Friday, 29 November 1929
Dáil Éireann Debate
Mr. Good: When this Bill was under consideration last night, Deputy O'Kelly made what appeared  to me to be an attack on business men for not discharging their obligations in connection with this Bill. I think that the Deputy was not quite clear, and possibly not quite fair to the business men in what he said. For that reason I should like to make clear what our attitude has been on this Bill. We have not at any time objected to accepting responsibility for the relief of the destitute. At every meeting that I have attended—and the number was considerable—in connection with the Bill, I have never heard anyone dispute the fact that the destitute should be provided for. That is not being questioned. The Deputy last night, in making his criticism of business men, was not quite fair to them on that aspect of the question. We have never denied the right of the destitute to assistance. What we have questioned in connection with the Bill is the area from which this charge should be recovered. We have held that Dublin is differently circumstanced from almost every other city or town in the Free State. That has not been disputed by anyone who can speak with knowledge of the problem. We know that numbers of people come from all areas in the Free State to Dublin. Deputies for whom I have a very great regard have questioned that fact. Those who have examined this problem will tell you that numbers come to the city from all portions of the Free State. In many cases they bring their families with them. They come here in the first instance with the object of getting employment, but in many cases, unfortunately, they fail in that object, with the result that they become destitute and a charge on the city. That is where the difference comes in on this Bill. We say that it is unfair to put that whole burden on the city of Dublin. That is the whole difference that has arisen over the Bill. In the city of Dublin at the present time we pay a poor rate of 2/10 in the £. That is, I think, about the second highest poor rate in the Free State.
Mr. Good: It may be the third, but it is one of the highest. In addition to that comes this Bill, which puts a super-tax on top of the existing tax. It has nothing to do with what we have to pay at present by way of poor rate. This Bill puts on the city of Dublin and the adjoining areas of Pembroke and Rathmines a super-tax, in addition to the ordinary poor rate. The amount of that super-tax has been questioned. I did not give any estimate of the amount of that super-tax. Doctor Dwyer, one of the City Commissioners, however, did come to the Chamber of Commerce and he explained his view as to what the amount of that tax would be. Let me say that Dr. Dwyer speaks on the subject with an authority that few possess. His training has been entirely in the service of the Board of Guardians of the Dublin Union. There he acquired a knowledge of this problem that is probably possessed by no other person. That is the man who gives the estimate as to what the super-tax will be on the city of Dublin.
I do not question that estimate. I have no right to question it, and coming from the source that it does, I would be slow to question it. Now, I have said that it is unfair that the burden should be cast upon the city of Dublin and the adjoining townships, and I was more than surprised at Deputy O'Kelly's remarks last night, in view of what Deputy de Valera said upon this particular aspect of the question on the Second Reading. I shall read for the House one paragraph from Deputy de Valera's speech on the Second Reading:
“Is it right that the city of Dublin should bear that burden? We believe it should not bear it unaided, and that, in a sense, this problem is one that the community at large—the people of the Twenty-Six Counties—ought to bear portion of. The exact apportionment might be a matter of some difficulty, but in a case like this, which involves a very sudden increase of 30 per cent. on the  existing burden of Dublin, we think that the country, as a whole, ought to come in and help; that is, the State ought to assist the city.”
That is Deputy de Valera's statement on the Second Reading. He agrees with the business men when they allege that the whole of this burden should not be cast upon the city, and that the city, with the adjoining townships, should not be made responsible for the burden. There is common cause there, and, in view of the statement made by Deputy de Valera, I was more than surprised when I heard the charges made last night by Deputy O'Kelly against the business men.
Now, having heard that statement from Deputy de Valera, naturally we expected when this Bill came into Committee we should see amendments put down following up that statement. No amendments were forthcoming, and every attempt that was made to move that burden was negatived by Fianna Fáil. They voted against every effort that was made in that direction. It is only right to point out that the rules of this House do not permit a private Deputy to put down an amendment which would throw a charge upon the Central Fund. No Deputy other than a Minister can put down an amendment of that nature. Therefore, we were precluded from putting down an amendment which would throw portion of this burden, at all events, upon the Central Fund. That could only come from the Minister. It is only right to say further in that connection, that in addition to this high poor rate paid by the ratepayers of Dublin they were willing to go further, as published in the Press, and to pay up to 2/- in the £ to meet this burden, but any sum in excess of that amount should be borne by the Central Fund. That is the proposal, but I could not put down an amendment to that effect because, as I said, it would impose a charge upon the Central Fund.
