Wednesday, 3 July 1929
Dáil Éireann Debate
“Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £7,973 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1930, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí Roinn Uachtarán na hArd-Chomhairle.”
“That a sum not exceeding £7,973 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1930, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Department of the President of the Executive Council.”
Mr. T.J. O'Connell: I move:—“That the Estimate be referred back for re-consideration.” I put down that amendment by way of censure on the Government, of which the President is the head, because the Government has not, in our opinion, during the year that has passed or for the coming year, made adequate provision to meet the great social evil of unemployment which is,  unhappily, still with us. We are not in a position to say definitely what the extent of that evil is. On several occasions we have endeavoured to obtain statistics from the Government Departments—to get definite figures about unemployment. We believe that these figures are available, but they have not been presented to us or to the public generally. They have been promised for quite a long time, but we are still without them. We can only judge by the figures from the unemployment exchanges. These figures do not represent the number of people unemployed even in the skilled trades, because we know that the people who sign the unemployment register are only those who are entitled to unemployment benefit. That is a very small proportion of the number of people unemployed. We have our own observations to help us. Any of us who go about the country, and who are especially acquainted with the conditions in Dublin, knows very well that there are very great numbers of people unemployed. The same applies to a very large extent to provincial towns.
We have had a rather remarkable statement which confirms my assertion that there are large numbers of unemployed in Dublin. That statement is borne out by the authoritative declaration made some weeks ago in the course of a discussion which took place between the Dublin County Council and the Commissioners with regard to the proposed alteration of the law in connection with outdoor relief. It has been stated that there are in Dublin no less than 5,000 families who would be entitled to obtain outdoor relief if the law in Dublin were the same as in other parts of the country. There are 5,000 families, the breadwinners of whom are able and willing to work, but they are not in the position to obtain work. They are fit subjects because of that for outdoor relief. I think that statement would be sufficient for us to say that this is a problem of such an extent that it ought to be one of the problems to engage the most serious consideration of the Government.
 We have the present number of unemployed, and we know that the Shannon Scheme will be completed inside the next few months—within the present financial year, at any rate. It is expected that that will involve the throwing out of employment of a very considerable number of unskilled workers. We have heard nothing from the Government, no indication whatever, of any steps being taken by them to meet the increased unemployment which will result from the completion of the Shannon Scheme. No adequate measures, in our opinion, have been taken, and we have heard of no plans and no proposals from the Government to deal with this question, which, as I say, is a question which affects our whole social and economic life. Of course, we have the statement on record from the spokesman of the Government that it is no part of the duty of the Government to provide employment for the people. I trust that the Minister for Industry and Commerce will have his attention called to the very important pronouncement regarding that particular question which was made no later than last week by a very distinguished theologian, speaking at the Maynooth Union. He referred to the pernicious doctrine which was being preached to the effect that the State had nothing to do with unemployment, and stated definitely that “it was not only the duty of the State, but the interest of the State, to deal with unemployment, for indigence and unemployment in creased not only the number of the sick, but the number of the malcontents and the criminals, who are a blot on and a source of danger to the State.”
I think it can be stated that it is as much part of the work of the Government to deal with the social evils created by unemployment as it would be their duty to deal with social evils which might arise from any other cause. If there was a danger of an epidemic of a serious, contagious disease, the State would not deny that it was its duty to take measures to protect the people from an evil of that kind. They might as  well deny their obligation in that case as deny their obligation to deal with what is undoubtedly and admittedly a grave social evil. We have three classes of people to consider in this matter. We have what might be regarded as the normally employed people, mainly skilled people, who suffer from occasional unemployment, due to trade depression.
Mr. T.J. O'Connell: Or unemployment, due to movement of trade or the completion of works here and there. That is the position that is met by our unemployment insurance. It is intended to be met by unemployment insurance. We have, in addition, what might be termed the normally unemployed, and those constitute a very large number, indeed. We have many other people who get casual employment —short periods of employment on the roads or something of that kind —but who normally are unemployed. These are mainly unskilled people. It is for these we say that the Government have not made the efforts that we think ought to have been made, and could be made. You have, in addition, a great number of people who might be described as being normally under-employed. Among these, I would class many of our small farmers, especially the uneconomic landholders and their sons. To these, I would add the fishermen and people of that kind.
Attention has already been drawn on several occasions here to the fact that when the Government set out on what they call “a policy of economy,” they effect economies by cutting down certain Estimates which provide money which normally would give employment. We have had various instances of that. We have an instance this year; there were very considerable reductions in the land improvement schemes on the Land Commission Vote. In fact, it always seems to us that whenever the Government set out on a campaign of economy of  that particular type, the economy is effected by cutting down sums intended mainly to provide employment. That is not “economy” that can have any other than the opposite effect to that which, apparently, the Government intends. Surely, that is not economy. Moneys are saved nationally, or apparently saved nationally, at the expense of the ratepayers; that is really what happens. If the money is not available for distribution for useful work, then the local authorities and the ratepayers must come to the relief of the unemployed, because we have these men with us, and they must be supported. They must live, and they are a burden on the community. The community must support them.
It will not be sufficient for the Government to say, and certainly they are not doing their duty when they say: “We will not provide this money; we will not provide any further money which, under this head, in the past gave employment. We will leave that to the local authorities.” That has been, as far as we can gather, the attitude taken by the Ministry on several occasions here.
What has been done by the Government in this matter? We have heard repeatedly trotted out here all the steps the Government have taken to increase industry, to revive trade, and, thereby, to create employment. I submit to the Government, without detracting in any way from what they have done in that particular connection, that these things in themselves are not sufficient to deal in an adequate way with this problem. They are too slow. Men must live while the Government schemes are being developed. We have heard in previous years of the fine things that the Trade Loans (Guarantee) Acts were to do.
I wonder could we get an estimate from any Minister of the actual number of people who have been employed as a result of the Trade Loans Facilities Act? I think we  heard a statement here a few weeks ago to the effect that people had not made the use of that Act which they might have made, or which it was thought by the Government they would have made. If that is so, it is practically what some of us prophesied when that Act was going through, that it would not be able to do all the things expected of it, in the way of creating employment, by the Government at that time. About eighteen months ago, as a result of pressure from this House, the Government set up a committee to look into the question of unemployment. That committee made certain recommendations. What has been the result? I would like, especially as the President is here, to know what has become of the special sub-committee set up for the purpose of dealing with the question of housing? Certain recommendations were made in regard to matters of housing. The committee was confined to Dublin people under the chairmanship of a Deputy of this House. Although reference was made on many occasions to that committee, we do not know exactly what it has done, or what it proposes to do. The question which I want to ask the President is: has he thrown off his own responsibility, has the Government shifted its responsibility in this matter on to that committee? Is that the position? If the committee chooses for one reason or another—I am not saying who is responsible—not to make a report, and to do nothing, does the President propose to sit down and say: “I can do no more”? Is that the attitude of the Government in regard to that matter?
We were promised early in this session that a very comprehensive housing scheme would be introduced some time during the year. The only proposal we have is the extension, if it can be called an extension, of the present Act and of the grants available. Is that the last word of the Ministry on the matter of housing? A few days ago I was looking over the Report of the  Gaeltacht Commission. I was looking at several recommendations which have been made. The Minister for Local Government was Chairman of the Commission, and, in the statement issued by the Government afterwards, observations were made in regard to those recommendations. In Recommendation 55, for instance, it was stated that a special system of loans and grants would be introduced for the improvement of houses in the Gaeltacht. In Recommendation 59, in regard to the question of State grants for the encouragement of land reclamation, it was stated that the Government were prepared to give effect to the recommendation and would have the matter explored with a view to the preparation of a suitable scheme. They are, however, still on that voyage of exploration, and we have had nothing tangible as a result of it.
In connection with recommendations for a comprehensive scheme of arterial drainage for the Gaeltacht we have it stated that one large scheme, which is outside the Act of 1925, for the improvement of Lough Corrib and the River Corrib was being examined. I expect that Deputy Fahy could tell us whether it has passed the stage of examination. So far as I know it has not, and the people in that area may still look forward to employment when its examination is complete. The same may be said in regard to other recommendations of that Committee. We have still to see their fruition. We have nothing but Government promises to depend on, and a comparison with the broken reed would be too good in that connection. Here we have this problem. We have work to be done. No one will deny that. There are many schemes of national development. They need not be enumerated as they are well known. Perhaps the Minister for Finance would not call them economic because they would not return five or ten per cent. on the money invested, but they are works of national importance which would add to the national well-being. As I say, the work is  there to be done. The men are available to do it. The Minister for Finance will not deny that it would be possible to obtain money to spend on such work. You have those three factors present. What more is required except organisation and, perhaps, imagination and a little courage on the part of the Ministry to attack this problem in the way that it ought to be attacked? It has never been made the dominant issue that it should have been made, and no genuine attempt has been made to tackle it in the way that it ought to have been tackled.
We have now, at least, examples of the steps that have been taken in a neighbouring country to deal with this problem. Not alone, however, has no special Minister been appointed here, but the Government have not set up a special committee of the Ministry to handle the problem in the way it ought to be handled. We have those schemes to which I have referred, and I have no doubt that the Minister will sing out the litany again of all the various things they are doing. The fact, however, is that we have the problem of unemployment with us, and that is the test. Has there been a steady diminution in the number of unemployed people in the country? Take the City of Dublin, for instance. I have quoted figures which show that in Dublin, in any case, the problem is such that it should not be allowed by any responsible Government to continue. The Minister for Local Government, whenever this problem is raised, has always the one remedy —namely, the local authorities are empowered to deal with any man in a state of distress owing to unemployment. As I have said, I do not desire in any way to detract from the schemes which the Government have endeavoured, in a small and piece-meal way, to set on foot with the ultimate object of creating industry and providing employment. but I say that that is not sufficient, as, in the meantime, those who are unemployed must live. Whether is it better that we should simply throw these people on to home  assistance or that we should provide employment for them which might not be fully economic, in the sense which the Minister for Finance would say is economic. I have no hesitation at all in saying that it would be a much better economic proposition for the country as a whole that such works should be provided, and that money should be specially provided for such work. That is why we have here repeatedly urged that money should be provided by way of special schemes, whether relief schemes or any other schemes, to give employment to men who are able and willing to work, but who are not in a position to find work, to give employment to such people until such time as they will be absorbed into other industries as a result of the Government's measures for the development of industry and for increasing trade.
The Government have deliberately taken up the attitude that they will not provide sums of that kind. Not only that, but they have gone further. They have reduced very considerably indeed the money which was available in the ordinary Estimates for employment, especially for the employment of unskilled men, who are the people normally unemployed. I do not wish to dwell on this matter in any great detail. I just want to deal with the question in a very general way, and to say that it is our belief that is the duty of any Government in power to make special provision so that people will be normally employed. It is because there is no doubt in our minds that the present Ministry have failed lamentably in their duty in that respect that I am moving to have this Vote referred back for re-consideration.
Mr. de Valera: We intend to support the amendment to refer back the Estimate. We intend voting against the Estimate as a whole, because in our opinion scarcely any of the things that one would expect an Executive that had any regard  for national interests to do have been done. In the first place, let us look at the Estimate itself. We have an increase in the Estimate for the Department of the President of the Executive Council. In our opinion, there is no reason for this increase at all. Some of us, at any rate, expected to see the Vote for this Department diminishing year by year to a much smaller standard than at present. The work of the Government is now thoroughly departmentalised. If all the branches of Government are departmentalised, as they are, why should we have to spend a sum, which is pretty well standardised at about £13,000 per year, on a central Department? After all, a great deal of the work of the office of that Department merely consists of sending along matters that come to them for attention by the proper Department. We think, accordingly, that a staff of these dimensions is quite unnecessary. Instead of a diminution we have an increase. The estimated expenditure on the Vote itself is increased by £668, and the expenditure on other votes in connection with it by £97. Instead of the decrease one would naturally expect, we have a total increase this year of £765. That is typical of the extravagant way in which all the Departments are run as far as we can see.
The amount estimated for this year for Central Fund Charges and Supply Services after deducting possible amounts for over-estimation, is £25,000,000. That is becoming practically a standard figure. It is pretty well stabilised now. If we look at the figure for last year and compare it with that for this year, we will see that it is pretty well stabilised at £25,000,000. If we remember that the total net product of our industry is only £20,000,000— that is the estimate given by the Department of Industry and Commerce of the new portable goods manufactured here—we see the extravagant way in which we are living. The Census returns give us £24,100,000 odd. If we deduct from that the products of industry which cannot be classed as portable goods,  we come to the amount given by the Minister for Industry and Commerce—£20,000,000—so that we are spending on Government one and a quarter times as much money as represents the total net products of our industry in portable goods. I think no body of representatives who are interested in the well-being of the country can be content with that. When we make an examination to see how that money is spent, we have, of course, to go back to the items we have so frequently brought to the attention of the Executive, items like the Civic Guards, which are still at the standard of over £1,500,000; the Army roughly £1,500,000, and pensions running up to £2,350,000.
I have had an attempt made to extract from the Estimates the salaries over £1,000 a year. It is very difficult to do it thoroughly, or to do it exactly, on account of the way the figures are presented in the Estimate. I have estimated that 246 individuals receive in the way of salaries from the State, a total sum of £324,945. That is an average of £1,321 each. When we know that there are people starving here in Dublin, and that this country is paying 246 persons an average of £1,321, we get another picture of the type of administration and the costliness of the administration which we have. It is in order to call attention to that fact and to the general administration that we propose in the first instance to vote against granting this money. It is not with respect to administration alone that we are dissatisfied. If you take any one of the big problems that the Executive should have tackled, we find that in every one of them it has a record of absolute futility. Deputy O'Connell has mentioned the problem of unemployment.
He has pointed out that recently it was shown that there would be about 5,000 families here in Dublin that, if the statutory conditions were the same, would be entitled to outdoor relief, and everybody who knows at all the conditions of the city knows that there are numbers  of families starving at present. We see no effort whatever made by the Executive to deal with the problem of unemployment. Some years ago I think it was the Minister for Industry and Commerce disclaimed on the part of the State any responsibility for relieving unemployment.
Mr. de Valera: The quotation will not affect the fact that the Minister disclaimed responsibility for finding work for the unemployed as part of the duty of the State. When that statement was made we pointed out that it was the duty of any civilised State under present conditions to see that employment was available and opportunities for work available for those willing to work. It was one of the primary duties of the State, and last year I pointed out that the present Primate of Ireland supported that view and said it was definitely part of the obligations of a modern State to see that the citizens were given an opportunity of getting work or else were given the necessary means to live. A couple of days ago from a responsible authority also you have a similar statement made. Deputy O'Connell this evening drew our attention to it, and we want to know whether the Government still keep to the attitude which was indicated by the Minister for Industry and Commerce some years ago or whether they are going to accept definitely the responsibility which should be theirs.
Mr. de Valera: The Minister will have an opportunity of telling us what exactly is their policy, because even though he may now say he did not make that statement, so far as we can judge the actions of the Executive are in consonance with that statement, because if they took seriously the responsibility of getting employment, or giving to people out of work, work equivalent to the work they had been doing, then we would not have the conditions we have at present. If they took seriously that responsibility, they would not treat as they have treated suggestions by which employment could be given in this country. Suggestions have been made by members on this side of the House which have indicated the direction in which employment could be given to 100,000 people.
We have still the same thing going on in the way of imports into this country of unnecessary articles. If you look at the last returns and see the position, in Class II., under the heading of food, drink and tobacco, we import into this country £23,020,000 worth of goods. Remember we are an agricultural country, and this is under the heading of food, drink and tobacco, whereas our exports under the same head amount to £21,173,000. Is it not obvious to anybody that there is something fundamentally wrong with that? Side by side with this unemployment we have emigration from this country at the rate of 500 persons a week. Between the years 1924 and 1928 we have had the total number of 131,137 young people emigrating out of this country, and that is only to countries outside of Europe and not within the Mediterranean Sea, so that altogether our total emigration is much higher than that. The figure for countries out of Europe last year was 24,691. That is roughly an average of 500 a week. The fact that the Government has failed to deal with unemployment and with the emigration  problem is quite sufficient to condemn them.
Then, with regard to housing, something like 40,000 are needed. We pointed out here that the best way to deal with that was by giving to the local authority loans on long terms, and thus give them an opportunity of going on with their schemes. That was pooh-poohed here. We had the President and the Minister for Local Government, when that suggestion was made, saying that people with any sense of responsibility would not make suggestions of that kind.
Mr. de Valera: I have just sent for the quotation. You will have it before the debate is out. It was definitely suggested that it was nonsense to talk on those lines, but when an election was on there was, a very short time afterwards, a great cry to suggest to the public that there would be loans made for houses.
Mr. de Valera: I saw them beforehand and verified them. In any case, it is not so much that they pretended, in a time of election, to deal with this problem, but the fact that they have absolutely failed to deal with it in the past is our ground for complaint.
Then, again, we come along to the question of the treatment of agriculture. They brought in an Agricultural Credit Bill after it had been heralded for a long time as something which was going completely to change the position of the farmer and put him on his feet. We know the result of that. When it was brought in it was meant to deal with a different question altogether, practically the question of financing agriculture in normal times, and  there was no effort whatever made to deal with the farmers who, as a result of the depression immediately following the war and the changed conditions, were in the position that some of the very best of them were unable to carry on. Their farms were unstocked, and generally the capital which was necessary to enable them to get on with their work was not available.
Then we come to the question of putting them on something like equal terms with those with whom they would be competing in the North of Ireland and Britain, the question of derating. We are told, of course, that that cannot be thought of, simply because the Executive persists in doing a thing they should not do, and doing a thing that there is no legal obligation on them to do.
Mr. de Valera: It is a matter of what is going to be the policy of the Government. It is part of the Government policy not to deal with the present condition of the farmers, and put them on something like an equality when dealing with their rivals. I hold that is a definitely pertinent remark in the present connection.
Mr. de Valera: Can I not point out that it is not part of the policy of the present Executive to make any attempt to derate the agricultural community and to put farmers of this part of the country on a level with the farmers with whom they are competing in the North of Ireland and Great Britain?
Mr. de Valera: Recently we had the Minister for Finance making his Budget statement. That Budget statement indicated the policy of the Executive for the year. He spent a considerable time in dealing with the question of derating and in explaining why it was not possible for the Government to derate. I say that we have a right, on this Estimate, to deal with that question, and to say that it should be the policy of the Executive to derate.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: What the Deputy is really claiming now is  a right to make a speech on the Vote for the Department of the President of the Executive Council which would be more properly made on the Budget. The Deputy simply cannot go over on this Estimate every item contained in the Estimates, the Budget and Bills which come before the House.
Mr. de Valera: If that rule is going to be acted upon as a general principle, then the whole question of unemployment would equally be ruled out. The question of housing would be ruled out, and practically every question that we want to discuss on this Vote would be ruled out. If this Vote is going to be dealt with only in the way of pounds, shillings and pence, and the number of officials the President has in his office. then the whole discussion on this Vote of the Executive Council has been out of order every year up to the present.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I am afraid the Deputy does not understand the position. The Deputy has an opportunity to criticise the policy of the Executive Council, but he is not at liberty to advocate legislation on an Estimate. The ruling which is now being given is the same ruling that has been given every year on this and on every other Estimate. There is no change.
Mr. de Valera: Then I must not speak of the question of derating and of the policy of the Government in respect to derating. Similarly, I must not speak of the policy of the Government with respect to housing, and I must not deal with the policy  or want of policy of the Government with respect to unemployment, if that ruling is to be carried out rigidly.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy has been allowed to deal with the question of housing; he has been allowed to refer to the policy of the Government with regard to unemployment. The Deputy will not be ruled out of order, unless he is out of order.
Mr. de Valera: The difficulty is that if I am ruled out on this particular point, it practically means that I am going to be ruled out on everything. I took unemployment as dealing with a certain section of the community. In taking housing, I am dealing with a section of the community. We have 78,000 people, an increase of 5,000 in two or three years, without suitable houses. I intended naturally to go on to consider other sections of the community whose position is largely influenced by the policy of the Government. I was taking the farming community and asking what was the policy of the Government with regard to the farmers. I had asked what was the policy of the Government with respect to the whole question of our trade. I find it very difficult to criticise the Government policy if I cannot proceed in a natural way to look at the sections of the community who are affected. In saying that, I do not wish, in any way, to disobey the ruling of the Chair. I am simply pointing out a natural difficulty.
Similarly, there is the question of land distribution. It has been estimated that at the rate at which land has been distributed under the 1923 Act, it would take something like 63 years to complete land purchase in this country. I am dealing with the Executive Council, and looking at  the different Departments in their work. If we look at the Department of Fisheries, we find that the returns are diminishing yearly. We want to know, for example, what the Minister for Fisheries is doing.
Mr. de Valera: I take it that the Executive Council have common responsibility ultimately for the policy which is carried out by any member of the Executive Council. In other words, when dealing with the Department of Fisheries, we have, in the first place, to deal with the Minister who is responsible, but we have also to deal with the Executive Council, for whom this Vote is, because they have common responsibility for all these Departments. It is the duty of the President of the Executive Council, if one of these Departments is not functioning as it ought to function, to take action with respect to the matter.
Fisheries and Lands have been put into one Department. There is a Parliamentary Secretary. I would like in passing to say that, in our opinion, most of these Parliamentary Secretaries are unnecessary. Now that the work has been departmentalised, the Ministers should do their own work directly. There may be some excuse made for the Department of Posts and Telegraphs. But take other Departments, particularly the Department of Fisheries. Fisheries are particularly important as they have close reference to the economic life of the Gaeltacht.
Mr. de Valera: Deputy O'Connell spoke of the Gaeltacht and of the attitude of the Government towards the Gaeltacht. Have I not the right to speak of a particular Department which has close relation to the Gaeltacht? One of the reasons why some of us here take a particular interest in that Department is because  its work naturally impinges upon the Gaeltacht. If it is an efficient Department it will help the Gaeltacht. If it is inefficient, as it is, it is damaging to the Gaeltacht.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Deputy O'Connell dealt with the Gaeltacht in a general way, without reference to any particular Department. There is no distinction, as far as the Chair is concerned, between Deputy O'Connell and Deputy de Valera. Deputy de Valera will get just as much opportunity in debate as any other member of this House.
