Thursday, 27 November 1930
Dáil Éireann Debate
“That a sum not exceeding £300,000 be granted to fulfil the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending the 31st March, 1931, for contributions towards the relief of unemployment and distress” (Minister for Finance).
Mr. E. Doyle: I, like other Deputies on the Labour Benches who spoke concerning the unemployed of the Twenty-Six Counties regret to say, even though it may appear strange to most Deputies in this House who know nothing about the unemployed, who have not the means to keep themselves, their wives and children within the means of common decency, that it is not at all adequate to deal with the problem. There are Deputies who would nearly ask the Labour Party to apologise for attempting to tell the people of this country there is such a thing as the unemployment problem. Deputy Davis, last night, stated that the Labour Party should not magnify the problem. I would like to tell the Deputy that the Labour Party in this House has never attempted to magnify the problem, because the lack of interest taken in that problem by the powers that be is enough to make the problem magnify itself, and the Labour Party know something about the lot of a man who has to keep a wife and children, without having the necessaries of life. The well-groomed Deputy Davis from Mayo, who, apparently, looks as if he never was without a decent meal, knows simply nothing about the unemployment problem. During the discussion he showed that he did not know anything and did not believe that there was such a problem in his own constituency. He did not suggest a waterworks, a sewerage or any other social scheme that would make for health and happiness, apart from finding employment for the people in his own constituency. Of course, that is characteristic of the mind of the Deputy, and probably of some of the people of his constituency, with regard to questions such as home help, employment or any other works that go to benefit the working class. The Minister, speaking yesterday, said that the live register shows something like 20,000 people unemployed. Three hundred and sixty thousand acres of land have gone out of tillage this year. If there were only one man employed to 20 acres, would we not at least have 15,000 or 20,000 agricultural workers in  this country this year unemployed who were not unemployed before, and they have not appeared on the register?
Take the question of railway workers on the permanent way. In the last fortnight or three weeks, between five and six hundred railwaymen have been unemployed and 4,000 have been disemployed since amalgamation. If those were added to the 20,000 on the live register surely the problem is magnified enough without being exaggerated. Deputy Davis stated that he was surprised that the Labour Party did not accuse the Government of the weather conditions in this country. I may remind the Deputy that if the Government had power to deal with the Clerk of the Weather and they had only dealt with him in the manner they had dealt with the unemployment problem weather conditions in this country would have been no better than they are to-day. Is it surprising that we have such an unemployment problem in this country? Look around on all sides; instead of finding prosperous conditions for the working-class and the people generally, what is the position? The farmer is not able to pay his rates and annuities, due to bad prices. Of course I might also include the bad conditions with regard to the weather. We have our manufacturing concerns closing down and some are already dead. Nothing has been done to give a help to these industries, to employ our own people in producing things for our own requirements.
Everything we use in this country comes from abroad. Take the housing question. We import into this country thousands of pounds worth of cement, steel, slates, bricks and timber. Is it any wonder there is an unemployment problem when we are employing the foreigner to supply us with things we can produce ourselves? People will say that the unemployment problem is only a fad of the Labour Party. The Labour Party always contended that relief schemes were not solutions to the problem.
In my own constituency we have inexhaustible supplies of the best granite and limestone. These are all left there. We could employ thousands of people to get materials to build our houses.  We prefer to get in the materials from abroad and send our people away or leave them starving in their own country. Nobody likes to see the people in this country unemployed, because we know that the unemployed problem not alone in this country but in any other country in the world is a thorn in the heart of the progress of that country, whether it be a highly protective country like America or a free trade country like England. Because of the old capitalistic system that has radically failed the same thing applies. There are 4,000,000 unemployed in America and over one and a half million across the Channel. We have over 50,000 in this little country and our population per 100 acres is the smallest in the world. Unemployment, poverty and a complete derangement of social and economic conditions are but the natural sequel of national waste. Until this country develops our native resources, until we employ our people in supplying the requirements we can produce as well as any other country in the world we are bound to go down against foreign competition. Is it not evident that if we are to spend our money in getting our requirements from foreign countries we are going to crush out our own industries? This was done under an alien Government and our native Government are going on the same lines. If the Government were serious they could give employment to every man in this country. Why could we not do with other things what has been done for beet, for instance? I do concede that the beet industry for Carlow has been the greatest boon to the people in that county. I make no apologies for saying that. Why cannot that be done for wheat, oats and barley and the other things that we consume in this country? The argument is put up that it would be a terrible cost.
Mr. Doyle: Not so much a President in every constituency. Take Germany, take Australia or any other of these countries that will not allow into their country the things that they can produce themselves. They have become the greatest nations on the face of the  earth. Our economists are telling us to give up producing our own requirements, to let them come into the country duty free, and that everything will be cheap. But they are selling the loaf, for instance, as cheap in these countries as in Free Trade England. If the 20,000 people that are said to be unemployed were employed at 30/- a week each, the purchasing power of the country would be enormously increased, and there would be a greater demand for eggs, butter, bacon, milk and the other things that make life worth living for us. But we, in our blind folly, think it better to allow all these things to come in, to keep our people unemployed and to introduce relief schemes to tide them over starvation periods. In my own constituency, the position in Carlow is not bad, but in Bagenalstown, Tullow, Hacketstown, Callan, Graigue-na-managh and other places, the starvation is written on the people'e faces. Yet we are told we are magnifying the position. Deputy Davis, I notice, has left. I think I have most effectively dealt with him. I might say in reference to the Deputy that it is only characteristic of him, because I read some time ago that the board of health in his constituency sent a blind person with a tag on his neck, like a piece of merchandise, to a Dublin hospital. They could not afford to send somebody with him.
Sewerage schemes for Muine Beag and Tullow are an absolute necessity. In Tullow they have not even a water supply although there is a population of over 1,000, and recently a creamery has been built there. Considerable sums of money have been expended because of outbreaks of typhoid, scarlatina and other diseases. The position in Muine Beag is different, because in that town they have a water supply, but the sewerage system is more primitive. I would ask the Minister to consider the health of the people. Public health is much more important than bank balances or the national credit. Bank balances and all these things are grand to read about in the newspapers, but I think it would be more important to have decent sanitation for our people. I hope that in allocating this money the Minister will have regard  to the particular needs of these parts of my constituency and that there will be no discrimination exercised as regards the unemployed. I might say that we would do with the £300,000, and I would then say: “Follow me down to Carlow and Kilkenny.”
