural holdings, over one acre and under thirty acres, which for the whole of Ireland number 293,000, only 20,000 wage labourers were employed. It will be admitted, I think, that far and away the great majority of the agricultural holdings  in the Free State do not employ wage labour. The cost of production to agriculture, so far as it is affected by the cost of living to the wage labourer, is not affected at all in the case of the great majority of the holdings. The total cost of the articles consumed on farms, and purchased over a series of farms for a given year (1914)—the articles comprising implements, manures, miscellaneous stores and sundries, all covering the productive side of agriculture—amounted to an average of 16s. per acre, and for 1922 the average was 28s. per acre. If there were a proposal to introduce a tariff, say of 20 per cent. on all those things which enter into the cost of production in agriculture, then you might have an increased cost of, say, 5/7 per acre per year. That might conceivably mean the development of urban industries of very great strength.
Mr. JOHNSON: Yes. The officials of the Department of Agriculture produced to the Commission on Agriculture in great detail costings accounts of eighteen farms of different sizes in different parts of the country. There were abstracted from these accounts all the items which enter into the cost of production in agriculture, apart from the domestic consumption which any man or woman or family, whether in agriculture or urban industry, would require. All the items which go to make up the purchases for the farm for those two years were abstracted and compared, and the figures I have given are the result—that is to say, 16s. on the average in 1914, and 28s. on the average in 1922. Had there been a twenty per cent tariff upon all that class of material, there would have grown up within this country a large manufacturing industry, and, consequently, a very much greater market for Irish agricultural produce. That would be the kind of market which the small farmer, particularly the farmer within a reasonable radius of the town, would look to for his customers. By such a means, one can imagine readily and not at all extravagantly, that the small farmer would have a possible increase of, say, 5s. 6d. per acre upon  his output by the operation of a tariff of twenty per cent., but he would have a much greater market for his produce, a much easier means of communication, and consequently would be greatly advantaged.
The proposition in these resolutions is not to increase the cost of production on the agriculturist. Nothing in those resolutions, so far as I have examined them, is going to add one farthing per acre to the cost of production of the farmer unless he employs wage labour. I hope Deputy Heffernan is right in his assumption that, if there is to be an increase in the cost of living as a result of those duties, he, at any rate, will support the proposition that there must be a concurrent rise in wages to meet the increase in the cost of living. I hope Deputy Heffernan is not simply repeating the theory that if there is a rise in the absolute minimum cost of subsistence, there must be a rise in the wages, but that he will give positive support to the proposal that there shall be a general rise in wages if there is, as a result of any of those impositions, an increase in the cost of living. I maintain there is no proposal in those resolutions which will increase the cost of production to the farmer. There may conceivably be an increase in the consumer's cost of certain articles which enter into general consumption, covering even the agriculturist.
Speaking generally of the agricultural population, I think it is perfectly certain that the reductions in the duties on tea and sugar, the breakfast table commodities, will more than balance the possible increase in the cost of wearing apparel. There may be a doubt in that matter in respect of the town population, but in respect of the country population I would say there is no doubt whatever. If the cost of production of agricultural produce is not being increased, then the Deputy's case seems to fall back upon the possible increase in the cost of commodities. The question then is whether the reduction in the cost of consumables for agriculture is going to more than counterbalance any possible increase  in the cost of wearing apparel and the like.
There have been proposals for bounties and for subsidies in respect of agriculture, and we on these Benches have not raised any objection. So far as they have been brought to our notice, we have given some kind of support to certain suggestions regarding State assistance for the development of agriculture. Are we to be told in return that there must be no State assistance in respect of any other industry, that it is only agriculture that is to get the benefit of a bounty or subsidy, that all other industries must be ready to meet the severest possible competition from any country, no matter what the conditions under which the articles entering into competition may be produced, no matter what the rate of wages, no matter what the rate of exchange, no matter what other conditions apply; that every industry must be prepared to face the blast of competition to the utmost, because the farmer will be, by that means, able to buy in the cheapest market; that the farmer must be allowed to claim, and that we must be prepared to concede the claim, that bounties are required for this, and subsidies are required for that, but there must be no subsidy of any kind for any other industry because it may increase the cost of agricultural production or it may increase the price of consumables to the agricultural population?
I am astonished that any Deputy, opening his speech by saying he is speaking on behalf of the Farmers' Party, should take up that position. I have listened carefully to the statements made from the Farmers' Benches in respect of those tariffs and the general question, and I have noted considerable divergence—a healthy divergence—of opinion, which I do not decry in the least. I think it is very desirable that there should be differences of opinion even within Parties on such a matter as this. But now we have an ex cathedra utterance by a spokesman on behalf of the Farmers' Party implying that they are going to oppose any assistance in the form of tariffs for every other industry or any other industry except agriculture. They  may consider at some future time tariffs on agricultural produce, but in the meantime they are going to oppose any tariffs. They have rather assented to my suggestion and, by their acts, have given positive approval to the proposal that agriculture should be assisted by bounties and by subsidies. I say that if the farmers' spokesmen, after carefully considering the position, are going to take that stand, then they are simply courting the utmost opposition to any proposal to assist agriculture by State action in any way whatever. I ask them to face that proposition and that possibility.
Mr. WILSON: Deputy Johnson, in making his case for the protection of industries, pointed out that if the farmers were agreeable to allow the cost of their purchasable necessities to be increased by 20 per cent., which would amount to 5/7 per acre, they would have in the home market an outlet for their products. I take it that that was the argument he put forward. He forgot, however, that there is no guarantee that the home market, which is to be inflated by all these workmen the Deputy speaks of, will not be open to the competition of the world. If he had said that, in addition to what he said in the beginning, there might have been some force in his argument. But to say that we will have a market at our doors, while that market is an open market for American bacon, Danish and New Zealand butter, and Canadian hogs, does not represent the case properly.
The Deputy talked about State aid. We are not opposed to State aid for industry. Are we not giving 280,000 industrial workers 6½d. per week? Does the Deputy deny that? Not alone that, but we have advanced on credit for four years one and a quarter million pounds towards unemployment. When he says we are opposed to State aid of industry, he is not stating the facts.
Mr. WILSON: It is a subsidy to industrial workers by the general population. That is what it amounts to. I take up the position that if we had gone on as we had been going and if we could get the people of the world to agree to universal free trade, that would possibly be the better way to do it. But, in face of expert opinion, in face of the report of the Fiscal Committee, consisting of economic experts the Government have set up a series of tariffs. Those economic experts had reason on their side, as anybody can see by reading their report. But in spite of that report, the Government have put tariffs on goods of the value of £7,150,000 per year. I say that creates a new situation, and that we on our side would do well to reconsider our position and ask for tariffs on the £3,611,000 worth of produce brought into the country. I am in a minority on that point, but we will have it at another time. The cost of living will undoubtedly rise as a result of these tariffs. That is unquestionable; Deputy Johnson admitted that. It will undoubtedly rise, and Deputy Johnson conceives a farmer on a small holding who, because he employs no labour, will be unaffected by tariffs. Does he think that such a man will go back to the blanket of the Kaffir, or that he will go about naked?
Mr. JOHNSON: If the Deputy had listened to my statement he would have seen that I was pretty careful to emphasise the difference, following Deputy Heffernan, between the cost of production in agriculture and the cost of consumable commodities.
