Supplementary Estimate. - Vote 59—Marine Service
Supplementary Estimate. - Agriculture Bill, 1930—Report and Final Stages.
In Committee on Finance. - Supplementary Estimates. Vote 52—Agriculture.
Supplementary Estimate—Report. - Vote 54—Fisheries and Gaeltacht Services.
The Adjournment. - Cléireach do Thogha i gConamara.
 Do chuaidh an Ceann Comhairle i gceannas ar 10.30 a.m.
Ordered: That Public Business be not interrupted at 12 o'clock.
Leave given to introduce the following Supplementary Estimate for the service of the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1931, Vote No. 59 (Marine Service).—(Minister for Finance).
Ordered: That the Estimate be taken on Wednesday, 11th March.
Dr. Ryan: I move amendment 1:
In page 9, lines 26-27, Section 18 (2) to delete the words “twelve months ending on the 30th day of June in any year” and substitute the words “six months ending on the 30th day of June or the 31st day of December in any year.”
Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Hogan): Instead of the amendment which the Deputy has moved, I ask him to accept the following which is to the same effect:
In page 9, line 19, Section 18 (1) to insert after the words “as soon as may be after” the words “the 31st day of December and,” and to delete in line 23 the word “twelve” and substitute the word “six,” and in line 26 to delete the words “twelve months ending” and substitute the words “six months ending on the 31st day of December in any year or,” and to delete in line 35 the word “twelve” and substitute the word “six.”
Dr. Ryan: I ask leave to withdraw my amendment in favour of the Minister's.
Amendment moved by Minister for Agriculture agreed to.
Dr. Ryan: I move amendment 2: In page 4, line 22, Section 33 (2), to delete the word “shall” and substitute the word “may.”
On the Committee Stage the Minister promised to consider this.
Mr. Hogan: It would be impossible to accept this amendment, because to do so would mean altering the Bill to this extent that schemes could be put through without the sanction of the Minister. Whatever our views on that may be, that is the whole schemes of the Bill. As I understand it, the Deputy is afraid that when schemes are put up to the Minister he will reject half of them, and then force the Committee to put the other half through. That, of course, is an extreme case. The real point is that whatever schemes do go through are schemes that are agreed on by the Committee and by the Minister.
Dr. Ryan: I do not see that it would have the effect the Minister has mentioned. If, on the Second Reading of the Bill, the House accepted the principle that the Minister should have the right of interference, I do not want now to challenge that, but I do not see that the amendment would have that effect.
Mr. Hogan: I am advised that it would.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment 3—In page 20, line 45 Second Schedule, at the end of Rule 10 to add the words “subject to the provisions of Rule 2.” (Deputy Ryan) —agreed to.
Question: That the Bill, as amended, be received for final consideration—put and agreed to.
Leave granted for the taking of the Final Stage.
Question—That the Bill do now pass —put and agreed to.
Minister for Finance (Mr. Blythe): I move:—
“Go ndeontar Suim Bhreise ná raghaidh thar £10 chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1931, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí Oifig an Aire Thalmhaíochta, agus seirbhísí áirithe atá fé riara na hOifige sin, maraon le hIldeontaisí-i-gCabhair.
That a supplementary sum not exceeding £10 be granted to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1931, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of the Minister for Agriculture, and of certain services administered by that Office, including Sundry Grants-in-Aid.”
Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Hogan): This Estimate includes the sum of £880, grant in respect of additional sugar beet grown in the Cooley district; a sum of £1,169, loans to potato-growers in the Cooley district, and also £10,000 which, in fact, is for the re-purchase of Cleeve's toffee factory. There is the sum of £7,450 in connection with the administration of the Agricultural Produce (Fresh Meat) Act. These sums make a total of £19,499. The appropriations-in-aid amount to £4,683. These are accounted for by receipts under the Agricultural Produce (Fresh Meat) Act. That gives a total of £14,816. There are savings under other sub-heads amounting to £14,806, and the Dáil is now asked for the sum of £10.