There are representatives of Fianna Fáil from the city of Dublin here and I ask them why no effort  has been made to act in accordance with the statement of Deputy de Valera that it was unfair that the whole of this burden should fall on the areas, Dublin City, Rathmines and Pembroke. Is it want of constructive ability? I should be the last to put forward that as an excuse. It is only due to Fianna Fáil Deputies who represent portions of the city of Dublin that they should come forward and tell us why no effort of any kind was made by anybody on their benches to prevent the whole of this burden falling on the city of Dublin, a burden which they stated in unmistakable fashion on Second Reading was unfair to the city. I hope that we will have from Fianna Fáil an explanation. I leave that particular aspect of the situation for the moment. The proposals that were put forward for the solution of this problem were not new. The problem has been the subject of a lot of inquiry and a lot of criticism in Great Britain. As a result of that inquiry they came to the conclusion that the only reasonable and fair solution of the problem was for every county to bear the burden of its own nationals. That is a proposal that is working on the other side and it was adopted as a result of prolonged inquiry into the whole problem.
We put that forward as a solution that might easily be adopted here but it did not meet with acceptance from any portion of the House. As I say, that is not a new problem and it is not an ideal solution of the difficulty. It does not meet with the approval of all those who might be called experts in poor law reform. I doubt if you will get any solution of any problem that will meet with the approval of all those experts, as some of those who have to do with local government will readily admit, but it was the one suggested solution of a difficult problem that seemed to meet with general approval. I do not see any other solution of this problem and the distribution of the burden other than on a county basis. I am satisfied that that is the only fair way of dealing with it. Some Deputies on the other side will say,  and it has been said to me over and over again, that this should be a State charge. I am entirely against making it a State charge. Twenty-five years experience of local administration has taught me that a problem of this kind is one for local authorities only. They can deal with it, can scrutinise it, and can inquire into it with a knowledge which the State cannot have. It is necessary from the moral aspect of the question that expenditure of this kind should be very carefully and thoroughly scrutinised and that scrutiny can only come through local administration and not through the State.
For that reason, so far as my experience goes, it does not matter to you or to me whether we pay the charge out of one pocket as ratepayers or out of the other as taxpayers as we have to pay it in any event, but my twenty-five years' experience has taught me that if these matters are to be scrutinised, as they must be, it can only be done by local authorities. Until a larger measure is brought in I am satisfied to let portion of the charge fall on the Central Fund but let it be clearly understood that that is only a temporary expedient for getting over the difficulty for a short period and is not a permanent solution of the problem. There is only one other question to which I would like to refer. It is a question which, I am sorry, was not raised during any of the discussions on this Bill. Rates are a charge on the cost of living. No one in the House will deny that fact. I am afraid that as all these additional burdens come before us for discussion few of us followed them to see first of all where the money is going to come from and what is going to be the effect of additional burdens.
Burdens come up day after day that are not considered from that aspect at all. I am afraid that we are losing sight of the importance of the question of the cost-of-living with the result that the figures have grown in a rather alarming way. I have before me the most recent report issued by the Department of Industry  and Commerce and in it I find that on the 1st October the cost of living in the Free State had reached the figure of 179. That, of course, as Deputies know, is over the 1914 figure. That is an increase of three points from July and, if we take that figure and compare it with the cost of living figure in Northern Ireland, we find that on the corresponding date in Northern Ireland the cost of living figure was 165 points over that of 1914. Comparing the two figures, we find that the cost of living in the Free State is fourteen points over that in Northern Ireland.
Mr. Lemass: Will Deputy Good answer a question? First of all, I would like him to say if the normal increase between July and November in the cost of living each year is anything more this year than it was last year? That is, whether the increase that takes place between July and November is exceptional this year. Secondly, I would like him to say if the figures relating to the cost of living in Northern Ireland are complied on the same basis as they are here.
Mr. Good: The Deputy will explain all that thoroughly. I will turn over to the next page, but I am not leaving the point. It is remarked there in the footnote: “It will be noted that during the six periods of consecutive twelve months the average index numbers for Great Britain and Northern Ireland show a steady though slight decrease, while the corresponding averages for the Saorstát have moved in the contrary direction.” It has been pointed out in these discussions that Dublin is a distributing centre. As we place these taxes on those who distribute in Dublin, we put on them an additional overhead  charge. That overhead charge is passed on to the commodities which these agents distribute.
Mr. Good: The Deputy can add a little more. I would be delighted to hear him on this subject. These commodities are sold with this super-tax to the local shopkeepers. The local shopkeepers sell these commodities, with a little bit added, to the farming community and other industrialists.