Mr. de Valera: If I speak in generalities I will be attacked by Ministers on the opposite Benches for not mentioning specific instances. I am anxious to talk definitely to the point about things which can be definitely argued, but not about things which are vague or general. Let me now turn to the general financial conduct of the Ministry in their relations, for instance, with Great Britain. We have the thing exemplified in the condition of the Teachers' Pension Fund, where they took over a fund which was bankrupt, and we have to make good the deficiency—either the State has to do it or else the individual teachers will have to do it. That is typical of the way in which the present Ministry have conducted the business of the Government.
Mr. de Valera: It will be dealing with the present year when we have the policy of the Executive Council, or want of policy, in connection with that; it will be very much a present-day matter either for the teachers or the community as a whole when they have to make good that deficiency. I was pointing out on de-rating how the interests of the farming section were neglected, and I wish to point out in that connection that when we raised the question of the annuities we were told that if that had been done there were ten millions which we are not taking into account. What is the position with respect to that ten millions?
Mr. de Valera: The want of policy on the part of the Executive Council to conduct the financial business of the country properly when they are dealing with England and elsewhere. Surely, when we see the coinage question coming up this year and the deficiency in the Teachers' Pension Fund also coming up, we have a very good reason for bringing it up now and indicating why, in our opnion, the present Executive Council are not fit to continue in their present position.
Mr. de Valera: The policy of the Government, as far as we can see, has been simply to run away on every occasion from the responsibilities which they undertook—the responsibilities which any body of men in the Executive Council should undertake. We had the Minister for External Affairs some time ago challenging us to deal with the question of status. I suppose that will also be regarded as not germane to this debate. Surely, when we are voting the salary of the President of the Executive Council, who ought, in general, to have a directing influence on policy as a  whole, we ought to be allowed to comment upon the attitude which the Executive Council take in large public matters. Take this question of status. I should like to read what the Minister said. It was a carefully-prepared statement which he read.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: It seems as if the Deputy was trying to lay down an absolutely new procedure altogether on this question of dealing with Estimates. The question of External Affairs was dealt with under the appropriate Vote. The matter was put before the House and a decision come to, and, under the Standing Orders, it cannot be reopened. The Deputy's contention apparently is that the Votes should be discussed separately, as they are at present, and that then, on this particular Vote, there should be a rehash of all that was said on the other Votes. That cannot be allowed.
Mr. de Valera: Within certain limits. All we can do is to go ahead until we are pulled up by the Chair, because it is not possible for each one to define the limits. We will not come to anything like universal agreement as to what the “certain limits” are. I admit there is a difficulty; that it is better for us to say straight off that we cannot deal with the policy of the Executive Council on this particular Vote. I thought there was agreement that on this Vote the whole question of Executive  policy should come up for discussion. I have been dealing up to the present with the policy of the Government with respect to internal affairs. I came on to the question of external affairs in the financial relations between this country and Great Britain.
Mr. de Valera: If you are going to tell us that the Executive are only to deal with internal affairs, that is all right; but I understand that the Government are to deal not only with internal affairs but are to look after the interests of the State in external matters as well.
Mr. de Valera: As I say, it seems to be impossible, except in vague generalities, which our opponents on the other side will not hesitate to call such, to deal with this Vote at all. Surely we would want to deal with specific instances. Apparently, I am not permitted to deal with the foreign policy—if we might call it the foreign policy—of the Executive.
Mr. de Valera: It seems extraordinary, at any rate, that we are not allowed to deal with it on this Vote for the President of the Executive Council, whose Department ought to be primarily responsible for dealing with external affairs. Perhaps it will satisfy the Leas-Cheann Comhairle if I say that there has not been a single noble national ideal put before the representatives of the people by the Government. There has not been, as Pádraic Pearse said, a way of wisdom or a counsel of courage put up to us. In every one of our main problems they have failed. Their attitude towards former comrades has been simply that of brute force, as evidenced by the Juries Bill and Coercion Act. Their attitude towards the foreigner has been one of surrender  all along the line. The list of surrenders is getting longer day by day—is being added to day by day—and our contention is that an Executive whose record is of that type ought not to be voted the money asked for here.
Mr. Davin: The members of this Party decided to put down the amendment which has been moved by Deputy O'Connell for the purpose of giving the President, who is head of the Executive Council, an opportunity of defending his policy in regard to the general question of unemployment. So far as we are aware, the only indication of the Government's policy up to the present has been expressed in a statement made in this House by the Minister for Industry and Commerce on the 30th October, 1924. I hope he will come in to correct, wherever he can, the official record of that particular statement, or qualify it if he cannot correct it. On page 551 of the Official Report of the 30th October, 1924, the Minister is given as stating:—
“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 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. McGilligan: That is a totally different thing. 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.”
Now that, as far as we know up to the present, is the policy of the Government, and has not been qualified in any respect by the President or any other Minister in this House. That policy is clearly seen and shown in the action of the Ministry in cutting down by a very large sum the Estimates that provide work and give relief to the unemployment problem from year to year. I have been looking through the Estimate for this year, and comparing it with that Estimate which provides a State grant for housing, for drainage and for land improvement services. I find that on the Board of Works Estimate, under the heading of “New Works and Alterations,” there is a decrease compared with last year of £208,110; for drainage maintenance there is a decrease of £1,000; for arterial drainage there is a decrease of £6,000, and for the Barrow Drainage there is a decrease of £55,000. In the Land Improvements Schemes, which give considerable employment in the rural areas, as the President knows, there is a decrease of £161,550, and under the heading of Posts and Telegraphs— Vote No. 62—there is a decrease in the labour charges in that particular Department of £128,565.
Now, we hear a great deal in this House and outside about the saving of the one million in expenditure this year, as compared with last year, but out of that total saving of one million no less than £560,225 is saving at the expense of unemployed people in this country. Added to that £560,225, there is a decrease in the Estimate under the head of Property Loss Compensation of £275,300, and under the condition under which the money was voted, employment to a certain extent has been given. Therefore, adding £560,225 and the £275,300, you find that the so-called saving has been at the expense of those who hitherto secured work as a result of the Votes passed by this House.
 I come to the other side of the balance-sheet. In Vote 8—Local Loans Fund Grant-in-Aid—there is a large increase of £193,000 which, presumably, will give some employment and might be set aside for housing purposes in that way. There is also under the head of Local Government—Vote 40—an increase of £59,915, which Vote is for the purpose of giving State grants at a considerably reduced figure to persons and local authorities for the purpose of building houses. These are the only figures we have upon which we could give a considered judgment on the policy of the Government in the present financial year; in addition, we have it stated by the Minister for Industry and Commerce that the Government did not regard it as their duty to provide employment for the citizens of this State. Their policy seems to me to be to shift the onus for unemployment from this House and the taxpayers on to those of the ratepayers. That is clearly proved from the policy of the Minister for Local Government and Public Health, which, I presume, is approved by the President, and which, I hope, he will deal with when replying to the discussion on this Vote. Compared with last year, I find there is an increase of 16 per cent. in the rates raised for road maintenance purposes, which shows that notwithstanding that there has been an increase in revenue to the Road Fund, there is a considerable additional sum to be borne by the ratepayers for the maintenance of the roads and in giving the employment which goes with ordinary normal road maintenance.
Mr. Davin: The Minister can add to my remarks or qualify them in any way he likes, but I am giving the figures he himself gave to the House in support of his own Estimate. I cannot understand why there should be an added liability to the ratepayers for road maintenance charges when we have a gradually  increased revenue coming into the Road Fund, but I quote it as an illustration of the policy of shifting the onus from the Ministry to the ordinary ratepayers.
We have also this supposed indication, although I do not take it as such, of the policy of the Government on the housing question—a considerable decrease in the amount of the State grant hitherto given to persons and public authorities for the building of houses throughout the State. Does the Minister really try to convince the House that that is a definite indication and prove that the Government are anxious to provide houses by way of State assistance so sadly and badly needed throughout the towns and the country districts of the State?
On the general question of housing, I am very glad that Deputy O'Connell has put a very definite question to the President, and as this is his own Vote, I hope that the President will give us a straight answer to that question. The President and the Minister, with the co-operation of other people who are interested in looking after the housing needs of the people, set up a particular committee to deal with the general problem of unemployment and that committee made certain recommendations. Arising out of the proceedings of that committee, a conference was called both of employers and operatives in the building trade as affecting the City of Dublin. As we all know, the President's outlook in regard to housing is confined entirely to Dublin.
Mr. Davin: Now that the President is senior representative of the City of Cork, I hope he will take an interest in the housing question in Cork as well as in Dublin. That conference was called together under the auspices of the Ministry and, I believe, at the request of the President who, I think, knows more about the housing needs of the people in this country and the  finances of the housing problem than any other Deputy in this House. I give him credit for that and I hope he will, when he comes to reply on this Vote, state whether he is satisfied that that conference has failed to bring in any recommendation that would enable him and the Ministry to proceed with a national housing scheme, which seems to be as far off as when it was promised three or four years ago during some particular bye-election or general election.
Deputy O'Connell was right in stating that the responsibility for dealing with the housing problem which calls for the immediate provision of at least 40,000 houses is not a responsibility which can be delegated by the President or the Ministry to any particular conference, whether employers or representatives of the building operatives. If it has failed, let us hear from the President, whose Vote we are now discussing, the reason why it failed, and, what is far more important, let us have a statement of the Government policy arising out of the failure of that particular conference. We talk a good deal about selective protection and of building a stone wall and a steel wall about the country, and of keeping out anything that could be made or manufactured in the country, but the President must be aware that there is coming into this country cement to the amount of £500,000. My suggestion is, that if this problem is to be dealt with, it will have to be dealt with by using the raw material produced in the State and by having the brickyards that are idle opened, even if it adds an additional item to the cost of the housing scheme.
If we are in favour of selective protection let us give the benefit of that policy to the people who own the brickyards. Let us open up the brickyards and give employment rather than continue to import cement to the value of £500,000 per annum.
Mr. Davin: I am entitled to deal with the conference that was called by the President in connection with the housing problem, with the failure of that conference, and the results that have come to the State as a result of the failure of that conference.
Mr. Davin: For 1928. I am sure the President has all this upon his finger tips. He knows a great deal about this matter. He has the returns that were supplied to all Deputies, and those returns will confirm the figure that I have quoted. It may not suit the President's particular purpose to turn up that very figure and say that it is correct. I do not want to go into the question of the foreign policy of the Government, or the problem that is created by the deficiency in the Teachers' Superannuation Fund, or any of those other questions, because none of them, whether it has a bearing on the Estimate or not, has a direct bearing on the points we are raising under this amendment. We all know that a good deal of employment has been given during the past few years by the Department, which provided large sums of money for buildings by the Board of Works and for drainage and land improvement schemes. I want the President to submit any figures at his disposal which will go to show that the unemployment problem this year is less acute than last year. The very fact that there has been a reduction of £560,225 in the Estimates which make provision for drainage, housing and building schemes generally, is proof that there must be a smaller number of men employed in that work than there were last year.  I will wait patiently and listen with the greatest attention to any figures the President may give when he is attempting to refute the statement contained in the Estimates which he asks the House to pass.
Mr. Lemass: Deputy Davin and Deputy O'Connell informed us that the reason the Labour Party moved to refer the Estimate back for re-consideration was to enable the House to have an opportunity of discussing the policy of the Government in the matter of unemployment. The raising of the question of unemployment undoubtedly gave the Labour Party an opportunity of conducting a general assault on the Government; but from the two speeches which have been delivered from the Labour Benches, we cannot conclude that Deputies there have any very clear ideas on the subject. Their conception of the manner in which the problem of unemployment appears to be dealt with would seem to be nebulous.
Mr. Lemass: Yes, but I disapprove of the way in which the case was presented. The case is quite a good one, but it was not presented as it should be. The whole trend of the case made by Deputies Davin and O'Connell was the giving of Government grants in one form or another. It must be quite obvious that we cannot find a permanent solution of the problem on the basis of Government grants. We can tinker with the problem in that way, and we can give some temporary alleviation, but if the present unemployment evil is to disappear, it has to be tackled in some other manner.
Mr. O'Connell: Surely the Deputy is not interpreting my statement as being entirely in favour of Government grants? I made the point that a Government grant would be  necessary in the interval while a scheme was being prepared by the Government to provide a permanent solution. My point was that a Government grant would be essential until such time as a permanent scheme would fructify. Temporary schemes would, of course, have to be met by relief votes.
Mr. Lemass: I agree that in any scheme for the ending of unemployment which may be devised there will be a period during which temporary distress will have to be met and temporary expedients will be essential. My criticism of the Labour Party is based on the ground that they have failed to face the fact that the main difficulty in ending the unemployment problem is the attitude of the Government. They do not appear to have grasped clearly what the attitude of the Government is.
Mr. Lemass: I am going to explain. The attitude of the Government is that the degree of unemployment which exists is normal. They do not think that any special circumstances exist that would call for special attention or special measures. They appear to hold that a large volume of unemployment, such as there is at the moment, is a necessary phenomenon and, therefore, they can proceed by the ordinary recognised methods adopted in other countries where there are no abnormal conditions. The problem can only be considered in relation to its size. For three years the Government has succeeded in suppressing the information ascertained by the census of production in 1926 as to the size of unemployment. We could argue for hours as to the number of unemployed in the country. A certain number there is. It may be much larger than I think, and it may be much smaller, but on no occasion since we came into this House have we or the Labour Party, or anybody else, succeeded in nailing down any Minister to the definite statement that a particular number of unemployed exist in the country. Let us  take a number that will not be so large as to call for the immediate contradiction of any Minister. Let us say there are 50,000. There are approximately 30,000 unemployed in insurable occupations—25,000 or 30,000. The number of occupied persons in insurable occupations probably does not exceed 30 per cent. of the whole. We know, in addition, that the particular period of depression through which we have passed has affected those engaged in uninsurable occupations just as severely as, if not more severely, than those engaged in insurable occupations. We know fairly accurately that there are some 25,000 persons unemployed in insurable occupations. The total number of persons in these not being 30 per cent. of the whole, we can safely assume there are 50,000 unemployed. That is a figure on which we can work.
Let us examine the economic situation that exists in order to see what are the possibilities of absorbing into normal employment 50,000 persons within a specified period. In the discussion upon the Estimate of the Department of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, certain figures were given by the Minister which will be of value to us in this connection. He pointed out that the total net value of the agricultural produce of the country during the year 1926, as ascertained in the census of production, was £53,500,000, and the total net value of the new transportable goods manufactured in this country was £20,000,000. He estimated that the net value of commodities produced by each person employed in agriculture in that year was £80, and the net value of the goods produced by each person in the manufacturing industry was £266. I have examined these figures myself and I got somewhat different results from those of the Minister, but it is not unlikely that we worked on a different basis, and I am quite prepared to accept his figures. It is quite obvious from the figures that if the existing unemployment, taken at 50,000 people, could be absorbed into agriculture the production of  wealth could be increased by £4,000,000 in the year, and if they were absorbed into industry the increase would be £13,300,000. The increase was in the one case of 7.4 per cent., and in the other case of 66.5 per cent.
A calculation based on these figures would seem to indicate that if we worked from the opposite direction and concentrated upon increasing agricultural production by 7.4 per cent. and industrial production by 66.5 per cent., then we would have entirely ended the unemployment evil. Judging from these figures, one would naturally concentrate upon agriculture as offering the greater prospects and ensuring quick results. However, in that matter we have to take certain other things into our calculation as well. The low value of the wealth produced per year per head by persons engaged in agriculture indicates that many of those engaged in that industry are, as Deputy O'Connell described them, under-employed. Of course under-employment is just as serious a problem for the nation as unemployment. We could check that fact by reference to the figures published by the Ministry for Industry and Commerce in relation to the agricultural industry.
We have in this country 51 permanent agriculture workers for every thousand acres under crops and pasture. There are 31 in Denmark. We plough here 225 acres for every hundred permanent workers. They plough 1,007 acres for every one hundred permanent workers in Denmark. We have here per one hundred workers 165 milch cows as against 308 in Denmark. We have here 143 pigs as against 644 in Denmark. We have here 2,378 poultry as against 3,362 in Denmark. It is only in cattle other than milch cows and sheep that we exceed Denmark, and it is in the production of these animals that the least amount of labour is required. It is quite obvious from these figures that the agricultural production in the Free State could be increased by several  hundred per cent. before those engaged in that industry here would be employed to the same extent as those in that industry in Denmark are at present. We could increase agricultural production by several hundred per cent. before we would have absorbed into that industry one single person mentioned as at present unemployed.
If therefore we are going to find a solution of the unemployment problem we will find it in the stimulation of some other form of production than agricultural production. I am not arguing against concentration upon increasing agricultural production, because under-employment is just as serious in agricultural production as in industry. Anything that the Minister for Agriculture, the greatest Minister for Agriculture in the world, can do to increase production of wealth in the agricultural industry will be supported by us if for no other reason than that it will result in increasing the standard of living for those at present engaged in that industry. We must, however, concentrate on industry if the 50,000 people who are without work at present are to be given work. The task will, I think, be found not as difficult as it would appear at first sight.
The figure of £266 per head given by the Minister for Industry and Commerce relates only to those engaged in the manufacturing of transportable goods and it does not include those engaged in such industries as house building, road making, electrical concerns, gas works and similar undertakings. If means were found to employ the greatest possible number in the construction and repair of what I think could fairly be described as the Nation's fixed assets, the number left to be absorbed into productive industry would be very greatly reduced. Deputy O'Connell referred to the matter of house building, and undoubtedly the construction of the houses which are at present urgently needed by our people, could be made a most hopeful avenue for the relief of the unemployment that is existing. We are aware that in embarking upon any  scheme for the immediate provision of the 40,000 houses required, certain dangers and difficulties will be met with but none of them will be incapable of being surmounted. We had the matter of the Local Loans Fund discussed here. During the recent by-election in Sligo the Minister for Local Government made a statement before the poll that the Local Loans Fund was to be opened to local authorities for housing purposes. I wonder how many local authorities have succeeded in getting loans from the Local Loans Fund for the purpose of building houses, or was that merely an election promise made to be broken as soon as it had served its puropse?
The President: Will the Deputy understand that the local authorities will have to be ready with their plans to avail of those loans? The Deputy should know that schemes must be prepared for the acquisition of the lands, and there are the other details, and that all this takes time.
Mr. Lemass: I will put the question this way—will the President inform us the number of local authorities whose schemes have been approved but who have not yet succeeded in getting funds from the Board of Works?
Mr. Lemass: In any case even the provision of money from the Local Loans Fund to the local authorities is not going to solve the housing problem, but it goes a considerable step, because the provision of cheap finance is one of the main difficulties. If houses are to be constructed to meet the present requirements and to cope with unemployment it should be done as a national scheme. It cannot  be left entirely to the local authorities to do it. That national scheme would involve the production within this country of as much as possible of the building materials required and which are capable of being economically produced here. I am not arguing in favour of the production of materials which cannot be economically produced under present conditions. Because if they could only be bought here at uneconomic prices then we should leave that aside until a more normal situation had arisen. But I submit that it is in periods like the present that the Government should embark upon capital work, building up the credit of the nation and making the necessary funds available.
Mr. Lemass: There is not merely in the matter of housing but in a number of other matters a great deal of constructive work waiting to be done in this country, and that work, while not immediately reproductive, would, if done, increase the wealth and the wealth-producing capacity of the country to a very considerable extent. This Government has followed what has been described as a very conservative policy in the matter of finance. I think that the conservative policy of the Government in the matter of finance is as much responsible as anything else for the degree of unemployment which now exists, and for the volume of emigration which statistics disclose.
Undoubtedly, they occupy a strong position in the international markets. They can point with pride to the position which they occupy upon the American Exchange, but these advantages are very small when weighed in the balance against 50,000 people and their dependents in dire need and 500 of the best of our citizens emigrating every week. I do not know whether the President will maintain that the credit of the State is not sufficiently strong to allow more extended borrowing. It is, I submit, in a period such as the present that borrowing should  be embarked on to finance constructive schemes and to enable the abnormal problem of unemployment to be dealt with. If those who are at present without work can be given employment at a normal wage the whole industry of the country will be stimulated. You cannot spend £1,000 in building a bridge and merely find yourself in the end when the bridge has been built with the completed bridge and a debt for £1,000. That sum of £1,000 has been introduced and is in circulation in the country, and every form of commercial and industrial life receives the benefit of its expenditure.
Let us examine the prospects of getting constructive work going and what the nature of such work would be. There are very few towns in Ireland of any size which are provided with decent sewerage schemes or proper water supplies. The absence of such conveniences has in many cases had serious effects on public health. A very considerable amount of public good could be done, as well as a very considerable amount of unemployment relieved, if means were found available to make it possible for these towns to equip themselves with proper public facilities. It is useless to say, as the Minister will no doubt say, that the Local Loans Fund is available for that purpose. The provision of loans to local authorities will not meet the difficulty. The question of the burden on the rates, the question of the difficulty which is generally experienced in regard to the area of charge, will still remain. If we want such work to be undertaken now by local authorities it is not loans but grants that will have to be made available. It is, I submit, only a matter of book-keeping whether the money is borrowed by the local or the national authority for national work. The undertaking of schemes for the relief of unemployment is at present national work, and whether the loan has to be repaid by the taxpayer or by the ratepayer is a minor matter. The one factor that really counts is the fact that if you can absorb 50,000 people  into work, the capacity of the taxpayer to pay will be increased and it will not be necessary to impose new taxes because the yield of existing taxation will raise more than sufficient to repay the interest and sinking fund charges on the money borrowed for that purpose.
There are a number of other works. There is, for instance, the matter of land reclamation. I do not know if any survey has been carried out as to the possibility of undertaking big reclamation schemes in respect of tidal lands. I think it will be found that there are many thousands of acres capable of being reclaimed from the sea at an expenditure which would be small in comparison with the wealth to be created by such schemes. If the Government have carried out such survey I would be glad to hear it, but I do not think they have. Such survey would repay itself. Then there is the matter of erecting adequate defences against coast erosion, and also the matter of speeding up affairs in regard to afforestation. On the Forestry Vote the Minister for Lands and Agriculture informed us that there are 200,000 acres capable of being planted, and that it was the policy of his Department to have them planted in forty years. I submit that it is during an abnormal period like the present, when you have an abnormal number of unemployed, that such work should be undertaken, and not when the country is prosperous, and when workers have little difficulty in finding work from private employers. It would, in my opinion, be better to double or treble the work of afforestation now and to stop it in better times than to carry out the mechanical programme of the Minister, which does not take into account the economic conditions of the country.
