Wednesday, 2 November 1927

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 21 No. 7

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Motion:—“That the measures hitherto adopted by the Government for the relief of unemployment are insufficient and ought to be extended immediately.” (Deputy Morrissey.) Debate resumed on amendment:—

To delete all words after the word “That” and substitute therefor the words—“recognising that further measures for the relief of unemployment will involve additional provision out of public funds and may consequently impose fresh charges on productive enterprise, the Dáil is of opinion that while no reasonable method of promoting further employment should be neglected, care must be exercised in the adoption of relief measures to ensure that the evil which it is sought to remedy is not aggravated by the placing of an undue strain on the resources of industry and agriculture.” (Minister for Finance.)

Mr. P. HOGAN (Clare): Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  It is, I believe, very desirable that a scientific examination of the causes of unemployment should be conducted, and conducted impartially, by people with a knowledge of the causes. I do not think, however, that this is a suitable place for the conduct of such an examination. I think, further, that the necessity for the relief of unemployment is too great to delay until such time as we can find a suitable atmosphere and suitable people for the examination of the problem. If there emerge from this discussion certain fundamental principles I think we will have advanced a good deal along the road towards a solution of the problem. [620] I was very sorry to hear Deputy Cooper saying that he could not accept it as a principle that the State is responsible for finding work for its citizens, especially when that statement came from such a good constitutionalist as Deputy Cooper. I should like to refer him to some things that probably he had forgotten when he made that statement. One of the things I would refer him to particularly is Article 3 of the Constitution under which we are functioning. That Article distinctly sets out that all the citizens of the State are entitled to all the privileges of the State. I would ask any impartially-minded individual, any person who views the position in an unprejudiced light, how can it be claimed that the 50,000 or 60,000 or 80,000 people who are at present unemployed, and who are insufficiently fed and clad, whose children are not receiving all the consideration they should receive in these matters, are receiving the same advantages under the Constitution that many of the other citizens are receiving. That is a matter that Deputy Cooper overlooked when he stated that he could not accept it as fundamental that it was the duty of the State to provide employment.

I would put it to Ministers in another way. If it were possible that 20,000 or 30,000 citizens were in danger of death or serious illness, would we not consider it the duty of the State to make an immediate attempt to come to their aid? Would we not think it our duty more or less to pool all the resources of the State to try and save those people? Has it not been said in connection with the recent terrible happenings on the West Coast that it is the duty of the State to come to the aid of the dependents of those who were drowned, and to see that no further catastrophes of the kind occur? Therefore, I think it cannot be argued that it is not the duty of the State to preserve the lives of citizens when they are threatened. It must be accepted that there is as much danger to the lives of the citizens through hunger and cold, through being insufficiently clad and badly housed, as there may be from attack either from external or internal forces, or from physical violence from any quarter. That is the [621] position of the State towards its citizens. It is the fundamental duty of the State to see that every citizen gets employment.

It is at least a consolation to know that one Party in the State has accepted that as a fundamental principle. If we can accept that, we then come to the other question: what is the extent of the present distress and unemployment? I do not propose to follow, because I confess I would not be able, the highbrow economics that have been indulged in here by Deputies on both sides of the House. I should like to remind those people who indulge in these highbrow economics that the question before us at present is: what are we going to do within the next three or four months to relieve the very acute distress prevailing? We should come down to bedrock and ask ourselves what is the number of people we have to look after and what is their condition? In normal conditions we would naturally turn to Government Departments for information as to the number of unemployed. Our experience in this matter, however, is not such as would lead us to believe that we can accept the information available to these Departments. We cannot accept it that they have sufficient figures to enable even themselves to come to a decision as to the number of unemployed. We have, therefore, to turn and see what is the number of unemployed in the various districts that we come from. We must inevitably say something about local conditions, because we have no information that we can rely upon as to the number of unemployed in the country.

It was very interesting to hear the Minister for Finance tell us that if there was sufficient distress in the country there would be no cure except by the restoration of uncovenanted benefit. One was surprised to hear another statement coming from the same benches, made by the Minister for Local Government and Public Health, that there was between £300,000 and £400,000 paid in home assistance. One would imagine that ought to be sufficient proof that there was sufficient necessity for the restoration of uncovenanted benefit: that there is at present paid out between [622] £300,000 and £400,000 by way of home assistance. It would be interesting to know what the Minister for Finance meant when he said that the Government could only embark on economic schemes, and that anything given by way of relief to unemployment must necessarily put an impost or extra cost upon industry. Can we get away from the fact that we have to maintain the unemployed at the moment? Can we get away from the fact that we spent this £300,000 or £400,000 in home assistance for something that produces nothing? Yet we hear talk that everything we do in this connection must be economic.

I would like to give the Minister some information of what is happening in this matter in the County of which I have the honour to be one of the Deputies. I find that in my County £250 a week is paid out in home assistance to some 2,000 people. If we dismiss 50 per cent. of those and say they are unable to work, we have still one thousand. Is it put forward as a practicable proposition that this thousand must continue to draw home assistance until such time as we can have economic schemes on which to provide work for them? Is it suggested that this expenditure on home assistance is in itself economic? Cannot something be done to prevent the expenditure by people who can ill afford to pay it of this £250 a week on home assistance?

The suggestion seems to be that we are not inclined to indulge in productive work. On behalf of the workers of my district, and I think every Deputy will say the same on behalf of the workers of his district, I say what the workers require is work not commiseration. They do not require commiseration or anything in the shape of relief if it can be avoided. The worker wants work and is prepared to give something in return for it, but until such time as work is available we suggest to the State that inasmuch as industry will have to maintain the unemployed as it has to maintain them at the present time in some form or other, then, until productive work can be found, uncovenanted benefit should be extended and those people should not be allowed to send their children to school in a semi-starved condition and they ought [623] not to be compelled to live themselves in semi-starvation as a good many people are living to-day.

If we accept these two principles, that it is the duty of the State to do something in this direction, to conserve and preserve its citizens from cold and hunger and distress, and that there is a very large amount of hunger and distress in the country at the present moment, then we can probably advance a further stage.

But here people will say the difficulty is: where is the money to come from? We will be told that, I am sure, from the Ministerial Benches. We have been told that the credit of the State is high and I believe it is. We are told we will be able to find money quite easily. Then what is there to prevent a larger loan being obtained than has been suggested, not from the Ministerial Benches, but from other sources—I do not know whether the information is correct or not as to a larger loan. What is to prevent a larger loan being floated to such an extent that public works would be put in motion that would increase the wealth of the nation, because, after all, it is not merely relieving distress without getting something produced. At present, I think, without indulging in highbrow economics the need of the nation is more production and increased wealth. After all we need not be afraid of applying for a larger loan. If we do so, we probably will have less fear of unemployment in the future.

There is another source, and I think it is as well we should refer to it, because the President told us that credit was shouldering national and international obligations. I suggest that the shouldering of national obligations is the primary duty for us. The people of this country, if I may say so, have the first mortgage on the resources of the country and whatever we are paying by way of yearly levies, to any outside country, might well be postponed until our own national difficulties are settled. The other country and those other people who claim that we owe a certain amount of money—£250,000 to be paid for 60 years—could wait for such time until we find ourselves able to pay. I think there will be some difference of opinion as to whether we owe that [624] money or not but I am not going to indulge in any argument on that question at the moment. But there will be no difference of opinion as to the need of the money in this country at this moment. Probably an agreement could be arrived at with the people who claim that we owe them this large sum of money so that it could remain in this country for a number of years. They are not in such need for the money as we are. Therefore, I suggest that if Ministers set themselves to the task they could find sources from which money could be made available. I do not intend to travel further upon this subject, because I think it has been very well argued, than to lay down three propositions that should be followed by the Ministry. The first is that it is the duty of the State to save people who are in destitution, for many people are in destitution, and many people to-day accept semi-starvation as their normal conditions of existence. Semi-nudity and semi-starvation are the accepted normal condition in some districts at present and it is the duty of the State to prevent that and to save citizens imperilled by these attacks just as they would be saved if attacked by internal or external enemies. The second proposition is that there are in this country scores of thousands of people who are in immediate need of that consideration and, thirdly, that the national problem is a matter of greater concern than any other problem outside the country and that, therefore, any obligations that we are imposing upon ourselves in the discharging of international obligations should be waived in consideration of the obligations we have within the State.

PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTER for FINANCE (Mr. Bourke): Information on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  Zoom on Séamus Aloysius Bourke  I am very glad to note that the tone of this debate, which threatens to out-rival, in duration, at all events, the memorable debate on the Treaty, is considerably more moderate than that of similar debates on this question on previous occasions.

In these debates I think the general tendency was for Deputies on the Opposition Benches to start off with the premises that no good can come out of the Government Benches, that Deputies in Opposition have a monopoly of [625] all the political and economic wisdom in the Dáil. As was to be expected, very little good resulted from a debate pursued on such lines. It is much better to start with the assumption—and I am glad that that seems to be the general tone in this debate—that every Deputy with a sense of responsibility is sincerely anxious to find a solution of this very difficult and complicated problem. I think if the test, cui bono, is to apply to this case it will have to be admitted that the Government party, which is primarily responsible for initiating legislation and carrying on administration, has more to lose by the aggravation or unnecessary continuation of the unemployment problem than any other party.

It is one thing to desire a solution of a problem, to leave no stone unturned to solve it, but it is another thing to find a solution and, above all, to find the best solution. Inexperienced Deputies, no doubt, find it much easier to discover solutions for such problems than those who have experience of the difficulties to be contended with and the obstacles to be overcome, before a person can achieve even a moderate amount of success in any department of governmental activity. Enthusiastic Deputies on the other side have their panaceas for all our difficulties and all our problems of to-day but the question is whether such panaceas stand the test. The principal panacea that has been brought forward to solve this problem by opposing Deputies seems to be to put into operation the policy of whole-hog protection, forgetful of the facts of history, forgetful of economics and of the fact that in the early years of the present century, when conditions were more stable, and accordingly statistics were more reliable, the United States then, as now, the greatest exemplar of whole-hog protection and having at its disposal then, as I presume it has now, all the essentials of great industrial development and a great measure of prosperity amongst the working classes went through several serious economic crises and had on several occasions periods of acute industrial depression and widespread unemployment.

There was, at the same time, in spite of the policy of protection, a similar state of affairs in Germany where unemployment [626] was widespread and where emigration was acute. I do not state that as an argument for free trade against protection but I merely state it to show the difficulties which surround the position and that you cannot find a solution off-hand. Every case has to be considered on its merits. The Minister for Agriculture cited a case showing one of the apparent contradictions in this problem of protection versus free trade. He pointed out that it was in the tillage districts that the greatest consumption of the tillage products of other countries took place. That is only one of the anomalies that we are confronted with in dealing with the protection policy. It may also be pointed out, and it is admitted by those who have gone into the question, that by placing, for instance, a tariff on barley instead of increasing the price to the Irish farmer he would get a lower price for his products.

These are the sort of anomalies, apparent contradictions, that you are up against all the time in dealing with this very difficult problem. Deputies on the other side have made the bald proposition that this country would get on very well with a tariff wall erected around it and that in five years' time it would be self-supporting. That panacea may provide increased employment of a certain kind but it is bound to lower the standard of living and to deprive the country of the amenities of civilisation which are regarded as practically essential in all countries. It is also going to increase the emigration problem. It may have the result of increasing our population. Ireland had a much larger population a hundred years ago than it has to-day but we must remember what the standard of living was then. A great number of people lived on potatoes and salt.

A DEPUTY:  They have not got even that to-day.

Mr. BOURKE:  The emigration problem is very serious, but some kinds of emigration are more serious than others. When you have the most thrifty, industrious, energetic and enlightened people going away it is much more serious than if you have only the ordinary kind of emigration. You had that kind of emigration in France when the [627] Huguenots left that country and conferred the benefit of their skill on England, France's industrial rival. You had a similar emigration after the Treaty of Limerick, and that is one of the problems which you will be up against by imposing a policy of wholesale protection. There will be another kind of emigration, namely, that of capital, which, under certain circumstances, can be almost as serious as that of manhood. That is the first solution we have been offered. The second solution is the proposal of giving increased employment by the State. If there is not sufficient employment by private enterprise why not, it is asked, the State come to the rescue and, by public works and relief schemes, carry the country over the difficulty?

It is almost an axiom that no Government in any country, at any time, has been able to deal adequately with the problem of unemployment. A Government may tide the country over an acute industrial crisis or may mitigate the hardships of unemployment for a fairly lengthy period, but no Government has ever been able to find a complete solution of the problem. There is a well-known law of taxation—I am sure every Deputy has knowledge of it—the law of diminishing returns. You can only tax a certain class of commodity or a certain class of the community up to a certain point and increase your revenue. After you pass that point, instead of increasing you diminish your revenue. That is a principle that is equally applicable to other branches of governmental activity than taxation, and it is applicable in this case. A Government can give employment up to a certain point and can relieve unemployment by doing so up to a certain point. When you pass that stage, while the amount of unemployment given by the Government is increased the amount of employment generally given in the country is diminished.

I do not want to recite a litany of all that has been done in the way of providing employment. All the Deputies, even the opposing Deputies, have it off by heart now—the Shannon scheme, etc. Suffice it to say, and it will have to be admitted, the Government [628] has done its share in that respect, and that no previous Government in the history of this country has done so much in providing public works and relief schemes as the present Government, and it is prepared to spend more. There is, however, a limit to what the Government can do in that respect. After it passes a certain point instead of improving the situation it worsens it. A straw shows how the wind blows, and we have had some experience of the fact that we may not be so very far away from that point at the moment. When I was in the Local Government Department I remember, and Deputies on the Labour Benches may bear me out in this, that there was a decided tendency on the part of local authorities to cut down expenditure on essential services that were giving employment. That tendency was particularly marked in the case of grants made out of the Road Fund for road development in the various counties. It was very marked in certain county councils. There was an endeavour to cut down the amount they were expending on road maintenance, which would have given employment, by the amount of the Government grant. The reason for that was that local authorities, composed mainly of ratepayers, found overhead charges pressing severely on them, and they availed of every opportunity to relieve themselves of any burden, and would not impose burdens on themselves that would help to relieve unemployment. Similarly, under the Housing Acts large sums were available for local authorities and private individuals for building houses. This money has not been absorbed. Private individuals and local authorities are not prepared to face any further charges.

I have the same experience, and this is the point I particularly rose to deal with, in my present position in the Office of Works. We have an arterial drainage scheme in operation, with £50,000 available to make the Act operative. Up to the present it has not been availed of. Certain reasons have been suggested—that the Act was cumbrous, and that we had not experienced engineers, which is of course untrue, engaged in putting the Act into operation. The real reason is that under the Act three different [629] bodies are in a position to veto any proposition. First, the Government can refuse to carry out the scheme as being hopelessly uneconomic, requiring, say, 90% of a grant out of central funds to make it economic. Secondly, the local authority can veto the scheme if they do not wish to contribute anything themselves. Thirdly, the land-owners who would benefit under the scheme have power to veto it if they do not approve of it. In a great many cases the Government is prepared to make a grant in aid up to fifty per cent. of the entire cost of the scheme, but the local authority is not prepared to contribute anything. Even in a case where it is not necessary for the local authority to contribute, and where a grant of thirty-three per cent. on the part of the Government will make the scheme economic, landowners refuse to co-operate, though the landowner is losing nothing by the drainage scheme. His land is being benefited, and the only charge put on him is one equal to the amount of annual benefit his land would receive as a result of the scheme being carried out. The reason land-owners refuse to co-operate is because of overhead charges—rates, taxes, Land Commission annuities, and cost of labour—making it, in their opinion, uneconomic to put the scheme into operation. We in the Office of Works are putting our heads together and doing what we can to get over that snag, for it is a snag, and it is not the Government that is responsible. We are at the point where the tendency is to decrease the amount of employment given by private enterprise. Everyone knows that employment given by private enterprise is much more beneficial than employment given under the State, much more economic, and in every way sounder. It is going to help the State very little if as a result of employing a man by putting money into public works, a man is taken off other work which is being carried out by private enterprise. That is the great danger. There is no use in Deputies getting up and saying it is the responsibility of the Government, the responsibility of this Party, to see that there is no unemployment in the State. This is a national problem and will have to [630] be faced as such. In that connection, I would like to say there is no use in the Labour Party throwing the responsibility on us. I think one of the reasons we have this unemployment problem is due to the failure of the Labour Party to rise to the occasion.