As regards the grant of £880 in respect of additional sugar beet grown in the Cooley district, this is at the rate of 4/- per ton factory weight, to be paid to the Irish Sugar Manufacturing Co., Ltd., in respect of sugar beet grown on 400 acres, in addition to the acreage contracted for under the subsidised sugar scheme. It is estimated that the crop of beet will  average 11 tons per acre. In addition to this grant, the sugar company will be entitled to a remission of the excise duty on the sugar manufactured from the beet grown on the 400 acres, which it is estimated will be £11 13s. 4d. per ton. The company have undertaken to pay to the growers of the beet on the 400 acres in the Cooley district the same price as in the case of beet grown under the subsidised sugar beet scheme. The loans, amounting to £1,169, to potato-growers in the Cooley district are repayable on the 1st April, 1931, with interest at the rate of 5½ per cent. per annum.
As regards the item dealing with the Agricultural Produce (Fresh Meat) Act. Deputies are aware that the Act came into force on 1st September last, so that the present estimate, £7,450, is for only part of a year. The estimate is required for part-time examiners who are normally paid by fees on the following scale:—£4 per 100 cattle; £1 per 100 calves; £1 per 100 pigs, and £1 per 100 sheep. In some cases where, owing to the small number of animals presented for examination the fees payable would be inadequate, the examiners are paid £2 2s. per day. In one case double the normal fees per 100 animals is paid.
As regards the item £3,300, contributions to local authorities—in Dublin, Cork and Limerick all the veterinary inspectors employed by the local authorities are available for work under the Act, and the Department make a contribution in respect of their salaries as follows:—Dublin, £1,500 per annum; Cork, £2,350 per annum; Limerick, £2,750; making a total of £6,600 for a full year. The £3,300 now asked for is in respect of six months from 1st September last to 28th February. Recoupment in respect of March will fall into next year. Marketing inspectors at £5 per week inclusive, are employed to see that the regulations as to packing, etc., of consignments of fresh meat are complied with. Travelling expenses are estimated at £130. The equipment and incidental expenses are estimated at £170. Appropriations-in-aid—that is receipts from licences—are estimated at £2,800. These are total receipts  under the Agricultural Produce (Fresh Meat) Act.
With regard to the item of £10,000 in respect of Cleeve's factory, the position about that is as follows. This factory was purchased by us along with the Condensed Milk Company, and after some time was sold to a proprietor for the sum of £14,000, payable with interest by instalments. £4,000 of the purchase money was repaid, together with interest, and after that we found it necessary to put in a liquidator. The alternative at that stage was either to liquidate the company, in order to realise, or to re-purchase the company. We re-purchased the company, in fact, for £1,000. That is what we paid for it.
We took it over again with its liabilities as well as its assets. Its liabilities amounted to about £8,000, and its assets amounted to considerably more. The assets were in the shape of additional machinery, debts due to the company, stores and provisions, so that we have again in our possession the original Toffee Factory for what it cost originally plus certain new machinery, certain stores and certain debts due to it. Its assets are worth something about £8,000 and as against that we are paying certain liabilities which amounted to about £7,000. We decided to re-purchase Cleeve's Toffee Factory for the following reasons:—After selling it originally we came to the conclusion that it was a mistaken policy to have sold it. A Toffee Factory is an extremely useful thing in connection with condensed milk. It provides an outlet for condensed densed milk.