Mr. Clery: I suppose it is expected from the opposite benches that we should with great rejoicing welcome this Vote of £300,000 for the relief of distress in different parts of the country. I think it is most lamentable, after so many years of those expedients and huge expenditure on Government services that the sole result of Government policy seems to be simply relief schemes when they find things are pretty bad in the country. Schemes of this kind, to my mind, are wrong in principle, and usually they are bad in the working out. They very seldom bring fruitful results. The people who talked from the Government Benches yesterday evening would have us believe that the existing conditions are not the outcome of the Government neglect of the affairs of this country. I think it will be admitted by all thinking men that one bad season alone would not bring the country to the state in which it now is. In the Twenty-Six Counties we should remember we have only a population of 2,900,000 odd. We have a population of less than 3,000,000, and with the resources, we have at our disposal, when our credit stands as high as it does— granting that it is as high as the Government spokesmen say it is—there should be no necessity, if the Government were in earnest about employment, for a relief Vote which in essence is degrading. In the olden times the workhouse walls wore based on the principle of relief schemes, and that very system of pauperism has been all along fostered by the present Government. We had relief schemes in previous years, and we found that when a few thousand pounds had been expended a certain amount of that money had to go to engineers and architects, and in similar ways, and after that the portion that went to the people to relieve distress in the various districts was very small. The number of people whom the money reached was small, too.
 I think that this time if the Government are at all in earnest about this matter they will get away from that idea of relief schemes. If the Government set about trying to remedy the causes of distress in the country and bent their energies to it, I am sure they would be more successful in relieving distress and in bringing about success than can be attained through an expenditure of £300,000. The farming community are in a bad way. That is only the natural outcome of Government policy during the past five or six years. Speaking for the County Mayo and the West of Ireland, I must say that if the Government did their duty by the people there would be no necessity for them to introduce this motion here now to give relief to the small farmers. I say that candidly. Small farmers in the West of Ireland are workers. When a small farmer in the West of Ireland can make a living out of eight or ten acres of barren land, and on such a farm can rear a family in pretty bad times, that is proof that they are workers, and that they do not depend on Government relief schemes. It is only in very exceptional cases that they have to appeal for foreign relief or that they have to appeal for public works.
The Government should tackle the spending of that money very seriously. If that Department in the Government, which is the laughing stock of the whole country, I refer to the Land Commission, set about their work properly in the last five or six years, and gave back to the people the land out of which they were driven, instead of tying themselves up in red tape in the Government Offices, these small farmers in the West need not now be looking towards relief schemes to tide them over the winter. Deputy Davis said yesterday that we were inclined to turn this motion into an attack on the Government and a vote of censure on the Government. I answer that the motion introduced by the VicePresident of the Executive Council is a voluntary vote of censure on themselves on the part of the Government. I challenge any Deputy on the opposite benches to tell me that it is not.  From the weather point of view, the season has been very bad, but if the small farmers had been treated in the way they should be treated by the Cumann na nGaedheal Government, there would be no necessity at all for bringing in those relief schemes.
During the past live or six years the farmers who have bank accounts have been drawing on their bank accounts, and the small farmers who have no bank accounts have, to a great extent, been running into debt. That is what has been going on. The limit is bound to be reached. The bad season this year had the effect of bringing them nearer the line and on to the limit than might have otherwise happened had the season been good; but, at any rate, they were going towards that limit already, and their present position, as some Deputies on the opposite benches want to claim, is not the result of the bad season alone. It is not the bad season alone that is responsible for the distress in the country. Will the Cumann na nGaedheal Deputies tell me that if the experts in the Government Departments, in Finance, in Fisheries, and in the Land Commission, took the same interest during the past five or six months in Irish labourers and farmers as they took in the economic situation of the British Empire in London, that they would not have found some better way of improving the position than in the bringing in of this Vote for £300,000? There have been Ministers over in London for six or seven weeks, and they took a very great interest in Empire matters. You had the best experts in our Government Departments in London too. They were all divided up into groups discussing the affairs of the British Empire, and we were here at home looking on at the condition to which the farmers and workers of the country were being reduced. Then when these Ministers come back from London after five or six weeks, the toadies of their Party back them up, and they say that it is a great thing that after five or six months we are getting £300,000 for relief schemes. During that time you had the Ministers and experts in London masquerading with King George in Buckingham Palace, and you had the Minister for  Education and the Minister for Fisheries down in Kerry. It was lamentable to read in the public Press that in one small, little hidden away place in Kerry they had 37 deputations in one day from the farmers' and other associations to tell them of the unfortunate conditions that existed in Kerry. That happened on the very same day on which you had two or three of our Ministers and our experts dining in London at a public function given by British statesmen.
Then we are told that our credit is high, the highest in the world's money markets, and that our resources are wonderful. I say that our credit is never higher than the conditions under which the mass of the people exist. It is very little good for the people to read the speeches in the Press about our credit being high. It is very little good for them to hear of these things if the credit of this country is not reflected in the lives of the masses of the people and in the conditions under which they live. And that is not so here. It is of little benefit to the farmers that some arrangements are made with Portugal to have cheap wines brought into the country. That is very little good to them. Their markets, fairs, rents, rates and taxes and the annuities demanded by the Land Commission are of very much more importance to the people of Ireland than these things.
If the Government did their duty there would be no necessity for relief schemes of this kind. If the past season had been 25 per cent. worse than it was, it would not affect them so much if the farmers had something to fall back upon and not have empty pockets. They would then be able to face even a bad season. They would not find themselves depleted in this stock as they are and they would be able to fight the bad season. As it is, it is necessary to bring in those relief schemes in order to meet the existing distress.
I hold that this amount now granted is only like a drop in the ocean. It will not appreciably relieve distress. Ministers should realise that the West of Ireland is pretty badly hit because migration is no longer allowed. It was  rather fortunate heretofore for the Government that we had emigration, because when workers could not find employment here they obliged the Government by going to America. They obliged the Government still more by sending to this country large sums every year. The Minister for Finance even admitted that this year the amount sent from America by Irish emigrants will be very much less than last year. Therefore the country will be the poorer. It is good, anyhow, that we got the admission from the Minister that if the country were prosperous last year and is poorer this year, it was prosperous last year because of the charity of our friends in America. It cannot be claimed that it was Government action made the country prosperous. The Government will have to face the situation that there are additional young people in this country who will not be allowed to go abroad. There are other things which are very serious.
I contend that if Departments had done their duty the allocation of this money would not be required at all. If the money is to be given to the Land Commission for distribution I do not know where we will get. That is the institution which is always considering things but never does anything. It takes the Land Commission about five years to decide what the price of a farm should be; then it takes two years to make a decision about acquiring the land, and it takes another year to tell the people what they are going to do. I honestly object to the Land Commission being given this £300,000, or even the major portion of it, for the purpose of distributing it. Surely it cannot be claimed that this is part of their work. The Land Commission, that very expensive snail organisation, should not be kept there simply to carry out relief schemes at a time such as this. It is not there for the purpose of relieving distress. The Land Commission has work to do and if it does that work it will have enough to occupy its attention without bothering about relief schemes.
It is because of the huge failure of the Land Commission in the West of Ireland that we have to look forward  to relief schemes like this. Here is a resolution passed by the Mayo County Council:—
“That we, the Mayo County Council, having learned of the opportune proposal of the Government to give a grant for the relief of distress, avail of the opportunity to request them to have this grant administered in the Gaeltacht through the county councils, so that it may be devoted principally to the repair of roads formerly constructed by the Irish Land Commission and their predecessors, but which do not comply with the terms of the Local Government Act, 1925, and cannot, therefore, under existing legislation, be taken over by a county council. Furthermore, we are of opinion that a county council with its local knowledge and its survey staff available will be in a far better position to distribute equitably the grant allowed than any other body. Grave dissatisfaction was expressed on the occasion of the last distribution in Mayo of a similar grant through the medium of the Irish Land Commission, because of the fact that owing to lack of local knowledge by the officials of the latter body large areas in the county did not participate to any appreciable extent in the distribution of the funds.”