Mr. WILSON: The cost of production will be affected by the cost of living undoubtedly. If a man employs labourers he must give them a higher wage, and his family will cost him more. If he does not employ them the cost of commodities for himself, his wife and his family will go up. We have got £1,500,000 taken off sugar and  tea; we cannot deny that, and after all, there is a good deal to be said for this Budget. While I do agree that we would have been better by having nothing whatever to do with these tariffs, still a new situation has appeared, and I agree to accept the consequences.
Major COOPER: I believe that Deputy Wilson is the only real protectionist in the Dáil, just as Deputy Hewat is the only real free trader. They are two unique specimens, and we should congratulate ourselves on their possession, because even when Deputy Wilson is opposing a protective duty he opposes it as a true and honest protectionist. But I think there is a little more to be said on the lines on which he went in regard to Deputy Johnson's speech. Deputy Johnson made the point, not so crudely as I should make it, that apparently the Farmers' Party think that everything should be sacrificed to agriculture. Is he prepared to adopt the contrary proposition, that agriculture should be sacrificed to every other industry?— because we see this argument used again and again, used subtly by Deputy Johnson, used more roughly and brusquely by other people, that in the course of time great industries will spring up and the farmers will find a market at their doors. How are they to live until that market arises? It is a case of “Live horse and you will get grass.” There is no prospect within the next ten years of very considerable manufacturing industries springing up in this country, I mean industries that will employ from 500,000 to 1,000,000 people. In the meantime, the farmer will be put to a disadvantage in the open free market to which he now sends most of his products. He will be put to the disadvantage of competing with Denmark, New Zealand, and Australia, with all these countries that are pouring their products in here.
Major COOPER: What is the cost of production? The cost of production is the cost of the maintenance of the farmer's sons and daughters who work on his holding without wages but who have to be fed and clothed. That is the real cost of production in agriculture in the Saorstát; Deputy Johnson knows it, and every Deputy knows it. The bulk of the small agricultural holdings are worked by the farmer's own family, and wages are a very small item.
Major COOPER: They are possibly paid a little pocket money, and they have their food and clothing supplied to them. These items will be increased by these duties, because even the farmer's sons and daughters must have clothes, or else we should all be shocked. Deputy Johnson dealt in numerous hypotheses; that is not unusual for him; he is a merchant of dreams. Deputy Good and Deputy Hewat sometimes are merchants of nightmares.
Major COOPER: I am going to follow Deputy Johnson's bad example with one hypothesis, and I am going to imagine a meeting, about which there has been correspondence, between the Minister for Finance and his opposite, the British Chancellor of the Exchequer. After they had transacted their business the British Chancellor of the Exchequer would almost certainly say to the Minister for Finance, “You are very lucky in your Labour Party; ours are most unreasonable people. The minute I begin to tax clothes, even though I only tax silk stockings, they become angry.” He would go on to say, “You know what the late Chancellor  of the Exchequer said to me, that my name would go down to fame as the Chancellor who had taxed the girls' silk stockings.” And I think the Minister for Finance would thank Heaven that he had not Mr. Snowden in the Dáil, because if he attacked the Chancellor over one small article of apparel, he would certainly attack our Minister for Finance for having taxed everything else that the girl wears, every stitch that her brother and sister wears, and every stitch that the little children wear. Then there would be a slight reciprocity, and the British Chancellor of the Exchequer would say: “At any rate, I shall be able to get my own back, because if silk stockings are taxed the people need not wear them.” The Minister for Finance cannot say that. He cannot say that the people can dispense with all the articles of clothing that are included in this resolution unless he has confidence in his prophecy that we are going to have a fine summer.
I have heard various arguments with regard to the effects of these tariffs on the cost of living. Deputy Esmonde— I am sorry he is not here—reminded me that that could be avoided, that the cost of living need not necessarily go up if people bought Irish-manufactured goods. To what extent are the Saorstát industries able to supply the needs of the country? There are at the present time in the Saorstát firms manufacturing wearing apparel who employ 3,233 persons. That does not include dressmaking and millinery. We may say that it only includes firms that clothe men, and leave the women's side out of it altogether. Suppose that this industry expands and increases, as we may hope, as I think we all, even the Farmers' Party, hope, does any Deputy consider it possible that it can more than treble the number of employees in the present year; that at the end of the year there would be more than 10,000 people employed in it, and that at the end of two years there will be more than 20,000? Set against that the million and a half inhabitants of the Saorstát who will be affected by this tax, are you not fostering a small thing to the injury of the big thing? Are you not carrying the tax-gatherer  into the ordinary home life of the people?
Deputy Johnson said that it was possibly a doubtful proposition whether the remission in the cost of living would not be equalled by the increased cost in the case of town dwellers. Take another instance. Take the remission, not as between town and country—because I represent both town and country—but as between the father of a family, who has to buy four or five suits of clothes for his children in the year, and the bachelor. The amount of tea consumed by children is comparatively small if the parents are wise. It is not every child who has the powerful physique and mental ability of the Minister for Education, and who can drink tea five times a day. That remission is not of great value as far as the children are concerned, while the duty is heavy on clothing, suits, and everything the child wears. Children are very destructive things, and as Deputy Redmond said yesterday, we are discouraging marriage and the family.
Major COOPER: I hope we may find a job for the daughter. That is one factor, as I said last night, in discussing the duty on handkerchiefs. I would be prepared not to oppose a duty which promises to find employment. We are, at the outset, promising to find jobs for 5,000 daughters, and we are taxing something like 50,000. I think there is a lack of proportion in that—5,000 daughters only in this year. I do not think anybody will say that the industry will expand more than that; it cannot do it. It stands to reason that it cannot do it; there is not enough machinery, plant and skilled men, cutters-out, and people of that kind. What will happen will be that we may, as Deputy Johnson said, find a job for the daughter, but find a job for the daughter in a sweated workshop, stitching together readymade garments that have been cut out in England, because that is what will happen.
Mrs. COLLINS-O'DRISCOLL: If Deputy Cooper looks up the prepaid advertisements in the “Irish Times” and “Irish Independent” any of these days, he will see some of the immediate benefits of the Budget. There are advertisements for dressmakers from big firms in the city. The Deputy will see there the employment for the daughters that has already been opened up.
Major COOPER: I am very sorry if anything that I have said has irritated Deputies on the Government Benches. It is not my intention ever to be provocative, but I do feel that what I said about this tax is going to have that effect except in the case that Deputy Mrs. Collins-O'Driscoll spoke of, and that is because there is not the necessary skill and ability by which people could make up their clothes at home. That will only apply to a few cases. In other homes this duty on readymades will inflict great hardship, at any rate for the next two or three years. It will take a great deal of time to adjust ourselves to new conditions, and I am afraid that before we have adjusted ourselves to the new conditions we shall have a General Election and the Government may feel the result of a good deal of this irritation. Honestly I would regret that. I would regret if the Government were thrown out, because I do not think the Farmers' Party will be returned to take its place. That is really my basic objection to these duties. I think they are an error and that the Minister would do better to leave them out. If Deputy Heffernan goes to a division on this amendment, I will support him.