Since we re-purchased the factory we are running it on ordinary business lines and it has made a profit each month. We are now satisfied that it is a valuable asset in connection with the condensing factory. In fact, most of the condensing factories that I know have outlets of this kind for their condensed milk. There are other more important reasons from the point of view of the public generally. When this factory was up for sale secondly we were not the only possible purchasers. I am not in a position to say  What would have happened if we had not re-purchased. I can only indicate what might have happened. Inquiries were made by outside firms with a view to the purchasing of the factory and by firms in this country also. There was some immediate danger that the factory would be re-purchased and closed. If that happened it would be fairly serious from this point of view— that there are 60 to 70 employees working there. They were working there at the time when it was sold and they are working there at the moment and there was a danger that they would be thrown out of employment. On the other hand, some of the people who were considering the question of buying it were the owners of toffee factories outside this country. They were buying it possibly to run it and possibly to close it. We could not contemplate the closing of the factory with any great equanimity. I think we have the support of most people in that. There was, however, another very good reason why we should purchase the factory. It was this-we have at the moment a monopoly as a result of purchasing this factory. We have a monopoly of Cleeve's trade mark and goodwill. Cleeve's trade mark and goodwill are very valuable for our butter and condensed milk. It was absolutely vital to us that this goodwill represented by this trade name should not be injured in any way, by, say, the production of toffee or butter or condensed milk by outside firms who might fail to maintain the reputation of that name as far as they had control of it. For instance, if this toffee factory passed over to somebody who turned out an inferior toffee or inferior sweets, that would react on what was to us a very valuable asset, the goodwill we have by reason of the fact that we own this factory.
We have the toffee factory back on our hands at the moment plus certain liabilities. But against these certain liabilities we have, on a conservative estimate, assets in the way of additional machinery, debts due and money paid for stores, etc., which are very much greater than the liabilities We work that factory in connection with the condensed milk factory. We  are running it on ordinary business lines, and we find it a very valuable asset. The condensing of milk is not a very prosperous business. It is a business in which there is a tremendous amount of competition, especially from outside countries, and we cannot afford to neglect any profitable outlet for our condensed milk. We cannot afford to run a condensing plant on the lines of disposing of all facilities and profitable assets and endeavouring to hold on to assets not so profitable. No business concern could do that, and we do not propose to do it. On the other hand, we do not intend, if we can help it, to allow a state of affairs to arise under which any factory would be closed and the employees put out of employment. In addition, we do not intend to do anything which would, in any way, endanger the valuable asset that we have bought and the taxpayers have paid for—that is Cleeve's name. As far as the condensing factory and the toffee factory are concerned they must be run together. We are not anxious to remain in business, and are ready to sell whenever there is a purchaser. I may say that I do not anticipate there will be any difficulty in selling both, at a price that would be satisfactory, but that does not arise at the moment.
Mr. Lemass: I think a number of Deputies have been approached by representatives of toffee manufacturing firms in the Free State concerning this proposal to vote public funds for the maintenance of this toffee factory in Limerick. Many serious questions are raised by this disposal, and it would be well that they should be examined in detail by the Dáil before the proposal is agreed to. The position is, I understand, that the toffee factory was purchased with the other assets of the Condensed Milk Company of Ireland some years ago, and was then sold as a separate concern to the company mentioned in the Estimates. The purchase price, the Minister informed us, was £14,000, to be payable with interest by instalments. Is it a fact that the person who purchased the factory was under the impression that he was securing with it the right to  use the Cleeve's trade mark, and the good-will of Cleeve's business?
Mr. Hogan: I do not think so. If he was he acted in a peculiar way afterwards. He had the right to use it; we all had a right to use it. Anybody who bought any part of the assets of the company had a right to use the trade name, but so far as toffee was concerned we had not the exclusive right to the name. We discovered that other people in England had rights to use the name. We bought these rights for £3,000, of which sum the purchasers paid £2,000 and we paid £1,000. We did not buy the right to use the trade mark because we always had that; but there were certain people in England who claimed to have it also. We wanted a monopoly and we bought the monopoly; we bought their rights for £3,000, of which sum we paid £1,000 and the purchasers £2,000.
Mr. Lemass: I understand the reason why the original purchaser was unable to meet the instalment payments as they became due was because he became involved in expensive litigation arising out of a dispute relating to the trade mark.
Mr. Hogan: There is nothing whatever in that.
Mr. Lemass: That may be so, but the fact is that the original purchaser failed to meet the instalment payments and the Disposals Board then resumed ownership.
Mr. Hogan: They put in a liquidator.