I agree with the members of the Mayo County Council, even though the Chairman of that body, Deputy Davis, spoke in very different terms here last night. I think the county councillors have better local knowledge than officials of the Land Commission could have. They could attend to the people's requirements more effectively than could the Land Commission officials. I do not mean to convey that the officials would not do what they thought best in the locality. I dare say they would. In Mayo, however, you have very disgraceful conditions existing, and I suppose the same would apply to other counties also. There are people living in Mayo with no road accommodation to their houses or lands. Those things could be dealt with by the county council. Disgraceful  conditions exist in Mayo, and I believe, even though it is a Cumann na nGaedheal county council there, it would still be more effective in administering this grant than would the Land Commission.
It would be more effective to have the money distributed by the county councils in the Gaeltacht, which comprises the greater part of Co. Mayo, The conditions in the Gaeltacht are rather bad, and I expect that applies also to the Gaeltacht in other parts of the country. The housing grant is being administered there very slowly. I cannot understand why the measure passed in very great haste some time ago has been more or less held up. From Mayo alone there were some two thousand applications received, and in the part of the Gaeltacht to which the Act applies there are only two hundred applications for loans sanctioned. At a time like this when conditions are so bad surely there should be some speeding up.
Yesterday evening Deputies stated here, and I think the Minister for Local Government said so too, that the fact that outdoor relief is at such a high figure was no indication of a great amount of poverty in the country. Surely when complaints are made about the state of destitution by various boards of health, and when the amount of relief is in most counties at a higher level than ever before, it must naturally follow that destitution is at a high level too. Deputy Davis made a rather funny statement when he said that the extra outdoor relief in Mayo was caused by the amalgamation schemes passed some years ago and that county councillors are not so anxious to keep down the rates as they are to get into their areas expenditure of every kind. Am I to take it that the county councillors in Mayo, the majority of whom are Cumann na nGaedheal, are not so anxious about the rates as they are about granting home relief, whether the parties who receive it are or are not in need of it? That is a poor tribute to pay to one's associates, and I am surprised at the Deputy who made that statement; but I dare say any argument is good enough when you are hard up for one. I do not agree that that is the case.
 I know that in the towns and in the country there are very sad cases of destitution. There is flooding to such an extent that farmers have lost their crops in Mayo. Potatoes have rotted and oats and hay crops are lost. A grant of this kind is not going to compensate farmers for their losses. It is the duty of the Government to approach their different Departments, such as the Land Commission, the Board of Works and the Department of Fisheries, point out to them how badly off are the people in the country, and particularly those on uneconomic holdings, and urge them to speed up their work. They should encourage officials to tackle their tasks in a serious way. All the red tape, which is given as an excuse for delay in settling the land question, in carrying out drainage work and improving estates, must be pushed aside, to some extent, anyhow. If the Departments were instructed to do the work they should do we would not require any relief schemes. I would be against any relief scheme if only Departments were urged to do their duty. Relief schemes to my mind are demoralising, and in the last analysis they have no effect on the situation.
Mr. Daly: It amazes me to find that some people cannot be pleased. Whatever the Government do they grumble at it. I am delighted that this relief grant of £300,000 has been made available, because in my district there is a large amount of unemployment, especially in Fermoy and Charleville. Within half a mile of Fermoy there are thousands of acres of mountain land which are fit for nothing else but afforestation, and a scheme of afforestation there would give employment to hundreds of men, not alone this year, but for five or even ten years. We hear a lot these days about motor accidents. To my mind the best way to prevent these accidents is to remove dangerous corners at which most of these accidents occur.
Mr. Daly: There are many dangerous corners in every county, and the removal of them would give more employment even than water and sewerage  schemes, because the greater part of the money spent would go in labour, whereas in connection with water and sewerage schemes the pipes have to be imported. At the same time, where water and sewerage schemes are needed it would be a very good way to spend money.
Mr. Daly: Nobody interrupted the Deputy when he was making his mournful speech. Then again there should be a lot of very useful work done on the roads. Every year we have schemes put forward at the Cork County Council for the improvement of by-roads leading to farmers' houses and I shall do my best to get some of this money for these schemes. Another thing that money could be very usefully spent on is the reclamation of land. Land reclamation would be of advantage to the country and to the poor farmers who own the land. If they got a little money to reclaim their land it would be reproductive expenditure. In Charleville, where there is a population of four or five thousand, there is neither a water nor a sewerage scheme. It is the smallest dispensary area in the country. If a grant were given for a water scheme and a sewerage scheme employment could be given not only to the people of Charleville but to the people of Buttevant. As to Fermoy, I am certain that a scheme would be put up by the Urban Council and the County Council for improving the roads leading into the town which are very dangerous owing to very high walls enclosing them. If the mountain land which I mentioned were bought out for afforestation purposes continuous and reproductive work could be given for a number of years. I am delighted to think that such a sum of money has been made available, as in cases where we would be inclined to do certain work we will be able to ask for a subsidy. For instance, if a town wants a water supply the cost of which would be prohibitive for the ratepayers, if a fifty-fifty grant were given it would be an encouragement to the local authority to start the work immediately. I hail with delight the fact  that we have £300,000 to help in such works and I would impress upon the Government the necessity for having these works started as soon as possible, as the people are expecting some help to tide them over the dark months of December, January and February. For that reason I think we should lose no time in speech-making but set to work at once and help the Government to make the best use of this grant.
Mr. Donovan: I am glad that this Vote has been introduced, as it is necessary owing to the present depression and the unfavourable weather conditions. I want some of this money for West Cork, but I am afraid that Deputy Daly wants to get all of it for East Cork. There are certain schemes which would be very useful along the sea-board in the area I represent. Along that sea-board there is a number of fishing-hamlets. The people living in these hamlets might be called amphibious—they live partly on the land and partly on the water. They derive very little at present from the water in the way of fish, but they till a good portion of the land they have and provide themselves with most of the necessaries of life. They do not use artificial manure for their land but avail themselves of dredged sand and seaweed. I, with other Deputies from West Cork have time and again put up to the Department concerned the necessity of building little quays or slips to enable those people to land the sand and seaweed. I am satisfied that these slips would not cost very much and that they would be a great boon and advantage to these people, who have to go to a great deal of trouble and labour to land this dredged sand and seaweed. I am prepared to put up schemes with regard to these slips to the Department concerned and I hope they will be favourably considered.
There is another proposal I have to make which would be of great advantage to the ratepayers in my area. In South and West Cork there are two main roads which are the main arteries of the area and which are in very bad condition. I understand that the Department of Local Government or the Road Board would be prepared to put  up half the cost of putting those roads in good condition.