Mr. Good: I would like to hear Deputy Flinn on this matter. In that way, this burden is passed on to that one industry on which the prosperity of the Saorstát depends. That cost of living adds to the cost of production, and the cost of production is the governing factor in our export trade. The great mass of our exports from this State is agricultural produce. That produce is sold in the great markets of Great Britain in competition with produce from all parts of the world, the most competitive market in the world. Our ability to hold that market depends on the cost of production and the cost of production depends on the cost of living. That is an aspect of the problem the seriousness of which I want to bring before this House and to point out that, as we impose one after another of these burdens on the State, we are adding them to industry and we are making it more difficult for those who are engaged in that industry in the most competitive market in the world to hold their own in that market.
These are matters of the very greatest importance to this State. They govern the whole problem that we have been considering here on many occasions and it comes up here indirectly, this whole question of employment and unemployment. As we add to that burden, as we add to the difficulty of those engaged in the agricultural industry to sell their produce in that great competitive market, we add to the numbers of unemployed and in that way we add  to this particular problem. I hope that that particular aspect of this question will have more attention in the future than it has had up to the present. We have had eloquent speeches from all parts of the House dealing with this problem of Dublin. We have had speeches from Deputies telling us what we should do in Dublin and how we should do it. It is very easy for them to talk when they have nothing to do with meeting the problem of bearing the burden. I would ask those who have the interest of this country definitely at heart to consider the serious problem of the growing increase in the cost of living. I view that as one of the most serious factors in connection with the problem of unemployment. I hope, now that the question has been raised, that that particular aspect will get the attention its importance deserves.
Mr. Morrissey: I do not think that on any measure which has been introduced into this House we have heard more exaggeration or misrepresentation. This measure has been misrepresented both inside and outside this House. Again I want to emphasise at this stage that Dublin under this Bill is being asked to do only what every other county in the country has been doing for years. Every other county in the country is responsible for the destitute within its own borders, and the suggestion made by Deputy Good and by the Dublin Chamber of Commerce is that the people outside Dublin should be responsible and pay not only for their own destitute, but for those of Dublin City.
Mr. Morrissey: I will come to that point. The city under this Bill is being asked to do what, in my opinion, it should have been doing for years. Because there was not a measure of this sort applying to Dublin for the last six or seven years Dublin has been getting Government grants out of all proportion to what they should have got. Because there was not a measure of this sort  and because the destitute had to be relieved in some way the position has been that for a number of years the whole country has been bearing the burden which should have been borne by Dublin City and County, and it is about time that Dublin City and County were put on a par so far as this problem is concerned with the other counties in the Saorstát. It seems to me that the attitude of those who oppose this Bill is this, that they are prepared to accept all the advantages which Dublin gets by virtue of being the capital of this country. Dublin does get advantages and has got advantages because it has been the capital of the country, and any advantages which have accrued to this State since the change of government have been in the main reaped by Dublin city and any advantages which have accrued in the way of employment as a result of tariffs imposed in this House have been reaped mainly by Dublin City.
Mr. Morrissey: It must be remembered if there are people coming from other parts of the Free State to Dublin to look for work there are also thousands of people coming in from all over the Free State to spend their money in Dublin. There are people flocking to the hospitals where they are paying doctors. Country people go to other professional men in Dublin and go to the Courts. All the money of the country is put into the bottle neck of Dublin and passes through it, and I think that Deputies should be ashamed of taking up the attitude they have taken up.
I think the attitude taken up by Deputy O'Kelly last night is the proper attitude. He, as he said, is a ratepayer in Dublin, and like every other ratepayer he does not like to have to pay increased rates, but he realises there is a problem there, that there are people who are there in a state of semi-starvation, and realises in common with other citizens of Dublin that he has a duty towards those people, and he is prepared to face up to that duty.
 Deputy Good talks now about the cost of living. I have heard the Deputy on many occasions in this House, particularly when he was comparing the rate of wages paid here with those paid in Northern Ireland and across the water, and he would not want to hear about the cost of living at all. It is about the first time the Deputy quoted the cost of living.
Mr. Morrissey: I am glad the Deputy appreciated the fact that the cost of living is greater here and is going up. I hope, as a result, the Deputy will on the next pay day increase proportionately the wages of his employees and so help them as ratepayers to meet that burden.
Mr. Morrissey: What I do wish to emphasise is the fact that must be kept before the House and the country that the City of Dublin is being asked now to provide for the destitute in the City of Dublin. Every other county in the Saorstát has been for years bearing that burden and providing for their destitute, and it is unfair to ask ratepayers outside the city and county of Dublin to provide not only for their own destitute but for the destitute in the city and county of Dublin.