Mrs. COLLINS-O'DRISCOLL: I only just want to remark that I am satisfied that Deputy Heffernan was  absolutely wrong in his statement about the price of boots having been raised since the imposition of the duty on imported boots. I do not think that anybody in the Dáil is keener about getting value for his money than I am, and I ought to be in a position to know if the price of boots has been raised since. Even before the imposition of these taxes I had made a point to buy Irish-made boots, not for any sentimental motive, but because they were just as good as the foreign boots. I buy on an average a couple of dozen pairs of boots in the year, and am quite satisfied that there has been no increase in the price since the tax was imposed a year ago. On the contrary, I know that there has been, if anything, a decrease in the price of these boots. I cannot at all agree with Deputy Bryan Cooper in what he said or insinuated, that the women of Ireland or that the majority of the women of Ireland would suffer by these taxes. They will not suffer by these taxes.
Take the ordinary family through the country, and in every case you will find that what they will gain in the remission of the duties on tea and sugar will more than counter-balance what they will have to pay in the way of duties on ready-made clothing. Even if they did have to pay a little more I am sure that they would all be prepared to make a little sacrifice for the unemployed women of Ireland. There can be nothing more heartbreaking for the fathers and mothers of families than to find after they have brough up their families, and when the children reach fourteen or fifteen years of age—when they are about leaving school—that there is absolutely no chance of their getting any employment in their own country. I know hundreds of girls who can make up this clothing and who have sufficient technical skill to cut them out as well. It is not at all beyond the bounds of possibility to get a sufficiency of skilled cutters in this country for cutting out these garments, and there would be no difficulty at all in finding plenty of girls to make them up. I cannot agree with Deputy Cooper that the community will suffer by these taxes. I see in these duties immense  possibilities of opening up new avenues of employment in this country for our girls and women, and, as I said on the Budget, I think we all owe the Minister for Finance a great debt of gratitude for putting on these protective tariffs.
Mr. McGILLIGAN: I did not intend to intervene in this at all, but three remarks that have been made render it necessary that I should. Deputy Heffernan makes a contrast between the methods employed by the Department of Industry and Commerce to collect facts for fixing the cost of living index number “in whatever way they were arrived at”—that was his phrase—“and casual inquiries that I have made.” If that is really the foundation of the Deputy's speech—casual inquiries about whatever method the Department used to investigate a certain question—I do not think his details can be considered to have been founded on a good basis. Deputy Cooper talks of the impossibility of the Irish trade in apparel meeting the demand, and he has introduced two other questions— the question of sweated wages and the question of a sufficiency of skilled labour. He makes the deduction that there is not a sufficiency of skilled labour because Deputy Mrs. Collins-O'Driscoll has asserted that there are advertisements now appearing in the Press for dressmakers. Well, that is the most easy-going deduction that has been ever made in this House since I entered it. Because, he tells us, the fact that advertisements appear in the Dublin newspapers for dressmakers proves that skilled dressmakers cannot be found in the country—because those advertisements appear for skilled dressmakers, therefore that is a proof that skilled dressmakers cannot be found in the country.
Major COOPER: I merely thanked Deputy Mrs. Collins-O'Driscoll. My information is that it is hard to obtain skilled hands, not alone in this industry but in other industries that are taxed. I stated that Deputy Mrs. Collins-O'Driscoll confirmed that deduction and I thanked the Deputy for confirming my deduction by the statement she had made.
Mr. McGILLIGAN: I can leave that point with this remark, that there were about 1,200 machines—I am taking one thing only, ready-made clothing—employed for about a quarter of the time. We have therefore still to absorb all these skilled hands who are available, and to keep these machines going full time. We have certainly that amount of skilled labour to go on with, and my information from the trade, backed by every conceivable manufacturer, is that there is no scarcity of skilled labour in the ready-made clothing industry.
Mr. McGILLIGAN: I am taking that as the biggest example. It is the biggest item of the Budget tariffs. I do not say that what I say on that will rule with regard to the other things. I said here last night that on the matter of umbrellas it did not rule. That is a very small matter, but I urged that on the basis that it was going to give a certain relief here and was not going appreciably to raise the cost of living. Now let me get back to the ready-made clothing. There is a sufficiency of skilled labour as far as ready-made clothing is concerned. As regards wages and sweated conditions, there are Trade Boards operating with regard to the ready-made industry, and the wages paid are above the minimum Trade Board rates. The Trade Boards were specially and specifically set up so as to preclude sweating. Therefore, so far as sweating is concerned I think that point has been met.
Mr. McGILLIGAN: I cannot say that they are so much as that. They are certainly almost that above the Trade Board rates in Northern Ireland, but they are hardly that above the Trade Board rates in England.
Mr. GOREY: For the information of the general public, I would ask the Minister to give us a definition of the word “sweated.” It is not possible to get a definition of the word in any dictionary, and I wonder would the Minister give us a definition of the word himself.
Mr. McGILLIGAN: I thought that would be the most acceptable definition to the farmers. I do not pretend that it is a definition, because I do not believe all that the farmers say about sweated conditions in their own industry. As to whether we can or cannot cope with the demand I have some figures here to which I wish to call attention. There are about sixteen ready-made clothing factories in the Free State, and there are installed about 1,200 machines. There is provision  already made for the installation of at least 2,000 machines. You have to get down to unit figures here, and for that purpose we take as the unit one suit equalling two overcoats from the point of view of production. That is the way the matter is looked upon in the trade. The understanding is that each machine can turn out either two suits per day or four overcoats per day. If you take the total number of machines operating in the Saorstát before the Budget was introduced as 1,200, this number can be increased without any difficulty to 2,000. Take the figure as 1,300—that is only an increase of 100, where there could be an increase of 800, and it is obviously a minimum—these factories could turn out in one year either 780,000 suits or 1,560,000 overcoats.
Last year we imported boys' and men's garments to the value of £800,000 and overcoats to the value of a quarter of a million. That gives you a total of £1,050,000. It is estimated that the actual production in the Free State in 1924, as well as these imports, was either 100,000 suits or 200,000 overcoats. Taking these on an average as costing £1 per suit——
Mr. McGILLIGAN: They were working on half-time and on quarter-time. If you take the figures I have given— taking the unit as one suit being equal to two overcoats and at the cost of £1 —you get 1,050,000 suits, and adding to that the estimated home production of 100,000 suits you get a total consumption of 1,150,000. The existing factories can instal up to 2,000 machines and these machines producing at the rate of two suits per day gives a production of 1,200,000 suits. Last year the consumption was 1,150,000. On these figures I do not see why anyone should be pessimistic as to the ability of the  ready-made clothing trade to meet with the demand.
Mr. McGILLIGAN: I have not the figures worked out with the same detail or on the same lines for hosiery. I should say, however, that the installation of machinery for the manufacture of hosiery is somewhat more expensive than the installation of machinery for the manufacture of ready-made clothing. But I can say this, that there is not the slightest doubt as to the total consumption being met within a year in this country. I do not mean that we will have to wait until the end of twelve months before we are in a position to deal with the demand at home by home production. I do believe, if what is put to me be correct, that there is a possibility of increasing the export trade that there used to be. There used to be quite a considerable export trade in hosiery which fell away during the war, but it is taking up again, and I say that can be increased enormously. I do not pretend that the figures I have for the wholesale clothing trade can rule there, but it is undoubtedly the biggest item in the whole tariff. I give these figures for what they are worth, and I say that the three points which Deputy Cooper made are met by those figures and that we certainly can cope with the demand, that the wages are not on any sweated basis, and that there is no lack whatever of skilled labour. If these points be met, and these are only specific points in the case which Deputy Heffernan might have made but did not make and on which it could have rested, then I hold that his case disappears.