A LABOUR DEPUTY:  What occasion?

Mr. BOURKE:  The Labour Party have been far too ready to follow the lead of their friends on the other side of the Channel——

Mr. MORRISSEY: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  You are speaking of your own Party.

Mr. BOURKE:  —where the conditions are altogether different, and where they are laying down a policy in the heart of a very rich Empire.

A LABOUR DEPUTY:  Yes, the heart of the Empire.

Mr. BOURKE:  Yes, that is where some of the Labour Leaders take their policy from apparently. Conditions on the other side are different.

Mr. MORRISSEY: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  They are better than here.

Mr. BOURKE:  They are not better. You have over there a wealthy industrial country, and the principle of the division of labour is carried out to a higher degree than ever it will be in Ireland. A different policy is required for Ireland from what is suitable for England. In this country you have scarcely any division of labour, and no class distinctions of the kind prevailing in England. It is impossible to lay down watertight compartments as required by rigid trades union regulations. The Labour Party have got plenty of brains, I am glad to say, and it is up to them to hammer out some policy for Irish labour that will keep the standard of living up to a proper level, and at the same time see that their policy will not be in any way a clog on the wheels of progress. Every class in the community will have to take off their coats and put their backs into the work. A great many people will have to make sacrifices if this problem is to be dealt with.

Mr. BRISCOE: Information on Robert Briscoe  Zoom on Robert Briscoe  I rise to support Deputy Morrissey's motion, and I propose [631] to confine myself as much as possible to the wording of it. First of all I would like to state that in view of the fact that we have an expressed principle as regards policy with regard to the unemployed from the Minister for Industry and Commerce that is in absolute opposition to that which we on these benches hold, it is very difficult to see what good will arise out of the question if people lose sight of the fact that the point we hold is that it should be the duty of the Government, no matter what Government it is, whether Cumann na nGaedheal or otherwise, to look after all the citizens of the State. From that point of view I would like to deal with some points which I have taken from the debates on this question during the last few days. The Minister for Finance, in his speech, showed that he did not care whether he increased or decreased unemployment. He said: “We could build a certain number of houses in the year, and build them at existing costs, but if we try to build a large number of houses the demand for workers will be so much greater, the demand for materials will be so much greater, and the alternative opportunities for contractors will be so much more numerous that costs will tend to go up.” That is one of the reasons why the Minister for Finance is not in agreement with a proper housing scheme, because he might find that there would be no unemployed in the market as a result of the schemes that the Government engaged in, and no cheap labour. The Government had admitted that they would not tackle the problem for fear they would do away with unemployment, and as a result that the unemployed would come into their own, and get decent wages as workmen.

On the question of forestry, the Minister for Finance runs counter to the Minister for Agriculture. Members on the Ministerial Benches seem to have their own private views as to how the Government should be run. They have no settled policy, and what one Minister says is contradicted right away by another. Yet we are asked to believe that they are doing everything that a Government could do [632] to relieve unemployment, and to bring about better conditions. On this question of afforestation, the Minister for Finance stated that a great deal of the money goes in the purchase of land and in purchasing fencing materials. “It is very difficult to give a great deal of employment, especially where funds are limited, and where they want to do the work on an economic basis.” Deputy Davin asked a question as to whether the funds provided were sufficient to tackle the problem in a proper manner. The Minister for Agriculture interposed, and said: “Oh, yes, splendid forestry land is bought for £3 or £4 an acre, and there is generally a good bit in hands.” They have the land, but they have not got the money.

The Minister for Finance proceeded to talk about tariffs. In talking of them the Minister forgets that he is talking of tariffs and naturally speaks of them as taxes. He is afraid to interfere in any way with a tariff measure. He does not want to help industry by putting on increased tariffs because he says it will interfere with the revenue. You put on tariffs in the case of boots and shoes which proved to be insufficient. If Deputies on the benches opposite were to approach this particular item from the viewpoint of those engaged in industry as well as from that of the unemployed, they would not concern themselves with the matter of revenue but would tackle the question on a tariff basis. If the Minister for Finance were to look at the report of the Tariff Commission, he would find that it had suggested that in the application of tariffs a reservation could be made. They recommended that where tariffs on certain commodities were put on, that where the people who are making these commodities were found to be using the tariffs as a means of enhancing their own profits, that the Minister for Finance should have a reservation in the Act whereby he could either remove the tariff clause from that particular commodity or could reduce it. The Minister for Finance, in winding up his speech, said, “We ask the Dáil in considering the matter to remember that there is another side to it and that both sides should be considered.” He proceeded to advise us to take the wisest, [633] the middle course. There is the motion that we have to decide on and there is the amendment, and the Minister, I suppose, wants us to do “Jinks” and not vote at all. That is the only construction I could put on the Minister's final words in the debate.

When we come to the Minister for Local Government, his argument is that we cannot tackle the housing problem in Dublin because the local authorities will only permit the building of a thousand houses per year. In connection with that, I would like to quote from the report of the Commission on the relief of the sick and destitute poor. In particular I would like to refer to a remark that was made by Senator Sir John Keane. In referring to the County Councils and the local authorities he says:

“In this connection I feel compelled to comment generally on the increasing tendency of the Minister for Local Government and Public Health to fetter and control the local authority. There is hardly any matter, however trifling, for which his consent is not required. In one case that came to my knowledge recently, a small payment of £10 to a County Surveyor for extra work done had to be sanctioned by the Department. In the same council proposals for the reduction of rate collectors' poundage were rejected and other proposals were imposed. In the Act of 1925 the words which imply or require the consent of the Minister appear 23 times.”

Yet we are told here that it is the local authorities who are hampering the Minister for Local Government in the building of houses, a work which would alleviate the unemployment problem.

The President, in the course of his speech, said that he was only going to reply to the big trout on our side and that he was going to leave the small fry aside. Even though I suppose I would be included amongst the small fry by the President, I am going to call attention to some points in his speech. I refer first to the report of the Commission on the relief of the poor. The President is quoted here as having stated on page 18, paragraph 98, that “it has been well and truly said that kindly care for the poor is the best sign [634] of true civilisation,” and again “that the condition of a Nation's poor indicated the character of the national mind.” On the preceding pages of the report I find a reference to the number of unemployed people, hungry and starving, who are found travelling by night in search of work from town to town. The Guards, I presume, prepared this summary at the request of the Department. In one single night they found, in the metropolitan area alone in the month of November, 116 men and 18 women, travelling from town to town in search of work. Outside of the metropolitan area they found 248 men, 33 women and 44 children. These figures were put down definitely as relating to people travelling in search of work, not to those unwilling or unable to work. The fact at any rate is that you have roughly over 500 people looking for work. Yet the Government tell us that they have done and are doing everything that is humanly possible for the relief of the unemployed and should not be criticised. I am sorry that Deputy Morrissey's motion is not in stronger terms although I heard it said from the Government Benches that it was rather harsh.

The President happens to live in the same parish that I live in—Rathfarnham parish. I can quite understand why the President is living in a state of blissful ignorance as regards unemployment in this country. In our parish of Rathfarnham, Whitechurch and Ballyboden there are 150 unemployed. There are houses off the main street there in which people are living, and, in the words of the Parish Priest, they are not fit for animals to live in. Yet we are told that the Local Government Department can do nothing because it is hampered by the local authorities. We have been told also by Ministers and by the President that “we have not heard a cry of great distress.”

The President stressed a point about the building of one thousand houses. Does that figure include the tenement houses which are not fit for human beings to live in? I asked him, if the figure did include houses that had to be demolished and decent accommodation put up in place of them, would not his total of one thousand houses be [635] interfered with? The President tried to evade the question, but eventually he agreed that it did not interfere with that number. We have had the admission from the Minister for Local Government that there are people in the City of Dublin living in houses that have been condemned as dangerous. Mind you, these are not houses that are unfit because of insanitary conditions, but houses that have been condemned as dangerous. We have people idle in the city looking for work, and we have money available for house building operations, and yet people are allowed in these times to live in such houses. I wonder what the attitude of the Government would be if we had another storm like that of the other night, if houses were blown down and if people lost their lives. I say and emphasise that if anyone came into my constituency and saw the horrible conditions that surround it he would say that the Government must take in hand immediate measures not only to give employment immediately, but to bring about better conditions for numbers of our people. I would like to get some of the Ministers to see that not only are the houses dangerous, but unfit for people to live in.

We have in the City of Dublin numerous derelict sites on which accommodation could be built. I have had a case brought to my notice by the ratepayers of Meath Street. Two years ago a deputation, headed by Father Hayes, called to see the Commissioners and asked them to do something in that neighbourhood. Half that street is a derelict site. Yet nothing has been done since, and I suppose we will be told they are waiting until they have the whole street, or until the Shannon scheme is finished. We had an answer to a question put by Deputy Good, that there were 17,000 children for whom accommodation could not be provided in schools. Yet we have unemployed men anxious to get work. I have a report which appeared in the Press on the 26th October of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. It contained an urgent appeal on behalf of Dublin's poor. The Provost of Trinity College who, I am sure, not even the Ministers on the benches opposite can accuse of being partial, or of having any political motives [636] in stating that Dublin is a city of contrasts, refers to the Civic Week splendour and the poverty of the big areas. These are the situations we have. The President told us that, due to the progressive measures adopted by the Government, 100 industries were established and that 10,000 persons found employment. I challenge the President or any member of his Executive to enumerate 25 industries started since they came into office. At the same time, I would like them to tell us how many industries have closed down since their administration, and how many people were thrown out of employment. These comparisons would probably be interesting. Deputy Donovan from Cork got up and quoted the fact that he was quite satisfied that the Government had done everything possible and were not deserving of censure. Yet, when I went back and read Deputy Donovan's speech in the debates of March of this year, I find that he was not so satisfied or content. Although he seemed to have forgotten that what he said then exists at present in his area, I would like to refresh his own memory. He speaks of Adrigole, and says:—

“I was out there a month or two ago. There is room for the Land Commission to do a great deal in that district. They have roads which you could not call boreens; in fact, they have no roads, and there is certainly room for the Land Commission to spend some money in that district.”

Now we hear everything is bright and happy in that part.

Mr. O'DONOVAN: Information on Timothy Joseph O'Donovan  Zoom on Timothy Joseph O'Donovan  The Land Commission have works in progress there all the year.

Mr. BRISCOE: Information on Robert Briscoe  Zoom on Robert Briscoe  I understand from a Deputy who happens to be a representative of that area that there is distress there, but he happens not to be a Farmer Deputy, so I can quite understand.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  If Deputy Briscoe leaves Cork to the Corkmen, he will be well advised.

Mr. BRISCOE: Information on Robert Briscoe  Zoom on Robert Briscoe  The Minister for Agriculture gave a very interesting explanation of the average farm. I have been reading this through, and I cannot understand it. I would like the Minister for Agriculture to read [637] through his own suggestions and see if he omitted something, or if I am dense with regard to mathematics. He speaks of the average farm of 200 acres, and wants to prove by a demonstrative argument that our contention as to protection with regard to feeding stuffs in this country for animals is wrong, and he proceeds to tell us about this farm. He says: “The farmer getting that farm of 200 acres has at present 30 acres under tillage. He has to carry a lot of stock in the summer, and, in addition, to provide food for stock in the winter. I am speaking of the average case. In spite of his tillage he has to pay £400 for feeding stuffs. You may say: ‘Let him grow more.’ Assume he can, and what do you find? To grow it he has to till 50 acres more, that is 80 acres in all.” So far, I agree with the Minister. This is where I begin to disagree. Where does he get that? At first his farm was 160 acres in all. He had, say, 180 acres entirely. Twenty acres disappeared. The Minister saw in advance that his 200 acre farm was not going to work out for the purpose of his argument in accordance with his desire. The 200 acre farm decreased and is now a 180 acre farm. He says he has 120 acres left. He has perhaps 20 acres of waste land. That is another idea of getting rid of more of the surplus land. Therefore he has 100 acres grazing land for his stock in the summer. For that 100 acres he has to till 60 acres more. I cannot understand where he gets this if it has to be added to the original 80. It puzzles me to know where he gets this from the Minister's figures. I understood from the first statement the Minister made that he would have to till an extra 50 acres to give him the £400 worth of feeding stuffs that he used to import. This is the kind of argument we get put up to us which is supposed to impress us, I understand, when we speak of protection and when members on the opposite benches speak of no protection. At present men are being laid off from the Inchicore Works, because of materials which had hitherto been made here now being imported from the other side. I have here labels which were sent to me of the items coming in and the tenders as provided in the Press. I understand men have been laid [638] off their work from week to week. I want to appeal to Deputies in this House to try and introduce a little more feeling for their fellow men. It is time we realised that the state of unemployment is critical and that something must be done. I appeal to Deputies in the Cumann na nGaedheal Benches, who are not in the Ministerial ranks, or who do not hold Parliamentary Secretaryships, to vote on this matter as their conscience will dictate; to vote for Deputy Morrissey's motion, because it is essential that something should be done immediately. You cannot afford to let this go on from year to year. I appeal to Deputies, if they have any desire to see this country growing to strength and to stop emigration, to agree that everything has not been done by the Government that should have been done and to alleviate distress among the unemployed.

Mr. GOOD: Information on John Good  Zoom on John Good  After listening last week to a variety of speeches on a variety of subjects covering every aspect and department of economics it was refreshing to hear you, sir, bringing us back this afternoon to the terms of the amendment which we have been discussing. You reminded us that under the terms of the amendment two important principles had been put forward by Deputy Morrissey with which you were in sympathy. These principles were that the Government should provide work or, as an alternative, maintenance. While I have every sympathy, as I think every member in this House has, with the unemployed, I am afraid we will achieve very little in a discussion such as this if we discuss questions of tariffs and other abstract problems instead of keeping to the subject of the debate, which is the serious problem of unemployment. If we can get Deputies to concentrate on the different arguments put forward for the relief of unemployment, I think we will all agree that this debate will have achieved a useful purpose. If we discuss problems only indirectly connected with unemployment, I am afraid that we cannot say that the amount of time given to a debate such as this has been well spent. We have been told that it is the duty of the State to provide work or maintenance. I am not in agreement with those principles. I have yet to [639] listen to any argument in support of those principles from any Deputy who subscribed to them. As far as I know the conditions in the various countries of the world to-day, I do not think there is one country amongst the lot that accepts that responsibility. Possibly I should not have said there is not one country, for there is one country which accepts, I understand, that principle and that is Russia. Russia endeavours to carry out that principle, and I am told that in Russia to-day there are ten millions of unemployed. So that is not a very strong argument in favour of the principle.

Would some of those Deputies who hold to this principle—which, I am sure, is a very popular principle to enunciate from an election platform, but a rather difficult problem when it comes to delivering the goods—and who have given utterance to those principles very freely during the last two or three months in the course of the election campaigns, tell us how we are going to carry these principles out? I will only take two particular trades. I will not refer to the building trades for fear of offending my friends on the Labour Benches. I have been already warned to keep off that subject. However, I will not take that particular trade this afternoon, but I will take two other trades, one of which is a large industry in the Saorstát—I mean the engineering industry, with a large number of unemployed in that industry, and skilled men at that. Take another industry, the shipbuilding industry, quite a big industry in the Saorstát. There are large numbers of unemployed in that particular industry, many of them skilled hands. Has any proposal been put forward that would provide employment for the skilled hands in those industries? If there has I have not heard that proposal.

You tell us that it is the duty of the Government to accept responsibility— in other words, to provide employment for the unemployed. I am only taking now a very limited view, so that there may be no difficulty about it, and I want to know if any Deputy will tell me how the Government is going to help, through its resources, the skilled hands at present unemployed in those two industries? It is all very well for [640] the Deputies to speak from election platforms about these matters. I want to know here in the Dáil how they propose to deliver the goods.