There is also the matter of reconstructing dangerous bridges which are unsuitable to modern traffic. There are a large number of such bridges, even on trunk roads. It would be a useful way of providing work for the unemployed if the reconstruction of these bridges were  undertaken. There is, in addition, the matter of the construction of decent schoolhouses. In many parts of the country the schoolhouses are a blot on our civilisation, and are altogether unsuitable for the housing of young children. A considerable amount of capital expenditure could be undertaken in that direction at present if the right policy animated the country. There is plenty of work to be done, and it is sufficient to absorb all those who are without work at present, if only some means were found to enable it to be undertaken, and if money were available. In connection with all the matters I have mentioned, there is one outstanding fact which should be noticed, namely, that they are not dependent for completion on supplies of foreign materials. The materials can be supplied within the country, and consequently there need be no export of wealth if we embark on such schemes. As I have already said, if we embarked on such schemes we would give trade and industry the necessary fillip to get them out of their post-war depression. The whole industrial body would be rejuvenated and the workers who would find temporary employment on these schemes would be gradually absorbed into permanent and normal employment in private enterprise. It would not, of course, be possible, nor would it be necessary, to absorb all of them into works of that nature, as the balance of them can and should be absorbed into industry. I am not going to deal with the question of tariffs, as the Chair objects, except in a general way, and in so far as it bears on the policy of the Government.
An Ceann Comhairle: I do not think that we should have a debate on that matter, as tariffs require statutes and we cannot proceed to discuss the question of making laws on this particular Vote. I do not know how the Deputy can discuss tariffs generally.
An Ceann Comhairle: People must take the opportunity of discussing the question of unemployment in the right way. This way precludes discussion on the question of tariffs. On the Finance Bill, for instance, we had tariffs, tariffs, tariffs.
Mr. Lemass: Here is a quotation from the “Motor Trader,” dated June 19th, 1929: I am not advocating tariffs, but I am reading this for the information of the House. It is entitled “Britain's Best Market,” and it goes on to say:
“Australia is maintaining its position as the principal buyer of British car chassis, having taken 4,270 valued at £491,135 of the 7,020 chassis which were exported from this country during the first five months of this year. During the same period she took 218 complete vehicles worth £65,328. The principal customer for complete cars is the Irish Free State which, by taking 2,705 vehicles valued at £435,553 in five months more than double her purchases during the same period of last year when 1,261 cars worth £228,013 were bought.”
Mr. Lemass: If the President will take these figures and make a simple calculation he will realise that we have paid something like 60 per cent. of £435,000 for goods that could be produced in this country and in respect of which we have established factories which are as good as any in the world, and we have workmen who were recognised all over the world as the most skilled in the trade.
Mr. Lemass: We are dealing with the matter of unemployment, and I shall confine myself to the statement that 12,000 additional persons have received employment in tariffed industries since 1925. That fact, as I have said in a previous debate, constitutes  a sign-post which points out, or should point out, to the Government, the direction in which they must move if unemployment is to be diminished in this country. I believe we can find work for at least another 25,000 hands in existing industries in this country if the necessary steps are taken to protect them. The Minister for Industry and Commerce stated that 50 per cent. of the goods coming into this country were at present subject to tariffs.
Mr. Lemass: I want to develop this argument. From figures made available by the Minister of Industry and Commerce, he calculated that if we could increase the production of goods apart from agricultural goods in this country, by £13,300,000, we would wipe out unemployment. If the production per head remains as at present we will have to increase industrial production by that amount in order to absorb 50,000 unemployed. We are at present importing £25,000,000 worth of goods which are not tariffed and £14,300,000 worth of tariffed goods, which are not excluded by the tariffs now in operation. I submit that either if the tariffs now in operation were increased so as to exclude goods to which they relate or if the non-taxed but taxable goods were submitted to the same process as the taxed goods, we would have in a short period completely wiped out unemployment in this country. That is what all parties profess to desire, but the Cumann na nGaedheal Party, as represented on the Executive Council, which is the only Party who can give effect to their desires are deliberately ignoring the only possible avenues for reaching that end.
There are other expedients that  can be employed in order to deal with the matter of unemployment. I am not suggesting them here. No doubt Ministers are taking a very keen note of the proposal advocated by the Labour Government in Britain who are giving very serious consideration to this matter of unemployment, although their problem in relation to their total population is less serious than ours. We have a higher percentage of our population unemployed in relation to the number of occupied persons than they have.
Mr. Lemass: I am not sure of it. You have succeeded in suppressing the figures made available by the Census of 1926 in this matter of the total unemployed. We made a certain calculation based on the number employed in insurable occupations which we know, and related that to the number of occupied persons and we got 50,000.
Mr. Lemass: I do not think so. The last figure was 9.9 per cent. In Britain, for example, they have suggested that the Old Age Pension should be given at 65. That is done already in the case of certain classes of persons. They have also suggested increasing the school-leaving age and increasing the facilities given to widows and mothers. All that is to be done in order to keep them out of the employment market. By these three expedients alone, they hope to decrease the number of unemployed in England by 600,000 persons. That is a very substantial decrease, because if boys have to remain at school and if old men get pensions, vacancies will be created of which the middle-aged and other unemployed can avail. I am not suggesting that these expedients should be adopted here, because the cost would be probably prohibitive, nor do I think it is necessary. If we can do so, well and good. Quite a number  of such simple expedients exist which can be utilised in order to decrease the volume of unemployment.
It seems to me that the Government, like a great many people in this country, suffer from an inferiority complex in this matter. There are a number of people, for example, who seem to think that Irish goods cannot possibly be as good as British goods although, as the facts prove, they are in many cases—in nearly all cases—better. The Government do not see this country supplying its own goods at any time. They lack vision in this matter. They do not seem to contemplate the possibility of its being at any time a self-sufficing and a self-supporting country. We, on the other hand, see Ireland not merely a self-supporting country but with a possibility of developing an export trade in certain goods. There is no country in the world, as far as I can see, doing an export trade at present with advantages that so greatly surpass ours as to make it idle to hope that we will ever have such a trade. We have, or will have, we are assured, in the very near future, available a supply of cheap power. We have raw materials in adequate quantity, and they at present constitute the bulk of our exports. We have workers who are as good as any in the world. I think all foreign capitalists who have come in here to start industries have testified to the good qualities of the workers available.
In the case of practically every application that came before the Tariff Commission the same testimonial was given to those engaged in industry here. We have a large amount of surplus capital available for investment which at present is invested abroad because of the unsatisfactory conditions and the lack of suitable opportunities here. The only thing we require is to have the co-ordinating influence of the Government brought into play so that all these various factors will be brought into line and welded together in support of a general forward movement to develop our industries.  The Government have treated this whole matter in such an indifferent and casual manner that we can only conclude that they have no desire to foster industry in this country or that they are utterly incapable of undertaking the task. The latter is the true explanation, I believe. I hope that Deputies will support Deputy O'Connell's amendment to refer the Vote back for reconsideration, such action being, as the President said, a vote of no confidence in the Executive Council.
Mr. T.J. Murphy: I suppose it would be too much to expect even in a debate of this kind, that we should escape the lecture with which Deputy Lemass commenced his statement here. We have been accustomed to lectures of this kind, and considering the line he has taken previously I suppose we may be thankful for the mildness of his statement this evening. I remember, before we had the advantage of having Deputy Lemass here to lecture us, reading a speech made by him in which he described the members of this Party as political mendicants. That was at a time when members of this Party, at least, were asking questions that now appear every day on the Order Paper from members of his Party in connection with roads, improvement works, and with the general line that should be taken in the matter of having better services extended to the people of the country generally. I am not going to refer at all to the fact that the mendicancy of that Party in another direction was going on outside this country, and is still going on. However, that, I suppose, is a side issue.
In case there should be any difficulty or doubt as to the policy of this Department in connection with unemployment, although I think it has been made sufficiently clear already, it is, perhaps, no harm to state again for the information of people who complain about the vagueness of the Labour policy in the matter of unemployment, that we have complained over and over again and felt that the responsibility for dealing with unemployment should  rest with the Government. We have pressed, time and again, for the solution of this question on national lines. We have made the claim repeatedly, which has been running through Deputy Lemass's speech this evening, that until that question is dealt with the interval should be occupied with producing the temporary methods to tide people over the situation that they would be confronted with in that interval. We have reaffirmed repeatedly that it is the duty of the Government to take up that position.
Dealing with a matter dealt with this evening, the question of housing, not many months ago the operatives engaged in the housing industry presented a concrete housing policy whereby for a certain number of years they would be prepared to deliver the goods. In the face of all that, a debate of this kind is made the lever for charges that have been lightly, and with very little foundation, made time and again. It was doubly strange, coming after the statement of the official leader of the Opposition. That, in my opinion, was the most vague and disjointed series of generalities I have ever listened to in this House. I want to congratulate Deputy Davin on bringing back this debate to something like reality by pointing out where the failure has come in, and where we can point, on the present Estimates, to the very things that have been done, not to help the question of unemployment but to make it worse in this country.
On the Land Improvement Vote, a tremendous reduction was made in the sum available for improvement works. In the Office of Public Works a tremendous reduction was made in the moneys available for work in the country. We complain with very great reason, that instead of any contribution towards improving the situation, in the financial provisions that have been made, the situation has been considerably aggravated. I would echo what has been said in this debate, that the real failure of the Government in this  matter is their failure to make unemployment a dominant issue in the country. The people in England who are entrusted with the responsibility of Government have declared that they intend to make this a dominant question, and that as this question is dealt with other matters of smaller importance will right themselves in the ordinary way. We want to urge that even now, after continuous neglect, an attempt should be made to give this question the place it is entitled to in the consideration national problems should get in this House from the Government responsible.
I want to urge that the whole policy in connection with improvement work and marine works should be reviewed. Even at the risk of being accused of continuously looking for doles here, we ought to point out the practical needs of large sections of the community and urge that a connected and national policy should be evolved, taking into account the whole question nationally and the many factors locally applicable to this question.
I saw within the last few days a paragraph in an English newspaper referring to prosperity in Cork. I am not enabled to speak on behalf of the citizens of Cork City but I did notice a paragraph referring to alleged prosperity amongst farm labourers in Cork County. If it does exist, it exists in some portion of Cork County I never heard of. In the rural areas of Cork County which I know anything about, there is no such thing as prosperity but there is acute poverty in the homes of the rural labourers and we, who have something to do with local authorities in that part of the country, are faced month after month with the task of trying to decide cases where able bodied men with families who, I am perfectly satisfied, are willing to work, come before the Boards making applications for assistance. I want to ask the Government again the question asked by Deputy O'Connell this evening as to what their attitude on the question of unemployment measures is—for instance, the question of home assistance. Is it suggested  that it is really reproductive or economic to pay home assistance to unfortunate people with no means of employment? The Local Authorities are bound to make provision under the Local Government Act of 1925 for destitute people but is that the remedy or the proper way of dealing with it? It has been pointed out, time and again, that there is danger in embarking on uneconomic schemes. Could anything be more uneconomic than paying relief to people and compelling them to live in a state of semi-starvation with the few shillings they get from a local authority and denying them the right to live as decent citizens by giving them work that would enable them to do something for their homes and their children. That seems to be the issue. We have no doubts whatever as to how it should be solved or how we would attempt to solve it if we had the responsibility entrusted to us. We have complete decay not alone in the rural areas, but in a good many of the towns in the constituency I come from. I regret that year after year, during the four or five years some of us have been here, we should have to argue this question and point out complete failure to do anything in connection with it. There is no substantial employment that I know of in any of the rural areas.
I was discussing a matter with a constituent of mine within the last week. He pointed out a tract of country extending over several miles and said that in that large tract of country not one farmer employed a labourer. Either they were too poor to employ a labourer or they were able to do the work with the labour of their own families. I do not know whether the paragraphs that have appeared in English newspapers are inspired or not, but I do know that they do not represent the facts. People who believe that things are prosperous in the rural areas are simply living in a fools' paradise.
I want to urge again that something should be done in connection with the different matters mentioned here in connection with housing, and  greater facilities to local authorities to embark on schemes benefiting the public health and relieving unemployment. All that work should be encouraged, financed and developed, and we should have from the Executive Council a statement showing that they are willing to reconsider the whole position in regard to the moneys which they refused to make available this year in the Estimates for improvement works, and that as an alternative an estimate to deal with this particular matter should be introduced into this House. The example has been set in another country of appointing a Minister specially to deal with this problem. Perhaps we are not able to do that, but we might do something in showing that we consider this matter seriously and in showing that we realise the responsibility that is and ought to be cast on the Government of dealing with it, not in a tinkering fashion but on a national basis, and on lines that are the only sound lines on which it can be tackled if there is a real desire to settle it.
Mr. Little: This debate has taken the turn of dealing with a subject which is perhaps the most serious subject that could have arisen in this house. Naturally it arises on the Vote for the President, because he has responsibility for the policy, not merely of this year but of last year and of the whole period during which emigration has been so great and unemployment has been a continuing evil. The quarrel which we have with him in this matter is based on his failure to strike out a national line, a line which would break away from conditions in England which are affecting Ireland. He has been appealed to from time to time to find a common policy which would be a national policy. If he found a really national policy in economics to-morrow he would find people throughout the whole country to back him up. If he could cast aside his mere party timidities and look at the thing from a purely Irish point of view, and apply the principles of Wolfe Tone in the region of economies, the principle of complete  separation economically, he would not find many critics from this side of the House. The atmosphere for which he is responsible in this country is an atmosphere of cynical reaction. I ask him to compare it with the atmosphere which was in the country between the years 1918 and 1920 when we had succeeded in joining the ideals of James Connolly with those preached by Arthur Griffith, the ideals of a democratic advance with the ideals of Sinn Féin. If we had got the Republic in the year 1919 we would have gone ahead with a set of principles of a progressive kind second to none in Europe.
Mr. Little: I think I am entitled, a Chinn Comhairle, to compare a set of principles which would be really healthy for this country and which did exist and actuate us at one time, with the principles present, and to appeal even to the Minister for Local Government to get back to the old principles. Talking of vague generalities reminds me of a definition of vague generalities. Real principles are called vague generalities by men who either do not understand them or want to shirk them.
Mr. Little: There came a time in England when the full flow of employment was changed into a condition of unemployment. That followed upon the Cunliffe Report. Subsequent to that, men like J. M. Keynes and Reginald McKenna carried on a strong controversy against Churchill and others because of the effects which the change in the credit system in England was  producing, as a result of what Mr. Keynes called the economic consequences of Mr. Churchill; that is to say, the Government policy and the Bank of England's policy, which restricted credit and raised the rate of interest. That was the beginning of the economic slump and of unemployment, and that affected this country just as much as it affected England.
Mr. Little: I am surprised at the Minister for Industry and Commerce, because usually his interruptions are intelligent. I submit that that is not. I suppose he appreciates that the subject I am dealing with is difficult and that any interruption is sufficient to interrupt a line of thought. The effect of the policy upon Ireland has been such that it could not possibly have escaped the mind of the President. He must have realised and known, as we all knew, that certain things were being done to produce certain effects. He has had ample time to see that the same causes in this country would not be allowed to exist, so as to produce the same effect. In the meantime we have lost between 300,000 and 400,000 young men and women who have gone out of the country. The evil still continues, and we acquiesce in a policy which is producing the same effect as the causes of the famine produced. There you had a British economic policy which glorified the rights of the individual and subjected the rights of the community to them. At present, the attitude is that the interests of the big financiers in London must dominate and that the interests of the producers and ordinary people must be sacrificed. And so the interests of the Irish people are being sacrificed.
I do not suggest that the President should set out upon a very radical policy suddenly. We have never suggested that. What has been suggested is that at least we should go as far as men who are sufficiently  conservative-minded—such men as Reginald McKenna—have suggested, namely, that we should have a fundamental inquiry with a view to seeing what can be done in the matter of credit, as the root cause of unemployment. The President might even inquire as to what credit is, whether it is a mere plaything for the bankers, for the group of men who can ring the changes on the people's poverty generally, who can ring the changes on the rates of exchange, and so on, without there being any fundamental reality in the background.
He could find out whether there is anything in the theory that credit depends ultimately upon the prosperity of the whole people, that it is the people themselves who supply the fundamentals of credit, and that financial credit is only a connecting link, a ticket system, something which can be created by a little book-keeping. He could look back to see what had been done in the Great War when enormous loans were floated and the bankers were instructed by the Government to give individuals large overdrafts so that they could take up those loans. Where did that credit come from? So far as the finance end of it is concerned, it was simply created by a book-keeping transaction. These are fundamental to us as much as they are to Great Britain, and so long as we allow our thinking to be done across the water we are not going to get any further. We must try and inquire in relation to Irish conditions what are the effects of certain fundamental principles. At present any little prosperity that comes to this country is largely due to gambling on foreign exchanges. So far as producing in this country is concerned, the farmer cannot make it pay, the ordinary small business man can hardly make his business pay. With the exception of a few industries which have been protected, there is very little that is paying in this country. Any money made is made by the rotten system by which men spend their brains thinking what is going to rise or  fall on the foreign stock exchanges. I think it is almost more degrading than betting on horses.
Mr. Little: If the President were to carry out the policy of making a real inquiry into credit he would discover on his way that there is an enormous amount of Irish money invested outside this country which should be invested in the country. He would be looking for ways and means not merely of increasing the prosperity of the country, but of removing the real source of demoralisation and degradation, which is this gambling on foreign exchanges. We have had one example in the House, where we have been able to get a common policy on the question of the Irish language. There is no reason why the President should not have said to himself or to his Executive Council: “We will find a national economic policy, and if we put up a strong national economic policy we may be sure that we will not be opposed by the other side.” We on this side are only too willing and anxious to see the country saved. It is not a question of moving the country up from one stage of prosperity to another stage. It is a question of saving the life of the nation. It is a question of saving it from the rot of emigration. We must set out upon a policy which will create industries in this country. Another fact which is staring us in the face is that we are too dependent upon English markets, and when there is a slump in England we suffer. Unless we are prepared to face that fact, by the development of Irish industries, we are not going to do anything real to change the situation. Our quarrel with the Labour Party is that they will not take as fundamental a view on this matter as we do—that they will not take as  radical a view as men like James Connolly.
An Ceann Comhairle: I do not like the introduction of the name of James Connolly. There is nothing in this Vote that goes back to James Connolly. The real point we have to discuss is, what administrative measures the President could take now that would give some relief to unemployment. I think that was Deputy O'Connell's line in his speech on the amendment. That was the purpose in putting down the amendment. It is manifest that on a Vote which occurs every year for the expenses of the Department of the President of the Executive Council we could not have a discussion, for example, on the credit system, or any of these fundamental questions. We are really dealing with whether the President, in his administration, could do something immediately, as distinct from fundamental or legislative changes.
Mr. Little: The kind of administration that we have in mind must be actuated by a certain set of principles, and any mere tinkering with symptomatic remedies is not going to get us anywhere. Unless we are in a position in the House to discuss those principles upon which the country is to be saved it is absolutely idle for us to be here at all.
Mr. Cassidy: In rising to support the motion that this Vote be referred back for reconsideration I must express surprise that up to the present no Deputy has yet spoken from the Government Benches on this question of unemployment. It is a big and vital problem which should be tackled by all parties, and which should not be left to the Labour Party or to the Fianna Fáil Party. On vital political principles let Deputies remain as uncompromising as they like, but when a question comes up affecting unemployment, Deputies  of all parties should throw off their coats in order to endeavour to solve it. The Government have not approached this problem in the way that they should. Instead of attacking the problem of unemployment, they have really attacked the people who are suffering by being unemployed. In order to prove that statement, I would point to the fact that this is the first year since the Government took office that they have not introduced any estimate for relief schemes. I am reminded that there was one other year in which they did not introduce such an estimate—this is the second year—but in that year a certain amount of money was voted for the purpose of building which helped, at any rate, in a small way to absorb some of the unemployed.
I am one of those persons who do not believe that relief schemes are going to solve the unemployment problem, but I do believe that half a loaf is better than no bread. Naturally one would infer from the fact that the unemployment insurance Estimate is reduced in comparison with what it was two or three years ago, and taking also into consideration the fact that no money is being voted for relief schemes this year one would come to the conclusion that unemployment was not so acute this year as in previous years. But it is no use for Ministers to try to bury their heads ostrich-like in the sands by saying that unemployment does not exist. It exists not only in Dublin and Cork and Limerick but right through the twenty-six counties and especially in Co. Donegal. The Government have not been paying enough attention to the problem. They have paid attention to matters that do not matter so much, but they have neglected their paramount duty in regard to this problem which is of vital importance to the people of the country. I believe that the principal duty of the Government is to look after the interests and welfare of the people. I believe that any Government that allows thousands upon thousands of men to be unemployed and to be in a state of hunger, and to have their wives and families hungry, is failing  in its primary duty towards the people.
No doubt the President in his reply will refer to the fact that in recent years certain additional industries have been established, but I would point out that all those industries established, with the exception of the sugar beet and starch and the Shannon scheme, have been centralised in Dublin, and that the rural portions of the country are neglected to a great extent. In confirmation of that statement I would point out that, as far as the County Donegal is concerned, there is not as much attention being paid now to the problem of unemployment as there was under the Congested Districts Board. As far as the old Congested Districts Board was concerned, they did a lot to help rural industries, whereas the present Government, unfortunately, has done practically nothing to develop rural industries. Some time ago I raised this question, and I referred to the fact that over two years ago the Government made a promise that they would endeavour to develop the hand-spun industry in Donegal. Two years have elapsed since that time and still not one man or woman has been employed at the hand-spun industry. As far as the old Congested Districts Board was concerned, it gave facilities to fishermen which helped them to provide a livelihood for themselves and their families, but as far as the present Government are concerned, they have absolutely neglected not only to help the fishermen in Tirconnell, but also right along the whole coast. I believe if they did help, as they should do, a lot of employment would be found for people unemployed at the present time amongst the full-time fishermen and amongst the part-time fishermen.
It is true that for the past few years emigration from this country has been great. In that respect I would like to quote some figures. The numbers of natives of Ireland living abroad is out of all reasonable proportion to the emigration from other civilised and progressive  countries. The percentages published by the Department of Commerce are: Ireland, 30.5 per cent. of her native population; Norway. 14.8; Scotland, 14.1; England and Wales, 6.3, down to France with .5. There are practically 26,000 people emigrating from this country every year. These people do not emigrate to America or other countries in any spirit of adventure or to go and see their friends in far-off lands. They emigrate because of the fact that they are not able to eke out an existence in the land of their birth.