Mr. Lemass: Did there not something else happen in the matter in the meantime? The original purchaser sold his rights in the factory to another purchaser having, as part of the terms of sale, reduced the debenture charge to £10,000. What was the history of the concern during the period in which the second purchaser controlled it? Is it a fact that he also failed to make the factory pay sufficient to enable him to meet the interest charges and did the Disposals Board put additional money into the factory during that period? I am informed that the registered debentures amount to £20,000 and not  £10,000, the figure at the period when the original purchaser transferred his interest in the company to the second purchaser. Is the Minister satisfied that the factory is capable of being run at a profit under present conditions in this country? Is it able to meet the charges on it? The position as I understand it is that two purchasers have had control of it during the period since it was originally sold. Neither of them succeeded in making it pay and the second purchaser is now the manager of the factory under the Board.
A number of important questions arise out of this. There are in this country a number of firms engaged in the manufacture of toffee. These firms are protected by a tariff, and encouraged by the Government to extend their productive capacity, which they did. Apart from Cleeve's factory in Limerick, I am informed that other toffee factories in the State are quite capable of producing much more than the annual consumption of toffee in this country. These people feel they have a grievance if another factory is going to be run in competition with them, subsidised out of public funds, and they have a grievance particularly because the manner in which the factory is being run is, in their opinion, unfair. The second owner and present manager of the factory commenced his operations by cutting prices and forcing other firms that could afford to do so to follow suit. The only firms that could afford to do so were foreign firms which have established places of business here. A number of native firms were brought to a very serious position in consequence of the price-cutting war inaugurated by Cleeve's factory. I understand that at present the factory is, in addition, running a money competition in connection with its products, and they are offering £1,000 in prizes. Is any portion of the money which we are now voting going for the purpose of subsidising that prize scheme?
Mr. Hogan: Of the vote of £10,000 there is £1,000 devoted to working capital. There is a vote of £10,000 and of that sum £9,000 will go to  liquidate certain liabilities. As against those liabilities we have certain new assets valued for considerably more. The balance of £1,000 is for working capital in the factory.
Mr. Lemass: That £1,000 is to finance this prize scheme, and that is a form of price-cutting.
Mr. Hogan: The sum of £1,000 is for working capital.
Mr. Lemass: It is devoted to the prize scheme.
Mr. Hogan: And other matters. It is for working capital as a whole—say, a prize scheme.
Mr. Lemass: The fact is that the Government is paying them £1,000 to enable them to finance a scheme of cash prizes and secure in that way additional sales for the toffee produced in the factory.
Mr. Hogan: No; the £1,000 is for working capital.
Mr. Lemass: The Government is giving the factory £1,000 and the factory is spending that money on this particular scheme which means, in effect, a form of price-cutting. The other toffee manufacturers in the State have a grievance in that the taxpayer should be called upon to put money at the disposal of a competing firm, particularly when it is proposed to be utilised in the way I have outlined. We have in this country a number of manufacturers capable of producing all the toffee we require. It is now proposed to ask the taxpayer to put at the disposal of another factory a substantial sum of money to enable that factory to continue and increase its operations. That raises some serious questions. There is no objection in principle on our part to the State engaging in a business enterprise, but we think when it does so, it should confine its operations to such enterprises as are not likely to inflict damage on people already engaged in any particular trade.
Mr. Hogan: Would it not be very hard to find them?
Mr. Lemass: There are quite a number of industries in respect of which you could contemplate the State taking a monopoly, but I suggest toffee is not one of them. There are other industries much more worthy of help than the production of toffee. Is it fair that the State should engage in competition with private manufactures who have been encouraged by the State to establish themselves here and to enter into capital commitments in consequence of the tariff imposed? I quite realise that the Minister will justify his doing so on the grounds that here is a State asset which it is necessary to preserve, and if the factory is not kept in production the value of that asset will deteriorate. I think the Dáil should not be satisfied that the spending of this £10,000 is going to keep this asset unimpaired.