Mr. O'Kelly: I think I made it clear last night that we on those benches make no attempt to minimise the seriousness of the impost that the passage of this Bill will put upon Dublin ratepayers. It is under present conditions something that must give them furiously to think. It may be two shillings or it may be three shillings. I hope the necessities of the case will not increase the sum for this year, at any rate beyond any figure like that but whether it be only 1/6 or 3/- that must be met this year, perhaps a little less next year, a jump of that kind on the rates of any place would be serious but to a city like Dublin where there  are so many struggling people it is certainly a serious impost and in all probability will have serious consequences. As I said last night, we are faced with a very serious situation. The seriousness of that situation must have been brought to the minds of everybody in this House and to the citizens outside it by public demonstrations that have taken place this week and last week. The ordinary poor and unemployed of Dublin are a Christian people, who are not law breakers, thieves or robbers, who want to take anyone else's property. So far as I know the vast majority of them are decent people who wish to live in peace and harmony with their fellow citizens and things must have arrived at a very serious stage when men of that type are induced to demonstrate in the way they have demonstrated. I have not seen the demonstrations but I am told that large numbers of them demonstrated in the streets and some of them according to the papers at any rate were charged with throwing stones in order to call attention to their condition. Some of us know individuals and their families here and there amongst them. When such people are induced to demonstrate in that way because of the necessities of the situation the condition of the city the number of the unemployed and their condition must be serious. If it were not serious I am sure the Ministry would not have destroyed the reputation of the pets of Deputy Good the Commissioners by bringing in this Bill. Deputy Good realises himself, he said so in another place, that the putting of an impost of this kind on the ratepayers by the Commissioners destroys their reputation. They have been, since their nomination, the pets of Deputy Good and of his colleagues, the business men of Dublin.
Mr. O'Kelly: They have been clapping them on the back as the saviours of the ratepayers and tax payers for the last five years. They have saved the ratepayers and the taxpayers but at the expense of the  poor in the last five years and if they had been doing their duty as the old bodies would have done it in my belief this impost would not be rushed upon the city now.
Mr. O'Kelly: Because the Commissioners have been in power it is my belief, at any rate, that the Union affairs have been mismanaged. Look at the report of the auditor of the Local Government Department published a week or two ago. It is a most damnable indictment of the management of the Dublin Union under the Commissioners. The auditor says that the Union is inefficiently managed. Even such things as book-keeping have not been properly done. The accounts have not been properly kept under the Commissioners, these supermen who have been put in by Deputy Good in so far as he could, and by those who support him, to reorganise the management of the Dublin Union. As a result of the mismanagement that has gone on for the last five years, and perhaps before it, and because of the auditor's report, the resignations of the two most important officials in the Union have been called for.
Mr. O'Kelly: My belief is that the Minister ought to have called for the resignation of the Commissioners and restored those who were in authority before, and who were making an effort to clean up the affairs of the Union.
Mr. O'Kelly: I will not go into the matter further beyond saying that the Commissioners were specially appointed to reorganise that institution and to get rid of the inefficient people. They have been five years in control and at the end of five years, as a result of an examination of these men's work, they are to be dismissed as inefficient.
Mr. O'Kelly: If taking five years to discover whether the books are well kept or not is the standard of efficiency of the Local Government Department, I will leave further comment to the House. It was not the Commissioners, Deputy Lemass reminds me, who discovered the mismanagement. It was the auditor, and it took him a long time, if the reports be correct, because he has been examining these books for quite a number of years.
It would appear to me that an effort is being made by some people ——I do not know if Deputy Good is included—to put whatever blame attaches to anybody for this additional burden on the citizens of Dublin on to the Fianna Fáil Party. If there is any blame for giving food and shelter to the starving citizens of Dublin we are glad to take it. In reference to that, I might say that I did not say last night or at any other time, that the business men of Dublin had objected to feed the poor. If any words that I used could be read or understood to have that meaning I would like to make it clear that I did not intend any such reflection on the business men of Dublin or on any other classes in Dublin. I did say that the citizens of Dublin did not do their duty. I did not particularise the businessmen. A proportion of the workingmen of Dublin do not do their duty as they ought to do. I know tradesmen  in Dublin who have to make their living as a result of the support of their fellow citizens and when they want clothes and boots they do not buy Irish manufacture. My statement applies to working men as well as to business men. There is no class in the city, so far as I am acquainted with it, that is exempt in that way. All classes are equally to blame. I did say last night, and I repeat it, that the complaints that have reached me about the impost that this will mean on the ratepayers of Dublin are from people whose business it is to promote foreign industry in this country. A number of the complaints that reached me were from importers and sellers of foreign goods who are doing their best to kill Irish industry. I have no sympathy whatever with people who are out to kill Irish industry and if we can put them out of business by encouraging Irish industry and feeding our own people, whatever the cost, I would be glad to do it. I would be glad to see shops that are owned and controlled by sellers of foreign goods replaced by those who sell Irish goods and Irish goods only. If any words of mine can induce any classes of citizens to reconsider their usual procedure in this matter and support more intensely than they are doing Irish industries, I will be glad.