Let us take as a modest estimate that it costs £300 to rear a boy or girl up to the age of twenty-one or twenty-two years. Seeing that 26,000 people emigrate out of this country annually, we export each year in human wealth £7,800,000. Let us see, for instance, if we exported cattle to America or Australia or any other country to the value of over seven million pounds and got no payment for that, what an outcry there would be amongst the financiers, and I suppose in the dovecotes of the Executive Council. I suppose efforts would be made to see that that outflow of wealth was stopped, but in this case this human wealth is emigrating owing to the fact that people cannot get an existence at home. While all that is going on, I believe sufficient attention is not paid to the problem of unemployment. To my mind, unfortunately, the Executive Council view this question of unemployment as a necessary evil which always must exist. I do not believe that is so. I do not believe it is a problem that would exist if properly tackled. I believe it is a problem that the Government should give every attention in their power to in order to cure it.
Mr. Cassidy: An aspect of the unemployment problem that probably has not been dealt with up to the present is the fact that unemployment breaks down the health of the unemployed people. In that connection I would point out that in the Estimates each year the Government vote a certain amount of money for  public health services. I should like to quote an extract from a report made at a recent meeting of the Donegal Board of Health by Dr. Anthony Doherty, Acting Tuberculosis Officer for County Donegal. I may be drifting a little from the strict lines of the Vote but I just want to prove the effect that unemployment has upon the health of the people.
Mr. Cassidy: I only want to say that Dr. Anthony Doherty in the course of his report dealing with tuberculosis pointed out that while occurring amongst the wealthiest classes due to the inevitable hereditary influences, the vast majority of the cases of tuberculosis were from the poorer portions of the population who never would contract the disease if they were provided with proper food, clothing and housing conditions. He said further that owing to poverty the staple diet amongst many of the people were potatoes and that meat was a very rare visitor and consequently the resistance of the poor people to the disease was thereby decreased. Now this is a problem worth considering and I think it is a part of the question probably that enough attention has not been devoted to. No doubt Deputies will realise that when a worker becomes unemployed and if he has been in an insurable occupation after six months he is cut off from Insurance Benefit, he has no way of providing food for himself or shelter for his wife and children and I submit that the health of that man and his children are affected by such circumstances. No doubt the President in his reply will taunt Deputies who have spoken with not suggesting any remedy for this evil. One of the ways in which a large number of the unemployed could be absorbed is by the Local Government Department offering long term loans to local authorities for the purpose of erecting houses. We have been promised for quite a considerable time that legislation will be introduced along those lines.
Mr. Cassidy: We have been promised for a considerable time that local authorities would be enabled to get these long term loans, but unfortunately up to the present time they have not received them. We have also been promised that there would be a national housing scheme and we are still awaiting that. In Dublin, Cork and Limerick there are thousands of families occupying single rooms in tenements and there are thousands of people unemployed. There is a necessity for thousands of houses, and the erection of them would help to absorb the unemployed. The housing scarcity is not confined to the cities and towns. In the rural areas in Co. Donegal there are large numbers of labourers' cottages required. If long term loans, together with subsidies, were given these cottages could be built, and it would help to give employment in the rural areas.
As far as the Gaeltacht is concerned, we find that the Government have not dealt with the question of housing there although legislation has been promised. If houses had been built in the Gaeltacht area, and they are very necessary, it would have helped to absorb some of the unemployed. Another way in which to absorb large numbers of unemployed in the rural areas is by the division of land. We have been told that under the 1923 Act it will take 60 years to complete land purchase. I suggest to the Government that if they would speed up this matter it would help to absorb at least some of the unemployed. A lot of useful work could be done by paying more attention to the question of afforestation. We have been told on numerous occasions that as far as the Government are concerned they are anxious to improve the position in the Gaeltacht. We were told they were anxious to keep the Irish speakers at home. They have spent thousands and thousands upon afforestation in the Midlands and the South of Ireland, but we find that as far as the  Gaeltacht area in Tirconaill is concerned not one halfpenny has been spent, not one tree has been planted, and not one acre has been acquired for afforestation. The Minister for Local Government, as Chairman of the Gaeltacht Commission, will recollect that certain recommendations were made. If those had been carried out I believe there would not be the same necessity, probably there would be no necessity, for referring to the question of unemployment as affecting the Gaeltacht. In recommendation 55 the Commission suggests that a system of loans or grants be introduced for the improvement of housing. That has not been done. It was recommended also that a comprehensive scheme of arterial drainage should be proceeded with in the Gaeltacht. That has been done to a very small extent, but there has been no comprehensive scheme of arterial drainage introduced at any rate in Tirconaill.
Mr. Cassidy: The report also mentions that loans should be made available for the purpose of setting up carding and spinning mills. That has not been done. I submit that the Minister for Local Government should impress on the Government the necessity for putting into operation the findings of the Commission. If they did so, it would help to absorb the unemployed to a very large extent as far as the Gaeltacht is concerned. Deputy Murphy referred to the steps proposed by the Government in Britain in order to cure the very important problem of unemployment. I believe that the Executive Council are not paying enough attention to that problem here, and I believe also that the Deputies on the Government Party are not paying enough attention to it. If they were they would have taken some part in the debate in order to impress on the Ministry the necessity for providing work for the unemployed. Until work is available it should be the duty of the Government  to provide maintenance in the way of food, clothing and shelter for the unemployed and their families.
Mr. Kennedy: The President, during the course of Deputy Little's speech, asked if Deputy Little could explain certain things that existed, namely, the gambling of Irish money in ventures outside the country. In answer to that question I say that we certainly could, because if the Executive Council established a state of things here whereby you would have stability of industry, industries would go ahead and the people here would find means of speculating their money instead of having to go abroad. Until you have a Government that, by an adequate system of protection and a national system of credit, speeds up the industrial side, the people will gamble abroad. As regards this problem of unemployment, I grant you that you cannot solve it out of taxation. Even by increasing taxation limitlessly you will not solve the question of unemployment. There are other ways of solving it. Somebody asked for a definition of credit. Credit is the capacity to produce and deliver goods when and where required. With national economy the issue of credit should be related. We find in connection with the Shannon scheme that the period of repayment, if there is an issue of credit, is so short as to be detrimental to the community. The machinery for the Shannon scheme, let us say, is capable of working for a period of 60 or 100 years. Yet we find that the money advanced for that scheme must be paid within ten or twenty years.
Mr. Kennedy: I understand that the repayments of advances for the Shannon scheme are to be charged into the price of the unit over a certain period according to the valuation of the premises involved.
Mr. Kennedy: Take the Shannon scheme that the Ministry supports. When the Shannon scheme comes into operation hundreds and hundreds of workers will be knocked out of employment. What provision is being made for these workers? There is no provision made for them. There you have natural powers for creating forces and you have no provision made for a national dividend to pay these workers who are displaced from work by this force which is created by natural means. There is no provision made for them. Until this Government and other Governments realise these facts, any benefits that are to accrue from the labour-saving devices thus created are in the air. Take the question of machinery and applying it agriculturally. It is not so many years ago that the people went out and meadows were reaped with scythes and labourers were employed. Now the reaper and binder has come in and so have various other labour-saving devices. All this affects the local agricultural population in this way, that the labourers who would naturally get employment at home at this agricultural work have now to emigrate to Scotland, England and America. With those labour-saving devices which come into existence there is no provision made for a national dividend to pay the workers who are displaced by forces which sometimes cost nothing.
Arising out of this matter, I want to know will anyone on the opposite  benches deny this fact, that the potential material required for manufacture and production are there to a limitless extent, that there are willing workers there ready and prepared to manufacture the raw materials that are there, in whatever form they are needed? All that is necessary is the linking up of these willing workers to the production with the raw materials. That can easily be done by national credit through a national State bank. The minute you do that you put purchasing power into the hands of the workers. The minute purchasing power begins to operate a bigger demand starts in the factories, and so you increase prosperity.
I was already speaking of long-term loans, and when Deputy Cassidy addressed remarks to the Minister for Local Government the Minister said “not necessarily” would legislation be brought in to deal with this question. We were given to understand at the Leitrim-Sligo election that it was to be immediately.
General Mulcahy: Oh, no. What I announced and what I remarked to Deputy Cassidy was that there was no necessity to get legislation to enable the Minister for Finance to give long-term loans to local bodies for housing, that it could be done without legislation.
Mr. Kennedy: It is like the analogy on the part of the local authorities. It is to their benefit to have these housing conditions in the rural areas. Housing conditions in the rural areas have been condemned by the sanitary authorities for a period of over twenty years past, and there has been no loan got to replace these houses. The sooner the Minister looks into the matter the better. I do not believe that the solution of the unemployment problem is going to come out of taxation. We could talk here for months about schemes  and possibly the Deputies opposite could retort: “Where is the money to come from?” Unless we have somebody ready to say where it is to come from we would be talking for years with no results. My idea is that there are certain communal prerogatives, and one communal prerogative which will have to be established is that credit is a national asset, and that the benefits and profits accruing from that asset belong to the nation, and should be directed in a national way towards solving this problem of unemployment.
Somebody on the Labour Benches spoke about the steps taken by the incoming Labour Government in England on this question of unemployment. I am going to tell them that they will get no further than Mr. Baldwin got in that matter unless they take up and tackle the question of national credit.
General Mulcahy: I should like to intervene, sir, to make clear certain aspects of Government policy on some individual items that were raised here. Deputy Brady to-day, at question time, asked a certain number of questions dealing with the percentage to be allowed by the local authorities to Irish manufacture. The questions were along very general lines and the answers were along very general lines, and were, therefore, not so very satisfactory as either the Deputy himself or any other person in the House might like. The only contribution that can be made towards improving a situation like that is to take one particular item and to get thoroughly clear with that. Because you cannot improve the purchasing of Irish-manufactured goods by local authorities, you cannot improve the position of Irish manufacture in the country by saying simply that local authorities may give a particular preference to Irish manufacture. In the same way when dealing with the particular question of unemployment, Deputies on the far side are right to be extremely nervous of having it thrown up at them that they are simply talking in vague generalities. The only  thing to do is to get one particular aspect—to get one type of work that can be done and state the case against the Executive Council here with reference to that particular class of work. In order that Deputies may be in a position to attack more clearly the Executive Council in the matter, for that and for the general benefit I want to state the policy with regard to certain things. Housing has been referred to here. Deputy Murphy on the Labour Benches said that the Deputies of the Labour Party had declared that, given certain conditions, they were prepared to throw their whole weight in with a national housing policy. The policy of the members of the Executive Council is this: that they are prepared to give the local authorities, in the matter of building houses for the working classes, a grant of £60 per house plus a long-term loan, a loan for 35 years at 5¾ per cent. forthwith.
General Mulcahy: In addition, where the local authorities will strike a rate of 1/- in the £, the Executive Council is prepared to increase the grant in respect of the house to £72. The Executive Council is prepared to give a grant of £45 to every private person building a house within the regulations laid down by the Minister for Local Government and Public Health, and it is prepared to give a grant of £50 in respect of houses built under the Labourers Acts. Deputies have been charging us with promising that there was going to be a national housing policy. Like some other quotations that have been mentioned here, I would like to see the quotation of a national housing policy given from these benches. It is true, as Deputies on the other side have said, that it should not be left to the Labour Party or to the Fianna Fáil Party to produce this policy. It has not been left to them. What I would like to hear from the Deputies on the Labour Benches or the Fianna Fáil Benches is a criticism of the details of that policy.
 Deputies have stated that the idea of giving long-term loans was brought forward in connection with the Sligo-Leitrim election. Deputies ought not to be too sensitive in regard to elections. I hope that Deputy Cassidy will not say, when he sees a circular to local authorities either to-day or to-morrow in regard to the whole position, that it was because of some remarks of his to-day that it was sent out so quickly. Unfortunately responsible Ministers dealing with such matters cannot get a vague and general idea and say that that is a solution. They have to work out the details of it. The details of the housing policy and of the assistance given to local authorities in the matter will, as part of the Government's policy, be based upon the summing up by the local authority of the housing needs of their districts and the shouldering by them of fifty per cent. of the cost over and above the amount due and which cannot be paid in rent by the tenants. That is the Government's policy in regard to housing.
It has been suggested that part of the Government's policy in the matter of roads has been to throw on local authorities more responsibility for their cost. That is not a fact. Every year since the end of 1924 the actual amount of work done by money provided by ratepayers, whether through rates or loans, has been decreasing. It decreased in the year 1925 from £1,404,000 to £1,410,000 in 1926; from £1,336,000 in 1927 to £1,202,000 in 1928 and to £1,107,000 in 1929. So far as the Road Fund is concerned, the road users are responsible for the employment of every one out of two men employed on trunk roads, for every three out of ten men employed on link roads, and for every ten out of eleven men employed on road construction. It is not therefore a fact that the Government's policy with regard to roads is increasing the burden on ratepayers.
As I explained on the Local Government Estimate, certain counties have been shirking their responsibility in the matter of roads.  These counties have been brought to heel this year, to a certain extent at any rate. There are other counties which, compared with 1914, are contributing more in regard to roads than we might reasonably expect them to contribute. The question of State policy in regard to assisting local authorities to carry out necessary public health works, such as water and sewerage schemes, has been mentioned, and it has been suggested that the total cost of that work should not be allowed to fall on local authorities. It is not the policy of the Executive Council to make a State contribution to local authorities for that work. At present I think that there is only one county for which the charges for these matters are county-at-large charges. I feel that the first step in bringing about any change in the financing of these schemes must be to pass to a county-at-large charge. Deputy Everett shakes his head. At any rate, I am not prepared to subscribe to the suggestion that there should be a State grant for these matters. You cannot, economically and efficiently, review the position of the country as regards public health services and safely deal with the financing of them until you have a County Medical Officer of Health standing over the health position in each county, taking such problems as those which exist, and putting them into their proper order of urgency and importance, considering the amount of money that may be required for the immediate solving of all these problems.
The Executive Council plead guilty to having a policy of not giving State grants to assist local authorities to carry out such matters, but every possible encouragement is being given to them and they are being urged to solve these problems and the necessary loans are being given and have been provided for years past. I do not at all subscribe to the suggestion which Deputy Lemass makes that if you put unemployed persons to mending bridges and carrying out works of that kind the cost will not  have to be met. The cost will have to be met, and it is because the cost will have to be met that the Government's policy in these particular matters is what it is.
Deputy Cassidy and others spoke of the Gaeltacht. Deputy Cassidy referred to the recommendations which the Committee made in regard to housing, drainage, and carding mills. The Executive Council have already taken decisions with regard to additional housing facilities which have to be made available in the Gaeltacht. The final administrative details of the matter have to be settled, but it is very near being an established fact that additional facilities will be available which will be on lines somewhat similar to those recommended in the Gaeltacht report. The position in regard to drainage is that you have an Act dealing with minor drainage schemes and another Act dealing with major schemes. If the Deputy can point out, as perhaps it could be pointed out, that there are schemes of drainage to be done in the area he speaks of which do not come within the Acts, or, if they do, which have not received proper attention, it would be a definite contribution to the debate and it might be even a definite charge against the Executive Council. Until, however, the Deputy gets down to closer grips with regard to these districts, one is unable to give him a complete answer in regard to such arterial drainage schemes.
General Mulcahy: I have not the information at hand to answer the Deputy, but I ask him to recall that in the matter of minor schemes, in order to facilitate their being carried out, we cut out central interference entirely. We embodied in the Act a definite percentage grant on the total expenditure and we left the carrying out of the schemes to the county councils and their machinery.
Mr. Moore: The reason I ask is  that it was admitted during the debate on that Bill that it was an experiment. I thought that, as the Minister mentioned it, we might be told how far it has been successful up to the present.
General Mulcahy: The Deputy can get such information as we have in the Department by putting down a question. Definite arrangements have been made in the Department for supervising to such extent as is desirable minor schemes in drainage but, in so far as interference with them or the holding up of schemes, there is no central machinery that can interfere with them. On the question of the woollen industry, I do not agree with the Deputy that nothing has been done in the matter. I would like the Deputy to repeat what he said on the Estimate for the Ministry of Fisheries with regard to the woollen industry.
Mr. Cassidy: I said that as far as the hand-spun industry, as apart from the home-spun industry, is concerned nothing has been done up to the present time and no employment has been given in Co. Donegal. It was promised that carders, breakers and dyeing vats would be sent to Ardara. That promise has not been carried out although it was given before Christmas.
General Mulcahy: I want to answer the Deputy as completely as I can. I have said all I can with regard to the questions of housing and drainage. The matter of the woollen industry has been given a very great amount of consideration by the Department responsible for it. As far as details are concerned, I would suggest that he could raise them on the Estimate of the Minister for Fisheries. It has been suggested by Deputies on previous occasions that I said that the Government's contribution to the unemployment problem was that  there was home assistance to be got. The fact is that where it has not been possible to absorb the total number of unemployed in the work that the Executive Council by its help has stimulated in the country, the policy of the Executive Council has been to make such provision as it has made, so that the able-bodied destitute are entitled to home relief to which they were not entitled until the present Executive Council changed the position.
Mr. Kennedy: The Minister stated that the housing grants were available under the Labourers Acts. If they are available under the Labourers Acts, does he not take into consideration that labourers' cottages are in a different category from ordinary houses? In the case of ordinary houses the citizen builds his own house, but in the case of labourers' cottages, land has to be acquired for the site. I think the Department should take into consideration the advisability of increasing the grant. The other question I want to ask refers to county-at-large charges for sewerage systems and water supply schemes. Does the Minister intend to introduce legislation to bring that into operation?
Mr. Carney: The Minister mentioned certain things to which the Executive Council would have to plead guilty. He mentioned one specific thing, but I am afraid there are other matters to which the Executive Council would be compelled to plead guilty if they were only honest about their policy. Of  course, as might be said in regard to myself, there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in the Minister's philosophy. What is the policy of the Executive Council in regard to all those things to which we should have been entitled under the Treaty or as a result of the Treaty? Our past should have taught us that there were certain things to which we were entitled. At least we thought we were entitled to those things, but when it came to putting the matter to a test, we discovered that they were not our property at all. A few matters have arisen very recently which bring up the question of ownership of the territorial waters which we were led to believe were the property of the Free State. We were led to believe that the territorial waters not only around the immediate shores of the Free State but the territorial waters around the Six Counties were the property of the Free State.
I remember a prosecution arising out of a case in Belfast Lough, and at that time the case was dismissed for the simple reason that the contention was put up that Belfast Lough was included in the territorial waters of the Free State. Whether that is so or not I do not know. It does not immediately concern us as the moment, but there is one thing which does concern us, and it is this: whether or not we are entitled to the territorial waters around the Free State we want to know the attitude of the Executive Council towards the things which are supposed to be their property and which were supposed to be our exclusive right according to the Treaty. We have the case of the Derry Bridge. We asked the Minister to oppose the erection of the bridge across the Foyle at Derry unless there was an opening span, so that the waters of the Free State should be kept exclusively for the Free State, and so that there should be a free pass for any boats that might come in there. We never got any expression of opinion from the Executive Council as to whether they owned the territorial waters or not. If they do not own the territorial  waters then all this talk has been humbug from the time of the Treaty.
Mr. Carney: I want to know whether we own the territorial waters this year or last year. The bridge has been built this year. Last week nets and boats were seized on the Foyle by armed people who came from the Six Counties. If we owned the territorial waters this year we owned them last year and every other year. If we do not own them this year we never owned them. I want to know the policy of the Executive Council in regard to that matter.
Deputy Cassidy referred to the question of unemployment in Donegal. For the past four or five years we have had nothing but rank humbug in regard to the Gaeltacht as a whole and Donegal in particular. The treatment of Donegal is so noticeable that it has been called by people who, one could not say, had any special sympathy with it, the Cinderella of the Free State. It has been left even without the glass slippers. There has been nothing but humbug in regard to the Gaeltacht, and in regard to everything that was supposed to have been done by the Commission set up to examine the whole question of the congested areas. Certain recommendations were made, and we were informed two years ago, last year, and this year that all these things were to be done.
They have not been done yet. Last October I was informed that in four months' time everything in regard to the cottage industries, the hand-spun and home-spun industries would be under way. Not a thing has been done from that day until  this—not even a stamp, that probably would only have cost 2/-, for the stamping of home-spun cloth has been provided. The Minister said that certain things had been done in the home-spun. Not even in the home-spun has anything been done to relieve unemployment, to give poor people in the cottages an opportunity of eking out an existence. The Committee in Ardara offered to put up £600 for the purpose of setting up breaking and carding machines, and dyeing vats, and the policy of the Executive Council as exemplified by the Minister for Fisheries is this. Let somebody else come in and do it. Let a Scotchman come in and do it, but we in the meantime must do nothing. Humbug. Since October last, nothing but humbug.
Another important thing in connection with the Gaeltacht was the starting of navigation schools to teach the young how to fish and navigate. Those things would be eminently suitable to the districts in which those schools were to have been erected. They would have provided young men with a good knowledge of navigation, if in the future we decide —at least if it be the policy of the Executive Council—to give some help towards the formation of a mercantile marine. That has not been done and we are still waiting for something in connection with a report to materialise. It has departed into the limbo of things forgotten, a Government pigeon hole. The President is one of those who pretends to understand the psychology of the emigrant. His reading of it is this. Those who depart from this country to a land across the sea go there for the express purpose of visiting their friends. Others tell you no matter what would be or could be done for the congested areas and the people therein it would not prevent people from emigrating to the United States. They tell you that these people want to see life. Things are too dull here. If I understand the psychology of the emigrants who go from Donegal— and I have seen enough of them to be able to do it—it is this, that they go because they have to go. Far more would be going at present if they  had the money to go. They go because it is a steady grind, if they have work, from morning to night. But then they are glad to do it. They go to Scotland and England where they have the opportunity of doing it because they cannot get it here. They go because they cannot live here. Young men and women go because they cannot bear to see their fathers and mothers, their young brothers and sisters starving and they send money home. That money takes out the rest of the family. As they grow up they all go. The President's reading of the psychology of the emigrants is that they go to America to see their friends. There is not as much money amongst the poor in the congested areas of Donegal as would take two people across to America to see their friends, not to mind taking 6,000 inside three or four years.
It seems to me that when there is any pressing matter to be raised in regard to the condition of the people in the congested areas that the best way to deal with it according to the policy of the Executive Council is to form a committee. The committee sits indefinitely. Some of those committees you will find are covered with ashes, the same as if they had been overflown by Mount Vesuvius. People will pick them out a thousand years hence and they will be still sitting. We never can see any result from the Piers and Harbours Committee. You ask for a report but there is nothing doing.