Major COOPER: But it is the value of the imports that is the important point. I hold that my calculation is still right that the ready-made imports were about £1,050,000, as the Minister said, while the imports of other clothes, not including hosiery, were £2,750,000, and the tariff charged is charged on the value.
Mr. McGILLIGAN: That, of course, gets us into the question of ladies' clothing. I dealt with one aspect of that last night, on the question of hats, and what was said on hats last night will, in general, rule with regard to costings for ladies' clothing. It is not so much a question of having to fight against mass production, because mass production cuts at the root of what is required in ladies' clothing. It sets out the pattern which is a copy and copyable, and also what is not required as far as this country is concerned with regard to the import of clothing for women; what actually is required is taste and design. I am not sure that that can be supplied right away. Deputy Good did make the point that we could make allowances for models in the way of costumes coming in and for skilled labour being trained in the Technical Schools. Provision of that kind may have to be made, but as to a much more difficult question, as far as the people who are mainly concerned, the people about whom those on the Farmers' benches are concerned—the farmer's sons and daughters—I say they are going to be met by the wholesale clothing trade. They are definitely going to be met by that, and can be met by that.
Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: There was one point in Deputy Heffernan's argument that I do not remember was met in the debate that followed, and is a matter of some importance to the farmers of this country, and through the farmers to the country generally and the whole community. It was his suggestion—and I want to be very careful not to misinterpret anything he said— if I understood him correctly, that the effect of protective duties would be to put land out of tillage and increasingly into pasture. I think that was the tenour of his argument, and that  was the impression conveyed to my mind. What are the actual facts as they exist in history in regard to this very matter? Is it not a fact that land going out of tillage and into pasture was directly, in this country and Great Britain, the effect of free trade and the passing from protection to free trade?
Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: The argument is not weakened by the interjection that Deputy Heffernan has made. It is strengthened by it. We are entering upon an adventure, and the Minister for Finance frankly admitted it to be an adventure into the future. It can be quite reasonably contended against what I am now arguing that the production of things that have occurred in the past may not prove an effective guide in the future. But in any case let us be perfectly clear as to what was the effect in the past, and what are the actual facts, as we have them before us. It is a fact not only in Ireland, but in Great Britain also, that the passing of land out of tillage into pasture was the effect of free trade, and, consequently, the land remains in pasture and there is no very great tillage. It is also a fact that those countries that have turned from what is known as a free trade policy to a protective policy, have been countries that have gone back from pasture to tillage which that changed. That is a fact. There is Germany and the United States, but we need not go outside our own country. Go back for the last two centuries, and it will always be found when there was a measure of fiscal policy of a free trade character prevailing in this country that was the period when you had land in pasture, and when the contrary prevailed, as under Grattan's Parliament, that was the time you had a very greatly increased amount of tillage.
As I have stated, and as the Minister for Finance stated, in introducing these duties, they are put forward in the nature of an experiment, and if that experiment proves not to have  been accurate it will be possible to change them, and, as I have already said, an argument produced from the past may not be an argument that will be justified by the future. But in any case let us look at this thing as it occurs, and let us see what is the effect, and if the introduction of a free trade policy has meant the introduction of a system of land going into pasture on a large scale, and if in every country, without exception, that I know or can call to memory at this moment that has passed from free trade policy to protection policy, land has gone increasingly out of pasture into tillage——
Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: The fact, nevertheless, remains. Take a modern example—I am asked by Deputy Sir James Craig what exactly the point is. The immediate point is to offset the argument put forward by Deputy Heffernan that the introduction of those duties would mean that land would go more and more out of cultivation and into pasture. That may or may not prove to be the case. We cannot tell. But if it does prove to be the case, it will be contrary to the experience of other countries in the same matter. If the experience of other countries is to be any kind of a criterion for this country, the effect of these duties will be that land will pass out of pasture into tillage, contrary to the argument put forward by Deputy Heffernan.
Mr. GOREY: To most members of this Dáil, when Deputy Figgis makes an argument in favour of anything, generally it is the most convincing argument against what he says. Very few of us ever believe anything Deputy Figgis says in this House. If the cause of land going out of cultivation was what he said, if he said that we are now part and parcel of the English fiscal system and that by what we now propose to do we would reverse that and revert to protection against the British Isles, it would be perfectly sound. But he forgot to mention that our market is in  England. It is absolutely dishonest to be making these arguments.
Mr. JOHNSON: I think it is necessary for someone to ask whether it is in order for a Deputy to make a series of statements of the kind that Deputy Gorey has made in reference to Deputy Figgis. I think it is only fair that Deputy Figgis should be protected against that kind of imputation.
Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: I am much obliged to Deputy Johnson for having intervened on my behalf. I would not intervene on my own behalf. I have never asked anybody that any remarks be withdrawn. I am always prepared to deal on the basis of debate with any statement made. I did say that apart altogether from what happened in this country the experience of Great Britain was time after time that as a fiscal unit of its own land in Great Britain, exclusive of Ireland, had gone out of tillage and into pasture with the introduction of free trade, and, therefore, the argument was complete  and intact in respect of the unit which I chose.
Mr. GOREY: Well, I will use another word. It is not a fair picture after the confession of the responsible Minister —the Minister for Agriculture—the other evening that this country could afford no protection whatever to agriculture. The confession is fresh in the mind of every Deputy in this House, and if Deputy Johnson would be less anxious that public money should be spent in this country merely for the purpose of giving wages, with no other express wish on his part, I think he would change his tactics a little.
Mr. JOHNSON: Will the Deputy give any instance of where I suggested wages, without a fair and adequate return? Will he give any single instance of where I suggested that, either publicly or privately?
Mr. GOREY: I have yet to know how they are unfairly attacked. I am asking for a quotation and, when I have that, I am ready to accept it and to withdraw. Deputy Johnson, in his speech in reply to Deputy Heffernan, asked us if we are going to pay more wages and are we satisfied to pay more wages. He asked us are we going to be more liberal in our scale of payment. Now, that is the usual type of question we have been always having from Deputy Johnson, regardless of the fact that only a small proportion of the farmers of the country pay wages at all.
Mr. GOREY: Only a small proportion pay wages to people other than their own families. The greater part of the agriculture of the country is carried on by farmers, assisted by their own families. They pay no wages to their families. Only a small amount of pocket-money in the week is given, and sometimes there is no pocket-money at all. A very modest outfit is given to farmers' children in the way of clothing, and it costs very little in most parts of Ireland, for the simple reason that the farmers cannot afford it.
Mr. GOREY: Deputy Johnson wants to increase that cost. He is perfectly satisfied that cost should be increased as against those people. He suggests that even the little comforts they have at the moment, and the little pocket-money that is given to families instead of wages, should be affected. That is his argument. He has been trying to make capital as against the Deputies on the Farmers' benches and that is the actual argument that he has been using. Apart from the personal aspect, and  taking the big broad view that some Deputies have asked us to take, anybody listening to the Minister for Lands and Agriculture, when he was taking item for item of our agricultural produce, cannot but agree that he was proving to the House that not one item of that can be protected.
