Wednesday, 30 April 1930
Dáil Éireann Debate
(1) That the new import duties which were first imposed by Section 12 of the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1915, and were (with the exception of the duty on records and other means of reproducing music, the duty on blank film on which no picture has been impressed, and the duty on motor cars (including motor bicycles and motor tricycles) and accessories and component parts thereof other than tyres) continued up to the 1st day of May, 1930, by Section 21 of the Finance Act, 1929 (No. 32 of 1929), shall, with the exceptions aforesaid, continue to be charged, levied, and paid on and from the said 1st day of May, 1930, up to the 1st day of May, 1931.
(2) That whenever the Revenue Commissioners are satisfied that any cinematograph film imported into Saorstát Eireann is of an educational character they shall, subject to compliance with such conditions as they think fit to impose, exempt such film from the payment of the duty on cinematograph films included in the duties mentioned in this Resolution.
(3) That the provisions of Section 8 of the Finance Act, 1919, shall apply to the duties mentioned in this Resolution with the substitution of the expression “Saorstát Eireann” for the expression “Great Britain and Ireland.”
(4) It is hereby declared that it is expedient in the public interest that this Resolution shall have statutory effect under the provisions of the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act, 1927 (No. 7 of 1927).
These are the McKenna Duties which produced in the financial year 1929: from cinema films, £21,200; from clocks and watches, £19,560— that is, apart from motor duties,  which were taken out of that category—and musical instruments, £35,800.
Mr. Little: It is on this Resolution that I think I might make a reference to the drawback which the Minister promised last year on motor parts. He promised that if motor cars were made in Ireland the drawback would be given on parts imported.
Mr. Blythe: I did not. What I said was that it would carry very favourable consideration if we had on any substantial scale an indication that there would be a manufacture of cars from parts imported— that imported separate parts would be built into cars. I do not think any indication exists that such would happen. Of course, in order to preserve the revenue a very big change would be required, because if we were to exempt car parts, and if they were to be imported on a large scale, we would have to adjust the duty on cars. I do not think there is any indication at present that there would be any considerable building of cars.
Mr. Little: My suggestion is that you cannot know that until you actually make the experiment. It is not an exemption that was asked. If the Minister remembers, he refused an exemption and then a suggestion was made that on parts that were actually used in the making of motor cars the drawback would be given. In that way, the experiment could be tried and the industry developed. The natural process of the development of an industry—especially the motor industry—as the Minister probably knows, is, first of all, that small firms buy parts, make cars and gradually develop from the knowledge gained by fitting and making cars into building up a real motor industry, and making the parts themselves. In that way it would be quite in keeping with that gradual process which the Government is so fond of putting forward of trying to foster things gradually, to make them come in a natural growth. I would suggest that if the Minister  were to do that this year he would probably find that it would develop into something very valuable; that you would have small firms doing handwork giving individual attention to the work of putting parts together, and producing cars which, in due time, would get a market. These firms would then be able to move forward and build cars on a bigger scale, and to make cars, the parts of which would be made in the country. I know an enterprising motor man who claims that he could, with such encouragement, develop an industry where the parts would ultimately be made in this country, without having to go abroad for them, because the mechanics would be trained.
Mr. Blythe: That is a matter in which, if there are one or two people interested, they should approach the Department of Industry and Commerce, in order to have the matter looked into thoroughly by the officials. But one of the difficulties that strikes me is that if you take the duty off parts, you are not so likely to have the parts made here; it will not be profitable for a small man to make the parts rather than to bring them in. I think, therefore, it is a matter to which a great deal of consideration would have to be given. I know that it was recommended by the first commission which examined the tariff policy, but one of the reasons why we did not do it then was the question of revenue. We get from tyres and vehicles £500,000 a year. I do not say that the freeing of parts is going to rob us of the whole of the £500,000 a year, or anything like it, but if it were going to be carried on on a substantial scale, it would certainly lose us a fair amount of revenue, and we would have to examine the whole matter. There is the other point, that if we were doing it by way of giving a rebate or a drawback to the man who had in the first instance imported parts and paid duty, there would be considerable difficulty about supervision, as the tendency would be to use the parts for the purpose of doing ordinary replacements where parts would have to pay duty. On the whole I would not say  that there would be any use in asking that the matter be pursued by the Department for Industry and Commerce, but if there are people in the business or prepared to enter the business they should discuss it with that Department.
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