Mr. Carney: Very good. There are certain points I have brought up and if the President of the Executive Council has got a satisfactory answer to them I will be very much delighted and surprised. If he has an answer let it be forthcoming. We do not like to be groping about in the dark all the time. The President always sets out to educate us on those benches, for which, O Lord, we return thanks. If the President can tell us  whether we own the territorial waters of the Free State or not it is going to settle a few urgent problems we have to deal with in Donegal.
Mr. Corry: In dealing with this Vote there are a few matters I am anxious to bring to the attention of the House, particularly with regard to the unemployment problem. I think it is very little use discussing unemployment here whilst you have a Bill of twenty-one million pounds odd to meet for the drones of the community, and whilst we have a generous Executive in office who are prepared to throw £250 a year to gentlemen having £1,000 or £1,500. I think there is very little use in discussing unemployment when that state of affairs exists. You have a Minister for Local Government who coolly tells how he is doing everything and who has a grand Bill with regard to housing. He tells us what the local authorities are doing, and when he is asked what it would cost to build labourers' cottages he is dumb and tells you—as cheaply as possible.
You find the grant he is prepared to give under the Housing of the Working Classes Act is £60, while at the same time he has a special clause in by which the local authorities can only give loans not exceeding twice that amount. So the total amount that would be available to build a house for a working man to-day would be £180. When you compare that with the amount they consider necessary to expend on every house you become amazed. I wonder would the Minister for Local Government or the Minister for Industry and Commerce explain to us whether, in his opinion, you could build labourers' houses for £180, provide a site and all, or if so, how it is that he has spent £1,700 for a police barracks at Dungourney?
Mr. Corry: I consider this a very appropriate Vote to speak on it. Members of his own Party who are dumb here, when they go down to Cork make statements that there should be no Civic Guard station at Dungourney.
Mr. Corry: A voice from Donegal. The Minister has launched a Housing Act that is absolutely of no use to the local authorities inasmuch as the total amount that can be found for the building of a labourer's dwelling is £180.
Mr. Corry: I have heard statements made here to-night as to the prosperity of farm labourers in Ireland. I can tell this House that in my constituency 40 per cent. fewer farm labourers are employed to-day than were employed four years ago, owing to the fact that the farmers are absolutely unable to pay them. I expected when the Budget was  introduced that the Executive Council would take some steps towards putting the Irish farmer on at least the same level as the farmers across the Border, or in Great Britain, seeing that they have to compete in the same market. But no; we have millions expended here and we go abroad every second year for a loan of five millions more in order to pay a horde of officials and to see that our own salaries are saved. At the same time, we cannot afford to give any reduction whatever in the rates to the Irish farmer. We cannot afford to give him an opportunity of living or of giving employment, as it should be given, on the land. I expected this year that the Minister for Finance, when introducing his Budget, would have definite proposals for de-rating.
Mr. Corry: I very definitely stated that the inactivity of the Executive Council in that respect is something which could not be tolerated anywhere. I would like to know whether the Executive Council has taken any steps to give the farmers, say, of the Border counties, an opportunity to compete in some way with the farmers across the Border. They have taken no steps to prevent the importation of farm produce across the Border, although the farmers across the Border pay no rates.
Mr. Corry: I would refer the Leas-Cheann Comhairle to the Dáil debate of the 23rd May, 1929. When this matter was brought up on the Vote of the Office of Public Works it was stated by Deputy Bourke, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister, that the question of British military graves was a matter of Government policy, that the question had been decided by British Government representatives and by the Executive Council. As this is a question of policy, it is not a matter in which the Department is concerned; therefore I take it it is a matter which arises on this Vote.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I have only to say that it is not a Parliamentary Secretary or any Minister who decides what is or is not in order. It is the Chair. I have decided that what the Deputy is trying to get out is not in order, and he will have to accept that ruling.
Mr. Corry: If this is not in order on the Vote for the Department concerned, it is not in order anywhere. I am sorry the President is not here. He would be able to tell us what he did with the money he got for a motor car, whether he expended it on the car in Ireland or whether he went across for one of these cars that Deputy Lemass alluded to a while ago. I would like to get some information from him on that. I would also like to hear from him whether he considers that the Secretary, for instance, should be paid £1,200 a year and I presume war bonus, while men are unemployed and hungry in the country, whether he considers that a fair sum to pay to one individual  or not. I do not think, considering the manner in which this Vote has been treated, that there is much more that I can say on it. Apparently, there is nobody responsible for anything here. When you ask an awkward question of any one of these Ministers they conveniently put it off or vanish.
Dr. O'Dowd: Speaking on this Estimate, half an hour ago, the Minister for Local Government said that the Executive Council pleaded guilty to the fact that they would not contribute anything towards public health in the country. The policy of the Executive Council in matters of roads, housing and drainage has been to make State contributions, and I submit that questions of housing shortage and any other State schemes are less important than the question of public health. The Minister mentioned that the first step towards the improvement of public health schemes should be the fixing of the county-at-large as the area of charge. I should like to point cut that it rests with the Government to fix the area of charge and not with the local authority. Until the Government makes some provision to fix the area of charge, other than the area at present specified, they cannot improve the public health services. When Deputy Kennedy asked the Minister the question he was ruled out of order. I should like to put the question in this way: I should like the President in his reply to state definitely if it is the policy of the Executive Council to introduce legislation to fix the area of charge as the county-at-large.
Mr. Corish: The Minister for Local Government, in his speech, neglected altogether to deal with the issues raised in the amendment proposed by Deputy O'Connell. He quoted his usual litany of what the Government had done, especially his Department. I wonder will he deny that there is an unemployment problem, or are we to assume that the Government accept the present situation as normal? In every part of the country demands are being made on various Deputies to bring  pressure on the Government with a view to having certain works carried out in different areas. I admit that some of them are not works which could be called remunerative, but surely there are various schemes in different parts of the country which could be looked upon as remunerative and which, in the end, would benefit the country to a great extent. Whether we like it or not, there is a big unemployment problem facing the country. The position to-day is very little better than it was two or three years ago, when the Government thought it absolutely necessary to include in their annual estimates a certain sum for the relief of unemployment. The Minister has spoken of the amount given by his Department in free grants to the various county councils. A certain amount in free grants is given each year, but since 1927 it has been decreasing rapidly, with the result that only about 50 per cent. of the road workers employed in 1927 are employed to-day. The Minister gave the proportion of men on the different classes of roads and mentioned especially that ten out of every eleven men employed on construction work are paid by the Government. That state of affairs may have prevailed about two years ago, but there is very little construction work being done to-day on the roads. The greater proportion of the money paid to county councils is by way of maintenance grant and it is laid down as essential in the regulations submitted to local authorities by the Local Government Department that a certain amount of money must be budgeted for by the county councils in order to get a certain amount of money. I do not disagree with that policy, because for the last three or four years a great many councils have been inclined to take advantage of the Government grant in order to reduce the rates. I will give the Government the credit by saying that that was not what they intended—that they gave the grant in order to relieve unemployment and to build up the roads as they should be built up.
 The matter of housing has been mentioned, and the Minister for Local Government in answer to an interjection of mine, stated that the money from the Local Loans Fund was available now. The Minister for Finance a month ago gave me the same answer in reply to a question. I am beginning to wonder whether we are ever going to get the money. The Wexford Corporation submitted a scheme to the Local Government Department almost a month ago. It must be said to the credit of that Department that they accepted this scheme and recommended it to the Board of Works. Nobody can find out now whether it is with the Board of Works or the Finance Department. One wonders whether this is going to go on until winter comes, when it will cost at least 20 per cent. more to build a house than it would now when we have the long days. I would ask the President, who has always shown himself keenly interested in housing, to do something to have the money released at once. Some of us think that if the Dáil rises before the money is forthcoming we will have to renew the agitation when we come back for the Autumn Session. There is no use stating in the House that money from the Local Loans Fund is available if, when a council tries to get the money, they are sent from one Department to another in a sort of Herod-Pilate fashion.
Dealing with the question of unemployment, it is very hard for a Deputy who has not the ready access to statistics that the Government have to put up any scheme. But there is one thing that ought to engage the attention of the Government. From time to time it has been suggested that there should be a national housing council. To my mind, that is the proper way of dealing with housing, and when the Government see their way to approach housing from that angle and through that medium, I think it will become apparent to them—when that council is set up and if that council proposes to do anything— that we are importing a great  amount of material which is available in this country.
In last year's returns, it is shown that we imported cement to the amount of half a million of money, notwithstanding the fact that in various parts of the Free State we have quarries capable of giving sufficient cement to cater for all the needs of the State. I have time and again drawn the attention of the Ministry to the fact that in my own constituency there is a cement works that could be worked but which, in my opinion, was bought up by an English syndicate with a view to wiping it out in the interest of a ring on the other side of the Channel. Again, when we come to the question of slates, we find that practically every house built now is roofed with asbestos slates made on the other side of the Channel. I am not objecting to that at present. I recognise it is almost impossible to buy Irish slates and to let a house at an economic rent, because of the fact that there is no certainty in the demand for these Irish slates. But I believe if the Government were to get into touch with the Killaloe quarry and to give them an idea of their requirements for the next two or three years and tell them what their housing programme was to be, slates would be forthcoming at a price that would enable the local authorities to buy Irish slates for their houses and thus save that amount to this country. These are two ideas that I think the Government ought to investigate, with a view to keeping money in the country, which would go ultimately to the betterment of the general community and especially to the benefit of people who are now idle. I would seriously suggest that the Government should go into this housing question through the medium of the suggested national housing council and thereby do something to keep a certain amount of money in the country along with providing a large number of houses. I again suggest to the President that he should bring pressure to bear upon the Finance Department or  the Board of Works with a view to getting them to release the money that we were told was available a month ago, so that the local authorities could start building houses before the winter comes on. I am sure the President will agree, with his great experience of housing, that if it is left very much longer houses will cost at least 20 per cent. more owing to the short day.
Mícheál O Cléirigh: Tá a lán cainnte déanta ar an gceist seo agus níl fúm-sa acht cúpla leagan do rá, Táim ag cur i n aghaidh an Vóta so mar badh mhaith liom a chur i gcéill do'n Uachtarán nach bhfuil na daoine in Iarthar na hEireann sásta leis an bpolasai atá aige agus nach bhfuil aon feabhas, no dul ar aghaidh, sa tír mar ba ceart a bheadh da mbeadh an tUachtarán agus an Rialtas dá ríríbh i dtaobh maitheas na tíre. Nuair a bhrethnuighim-se thart orm 'mo chonndae féin, ní fheicim aon feabhas acht gach rud a bhaineas leis na daoine coitchianta nios measa ná mar a bhí sé blianta o shoin. Ní fheicim aon nidh a fuair na daoine coitchianta as a gcuid oibre no as aon Acht a ritheadh ag an Riaghaltas ar feadh an téarma a bhfuil an chomacht acu. Ní fheicim aon nidh a rinne siad no a mhol siad ar son na ndaoine mbocht. Nuair a thainigeamar isteach annso ar dtús, shaoileas go ndeunfadh an Rialtas iarracht éigin Gaodhalach, go gceapfadh siad scéim éigin chun na Gaedhil—na daoine atá in íochtar le blianta—do chur in uachtar agus neamh—spleadhachas do thabhairt dóibh. Ach nuair a mholamar on dtaoibh seo den Tigh rud éigin no scéim éigin chun staid na ndaoine mbocht d'fheabhasú ní fhuaireamar acht searbhas ón dtaoibh eile agus rinneadh gach rud a b'fhéidir chun scoilt imeasc na nGaedheal do dhéanamh síorraí. I gContae Mhuigheo i mbliana, do réir mar a chonnaic mise, ní raibh níos mó daoine ag fáil cabhair phuiblí ó na rátaí o bhliaín an ghorta anuas. Is mór an rud sin do rá agus is mór an náire don Rialtas agus don Uachtarán go bhfuil sin le rá seacht mbliana ó cuireadh an Saorstát ar  bun. Ní ar lucht oibre atá an locht no ar Fhianna Fáil go bhfuil an scéal amhlaidh. Ní hé nach dtig leis an Rialtas an t-airgead d'fháil. Ní h-é nach bhfuil na daoine sásta obair a dhéanamh gan bheith ag súil le cabhair phuiblí; ní h-é sin é. Sé an fáth atá leis sin, an fhaid is gheibheann an Rialtas an t-airgead ó na rátaí agus ó lucht cánach ní chaitheann siad an tairgead sin ar mhaithe le daoine coitchianta na tíre seo.
Níl daoine coitchianta na tíre seo ag fáil a gcion féin do réir an méid a íocann siad i rátaí agus i gcáin. Níl na daoine coitchianta ag fáil a gcuid féin in aon chontae agus na daoine a bhí in uachtar a riamh tá siad ag fáil níos mó ná a fuair siad riamh. Dubhairt an tUachtarán, sgathamh beag o shoin, go raibh feabhas le feiceál sa tír. B'fhéidir go bhfuil “corner” eile “rounded” aige. Tá a fhios agam go bhfuil an Rialtas ag meas an fheabhais do réir an méid gluaisteán mór a thagann isteach sa tír. Nuair a fheiceann an Rialtas an méid seo gluaisteán ag teacht thar sáile, agus nuair a fheiceann siad go bhfuil daoine in ann íoc asta, nuair a fheiceann siad go bhfuil daoine in ann dul go dtí “garden parties” ag caitheamh cótaí fada, breatha, deireann siad go bhfuil feabhas mór tagtha ar an tír. Ba cheart do'n Uacharán no d'Airí, anois agus arís, nuair nach mbíonn togha ar siúl dul síos an tír agus an riocht atá ar na daoine d'fheiceál. D'fheicfidís an bhfuil gluaisteáin mhóra ag na daoine nó an dtig leo éadaigh galánta do chaitheamh ag garden parties nó ar an Domhnach féin nó an dtig leo dul go dtí aon spraoi eile.
Sin é an locht atá agam-sa ar an Rialtas—go bhfuil faillighe déanta acu i ndaoine coitchianta na tíre seo. Má dhéanann aon bhall de Chumann na nGaedheal casaoid ag cruinniú den Phairtí no ag cruinniú puiblí, cuireann an tUachtarán 'na thost é le focal plámásach. Má leanann don chasaoid, gheobhaidh sé “job” no rud éicint den tsórt sin. Chuir mé ceist ar an Aire Cosanta—go sábháluighidh Dia sinn?—tamall ó shoin cé mhéid airgid a bhí ag dul do na daoine a d'fhág an t-Arm le bliain  anuas. Dubhairt sé go raibh £300,000 no níos mo íoctha amach do na daoine a d'eirigh as an arm agus a dtig leo obair a dhéanamh agus a fuair obair, is dócha, in áit éicint eile. Teasbánann sé sin nach easbadh airgid an fáth leis an Uachtarán agus an Rialtas bheith ag déanamh dearmad ar dhaoine coitchianta na tíre. Chím, do réir an chláir annseo, go bhfuil Rúnaí Pairliminte ag an Uachtarán agus £1,200 de thuarastal aige. Tá an dara Rúnaí agus £1,200 de thuarastal aige agus tá Rúnaí Conganta agus oifigeach eile agus tá thimcheall £800 acu. Tá triúr no ceathrar rúnaithe agus leas-rúnaithe agus fó-rúnaithe agus chuile short eile rúnaithe, ag fáil ó £300 go £600 agus £700 sa mbliain.
Dá mbeadh ganntanas airgid ar an Rialtas agus dhá dteastóchadh uatha £1,000,000 do shábháil tuige nar chuir an tUachtarán cuireadh do dtí Míchéal O hIfearnáin, Teachta, teacht isteach san oifig chuige agus cuid den airgead sin do shábháil? B'fheidir go bhfaca an tUachtarán nach mbeadh móran maitheasa a leitheid sin de chuireadh do thabhairt don Teachta sin. Tá £1,200 a fháil ag Míchéal O hIfearnáin é fein ón phost atá aige agus ní bheadh sé ceart dó bheith chó cruaidh sin ar dhaoine eile atá cosamhail leis féin. Nuair a bhí airgead le sábháil agus nuair a theastuigh uatha laigheadú do dhéanamh ar na costaisí is go dtí na daoine bochta a chuaidh an Rialtas leis an airgead do shábháil.
Mar gheall ar sin agus ar a lán rudaí eile, tá mé ag cur i n aghaidh an Vótá seo. Nuair a thainig an “Budget” rómhainn, bhí súil ag 'chuile dhuine go bhfeicthí an feabhas a bhí le feiceál sa tír; ach ní raibh aon laigheadú ar chán-acha nó ar chíosa na ndaoine go raibh an t-ualach ba thruime ortha le bliantaí agus tá sé níos truime indiu ná ariamh.
Ar cheist na náisiúntachta, ón chéad lá a thainig an tUachtarán i gcomhacht ní fhaca me go ndeárna sé aon iarracht an cheist náisiúnta do phlé. Rinne sé dearmad gur Gaedheal do b'eadh é agus gur  Náisún é seo ón chéad lá. Nuair a d'eirigh aon cheist idir an tír seo agus Sasana do theasbáin sé go raibh sé níos gallda ná na daoine thall annsin. Níl faic déanta ag baill an phairtí le gnóthai an Rialtais do Ghaedhlú, cé go bhfuil a leath acu, ar a laighead, míoshásta le obair an Rialtais. An é nách bhfuil an misneach acu an mhí-shástacht sin do chur i gcéill no an é nách dtuigeann siad an chomhacht atá acu?
Mr. Everett: I beg to support Deputy O'Connell's amendment to refer this Vote back. I confess I was rather surprised at the statement made by the Minister for Local Government and Public Health. He mentioned a few of what he considered were the good things that were accomplished. He also spoke of the policy of the Executive Council in connection with sewerage schemes, but he omitted to speak on the motion before the Chair, the question of unemployment. He omitted to tell the House of the increase in the rates struck by public bodies in the Saorstát for home assistance. In my own county of Wicklow, the assistance given to able-bodied men unable to procure work was for the year ending 31st March, 1923, £2,026. The expenditure for the year ending 31st March, 1929, was £3,397, notwithstanding that the amount of home assistance had to be reduced in the meantime from 10/-to 5/- a week in order to cope with the demand for it by the unemployed.
The Minister states that he himself put certain responsibilities upon local authorities. He denied, when it was charged here in this House, that the Executive Council should be responsible in respect of the unemployment fund. In two cases he went further. He increased the liabilities on public and local bodies because the housing scheme of public bodies can only be gone on with when they increase the rates or levy a special rate of 1/- in the £1. The Minister does not say if that applies  to rural houses or to boards of public health. These bodies say that 35 years will not be a sufficiently long term to enable boards of health to avail of that Housing Act. There are, however, large numbers of rural workers unemployed, and those who are in employment have a very small wage. The result is that no local bodies can build houses which they can let at an economic rent because these men who are in employment are in receipt of very small wages.
The Minister suggests that sewerage schemes should be a county-at-large charge. Public bodies' liabilities have increased very much from 1919. First of all, there was the increased cost of maintenance of the insane. Then there was the increased cost as a result of the amalgamation scheme because of grants and pensions to ex-officials. There was, further, the increased cost of roads, and there is no grant given by the Local Government Department this year for the new roads. As Deputy Corish states, the only grants given are for road maintenance. In a large number of cases, the roads are maintained by contract, with the exception of trunk or link roads. It has been said here to-night that the Labour Party are asking for doles. I am asking for some scheme to be adopted by the Government to deal with the unemployment question. Apart altogether from the question of Government, I submit it is a Christian duty to solve the unemployment problem.
I ask the Minister to extend the unemployment insurance and not to ask public bodies to assist in solving the question of unemployment. It is not really the duty or the function of public bodies to do so. The rates are being increased two-fold, and these bodies will be unable to deal with the housing problem if they have to spend £5,000 or £6,000 a year in providing home assistance. There is no hope that the scheme that the Minister has announced for the building of houses to meet the demands or requirements of the Free State will be successful. Deputy O'Dowd has asked that sewerage  schemes should be made county-at-large charges. That would mean that congested areas that are paying for their own schemes would also have to pay for special areas that fail to grapple with these problems. That would mean that double burdens would be placed on those people. Certainly if the Minister brings in legislation on those lines, he will meet with opposition even within his own ranks.
I wish to ask the President a question about a very serious matter. It is a national matter which would absorb a very large number of the unemployed in a number of places— the question of coast erosion. The President has told us that this is being considered by an inter-departmental committee. If it takes that inter-departmental committee as long as it took the departmental tribunal to deal with the question of harbours, then we can have no hope that there will be any relief for these people in the next five years.
Public bodies are, in their own small way, unable to deal further with this question, and I certainly join in the appeal made by Deputy Cassidy. That is not a question for the Labour Party or the Fianna Fáil Party or the Government Party. It should be grappled with as a national question and not in the same way as it was by the Committee appointed in 1927 to make suggestions about unemployment. We have never heard, up to the present, that the Government adopted any of the recommendations made by that Committee. The President will state, of course, when he is replying, that there is money lying to the credit of some local bodies in the matter of roads. The Minister for Local Government and Public Health made that statement during the last debate on this matter. He omitted to state that, though the money may be lying to the credit of these local bodies, in many cases that amount had already been spent on the roads. Consequently that money would not be available for the relief of unemployment.
Although the Minister for Industry and Commerce has helped  Wicklow in connection with the mining in Avoca, still—notwithstanding that industry there, which we all hope will be a success—there was never so much unemployment as in Wicklow at the present time. The Board of Health have been given overdrafts by the banks with the sanction of the County Council, and there is no use in making appeals to the public bodies that are already living on overdrafts. There is no use in appealing to them to start house building that would only impose still further burdens on them. Notwithstanding objections made that certain people never pay rent and rates, I want to say that under the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Act, even where the public bodies have power to exempt people in receipt of home help, these people are now forced under the Acts to pay rates, because the rents are increased. Therefore, they are paying rates in the increased rents. Public bodies are finding a difficulty in trying to meet payment in these matters and it is no use for the Minister to get up and ask the public bodies to deal with this problem.
There is no use in the Government asking public bodies to bear a further burden. It is the duty of the Government to look after these matters. There is nothing to prevent them doing so, and they can economise in other directions. I observe that they can give big grants for amusements and races in the Phoenix Park, but they forget to come to the relief of the people who voted for the Government. My own policy is, instead of making those appeals time after time to the Government, to take other action. Probably I have a different opinion to other members, but I am prepared to put my opinion into practice in order to try and achieve my ends. If appeals fail in the constitutional Assembly, then I say—Ministers may laugh at me for saying it—that men should use their powers in other directions. Instead of making appeals in places like this, where they will fall on deaf ears, they will, if necessary, bring force against force. It would be much better for many  workers if they were obliged to go to jail, because there they would be entitled to three meals a day. If they adopted such a course it would be a greater burden on the State, because they are doing nothing at the present time for those men.