Is the Minister satisfied that he will at any time be able to dispose of this factory? I take it his policy now is not to dispose of it separately, but as part and parcel of the condensed milk plant. If that is not the case, then are we to contemplate the Minister coming here to the Dáil frequently asking for future subsidies in order to enable the factory to continue? The position is complicated by the fact that there are reasons to believe that the management of the factory is not satisfactory. The present manager is a former proprietor, who was unable to make the factory pay and meet the debenture charges. Moreover, he is a person who has been on two occasions in recent years, decreed in the Court for fraud—on one occasion, in connection with the rabbit-breeding scheme which was subsidised by the State to the extent of £500, and on the second occasion by a private employer, who detected him stealing his letters and extracting information from them relative to his trade, for the purpose of handing it over to his competitors.
Mr. Hogan: What scheme is subsidised by the State?
Mr. Lemass: The rabbit-breeding scheme associated with the Olympia Theatre there, or a shop close to it.
Mr. Hogan: By what Department?
Mr. Lemass: I am informed anyway that a subsidy was given in connection with that particular project.
Mr. Hogan: By whom?
Mr. Lemass: By some Government Department.
Mr. Hogan: I never heard of it.
Mr. Lemass: I think if the Minister looks it up he will find that is so. The fact, however, is that the present manager of this factory was also associated with that particular scheme. and so managed it that a number of people took proceedings against him for fraud. The individual in question then came into the toffee trade, and his career in that trade was certainly a brilliant one, but fraught with disastrous consequences to those with whom he was associated. As I said, his proprietor found him opening his business letters and extracting from these letters information relating to the trade for the purpose of giving it——
Mr. Hogan: I think that is entirely wrong.
Mr. Lemass: The case was argued in court.
Mr. Hogan: The fact of the matter was that this factory was owned by two persons, that they proceeded to quarrel at an early stage, and that each of them made wild charges against the other, all of which, I am sure, were grossly extravagant. I do not think they concern us.
Mr. Lemass: I think they concern the House to this extent, that one individual who was a party to that quarrel, who acquired the factory for nothing practically as a result of the quarrel, who failed to make the factory pay, who continued in the position of owner of the factory, and increased its liabilities considerably, is being retained as manager of the factory. He is an individual who has a particular liking for prize schemes and who, in fact, is obviously the author of the particular prize scheme now associated with Cleeve's factory, a scheme which is going, in my opinion, either to break the factory or to involve the taxpayer in continuous subsidies.
The President: Will the Deputy bear in mind that a series of charges is being made which it would be impossible for the Minister to counteract and the person concerned has not an opportunity to counteract them either because they are made under privilege? It is a very serious matter.
Mr. Lemass: I am only referring to matters that can be verified from the records of the court.
Mr. Hogan: No, they cannot. The Deputy would not say outside all he has said here. I do not care if the Deputy goes on for ever, but he would not dare to say outside what he has now said here.
The President: Apart from the merits of the case, it is a very serious matter if a business man is to be pilloried here and there is no opportunity given to him to reply.
Mr. Lemass: That is not the point. The point is that the Government is coming to the Dáil and asking for £10,000 to pay the liabilities created by this individual and to provide him with £1,000 to continue his operations.
Mr. Hogan: Nothing of the kind. The Government is asking for £10,000 to pay certain liabilities incurred by the company of which this individual was one member. There was a dispute between certain members of the company, and the Deputy is now airing that dispute. He should leave it between them. We have nothing to do with it.
Mr. Lemass: Let us start at the point at which the State bought back the company. They took over the company, I understand from the Minister, for £1,000 and acquired at the same time the privilege of paying its liabilities.
Mr. Hogan: And took over considerable assets. We took it at our own valuation.
Mr. Lemass: Is the Minister satisfied that the shares of the company were worth £1,000?
Mr. Hogan: Quite.
Mr. Lemass: As a matter of fact, at that particular time the company had failed to make a profit, had failed to pay the interest, much less the instalments due, on the debentures, and had considerably increased its liabilities.
Mr. Hogan: It is also a fact that at the time there were a number of serious purchasers.