Relief schemes that have been proposed seem to be supported by almost every Deputy who has spoken. They will only help a section of the unemployed. That is very desirable. We all agree to help them, but such schemes only touch a section. We cannot put a skilled engineer on road repairing. You cannot put a skilled shipbuilder at work of that character. I want to know from those supporting that principle how it is to be carried out? We are told that if the Government cannot provide work for those unemployed it is their duty to provide maintenance. I do not know of any State where that responsibility has been accepted by the Government. We have always to examine a problem as to its practicability. Deputy Morrissey informed us that there were something like 90,000 unemployed in this small State of ours. If the Government were to provide maintenance for those 90,000, I think there would be general agreement that we could not provide adequate maintenance at less certainly than £1 per week per head for each individual. That means £90,000 a week. If you figure that out you will find that it runs into the region of £5,000,000 a year. I think we will all agree that is an expenditure very likely to be a recurring one.

Once you start to provide free maintenance for a large body of your people those who are working, and working hard, at low wages will commence to consider as to whether it is desirable that they should continue working when so many are getting ample to live, or, at all events, sufficient to live, on without doing any work. In that way we may look upon that £5,000,000 per annum as, in all probability, a recurring expenditure.

Take it for one year, if it is not to be agreed that it is to be a recurring expenditure. How is it proposed to provide the money? The 4/- income tax during last year brought in an income of slightly over £5,000,000. The Government has no fund at its disposal with which to provide moneys for this or any other purpose but what it gets from the taxpayers. Will any Deputy stand [641] up here in support of this principle and tell us that 4/- in the £ must be put on to the income tax? If you do not do it in that way, how are you to get the money? Where is the money to come from? It is all very well to enunciate those problems, but I want to know how you are to deliver the goods. Assuming that you put another 4/- in the £ on the income tax, what becomes of your industry? Is there any industry in the country to-day that can carry a burden of 8/- in the £ in income tax?

If you are not going to put it on your income tax, from what other source are you going to get the money? The Government has not got a bottomless well from which it can draw unlimited sums at will. The money provided by the State has got to be given to them by the taxpayers. How are they to get it? It is all very well to argue this question from an election platform, but we want to know from those who advance these different theories how they are to be carried out

You remind us also, sir, that much good could be achieved by such a discussion as we have had during the last few days if Deputies would devote themselves to the various problems that underline unemployment. I think we all agree—any of us who have considered the subject in any detail will agree—that unemployment is an effect, not a cause. It arises from a series of causes and if we could consider and come to some conclusion on some of these causes we could probably in some measure reduce the burden. One of the principal causes, to my mind, of so much unemployment in this City and State is the low standard of education possessed by the people generally and by the boys and girls leaving our National Schools to-day. I want to make myself quite clear on this particular point. We will all agree that in every department of industry, in view of the conditions surrounding that industry, particularly if it be a competitive industry, those we employ must be educationally and intellectually, as the result of education, the equal of those they have to meet in competition. If the boys and girls in our industries are not the equal of those found in the [642] industries of our competitors, we are not competing on fair terms.

It may surprise many of the Deputies here, it certainly was a surprise to me when I got the information, to know that the standard of education possessed by the boys and girls leaving our primary schools actually at the moment is very low. Over sixty per cent. of the boys who left our primary schools during the last four months had not got beyond the Fifth Standard. The Fifth Standard of education, as most of you know, means that a boy can barely read and write. He cannot take advantage of a technical school with a standard of education as low as the fifth. Yet only 60 per cent. of the boys leaving our schools to-day have reached the Fifth Standard. That means that the vast majority of them, by reason of their low educational standard, can only follow occupations that are already congested. The result is that our educational system is a manufactory for unemployment. That is a matter for which the Government cannot avoid accepting responsibility. Those of us who are engaged in industries—I do not mind whether as farmers or in what department of industry—have been calling for years for a higher standard of education among those we employ in order that we may hold the various markets in which we compete. But the position to-day is that 60 per cent. of the boys leaving our National Schools have not got beyond the Fifth Standard.

As long as those conditions prevail, we will have this problem of unemployment coming up year by year with increasing force, with larger numbers behind it, and I say to you—because we are all responsible in this matter—that it is our duty to see that this particular cause will not remain a cause a moment longer than is necessary. I do not want to dwell too long on these points, because a number of Deputies are anxious to speak on them, but there is one other factor to which I would like to refer that is a large contributing cause of unemployment. I mean the unrest that has prevailed in industry in this poor country of ours. Whether it is correct to say it or not I am not in a position to judge, as there are no statistics to show, but I have been told by industrialists outside it that far more strikes, [643] in view of the numbers engaged in industry, have taken place in this country than in any other country.

Mr. MORRISSEY: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  Nonsense, absolute nonsense.

Mr. GOOD: Information on John Good  Zoom on John Good  I am giving the statement that has been made.

Mr. DAVIN: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Has the Deputy any facts to support it?

Mr. BOLAND:  What was the reason for it?

Mr. GOOD: Information on John Good  Zoom on John Good  Deputies can make their speeches when I am done. I will extend to them exactly the same courtesy that I hope they will extend to me. It is just as well that we who are engaged in industry should occasionally hear what others say of us, and I am only speaking of a statement that has been made to me. We are anxious to get capital in order to develop our industries, and we are met with the answer, over and over again, that strikes are very prevalent. As long as they are so prevalent Ireland will not be a happy hunting ground for capital for its industries.

Mr. MORRISSEY: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  Would the Deputy tell the House when we had the last strike in industry in this country?

Mr. LITTLE: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  Marino.

Mr. GOOD: Information on John Good  Zoom on John Good  I know that some of the things I have to say are unpleasant to Deputies on the Labour Benches——

Mr. MORRISSEY: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  Answer the question.

Mr. GOOD: Information on John Good  Zoom on John Good  —but I always try to say them in a courteous manner, and I hope that this occasion will not be any exception. I might remind the Deputy of a case in point. In this city some years ago we established, after a great deal of trouble, what promised to be a large shipbuilding industry; we have not got to carry our minds back so many years to remember it. That industry was established very largely with the support of capital from the city. It went on very prosperously for a few years on the basis that the rates of wages paid would be the rates paid on the Clyde. As the cost of living fell the rates on [644] the Clyde fell. When those engaged in the industry here attempted to get a corresponding reduction in the rates it was refused, with the result that the industry was closed down. That industry gave employment to many thousand people in this city. After it had been closed down for twelve months, when the capitalists engaged in it had decided to leave the industry, when its trade had gone, labour decided that it would agree to the terms.

Mr. MORRISSEY: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  They were starved out.

Mr. GOOD: Information on John Good  Zoom on John Good  After twelve months. Those engaged in industry had sufficient of it, and they sold it to an English concern. It is being carried on to-day by that combine on the other side in a limited way. To-day in this city there are hundreds who were employed in that industry walking about unemployed, who would still be employed at high wages in a prosperous industry but for the action of labour. These are things that must be carefully considered when we come to deal with unemployment. Nobody will doubt that the illustration I have given has led, during the past three or four years, to a very large amount of unemployment here in the city. I am very sorry to have to say it. If there is a country in Europe to-day more than another that needs peace in industry it is this country. Since I came into the Dáil I have preached that doctrine. I am not one who supports strikes as a means of settling labour troubles. I would rather support the attitude that has been taken up in recent years in the labour movement on the other side, where employers and workmen sit down at a table together and discuss and settle the problems arising in their industry. The shipbuilding industry to which I have referred was in an exceedingly bad condition in England and Scotland some five years ago as a result of European competition. The masters and men engaged in the different departments of that industry sat down together, considered the economic problems attached to the industry, and arrived at solutions satisfactory to both, with the result that it is now in a prosperous state. Leaders in the labour movement on the other side are [645] urging on their supporters the desirability of extending the principles which have led to prosperity in that industry to various other industries, and we have a cry going out for peace in industry. I would like to hear that cry in this country to-day.

Mr. CASSIDY: Information on Archie J. Cassidy  Zoom on Archie J. Cassidy  Amongst the Irish railway managers.

Mr. GOOD: Information on John Good  Zoom on John Good  I would like to hear it started by the Labour Party. If we could have started such a movement as that we would have gone a long way towards solving the problem of unemployment.

Professor O'SULLIVAN: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Until Deputy Good rose it looked as if this debate was not going to wander over all the Departments of the State, but now that that little lacuna has been filled up, everybody is on a more equal footing. The Deputy has just stated that he holds that our system of education is responsible for unemployment. Later, I confess, he modified that somewhat by saying that there was another large contributory cause. I suggest that there are several contributory causes for unemployment at present. I do not pretend that this Government or that my Department has solved the education problem. If I did I would feel that I was not fit to be in the position I am now in. Deputy Good suggested that Deputies might be surprised to hear that 60 per cent. of those leaving the primary schools had not gone beyond the Fifth Standard. Only those Deputies who are new to the House will be surprised to hear that. I think we have had that complaint from Deputy Good before. I do not say that that gets rid of the complaint; far from it. But it was suggested to him, when he originally based the argument on the information that he had got, that the fact on which he was basing his argument did not support the argument, that is, the fact that 60 per cent. leave school before they have got beyond the Fifth Standard is not a criticism of what ought to be the normal standard attained by those who leave school. He has pointed out that the most obvious explanation for that state of affairs was irregular attendance. He speaks about conditions at [646] the moment. However, with the School Attendance Act in force, one might say that argument no longer holds good.

Might I point out that if you make the School Attendance Act more rigid, or at least more efficient, you cannot achieve the desired results all at once on pupils who have reached the age of twelve or fourteen years. For instance, if pupils have been irregular in their attendance between the ages of eight to twelve years, undoubtedly when they reach twelve or fourteen that irregularity of attendance will be shown. Therefore, even if those who are now approaching the age of fourteen are made to attend school regularly, still the previous irregularity will be, to a large extent, responsible for the failure of many pupils to attain a proper standard of education before they leave school. However, that refers only to the precise point that Deputy Good raised. I realise perfectly well that a great deal of the success with which our young people can hope to compete with people from other countries will depend upon the training that they get and on the use that they make of that training. I think that that ought to be obvious to anybody. But let us remember, when we hear, as we do occasionally, a jeremiad from Deputy Good, that, as I had to point out to him before, exactly the same criticism is levelled and the same faults are found with the systems of education in nearly every country with which I am acquainted or of which I have read.

Coming to the general debate, I think you, sir, will admit that it has developed into an extraordinary debate. It is almost unique, certainly in my experience of the Dáil. You know that I have a great desire always in matters of debate to be strictly relevant, and if I criticise in a general way some of the statements that have come from the other side, you will agree, sir, that it will be in order to foster that good will that ought to prevail and to pay that Party the subtle compliment of saying that we were hoping that the speeches were relevant to the subject under discussion. As Deputy Hogan put it, we were undoubtedly treated to a good deal of highbrow economics; in fact, the contrast in the methods by which the two Parties are supporting this [647] motion and opposing the amendment is very striking. We had—at least from the leaders; my remarks do not apply to the ordinary members of the Fianna Fáil Party so closely as to the leaders— undoubtedly a very different method of approach to this problem than we had from the Labour Benches. It could be described as a highbrow method of approaching it, certainly showing a dislike to get into grips with anything concrete. I will say for the Deputies of the Labour Party, whether I agree or disagree with some of the proposals they put forward, or some of the arguments that they use, that they certainly did try and did succeed in getting to the very definite problems with which they in their constituencies are familiar.

There is an extraordinary contrast between the two parties who for the moment are in temporary alliance against the Government on this particular motion. I know the danger of keeping to the subject too strictly. Deputy Colohan, who kept very rigidly to the subject, ran the risk of being called to order. Although he kept to the subject, he was certainly out of tune with a great deal of the debate, and the result, was that it seemed to have struck you, sir, for a moment that he was irrelevant because he happened to keep to the subject on the paper. I will refer to his speech in another context. Not only did he limit himself to the subject strictly— an extraordinary thing in the circumstances—but he also dealt with the problem of unemployment in his own particular county of Kildare. If Deputies will read that speech they will see the enormous task that is to be thrown upon the Government if they are asked to provide work for all. Remember that the demand made for County Kildare can also be made for the other counties of the Saorstát. That aspect of the matter, however, I may be able to return to in a few moments.

There is a distinction I should like to make—it has been made already, largely to stress it to the disadvantage of the Government, at least to stress it so as to throw further burdens on the Government—that is the distinction [648] between public money and public power, as represented by the central authority, and public money and public power, as represented by the local authority. I suggest that both classes of governments, the central government and the local government, ought really to be taken into account in dealing with a problem of this kind. There is undoubtedly the tendency— and it is a tendency that our Government has certainly fallen in with on the whole—for years past, as far as possible, to relieve the local authority, and to put the burden on the central authority. I have often pointed out that charges that in other countries— nearly every country—fall on the local authority, have to be borne here almost entirely, or a large part at all events, by the central authority. The two most outstanding examples of this kind, perhaps, are education and the police force. There are some countries, such as Denmark, where fifty per cent. of the old age pensions is borne by the local authority. That means, of course, that the central authority must bear the unpopularity of levying the taxes necessary to meet the charges. I am not saying that is not right—that in the particular circumstances of the country that is not inevitable to a certain extent, and that, on the whole, taking all things into account, it is not better that the local authority should, as far as possible, be relieved of these burdens, and that they should be put on the central authority. May I suggest that if Deputies look at some of the speeches made here, in which it was pleaded very strongly that this task should be borne by the State, and not by the local authority, they will find the explanation of that in the fact that Deputies know perfectly well that if borne out of the rates the charges for the various works proposed would be immediately felt, and there would be an immediate outcry. There would be a more obvious balancing, if I might so put it, between the works proposed on the one hand and the cost of these works on the other hand. It would be pointed out—I do not say not rightly—but certainly it would be pointed out, and I fear successfully pointed out, that the rates, [649] contributed largely by the agricultural community as well as by the towns, could not bear the charges for the works now suggested to be undertaken by some public authority. When it is a matter of putting these things on the taxes they are a little more concealed, and each county is under the impression that it is shifting the burden on to its neighbour. Therefore, all Deputies are nearly in accordance with the view that whatever is done for unemployment should be done by the central authority. I suggest that that is possibly not altogether quite fair— that there are local obligations as well as the obligations of the central government.

Undoubtedly it is a serious problem —it is a problem made very pressing by the general decline of prices that has followed the tremendous work of destruction in the late war. Deputy Morrissey has admitted—I think Deputy Davin also more or less reechoed him—that the Government has done a good deal to try and relieve it. They have given a good deal towards relief, but they have not gone far enough. There were eloquent appeals that this matter should be approached from a strictly non-party point of view. So far as the speeches are concerned— I do not say so far as the voting is concerned, the distinction will be so clear —I can at least say that the non-party method of attack was more obvious in the case of Labour Deputies—perhaps I am wrong, but it was to me more obvious—than in the case of the Deputies opposite. The State has helped in a variety of ways. The more obvious way —possibly in the long run the best way —would be if people with capital would be induced to set up industries here. One of the primary contributions that the State has made in that respect —and it is a contribution that cannot be forgotten, and that ought not to be forgotten—is that it has made it possible for people to put capital into industries without having to lie awake at night in the fear that the factories they built might go up in smoke in the morning. That is the first essential in the development of industry, and, consequently, the first essential in any attempt to deal with unemployment. We can claim that, with the resources [650] at our disposal, the Government has done very considerable work in that respect. They have also imposed tariffs where a case has been made out, and where they thought they would help or lead to the setting up of industries.

May I point out to Deputies opposite that when the Government was putting on a tariff they considered it from one point of view, and from one point of view only, and that is to help the industry which was to be protected. It did follow that if a tariff was put on for the purpose of protection it also acted as a tax-raising method. That was inevitable from the fact that it was a tariff. I do not know whether the Deputies opposite want us to shut our eyes to that particular fact, namely, that a tariff brings in taxes. Are we to revolt against all facts which, even from some point of view, to a Government looking for money, must be not altogether unpleasant? But the only purpose that the Government had in view in imposing any protective tariff was to protect the industry. It was inevitable that the tariff proposed should, for many years to come, also bring in money to the Exchequer. If Deputies troubled to follow the Minister for Finance the other day, or if not to follow him to read his speech afterwards, they would see that when he was referring to the tariff on boots as a tax, for the moment he was considering the revenues of the State. Was he to shut his eyes to the fact that the tariff on boots, for instance, brought in revenue? He was accused by the leader of the Opposition last Wednesday, and to-day by Deputy Briscoe, of looking upon these things merely as taxes. At the precise moment when he referred to it as a tax, was he not doing this? He asked where was the money to come from. He had gone through the main sources from which the State derives its revenue. This was one of them. Was he to shut his eyes to that fact? That is an example of the kind of criticism to which Ministers have been subjected.