Dr. Ryan: I want the President to explain a few matters arising out of this Estimate. I notice that in the Estimates for this year there is a saving of £1,800,000. The President, who might be expected to show a good example, has increased his Estimate by 7 per cent. This year he has two higher executive officers in his Department, whereas up to the present one has sufficed. Where is the necessity this year, as compared with last year, for two higher executive officers? I notice that there is a staff officer who has taken control of four clerical officers. Two of the clerical officers have special duties for which they are paid extra; and another of the four has a pension, so there is really only one clerical officer left. A big saving was made in the Land Commission, but the biggest saving, perhaps, was made on the improvement of estates. If money had been voted this year, as in previous years, the benefit would go to people of the country who were getting employment under the Land Commission. Those people are badly in need of employment. They have nothing else to replace the work they were getting in districts where estates were being divided.
On the Fisheries Vote a saving was made by curtailing loans to fishermen. Under the Forestry Vote, a saving was made in connection with the acquisition of land. These are savings from which the country not only gets no value now, but the people actually lose the value that they were getting. It is not to the advantage of the country to make savings on the improvement of estates when employment is so badly wanted. It is not to the benefit of the fishermen to make savings by reducing the loans applicable to them. It is certainly not to the benefit of the people in the country  who want employment to make a saving on the acquisition of land for forestry. In such Votes, the money spent in former years was of direct benefit to the country as a whole. The situation now is that where Votes are increased, the people get absolutely no benefit. I think, therefore, that an increase of 7 per cent. in this Vote is a thing that can be scarcely defended by the Dáil. I would like the President to tell us the necessity for employing an additional higher executive officer this year.
Mr. H. Broderick: As far as the constituency which I represent is concerned, I must say that there is no visible sign of improvement in so far as unemployment goes. The Minister for Industry and Commerce stated here last week that 17,000 persons had been employed during the year. In my constituency there is no visible sign of any of the 17,000 who were employed being centred there. A lot of the people in that constituency are out of employment and they include railway workers, who have been dismissed, and many road workers. Road-work has not been progressing very favourably there. Absolutely no drainage work has been done. The Minister for Finance stated here some weeks ago that the drainage work that has been carried on is not giving good results. I was very sorry to hear the Minister saying that, but that was actually his statement.
There is no visible sign of improvement in Westmeath and, to instance that, I will give some figures representing the amount of home assistance given. The total amount of home assistance paid in County Westmeath for the year ending 31st March, 1927, was £8,829 12s. 8d.; in the year ending 31st March, 1928, the amount was £9,441 17s. 0d., and in the year ending 31st March, 1929, it was £9,808 9s. 10½d. During the last two years I have been a member of the Westmeath Board of Health. I can state definitely to the House that I do not know anyone receiving home assistance in that county who is not absolutely entitled to it. The  members of the Board of Health there are unanimous in the belief that they could give very much more deservedly in the way of home assistance if they had the money to do it. There are large numbers of persons in the county entitled to home help who are not receiving it. These facts will go to prove that what I have stated is quite correct— there is no visible sign of improvement in the county. During the last year or two, no doubt, conditions have become worse by reason of the fact that numbers of men have been discharged from the National Army. In many instances they have been obliged to seek home assistance. I know for a fact that home assistance has increased considerably in Westmeath.
There is one matter that I would like to impress upon the President, and I am sure that he will use his influence with the Department responsible. I hope things will improve in County Westmeath, and I believe that in the coming year they will. What I want to draw the President's attention to is this: where an industry is started and that industry is looking for a site, it would be very advisable if State lands were allowed to be utilised. I hope that the President will use his influence with the Department concerned and see that that idea is carried into effect. It would be very advisable if State lands were granted for the purpose of starting industries. Industrial concerns could then build factories, stores and things of that sort, and all these things would ultimately tend to benefit the country.
Where State land is needed for the building of houses sites could be granted. I hope that the Minister will use his influence to have all these matters expedited. I know that certain formalities have to be gone through, but I think that they should be pushed through as speedily as possible. We hope, if that is done, not to be as bad in Westmeath as we have been for the last few years.
Mr. Maguire: The Minister for  Local Government referred to the Government's housing policy which is in existence, and also to the policy which he contemplates putting into operation in the near future. I am not in a position to say how far the present policy has been a success, but I can say that, so far as my knowledge in country districts goes, that policy has not attempted to deal with the situation there. I have had some absurd experiences as to the working out of the Government scheme in my part of the country. I have known instances in which men attempted to improve their homes and had gone to the expense of pulling them down, so far as could be reasonably expected, in order to conform with the housing regulations required for the erection of new buildings. They applied to the Department for grants but were told that they had not conformed with the regulations as they had allowed portion of the walls—to the extent of perhaps five feet—of the old building to remain. Because they did not destroy what was sound and good work they technically fell foul of the regulations and were not given grants. If such treatment as that be taken as an indication of the working of the Government's housing scheme I think it would be better described by leaving out any reference to a housing scheme, simply to refer to it as the Government's scheme for depriving people of money which was originally intended to help them. If the new scheme which the Government propose to introduce does not deal more generously with the rural areas, then it may be said that the Government never intended to give them any advantage.
The Minister referred to the question of roads. There again I must say that while the Department have endeavoured to spend a good deal of money on the improvement of roads there is a good deal of dissatisfaction at the manner in which the grants for such roads are allocated, and I would say that there is a good deal of justification for such dissatisfaction. The scheme of allotment of grants is based on the valuation  of the counties and on other details. In my opinion what would be a more advisable course to adopt would be that those responsible for the allocation of grants would take into account the question of costs of construction and the cost of maintenance rather than the valuation or the amount of rates struck for such purpose. For instance, where road material has to be carried a long distance it is more expensive to make roads than where such material is at hand. It is also more expensive where the foundation of a road is of such a character that it is required to be made substantial.
These are big items which should be borne in mind when considering the cost of maintenance. There should also be taken into account the extent to which the people of the county use good roads. In the poorer counties, where the ratepayers are called on to pay increased charges compared with the pre-war or pre-motor days, they take very little advantage of the improved roads as they do not own motor cars. I have experience in County Leitrim where the Government spent a fair proportion of money on the improvement of roads. I have also experience where a strong application was made to the Government to allot money to improve a road in connection with the development of a coal mine. After various applications and deputations had been heard on behalf of the county council they were told by the Department that no money was available for that purpose. That is hardly treating the matter in a serious way. While the Department could find moneys for the improvement of roads for the benefit of motorists and to encourage tourist traffic, and while taxpayers are being taxed for improving such roads, surely when a substantial case is put forward for improving a road in connection with the development of a coal mine, thus giving employment, such application should not be turned down by the Department.
Underlying all the schemes for the  improvement of roads and the building of houses to which the Minister referred, there is the fundamental question of the economic position of the people. If you have a good and sound economic position the housing problem will, to a large extent, solve itself, and so also will the problem of roads. When, however, you find the Department refusing to assist in the development of a service that offers decent employment you can say that such Department has not tackled the problem in the proper way. The Minister also referred to the sanitary arrangements provided by local bodies, and he was emphatic that the county councils and other responsible bodies must strike rates for that purpose. From the attitude of the Minister I can say that the likelihood of such bodies striking rates for that purpose is remote.
Mr. Maguire: There is no use to my mind in stating that all these schemes for the improvement of houses, sanitary arrangements and drainage schemes have proved successful when the Minister responsible  must know from experience that his present line of action will not bring any beneficial results. In regard to the relief of unemployment, I would appeal urgently to him and to those responsible, that some consideration should be given to the position of that section of the community who are not usually classed as labourers but who, when their conditions are examined, will be found to be mainly labourers. I refer to the small farmers living in congested areas. In the old days that section of the community were very keen in looking after their interests. The old C. D. Board had at its disposal a sum of £231,000 annually and that was supplemented by other sums from the Government then in office. As a result of that, a good deal of very beneficial work was carried out in the poorer areas. The people in these areas, although nominally farmers, are people who derive their living from other sources of revenue. They are people who in the ordinary way spend three or four months of the year working on their farms. For the remainder of the year if they do not find suitable employment they are out of employment.
The old Congested Districts Board did much useful work in dealing with these people. They developed cottage and rural industries. These cottage industries for the last three years of the existence of the Board earned an annual average income of £70,000. That branch of the service, initiated by that body, has to a very great extent been neglected. It is surely permissible to suggest to the responsible authorities that some effort should be made to develop again the branch of the work formerly conducted by the Congested Districts Board so as to provide additional employment for small uneconomic farmers and their families. If a serious effort were made in that direction the situation in the west might not be at all as it is to-day. Speaking of the people in the west of Ireland and of a general improvement in housing I must say that the schemes of the Board of Works are merely infuriating the people because they fully realise that  the present Executive are not in any way serious in their efforts. Not very long ago people in Co. Leitrim had practical experience of the insincerity of those Ministers who talk about the fine work they have done and the fine work they contemplate for the farmers. When recently these Ministers were down in Leitrim ——
An Ceann Comhairle: If it occurred a few years ago the President is not responsible for it this year. I want to hear the Deputy on the Estimate. I have been listening to him about fourteen minutes now and he has not said a single word about it. We cannot have a discussion on the Congested Districts Board, rural industries, Ministerial promises, and so on, on this Estimate.
Mr. Maguire: The insincerity I referred to is the insincerity of the Ministers since they took office. They promised a number of things, as they have done in this election. It does not require any words of mine to show that that insincerity is consistent. It is generally applicable. If I wanted to refer to the general attitude of the Ministry towards the congested districts in the West, I have only to go back a few years to illustrate their insincerity when asked to receive a deputation.
Mr. Coburn: I do not intend to take up much time of the House in this debate except to refer to two very important subjects that have already been dealt with. These are the subjects of unemployment and housing. Let me say at the outset that the Government have done fairly well in the way of providing houses for the people of the Free State. I have listened to many of the speeches, but I think many Deputies have missed the real point. That is, the cost of building. I maintain, as I have maintained for the last four or five years, that the question of housing shortage can be solved by the builders, the builders' operatives and the men who supply materials. By the co-operation of these three parties, the housing question can be solved in a very short space of time. I am not going into the question of the cost of building, but any man who knows anything about the business is painfully aware of the fact that it is impossible to build a house at the present time and let it at an economic rent. The Government, I believe, have done very well by way of subsidies and other means in endeavouring to solve this serious problem, but I maintain that the housing shortage will never be solved by subsidies. It is only by means of the co-operation of the three parties I have mentioned that this question of housing will be ultimately solved. The same remark can be applied to unemployment. I say that unemployment will never be solved in this country, or in any other country, until the people of the nation as a whole are prepared to make sacrifices; in other words, a national sacrifice on the part of everybody.
We are enjoying a standard of living in this country as if we were a rich country, which we are not. It is about time that the fact was recognised that if the problem of unemployment is to be solved every man who can make a sacrifice should do so, because it is only by means of  a conservation of the wealth that will accrue as a result of these sacrifices that industries will be established and that those which exist in a languishing state will be resuscitated or enlarged. Coming to the question of my own constituency, as far as unemployment is concerned I maintain that the Government could do much to relieve unemployment there, if the President would make representations to the Northern Parliament to have some of the inconveniences occasioned by the border removed.
Mr. Coburn: I only desired to ask the President to have some of these terrible inconveniences removed from the Border. Dealing with the question of unemployment, as far as Dundalk is concerned, I must say that I am more or less inclined to lay the blame on the Government for the closing down of certain industries which formerly existed there. One very fine industry existed there in the form of a distillery. A very flourishing business had been carried on for years, but whatever happened in the negotiations between the Government and the representatives of that concern, the fact remains that the distillery has been closed for the past six or seven years, thereby throwing out of employment a few hundred men who were constantly engaged for a very long time in that distillery. I think the Executive Council will admit that it is not good business to close down an industry in the Free State and to allow distilleries in other countries, particularly in Northern Ireland and Great Britain, to send their products into the Free State free of duty. I think it would be the duty of the Executive Council to take steps to prevent these people from having a monopoly of the trade in the Free State.
 I think it would be the duty of the Executive Council to take steps to prevent these people from having a monopoly of the trade of the Free State so long as they think it fit and wise to close down industries that formerly were carried on in the Free State. Certain references have been made to the question of roads, and the Minister for Local Government said that his Department had done very well in the way of grants so far as roads are concerned. I may tell the Minister that the farming community, as a whole, are not in a position to pay any increased rates in the future for the upkeep of roads. The Minister may state that the amount of money granted to the county councils is very large, but I would also remind the Minister that the revenue derived from motor taxation, as far as County Louth is concerned, is from £17,000 to £20,000 per annum, and that would pay interest and sinking fund on a very tidy capital sum. So, after all, if the Minister makes a grant to the Louth County Council of £60,000 or £70,000 he is obtaining, by means of taxation on motors, the annual figure of £17,000 to £20,000. I maintain if the Minister wishes roads to be kept up to concert pitch he will have to increase his grants to the county council, because the small farmer in the country will naturally say: “The roads I was used to are good enough for me.” He is in a position to say: “The old horse is good enough for me, and the ass and cart will take me to the market on any road. I do not want these fine tarred roads.” If the Minister wishes to keep up these roads for the motorist he will have to increase the taxation on motorists, because I believe the farming community, and in particular the small farmer, judging by the price he has been receiving for his produce in the last three or four years, is not able to pay any increase. In fact the natural tendency should be to reduce rather than increase, as it is at the moment, and has been for the last three or four years.
Mr. Coburn: As it has been referred to, I would ask the President, or whoever is responsible, to speed up the question of the cleaning of the Rampart river. This has been on the stocks for the last three or four years.
Mr. Coburn: With regard to drainage in general, and I was just mentioning this question of the river to draw the President's attention to it. It would be the means of giving much-needed employment at the moment, and as I said before, it has been a long time in contemplation. As this is the proper season of the year for such work, I hope it will be started very soon.
In conclusion, I have to state that if this question of employment is to be solved, all of us have to make a sacrifice, from the highest to the lowest, and if the provision of houses, as far as workers are concerned, is going to be speeded up, there will have to be a change also. We will have to realise that the cost of building at the moment is too high, that it is a financial impossibility for the present Government, or any other Government that may succeed it in the near future, to solve this problem. The cost of house building must go down, and the sooner the better it will be for all concerned. As workers at present are compelled to pay a weekly rent of 10/- for a single room, the sooner they will be provided with houses the sooner will the question of unemployment be solved. The nation as a whole should consider it has a duty to give a hand in the  solving of this serious problem and not to leave it wholly in the hands of the present or any succeeding Government.
Mr. Anthony: I was rather reluctant to rise seeing that nearly everything that could be said on this Vote has been said. I was wondering, and am still wondering, what is and what is not in order on this Vote. I think other speakers have so blazed the trail for me, that I can continue to be just as incoherent as many of the other speakers this evening.
Mr. Anthony: I am urged to rise in any case because of the fact that I heard two speakers from the Fianna Fáil Benches making what I considered a veiled attack on the Labour Party, suggesting the Labour Party had no policy for unemployment. I want to suggest to the House that the Party which has stolen three-fourths of the Labour policy and programme and called it its own should be the last to upbraid the Labour Party for not having a policy for unemployment.
To come to the most serious portion of my statement, I want to say, as far as Cork is concerned at any rate that whilst I agree there is some improvement largely, if not altogether, due to the great enterprise of Henry Ford, with the assistance of the Executive, who undoubtedly did something towards adding to the success of the firm's activity, still, there is a very large number of people unemployed. One need only turn to the report of such institutions as the Vincent de Paul Society, and the returns from the Child Welfare League to understand the gravity of the situation. In addition to what we might term the normal numbers of unemployed we have, owing to the reduction of personnel in the Army, a large number of young men turned adrift without any means of livelihood, largely made up of what is termed the unskilled class. Many of them are not  trained to any occupation, the result being that they are in many cases in receipt of home assistance, and are, in my view, a menace to the community. I have before stressed the point on other Votes, particularly the Vote in connection with the Ministry of Finance, that something should be done by way of deferred pay or otherwise, so that these men, when leaving the Army, could maintain themselves for at least six months and could have a chance of getting trained in some useful occupation or, in the alternative, get into some of the unskilled trades.
Mention has been made by Deputy Coburn of a contribution and that should be made in the shape of a sacrifice, the sacrifice to come from all parties in the State. As one who is always prepared to face up to economic facts, I would suggest that employers in the building trade should also face up to these facts. We, of the Labour Party, through trade unions in the building trades, have already submitted to a Commission set up by this House a very comprehensive programme which entails a certain amount of sacrifice so far as the workers in the industry are concerned. Embodied in that programme was a suggestion which meant buying in very large quantities the materials used in the construction of houses. Also embodied in the programme was a suggestion that you should have a continuous building policy for at least ten years, in order to house every person or nearly every person in this State comfortably and in hygienic surroundings. These proposals were placed before the Commission and many weeks elapsed before any contribution whatever came from the master builders of the twenty-six counties.
Mr. Anthony: This is an answer to some suggestion made that a sacrifice ought to be made if we were ever to solve the housing difficulty in this country. It is admitted also that if a national housing scheme was undertaken  in the proper spirit and on a scale that would meet the requirements of the people it would absorb a very large number of our unemployed. Another thing that makes for unemployment in this country is the large amount of imported wood work. You have, in one of the suburbs of Dublin—on the Howth Road—building in progress. On the woodwork which is going into these houses is the legend “made in U.S.A.” No wonder we have unemployment.
Not so very long ago we had to call attention in Cork to the fact that a Belgian or French firm got a contract for wheel-barrows. The only thing Irish about them was that they were painted green, like our pillar boxes. I have already said that I am not one of those people who want to set up a wail that this country is going to the dogs. I am thankful and glad to say that the conditions in this country are improving and are going to continue to improve in spite of the lamentations and wailings of the grousers and grumblers. Whilst saying that, I do believe that there is necessity, so far as this Vote is concerned, for the President to give very serious consideration to at least some of the views expressed in the course of the debate. As I have already said, one does not know when he is in order or is out of order. So many matters have been referred to and so many matters have been touched upon that I do not want to inflict upon the House many of the things that I would like to deal with. I will reserve them for a future occasion. But I would urge upon the President that there were many things mentioned here to-night to which he should direct his very serious attention. The President is a man who has had very long practical experience of public work. He has had very long experience of work in connection with Local Government and I believe that, party or no party, he will give the attention that is required and that is possible so far as this problem is concerned.
I have mentioned the case of imported woodwork. I am not suggesting  that a tariff or anything of that kind should be placed on this class of imported woodwork. At the same time it is one of the things that this House will have to take into consideration at a very early date. Numbers of our people engaged in that particular industry are being thrown out of employment from day to day. We have again, as I have already said, hundreds of young men being cast adrift from the Army. Here again I want to come down to brass tacks. We had, no later than last week, a discussion in this House as to the desirability or otherwise of continuing Haulbowline and of expending money on its upkeep. We had people in this House who declared we want money on the one hand and we want employment on the other, and yet they voted for the closing down of Haulbowline which supported many families. We cannot have it both ways. If we want increased social services we should be prepared to foot the bill. If the resources of the country cannot afford those extended social services then we should get ourselves into such a position by protective and constructive methods that we should be able to pay the expenses of those services.
So far as the contribution of the Labour Party to this unemployment discussion is concerned, I think it will be admitted that nearly every speech delivered in this House this evening has been based on the utterances of the Labour Party for the last four or five years. Nothing new has been added. I do not want to suggest that I have added anything new. I am simply making an appeal to the President, as the first citizen of this State, and perhaps, what is nearly as important, the senior member for Cork City, to take these matters into consideration. I appreciate his valuable services to the public and social life of this country. I believe he will take these things into consideration at a very early date.
Mr. S.T. O'Kelly: There are just two aspects of policy, and they are the aspects that have been dealt with most by the speakers here to-day, that I would like to refer to very  briefly. Deputy Anthony referred to one of them and said that Fianna Fáil had stolen the housing policy of the Labour Party. Therefore, Fianna Fáil have no policy. If that is his defence of the Labour Party's policy on housing I hope his colleagues are satisfied with it. Whatever our policy is or may be with regard to housing, I would like to put it to the President that, speaking of the area I know best and that he knows very well, that is the City of Dublin, I would certainly refute the statement of Deputy Anthony that there is any sign of improvement so far as this city is concerned. I do not know what the conditions may be in Cork. Perhaps Deputy Anthony is right in saying that there has been a vast improvement.
Mr. O'Kelly: And I hope he and his constituents are satisfied with the improvement, but I am speaking for the area I know, that is the City of Dublin, where the neglect of the poor, so far as housing is concerned, is a lasting disgrace to everyone, this House in particular, and by no means least to the President. He knows the conditions here as well as anybody. He knows them as well as any Deputy representing the city should know them, and the neglect that he in his official capacity as head of the State has shown for the conditions in which the poor of this city exist should bring a blush of shame to him every time he thinks about it. He cannot think about it very often or else he would try to do more.
Statements of that kind are not new. Like Deputy Anthony, I have not anything very new or original to bring to this debate. But, in view of the conditions, when we are discussing a matter of this kind, it is the duty of a Deputy representing a constituency that is so badly hit  as the constituency I represent, to bring, in as forcible a manner as he can, before those responsible, the shameful conditions that he knows to exist. It is a good number of years ago since the statement was made on official authority that there were twenty thousand families existing in one room in the City of Dublin.
Mr. O'Kelly: It will be a long time again before he will visit them. He is too high and mighty now to visit them. It is no laughing matter for the poor to have to exist under these conditions, and he ought to be the last to treat it in such a lighthearted way. He can afford to treat it lightly now, when he has used the poor and their votes to climb into the position he occupies.
Mr. O'Kelly: I am on the question of housing and it is necessary to bring it, as forcibly as I can, to the notice of everybody who has any share of responsibility in the matter. In that way, I think what I have said is not out of order. Twenty thousand families, and the number is on the increase! Instead of decreasing under the Government over which the President presides, the number is on the increase in Dublin, at any rate.