One is the Cork-Kinsale road, mentioned by the Independent Republican Deputy last night, and the other the main road from Clonakilty to Rosscarbery and Skibbereen, and on to Mizen Head. These are roads serving a very big area, and they are in an extremely bad condition. The Road Board is prepared to put up half the cost of the Cork-Kinsale road. The Co. Council are not in a position to pay the other half, but I think that if out of this grant something were given to meet the Co. Council portion of the way, it would be a very useful work. It would be a great relief to the unemployed and a relief to the ratepayer, and certainly it would be the greatest benefit to the general community of that area. I hope these two schemes that I suggest will be adopted. I do not think that drainage and afforestation schemes come in. You cannot do drainage at this season of the year. I think these are too big to bring in under this grant. Road improvement schemes will do a lot, and give a lot of relief to the ratepayers. I throw out these suggestions for consideration.
Mr. Corry: I regret the occasion has arisen again this year. Ministers and their Departments, after five months' holidays, have nothing to offer the country as a cure for its distress except to feed the dog on a piece of its own tail. What is the meaning of all those relief schemes? It is rather amusing to find that Deputies on the Cumann na nGaedheal Benches are prepared to share out the soup to the different portions of their constituencies. I support Deputy Daly's appeal on behalf of East Cork, and I regret the occasion has arisen. I hope the Minister for Finance will pay particular attention to the need for giving £25,000 to the town of Midleton which he has stolen from it in converting the raw material of malting barley into the raw material of malt. This year the sum of £131,000 has been transferred from the workers of the Free State to the workers of Northern Ireland and Britain by the Minister for Finance refusing to prevent the importation of foreign malt.
Mr. Corry: Oh, by no means; this is a different case altogether. Two hundred families have been thrown out of employment in Midleton, which means a loss of £25,000 a year to the town. We had the Minister for Local Government refusing to sanction housing schemes in Cork City, and elsewhere, because the houses were to be built of Youghal brick that would cost 30/- a house more than the houses built of foreign cement. On account of that, we had a statement made at the Youghal Council that some 70 men were thrown out of employment in the Youghal brickworks. If the Minister makes up the total of the wages of these 70 men for 12 months, and sends that sum down to Youghal he will be giving back only what was stolen from Midleton, and what was stolen from Youghal by one of his Departments. Deputy Daly was very anxious about Fermoy. If the flour mills were kept going, and the flour production of Messrs. Ranks' mills in England prevented from coming into this country there would be far less unemployment in Fermoy and there would be far less difficulties in turning the corner that the country has turned so often. The same applies to the town of Mallow, where a lot of people were thrown out of employment because of the importation of foreign flour, which is responsible for the unemployment in the flour mills there. There would be no occasion for these relief grants if the Government made the slightest attempt to look after this country first, and other countries afterwards. But our Ministers are so busy with the affairs and grievances of Portugal, and in going over to London to dine with the Prince of Wales, that they have not time to look after the country that is paying them £1,700 a year each to look after it. That is the position of affairs, and it is time to end it.
There is no occasion for doling out soup—one cannot call it anything else —if a fair attempt was made by the Executive Council to provide employment  for the people. These attempts are not being made. I do not know what financial ties the Executive Council have bound themselves up in with certain manufacturers in this country and other countries which prevent them interfering to protect our Irish industries. But that is the cause of the whole trouble. The Minister for Finance will also want to pay particular attention in giving out this money to the tillage areas in East Cork which he has refused to protect. From these tillage areas he was appealed to three years ago to have the land revalued on account of its being valued as wheat land and the rates being out of proportion to the value of the land. He said it was too much trouble and expense to have the land revalued. These poor people are in the soup ever since, and it is time he did something for them. There is unemployment in these tillage areas owing to the large amount of land that has gone out of tillage owing to the absolute neglect of the Minister and his Department to protect these areas. It is time the Executive Government took some steps at least to see that there should not be this recurring sore in this country.
In 1920 and 1921 we had a statement made by Lord French that there were 100,000 too many young men in the country. Evidently the Executive Council are falling in with the policy that Lord French then enunciated, to get rid of these 100,000 young men. Then you will have a quiet country. Nothing will be left then but the old men and the cripples. Evidently that is the policy of the Executive Council. We are sick of coming here year after year listening to the £300,000 dole story to-day, some other dole to-morrow and the country as bad as ever afterwards. Where is this £300,000 to come from? It is dragged out of the pockets of the unfortunate ratepayers. It is as I say a case of feeding the dog with a piece of his own tail. I pointed out to the Minister for Finance the different towns in my constituency that have been bled white from his action in the last few years. These towns have a special claim on gentlemen opposite who robbed them. In one of these towns 200 people have been thrown out  of employment in the process of changing one raw material into another raw material. It is time these things were attended to and the policy of the Departments and the Ministers is a policy of importing foreign stuff and allowing people to walk the streets idle and then voting £300,000 about Christmas in order to enable Deputies opposite to give doles to the different Cumann na nGaedheal clubs in preparation for the General Election.
Mr. Davin: I regard the Vote of £300,000, which the Minister has introduced for this purpose, as only a small contribution to the problem which confronts the country at the present time. I agree with Deputies who say that we should not unduly exaggerate the situation which we know exists in the country to-day. I disagree entirely, however, with the Ministers coming to this House, both on this and in previous years, and producing figures which they must know do not represent the actual situation in the country. I refer particularly to the figures that the Minister for Local Government and the Minister for Industry and Commerce have produced regarding the extent and number of people supposed to be unemployed at the present moment. What is known as the live register does not, as every Deputy must know, represent the actual number of unemployed in the country at the moment.
I would ask the Minister for Finance to state whether he has any information to show the extent to which the St. Vincent de Paul Society has been engaged at relief work in the City of Dublin during the past year. I understand from the report for the past year that the members of the Society, who do voluntary work in regard to visiting people who are destitute, visited 30,000 families in the city, whereas the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the Minister for Local Government tried to induce Deputies to believe that there are only 20,000 people actually unemployed in the whole of the Free State. The Minister for Local Government yesterday quoted figures showing the extent to which his Department and  other Government Departments are assisting by providing money from local loans, and said that local loans were available to the extent of £1,000,000. I venture to suggest that that sum of £1,000,000 is not likely to be expended before the end of the financial year, and probably, in some cases, not before the end of the financial year, which will end on 31st March, 1932.
There is no use in the Minister for Local Government, or in fact any other Minister, producing figures for the information of Deputies who know very well that such figures do not represent to any extent the measure of financial support which is being provided for the relief of unemployment. The Minister for Industry and Commerce quoted a figure of 20,000 as representing the number of people on the live register of unemployed. I have information to show that since 1925 railway men to the number of 4,500 have been dismissed owing to the Government's policy of amalgamation plus the Government's policy of subsidising road transport is against the railway industry. I can truthfully say that out of the 4,500 railway men who were dismissed a very small percentage, not more than one-third at most, would be entitled to receive unemployment insurance benefit. Why? Because the 4,500 dismissed men, together with those who remain in the service, were relieved from the liability of paying unemployment insurance contributions simply because railway employees, previous to amalgamation, were supposed to have permanent employment.