Mr. GOREY: Listening to the Minister making the Government case, based possibly on the information of his staffs and on the expert information at his disposal—not, of course, with the assistance Deputy Wilson could give him—one was given food for thought and must come to the conclusion that this is a country that cannot protect its agriculture. It is my own opinion. Almost altogether our market is outside our jurisdiction. We cannot touch it; we cannot interfere with the system. I have heard that statement made; it was my own opinion, but I am now convinced all the more. I ask Deputies is it any wonder that the farmers here, and the farmers in the country, are very much concerned about impositions that we all know they will ultimately have to pay? The question has been asked: “Are the farmers going to pay any more in wages?” That would be direct payment out of the farmers' pockets. I say, and every farmer must admit, that in addition to direct payments, all the indirect payments must come out of the main industry. There are very few exports irrespective of the agricultural produce that is exported, and therefore in the long run, everything can be traced back to the main industry, agriculture. The wages of the labourer in this city, the profits of the businessman in this city, and of business-men all over the provinces, all come back ultimately to agriculture, and the cost has to be borne by that industry. I  do not think in the circumstances anyone can wonder at our view-point on this question.
I do not like the argument that I have also heard here that prices will not be, and have not been, increased. That is misleading. I was going to say it is dishonest, but I prefer to say it is misleading, because Deputies have objected to the word dishonest. No rise in price is reasonable. If prices here kept pace with the sweeping reductions outside the Saorstát, there would be no rise. If, within the last 12 months, prices here kept pace, even in proportion, with the reductions outside the Saorstát, the outlook would be very much different. I assert that the prices here are almost 50 per cent. higher for boots and clothing than the prices in England, even without this impost.
Mr. GOREY: No, the tariff is in addition to that. It is not due to the tariff. It is due to the conditions here that, perhaps, Deputy Johnson could have helped to remedy. I have often told him that across those Benches. Will the Department concerned with this, the Ministry of Finance, see that some proportion is maintained between the prices here and outside the Saorstát, and that there will be no increase in prices? Will the Minister see that there will be a proportion between the prices here and the prices obtaining outside the Saorstát? It is very easy to find out the brand of what is sold here, and it is easy to compare the price with what is charged elsewhere. It is easy to know the price of ready-made clothing here and the price outside the Saorstát. Ready-made clothes nearly all bear the brand in regard to quality and grade, and the names of the firms manufacturing them. Will the Minister see they are sold here with only a 15 per cent. difference compared with the English price, or even anything approaching a 15 per cent. difference?
These are some of the matters we want a declaration on from the Government Benches. We want to know that there will be no increase in  price. Does anybody want to establish the fact that the present prices should be maintained for all time in the Saorstát, regardless of prices outside? I want the Dáil to take cognisance of outside prices, and these prices and the prices here ought to bear some relation to each other. I know there have been sweeping reductions last year and the year before in prices, but we saw very little of them in this country. We are opposed to this tariff because we believe that, with one exception, the Minister's statement was reasonably right—that this country is not in a position to protect, except to a very limited degree, the many articles produced in the agricultural industry, and it is only in a very limited degree we are able to protect a few.
Mr. MORRISSEY: I have heard no member of the Farmers' Party try to prove to us by any figures that this resolution is going to increase the cost of living to the farmers. What is the actual position? Under the Budget the farmer gets the benefit of the reduction in tea, sugar, coffee and cocoa, and he gets the benefit of the reduction in income tax.
Mr. MORRISSEY: If Deputy Gorey sets a bad example. I cannot help that. The farmers, as I say, benefit from the reduction on tea, sugar, coffee and cocoa and in the income tax, plus a subsidy of £600,000. Where do we get this £600,000? By the imposition of the tariff which the Farmers' Party is opposing. I know in my constituency this £600,000 has meant a reduction of 1s. 8d. in the £ in the rates. Is that of no benefit to the farmer?
Mr. MORRISSEY: The Deputy has tried to convince the House that the farmers are going to be driven once again into bankruptcy if this resolution is passed. As far as my experience goes, I think this imposition will press more lightly on the farming community than on any other section, for the reason that the majority of farmers and of farmers' sons do not wear ready-made clothes. They buy Irish tweed and get their clothes made to measure in their own country.
Mr. MORRISSEY: I am not going to say anything about the Strand suit, that Deputy Davin referred to last night. What I have said is a fact, and if it is a fact, as Deputy Gorey admits, how does he say that this resolution is going to hit the farmer more than anybody else? As far as I see it is the other sections of the community who should be bombarding the Minister for putting extra cost on their clothes, not only to help industry, but to give a very handsome bounty or subsidy to the farmer, because that is what it amounts to. As far as I see,  no other section benefits as the farmers do. The thing is not genuine. The farmers are opposing this resolution because they think they must do it on principle, not because they think it is not going to be a benefit to themselves or to the industry of the country—either that or they are afraid that as a result of the help given by this Bill to industries the time will come when they will not be able to come in here with the usual claim that they are representing the dominant industry in the country.
Mr. MORRISSEY: We heard from Deputy Wilson that if the cost to the farmer is increased the wages will increase. That is a very simple statement. The cost of living has increased very considerably in the last twelve months, and I have not heard of an increase in wages to meet that. The cost of living has increased very substantially during the last four or five months.
Mr. MORRISSEY: The worker is paying less now for his tea and sugar, but he is paying a good deal more for his bacon, beef, and mutton, if he can afford to get any. The farmers, who are getting nothing and who are being driven once again into bankruptcy, are getting £8 or £9 per head for sheep for the last four or five months.
Mr. MORRISSEY: I will be told by Deputy Gorey, of course, that the reason agricultural produce in this country cannot compete with the agricultural produce of other countries is because of high wages, from £1 to 25/- per week. High wages! I think, as I said in the beginning, that the farmers are not sincere and earnest in their opposition to this resolution. They are simply opposing it because they feel it is their duty to do so. I think instead of this being an added burden on the farmers that they are going to come out more on the right side as a result of the Budget than any other section of the community.
Mr. BAXTER: I came in just in time to say to Deputy Morrissey that if things go on as they have been going on we will not be found in this country when the next Budget comes up. I have just met by accident a deputation in the hall of this House. I met a man there whom I met in another part of the world a few years ago, and I met him here for the first time to-day. He is up here with a deputation from the Midlands to the Government. They are being pressed by the Government to pay their rents, although all their cattle and sheep are dead. I heard that story in the hall just now. He said they had come up, but they have nothing to get. I said I was amazed to hear a story like that coming from the Midlands, but he said that it was quite true. When Deputy Morrissey and some others in this House talk about present conditions they are talking about something they do not understand. I am very often inclined to think, when I hear this question of tariffs boosted, that Dublin is the main concern. You  sometimes think there are many people inclined to shout, or if not to shout to take action which means, “Up Dublin, let the country go to the dickens.” There is no doubt, and we are not going to deny it, that these tariffs will have the effect in Dublin of giving employment to a certain limited number of people. We admit that. There are, I think, 46,000 unemployed in the country to-day.