Deputy Good quoted some remarks of Deputy de Valera on the Second Reading with regard to this measure. He talked about Deputy de Valera's and the Fianna Fáil Party's failure to put down an amendment which would have the effect of putting a share of the cost of this Bill on State funds. He blamed the Fianna Fáil Party for not taking steps in that direction. At the same time he went on to say that the rules of the House prohibited the Fianna Fáil Party and himself from putting down an amendment of the kind. He cannot have it both ways. He cannot blame the Fianna Fáil Party for not putting down an amendment when at the same time he could not do it himself because of the rules of the House.
Mr. O'Kelly: If I could see a way of saving ten pounds I would be as glad to do it as Deputy Good or anybody else. All classes of citizens have to be considered in this matter. It is not the business men of Dublin only who will have to pay this taxation. All classes will bear their burden in proportion.
The poor will probably bear the heaviest end of it. In many cases, if not in most cases, the burden will be passed from the richer people on to the poorer people. Deputy Good himself knows that, so that there is no special reason why any particular class should protest. At any rate, the poor who have not protested will bear their own share of the burden to an equally great, if not a greater extent, than those who are better able to bear it amongst the ratepayers. It was Deputy Good who talked of this being a temporary expedient. I hope it will be a temporary expedient and a temporary expedient only. But the principles embodied in the Bill must remain as long as the necessity exists, and I am afraid that in that way if we take the meaning of the word temporary it will not in this case be a very short period, because it will take some considerable time to do what is necessary in order to provide employment for the numberless unemployed in the city. It is only by  the revival of Irish industries, and thus finding work for our unemployed in the city and country generally, that this problem can be solved.
Mr. O'Kelly: Does Deputy Good believe that until employment is found these people must be left to starve? That is the situation. Are these people to be left to die of hunger pending the finding of employment for them?
Mr. O'Kelly: Did not Deputy Good say himself that it amounted to the same thing whether the burden was put on Dublin or distributed over the rest of the country—that eventually it must come back to the city of Dublin? Did not the Deputy say that if you put an impost on the country in general that impost goes down eventually to the farmers and, of course, it comes back to the city of Dublin because we have to buy farmers' produce in order to live. I do not think there is anything else I can add. The situation is serious. Somebody said the other day that desperate diseases require desperate remedies. I do not think that this Bill can be described as a desperate remedy. It is not that. I do not say that the Dublin citizens can afford to pay, but the Dublin citizens will pay and will give the money. I am afraid that when next year's rates are being struck by whatever authority will be there to strike them, there will be a considerable  addition to the rates as a result of the failure of the electricity undertaking to pay its moiety of the rates, its share of the rates. This will probably mean one shilling in the £ added to the burden the ratepayer will have to bear.
Mr. O'Kelly: The prospect for the ratepayers in Dublin is not rosy, more especially as a result of this shilling in the £ through this electricity undertaking and for which Deputy Good is responsible.
Mr. O'Kelly: Such as the burden is, such as it may be, and possibly will be inside the next few years, during the period of this Bill it is a burden that we will have to bear. We will have to pay up and look cheerful.
Mr. O'Kelly: I am glad to see other Deputies looking cheerful. At any rate, Dublin citizens in general realise that the situation is a serious one. Dublin ratepayers, I think,  know their duty. They know that if it had not been necessary to meet a serious situation, a Bill of this kind would not have emanated from the Commissioners or from a shaky Government. Such a Bill has come from them. They have to stand over it despite this. They tried every way they knew how to get out of it. They were in a difficulty and they had to meet that difficulty. In the same way the citizens of Dublin will do their duty cheerfully and in a Christian manner.
Mr. Shaw: We have heard from the Dublin Deputies here a good deal about the influx of persons looking for employment in Dublin, and this was one of the principal reasons advanced why other parts of the country should be asked to pay for what everybody recognises is Dublin's own problem.