About two-thirds of those who were dismissed, as a result of the Government's policy of amalgamation and also the policy of subsidising road transport as against, the railway industry, are not in a position to claim or to receive unemployment insurance benefit. Therefore two-thirds of the men who have been dismissed are not added to the live register which the Minister contends represents the number of those who are at present unemployed. In addition to that, those of us who represent rural areas know that there has been a considerable addition to the ranks of the unemployed as a result of the decrease in the amount of land under tillage. According to the information  given by the Department of Agriculture, there has been a decrease in the area of land under tillage between 1921 and 1930 of 365,000 acres. I contend that an acre of land under tillage should be valued from the point of view of the State, at, at least, £10. Assuming for the purpose of argument that £4 out of the £10 represents wages paid to workers in tilling the land, it would mean a loss in wages to the agricultural labourers of £1,500,000. Assuming that agricultural workers are receiving a minimum wage of 25s. per week, it means a loss of employment to between 23,000 and 24,000 men. These figures do not appear on the live register simply because agricultural workers are not ordinarily engaged in an insurable occupation.
I refer to these matters in order to make it clear, as it must be clear, to every intelligent Deputy that what is referred to as the live register does not represent the extent of unemployment at present. I would like to ask the Minister for Finance whether he can furnish the Dáil with information regarding the increase in the number of people employed by firms who got loans guaranteed by the Government. I have information in regard to one or two cases which would prove that since the loans were guaranteed by the Government the number of men employed in the industries concerned has been reduced. I can give the names of the firms involved, if necessary. I know that about twenty firms have been given guaranteed loans. I would like to know the extent to which these loans have helped to increase the number of people engaged in the industries concerned. I think that Deputies are entitled to be shown the amount of assistance that has been given to industry through those loans, and to what extent the number of people employed in the industries concerned has been increased.
Apart from that, one must pay some regard to the amount of money paid by way of home assistance in the various counties. Speaking from knowledge which I have regarding the amount of money paid out by way of home help in one county of my constituency, I may say that the figures  are:—In the year 1926-7, £8,527; 1927-8, £8,791; 1928-9, £10,477; 1029-30, £10,804. I am sure that the Minister for Local Government, in view of the information which he has at his disposal and which is supplied to him by the auditors who audit the accounts of the boards of health to which I am now referring, will certify that there is no money paid in this particular area to any individual unless he is entitled to it under the existing law. Therefore the figures which I am quoting, in addition to the other facts, go to show that the situation in the area which I represent is much more serious than it was a year or two or three years ago. We are often asked by members of the Government, and by Deputies who support them, what suggestions we have to make for the purpose of relieving unemployment. On many occasions during previous discussions and debates of a similar kind to this I endeavoured to impress on the Ministry, and on the Minister for Finance in particular, the necessity of providing out of Votes of this kind money to carry out sewerage and water works schemes where such schemes are urgently required.
I have in mind three or four towns where such schemes are urgently required in the opinion of the medical officers of health, and in one county in the opinion of the county medical officer of health. In one town where such a scheme has been prepared the charge on the ratepayers in the dispensary area concerned for a water supply would amount to 2s. 6d. in the £, and, in the case of another town, to 1s. 8d. in the £. The schemes to which I am referring have already been submitted to the Ministry of Local Government, and I want the Minister for Finance to say whether he agrees that local ratepayers should be charged with a liability to that extent for carrying out such schemes. In the first place, I am sure he will agree that they are urgently required. In cases where the medical officers of health and county medical officers of health agree that schemes are necessary they should be carried out as soon as possible.
On the other hand, I am not prepared to agree, especially under present  circumstances, that local ratepayers should be charged with the liability, for the purpose of carrying out such schemes, to the amount of 2s. 6d. and 1s. 8d. in the £. If, therefore, the schemes are to be carried out, I think that the liability of the local ratepayer should be reduced at any rate to a figure approximating to 6d. in the £. If that is to be done, the only way in which it can be done is by giving contributions from this relief scheme Vote which the Minister has introduced. I can tell the Minister quite frankly that these schemes will not be put into operation unless relief comes from sources other than the ratepayers in the towns concerned. In the case of another town where the public health conditions are of the worst possible kind, I have been furnished with information to the effect that there are 97 able-bodied individuals, most of them married and with dependents, out of work. Can the Minister tell me what kind of scheme, other than the public health schemes to which I have referred, will give more valuable or more reproductive employment in such a place?
At any rate the schemes to which I refer have been put forward by the people concerned, passed by the boards of health, and sanctioned by the Department of Local Government, but they will not be carried out under present circumstances unless a grant from some source is made available by the Minister. I am sorry to say that in one other important town in my area the sanitary conditions are in a very bad state. In that area there is a considerable number of men employed in a local industry, and although reports have been made to the medical officer of health, he has not, so far as I know, taken any effective steps to see that the conditions are remedied. In all these areas—I am sure that every Deputy can say the same in regard to his own area—these schemes cannot be carried out at the expense of the local ratepayers. I desire to emphasise anything I have previously stated during similar debates with a view to trying to convince the Minister to give some assistance in carrying out these public health works.
 There is another matter which I think affects a good many areas, especially in view of the very bad harvest and the wet period through which we have recently passed. There are hundreds of people in my constituency who are unable to get turf or fuel of any kind owing to the wet season. I would recommend the Minister to allocate some money out of this Vote to improving roads leading to bogs where the turf is lying, as otherwise it cannot be got out. There is just one matter to which I have referred on previous occasions. I protest and strongly object at this particular period against giving the work, which may be available as a result of a Vote of this kind, almost altogether to men who were in the National Army. The money which is being set aside as a result of this Vote is not being collected solely from the supporters of Cumann na nGaedheal. Therefore I think that every taxpayer who will be called on to find this money is entitled to an assurance—in fact, to a guarantee—that individuals will be given fair consideration on their merits for any work that may be going.
I understand that the system which has been in existence for six or seven years is that ex-National Army men must get preference. I contend that preference for employment on public works of this kind under present circumstances should be given to individuals on the basis of their merits for such work, plus their dependency; in other words, their qualifications should be on the basis of their individual suitability and the number of their dependents. I cannot understand why a single ex-National Army man should get preference to a married man with dependents. I think that the time has come when that preference should be abolished, and when able-bodied citizens should be entitled to that work on their qualifications, plus the number of their dependents. I hope that the Minister will remove that preferential barrier which was set up many years ago, and which he promised to remove some time ago. I hope, at any rate, that he will make certain that the money provided under this Vote will be made available for  every citizen on the grounds of his suitability for the class of work to be done, and on the number of dependents for whom he has to provide.