Mr. BAXTER: Deputy Morrissey says that there are more. I am going to suggest that if the policy that is being pursued is continued there will be more than 46,000 unemployed this time next year. I say, on the other hand, that a corresponding effort on the part of the Ministry to organise or stimulate production in the agricultural industry will do far more to absorb the unemployed than the methods that they have adopted. No one will claim that the 46,000 unemployed, whom we have, and the others whom we are going to have, are technically trained and capable of going into technical trades, and taking their part there. Nobody can make that claim on their behalf. Most of our workers are unskilled labourers, and there is more scope for them in agriculture than in the sort of industries you are trying to establish.
If productivity in agriculture can be stimulated, it can absorb many more. There is any amount of room for development and expansion, and you will not have to adopt the methods of protection which you afford to these industries you are trying to bring into existence. You can get them by other means, and, at the same time, you will bring into existence these other industries, because any increase in productivity in agriculture, any betterment of the conditions of the farmers of the Saorstát, will give employment, will mean the spending of money, and will give a stimulus to industry in the towns and a few cities. If you want to bring these industries into existence, and make it possible for them to live, there is one way, and, so far as I see, one way only of doing it, and that is to  make it possible for the farmers to do something more than merely eke out a bare existence, to make it possible for them to live, and then they will bring other industries into being.
Until you do that you will have to breathe artificial respiration into the lungs of these industries, and to continue that policy. What will be the effect? The effect will be, as I stated the other day, that you will bring them into existence and put us out of existence. Beyond doubt, the serious condition of agriculture to-day can hardly be realised. There will be no trouble whatever in tempting people from the land. I know that there is a difference of opinion on this very big question, and it is right, perhaps, that there should be an honest difference of opinion. Deputy Johnson is as honest in his opinion, I am sure, as I am in mine, but I fear, and I am convinced, that you are not going the right way about bringing new industries into existence.
There is really only one industry, and there is any amount of room there for development by organisation and by better methods of education, rather than by a system of protection that will not protect. If you improve our condition, the condition of others will improve correspondingly. There are too many difficulties in the way of trying to make these industries live here, and it is very problematical whether your efforts will be successful, as, no matter what anybody says, the prices of commodities here are, and will be, regulated by world prices. Whether it be ready-made clothing or anything else, the price of such commodity must, at all times, be affected and regulated by the price in the world's market of such commodity. We know how easy it is to change the price of an article in this country.
We know how the financial markets of the world affect our prices and markets here. We know what a slight alteration in the rate of exchange may mean to our prices, and as regards what we can sell at an economic price as producers. Our rate of exchange may be unfavourable to another country which is trying to produce the same  articles as we are producing. We have a certain tariff on manufactures to enable them to compete on equal terms with foreigners, and, if the exchange is in our favour, in a sense our money will be more valuable than theirs. The proposed tariff will not be sufficient when that change comes about to protect our industries. What is the position then? When an industry is brought into existence on the supposition that tariffs are to be imposed to help its existence, the Minister has to go along and raise the tariff wall still higher.
There is no tariff wall to protect us. We have to buy in a protected market, and sell in an open market against the foreigner, who is buying in an open market. I do not think it can be argued from any point of view that tariffs are a sound practical way of bringing industries into existence, and enabling them to live. I believe, on the other hand, that they sap the energy of many of the people who are interested in these industries, who have a share in them, and perhaps the same applies to the workers. Industries are to-day crying out for protection, and on their behalf people are coming and, I dare say, plaguing the Minister to extend shelter to them, but these people, both workers and managers, would be better employed using their brains in trying to find a solution of the problem which is confronting them.
By all means, where the State can aid or assist these men by placing technical advice at their disposal, and assist them in a better organisation of their industry—and there is room for that—let the State do it. No one will stand against that, but I feel that when you come along and give help of another kind to people, who are standing aside and who are waiting to see what protection the Ministry is going to afford them, you are destroying the initiative of such people. If the country is to exist it must recognise that it must stand on its own legs, and try to get an air of independence. People in industry must recognise that they must cut their cloth according to their measure. If people worked harder and turned out better work, things would improve. We have to  make sacrifices to meet the situation. I cannot see that any other way is the right and proper way for this State. You may at the moment give a temporary stimulus to some branches of the agricultural industry. That will not be lasting, and it is not sound if it is not lasting.
That is not the proper way to go about it. You will, I concede, aid these industries to some extent at the expense of other people. A certain number will be employed through the operations of these tariffs, but it will mean that they will be employed at the expense of others putting their hands into one pocket and taking out as much as will actually pay these people, that they might work in that industry. That is what it means, as I see it. Deputy Figgis talked about the history of other countries in the past. The Deputy knows that the conditions now and then do not bear any comparison. In those days there was protection for agriculture, and that is what you cannot have by the tariffs in your Budget to-day.
Mr. BAXTER: It is good to make the point a little clearer. There is no use trying to make a comparison between this country and America or Germany, countries that are almost continents in themselves, and with natural resources available for their existence, so that they may disregard other countries. That is not our position. We know our limitations, and we know there are things that it is impossible for us to produce here. On the other hand, there are certain other things we can produce more favourably than most other countries. I think it is an accepted economic law that you should concentrate on the production of those things which you are most favourably placed to produce. If, through the operations of the tariffs, industries come into existence, and get a certain amount of life and energy breathed into them, and if, as the Minister for Finance says, the revenue accruing from these sources is to dry  up after a little while, and I believe it will dry up, then it will be only when the masters of industry here have concentrated to such an extent on mass production that they will be able to compete with other countries who have also concentrated on mass production.
I think we can all see to where that leads. Mass production here will certainly give us crowded towns and cities. A policy like that will inevitably develop along lines that will bring about such results. I do not know whether or not that is the sort of State we should bring into existence. If you are to compete against the other fellow you must have mass production, and that means thousands and thousands of workers crowded together under conditions that are not, even under the best methods, by any means satisfactory. There is always the temptation in the rural districts to go into the towns and cities. The industries will be built up at the expense of the rural population and of rural industry. You will be going along a line of development that I do not think would be accepted as the right one. It would be far better, I believe, to concentrate on the industry that is the mainstay of the State, and try to develop industries subsidiary to it in the rural areas.
If everything was accomplished that could be accomplished with that industry, and when it was made absolutely secure, and would not be made to suffer more than it could bear through measures of protection, then would come the time for the State as a whole to consider this policy. That time has not come. I think the Minister's resolution is too soon and inopportune, and it is making us pay in a way that is not acceptable and that will be hurtful. It will actually raise our cost of production, and defeat our efforts to try and meet the foreigner. If that operates long enough, the only effect would be to depress the agricultural industry more than it is to-day. When that comes about it will be very regrettable indeed.
Mr. D'ALTON: Listening to the speeches that have been made from the Farmers' benches to-day, and comparing  them with the statements from the same quarter when the Budget was introduced, one can only come to the conclusion that the farmers have met to consider the question since, and that now they are waking up. On the last occasion I, amongst others, asked them why it was they did not put before the Minister for Agriculture some scheme of protection, which according to some of them was necessary for the farming interests. They were divided then, but they have one mind to-day, at least openly, in support of this amendment. The amendment has been the key-note for a very scattered discussion, and it has also given an opening to Deputy Gorey to make some of his usual delicate references to other Deputies, but luckily Deputy Figgis did not notice them.