Another method by which we try to help industry is by the operation of the Trades Loans Facilities Act—I shall return to that in a moment for a different purpose—and by what I may call, if I am not likely to be misunderstood [651] by the Labour Party—a policy of direct action. We have taken direct action of various kinds. We have undertaken big works which many people in this State and out of it think should have been left to private enterprise. We are being criticised and severely criticised for that. Still we have undertaken them. We have undertaken works that perhaps in other times and in other States would have been left to private individuals to undertake. This State has undertaken them here, and in that way has helped to deal with portion of the immediate problem of unemployment. It has also helped to provide some solution for the recurring problem of unemployment, only of course to some extent. Now, these matters are so familiar to Deputies that I need not mention them in detail. The fact that we have occasionally to remind Deputies of these things is not in itself any proof that they are not real. The fact that in answer to the criticisms levelled against the Government we have to reel off, so to speak, some of the services the Government rendered, and the fact that that has to be done again and again, is not proof that these services were not rendered to the nation by the Government.

So far as some of the works we have undertaken are concerned, as far as I can see other Deputies are anxious to follow in our wake and to give us, a couple of years after the event, a kind of half-hearted approval, with the suggestion that of course these things naturally would have been done better if they were there. It is a pity that they were not in a position to criticise those schemes, or did not take an opportunity of being in a position to criticise those schemes, when they were going through the Dáil.

We have made, also, time and again, permanent provision and occasional provision from year to year to deal with this question of unemployment by our road and drainage policies. So far as I know, if it is a question of immediate relief of unemployment and if there is a certain limited sum at the disposal of, say, a Government Department and the idea is to get work done, not necessarily fully economic work, but good work, and at the same time to [652] secure that most of the money voted goes to the relief of unemployment and in the payment for work, then it is not easy to see what better way there can be adopted for doing this than the work on the roads and on drainage.

Let me refer to the drainage question for a moment. Not only do we provide a very large grant, in many cases up to fifty per cent., but we do more than that. For instance, if we provide fifty per cent., and the County Council provides seventeen or eighteen per cent., that leaves something like thirty-two per cent. to be borne by the person whose lands may be improved. One would imagine from a speech I heard one day here in this Dáil that we insisted upon immediate payment of that sum from the tenant whose land is improved; that we were offering him half a loaf if he would put up another half a loaf. There is no limit to what the County Councils can give in the way of a grant, but even if they limit themselves to the mere seventeen per cent., it is really possible for public money to be put in to the extent of sixty-seven or seventy per cent. in favour of the drainage scheme. Not only is it possible, but the County Councils in some cases are willing to go even further than that. If it is said that the farmer cannot put up his share, it is pointed out that the work would benefit his farm and make it worth several shillings additional per acre more. Deputy Davin will remember that they put it at several pounds per annum, but that was only when they were interviewing Ministers. The farmer is not asked to pay that; it is given to him on long loan. Money to the County Council is also given on long loan, and the payment of capital and interest is spread over a period of thirty-five or forty years. It is not fair to describe that as a policy of asking half a loaf from a man who has no bread.

We have done a great deal of work. We are asked to do more, and not only to do more, but to accept certain principles, such as that it is the duty of the State to provide work for every citizen who is willing to work. In that connection the Minister for Industry and Commerce has come in for a lot of adverse comment, because, it is said he said more or less that it was not the duty [653] of the State to prevent people from starving. These are the actual words that he used in October, 1924:—

“It is not any function of this Dáil to provide work, and the sooner that is realised the better. I do not refer to the point referred to by later speakers; that in critical moments where there is an abnormally large unemployment problem, there should be immediate approach made to it by the Government. That is actually occurring at the moment. That is actually taking place, and there will be some approach to it, but the Government or this Dáil should not be held responsible for the provision of work in the country. It is not its business.

“Mr. MORRISSEY: Does the Minister say it is not the business of this Dáil to see that people do not die of hunger in the country?

“Mr. McGILLIGAN: That is a totally different thing,”

and he goes on to say—

Mr. MORRISSEY: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  Read on.

Professor O'SULLIVAN: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Yes, he went on to deal with the question of uncovenanted benefit.

Mr. MORRISSEY: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  Read on.

Professor O'SULLIVAN: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  I am going to do so.

A DEPUTY:  About men dying of starvation.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  The Deputy will get that phrase presumably.

Professor O'SULLIVAN: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  

“The Government has, in so far as the Unemployment Insurance Act is concerned, seen that hunger will be stopped. I do not say it goes far enough. They have started certain relief schemes to keep off hunger from other people in the country. To state broadly and definitely that this Dáil ought to be able to provide work for the country is giving this Dáil functions which it has no right to take upon itself. The Deputy also referred to the old complaint——”

How far am I to read?

A DEPUTY:  What about the people that were hungry?

[654]AN LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  The Minister is entitled to make his speech without interruption.

Professor O'SULLIVAN: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  I had the misfortune to listen to Deputies opposite for two solid days expounding their policy, and I did not interrupt any of them. Might I suggest to you, sir, to remind Deputies not to brawl in the Dáil?

Mr. BOLAND:  The Minister asked a question and I tried to supply the information.

Professor O'SULLIVAN: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  I asked the question in answer to several shouts from the opposite side.

AN LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  I think that the Minister should be allowed to make his speech in his own way.

Professor O'SULLIVAN: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  I read out the passage in question, and it is for Deputies to read out any other passage and put their interpretation on any passage in the Minister's speech in which he said that there was no duty on the State to prevent starvation. I would like to put it very seriously to the Labour Party whether they are satisfied with what I may call the formal acceptance of a principle of that kind by the opposite Party—the enunciation of a mere formula without any attempt to show how it is to be done. Various Deputies on this side of the House have again and again complained when policies are being put forward that they are put forward as if the mere enunciation of general aspirations and principles was sufficient to secure their fulfilment and realisation. No effort is made to show how these things could be brought about.

Everybody would like to see everybody at work in this and every other State, but when there is a formula, formally enunciated, that it is the business of the State to provide work for everybody who is willing to work, it should be carefully examined and an effort should be made to show how the State is capable of doing that. I am not speaking of Deputy Morrissey's alternative, but of the policy put forward by the leader of the Party on the other [655] side. I know there is that distinction, but I was dealing with one problem, the immediate problem of absorbing all the unemployed. Take that as the immediate problem. Deputy Good up to a certain point anticipated what I was going to say. I think you, sir, mentioned the figure of fifty, sixty or ninety thousand people. At 30/- a week, which is the wage about which we are generally criticised every ten thousand men out of work that have to be employed in that way would cost the State three-quarters of a million per annum, and, whether the figure is ten thousand or ninety thousand, it is easy to find what the cost would be by means of a sum in multiplication. As regards the speech of Deputy Colohan, everybody in this House, especially every Minister, is aware of the interest which he takes in the unemployment problem, especially in his own constituency, but if Deputies apply his demands to every one of the 26 counties they will have some idea of the magnitude of the task which he has asked us to face up to and solve. The question has been put again and again from the Government Benches, “Where is the money to come from?” I wish to remind Deputies that to criticise us in the way they do does not provide the money.

We have to ask ourselves where is that money to come from. I have not the slightest doubt that the Deputy who interrupted me a couple of times has one panacea for the provision of this money—that is, a sum of anything from two to five million pounds annually. That is by a saving on the salaries of the officers of this House, and Ministers. That is hardly a sufficiently serious way to deal with a question of this kind. The other savings suggested, including those on the salaries of civil servants, would not go far to meet this particular question of providing work for the unemployed. Had the demand for less expenditure, even for less expenditure in civil servants' salaries, and the other propositions which have been put forward here, been accepted they would mean an increase in the number of the employees of the State. Another method suggested is that the State should boldly step in and undertake [656] work, set up industries, and run business. Is that seriously contended by any Party? I confess that I do not know whether it is or not. If that is so, and if the suggestion is that we should undertake business and run factories on money supplied by the State, or if we are only to do what is suggested in a very off-hand fashion, as if you need only state a solution to convince everyone of its worth—both of these suggestions lead in only one direction, a complete control of industry by the State. If people want to go in for Socialistic measures, not in this or that respect, but for a full Socialistic programme, they can do so, but they should be told what they are going for.

I am not referring to Deputies on my left. They confine themselves to the immediate problem of unemployment. Those of us who availed of the Constitution before now have had some experience of the extreme difficulty which the State has in coming to the assistance of industry by way of loans. Even where industries are established everybody knows the difficulty of giving loans. The difficulty experienced in the administration of the Trade Loans Facilities Act is sufficient proof of that. Now we are asked to deal not with thousands, or hundreds of thousands, but with millions of pounds. The suggestion was made that we should get a big loan and use it for works that produce wealth. That re-echoes, practically speaking, what we heard from the benches opposite, and seems to suggest that, instead of being convinced that there are certain industries which require help, and which would repay that help, we should borrow the money first and then look round and see how we could spend it.

I ask anyone whether he would think of running his private business on principles of that kind. So far as I can see, if the policy that has been propounded as a permanent method of dealing with the problem of unemployment is adopted by this House, or by the State, you are face to face with a revolution that is not merely political but that is a moral and social one as well. I am quite sure that there are Deputies who will not shrink from that, but I say that the majority of the people would shrink from it if they [657] knew what was involved in it. I am told that there is one country in Europe where that has been tried, but as I know nothing about that country I cannot say whether it has been tried or not. We were told in one of the opening speeches on the amendment that the Fianna Fáil Party had very clear-cut ideas on this problem. I hope that the rest of the House will have these ideas clarified for it. It reminds me of what used to occur some years ago. Whenever Turkey was giving trouble the Powers would inform her that they were united and determined to take strong action. Turkey, being wise, waited, and it became apparent that there was no agreement between the Powers except that they agreed on the statement that they were agreed. Beyond that, there was no agreement. That is the clear-cut idea of the policy of the Party opposite as expounded by the various leaders. A commission has been suggested. On a couple of occasions we have heard that method of solving problems suggested here. Whether or not it would solve the problem of unemployment I leave to the Labour Party to decide.

They were not keen about it when put forward in another motion. There was also a motion to investigate, I do not know exactly what. We got a rather detailed account of it from, I think, Deputy Kennedy. Deputy de Valera suggested that such a committee should be set up in this House. It was to be an economic council whose business it would be to report to the House. President Cosgrave asked what would it deal with. Deputy de Valera said: “I suggest it should deal with four things: the present system of costing, distribution and credit facilities within the nation, and the possibility of a national saving-dividend as a result of labour-saving appliances.” What the Commission is to do is not clear to me. If the parties have very clear-cut ideas they do not want the Commission. I am rather inclined to suggest that the Commission is to educate Deputies of other parties on this new policy. I can congratulate the Fianna Fáil Party at all events on one thing, and that is if they have a policy [658] they are very good people at keeping it secret. To those of us who are not in the inner circle, so far as their policy is concerned, it is not easy to say where they stand. If there was one thing I was clear about, or thought I was clear about, from Deputy de Valera's speech it was that we were going to have a tax or embargo on wheat. He said: “Therefore, I say if we want to increase employment in the milling industry we ought, I will not say at once but almost at once, or after very short notice, with all the necessary safeguards, see that our mills will be prepared to meet the demands, and we could put a heavy tariff, or else, perhaps better, simply let in any such wheat”—wheat is the subject there, and not flour—“as we require under licence, and put an embargo probably on the greater part of it.” I thought that to a certain extent was borne out by Deputy Aiken. Speaking of corn, and not flour, he said: “Corn can be produced in those places at a very much cheaper rate than our farmers can produce it, and corn and wheat are grown by the 1,000 acres. Naturally the farmers in these areas can compete favourably against our small farmers if they are given the opportunity, which we claim they should not, to dump their cheaply-produced article here, thus driving our people to Canada, America and Australia.”

If that means anything, it looks as if we were to have an embargo on wheat. But I was amazed to hear from Deputy Dr. Ryan that it was not by any means a part of the Fianna Fáil policy to put a tax on wheat, and I think the Deputies present will bear me out that the Deputy's statement got a chorus of approval from the bulk of the Party opposite—from the greater and lesser gods of that particular Party. Deputy de Valera, I think, is putting an impossible task to the country, but I am not going to put myself an impossible task in trying to find out what that particular policy is. If they mean an embargo let them show how the licence is going to work, how at one time it is going to act sufficiently as a protective weapon to build up in the space of a couple of years industries, and on the other hand not interfere with the cost [659] of living as a tariff might. The Minister for Agriculture has already dealt with the effect of that general policy on the farming community. Practically his contention is that at a time when everybody is crying out, and rightly so, that the farmer finds it difficult to make ends meet, that he is passing through a severe period of depression, we are asked to give him the last kick to perdition. That is how certain portions of that policy appear to Deputies on this side. I doubt if those who believe in a sane policy of protection will be in any way relieved in their minds, or in any way exhilarated, by the economic display up to this in the debate by the Deputies on the other side. They have a habit of killing things by driving everything to extremes. I do not know what the future envisaged for this country is to be. You are putting a wall around the country, a country dragooned into a socialistic State. If people do not want to do things they will be made to do them. These are the people who cry out occasionally against coercion. We are to have a fort or a dun in which we will live cut off from the rest of the world. That is the idea put before the people.

A policy of nationalism does not mean a policy of isolation. Our nationalism ought to be able to live economically in the life of Europe and the world as a whole. The Party opposite, as far as I can see, does not seem to be able to go forward slowly by gradual development. They must go forward by catastrophes, always revolutionary. Revolution may occasionally be necessary, but it is a very dangerous drug, especially if it becomes a habit. We know what revolutions in political matters can cost the country, but there is now a more far-reaching, but let us hope not more disastrous, revolution proposed by the Deputies on the other side. I always suspect extremists of that kind—people who get out of the difficulty of an examination of the implications of their policy by saying: “These are matters of detail.” These matters of detail affect the lives of the working men in this country. Details are what we want, and not what the policy sounds [660] like. We want to know what the policy means when applied to the lives of the individuals who compose this country. To me, this readiness always to erect general principles of that kind and stick to them through thick and thin irrespective of the effect they would have on the people seems a desire to check any real effort of thought in the examination of the problems. What are we asked to do? To remodel our whole fiscal and economic system, and to remodel the control of our whole transport system. Everything is wrong and must be remodelled from top to bottom. Private banks are to go, and capital is to be interfered with in a serious way. I ask are these things included in the matters which the Party opposite have made up their minds on, and already have clear-cut ideas on? If not, perhaps they might subject them between now and the tariff debate to a little more examination, not to clarify their ideas, as they are already clear to themselves, but to extend that clarification to other members who are only too willing to find out what the policy of the opposite Party is if they can be initiated in any way into the finer points of that policy. This grand policy that they put forward seems to me to require a great deal more thinking out, even possibly from the Deputies themselves, than it has got. I would suggest also to the various other Parties in the House, to the different interests represented, whether on the Fianna Fáil, Labour, Independent or Government Benches to think how that policy is going to affect the different interests represented in this House and the nation as a whole.

Mr. LITTLE: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  The last speaker made me think of some Chief Secretary answering an Irishman like Michael Davitt in the British House of Commons. Everything which stands for the life of the Irish nation is always, in the eyes of those who stand for British economics in this country and for British domination, revolutionary, extreme, desperate and dangerous. Where was the money to come from? The money is to come, some of it, from where it went to. Take a very concrete and definite example. Five million pounds in gold, or perhaps more, was taken [661] out of this country during the war. It was lodged in the Bank of England and remains there. It is the property ultimately of the Irish nation through the banks. Five pounds in gold in the hands of an individual is only worth £5. As the basis for trading on credit, taking it from a purely conservative point of view as based on the bank charter by which all the banks operate, according to Mr. Hyde, who is a high authority and official in the Midland Bank of England, out of that five million pounds in gold springs at least forty-five millions of credit. I contend if that five millions in gold were in our hands, and at the disposal, say, of a State bank, that we would have it at our disposal, not at the disposal of the Government or at the disposal of sections of the community, but it would be there for the purpose of building up individual businesses.