Mr. T. Sheehy: (Cork): At this late hour of the night I have no intention to inflict a written speech on members of the Dáil. I rise to say that I am extremely grateful to the President and the Executive Council for this grant of £300,000 which, I believe, will be honestly administered. I believe that every constituency in the Twentysix Counties will get its fair share of it for the relief of unemployment. Personally, in regard to the constituency that I have the honour to be one of its representatives, I was glad to hear my colleague, Deputy Murphy, on the Labour Benches, bear testimony to the fact that for years he has always been supported in his appeals on behalf of the workers down there by the Government, and that such appeals were favourably received. It is very pleasant to hear a Labour Deputy acknowledge that the Government has done something, but I was astonished and pained to hear Deputies Hogan, Cassidy, and Clery talking about starvation in the Saorstát. God forbid that there should be any starvation. It is not because we had a little visitation of Providence in the last two or three months that we should despair. God is good. He never deserted this grand old nation, and He will bring sunshine and prosperity back to the land again. I never heard during this debate one word of thankfulness expressed to the Almighty for His favours to this nation.
I call on Deputies to remember the state of the world at present. There are nations experiencing earthquakes and floods at the present time, and destruction is going on in many countries. What else can we say about this dear land of ours than that the Almighty God is looking after it? Do not let the cry go out that we are a starving nation. We are not Deputy Hogan and Deputy Cassidy should be ashamed to say that there is starvation in Clare or in Donegal. Have they not the machinery of local government at their hands? Have they not medical officers, clergy, relieving officers and  boards of health? If Deputy Hogan, Deputy Cassidy and Deputy Clery do not make them do their duty to the poor and destitute they have no right to be here as the representatives of those constituencies in the Dáil. I over and over again, heard in this House our able and active Minister for Local Government proclaim that in case of necessity, where there was any danger of starvation in any portion of the Saorstát, that the relieving officers and the doctors were to act on their own responsibility, that no one was to suffer from want of food or nourishment, nor need they wait for directions from their boards of health to provide that food and nourishment. He pointed out that under the law of this State the relieving officers and the doctors were entitled to go to the rescue of the poor and the afflicted. I say to the Deputies opposite and to Deputies on the Labour Benches that they ought to remember we have a grand old country. If there is a little depression at the present time, please God, as I have said, the future is looking well. Deputies opposite did not confine themselves to a criticism of this Vote. They criticised the actions and work of the Government since it came into office eight years ago. I am a member of the House for the last three years, and I can honestly say from my heart that progress has been made year after year and that we have now turned the corner. Since I became a member here hundreds and thousands of houses have been built in and around Dublin. Work has been provided, too, in the city of Cork. There is depression in the counties, but that will be removed, and, with the blessing of God, our country will again be prosperous. Therefore, I say, there is no need in this House for the wail of despair that we have had to listen to.
Mr. Anthony: After the flight of oratory to which we have just listened I feel that I do not want to take up much of the time of the House, but I would remind Deputy Sheehy, for whom I have very great respect indeed, that the same kind of speech was made in the very portion of the county which he represents at a time when a family died of starvation in the  Adrigole. That occurred within the last couple of years. It is only twelve months ago, since some other families in that particular area were almost at the point of death, due to starvation, and were rescued in time. I said here before that I am not one of those who believe in saying that we are down and out. I, like Deputy Sheehy, think that we are resourceful enough and have grit enough to get out of all our difficulties. While I welcome this Vote of £300,000, I cannot help suggesting that it is rather unfortunate that our native Government has been unable to find any other solution than a Vote of this kind to deal with the unemployment and poverty that undoubtedly exist to a degree in our country. The schemes for which it makes provision are only of a tentative character. They are merely, I suggest, a form of dope for a diseased economic system. I want to say that, in my view, it is almost criminal for any Deputy or Party to attempt to make political or party capital out of the misfortunes of our people.
In saying what I have said I want to dissociate myself from the remarks of some Deputies who to-night made cheap sneers at members of the Government for attending conferences at Geneva, London and elsewhere. I visualise the time when possibly Fianna Fáil may be in power, and it would be only quite natural that perhaps Deputy de Valera, accompanied by some of his Ministers and possibly by Deputy Clery, would have to visit some of these countries if they are to maintain the dignity of what both Cumann na nGaedheal and Fianna Fáil claim to be a sovereign State. I do not think any useful purpose is served by cheap sneers of that kind. In my view, these cheap sneers are not even good propaganda. Undoubtedly, propaganda of that kind does appeal to the very worst elements in this country. I should say that it appeals to the worst elements in any country. You have a section of the community here, as you have in other countries, which is always only too willing to drink in and absorb that class of propaganda. In my view, it is a dangerous policy to pursue and has a boomerang-like effect  on those who use it and on the Party which attempts to make it an instrument to climb into power or office over the backs of other people.
The President in announcing this grant of £300,000 suggested that a considerable portion of the sum would be utilised in providing employment in rural areas. The conditions in the counties and rural areas have been voiced by a number of representatives, but I would like to remind the Minister that there are also a couple of cities in the Free State. The Minister has clearly indicated that, while most of this grant will be spent in work useful or otherwise in the rural areas, he also gave a further indication that at least some of it will be spent in the towns and cities. The Minister must have in mind that cities, such as Cork, embrace a very large proportion of the rural community. For that reason, amongst others, I welcome this grant, though I do not care, as I have already indicated, for grants of this kind because they are only of a tentative or temporary nature and do not touch the fringe of the problem of unemployment.
I want to suggest one or two ways in which this money could be very usefully spent. I know that the Minister has commonsense enough not to indulge in any uneconomic expenditure, but he may be unaware that in the City of Cork, for instance, a decent attempt is about to be made in the direction of slum clearances and of erecting, in place of this slum property, a number of decent houses for working-class people. The preparations to be made for the clearance of that slum property might very well be begun before the Christmas period.
It may be suggested that Cork is particularly well off because of the Ford industry, but I want to tell you what may appear to be paradoxical, that at the peak point of the Ford industry, when some 7,000 persons were employed, there was never so much employment in Cork and never so many persons unemployed. That may be a paradox but it is true. I will explain the reason. Because of the activities of the Ford industry many thousands of persons were attracted to the city, but that great industry could not  absorb all the unemployed persons. Thousands of persons outside the normal number who might have been unemployed came from other centres— and I am not saying that in a spirit of parochialism—so that whilst we had more employment than ever before, there was still a larger number than ever unemployed in the second city— or should I say the first city—in the Free State.
Deputy Daly mentioned the peculiar circumstances that exist in Fermoy. I want to say that what was said about Fermoy is applicable to nearly every other town or village in which garrisons were maintained in the past. In one small village outside the City of Cork, where, at the time of the British occupation, thousands of cavalry and artillery soldiers were stationed, much distress and actual poverty, on the border-line of starvation, exists at present. Nothing has taken the place of the British military. The consequence is that that little village, like many more of the same category throughout the Free State, has been reduced to a very bad state. You have there, as possibly in other old garrison towns, a number of houses known as the married quarters which, with very little outlay, might be converted into decent working-class houses. In nearly all cases the walls are standing, and some of the roofs are all right, so that in all cases you have the nucleus of decent houses.