Mr. O'Kelly: You will have your time to talk, and I will not interrupt you. You can gibe at the poor if you want to, but I am not going to gibe at them. The President did not gibe at them when he was using them. The number is on the increase. I have it on authority that, instead of decreasing, the number is increasing year by year in Dublin. Seventy-eight thousand people living in one-roomed tenements in Dublin! And then we are told that Dublin is prosperous and that there are signs of improvement! If that number had been decreased to any appreciable extent during the period that the President has been in control of all the powers, financial and otherwise, of this State, I would certainly be glad to give voice to any recognition that might be deserved by reason of such an improvement. I do not take any pleasure in saying that instead of improving there has been anything but improvement in these conditions. I wish it were otherwise. I wish the President and his Government could tell us that that number had been reduced, even by one thousand or five thousand. It certainly would be something to their credit. In 1918 the chief engineering inspector of the then Local Government Board told us that 29,500 houses were necessary in Dublin to house the poor properly.
Mr. O'Kelly: It is 29,500 apartments or houses required to house properly the poor of the city. Let the President change these figures any way he likes. It is 29,500 residences required for the poor of the city. What has been done in the  eleven years? What has been done in the seven years that have elapsed since the President took control. without going outside the City of Dublin? What has been done in the City of Dublin to improve these conditions? There have been, to give a generous estimate, 3,500 houses built out of the 29,500 residences necessary for the poor. There has been an increased demand since that report was made. If Mr. Cowan were reporting now, on account of the increase in the population of Dublin, it would not be an over-estimate to say that there were probably 5,000 more to be added. Let us put it at 3,000 more. That means that one-fourth of the population of the city are housed in unsanitary conditions. It is no credit to anybody responsible to say that in the capital, under the very eyes of the legislature, and under the daily notice of members of the Executive Council, the poor are existing in such scandalous conditions. In proportion to what is required, practically nothing is being done to alleviate these conditions. In the whole of the Free State, houses at the rate of 2,500 per year have been built in recent years. Probably 50,000 houses would be required for the whole of the Free State. That is not good enough, considering how money can be spent on unnecessary luxuries. Some of these luxuries were referred to in recent debates on the Estimates, but I would be probably out of order if I referred to them now.
Reference was made to the provision of long-term loans for the building of houses. During the last twelve months the question of long-term loans has been raised by different Deputies on several occasions, and we were told that it was impossible to provide the money. The President, in referring to that subject and to the question of housing in general, said as recently as the 20th of March: “It is the merest nonsense to say that money can solve the housing problem, and those who persist in saying that money can solve the housing problem know they are talking nonsense.” Well, if money is not the principal  and the greatest obstacle I should like to know what is the greatest obstacle to the proper provision of houses, so far as this State is concerned.
There are other considerations, I admit. The cost of building enters into it to a large extent, but money is the primary consideration, and it is a very easy way to get out of it to say that money will not solve the problem. If we had the money here, I think it would be very easy to solve the problem; and considering what we are spending money on, even in this State with the people taxed as they are, ten times the sum that is being spent at present could be spent on the provision of houses for the poor. On the same date, or a day after, the Minister for Local Government and Public Health said, when he was speaking in the debate on this question of long-term loans and the provision of money for houses: “We are invited to borrow at present a large number of millions of pounds at 5 per cent. We would not be invited to do that by people shouldering any responsibility in connection with the actual borrowing or carrying out of the work.” Those of us who know the conditions and that have them up against our door in the City of Dublin know quite well what the responsibility is upon us in this matter. We know quite well what responsibility we would be shouldering, if we had the power and asked our people to borrow millions of money for housing. We believe we would be doing the best work that could be done for the uplifting of the people by shouldering such respon-sibility——
Mr. O'Kelly: Even at 5 per cent. for such schemes. I believe if an earnest effort was made, the Government  stating the facts as they know them—and if they appealed to the people of Ireland for that money for the alleviation of the housing position alone—people would be prepared to give the money to the President and his Ministry to help to get the poor of the Free State in general, and of the City of Dublin in particular, out of the awful and disgraceful hovels they are obliged to live in at present. I have that much belief in my own people. I think an effort should be made to see what could be done in that direction, and put it in a way that would strike the imagination of those who could afford to put their hands in their pockets and help their helpless brethren out of the awful conditions in which they are exisiting at present.
A statement appeared in the “Irish Independent” recently on another aspect of public policy, particularly in regard to the city of Dublin, one that the Ministry, no doubt, is fully aware of, and that is the “startling increase,” as the paper calls it, in the cost of outdoor relief in the Dublin area.
The “Irish Independent,” 6th June, says: “A startling increase of £40,000 per annum in the cost of outdoor relief in the Dublin Union area was revealed to an ‘Irish Independent’ representative who made inquiries on the subject,” and the gentleman who gave the figures is Dr. O'Dwyer, Chairman of the Union Commissioners. Presumably Dr. O'Dwyer, who has been in that office for a number of years, knows what he is talking about. He said the chief cause is prolonged unemployment, which brings on sickness in family on account of want of nourishment. That statement alone, issued by one of the officials appointed by the Ministry of Local Government administering Poor Law relief in Dublin City, is a condemnation of the present Free State Executive. They ought to have taken some drastic steps to meet the situation that is confronting them every day in the City of Dublin. That statement alone is, to my mind, sufficient condemnation and proof of the ineptitude  of the Executive Council, presided over by the President.
They have not made any sufficient effort to meet the awful situation that we here in Dublin know to exist. If we were to speak out freely and candidly, we would have to bear out the statement of Dr. O'Dwyer and say that the conditions in Dublin are really appalling. I do not know whether Deputies who represent Dublin in the President's Party are satisfied that the Executive Council and the members of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party have done all that could be done for the last five or seven years. I certainly am not. I would give credit where credit was due if I saw an effort commensurate with the task made by the Government to meet the situation. Speaking of the conditions that exist in Dublin alone, the President and the Executive Council stand condemned and are proved to have neglected the task of relieving the poor or finding a method to give employment to the thousands of families that are now actually starving, or on the verge of starvation, in the city of Dublin.
Mr. E. Doyle: Notwithstanding the case that has been made by Deputies that improvement has taken place in the unemployment problem in this country, I contend the opposite is the case. In my own county of Carlow, for instance, recently an industry has been closed down and a number of people have been thrown on the unemployed list. Then, again, the number of young men coming out of the Army owing to reorganisation has increased the numbers unemployed in the country. While we have this unemployment problem in the country, it will always be a source of weakness to any Government. I believe, however, there are means at the disposal of the Executive Council, if they would only put them into effect, in connection with the development of rural industries and agriculture that would help to decrease unemployment. We could find, as a matter of fact, employment for all the people if we could break up the ranches, go  in for afforestation, drainage, road-making, and, of course, housing.
We could employ all our own people around the country if we would only develop agriculture. It would not so much be the employment of hundreds as of thousands. We could employ thousands in the production of our own butter, bacon, eggs, and those other things that agriculture is capable of producing. That would employ our own people instead of allowing all these goods to come in here and at the same time having our own people emigrating to other countries, the countries which supply us with these imports. We, as a matter of fact, by our insane policies support these countries. Unemployment is a source of weakness instead of a source of strength to any country. While you have that problem in a country, you will never have that peace or contentment which is so much desired by every Deputy in this House. Something will have to be done. There is no use in waiting. If you continue to wait, conditions will even get worse. It is no good for a country to have people with no means to keep themselves and those dependent on them in any state of comfort. I think the President will do well to look into this matter.
There is no use in making points by one side of the House against another side of the House. There is nothing to be gained by political parties trying to score off each other in a question like this. We have had too much washing of dirty linen in this House for the last couple of years and it would be better if Deputies would discuss ways and means so as to meet this problem and get a solution. I ask the President seriously to consider some of the things put forward in connection with agriculture which is so much neglected that it has become a source of weakness to the State and is not giving employment to the people.
The agricultural worker is the worst paid and the hardest worked man in the country. He is not getting a proper show. Even when employed, he is not properly paid.  He does not get employment always because we have only 1,500,000 acres of land under the plough. The unemployed are in a serious condition. Some of them are living in abject misery with nothing to eat and with very little clothing. That statement of their position may appear farfetched but to any person who knows the real position in rural Ireland and who has some experience it is not an overdrawn picture. Some consideration should be given immediately to this problem and the Dáil should not wait until it is too late.
Mr. J.X. Murphy: I know that Deputy O'Kelly knows a great deal about the housing problem in Dublin —a great deal more than I know. One reason for this problem is that everyone in the country appears to think that the streets of Dublin are paved with gold. They are all flocking up to Dublin. The population of the Free State has not increased out of proportion to the increase in the building of new houses. But I know that the population of Dublin has increased out of all proportion, and I do not know whether Deputy O'Kelly sees that that makes the problem, as far as the Dáil is concerned, and as far as every Deputy here is concerned, a very difficult one.
Mr. Derrig: However distressing this debate, which has extended itself over a long space of time and over a still larger variety of topics, is to those Deputies who are in a great hurry to have their holidays, it will have a valuable effect if it helps to improve the situation generally by getting the Government, during the rest from legislative work, to tackle the various questions that we have been discussing to-day. It is true that a large number of the Deputies and the Ministers of the Executive Council are perturbed and worried by this constant reference to questions of unemployment. But the very fact that questions like them are brought up periodically here, and that you have had a number of Deputies speaking on them I think with sincerity and  with a belief that things can be done and should be done which are not being done—the very fact that you have that state of affairs after this Parliament has run two years of its life, and after all Parties except a very small section are now represented here, must give all true Irishmen cause for anxiety. It must make us ask ourselves whether in fact this House is doing the work that the people expect it to do; whether, in fact, we and the Executive Council who rule here are worthy of the enconiums that we read so frequently in the Press, whether it is true this is a very prosperous country, that conditions are steadily improving, and that if people would only work hard, as they do in other countries, things would solve themselves.
Deputies have referred to the slums of Dublin; Deputies have referred to the slums in the Gaeltacht; Deputies have referred to derelict farms in the country; Deputies have referred to industries that have closed down. I say the Ministers who find themselves in contact with these different phases of the national life should get little charts hung up in their different offices, on which would be recorded the amount of employment given in the country and the number of industries, factories and workshops that have been closed down in their different spheres of activity. The fishing industry has been almost completely blotted out; although two or three Commissions were appointed to investigate the whole question, nothing has been done. The housing question has been held up by reason of the difficulty of long-term loans. The Minister for Local Government and Public Health believes he has found a new solution for that question by postulating a rate of 1/- in the £. I would remind the Minister, as Deputy Murphy has just reminded him, that the fact that you have a fairly prosperous population in the City of Dublin, drawing incomes out of all proportion to the incomes that persons in corresponding offices on the Continent draw, and that that and the number of motor cars which  have been so frequently referred to here, are not any indication as to what the conditions are down the country. In fact, the more Dublin increases and prospers, the greater is the simple contrast between conditions here, as they appear superficially, and the conditions which Deputies on the opposite side, as well as on this side, know to exist in other parts of the country.
You have the small towns of Ireland, as a distinguished man of letters pointed out recently, threatened with extinction. You have a Government here which insists on centralising, as I understand it, in its policy of selective protection, industries about the City of Dublin; in centralising in Dublin, as far as we can see, all the offices of the State and a great deal of the work which hitherto was carried out under local departments. You have the transport of the country drawing the population and drawing the traffic of the country into Dublin. Now, you have the Minister for Local Government and Public Health telling us, if the country towns and the farmers could only be got to face this question of 1/- in the £ on the rates, for housing, that perhaps subsequently that problem can be dealt with. I say that you cannot increase the rates, or increase any other local charge until the Government that you have here first takes steps to increase the commercial activities down the country, until it takes steps to increase productivity, whether in agriculture or industry, and until it holds up its hands and says: “We have this number of derelict farms in the country. We are not going to have more. On the contrary, we are going to see that every farm that is not worked will be, as far as we can help it, set to work within the next twelve months.” The same applies to the various offices and factories closed down. We want to see the Government taking the attitude next session that these things are going to be remedied; that instead of having this centralising business going on the Government is going to say that  it is now time to give the country a chance.
The country has the greatest sympathy with the problems of Dublin. Every Deputy here wants to see the slums removed and worthy dwellings provided for the poor. But we have the fact that the rest of the country is threatened with depopulation. Certainly there is a wholesale exodus of the present population threatened. We want to put a stop to that, and we want the Government to say, knowing they are going to get the co-operation and support of the House, that they are prepared to put their shoulders to the wheel and to remedy that state of affairs. I do not want further to prolong this discussion. I congratulate the various Deputies who have spoken on this matter. I say that there is not a single Department, the Department of Industry and Commerce, Local Government and Public Health, the Fisheries Department, or the President's Department, that is not deserving of censure.
We want men of vision and imagination here. We want men who are not tired and who do not make every effort at the end of a session in order that they may have a holiday or that certain supporters of theirs, as the daily Press tells us, may have a holiday during the month of July. We are told that this House is going to close down and finish its labours just for that reason. We want to have the feeling before we break up that these problems which are troubling every one of us and that we all have at heart are being attended to by the Executive Council, and we want to feel that the Executive Council is doing its best to remedy matters. One problem which, in my opinion, overshadows all others is how to establish some policy or some economy in the country that will give the rural population and the population in the smaller towns hope that there is some other place in the Free State besides Dublin, some other place worthy of consideration, and some other place for  which a genuine policy ought to be formulated here.
Mr. de Valera: I just want to state that some time this afternoon I mentioned that I would give certain references before the debate closes. I have those references now. Deputy O'Kelly has given one reference with respect to the Minister for Local Government. I know that the Minister mentioned five per cent. I will make it quite clear that the Minister's objection was not based on 5 per cent., as he would like us to believe now, because immediately afterwards when the phrase was quoted he made another remark which, perhaps, I had better read for the House:—“We are invited to borrow at present a large number of millions of pounds at five per cent. We would not be invited to do that by people shouldering any responsibility in connection with the actual borrowing or carrying out of the work. That is the policy. We must transfer a large portion of whatever loss there is going to be for the provision of houses for the working classes on to the shoulders of the ratepayers.” It is quite obvious from that, that it was not the five per cent——
General Mulcahy: The question of five per cent. is material. We were asked to borrow a large number of millions at five per cent. and to start building houses by means of State machinery at a time when the different sections in the House here argued that the whole business of house building was bankrupt.
Mr. de Valera: My only remark to that is that if that were in the Minister's mind on that occasion he would be just as well able to make his point then as now. The fact is that he was not, and it was another point he was making.
The President: Deputy Derrig stressed very much the fact that a large number of the Deputies on this side of the House were anxious to get away for their holidays. If the Deputy is not aware of the fact  that a great number of his own colleagues on the opposite benches are very anxious to get away for their holidays, he is indeed making a great mistake. Everybody else is aware of that fact, and everybody else knows that the Deputies on the Fianna Fáil Benches are as keen on getting away as he declares Deputies on this side of the House are. Everybody knows that there is just as little anxiety for work on the part of the Deputies opposite as there is in any part of the country. We have every evidence of that here. The leader of the Party made two quotations, and when he was making the quotations he had neither of them before him. The time of the House is therefore wasted in order to give Deputy de Valera an opportunity of making explanations at the end of the debate.
The President: The Deputy was asked for another quotation by the Minister for Industry and Commerce and he did not have it at his fingers' ends. Neither did he tell the House that what he quoted was only portion of a statement made by the Minister. He did not tell the House that the Minister went on at great length to explain the Government policy. The mere quotation of a single sentence from a speech made here by the Minister was about as incorrect a method of giving expression to his view as it would be possible to get.
The Deputy is meticulous in his exactitude with regard to his own statements and with regard to the interpretation put upon his statements by people outside, and very often he goes to great length in the columns of the newspapers, and by way of speeches here and elsewhere to give explanations of what he said on different occasions. It would be well if the Deputy abided by the terms of the Gospel: “Do unto others ....”
The President: Deputy Derrig, in the course of his speech, advised us to solve every problem but not to put one penny extra on the ratepayers. “Be popular at the expense of the people that we are endeavouring to shake the confidence of the people in.”
The President: Deputy O'Kelly is another example of one of those who addresses himself to a subject without making any study of it. Then when he is laughed at in respect of some faux pas he makes he declares “You are gibing at the poor,” the poor being represented by himself; he is the poor. Nobody I ever heard of in this country, no Irishman, has ever gibed at the poor. The Deputy's statement in that connection is not worthy of him, and not worthy of a representative of this City. I will have a little gibe at the poor Deputy. Speaking on the Housing Bill—and I overlooked this on the last occasion out of charity to the Deputy—he said: “This Bill makes available a sum of £200,000. That will not go very far in helping to solve the problem, and £50,000 along with it would be required, at least, in the next five years in Dublin City alone, to do anything like what would be adequate to meet the need of the next five years, at any rate, for housing the working classes and the poorer classes in Dublin.” Did anybody ever read greater nonsense than that? £250,000 in five years! Deputy Lemass laughed when he heard that statement. I looked across at him and shook my head and he smiled, as much as to say, “Go easy with him when you are replying to this.” And so I did.
Later on, we had the Deputy's solution for the housing problem. It really shows that he did not make a study of the matter, for he said: “I suggest to the Government that within the next five years they should raise a sum of £2,600,000 a year.  That would be £13,000,000 in five years. Of that amount, they should give one-fourth, £3,250,000, or thereabouts, in grants.” After telling us that we would require £250,000 for the next five years, and that that would be an adequate sum, he immediately multiplies it by fifteen, forgetting what he had told us a few minutes before. I submit that this is the type of study reflected in these quotations. If the Deputy thinks that I am doing him an injustice, he can read the book. Sometimes in a circus, if there is any question of doubt about a matter, someone says, “Let us see what the book says.” The book in this case is against the Deputy. I asked subsequently, if the Government were to give £3,250,000 during a period of five years and houses were erected at the Deputy's own computation of between £400 and £500 each, what sum would the municipality be asked to contribute towards the scheme. The same amount, namely £650,000. That would mean 11/- in the £. That is the great national scheme for housing in the City of Dublin. I hope that Deputy De Valera when looking for people to adorn his Front Bench will get people who will pay more attention to facts than has been shown by his second in command. The Deputy spoke of 3,500 houses. The actual figure is 5,394. The Deputy was a member of the Dublin Corporation from about 1905 and, going back thirty years before that time—the first date on which the Dublin Corporation entered on housing—the total number of houses provided up to the year 1922 was 2,251. If I am charged with having neglected the housing problem in Dublin I can show that in the seven years since we took office we have provided two and a half times more houses in Dublin than were provided in the previous forty years.
The President: I am going to deal with the Deputy but I will let him down very easily. A statement has been referred to which was made by the Minister for Industry and Commerce  in 1924. Two Deputies referred to it but neither of them had the book.
The President: The Minister for Industry and Commerce on that occasion said: “It is not the function of this Dáil to provide work, and the sooner that is realised the better.” Further on he said: “To state broadly and definitely that the Dáil ought to be able to provide work for the country is giving the Dáil a function which it has no right to take on itself.” I am speaking not only to the Leader of the Labour Party and to the Leader of Fianna Fáil, but also to the theologian who addressed himself to the subject last week, and I advise all persons concerned to read the whole speech made by the Minister on that occasion, and to read his speech made on the following day. The Minister stated on the 30th October, 1924, in regard to unemployment:
“Unemployment was the problem, and the only cure for it, as I said previously in this House, is employment. The question is how to increase production, how to increase the activity of industry, and how to increase it particularly in such a way that labour would be employed, not wastefully on roads and relief schemes, but in its normal occupations. That problem faced us last Easter, and certain lines of attack were developed to meet that problem. We have followed along these lines since. The situation has, however, recently been complicated by one other event, that there has been, partially, we believe, a failure of the harvest and an almost complete failure of the fuel supply in the poorer districts.”
“The other point raised by the Deputy was a very serious matter; it was founded rather on the ver balism to which other people object. He took my phrase of last night when I said, and said very definitely, that I believed it was not the function of the Dáil or of the Government to provide employment, and I stressed that point. It was a negative answer, and I stressed that negative answer. I said it because I was answering a very definite statement made by Deputy Morrissey, who said that the population of this country was small and that the Dáil ought to be able to provide employment. I want to stress this point, that there is no State control of industry here, and to that extent I have nothing to take away from the words I used last night.”
“It is not the function of the Dáil directly and immediately to provide employment. I did say that. I used the same phrase last night to indicate that certain pressure could be put on people, that certain tendencies could be developed and that certain adjustments in the fiscal system could be made so as to ensure, as far as we could ensure without interfering directly with trade or enterprise, that there would be more employment; but beyond that we cannot go; we cannot for the moment enter into the field of State interference or State control of industry. There is a great deal of State interference at present, but you cannot go to the point of State control——
Mr. McGilligan: No. I think I have already stated that anything  that can be done to see that employment will grow, and that employment will be provided for those eager and willing to work, that we will do. I made a statement last night of the approach of my Department to the problem by unemployment insurance, relief schemes, and certain remedial measures to foster trade and industry, and if there is anything that is missing from the chain which I revealed last night, I would like to have the gaps shown to me, and I would like to have further links put into my hand to forge into the chain.”
That is a very different statement from the two statements we heard from two responsible Deputies here, knowing that they were speaking to the Dáil and to the people of the country. If I were a stranger to the country listening to the debate and hearing those statements I would say that it was either a poor House or a miserable country. These are the statements which are impeding progress, industrial expansion and business here as much as anything else.
The President: I am putting the true facts before the House, and the facts suppressed by Deputy de Valera and Deputy O'Connell which I have read out, which are there on record, and which were not quoted by those who criticised the Minister for Industry and Commerce or the Government on this matter.
The President: They do, and so do subsequent statements of the Minister. What is more, so do the various activities which the Minister outlined, and which I am now going to weary the Dáil by recounting.
The President: And the results, if the Deputy wishes. Year after year we have this wail from one Party or the other Party. The Labour Party got in before the Fianna Fáil Party on this occasion, having a little more experience and more knowledge of Parliamentary work, and knowing more of the job perhaps. While they pretend to score off one another in debate we see them lining up in the same Lobby against the only sensible people in the country.