When Deputy Good asks where is the money to come from, he does not himself appear to be aware of what has happened in Ireland, nor is he aware of what happened in England. It is not purely a matter of getting money out of any government. It is a matter of the conduct of the financial policy of the whole country. We contend that Ireland should be protected from a financial policy which is dictated from England and is dominated by English interests. It does not suit an agricultural country at all. Deputies have asked and want to know where the money is to come from. We go behind that and we suggest that Mr. Keynes, who is an accepted authority on economics, is correct when he says:

“By means of the restriction of credit by the Bank of England you can deliberately intensify unemployment to any required degree until wages do fall.... What we need to restore prosperity to-day is an easy credit policy. We want to encourage business men to enter on new enterprises, not, as we are doing, to discourage them. Deflation does not reduce wages ‘automatically.’ It reduces them by causing unemployment. The proper object of dear money is to check an incipient boom. Woe to those whose faith leads them to use it to aggravate a depression.” That is the policy which Mr. Keynes [662] contends dominates Government and finance in England at present and to which he attributes unemployment. We could follow his argument with considerable interest in Ireland, because if industries in England suffer and there is unemployment, then the Irish worker suffers, the Irish businessman suffers, and the Irish farmer suffers very considerably. Therefore, when we contend that the Government is at fault in its policy we do not do so without having an idea of what should take the place of that policy. We contend that in some way or other the principle of Sinn Fein, the principle of self-reliance, and the principle of putting the interests of the nation first, should be applied in the policy of finance generally. And the first thing that occurs to one is that it should be applied through having a State bank, a bank which would be sensitive and subject to national feeling and not merely to the policy of a group of bankers having a monopoly in the trade of money.

I do not know whether Deputies on the other side will say that that is a vague policy or not. It struck me while the Minister for Education was speaking that it took a really educated man to misunderstand his opponents properly, and certainly his distortions, by very subtle suggestions all through his speech, of the leader of our Party's proposals making them appear extreme and absurd, were a tribute to his intelligence, but not to his honesty. Deputy de Valera made quite clear what he intended. He laid down certain principles which can easily be understood, the principle of the right to work and the right of the individual to a living in the nation, and so on. I need not go over what we are all familiar with now. He suggested only one thing in order to start out upon that policy. He said: “We here on these benches say that if this question is going to be tackled seriously at all it will have to be tackled by some body set up, an economic council, a development commission, or any name that Deputies may care to call it, in association with the Executive of the day, to envisage the whole problem and try to find a solution of it as a whole.” The [663] difference between the method of approach from our side and the method of approach on the opposite benches is that we are trying to see the problem steadily and as a whole, whereas they are evading the issue by dealing with details and by telling us that they cannot increase taxation.

We do not suggest that they should increase taxation, but we do suggest that they should reduce expenditure. The expenditure of this country is out of all proportion to its size. Expenditure of a particularly wasteful nature is involved in two agreements, the partition agreement and the financial agreement. Under (1) this country is paying for a Government, which has no reason for its existence, in Belfast. It is costing something like £10,000,000 a year, and part of it passes out of this country in Imperial contributions. Then, again, there is a financial agreement by which £5,000,000 goes out in respect of land annuities and pensions. That is a total, in round figures, of £15,000,000. It may be said now that these agreements had been arrived at and must be accepted as accomplished facts. It is always open to a Government to re-open agreements. As the President himself said, these agreements are open to be re-opened, but even if they are not they are inevitable facts in Irish life to-day; they are all the stronger arguments that the expenditure of the Government here should be cut to the bone, and we should be prepared to take up a self-denying ordnance. The Ministers and those with high salaries here should be prepared to accept a self-denying ordinance which is accepted by leaders in other countries in times of great stress and crisis.

Mr. ESMONDE: Information on Osmond T. Grattan Esmonde  Zoom on Osmond T. Grattan Esmonde  Which other countries?

Mr. LITTLE: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  I am not going into the history of Europe, but anybody who is familiar with recent history even will have seen that certain self-denying ordinances of this sort have been indulged in. There is a grave crisis at present. Deputies approach it from two different points of view. It is like doctors dealing with a very serious [664] case. Some of them want to treat it symptomatically and some want to treat it by going to the root of the disease. You have got to treat symptoms to relieve the patient for the time being, but you must also treat the disease of unemployment so that starvation and unemployment in Ireland will cease to be endemic. Strangely enough the fundamental cure is to get back to the principles of Sinn Fein as applied in finance. The President said he never listened to more heresies than he did from our benches during the debate.

A DEPUTY:  Economic heresy.

Mr. LITTLE: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  Yes, I was not thinking of any other. I went home feeling dazzled by the motherliness of the President's lecture to us. I took up a primer on international finance by one who is, I suppose, a heretic from President Cosgrave's point of view. I do not know if he ever heard of a man named Hartley Withers, but in the ordinary course of economics he is regarded rather as a reactionary than otherwise. On page 2 I read the following. I may say this was immediately following on Deputy Dr. Ryan's speech, in which he proved that the President or the Government was not balancing the Budget, that in so far as it was balanced it was balanced by using a money loan which was to make up a deficit of at least £1,700,000. Here is the sentence I came across:

“Sometimes borrowers want money because they have been spending more than they have been getting, and try to tide over a difficulty by paying one set of creditors with the help of another set, instead of cutting down their spending. This path, if followed far enough, leads to bankruptcy for the borrower and loss for the lender.”

I suggest that the President should add that to the list of the heresies which he has heard from this side of the House, and might apply it by cutting down expenditure until at least the Budget is balanced. A further heresy of Mr. Hartley Withers contains a good deal of our contention, and it contains it in this way, that he merely assumes the policy of Sinn Fein for [665] England. He does not propound it, but assumes it, and says:

“As long as an individual's money is in the bank, the bank has the use of it, and not much is likely to go abroad, because banks use most of the funds entrusted to them in investments and home securities, and in loans and advances to home customers.”

He assumes the principle for England which we have the revolutionary temerity to try and apply to Ireland. Then we come up against the difficulty that at present it is the practice of Irish banks to lend money on short term loans to British banks on bills, and so on. It is owing to that that there is a shortage of capital for the exploitation of industry in Ireland. That is one of the reasons. How best to bring that money back is a question of ways and means. Personally, I imagine that it is very much better to bring it back by inducing it back than by forcing it back, and both methods may have to be tried. Unless individuals have the feeling that there is a sense of continuity and firmness in policy they may not be so willing to be induced to do things otherwise. In any case, if there were a relief of income tax given for sums of money invested in Ireland, as, for instance, under the Agricultural Credits Act— I have a great many objections to that Act, and it must not be taken that I agree with it—but where it mentions interest, if it were to say that the interest and dividends were to be free of income tax, it might be a step forward.

I have mentioned the Agricultural Credit Bill. I would like to make upon it a few cursory remarks. One remark is that, unlike all other statutes on the Free State Statute Book, it is not an Act. It is a Bill. Because the first section of that Act says that “the short Title of this Act is to be the Agricultural Credit Bill.” Whether lawyers would hold that it has been enacted at all or not, I will leave to the experts in that matter. If the Ministers will take the trouble to look at the copy of their own Act they will see that it is not an Act but a Bill. The fundamental object of that Agricultural Credit Act is that it makes it possible for the money which will be [666] collected, or the money, whether collected as capital or on mortgages or upon certificates, to be used for the purpose of paying off bank loans— loans which have been given to the farmers at a time when prices were very high. This in principle is not a good thing. First of all, the Board, under that Act, will be largely under the control of the banks, because they are entitled to have two hundred thousand shares out of the total five hundred thousand shares. Therefore they will have very ample representation on the board of directors, and in that way, as well as being pretty strongly represented in control, the money can be lent to the farmer for the purpose of paying off altogether the loans given by the banks to the farmers.

I could mention two cases which are typical of what has happened the farmers in Ireland. One case is the case of a farm which in the year 1914 was sold for the sum of £3,000. In the year 1918 or 1919 it was re-sold for £14,000. It would be possible for the farmer, under the Agricultural Credit Bill, to get a loan of £14,000 from the Agricultural Credit Board and use that loan to pay off the bank. Of course such a procedure would be very absurd, because it would mean that the Agricultural Credit Corporation would be saddled with the payment of £14,000 on the security of a farm really only worth £3,000. I would suggest that some principle should be resorted to such as was in the Land Acts of 1903, namely, that the money lent on a farm should not exceed ten times the annuity. If the Act limited the amount that would be paid to ten times the annuity, it would be some basis of security against the corporation going bankrupt after it had gone in for several schemes of lending money on farms at a rate far above their value.

As the President has come into the House, I would like to make a reference to some of his remarks the other day. He read us a motherly lecture on economics which tempts me to call him Queen Cosgrave, and he gave us a little parable, I was going to say it was a fable, but it is not a fable, about electricity. He took the analogy that if an electrical plant produced ten million [667] units of electricity, one could sell the units at, say, one penny. If the plant produced more than ten million units, say, fifteen million units or more, he told us the cost per unit would be less. Let us apply that to units of beef. I may say that that discovery of the President's was made a good many years before. It was made both by the English and the Irish landlords. They discovered it was a cheaper way of buying meat in the market by sweeping the people off the land and by mass production of beef and mutton. You have in that proposition of the President's a good deal of the philosophy of the landlords of Ireland and of those in England who want cheap Irish goods to be put on to the English markets.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  took the Chair.

Mr. LITTLE: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  We may be accused of being revolutionaries and disruptionists, but I submit that the proper and traditional policy of Irishmen in Ireland is the people on the land and the bullocks for the road. That old phrase was often used by our mutual colleague in the old days, I refer to Larry Ginnell. In the days of the Land League it was a question of the life of the people against beef at a halfpenny a unit, to use the unit for the pound. It is the same question to-day. It is a question of cheap prices for the English market versus the Irish people in Ireland. And until we take the line that the supreme interests of this country is a large population in good condition, so long as we allow ourselves to be misled by the policy which suits England and does not suit Ireland so long shall we be in the condition in which we are at present, a condition to which it is worth paying attention.

Unemployment, according to the figures given from the Labour Benches, amounts to something like 90,000. The amount of emigration between January and July given by the Trade Journal to non-European countries, that is, America, Australia, and so on, is 13,332. There is a careful avoidance of giving any figure for England, Scotland and Wales, but by a comparison with the Registrar-General's figures in [668] other years it will be found that there is almost equality between the two sets of figures. So we might take it that for the seven months the emigration this year has been at least 25,000 people, so that the emigration for the whole year will be somewhere between 45,000 and 50,000. Add that to the 90,000 unemployed and you get 140,000 people for whom in the year 1927 President Cosgrave and his Government had no use. They could not by any means contrive a way by which these people could be kept in Ireland. One of the most solemn moments I remember in the meeting of the first Dáil was when each Deputy got up and, accounting for his own constituency during the nineteenth century, gave the figures of the number of homesteads destroyed and the number of the lost population. I suppose the day will come after the passing of the Free State when the Deputies in another Republican assembly will give a similar account of the terrible depredation of these years.

Mr. HEFFERNAN: Information on Michael Richard Heffernan  Zoom on Michael Richard Heffernan  I have been following as carefully as I could the exposition of the policy of the Party in the main Opposition Benches in regard to unemployment. With one part of their policy I am in full agreement— that is, that if we are to cure this disease of unemployment we must not attack the symptoms but the root of the disease; if we are to cure unemployment it must be cured by means of improving the general economic conditions existing. With that statement I am in full agreement; but when it comes to devising the means for improving conditions, the methods suggested from those benches are not methods with which I agree. I begin to find myself deviating and going into general disagreement with the Deputies opposite in that respect. I have endeavoured to become clear in my mind and to crystallise the exact policy of Fianna Fáil in regard to the economic future of the country. I may be dull of comprehension, but I must say——

Mr. BRISCOE: Information on Robert Briscoe  Zoom on Robert Briscoe  On a point of order, is the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Posts and, Telegraphs in order in what he is discussing?

[669]AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  If the rules of order were strictly observed, there would be very little discussion here at all.

Mr. HEFFERNAN: Information on Michael Richard Heffernan  Zoom on Michael Richard Heffernan  I believe I am absolutely in order. We are trying to find a cure for unemployment. We have, by general agreement, decided that to cure it we must deal with the general economic conditions in this country. This debate has taken the turn of an examination into the economic conditions of the country, and if there is any Party that has taken more advantage of the rules of debate, it is the Party to which Deputy Briscoe belongs. I have endeavoured to become clear as to what policy the Fianna Fáil Party is putting to the country. What is their panacea, their cure, for the economic conditions existing or for unemployment? It emerges eventually that the main cure that that Party is suggesting is what amounts to a policy of general protection. The leader of that Party is, perhaps, more shrewd than members of his Party, and he was not so definite or so clear. He left it doubtful as to exactly what he meant. When Deputy Aiken and other Deputies had spoken it became clear that the policy was one of whole-hog protection. Deputy Aiken used the term whole-hog protection, and I did not hear it contradicted. Evidently that is the policy we are asked to accept as the cure for unemployment and economic evils. As a Deputy whose interests in this House have always been the interests of the farmers, I have endeavoured to look at these problems from the point of view of the farmers. I have endeavoured to view the solutions put forward from the point of how they will affect the farmers.

Mr. MAGUIRE: Information on Bernard John Maguire  Zoom on Bernard John Maguire  I hope the Deputy will not let the Ministers down.

Mr. HEFFERNAN: Information on Michael Richard Heffernan  Zoom on Michael Richard Heffernan  I will ask the Deputy to allow me to make my case. If there is general agreement upon anything, I am sure it is in regard to the economic conditions of the agricultural industry.

Mr. BRISCOE: Information on Robert Briscoe  Zoom on Robert Briscoe  That industry is in a very depressed condition.

[670]Mr. HEFFERNAN: Information on Michael Richard Heffernan  Zoom on Michael Richard Heffernan  Everybody agrees it is in a bad condition.

Mr. BRISCOE: Information on Robert Briscoe  Zoom on Robert Briscoe  Very bad.

Mr. HEFFERNAN: Information on Michael Richard Heffernan  Zoom on Michael Richard Heffernan  Everybody agrees that the majority of farmers find it hard, if not impossible, to make a profit. There will be agreement with the statement that a great many farmers are working at a loss.

Mr. KENT: Information on William Rice Kent  Zoom on William Rice Kent  I presume you are speaking from experience?

Mr. HEFFERNAN: Information on Michael Richard Heffernan  Zoom on Michael Richard Heffernan  I am. We are also in agreement on this point, that the farmer has to sell his main farm products in order to get cash, because, after all, the farmer is working for cash just as everybody else is. His surplus products have to be sold in the outside markets. Take any of his products— beef, butter, eggs, or bacon—his surplus of those commodities has to be disposed of in the outside market. Perhaps the word “surplus” is rather misleading, because the surplus he disposes of is more than 50 per cent. of the whole. The word “surplus” gives the idea of a small percentage, but in regard to farm produce the surplus that is exported is much greater than the portion that is kept at home. The Deputies on the opposite benches, well versed as they are in economic doctrines, will not deny that while there is an export, the price the exporter receives is and always must be the price which is paid for his export in the outside market. Therefore it seems clear to me—I do not know if it is clear to the Deputies opposite—that while we continue to export the surplus of our agricultural produce, we must continue to accept the competitive prices that we get in the outside market. No legislative or administrative action will have the effect of increasing that price in the outside market.