Deputy Baxter referred to the question of mass production and its necessity in Ireland. Why is there any occasion for mass production to supply the needs of our own people? I did not understand that it was in the mind of the Minister for Finance in preparing his Budget that Ireland was going to compete with other countries on the same scale as Germany, England and America. The idea in most of our minds has been that this country ought, to a certain extent, be in the position to meet its own needs in food, clothing, and otherwise. The facts given by the Minister for Industry and Commerce ought to put those who hold those notions as regards protection, thinking. We heard from Deputy Gorey that the farmers' sons got all their clothes made at home, that they did not buy ready-made clothing, and that they always support Irish industries, provided that they get good quality and good value. I was delighted to hear Deputy Gorey's statement, but if the farmers' sons are getting their clothes made at home in their native places, how then is the extra cost following the protection on clothing going to affect the farmers?
Mr. D'ALTON: If I misquoted the  Deputy I am sorry. I understood the Deputy to say the majority of the farmers' sons got their clothes made at home, and that is very pleasing and satisfactory. If we all bought clothes produced by the workers at home, we would not have to be paying the dole to such an extent. People are idle because there is not work for them, and it is a question of supporting them, or else those in foreign countries, thus assisting emigration. It has been said by the Farmers' Party that protection of any sort is of no value to the farmers. When the Budget was introduced I gave facts and figures. They have been forgotten, though the record of them is there. Perhaps some Deputies take care to forget statements that are made, simply because they do not wish to agree with them. There are none so blind as those who will not see. The majority of those engaged in business and trades in Ireland are the sons of small farmers. Deputy Baxter said when he was referring to the deputation that was coming to see the Minister that the farmers in their district will soon have to leave if protection comes in any form.
If we are going to have a series of bad harvests, if cattle are going to die, it would be a blessing for the small farmer to have some outlet for his sons and daughters, rather than keep them at home at an occupation that is only sufficient to support his wife and himself and one child. As a matter of economics, you cannot get beyond the fact that that man must find some outlet for his children. Is it not better for him to try and find an outlet for them in industry in his own country after spending money on their education and clothing, rather than ship them to earn their living in America? I know that small farmers look at the matter in that light. Small farmers are absolutely keen on the protection of industries in the interests of the country.
Deputy Baxter stated a while ago that Deputy Johnson suggested that protection would only mean the giving of wages to people for work done. Any work done in a country cannot be a loss. One would nearly want to get a sledge-hammer to drive that into the  minds of some people. Work always has its natural results. The natural corollary of work is wealth. You must work to produce wealth. I am absolutely in agreement with Deputy Gorey in one thing, that we want more work and more output here. We will not get that by always decrying things. We are not likely to advance by saying that there are no possibilities outside agriculture. I heard the statement made thirty years ago that there was no hope in doing anything further for the Irish farmer. The Irish farmer has done a lot since then. To my mind the only form of protection the Irish farmer wants is protection against himself, and he wants that badly. This Dáil has been largely engaged in passing Bills in the interest of the Irish farmer. Some of these Bills were found necessary many years ago, long before this Dáil or the Sinn Fein movement was thought of. I remember bringing home from Denmark photographs of a farm where nine cows were kept, each of which was giving 400 gallons of milk yearly. Three of these cows were kept, six were sold and four were purchased and these seven cows were giving 1,200 gallons of milk each. In this country we have cows still only giving three hundred or four hundred gallons per year which is a hopeless return for a farmer to have from his cattle.
Mr. D'ALTON: When bringing Deputy Morrissey to task, sir, you said you had already given a certain amount of latitude. Ready-made clothing is very important. If we consider the advantage that its manufacture here would be to the country we would not be against protection. Deputy Baxter has said that he did not believe in spoon-feeding and that it killed initiative. Many industries in this country were intentionally destroyed in the past. These industries were native to the country. There is no use in farmers saying that there is nothing in this country except our cattle, sheep horses, and butter. That is not a fact. There were other industries which the country lent itself naturally to. Certain  things can be produced here because we have the raw material. We had the weaving and spinning industry owing to the delicacy of touch of our Irish women.
I remember one of these Irish industries for which I was the means of getting a small subsidy at the start. That industry was done away with, but the work done by the girls engaged in it was so much better than that done by English girls that the Irish girls were taken over to England and given good positions in the factories there. The same thing occurred in other industries. That would apply to the hosiery, glove-making, and kindred industries. If you have in Ireland people engaged in industry who prove themselves so capable and qualified that they have been induced to go to another country because the people of that country could not turn out as good work, that shows the possibilities before the people of Ireland if they only get a chance to get going. If the farmers would only recognise that the help given to them in connection with the improvement of their stock, bueter, etc., should be extended to other industries, they would be helping themselves in the best possible way. They would be building up the home market which Deputy Wilson referred to. A home market is a very useful thing to have. It will not interfere with the outside market. I oppose this amendment, and I hope that it will be withdrawn. I hope the Farmers' Party will have the common sense to withdraw it in their own interests and in the interests of the country of which the farmers form such a very large and important part.
Mr. BLYTHE: I do not think that it is possible to disassociate the particular resolution under discussion from the Budget as a whole. We have drawn up a scheme and we cannot take something out of it and let the remainder of the scheme stand. I have no hesitation in saying that if there had been no new impositions of taxes there would have been no increase in the Agricultural Grant. We would have given remission of taxation in the income tax and tea and sugar duties,  and the Agricultural Grant would have been allowed to stand. I believe that the farmers are really coming better out of this Budget than any other class in the community. I do not believe that they will suffer any serious handicap as a result of the new taxes proposed.
Deputy Cooper said that the particular tax imposed by this resolution would be very heavy during the first couple of years. I think he was taking a wrong view entirely of the matter. Those taxes are not a burden on the community until they cease to yield revenue. So long as they are yielding revenue they enable us to remit other taxation. If there is going to be an actual dead-weight burden on the community it can only arise after they cease to yield revenue and when the taxes that we have remitted must be reimposed or some other new taxes substituted for them. The real question as to whether this particular duty will impose a dead-weight burden on the country or not depends on this: As the yield from these taxes decreases will increased revenue come in as a result of the employment given?
If we employ several thousands of people, who are not now employed, as a result of this tariff, will their consumption of sugar and other dutiable commodities give us revenue somewhere near the amount of revenue we lose through the development of industries and through the reduction of imports? As a matter of fact there is even another aspect of it—that is, assuming that the goods produced here are almost fifteen per cent. higher than the goods produced abroad. If they were almost that, and if the additional employment gave us additional revenue in other duties corresponding to the revenue that we will get at the first from this particular tariff, then there would be no net dead-weight-burden on the country or practically none.
I believe this is a type of industry that may well sell its goods at the outside rate, by the time the imports have been brought down to the lowest point that they can be brought as a result of the tariff.
 As I said, the degree of skill required in the making of many parts in wearing apparel is not very great, and the equipment required is not very expensive. Many firms can be set up, real competition can exist, and many branches of the industry have been carrying on in a limited way in competition with all outside.
There are not many shirt-making firms in the Saorstát, but some have carried on in the face of competition, both in the finer and coarser types of shirt, with outside makers. There is no reason at all why people who will start or who will expand their business, as the result of this tariff, should not continue to sell at competing rates. The position is such that without a tariff and without some encouragement people are not willing to put money into industry. Our Irish boot factories have always carried on, not perhaps in a very flourishing way, in competition with outside makers. The prospects were not so good that anyone was going to put money into the industry, but one of the results of the tariff is that already a new factory is working. People have put money into it. Another new factory will be ready to work in a very short time. Farmers and all sorts of people have put £300, £400, and £500 into that industry.