Mr. Shaw: I want to put before the House the other side of the question and to ask whether Deputies Byrne and Good, and others, realise and are aware that every town in the Free State within 100 miles of Dublin is being exploited by motor lorries, motor cars, travelling shops, and every sort of conveyance to dump into them from Dublin not Dublin goods but foreign shoddy and trash like that which they are selling to innocent people throughout the country who are foolish enough to buy such goods. If anybody wants to test that statement let him go on to the road between Dublin and Mullingar on a Monday morning and he will see that there is a funeral-like procession of vehicles from Dublin down through the country towns, and this of foreign shoddy goods. I invite Deputy Good to test this for himself.
Mr. Shaw: These travelling shops pay no rates, rents or taxes, and even they do not give employment. All  that money is taken back to Dublin from the country. We in the country look upon Dublin as a reservoir into which all the money of the country is to be drained. In addition the motor cars, 'buses and trains bring large numbers of people into Dublin from the country with money in their pockets and return them empty in the evening after having bought goods in Dublin.
Mr. Shaw: Now all the Departments of State are in Dublin. Even the poor Deputies' money has to be spent in Dublin, and all the various functions are here, including such things as the House Show, football matches and big racing meetings, and all these and other attractions bring people to Dublin.
Mr. Shaw: We do not grumble about it because we know it is a necessity. This is a Dublin problem and the people of Dublin have got to face their own problem. I am glad that the Minister has resisted all the Pressure put on him by the rest of the country who have nothing to do with it. I am glad the Minister has taken up the attitude he has taken up and that he has struck to it.
Mr. Lemass: Deputy Good has in the course of his long and somewhat irrelevant speech given us an outline of the difficulties inherent in the economic state of the country. The Deputy offered no solution. He did not even attempt to indicate the direction in which we should search for a solution. If Deputy Good's speech represents the aggregate of the conclusions of the business men of Dublin in relation to this problem of unemployment, then I have got confirmation of the suspicion that I have held for a long time and that is that these self-same business men are largely responsible for the problem—
Mr. Lemass: Exactly, but the question of the burden on the ratepayers in the city of Dublin arises under the Bill and that burden will fluctuate with the problem of unemployment. It is in order that that burden will be reduced in the future that I suggest Deputy Good should go to the Chamber of Commerce and tell the members there that they are wasting their time worrying about the burden on the ratepayers in the city of Dublin and that they should get down to a real examination of the problem of how work is to be found to relieve unemployment. One good suggestion which could be made— and I find it hard to make it in concrete from—is that if all the members of the Chamber of Commerce had but a single neck, a millstone should be tied around that neck and they should be cast into the depths  of the sea. If that were done, and if that institution and all that it represents were cleared out of municipal life, I believe it would then be possible to develop in the direction of providing such a volume of work for Irishmen in Ireland, and Dublin men in Dublin, that the existing burden would become a negligible one in a very short time.
Mr. Lemass: I certainly think it would reduce unemployment. The peculiar thing about those who claim to talk for business in this country and those who describe themselves as business men is that they are in the great majority of cases nothing of the kind.
Mr. Lemass: I think there was something that reaches right down to the root of this problem in the speech that was delivered by Deputy Shaw. It is because we have these distributors travelling around the country, distributing British shoddy goods instead of the products of our own industries, that we have the volume of unemployment that now, exists. It is for that reason, too, that this impost must be placed upon the citizens here.
Mr. Lemass: If those who have to foot the bill in this instance will realise at long last that their chief interest lies in the development of Irish industry and in the curtailment of the flow of foreign goods through the port of Dublin, then this Bill will have done much more good than ever its promoters intended. Deputy Good, as Deputy O'Kelly has pointed out, has attempted to throw on the shoulders of Fianna Fáil the odium of being responsible for the unpleasant part of this Bill. If that is the result of the various meetings which have been taking place between the Independent Group and the Executive Council, then I think these meetings were very largely wasted. It is possible that that is not the sole result and it is possible that Deputy Good's speech to-day is the price paid for the withdrawal of the Minister's amendment last night extending this Bill for a further twelve months. I do not know, but it seems to me that when Deputy Good took the unusual course of initiating a debate on the Fifth Stage of this Bill he was thinking of something more than the mere dotting of the I's and the crossing of the T's in the arguments that he used previously.
The odium for the unpleasant parts of this Bill—and they really are the burdens which it places on the ratepayers—should be placed upon the right shoulders, and the right shoulders are the shoulders of those people responsible for the volume of unemployment that now exists. Fianna Fáil is not responsible for that. Fianna Fáil is the only Party —I say it with all modesty—that has given serious thought to the problem of how that unemployment problem can be abolished, and it is the only Party with a concrete policy for doing that.