Various methods were suggested for improving the quality of articles produced. No action we may take in the Dáil will have the effect of increasing the price that the farmer will get. Let us go to the other side of the farmer's ledger, the purchasing side, because the farmer has to buy in order to produce. Let us examine the effects of a policy of general protection. I take it the Deputies on [671] the opposite benches will not deny the statement, which I believe is axiomatic in regard to protection, that the general effect of protection is to increase the cost of the article protected. The exceptions are few, but I think in practice it has been proved that the general effect of protection is to increase the cost of the article protected. We do not want to injure the farmer, or to place him in a worse position, than he is in now, and accordingly we are going to see what effect general protection would have on farming. Take the case of a farmer who is beginning. He goes into a farm on which there is no house and under this policy of general protection he proceeds to build one. I heard the leader of the Fianna Fáil Party say that bricks, stones, slates and other articles used in building operations could be produced in this country and would give employment. That is a suggestion with which I am in full agreement, provided these materials are not produced as the result of a subsidy from the farmer's pocket as he cannot afford a subsidy. This farmer proceeds to build his house under a policy of general protection and he starts to buy bricks in a protected market. He has to pay a higher price for them than that paid by the English farmer with whom he is competing. We are to have a cement factory under this policy of general protection and a higher price has to be paid for cement. Slates, laths and other articles that are necessary have also to be bought. For every single article this farmer will pay more than the man outside a protected market. When he proceeds to furnish his house under this policy of general protection the farmer finds that he has to pay a higher price for tables, chairs, carpets and wallpaper, than he would have to pay for similar articles in the outside market. Having finished his house, the farmer finds that his boots and clothes are worn out and he proceeds to buy new ones. He finds they are 10, 20, or 30 per cent. higher as a result of this policy of general protection that we are to have as a panacea. He is to compete with a man in the outside market who has not to face protection. That is the way we are told we are to benefit the farmer by [672] protection. When he buys a plough to till the land, the farmer finds the price higher than that charged to the competing farmer. It is the same with artificial manures. He finds that the price is higher here than that charged to his competitors in the English market because of the panacea that is suggested for our economic ills.

Mr. BRISCOE: Information on Robert Briscoe  Zoom on Robert Briscoe  On a point of order, where is the connection between the tariff debate that is going on now and the unemployment question?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Deputy Briscoe began his speech by saying that he was going to stick to the terms of the motion. I was going to say then that that was a rash promise. I think he discussed protection.

Mr. BRISCOE: Information on Robert Briscoe  Zoom on Robert Briscoe  I do not think so.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  My knowledge of the English language is getting more defective the more I hear it. Deputy Heffernan is in order on protection. Unfortunately protection is in order. It has been brought in before.

Mr. HEFFERNAN: Information on Michael Richard Heffernan  Zoom on Michael Richard Heffernan  That is the position the Irish farmer will occupy under this policy of general protection that the Fianna Fáil Party say will cure all the ills of this country. On the economic stability of the farmer depends the economic stability of the country. If it is made impossible for a farmer to live and produce at a profit it will be impossible for this country to exist economically.

Mr. MORRISSEY: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  That has already been done by free trade.

Mr. HEFFERNAN: Information on Michael Richard Heffernan  Zoom on Michael Richard Heffernan  Things are never so bad that they cannot be made worse.

Mr. MORRISSEY: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  I am glad to hear you say that.

Mr. HEFFERNAN: Information on Michael Richard Heffernan  Zoom on Michael Richard Heffernan  I do not intend to develop the argument further beyond illustrating the position of the farmer under this policy of protection. It has been argued that as a quid pro quo the farmer's produce could be protected. That has been argued in the Dáil before and will probably be argued again. I do not intend to discuss it now beyond saying that I am prepared to argue in detail, in regard to 90 per cent. of the farmer's products, that no methods we [673] can devise in the Dáil will have the effect of protecting these products and increasing the prices he gets. As far as I can follow the arguments of Deputies on the opposite benches, and the methods they suggest to cure existing economic conditions, I believe these so-called remedies would not be remedies, but would aggravate the trouble. Deputy Flinn was particularly anxious to say some nice things about the Farmers' Party. Perhaps Deputy Flinn might be anxious to know why the Farmers' Party allied itself with the Government Party.

Dr. HENNESSY: Information on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  Zoom on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  I would like to call attention to the fact that Deputy Flinn has interrupted a speaker from outside the Bar of the House.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  I hope he will come inside now and not interrupt any more.

Mr. HEFFERNAN: Information on Michael Richard Heffernan  Zoom on Michael Richard Heffernan  We heard the economic policy of the Party to which Deputy Flinn belongs expounded, amongst others by himself. As Deputies who represent the farmers, and have represented them for years, we believe that that policy, as expounded by Deputy Flinn and his colleagues, would not benefit the farmers, but would be the most devastating and ruinous policy that was ever brought into this country. Rather than give the Deputy and his Party an opportunity of attempting to carry out that policy, we agreed to ally ourselves with the one Party with whose economic policy we are largely in agreement.

Mr. BRISCOE: Information on Robert Briscoe  Zoom on Robert Briscoe  Including protection.

Mr. HEFFERNAN: Information on Michael Richard Heffernan  Zoom on Michael Richard Heffernan  I do not intend to develop this argument any further, beyond saying that this debate has served a useful purpose and has brought to a definite issue suggestions that were made in a nebulous form by Deputies on the opposite benches. It has given these Deputies an opportunity of discharging the accumulated verbosity which was stored in their minds during the years of their sterile sojourn in the political wilderness.

Mr. J.X. MURPHY: Information on Joseph Xavier Murphy  Zoom on Joseph Xavier Murphy  I must apologise for delaying the House, even for a few minutes, in this very long-drawnout [674] debate. I sympathise with Deputy Briscoe, who seemed, during the course of the last speaker's remarks, not to understand what we were discussing. I think we came here to discuss the question of unemployment, but we have been wandering into most extraordinary realms. First we came to the State bank, and from that we wandered on to the somnambulistic tendencies of a Deputy. These things really have nothing whatever to say to Deputy Morrissey's motion. I think what was in his mind was the immediate relief of a certain number of the unemployed to tide them over the winter months, and that he did not mean to ask us to legislate for the future by means of State banks, tariff reform, and all that sort of thing. As far as State banks are concerned, I think it would be better if we reserved them for discussion until such time as we became absolutely divorced from all the rest of the world, as envisaged by Deputy de Valera. Talking about banks, one Deputy—I must apologise because I do not remember his name—seemed to think that the money in the banks belongs to the banks. I think that is wrong. I think it belongs to the depositors. I do not think that any very novel practical remedy for unemployment has been suggested. One Deputy —I think it was Deputy O'Dowd—suggested the developing of the Arigna mines. He told us that before the amalgamation of the railways the Cavan and Leitrim section took one hundred tons per week from these mines, and he said that the section could easily use the output of 2,000 to 3,000 men's work in the Arigna mines.

Dr. O'DOWD: Information on Dr. Patrick Joseph O'Dowd  Zoom on Dr. Patrick Joseph O'Dowd  I said that it could take, not use—a transposal.

Mr. MURPHY:  I apologise. I took the Deputy up wrongly, because I found out that the actual coal used on that section is only thirty-five tons per week. I think that there still remains a great deal of work to be done on road making. That is work that is really constructive and that gives a return to the State as a whole. I also think that any money spent in that way, even if it did not give a very great return, is [675] better spent than it would be in giving men doles and unemployment benefit, as these must be very humiliating to the men who have to ask for them. There may be other ways in which the Government can help, and if so, I hope that they will do so to the utmost of their power. We can reserve until a later date the discussion of these deep and intricate problems for which my friend Deputy Flinn seems to have found a solution. I would ask Deputy Morrissey and his friends on the Labour Benches to examine amongst themselves the question as to whether the present high cost of production has not a good deal to say to the unemployment that exists to-day.

Mr. COONEY: Information on Eamonn Cooney  Zoom on Eamonn Cooney  Most of the Cumann na nGaedheal Deputies have urged the necessity for co-operation, but none of them suggested a basis for that co-operation. I want to ask if this assembly of Irishmen will continue to look at this unemployment question in the same manner as it is looked at by ultra-capitalistic countries like England, America, and France, or will they approach it in a traditional Gaelic manner, with the primary object of solving it in a Gaelic way—that is, in a Christian and just way. Let us broadly divide the unemployed in the Free State into two classes, those on the land or dependent on the land, and those in the urban and metropolitan areas. Taking for granted the figures that Deputy Morrissey gave, I reckon that there are, roughly, 67,500 unemployed in the first class, and 22,500 in the second class. This being an agricultural country, when unemployment is mentioned men's minds generally turn to the land. I submit that the present system of land division is hedged round with so many legal and technical difficulties that by the time the Minister for Agriculture has succeeded in dividing up 400 acres, 800 acres may have passed back again into the hands of large capitalists or ranchers. I should like to hear from the Minister for Agriculture reasons why that could not occur. I see nothing to prevent it occurring. Consequently, I see no solution of the land difficulty in this huxtering system of dividing up ranches, while not [676] keeping in line by making some provision for the stocking and working of the small farms thus created.

The Minister, assisted as he now is, by the guiding genius, if I may say so, of Deputy Heffernan, should be able to place before the House some definite, concrete plan for the solution of unemployment on the land. That is his responsibility, and I suggest that it is the right and the duty of this House to demand that he should act up to that responsibility. I should like to know if there is a Deputy amongst the Farmers' group who can claim to represent the landless men, or who can claim to have benefited them to any extent by this much-vaunted policy of the division of the ranches. I submit that all this tinkering with land, particularly with inferior land, will and must prove futile until something approaching land nationalisation is squarely faced and accepted. Reclaiming barren patches by blasting rocks, and protecting swamps by damming rivers, will be just as ineffectual as the blasting and damning of his political opponents by the Minister for Agriculture from the hustings in Galway last June. Buying land from the descendants of those who confiscated it, or, in other words, paying land annuities to the descendants of Cromwellian planters, will not solve the land problem.

A more acute and more difficult problem is that of the thousands of idle men who are to be seen daily walking through the streets of our cities and towns, seeking work and finding none. In the constituency which I have the honour to represent I am sure there are, roughly, about 10,000 unemployed, and I contend that the system which is supposed to be based on the Christian principle of defending the rights of private property, and which, because of its ruthless operation, has driven thousands to despair and desperation, is not worthy of being maintained. This large mass of metropolitan unemployed may be divided into two classes, skilled and unskilled, and I am afraid that any schemes which the Government may have on hand will but remotely touch the fringe of the problem. We must recognise that mass production and free [677] trade have played havoc with the hand industries which at one time supported a large and comparatively prosperous artisan class in this country. And great as the problem is, whether the solution lies in the ruralisation of industry or in mass production, at any rate I think we should agree that protection is the most urgent remedy. Whether we are to have mass production or ruralisation, protection is necessary. When one considers the unsatisfactory state of Irish industries to-day—many of which are decaying, and few of which are progressing— and when one looks at the huge establishment of the Department of Industry and Commerce, with its Minister, secretary, assistant secretaries, staff officers by the dozen, superintendents by the score, and other supernumeraries, one is forced to the conclusion that the only prosperous industry in the country to-day for the workers engaged in it is that Department itself.

If the remark be true, and I contend that it has not been disproved, that Irish workers must die of starvation—if they are to learn their lesson from the Minister for Industry and Commerce, it has been said that the Minister is a hardhearted Northerner, and I can only say that his head must be hard indeed if it is harder than his heart, if it be true that he has sponsored that declaration. Cynicism and sneers and thinking of administration in capitalistic terms will not solve this problem of unemployment. I submit that it is playing with fire. The standard of living of Irish workers is being ruthlessly forced down day by day. Those who control the wealth of this country are callous in their attitude towards the working classes, and Ministers are callous. If hatred and contempt for government and governors is being engendered in the minds of Irish workers, who is to blame? Surely not the workers themselves, not those who risked everything to make it possible for Ministers to hold the position which they now occupy. The President may say that is more sabre-rattling, but I am not anxious to rattle the sabre. I would prefer that he should take it that I am but rattling the chains of slavery which bind thousands of unfortunate people in our country—thousands of decent, [678] honest men and women who are denied the means of livelihood. I hope that honest, sincere Deputies will continue rattling those chains of slavery until we force this Government to unloose them.

From the time I entered this House, not very long ago, I have heard many expressions of sympathy with the unemployed from various Deputies. During this debate I have listened to some extraordinary statements from various Deputies. Deputies Cooper and Good have nothing but sympathy to give to the unemployed. I want to say that the unemployed should not be looked upon as mere objects of charity. Deputy Good, in a very solemn and sad tone, delivered what I almost thought to be a funeral oration of the present social system. He appealed, and asked Labour Deputies to take the appeal to heart, for peace in industry. If that appeal for peace and industry could be taken to heart he feels that there is a bright prospect before the country. If that appeal is based upon a desire on the part of those who control capital to exploit the working classes, then I hope there shall never be peace in industry. If it be based upon a desire to open up industries for the benefit of the community as a whole, I am sure that Labour Deputies and all honest workers would respond to it. There would be no difficulty about that. The Deputy told us about Russia and the number of unemployed there. I submit that he knows just as much about the conditions in Russia as any other Deputy, and that is nothing. We know nothing about the conditions in Russia other than what we read in the enemy Press.

Mr. ESMONDE: Information on Osmond T. Grattan Esmonde  Zoom on Osmond T. Grattan Esmonde  What about the Deputy outside the House?

Mr. MacENTEE: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Ask himself.

Mr. COONEY: Information on Eamonn Cooney  Zoom on Eamonn Cooney  The Deputy outside the House, if he had come in here when Deputy Good was speaking, I am sure would conclude that he had arrived too late—that Deputy Good was doing the very work which he intends coming here to do—that is, to indict all those who are defending the present unchristian social system, and to appeal to all Christians, or those who vaunt [679] about Christianity, to apply the principles of it. Deputy A. Byrne, an Independent Deputy we are told, put as one of his chief claims to the electorate in the last general election the fact that he had asked a record number of questions concerning the poor during his term here. Deputy Byrne will have an opportunity when the division bell rings, and I hope, if he goes into the division lobby in favour of the Government amendment, that for the sake of honesty he will cease asking any more questions. If not, I hope those whom he deceived by his questions and the publication of them, whom he has deluded into the belief that he has served their interests, will waken up to the fact before it is too late.

Deputy Good also told us that if we were to recommend sustenance or maintenance in lieu of work, and if the figure of 90,000 represents the actual unemployed at present, it would cost £90,000 per week. That is a serious matter to the mind of Deputy Good. Which is the most serious: to see 90,000 human beings denied any means of sustenance, or that we should make an effort to supply the necessary means of sustenance? Deputy Good also said that we put forward no argument in defence of our declaration that it is the duty of a national government to provide employment for its citizens, and asks that we should put forward an argument in defence of that principle. I submit that that is the application of ordinary Christianity—that it is a Christian duty on the part of any government to provide a means of livelihood for its citizens. In view of what I have listened to from the Government Benches. I feel that anything which may be said will be of little avail. Unfortunately, I feel we are not appealing to men's minds, to their human instincts, but that we are merely appealing to an automatic machine and that that automatic machine will go its way. But there is a time coming—and I hope it will come soon—when we will have to go back again to the final court of appeal—to the people of Ireland. When that day comes, I hope to see this automatic machine which operates on the benches opposite, which stands definitely on the policy that it is not the [680] duty of the Government to prevent citizens from starving, wiped out of public life.

Mr. ESMONDE: Information on Osmond T. Grattan Esmonde  Zoom on Osmond T. Grattan Esmonde  I rise at an unfortunate time in the debate, because, although new Deputies may not know, after seven o'clock at night the Press get tired of reporting speeches and simply say of Deputies who have spoken after that hour that Deputy So-and-So also spoke. The first thing I would like to say is that I express my strong and emphatic disagreement with the whole tone and substance of the greater part of the speech delivered by Deputy Good. The speech which he delivered here to-day was not the kind of a speech that was likely to improve the position of the unemployed. His speech was one of gloom and disgust and sour disillusionment about the whole Labour position in this country. It was not the kind of speech likely to inspire confidence in people, or to persuade them to invest their money in this country. He mentioned as a fact what is obviously untrue. He said that more strikes have taken place in this country in recent years than in any other country in Europe. Every Deputy knows perfectly well the position of affairs in the neighbouring country during the greater part of last year. During that time, although I was not here for a considerable period of it, as far as I understand, there was no very serious industrial upheaval in this country. He talked about peace in industry. I hope that that will come about, but I do not think that his speech contributed towards it. The best contribution Deputy Good could make towards this problem of unemployment would be to cheer up a little from the gloomy attitude which he adopted in the course of this debate.