As a result of the tariff you get a stimulus, and as long as you put tariffs only on industries suitable to the country, that have a fair chance, and industries in which there can be considerable competition, there is no reason why there should be any appreciable difference, even with the tariff, between the price here and the outside price. If you put your tariffs on industries, such as heavy engineering industries, for which this country is unsuitable, you are going, if the tariff is an effective one, to have a dead-weight charge on the community. I do not believe these industries will, when the tariffs have had time to take effect, impose any appreciable charge on the community. I believe we will be able to continue the remission of taxation that we were able to give because of these tariffs. I believe that our other taxes will yield better because of the greater employment in the country. There  may be some slight difference, but in any case it will not fall entirely on the community, because I believe—when the tariff has time to have effect—that there is going to be nothing like a 15 per cent. difference between the cost here and the cost outside. In many of the articles there will certainly be no difference at all. Some branches of the industry, which have been carried on here in competition, will be extended and carried on in competition in future at rates equivalent to the rates outside. Other industries which have not been successfully carried on here will, I believe, because of the skill and direction to be brought in from outside, be carried on on a competitive basis in future.
Deputy Cooper talked about the harshness with which this tax will bear on the father of a family. I think he was answered by Deputy Johnson. There is, I think, nothing more heartbreaking in this country than to be continually approached by people to get employment for boys and girls of 17, 18 and 19 years of age, who have left school, and for whom no work can be got. I think, even if there were to be some little extra cost, the most hard-pressed father of a family would bear it if he felt that there was a prospect of employment for children for whom there are very small prospects now.
Deputy Gorey asked would we maintain, or see that a proportion was maintained, between the prices charged here and the prices charged for articles made outside the country. I do not believe the Government can do that. There was a difference before these tariff proposals. I believe that any difference that existed before the tariff will not be increased as a result of the tariff. There are many reasons for the difference, and I have no hesitation in saying that one reason is that there is no industrial spirit here. There are too many people going into distribution, and if you can turn money and energy from distribution to manufacturing, it will tend of itself to bring down prices. Apart from that, I believe the only way to bring down prices is by consumers creating organisations that will do so. I think it is a great misfortune in this country that  we have not a well-organised consumers' co-operative movement, such as they have in England, as it is a check, at any rate, on other traders.
Mr. BLYTHE: I would not agree with the idea of attempting to control prices, appointing hordes of officials to make investigations, and making necessary the establishment of actual rings in the distributive trade which, perhaps, we would not get rid of when we got rid of attempted control.
I think Deputy Baxter can hardly have been serious when he stated that protection saps the energy of the people. There have been many examples of great industries being built up under the shadow of protection, and established definitely by the help of protection. The people who have now taken money out of deposit accounts in the banks and put it into boot factories, when they saw the chance, are taking risks that they did not take before. They have not had their energy sapped by the protective tariff. I believe if you give opportunities and perhaps, in a sense, special rewards in a country where there is no spirit for industrial enterprises, you are not sapping the energy of the people. I believe they would have quite the opposite effect. But if there are well-established, strong industries, and that you give them protection against any breath of competition that comes along, if you do not allow them to meet their own difficulties, and buffet with the waves that come along, then you might sap  the energy. You cannot compare a country like this, not really industrially developed, with a highly-industrialised country or with a country successful in industry. There you may have risks of taking people off the strain, as it were. There it is merely a question of inducing people to enter on the creation of industry.
Mr. BLYTHE: That is one of the reasons why the Government did say that for a period we would have no further protective tariffs. We want the people who are not likely to get it to bear in mind that they must go back to their industries and make the best they can of the job. I believe that to hold out the prospect of protection to any industry that raised sufficient clamour would have a very bad effect, and that you would have energy taken from real work and devoted to political agitation of a certain type. I, for one, do not agree with the conception of national life that Deputy Baxter seemed to put forward, when he said that the tendency was to concentrate on the things that can most easily be produced. That might be so, if you had regard only to economics and if you did not consider individuals. If you thought nothing of the people and confined all your attention to figures on paper, you might say that the only thing this country should produce was beef.
But we do not look at the matter in that way. We have regard to the community and to the nation, and we want to create a sort of life here that will be a richer, a more varied, and more satisfactory life than the life you would get by directing your national  policy solely along the lines of finance and of abstract economics. We cannot say that it does not matter at all about the people who are brought up here, and who have to go out of the country; that we are concerned only with the people who are brought up here, destined by their parents to inherit farms. We cannot take up the attitude that those others can go to other countries or go wherever they choose, that we must conduct our national policy along the lines of pure and abstract economics. I think it would be worth while for the people of this country to take a somewhat wider view —to develop industries, to develop variety in life here, and to give opportunity to the talent that may be brought out here, rather than concentrate on some one thing and sacrifice all else.
The Farmer-Deputies—not meaning it, perhaps—in their speeches, seem to advocate sacrificing all else to agriculture. I think that is not a thing we should do. Even looking at it from the economic point of view, I do not think it is sound. The country may have half-a-dozen bad seasons, but it will be better able to endure the shock and recovery will come sooner if it has some other string to its bow. If we had not even had the industries which exist in this country, and if we had been dependent on agriculture solely, I think the situation would be worse than it is at present, after the two or three bad summers which we have had. I think, from every possible point of view, there should be such development of industry as can be effected. I have no hesitation in saying that it would be unwise and short-sighted for the Dáil, even if it were so inclined, to adopt Deputy Heffernan's amendment. The Dáil divided: Tá, 52; Níl, 11.
|Earnán de Blaghd.
Seoirse de Bhulbh.
Louis J. D'Alton.
Máighréad Ní Choileain Bean Uí Dhrisceóil.
Patrick J. Egan.
Seosamh Mac a' Bhrighde.
Liam Mac Cosgair.
Maolmhuire Mac Eochadha.
Tomás Mac Eoin.
Pádraig Mac Fadáin.
Risteárd Mac Fheorais.
Pádraig Mac Fhlannchadha.
Risteárd Mac Liam.
Seoirse Mac Niocaill.
Liam Mag Aonghusa.
|Pádraig Mag Ualghairg.
Tomás de Nógla.
John T. Nolan.
Michael K. Noonan.
Peadar O hAodha.
Mícheál O hAonghusa.
Ailfrid O Broin. Seán O Bruadair.
Risteárd O Conaill.
Parthalán O Conchubhair.
Máirtín O Conalláin.
Aodh O Cúlacháin.
Eoghan O Dochartaigh.
Séamus O Dóláin.
Eamon O Dubhghaill.
Peader O Dubhghaill.
Pádraig O Dubhthaigh.
Eamon O Dúgáin.
Séamus O Leadáin.
Fionán O Loingsigh.
Domhnall O Muirgheasa.
Séamus O Murchadha.
Máirtín O Rodaigh.
Seán O Súilleabháin.
Caoimhghín O hUigín.
John J. Cole.
Bryan R. Cooper.
Sir James Craig.
|James Sproule Myles.
Mícheál O Dubhghaill.
Seán O Duinnín.
Donnchadh O Guaire.
Mícheál O hIfearnáin.
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