The President: I shall now refer to the methods adopted for providing employment. Direct employment has been provided by:—(a) (1) Office of Public Works on buildings, drainage, etc., provided employment during each of the past four years for an average of 4,000 persons. This included certain special relief works, such as internal painting, to relieve seasonal unemployment. (2) Defence Department.—In addition to the 5,500 whole-time officers and men, and the payments to 7,000 reservists, the Army provides employment for 400 civilian tradesmen, chefs, waiters, and miscellaneous unskilled workers. (3) Department of Local Government and Public Health.—Roads: In the last five years grants to local authorities for the improvement and upkeep of roads, repair of damaged bridges, amounted to over 5½ million pounds. In addition, the local authorities expended about 7 million during that period. Returns for the period of 2½ years to-date show the number of men employed by direct labour on roads and bridges to average 16,113 per month. The  State grants pay 1 out of every 2 men on repair of trunk roads; 3 out of every 10 men on repair of link roads; 10 out of every 11 men on improvement of all roads. (4) Industry and Commerce.—On the Shannon scheme and the Electricity Supply Board, though there is considerable variation from time to time in the number at work, the average, over the first six months of the current year, was 5,500 men in continuous employment. (5) Lands and Fisheries.—In the five years ended 31st March last, £1,371,000 was spent by the Land Commission on improvement of estates and on special works. These works were largely undertaken in places where and at times abnormal unemployment prevailed. The figure includes materials, but in work of this kind a very large proportion of the money goes in wages. Fisheries.—Department of Fisheries have given direct employment to 87 men for about 20 weeks in each of the past five years. About 1,000 girls are given employment in knitting, lace-making, and embroidery in the 34 industrial centres maintained by the Department. Most of these are part-time home workers. (6) Agriculture.— Forestry: The forestry operations of the Department provide employment, varying with the season of the year, from 240 to 520 workmen. The planting programme has been considerably extended in recent years. It is anticipated that further contemplated extensions in the programme will afford continuous employment for an additional 50 men each year.
(b) Indirect encouragement for employment has been provided by:— (1) Office of Public Works.—Under the Land Loan Service, loans amounting to almost £500,000 have been sanctioned. It is not possible to obtain accurate figures as to the amount of employment afforded out of these encouragements to building farmhouses, out-offices, etc., but it is estimated that about 300 men per annum are employed on this class of work. (2) Local Government.— Under the various housing grants to  private persons and local authorities approximately 16,000 houses have been provided in the last five years, the unexpended balance will provide a further 3,500 houses. The number of persons given continuous employment during the period may be roughly calculated at 1½ persons per annum for each house built, say, 4,800 persons. The opening of the Local Loans Fund for financing schemes for local authorities under the Housing of the Working Classes Acts will greatly stimulate the activities of these bodies and provide further employment. If one takes Dublin City alone, 4,379 houses have been provided or are in course of being built. About 1,700 people have been continuously employed in this work. (3) Industry and Commerce. —It is estimated that the various tariffs imposed have increased the employment of Irish workers by about 12,000 persons, while the facilities afforded under the Trade Loans Guarantee Acts enabled about 2,000 persons to secure employment. (4) Lands and Fisheries.—In the last 5 years 600 fishermen have been assisted to obtain appliances such as boats, nets, and other gear. Schemes are in contemplation to secure increased employment in inshore fishing and to contribute to the development of deep sea trawling, as well as for an extensive building programme in Gaeltacht areas. Steps are being taken to revive the homespun industry in Donegal, to extend this to other parts of the Gaeltacht, and to put the rural industries in the Gaeltacht on a sounder and more extensive footing. (5) Agriculture.— Schemes for improvement of agriculture provide employment for farmers and increase production generally. Beet Sugar in addition to the extra farm labour which it provides has given employment to approximately 600 men during the manufacturing season which lasts between 5 and 6 months, and to between 120 and 180 people during the off season. Incidentally, increased employment is provided for carters, bag-makers, etc., apart from the employment afforded in the building of the factory. The policy of the Government  Contracts Committee of giving preference to Saorstát manufacturers has resulted in many contracts being retained here which would otherwise go abroad. The figures are not very large in themselves, representing perhaps, £100,000 in wages during the last five years, but the importance to small firms of securing these contracts to keep them going is considerable.
The President: I am prepared, if the Deputy will have just a little patience, to go on to deal with that on the most unfavourable basis which has been presented by the Labour Party. They have been a little more direct in their charge against us. The Deputy mentioned about 50,000. I am prepared to consider the figure as between 80,000 and 90,000, and compare that figure with the figures across the water and in Northern Ireland.
Mr. Jordan: May I ask a question? The President has stated that 87 fishermen got constant employment for some time in connection with the Fisheries Department, and that a few thousand girls got temporary employment for some months at packing fish.
An Ceann Comhairle: That is an impossible position in which to place the President of the Executive Council. The President cannot be expected to answer for each particular Department. The Department of Fisheries has still to be dealt with, and this point is bound to arise.
The President: Unfortunately, for yourself, sir, you were not here during the whole of the debate. It ranged over a long period. I am held responsible for events so far back as the time of Wolfe Tone. Deputy de Valera did not go back so far as that but he criticised the policy of my predecessor in 1922. I do not know that that is altogether within the ambit of my Vote on this occasion, but I venture to say that most of the charges made against us of having lowered the flag and having been on the run from the British, having surrendered, and so on, have come from a Party whose most distinguished characteristic in the last few years has been “Cease fire” or “Haul down the flag.” I regret that. I would like to see a Party opposed to me so that I could cheerfully leave office, satisfied that the dignity, the status, and the business of the country would be well maintained. and whose fighting spirit would be at least second only to my own. That is one of the things which make me most depressed— when I consider what is going to  happen when this Ministry leaves office, and who will replace it. Amongst the criticisms of the Vote, it has been stated that the amount has been increased to £11,973. I was charged by Deputy Dr. Ryan with having an extra higher executive officer. My impression is that the Vote is too low, that the office is not sufficiently manned, that the personnel is overworked from top to bottom, and that, if at any time there is a change, the Vote will be certainly largely increased. There is no person in that establishment who has not done overtime without payment. All the work in connection with the Department has increased from year to year. We have lately been handed the baby of unemployment. It is not our child at all. It is handed round. Deputy O'Connell fathered it this year, and Deputy de Valera will father it next year. The office is undermanned and I anticipate an increase in the Vote. My notes here are so voluminous that it would take a much longer time than I have at my disposal to deal with them.
The President: Deputies have all night. I shall not occupy very much of it. Deputy O'Connell says that our policy is too slow. In connection with the same thing, we have the criticism that the Minister for Local Government when borrowing money last March, announced from the Ministerial Benches that we did not consider it good policy to borrow money. There was every indication that the price of money was going to increase, that the discount rates would be increased. Occasionally, I see hangers-on of the Party opposite, or other people who do not know anything about finance, addressing themselves to the subject as if it were something which this or any other country could control. Last year, the Bank of England was most anxious to reduce the bank rate in order to help industry, but the fluctuations in the money market in Wall Street compelled an increase in the Bank of England rate in  England. Was any Englishman small-minded enough to say, “We are controlled by Wall Street”?
The President: We are advised not to look to England by Deputy Little, and by the banking expert, Deputy Kennedy, and at the same time as we are advised not to look to England we are given two gentlemen in English finance as authorities on that particular line of policy.
The President: I am thinking on Irish lines, and have been doing so all my life. I am not by any means impressed by the fact that other people are depressed because things cannot go well; we must go to someone else. We got views on all these matters by very expert bankers from as far away as the United States and Australia. They considered our banking situation here and advised us. If I were to take the advice of Deputies opposite on this question of banking, I think I would be advised in the first place to bring in an Act to restrict banks from raising the bank rate of interest when every other bank in the world is doing it.
The President: I think I qualified the statement I made by saying “Some hangers-on or other persons like those.” One particular gentleman who was presiding at a meeting at which very distinguished members of the Opposition were present, stated that we were controlled by British finance. Deputies opposite often make such a statement. I heard Deputy Flinn say that there was a stranglehold here.
The President: I was not there. I did not see the report. I do not read everything the Deputy says, and even if I did it would not change my view that the person who puts his money in a bank has as good a right here to get his rate of interest as a man in England or in America who puts his money into a bank. Last March, every indication that could possibly be given was given in the money markets that money was tight and that there would be a difficulty in borrowing. Directly that situation eased, the Minister for Local Government, the Minister for Finance and myself had a conference in connection with local loans for housing. It was the one thing that stopped it. I believe, in a moment of weakness, I conveyed to a member of this House that he might not be uneasy in his mind, that it was possible we would be able to do that.
Exactly the same policy has been followed in the last four or five years with regard to the credit of this State. It is established. It is on a sound basis. That basis can be very seriously affected in a very short time by any administration. Borrow in respect of a service from which there is no return and the credit of the country is diminished. Borrow in respect of services for which repayment will not be made and the same thing will happen. All those things are known by financiers and to our own people who have their money in the banks and who cannot lend their money to any administration  which does not show that it is capable of using it to the best public advantage.
I think Deputy Coburn was the one that addressed himself most to the fact that in respect to any service one must get value for money spent. Deputy Lemass said that we have to approach this thing in a straight line. Money has got to be put into circulation. Somebody has to pay for it. If the ten thousand pounds or whatever it is cannot be met, if there is not good value for it, if the purpose of the expenditure is not justified, it will all come back and have its reactions. In respect of our administration here for the last seven years, every possible attention was paid to getting value, as far as we could, for every service and those who addressed themselves lightly to housing ought to look back seven years and see what it cost to provide a house in the City of Dublin. It cost £750 seven years ago, and we can get practically the same house to-day for a shade over £500. Would it have been good business, when there was unemployment, to borrow and spend £750 and leave to people for the next fifteen or twenty years to pay back the service of a debt in respect of which value could not be shown.
A great advantage to the Party opposite, as I often said, is that they have such an example before them in respect of administration and that if ever they do get responsibility for administration, they will have very few precedents that are not sound, sensible and creditable.
The one person on the Fianna Fáil Benches who addressed himself very sensibly to this question of unemployment was Deputy Lemass. He only went off the deep end where it was clear he had not experience of administration, and that is quite an understandable proposition. It was not on this occasion alone but on other occasions that the Deputy laid it down that we should get value for money. Seven years ago, building was at a standstill; practically no building was being done. One need only go through any part of the  country at the present moment, as far north as Donegal, as far south as Kerry, and even to Wexford, where Deputy Corish said they were not able to bear the burden of increased housing, and one sees housing all over. It took some time to nurture that and to improve it, and the situation now, compared with seven years ago, is one which is much more easily dealt with than was the position at that particular time.
Deputy de Valera addressed himself to the question of imports and exports. If his statement is read— and probably his own supporters occasionally read what he says—it will be entirely misleading. There was a figure of £19,000,000 which he omitted from the exports and a figure of one and a half million pounds from the imports which he might reasonably have added.
The President: Certainly not. That is what I object to in all those statements. Taking them as they stand, they do not give anything like a true picture of the country. We export nineteen million pounds' worth of live animals.
Mr. de Valera: May I ask the President if it is a satisfactory situation that we should at the moment be importing, under the heading of food, drink and tobacco, twenty-three million pounds' worth, and that we should be exporting under those heads—remember we are an agricultural country—only twenty-one million pounds' worth?
The President: It is those people  who are making the wealth of this country and not the talkers. It is those people who are responsible for the industry, the commerce and the agriculture of the country and not the Deputy and the other speakers on that side.
The President: Certainly, and it was a matter which was corrected directly my attention was drawn to it. The Deputy should remember that the first time he made a speech here he made a withdrawal when I pointed out to him his mistake. There was a full and complete withdrawal in my case. I always put the true facts before the people. If my attention is directed to any mistake in connection with any statement, written or otherwise, I will correct it like a man. The Deputy will remember that after the facts were explained he said, “I withdraw.” The Deputy went on to say that there are 246 people in this country drawing £374,000—£1,300 each. One does not get a position like that in the service of the State without certain qualifications. If those positions are not available in this country, there is a market elsewhere for the most brilliant of our citizens.
The President: I will talk about emigration in its own time. The people who emigrate from here are, in the main, persons who are not so well educated, unfortunately for themselves. But here is the cream of the country, 246 citizens having got positions by their qualifications at £1,300 a year each. The Deputy's proposal is that we are not able to pay, and that they should go elsewhere.
The President: I heard you the other day, when you had a certain gentleman sitting beside you—Deputy Briscoe—telling the Minister for Finance that he was acting like a Jewman in connection with income tax. Nobody else would have the indelicacy to have made the statement except a Deputy on the opposite benches.
The President: If I heard them I would reply, but, unfortunately, they were made in the Deputy's own particular patois and I do not quite understand it sometimes. Several Deputies have addressed themselves to the fact that this is a dominant question. We know it is, but very few addressed themselves to the method of dealing with it in such a way that it would no longer be either a question or a problem with us. The policy of the Government in connection with it has been to do whatever necessary public works there are and to make it easy for local authorities to do whatever necessary public works there are, to place the least possible burden on either the ratepayer or the taxpayer, to stimulate industry, to eliminate waste and, generally, to improve every service of the State in such a way that the wealth of the country will increase and that there will be, in consequence, more employment. We are invited to embark on schemes which are hastily conceived and ill-digested, and which are not likely to add to the  wealth of the country, and are merely palliatives. The list I have read out of employment which has been given here is practically unknown to the man in the street, and practically unheard of by most electors of the country. Yet it is a list which forms a very sound and sensible explanation of the Government's policy for the last five or six years. We could have, perhaps, cut a much better figure if, instead of that a couple of millions per year were voted to the relief of unemployment, which, the Deputy knows, would be an expensive and wasteful method of dealing with it. Unemployment is not peculiar to this country. In proportion to the population, the problem in this country compares favourably with the position in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Both of these countries are more highly industrialised than we are, and nobody will deny, as far as Great Britain is concerned, that it is a much richer country than this is. Taking the average number registered as unemployed in the months of March and April and May as a percentage of the total population, we find that the figure is .65 in Saorstát Eireann. as compared with 2.7 approximately in Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
The President: Will the Deputy hold his patience a short time? I think it was Saint Paul who said “Possess your soul in patience.” If Deputies read a little more about Saint Paul it would be very much better for this country.
The President: I know as much about it as it is possible for me to  learn. The average number registered as unemployed in this country during the months I have mentioned, March, April and May, is 19,428. It is quite true that that figure does not cover the total number unemployed; there are people, such as agricultural labourers, domestic servants, and persons who have exhausted their benefits, to be added. The same is true of Northern Ireland and Great Britain, not, I will admit, to the same extent, but it is true nevertheless. It may be agreed that the relative proportion of unregistered to unemployed is, for various reasons, smaller in those countries than here. Definite figures as regards the total extent of unemployment will not be available until the Census Returns are complete. Even then, for various reasons, the Census figures will require adjustment before a proper figure can be given.
The President: We are probably dealing with different figures. What I am dealing with is the total number of persons registered as against the total number unemployed. Your figure is a percentage of the total insured persons. An estimate was given in the Dáil from the Labour Benches that there were between 80,000 and 90,000 persons unemployed. They do not make wild statements. These are the figures they mentioned within the last few years. I am taking that number. Supposing we take the figure 85,000 for the purpose of argument, the percentage of unemployed as against the total population in Saorstat Eireann would be about 2.8 as compared with 2.7 for the registered unemployed only in Great Britain. I hope I have made that point perfectly clear. Agricultural labourers are not registered over there.
I believe that they made the biggest case that they possibly could make when they said between 80,000 and 90,000. Assume that the figure is correct and compare it with the register of unemployed in Great Britain. The figures regarding the average number registered weekly as unemployed, while they cannot be regarded as giving complete information will, at least, serve as a basis for comparison as between one year and another in regard to the state of unemployment. Deputies will admit that. An examination of these figures shows that there has been a very material drop within the last four years. These figures are borne out by the increase which has taken place in the total contributions in respect of workers in employment. Deputies, if they look at the Estimate for this year, will find there a sum of £5,000 more in the way of a contribution towards the unemployment fund and for special schemes. It will be admitted, in dealing with the question of unemployment, that there will always be casual unemployment. There will be certain people in a process of transition from one job to another, there will be a number of people drawing sick benefit who are unable for the time being to work through illness, and there will be the more or less vagrant class whose aptitude for work is not of a normal order.
The President: We are a little beyond the scheduled time to-night. There will be seasonal unemployment in certain trades, and these aspects of the situation do not readily lend themselves to a solution. When you add an unusual number, that does become a problem of some magnitude. In times of abnormal distress we have resorted to special relief works. Deputies know that our experience has been confirmed even by themselves, and that special  expenditure so undertaken is generally unremunerative and uneconomic. Consequently, we have been more concerned to provide employment on constructive work calculated to produce permanent assets, or to facilitate the provision of new avenues for permanent employment. The measures which we have taken, most of which I have read out, such as the Shannon electricity scheme, the tariff policy which we have pursued, our large expenditure on roads and housing, have been dictated by these considerations. There are other considerations which people are sometimes apt to forget in discussing the problem. One is that there has been a considerable increase in the general standard of living since before the war. In many cases, wages have increased more rapidly than the standard of living without a compensatory increase in output, and all these factors contribute in some degree towards sending the weaker vessels to the wall.
There are just a few figures that I wish to give before concluding. The average number registered weekly as unemployed in 1925-26 was 30,031; in 1926-27 it was 23,394; 1927-28, 21,841; in 1928-29, 22,500. At present the average number registered as unemployed amounts to 19,713.
The President: No. Deputy de Valera mentioned about emigration. The number, three years ago, was 30,000 odd. Two years ago it was 27,000 and a year ago it was 24,000, so that there was a larger number apparently to be provided for.
The President: As a matter of fact, we have not gone to the full extent of our quota. I want to say one word on housing in conclusion. Deputy O'Kelly said that the sum of £250,000 was required for five years. In the last seven years Dublin has got the sum of £108,202 towards housing. 5,394 dwellings were provided at a very big cost and are not enough to meet the situation.
I suggest in all seriousness that Deputies, by reason of their position, get the worst side of affairs in the country. They naturally get complaints. Nobody who has been in a representative capacity ever had a call from a business man to say: “Business is fine; I never did as well, but do not tell the Revenue Commissioners.” No, it does not happen. My office is almost a refugium peccatorum with letters showing what hard cases there are in all parts of the country. Deputies have had the same story. There are complaints one way or another. From what I have said to-night, Deputies can go back to the country and throw their chests out and say: “We are proud to be Irishmen, although we forgot it for a long time.”
Mr. Davin: Is the President prepared to give a definite answer to the direct question asked by Deputy O'Connell, whether he is prepared to announce the policy of the Government arising out of the failure of the housing conference?
Mr. T.J. O'Connell: I asked the President to say if the Government were considering steps to deal with men who would be disemployed on the Shannon scheme within the next few months. I understand that 2,000 or 3,000 will be disemployed.
The President: We have quite a number of big topics to consider, one way or another. It is unreasonable to ask consideration of that matter at this stage. The men are still working. As regards the question raised by Deputy Davin, that was not my child. I was asked to set up that Committee, which undertook to provide a solution. From their first report they thought a solution would be possible by a conference between masters and men. The Government policy on housing is on the Statute Book. We are prepared to do more if we get a little more help.
The President: The Deputy is leaving out of consideration that there are private persons who have got assistance as well as the Dublin Corporation. A number of public utility societies, and so on, have also been assisted.
Mr. O'Kelly: I am satisfied with my figures. Evidently we were talking of different figures. I was talking of the houses built by the Dublin Corporation. Another point, the President suggested I said that £200,000 with £50,000 added was all that would be required in the next five years. If the President will read my remarks again he will see that what I said was that £200,000 was being provided by the Bill introduced this year. Bills have been introduced every year since 1925 for a number of years providing for houses. This year the sum of £200,000 was provided. I suggested that £50,000 more would be required. That is £250,000 per annum. Was that £250,000 to be spent in the way provided by the Bill in 1929?
Mr. O'Kelly: A Bill has been introduced every year. It was expected that at least inside of twelve months that £200,000 provided here would be spent. I suggested that we would require another £50,000.
Carty, Frank. Doyle, Edward.
Gorry, Patrick J.
Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
Kent, William R.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick John.
|Cassidy, Archie J.
Corry, Martin John.
Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
De Valera, Eamon. MacEntee, Seán.
Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
O'Connell, Thomas J.
O'Dowd, Patrick Joseph.
O'Kelly, Seán T.
Powell, Thomas P.
Sheehy, Timothy (Tipperary).
Ward, Francis C.
|Aird, William P.
Alton, Ernest Henry.
Beckett, James Walter.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Bourke, Séamus A.
Byrne, John Joseph.
Cole, John James.
Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
Connolly, Michael P.
Cosgrave, William T.
Dolan, James N.
Doyle, Peadar Seán.
Duggan, Edmund John.
Egan, Barry M.
Esmonde, Osmond Thos. Grattan.
Gorey, Denis J.
Hassett, John J.
Heffernan, Michael R.
Hennessy, Michael Joseph.
Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
|Kelly, Patrick Michael.
Law, Hugh Alexander.
Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
McFadden, Michael Og.
Mongan, Joseph W.
Murphy, James E.
Murphy, Joseph Xavier.
Nally, Martin Michael.
O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
O'Hanlon, John F.
O'Mahony, Dermot Gun.
O'Reilly, John J.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Shaw, Patrick W.
Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
Thrift, William Edward.
White, Vincent Joseph.
Wolfe, Jasper Travers.
|Aird, William P.
Alton, Ernest Henry. Blythe, Ernest.
Bourke, Séamus A.
Byrne, John Joseph.
Cole, John James.
Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
Connolly, Michael P.
Cosgrave, William T.
Dolan, James N.
Doyle, Peadar Seán.
Duggan, Edmund John.
Egan, Barry M.
Esmonde, Osmond Thos. Grattan.
Gorey, Denis J.
Hassett, John J.
Heffernan, Michael R.
Hennessy, Michael Joseph.
Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
Kelly, Patrick Michael.
|Beckett, James Walter.
Bennett, George Cecil. Law, Hugh Alexander.
Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
McFadden, Michael Og.
Mongan, Joseph W.
Murphy, James E.
Murphy, Joseph Xavier.
Nally, Martin Michael.
O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
O'Hanlon, John F.
O'Mahony, Dermot Gun.
O'Reilly, John J.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Shaw, Patrick W.
Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
Thrift, William Edward.
White, Vincent Joseph.
Wolfe, Jasper Travers.
Cassidy, Archie J.
Corry, Martin John.
Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
De Valera, Eamon.
Gorry, Patrick J.
|Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
Kent, William R.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick John.
Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
O'Connell, Thomas J.
O'Dowd, Patrick Joseph.
O'Kelly, Seán T.
Powell, Thomas P.
Sheehy, Timothy (Tipperary).
Ward, Francis C.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Duggan and P.S. Doyle; Níl: Deputies G. Boland and Allen.
Motion declared carried.
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