The second Deputy to whom I wish to take exception is no less a personage than the President. The President, in his contribution to this debate on the first day, made a statement as to the political situation as far as it affected the credit of this country, with which I do not agree. He said, with reference to certain allusions by the Minister for Finance, and by Deputy Flinn, to the financial policy of the Fianna Fáil Party, that it does not damage the [681] national credit when said in respect to financial agreements that have been arrived at, that they propose to re-open them. That statement of the President's is liable to misinterpretation, and for that reason I would like to say that I disagree with it.

As far as I have been able to understand the financial policy of the Fianna Fáil Party, they intend, if they come into office, to repudiate the financial agreement arrived at with the British Government in reference to the particular item of our responsibility for collecting land annuities and lodging them to the credit of the Irish Land Fund. The President seemed to imply in his statement that they simply meant to re-open the question. The word “re-open” can have different meanings. It can mean repudiation and it can mean not repudiation. As far as I have been able to understand the speeches of Deputies on the Fianna Fáil Benches their policy is one of repudiating the obligation recognised by the Land Act of 1923 and also implied in the Land Bond Act of 1925. The President, I am sure, when he used the word “re-open” meant that he believed that the Fianna Fáil Party if they came into power would approach the British Government with a view to a reconsideration of the situation but that they would not definitely repudiate the obligation which had been entered into by their predecessors. From my reading of the statements issued by the Fianna Fáil Party I cannot accept that interpretation of their intentions. Even if they had no intention of repudiating but simply of approaching the British Government in order that a fresh settlement might be made, I feel that such a policy and decision on their part would involve serious consequences to the credit of the State. It would involve repudiation or repeal of Section 12 of the Land Act of 1923; it would involve a reconsideration of the whole land settlement in this country and it would involve reconsideration of the Land Bond Act of 1925. It would involve a reconsideration of British Guarantee for Irish Land stock issued under the Act of 1923, and the Land Bond Act, and by such process it would involve serious uneasiness and uncertainty as far as the [682] finances of this country are concerned. And even if there was no intention on the part of the Fianna Fáil Party to repudiate these obligations, even if they only approached the British Government in order that we might be relieved on our part of the obligation it might lay us open to grave national humiliation which would re-act not only upon the political but also the financial credit of the country.

That is with reference to the policy of the Fianna Fáil Party, but to-day we have had a statement from a member of the Labour Party which is even more serious than the statements which have come from the Fianna Fáil Party. I do not know whether Deputy Hogan was enunciating the policy of the Labour Party or simply expressing his own view, but he expressed the opinion that our first obligations in this country were to our own people and that, in order to fulfil those obligations, in order to provide work for every man and woman in the country, it might be advisable if we, at any rate, postponed for a number of years the carrying out of our financial obligations which we entered into as a result of the boundary agreement of 1925. He mentioned a sum of about a quarter of a million which was agreed upon as the yearly contribution for a certain number of years, and he suggested that these contributions might be postponed in the interests of the unemployed. As I say, I do not know if he was expressing the official policy of the Labour Party. I know that, with reference to the land annuities, the late leader of the Labour Party expressed himself very definitely in opposition to the views held by the Fianna Fáil Party on that matter.

With reference to the financial agreement consequent upon the boundary settlement, I well remember that at the conclusion of the debate in this House, when the President said that those who had opposed the boundary agreement had not given any inkling of any intention on their part to work the agreement, if it was ratified by the Dáil, I immediately rose and said that, so far as I was concerned, being one of those who voted against the agreement, what the President said was untrue. Deputy Morrissey, on that occasion, speaking, I believe, the opinions of the Labour [683] Party, rose and said that the President was mistaken, and that although the agreement—I forget his actual words— might not be all that was desired, once it was ratified by the sovereign authority of the Dáil all the Parties would endeavour to make it a success.

Mr. MORRISSEY: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  This is a very serious matter. I desire to say emphatically that I never made such a statement. If the Deputy wishes to quote what another Deputy said two and a half years ago on such an important matter he ought, I think, have gone to the trouble of getting the Official Reports.

Mr. ESMONDE: Information on Osmond T. Grattan Esmonde  Zoom on Osmond T. Grattan Esmonde  I do not wish Deputy Morrissey to think that I was trying to misrepresent him. When I read over the statement of the Deputy I got the impression that what he meant was that, once that agreement had been ratified by the Dáil, we would make the best of it. That, I think, is roughly what was implied. Here to-day we have had a statement from one of his colleagues, Deputy Hogan, suggesting a reopening of that agreement with reference to certain contributions which we have to make to Great Britain, so far as the final financial settlement is concerned. I am absolutely opposed, both to the financial policy of Fianna Fáil and to that of Deputy Hogan in that respect. I do not see any reason why representatives of this country should go hat in hand to the British Government asking them for money. If, on the other hand, it is not a question of asking the British Government to reopen the question, it is a question of repudiation, and that should be stated definitely. It is either repudiation or going hat in hand to the British Government to ask them to let us off obligations entered into on behalf of this State and ratified by the Dáil.

The British people may have some bad qualities, but they have one good quality, which is shared by our fellow-countrymen in the North, namely, that the more you run after them the more they despise you. I do not believe in running after the British Government either in financial or political matters. I think that Deputy Morrissey has done well in raising this question of unemployment [684] in a general way, and although debates such as this are not likely to bring any immediate benefit, as his predecessor in the debate remarked, we are talking more to machines than to human sentiment, for the vote is practically settled beforehand. The Deputy has enabled us to understand the main lines of division between the two sides of the House, lines which are likely to remain in the course of the present session of the Dáil. So far as I could make out, the original intention of Deputy Morrissey was to raise a debate on the immediate relief of unemployment, but that intention was side-tracked by the Minister for Industry and Commerce in his amendment, and he widened the debate to a general discussion on the whole economic policy of the Government. In that respect I sympathise with Deputy O'Connell, who asked whether the amendment was in order, but, owing to the loose drafting of Deputy Morrissey's motion, it was found to be in order.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  That is Deputy Esmonde's reason for it.

Mr. ESMONDE: Information on Osmond T. Grattan Esmonde  Zoom on Osmond T. Grattan Esmonde  The Labour Party represent themselves as being the one Party keen on the question of employment. No matter how great have been the crimes of the Government in recent years—I am sure they have been great and numerous—the biggest scheme the Government started to give employment in the country has been actually repudiated by the Labour Party. The Shannon scheme was officially excommunicated by the Labour Party with bell, book and candle, and was declared an unclean scheme, unfit for the support of decent men. That was the judgment delivered by the Labour Party with great pomp and solemnity. The late Deputy Johnson supported that excommunication. That is a matter which the Labour Party have been trying to hush up ever since, but I am the only one with sufficient bad taste to open the cupboard and display the skeleton.

Mr. T.J. O'CONNELL: Information on Tomas O'Connell  Zoom on Tomas O'Connell  The Labour Party is not ashamed of any action it took in connection with the Shannon scheme. That is official.

[685]Mr. ESMONDE: Information on Osmond T. Grattan Esmonde  Zoom on Osmond T. Grattan Esmonde  So far as my recollection goes, the Shannon scheme was excommunicated, and that was the principal attempt which the Government made to give employment. It is obvious that the lines of cleavage between the two sides of the House are becoming clear. I am referring not so much to the Labour Party, but to the Government and Fianna Fáil Parties, as far as economic policy is concerned. The industries which give most employment, in fact practically all the employment, in this country are mostly, for obvious reasons, conservative in their tendencies. The farming industry is, of course. the main industry, and there are industries such as brewing and other long-established firms, which give employment and depend largely on export trade for the continuance of their business. Other conservative interests which give employment are what I might describe as public utility services, that is, railways, tramways, joint stock banks, and the Government service of the Post Office. The policy of the Government, as far as I have been able to observe it during the last few years, has been to lead these conservative interests and industries forward along the road of progress in a friendly attitude and an attitude of co-operation. I think it was the leader of the Opposition who, in a statement issued in the Press just before the last election, said that he wanted the whole nation to go forward together. That, I think, has been done by the Government. It wants all the main industries of the country to go forward together. On the other hand, the policy of the Fianna Fáil Party is to kick and bludge on these conservative industries and interests forward along a road that possibly they do not wish to follow. That, as far as I can judge from this debate, is the difference between the policies of these two Parties—the one progress by co-operation, and the other progress by kicking and driving forward along a road that may not be the best road to take.

Let me give an example. Deputy Lemass ascribed unemployment to the conservative industries and interests to which I have referred. He said: “Unemployment in the towns, the depreciation of land values, and [686] the fall in prices, which is at the root of distress among the agricultural community are due to the financial system in operation in this country. The Government, by recent legislation, are attempting to perpetuate it.” I presume the legislation he referred to was legislation with reference to banking and currency. I do not know whether he included in that legislation the Agricultural Credit Act. Judging from a speech by Deputy Little, he includes that Act amongst the reactionary measures which the Government have adopted to preserve this unsatisfactory financial condition. Deputy Flinn, also, in the course of his remarks, made frequent reference to the lamentable state of the country owing to the fact that not only the banks but distribution, transport, and every branch of industry and commerce were in the hands of a foreign power, so I conclude it is the general opinion of the Fianna Fáil Party that all these main interests and industries are controlled in a hostile manner as far as the development of this country is concerned. In developing that side of the question, Deputy Lemass suggested that in order to punish these hostile anti-Irish influences, such as the banks, they should be taxed on external investments. His whole attitude was that the banks were the enemies of the people. As everybody knows, the banks are in a dual position. In the first place, they are business concerns, and were started as such with a duty to their shareholders. Secondly, they are public utility services, with a duty to the public. It is only right that members of the Dáil, on every possible occasion, should stress the duty banks owe to the public as distinct from the duty they owe to their shareholders, but it is not good for public representatives to denounce banks, root and branch, and to suggest they are permanently hostile to the progress of this country. That is no good, and it does not tend to remedy any defects there may be in their management by the persons who control them at present.

The financial system of the banks has been held responsible for unemployment. I notice that everybody is most anxious to denounce the banks in private. Some people have overdrafts [687] too large to permit them denouncing the banks in public. It must not be forgotten that the banks saved the country from financial collapse during a period of national insanity. They carried on no matter how often they were robbed in all parts of the country, and no matter how illustrious may have been the persons who robbed them. Not only that, but they helped to keep local government going during the period when local authorities could not collect rates. There are many Deputies here who are probably aware of the enormous sums at present owed to the banks by the local authorities. Similarly, Deputy Flinn suggested that transport was in the hands of the enemies of this country, and that they were preventing employment and were the great obstacles in the way of solving the unemployment problem. In that connection, also, it should not be forgotten that at a certain time the railways carried on and gave employment in spite of every attempt to prevent them carrying on and giving employment. The institutions I have mentioned are admittedly conservative in tendencies, and it is only right that they should be. At certain times of stress, and during civil war, when there is a lack of confidence, it is very advisable to have some institutions which are solid, for that is the best way to bring back confidence to the general mass of the people. There may be defects, but I have not heard from the Fianna Fáil Benches any suggestions as to how these are to be remedied. The railways and banks may not fulfil all the expectations which the Fianna Fáil Party would wish, but what is their remedy? Do they intend to nationalise these institutions? We heard, a few minutes ago, from one of the Fianna Fáil Deputies a suggestion as to land nationalisation.

If it is the policy of the Opposition to nationalise the banks and the railways then we should know that and we should also know what steps they intend to take in order to remedy the grievances, real or imaginary, which they have against these institutions. But, apart from these, the main cause of unemployment from the point of view of the Fianna Fáil Party is the [688] Government. The Government is mainly responsible for the state of the country and for the prevalence of unemployment. In that connection we should not forget that the last ten years have not been altogether favourable for the development of enterprise and the development of employment in this country. I could not help recalling last week when Deputy de Valera was speaking that that was the 26th October. On the 26th October ten years ago the people of Ireland discovered for the first time that Mr. Eamonn de Valera, M.P., had been unanimously elected as President of Sinn Fein. During those ten years I do not think there are any Deputies who will say that the state of the country has been favourable to the development of industry and the development of enterprise in order to relieve the unemployment that exists. I wonder if the members of the Fianna Fáil Party a year ago, two years ago or three years ago thought that the state of Ireland was suitable for the development of industry. I do not think they did, and yet we are told that the Government must provide work for all. In that connection, what kind of work must the Government provide? Is the Fianna Fáil Party prepared, if they come into office to provide work for the young men and the young women with University training and if so what kind of work? Is the Chancellor of the National University of Ireland, if he comes into office, prepared to give work to young men and young women with University degrees from the National University that will be sufficiently remunerative to keep them in the country? That is a question which must be faced because brains have their price as everything else has its price, and unless you are to find suitable work for the best brains of the country you are not going to keep the best brains of the country at home.

I wonder if the best brains of the country will be kept at home. I wonder, too, if the best brains of the country will be induced to enter the Civil Service with the prospect of getting £500 a year when they could get something very much greater across the water. These are questions which should be faced by the Chancellor of the National University when he states [689] that his proposal, if he comes into office and has to take responsibility, is to provide work for all the citizens of the State. In conclusion, I should like to say that I think this debate has done a lot of good. It has enabled Deputies to understand the main lines which divide them. It has certainly been much more satisfactory than the debates we had in previous Dáils, because then the debates, however fruitful of results, were often somewhat unreal. I hope that the result of the filling up of the vacant spaces in the House will be that the various Parties will come together and create a nation-wide conspiracy to bring about the ultimate prosperity of the country.

Mr. M. BRENNAN: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  I wish to draw the attention of the House to a phase of the unemployment problem which has been practically untouched so far. It is a new phase of unemployment, inasmuch as it has to do with a part of the community which is supposed to have been already dealt with and settled by the State. I am referring now to small farmers who have been changed from small cheap holdings to larger and dearer holdings. I am well acquainted with many of these farms in the County Roscommon and with the people who have been taken from the borders of Galway and Mayo. Originally those people made a living on a few acres of bog land. They grew a large amount of potatoes and fed pigs and fowl, while many of them went across the Channel to earn some money. Their outgoings were small. They had very little rent to pay and practically no rates. They were changed into these new holdings where the land was heavy and not responsive to tillage. Some of them went in at a time when the price of land was inflated and also the price of stock. They went in with whatever little stock they had in 1919 or 1920. Later the prices for stock fell, and when they sold off they were unable to replace them. In many cases, whatever stock remained after was carried away by the fluke.

These are the people who are supposed to have been already dealt with by the State, and who are supposed to be living in comfortable holdings. It was supposed that they would never again be a burden on the State. Their [690] position at the moment is that the land they hold is not responsive to tillage, at least in the manner that they have been accustomed to. No one will put their stock in on their grass because there are decrees out against many of them for rates and annuities. Many of them, last year, and this year, had to allow their farms to grow into grass. They saved the hay, but there is no market for it. At the present time these people are in a very poor plight. They have not any money to pay their rent or their rates. They have no market for the little they have to sell, and what is to become of them? To my mind, it is one of the most serious problems the Government has to deal with. In many cases, whatever little stock they had has been seized under decrees for rents or rates, and their holdings are left derelict. They are not in a position to replace the stock. They are held up from every point. When this matter was brought before some inspectors of the Land Commission we were told that there could be no alteration made in the terms under which these people held their lands and that there could be no extension of the terms. In spite of all this it is a problem that this House has to tackle sooner or later unless we are to have those farms and houses, which cost so much money to administer, either white elephants or else another plantation of foreigners here with capital. The matter has to be tackled and, personally, I think, of all the matters which a commission would serve, this is one of them. At present they can be relieved by having work on the roads. Very many of them live on out of the way roads, not completed by the Congested Districts Board. A great many of the roads are culs-de-sac. Even if they are not, they have not been dedicated to the public, and consequently the county council cannot do repairs. In many districts drainage is needed, and, I think, when dealing with the unemployment question those people should be one of the first charges on the unemployment fund. In our county there are also very many towns—Roscommon, Ballaghadereen, Elphin, Strokestown, Ballinlough, etc.—crying out for a sewerage scheme. Many of [691] these only want a very simple drainage scheme, and I think it would be well where (a) a simple drainage scheme is sufficient or (b) where schemes are already approved of, that they should be taken in hands at once.

Some few years ago, 300 acres of land was acquired for afforestation purposes, and I think it is quite uncalled for that the latest reply with regard to this 300 acres was that the area was not large enough to induce the Government to go on with afforestation. I think those three things, the unfinished roads, drainage works, and afforestation should be taken up under the unemployment scheme in County Roscommon. I would be very glad if the Minister for Agriculture would seriously consider what steps should be taken sooner or later to deal with these people in Roscommon who have got holdings of land, the annuities on which are three times what they ought to be.