I could indicate other ways in which the money could be spent. I think it is one of our peculiarities to point out how money could be spent, while people rarely make a suggestion as to how it is to be raised. Other Deputies have indicated how the money could be usefully and economically spent, so that I do not want to traverse that ground. I want to say, however, that Cork Corporation will naturally apply for a share of the grant. When the Minister is replying, I would be glad if he would let the House know how he proposes to allocate the money. Is it on a population basis or will the sum allotted have any relation to the numbers unemployed? Above all, I would stress the point that has been stressed by my colleague, Deputy Davin, that whilst I  have very great regard for any man who has served his country, whether it be as a soldier, sailor or policeman, I have, at least, the same regard for the citizen who is a good citizen. I hope no undue discrimination will be exercised either by the Minister or by those who will administer this fund in the giving of employment. It is very unfair because a man has given service in the National Army, perhaps a single man, without any dependents, that he should get preference over a civilian who has a wife and several children. That is causing a good deal of trouble, and I think the Minister and the Government would be well advised to drop the policy of discriminating as between one man and another. If I were a member of the Government, I would not discriminate between any man, no matter whether he was an ex-I.R.A. man, an ex-National Army man, or an ex-British soldier, because I believe that one man is just as good as another. Many of the men who joined the British Army did not do so through any love of the British uniform, but in 99 per cent. of the cases it was purely an economic necessity.
When he is replying I would ask the Minister to let the House know how he proposes to allocate the money, whether on a population basis or having regard to the number of persons unemployed. I would again remind him that the returns of the Labour Exchange are not accurate returns. They are not even an indication of the number of persons unemployed, because he must know that the live register only represents the number of persons who are entitled to draw unemployment benefit and that once a man ceases to draw that benefit he has no longer any use for registering. Hence, you will find on close analysis of the position that the number of persons not signing and unemployed are about twice the number signing and drawing benefits.
Mr. Anthony: On a point of order, I did not resent criticism of the Imperial  Conference. What I said can be understood by any person able to understand the English language, and he need not be able to parse, or even to spell it.
Mr. Cooney: Anything that concerns criticism of the grand old Dame Britannia he resents. We know that he has a very deep regard for that great old Empire, and the institutions connected with it. One has not to read very much Irish history to be reminded during the course of this debate of that period when we had the soupers dishing out soup. I think some Deputy referred to the matter to-day in another sense. Is there anything more degrading to honest and sincere Irishmen than to have to listen to the tone of the speeches delivered on the Cumann na nGaedheal Benches, and unfortunately the speech delivered by the last Deputy on the Labour Benches? Does it not bring us back to the period when the soup was being dished out, and when certain conditions had to be complied with?
The conditions this time are, first of all, loyalty to the party in office. Those who cannot give faith and guarantees to that loyalty are very nervous lest their particular constituency may be left out of consideration when this grant is being distributed. For the past few years since I came into this House I have, on various occasions, endeavoured to get the Ministers, from the President down to the Minister for Local Government, to face this question of unemployment from a human standpoint, to recognise it as a human problem, and each time they have either gone to sleep on the benches or indulged in sneers and laughter.
 I want to make a further attempt even at the risk of repetition. I want to ask the Minister for Finance if he is prepared to face this problem as a human problem, and if, taking it on that principle, he is prepared to admit that he and his Cabinet colleagues have any moral responsibility in connection with this matter of the unemployed and how they have faced up to that moral responsibility. What is the position in rural Ireland to-day? The Minister for Finance some years ago, perhaps he is up to the present time, was a frequent visitor to certain parts of the West-of Ireland at any rate, and he knows, and most of the Deputies in this House know, that in many parishes and townlands in the South and West of Ireland there are small farmers struggling with farms of from three to ten acres from daylight to dark to eke out a miserable existence, trying to feed themselves, their wives and children. They have not displayed any failings in the matter of industry. They are hard-working, honest and zealous, giving the best that is in them in order to do what they believe to be their duty to their wives and children, and yet, despite their almost superhuman efforts, they have failed year after year. I am leaving out of account any effort on their part to educate their children, but from the point of view of clothing and feeding their children, when they fail what is the attitude of the State towards them? To treat them as paupers.
Mr. Cooney: I can give specific instances of small farmers from the Co. Leitrim who represent this particular type and I know from conversations with Deputies of all parties in this House that this is not confined to Co. Leitrim, Galway and Clare. I am personally conversant with the conditions in these areas. Is it fair when these efforts on the part of these small farmers to succeed in feeding and clothing their children fail through no fault of their own that any Government Minister can come to this House and tell the elected representatives of those people that there is no starvation, there is no position requiring heroic remedies, but nevertheless we are prepared to grant £300,000 by way of relief for relief schemes? Should the Government not realise that they are the managing directors of a business concern? We have been elected here to represent the people's interests and to make known their grievances, and why should we be treated with these sneers and be told there is no starvation and that we should be satisfied with this £300,000? Who owns the money the Government are so generous about? “Thank God,” said some Deputy, “that we have a Minister here who is prepared to give us so generous treatment for our starving people.” Whose money are they giving out and what are they doing with all the other hundreds of thousands of pounds? Have they a mandate from the people of this country to go banqueting and lavishing in luxury both here and in London spending the people's money? That is the criticism which Deputy Anthony resents and that is what I feel comes very badly from a representative of Irish Labour. Deputy Clery resented and criticised the attitude of the Ministry in coming to this House propagating a spirit of pauperism in the country, coming back after five months, this House being closed in the meantime, with a statement of the flourishing  condition in which this country stood, our high position in the world's credit market, and so on, yet closing their eyes to the fact that there is a real state of economic starvation existing throughout the country.