Mr. Lemass: This Bill is a Bill to give statutory authority to those administering the poor law in Dublin to give outdoor relief to the able-bodied  poor. All parties are agreed that relief should be given. All parties are agreed that the giving of that statutory power is long overdue; but no party, apparently, can make up its mind as to who should pay for it. No doubt the ratepayers of Dublin are very anxious that they should be assisted in the bearing of this burden, no doubt the taxpayers of the rest of the country, as Deputy Shaw said, will be very loath to come to their assistance. I suggest to Deputy Shaw and to those who are thinking along the same lines as Deputy Shaw that the effect of this burden in Dublin will probably be to decrease the possibility of the development of the industries existing here, and the reactions which will follow that will not be confined within the boundaries of the capital; they are going to spread throughout the whole country. Dublin is, after all, the capital of the part of Ireland that the Dáil governs.
Mr. Lemass: It should be, and I hope we will have the assistance of Deputy Byrne when we are endeavouring to make it so. Dublin is also the biggest city in the country, and as such it is useless to think that anything that is going to have a serious effect on trade and industry here will not also have a serious effect on the trade and industry here will not also have a in the interests of the taxpayers of the country that this burden should not be placed suddenly and entirely on the rates here. We have suggested that the Government should come to the assistance of the ratepayers. We have suggested that the amount of that assistance should be determined by the yield of the amusement tax in Dublin. When we have numbers of people wasting money on amusements here we think that these people should be taxed even more heavily than they are at present and that the yield should be put to the relief of the rates.
Mr. Lemass: Because, as Deputy Good has pointed out before, the Standing Orders of the House prevent a private Deputy imposing a charge on the Central Fund. I would like to point out to Deputy Good that if we are going to take out of the Central Fund the amount that goes into it from the amusements tax it will be necessary that some additional charge will be imposed in order to recoup the Central Fund.
Mr. Lemass: We have done so. We are quite satisfied with out expression of opinion on the Second Reading. It did not seem to us then that, even if it were possible to table an amendment, any good would result from it, because Deputy Byrne and the other members of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party to whom he referred yesterday would not have the courage to say in the Dáil what he admitted they did say at the party caucus.
Mr. Lemass: Yesterday, Deputy J. J. Byrne told us about the tremendous pressure which he and other members of Cumann na nGaedheal at a Party caucus put upon the Minster for Local Government to get this burden placed, in part, upon the Central Fund.
Mr. Lemass: The Deputy said nothing about that in the Dáil on the Second Reading of the Bill or on the Committee State of the Bill. If he had the courage to say that on the Second Reading of the Bill, and the courage to vote for it after he  had said it, we might have succeeded in doing what he now pretends he wants to have done.
Mr. Lemass: —who, while professing to desire that provision should be made for the destitute poor, are themselves very anxious that they should not have to pay for it. If we are going to provide the relief which these people are entitled to, the relief which they should have got long ago, then we have got to realise that it cannot be done for nothing. We are agreed that the burden should, in the national interest, be borne, in part, by the Central Fund, but we have not been able to get a general measure of agreement in support of that proposition. The burden, however, has got to be borne by somebody, and if the Central Fund is not available for that purpose then the burden has got to be borne by the rates. We hope that the ratepayers who object to pay that contribution will, when they get their demand notices next March or April, or whatever the time may be, make up their minds that the condition of affairs which has resulted in this tremendous volume of unemployment be terminated as soon as the ballot papers are put into their hands at the next general election.
Mr. J.J. Byrne: If ever a dishonest debate has taken place in this House, it is the debate that is now drawing to a close. Neither from the Fianna Fáil nor from the Labour Benches has there been honesty in considering the pros and cons of this very important subject. The injurious effects of the principle involved  in this, so far as the city of Dublin is concerned, may be felt equally in other parts of the country.
Mr. J.J. Byrne: Its injurious effects on the city of Dublin may be felt equally in other parts of the country. The big gun of the Labour Party—Deputy Morrissey—told us to-day that we were only being asked to do what other parts of the country are already doing. On this side of the House, Deputy J. X. Murphy, speaking on behalf of the city of Dublin, asked the Dáil to accept an amendment that expenditure on relief schemes generally should not exceed a rate of 3/- in the £. If that had been accepted it would produce a sum of £216,000. The House refused to accept that amendment which would have produced that amount of money to deal with the present emergency. Deputies blame those who represent the city of Dublin for feeling alarmed and saying that Dublin is not getting a fair cut of the whip by the introduction of this Bill. But can they be blamed for remembering that, while other parts of the country have got contributions from the State, these contributions do not apply to Dublin?