Mr. BOLAND:  Some Deputies have distinguished a line of cleavage between the two Parties. Some of us are glad to know that we have also seen where we agree. At least, we have discovered that the British Government has a contempt for people who run after them. I hope the Deputies in the Front Benches have learned the same lesson as the Deputy. As the Minister for Finance said, this question is not confined to any country. He seems to be one of the people who really sees a remedy, because he says unless we are prepared to undertake drastic changes in the economic structure of the State, nothing can be done. I have not heard from the Government or the Labour Benches any attempt to deal with a permanent solution of the unemployment problem. Perhaps Labour people thought it hopeless to introduce such a thing. They have simply asked for something to carry them on; the immediate problem affects us most. I think it was the Minister for Education who told us that he could find nothing constructive in any of the suggestions coming from the big guns of this Party, but the President said that those schemes which were constructive would take time and would not deal [692] with the immediate problem. I admit that the permanent solution of the unemployment problem is going to take time. It is easy to find a temporary solution. Deputy Little suggested that some kind of a self-denying ordinance should come into play in the case of Ministers and highly-paid servants. That would effect a reduction in their remuneration and help to tide over our immediate difficulties. We will probably be told in that connection that we have Acts of Parliament, but seeing that we are up against a national crisis, and from what Deputy Brennan says, it is as bad in the country districts as in the towns, I throw out that suggestion as a temporary solution to the problem. I know a few years ago when the British Government withdrew certain grants from the Dublin Corporation, the employees were asked to agree to a temporary reduction in their salaries. The reduction was never effected, because the Corporation got the money some way, but I think if we took 20 per cent. off the list of salaries we published it would amount to about £900,000, and that added to the £150,000 proposed by the Government, might be able to do something for the unemployed.

We all want to know where the money comes from. I would like to ask some of the financiers here where the money came from during the big war. There were thousands of millions expended that time. Science made advances in a few years which it would take a century to make under ordinary circumstances. I am sure the President, who is such a great high financier, knows the secret, because he referred to the pulling of a certain string very tightly as the reason why progress in economic affairs could not be made. I know we are bound up by the European and American system of finance. Again, I say highbrow economics are necessary. The whole subject is highbrow, and I think Labour ought to admit that. It is difficult, and you require a certain amount of technical skill to deal with it. There is one thing certain, that during the big war the whole system could be set aside. That proves that it is not the machinery of production which is failing. Everything required [693] could be produced. Six million men were kept by the British Empire in armies, and a separation allowance was paid to their families. The whole of industry was mobilised, simply because the magical string was loosened.

The people who control the credit of the world were made let go their grip in the interests, some people said, of humanity. That is a question. I would draw your attention to this: that when it comes to a matter of war there is never any trouble as to where the money is to come from. When it is a case of keeping down the Irregulars, or one set of capitalists trying to cut the throats of another set, the problem of where the money comes from never arises. The money then is used for destructive purposes. I think if you examine the proposals made by Deputies Little and Kennedy from these Benches in a better spirit than has been displayed by the Front Bench opposite I think there would be a possibility then of some solution. There is something in those proposals to be examined. When a man who was once Chancellor of the British House of Commons stands up and makes the statement that was read in this House by Deputy Kennedy, I think there is a case for investigation. The problem is not production, but distribution. The law is not a law of supply and demand, but a law of supply and effective demand. In other words, can a cash profit be shown for every transaction? It is not a question of whether we have a healthy people in the West of Ireland, a people well fed and well clothed; whether we should have eight millions or ten millions of a population, but whether we will show a cash balance and will our financial accounts stand the test.

I submit that it is a big question to be investigated by the Dáil. I know we have been tied to Europe and America financially. If we have financial independence and political independence, as we are told we have, then let us demonstrate it and show that we are not going to follow precedent. It does not follow that because this system has obtained for the last two or three hundred years that we must necessarily continue it.

Reference has been made to experiments in another country. We do not [694] know all that is happening there. I would, however, suggest that in order to find out what progress is being made there we should, instead of relying on Reuter, send a deputation out there to report on that progress. As a matter of fact, I do believe that some of the Deputies for Trinity College may be able to tell us something on that matter. I read some time ago a lecture that was delivered at Trinity College by a doctor who had travelled through Russia, and my recollection of that was that he was very much impressed by the progress made in the matter of hygiene, national insurance and things of that sort. I suggest that it would not be altogether a waste of public money if we were to send out a deputation to investigate how things are progressing in that country and not rely on Reuter for our information. We have the President saying that in Russia there are eight millions unemployed, and we have a Deputy saying the number unemployed there is ten millions. There is a big difference there. At all events, if they are unemployed we could learn what attempt was made to deal with that question. In Russia, at any rate, they treat labour on a human basis, not as a commodity to be bartered about, as Deputy Good would barter quantities and commodities. They took into consideration the human element.

In standing by Deputy Brennan in his plea for Roscommon and the West of Ireland and the poor districts generally, I do say that the Minister should certainly take into consideration the human element in the case of defaulting annuitants. We have also the cases of people who borrowed money from the banks during the period of inflation. I have already spoken on this matter, and said something on it, and I will try to say it again, and it is that if you investigate the problem of credit and get at that, and see who controls the credit of this State, there you will find at least where the problem lies and where the difficulty is. Perhaps this Commission that the Labour opposition and our Party have suggested would have done much good, if, through this means, we could find out who holds the fairy wand which made all these things spring into being and what was it that [695] enabled the C3 category of the population in England to keep the A1 category supplied with food and material for destructive purposes during the war, and to see whether it would not be possible to get the same wand waved now for constructive purposes that was then waved for destructive purposes.

There was no namby-pamby spirit of brotherliness on our part when we came into this House. There was a spirit amongst us that we would bear no enmity to anybody. There was a genuine effort made by us to deal with people that we did not care much about. I will not go farther than that. We felt that together we might pull this country through the terrible crisis in which it stood without harking back on the past. We all had our enmities, and strong ones, but we felt that if the ship of State was to be left in the hands of the captain and crew that had control of it, it would be bad for the country, and we felt that we, who ought be part of the crew, should take our share to pull the country and keep the crew, captain, passengers and all of us from going down, as the ship of State, the crew and the passengers were going down. That was the real reason why we came in, though we may be told now that it was regard for our own personal safety.

I would like to go into a few details. I am glad to see one thing, and that is that the Minister for Finance has not lost all the ideals he held at one time. I am glad to see that he sees that there is a solution of this problem. I maintain that the problem is one that calls for a solution. It is a problem that cannot be shelved; you cannot have people saying, as has been said of the Labour Party, that this is their hardy annual. We must not be so fatalistic as to adopt the position that unemployment is a thing we must always have. I say it is a thing that we need not always have.

As regards our fiscal policy. I want to say what my attitude to it is. I do not know how far the members of my Party hold with me in this, but we are not bound to see eye to eye on this subject, no more than the members of the Government Party see eye to eye in all things. But I do hold that while [696] you have the present financial system, which I believe has outlived its usefulness by at least one hundred years, the only possible hope of salvation for this country is under protection. If we had a decent financial system, if we had one which could mobilise all the forces which there are in nature, and which would link them up, as Deputy Kennedy has suggested, a system which would link up the willing and able workers with the raw material which is to be found—then that link can be supplied. In other words, if the credit of the nation is eventually to get into the hands of those who control the nation, and not into the hands of a small irresponsible clique, then I would say that the right thing for the world would be free trade. Let every country produce what it is best fitted to produce. There are all sorts of revolutions. It is not a question of whether we should have a revolution or not. Anyway, we want change; we want a revolution in our outlook. I do not want that we should continue to regard this problem as insoluble. The Minister for Finance has said that unless we make these changes there is no solution. I suggest that we get round some table, talk these things out, and arrive at a solution. I suggest that we do make these changes. There should be a solution for this question.

I want now to say something about the Minister for Agriculture. The Minister has referred to the 200 acre farm as being the average farm in this country. At least that is what I gathered from reading his speech. He got away with all these figures because he threw them at us and we had to listen alertly to them. Luckily this debate was postponed and we were able to read his speech at leisure. Consequently we have found, and Deputy Briscoe pointed out, that, in some mysterious manner, the Minister for Agriculture has got rid of about 60 acres of his land. I do not know what he did with it. But the point I want to come at—and I hope I am wrong when I say this—I am driven to this conclusion that when the Minister for Agriculture speaks of a 200 acre farm as the average case I am greatly afraid that his whole agricultural policy is intended to go in that direction and that all these [697] cries we hear from the West and South, from the small farmers in the country are simply part of the process of making the 200 acre farm the average farm in this country. Perhaps that is not quite correct but I believe that the trend of his agricultural policy is in that direction.

I have had letters since I took on my responsibility as a Deputy—letters of a most appalling nature. I have some of them here, but I am not going to bother the House by reading them, as I am sure other Deputies have had similar communications. They deal with cases of an appalling character. In one case, which I am sure is typical, a man lost all his stock as a result of the fluke. Then someone in America, his wife's sister, sent him some money and he bought cows. This man had gone bail for a neighbour. The banks closed on him and seized his three cows. That did not pay the debt and for the last 12 months that unfortunate man has his lands idle. He cannot graze the lands because the bank or someone else can seize any stock there. He has no hope or no way of making a living. I am afraid that is part and parcel of a deliberate policy by the Minister for Agriculture and the Executive Council as a whole. I hope that is not so, and the proof that it is not will be that they will show a little bit more moderation in dealing with those people; that these people will not be asked to pay taxes that they are not able to pay. Let the tendency be to have a strong, prosperous and contented people.

Now, I will move from the general to the particular. The Minister for Local Government astonished the House by saying there were unclaimed moneys at his disposal. I do not know whether we are to believe that or not, but if it is true then we will be all very glad to look for our share of it. As Deputy Brennan has said, there are certain schemes which could come under the Minister's Department. Apparently there seems to be a policy of giving money to a particular form of industry which cannot absorb it. That is an extraordinary position. The President, I am sure, is fully aware of the capacity of the building trade in Dublin, and for that reason I cannot understand why there should be more [698] money devoted to that particular branch than was actually required. Perhaps I did not take up the matter correctly. If there is money to spare, then these drainage schemes that Deputy Brennan has referred to are very pressing, not alone in Roscommon but all over Ireland. They are particularly pressing in Roscommon. Apart from drainage schemes there are also sewerage schemes. Deputy O'Dowd points to the necessity for drainage and sewerage schemes in Elphin. Really, that town is like an eastern town it is in such a state. In Roscommon town they have the plans actually ready for a drainage scheme and, as the Minister talks about a million and a half, I may inform him that we could do with a fifty per cent. grant in Roscommon to carry out that drainage scheme. As regards the River Suck that Deputy Brennan talked about, I got a letter from one of my constituents saying that there is a tributary of the Suck which overflows and does great destruction. The districts most affected are between Castlecoote and Castlerea, districts which suffered very heavily from the fluke.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  took the Chair.

Mr. BOLAND:  These people have to pay their share of the rates. They approached the engineer responsible, and he said that as long as they were not any worse off than before, they were all right, and that this portion was not included in the scheme. I think the drainage schemes and sewerage schemes in Roscommon County should receive some consideration. The Minister will not find it difficult to get rid of the one and a half millions. When the general question again arises as to how we are to utilise the money, we do not want to have Ministers saying that we told them nothing. We have told them something. On the admission of the President, there have been constructive suggestions put forward from these benches. The Minister for Education is too educated to see them, but apparently the President has not had a University education, and he can see them all right. His one objection was that all these things took a long time, and everyone knows that anything [699] that is worth doing well takes time; we admit that. But that is no argument against the various suggestions put forward.

I almost forgot to mention that we have had a promise from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Department of Finance that he would be willing to accept a voluntary reduction of 20 per cent. I am sure there are other members on the Government Benches who will do likewise. There was a question raised by some Deputy when Deputy Little referred to the suggestion of self-denying ordinance. In other countries, he said, they have done such things. Deputy Little did not think it worth his while to tell the Deputy where. I can answer for one case. There are people on both sides of this House who did do certain acts of self-denial for many years. and apparently they were quite prepared to do them for a long time. In all seriousness I suggest that the time has come when they should consider whether it is not possible to do it on a similar scale now. Perhaps I am asking too much. It is hard for people to break away from the habits they got accustomed to during the last few years. It would be quite a simple matter for Deputies on this side, because we have not had, unfortunately or fortunately—I will say fortunately—such bad habits in the last few years. I think Deputies on the opposite benches should seriously consider adding something to the miserable £150,000 they hope to carry through as a little sop to hungry people in this country.

I would like to say to Labour Deputies, as a member of the working class, that all our hopes are bound up in the welfare of the working classes not alone here but all over the world. I do hope when Labour Deputies bring in a motion of this kind again they will adopt a more defiant, a more independent, or, to use Mr. Lloyd George's words, a more audacious attitude, and that they will discover also that as England despises those who run after her, so also does Capital despise those who run after it. You have to stand up to those people and claim your whole rights, and then you will find that you will get some of what you are claiming.

[700] All this is offered in a real spirit of brotherliness which, I am sorry to say, I cannot apply to the other side, although we are all going to pull this ship into port. I do suggest that to Labour. I am sure the Labour movement, as a whole, will benefit from a change of outlook. Perhaps, as I said before, the reason of the attitude of the Labour Party is the hopelessness of making any impression on people who apparently have given themselves over completely to the system that obtained, and who cannot visualise anything else but the present system of society.

I am glad to see that the Minister for Finance has arrived. He knows something about other schemes, and he has actually forecasted something like that. He has given the game away, so to speak, and he has let us see that there is a way out of it. I say that in order to avoid this terrible revolution we hear so much about there should be some definite steps taken to see what wonderful changes in the social and economic structure of the State are possible, and whether it is not possible that we could give the world a lead in the solution of these problems. I believe we are not so bankrupt in ideas and statesmanship, and I believe if we do come together on this matter there might be constructive suggestions that would tend to solve this problem. I move the adjournment of the debate until to-morrow.

Mr. MORRISSEY: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  Before the House adjourns might I ask if the debate will be continued to-morrow.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  I have already expressed the hope that the three items which I enumerated this afternoon would be finished by to-night. It is getting to the point now when I cannot afford much more time for Private Deputies' business. I think I am not unreasonable in respect of that. Private Deputies have so far not taken up so much time. I do not know what time the debate is likely to finish to-morrow. We ought to find out how many more speakers there will be.

Mr. MacENTEE: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Sit late, if necessary.

Mr. MORRISSEY: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  I cannot say when the debate will finish. Might I [701] suggest to the President that there is no difficulty in having time. The House could have sat on Tuesday of last week or of this week. This is a very important matter. I do not see why the President should talk of time at all. Why does the House not sit and finish the matter?

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  The Deputy, of course, speaks for himself. Other Deputies have spoken to me and have objected to Tuesday sittings. They have other business to discharge. It is certainly a very long time to devote to one motion. There are other motions which might reasonably have taken a considerable amount of the time that has been wasted on this.

Mr. MORRISSEY: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  Wasted!

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  I would remind the House that yesterday was regarded by the vast majority of Deputies as a holyday of obligation, when we were to abstain from unnecessary work.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  The question to be solved is, if the resumed debate on this amendment is to be taken to-morrow or Friday.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  To-morrow. Can we get any information as to how many speakers there will be?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  That information will have to be got between now and to-morrow, if it is to be got at all.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Usually in the past we had intimation from Deputies when they desired to speak. This motion is dragging on for a considerable time, and we ought to find some accommodation.

Mr. MORRISSEY: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  Perhaps the President would indicate to the House when the Minister who is mainly responsible for dealing with this motion will speak. We might then be in a better position to give him an answer.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  I have already given that information.

Major COOPER: Information on Major Bryan Ricco Cooper  Zoom on Major Bryan Ricco Cooper  Is it not open to Deputy Morrissey to move the closure whenever he thinks fit?

[702]Captain REDMOND: Information on William Archer Redmond  Zoom on William Archer Redmond  That cannot be moved except from the Government Benches.

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