Deputy Clery stated that during the time when other Ministers were all away, when the Minister for Industry and Commerce was gadding around Europe, the Minister for Education and the Minister for Lands and Fisheries went down to Kerry, and in one day they received thirty-seven deputations. What were those deputations being received for? What representations did those deputations make to those Ministers? I submit out of those thirty-seven deputations, if the truth were known, many of them were begging, but few of them had the courage to come in and demand their common rights as citizens, because they knew if they went in to demand them the reception they would get. I am not going to follow on the lines of other Deputies who have quoted statistics and shown time after time in these debates how relief schemes could be brought into force, how unemployment could be relieved in one district and another by this, that and the other method. That is all very good in itself, but, to my mind, there should be no need for it, or to convince Ministers that there are ways and means of solving this unemployment problem. Is it really to be taken seriously that there are no ways and means of solving this problem? The attitude of the Ministry, then, is to have a sufficient number of people starving in order to keep another section of our people appealing on behalf of that starving section, and the starving section applauding those who get them sops and doles, making political capital out of their misery and hunger. This is the attitude of Cumann na nGaedheal. Their henchmen on the back benches should be ashamed to call themselves Irishmen, making political capital out of hunger and misery. It is by a mere accident of birth that a man is born on a three-acre farm or a 200-acre farm or is born in a city mansion or a slum. Yet these people have been placed here and have refused to recognise their moral responsibilities. When we come  in, year after year, when unemployment is given any space on our Order Papers for discussion, it is treated, as the “Independent” to-day would have us believe, as a political catchcry. They point out, of course, that the Deputies who criticise the Government's policy of unemployment invariably fail to point out any remedy. That is the cry of the daily Press. That is the attitude of the Minister. They get up and tell us that there is £300,000. Their loyal henchmen behind them clap them on the backs and applaud their generosity. Other Deputies are expected to get up here and show why that grant is inadequate, why it should be extended, and how it could be extended. That is not our function. I, for one, refuse to accept that rôle. I say, with all sincerity, that I would not remain 24 hours a member of a Government Party——
Mr. Cooney: That does not matter. I am a member of this House at the moment. If I were convinced that that Government Party failed to realise their moral responsibility, if the Minister for Agriculture, the Minister for Finance or any Minister will say that they recognise their moral responsibility, that they have explored every avenue that the present social order allows them to explore and that within those avenues they are unable to find a solution, then we will know where we are. Will they go a little further? Will they say having explored those avenues and failed to find a solution for unemployment that their moral responsibility ends there? Within this State there is sufficient natural wealth to maintain twice our present population. Therefore, their moral responsibility does not end there. Will they go a little further then and say: “We are prepared now to throw ourselves on the mercy of this House and to ask you all to outline ways and means by which we can change that economic system sufficiently to enable us to maintain our present population in a reasonable standard of comfort”? That is all I ask. Call that communism if you like. It is my conception of a Christian duty  and no responsible Government, Minister, Deputy or any other responsible public man——
Mr. Cooney: As I said, the old spirit of the landlord system in this country is still loyally adhered to and loyally propagated. Therefore, we must keep one section of our people starving, we must keep them in ignorance. Well did the old Irish landlord realise the truth of the maxim: “Train, drill and educate. Man is master of his fate.” If the Irish peasant farmers were educated to realise the value they are to this State surely they would demand in return a mere subsistence, surely they would demand that their children should not be allowed to go hungry and barefooted, as they are, through the hills and waysides of the country? Most of the Deputies who have spoken have confined themselves to dealing with conditions in their own particular areas. Most of the Deputies on the Government Benches have appealed to the Ministers to see that their areas are not left out of consideration, again indicating the slave mentality. If my constituency is well treated I will get credit for that and it will increase the number of votes which I will secure at the next election! I think it is very unfair to treat that problem in such a manner. That is why I make particular reference to rural Ireland.
Of course, one cannot ignore the conditions obtaining in Dublin City. One cannot think of unemployment or know anything about it who does not know the conditions which obtain in the City of Dublin—this City of Dublin, the capital of Ireland, the Ireland which Deputy Sheehy, President Cosgrave and others tell us is in such a glowing condition of prosperity but whose housing conditions are stated to be the worst in any State in Europe. These are facts that have been repeated many times in this House, but we must keep on repeating them. The housing conditions are worse in Dublin than in any city in Europe. Seventy-nine thousand people live in one-roomed tenements, many of them with five, seven, eight or ten of a family living in one room. Let Deputy Davis and  those other comfortable, well-fed and wealthy Deputies think of that. Think for one moment how they would feel if by a revolution of power they were to be suddenly thrown into conditions such as these. Yet, these are human beings, brothers and sisters we are told, of ours and they are herded there under conditions which some of you would not keep your cattle in.
It is over two years since we had a by-election in North City Dublin. The Government candidate there— Deputy Rice—is a prominent member of the Government Party. Deputy Rice practically promised that if he were elected to this House unemployment would be unknown within twelve months. I think that would about summarise all the promises that Deputy Rice made. They amounted in effect to that, that unemployment would end. He would see to it. He was Chairman of the Special Committee which was set up to examine the problem and they would find ways and means of getting a solution.
Two-and-a-half years have passed since then and the conditions instead of improving are very much worse. Everyone knows that. I have not got the figures. I do not see the use of collecting statistics in the matter. I presume the Ministers have them at their fingers' ends. They have their experts. No matter what figures Deputies on this side of the House bring forward, if the Ministers desire it they can get their experts to contradict these figures. They can make any case they wish out of figures. Deputy Davin pointed out that the Saint Vincent de Paul Society had visited 30,000 persons in Dublin——
How many of these did the Minister for Local Government and Public Health or Deputy Rice visit; or how many efforts did either the Minister or Deputy Rice make to secure employment for these 30,000 people? I think it would be much better and much more manly and a more Irish attitude on their part if the Ministers would concentrate upon this problem of unemployment, instead of going across to London whenever they are called there and doing there what their masters tell them, in order to win  the smiles and encouragement of their masters. They must be tied to some sinister machine, either in London or elsewhere, and that sinister machine, of course, is finance. The big power of finance has got this Cabinet in its grip. After all, time will break that machine. These great geniuses who have, we are told, served this State so well during the last eight years must realise that their term of office is drawing to a close. Indeed, that is agreed on by every section in the House. At the eleventh hour I would appeal to them to do the manly thing, to break with that power, and come to the people who elected them to this House, and say: “Yes, we are prepared to recognise you as our masters.” They will then take up this question of unemployment and see that the conditions which have existed will continue no longer throughout this country. The Ministers tell us that giving a relief of a mere £300,000 is going to be a solution of the difficulty. I would like that the Ministers would have the courage to go down to the country and make there the statements which they have made in this House. My attitude towards the question of unemployment is this—I deplore having to listen to people standing up here and applauding the Minister for his generosity. I deplore, as well, other Deputies for appealing for an extension of that generosity. My attitude is just the same as that of John Mitchel towards England at the time when the Constitutional leaders of that period were talking about concessions. He said: “Damn your concessions, we want our country.” I say on behalf of the unemployed and on behalf of the peasant farmers of Ireland and on behalf of the town workers of Ireland: “Damn your concessions, we want our rights. We want the right to work.” I demand on behalf of those people that the Ministers who are elected here as a Government of this State should get down to this problem of unemployment, examine the resources of the State and come to this House and say: “The assets are so-and-so, and the liabilities are so-and-so, and we demand that they shall utilise these resources in order to put an end to hunger, first of  all.” Hunger should not be allowed to exist; it does exist, but it is time that that condition of things was ended.
Mr. Doherty: I did not intend to intervene in this debate and I would not do so except for the unfortunate intrusion of the last speaker. I think it is due to the House that Deputies should, at least while in the House, comport themselves with dignity. Amongst the Deputies of the Opposition Party I do not know a single Deputy except the last speaker who would make himself responsible for the impertinence and insolence we have listened to. It is characteristic of that back bencher. The back benchers on the Opposition side of the House differ from me on many things, but at least they have always been gentlemen who have expressed themselves in terms to which nobody could take exception. For pure insolent ignorance—I have a difficulty in choosing proper language to express my views of the speaker who has just sat down—I have never heard anything in this House to equal in any way the language we have listened to just now. That is the kind of language that would scarcely do credit to a thirty-second-rate street corner orator. I will not dwell upon the merits of the case that has been discussed here. I know very well that distress exists in the country, for I myself come from a district in which it exists and so does a respected colleague of the last speaker. He will bear me out in this—that knowing the conditions that exist we would never dream of putting up the insolently ignorant whine to which we have listened. The Deputy's performance was, if I may use unparliamentary language, a piece of pure blackguardism.
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