Mr. J.J. Byrne: I say, in view of the State contributions that have been given to other parts of the country, that the arguments that we have heard from some parts of the House on this Bill are dishonest. I challenge any Deputy representing a rural constituency to show that there is any part of the country contributing for outdoor relief the sum of 3/- in the £ that was offered in the amendment of Deputy Murphy. Is there any Deputy who can prove that other parts of the country are contributing for outdoor relief a sum that exceeds 1/10 in the £? We offered, in the case of Dublin, to contribute practically 50 per cent. more than that.
Mr. J.J. Byrne: I have provoked you to such an extent as to render you impotent. Deputy Lemass challenged me and said we of the rank and file in asking the Ministry to make a State contribution to help Dublin in the present emergency were not discharging our duties as representatives of the city of Dublin because we did not make that statement on the Second Reading of the Bill. I ask, is that an honest or a dishonest argument? What difference does it make on what particular stage of a Bill the arguments are made? We were not seeking the limelight, but were endeavouring to help the unemployed behind the scenes. We were not endeavouring to make party capital out of the unemployed. As far as the resources of the State would permit it, we endeavoured to obtain something for the unemployed.
Mr. J.J. Byrne: Deputy Good was right when he said that the Fianna Fáil Party took no action, nor did they make any move as far as Dublin is concerned, to obtain anything for the relief of the present distress in Dublin. Deputy Lemass represents the city of Dublin. What did he do to help the city of Dublin while the present Bill was going through the House? We had a lot of cheap cynicism from him and a lot of arguments that no good economist could pass—nothing from him only utter moonshine. The back-benchers of the Cumann na  nGaedheal Party asked the Ministry to do something in the way of making a State contribution—to shoulder half the amount of the burden involved by this Bill, but the Ministry refused. We asked the Ministry to do something in the way of providing relief schemes work. As I stated yesterday, the Minister said “the moment we do anything by means of a State contribution for relief work there will be so many restrictions put on the spending of the money that it will be impossible to carry out these schemes.” That is the charity that the Labour Party have in their hearts for the unfortunate down-and-outs in Dublin—let the unemployed go to the devil, no matter what happens. That is why I say this is a dishonest debate.
Mr. J.J. Byrne: We asked for a State contribution because we consider that Dublin is unfairly treated under this Bill in being asked to shoulder the burden that it imposes. The amount of money at present raised are paid in the city of Dublin for relief, with the sum to be raised under this Bill, will amount roughly to half a million of money. Might I ask country Deputies what about the doubling of the agricultural grant? The city of Dublin and the portions of the county embraced in this Bill had to pay their share in doubling the agricultural grant, but might I ask what proportion of the grant returned to Dublin? There is a concrete case where Dublin does something in the way of providing contributions for the whole country, but it gets nothing in return for its contribution.
Mr. J.J. Byrne: What about the city of Dublin electricity undertaking that was taken over from the citizens without a penny compensation being paid to them. Was that not a national contribution from  Dublin City? We are not perhaps so foolish as we look. The whole wisdom of the country is not contained, as was suggested by a Deputy from Cork, in Cork City. I wonder would I be correct in saying that the loss to the citizens of Dublin by the taking over of their electricity undertaking would amount to about half a million pounds. I believe that if the matter was gone into closely, and the figures examined, the loss sustained by the citizens would amount to that.
Mr. J.J. Byrne: Deputy Flinn can make the figure one and a half million pounds if he likes, but I am making my estimate as moderate as possible. I am putting down the loss to the citizens of Dublin at a half a millon pounds. The relief already being paid in Dublin with the amount to be raised under this Bill will amount to half a million pounds. As I have said, the citizens of Dublin did not get a single penny of compensation when the electricity undertaking was taken over. While that has been so, Bills have been introduced in this House which provide that where electricity undertakings are taken over in other parts of the country compensation to the last penny will be paid for them. Another question arises. What about the withholding of the rates that went to the relief of the citizens of Dublin before the electricity undertaking was taken over from them?
Mr. J.J. Byrne: I agree, but I only refer to that to show why a State contribution should have been made under this Bill to help the citizens of Dublin to meet the abnormal situation that has arisen. In doing that, I am only doing my duty to those who sent me here. I leave the arguments that I have placed before the Dáil on the records  of the House so that Deputies can see that as far as Dublin City is concerned, it is not getting fair play under this Bill.
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