Mr. Lemass: As we are getting on to this question of purchasers, I should like to know if, when the factory was sold originally, there were any other purchasers in the field?
Mr. Hogan: There were two.
Mr. Lemass: Is the Minister satisfied that he did right?
Mr. Hogan: Yes. We accepted the highest tender.
Mr. Lemass: Were the purchasers offering cash?
Mr. Hogan: Certainly.
Mr. Lemass: But the actual purchaser was not?
Mr. Hogan: You ask if the other purchasers were offering cash. I could not say whether they intended to pay all down at once. When this was sold originally, tenders were asked for and there were two tenders received. These two tenders were practically the same in their conditions. There was only one difference and that was that one person offered considerably more than the other and the highest bidder got it.
Mr. Lemass: The factory was sold on the instalment system and the purchaser for various causes was unable to meet the instalments. If there was another purchaser willing to pay cash for it, is the Minister not open to criticism for not having accepted that cash offer, even if the actual amount was less than the total of the instalment payments?
Mr. Hogan: Was there such another person?
Mr. Lemass: I am informed that there was.
Mr. Hogan: I do not think so.
Mr. Lemass: Did not the Minister say five minutes ago that there were two other purchasers?
Mr. Hogan: There were two purchasers originally, so far as I know—I can verify it before the end of the debate. The proposal of both was to pay certain sums by instalments. I shall verify that within ten minutes.
Mr. Lemass: When the Government bought the factory a second time the Minister informed us there were certain purchasers in the field besides the Government. Who were these purchasers? I do not want him to give names, but were they people who contemplated operating that factory as a toffee factory as a private enterprise?
Mr. Hogan: Some of them were.
Mr. Lemass: Does not the Minister think that it would have been better in the interests of the State to allow that factory to be purchased by a toffee manufacturer to be worked as a private enterprise, instead of taking it over with public funds as a very doubtful asset, which the Minister will, in my opinion, find considerable difficulty in disposing of, either separately or in conjunction with the condensed milk plant? The whole matter has around it an atmosphere that requires removal. It seems to me that the Minister has not been frank with the Dáil in outlining the necessity for this Vote. Does the Minister think that this £10,000 will be the sum total necessary for the taxpayer to provide to enable the factory to continue, and does he see any possibility of the factory continuing to pay, except at the cost of putting out of business a number of people engaged in toffee production in the country? The toffee manufacturers have passed a resolution which was forwarded to the Minister, I understand, in which they expressed their amazement that public money should be used to pay the debts of a private company and to put up fresh money to run a prize competition of large dimensions to still further saturate the industry and increase the private manufacturers' difficulties in successfully conducting their business and which may mean closing down of some of the businesses  already struggling for existence. The toffee manufacturers tell me that their productive capacity is sufficient to supply not merely the Free State but all England as well, and here is the Government financing an additional factory, and equipping that additional factory with new machinery in order to increase its capacity.
Mr. Hogan: No.
Mr. Lemass: The person who is now the manager of the factory had equipped it with new machinery shortly before it was purchased from him. Is not that so? The position is that, although we do not want to see action taken which would definitely impair the value of this State asset, at the same time we are not satisfied that the value of the asset is going to be maintained in this way, or that it is fair for the State to engage in this particular enterprise in this manner. If the Minister was merely concerned to keep the factory working on ordinary commercial lines, then the toffee manufacturers would have little to complain of, because if the State did not do it, some other manufacturer acquiring the factory might do so. But when we find public funds provided to enable a factory to embark on this kind of sensational prize scheme, against which it is not possible for other manufacturers to compete, a much more serious question arises. No toffee manufacturer in this State would have any reason to complain if he is defeated in fair competition with a rival concern, but he has, undoubtedly, reason to complain when that rival concern has not merely behind it State credit, but is also facilitated, out of State funds, to embark upon this unusual and very expensive method of advertising. There is attached to this question a number of points that require elucidation and which the Minister has not attempted to clarify.
Mr. Hogan: Ask them and you shall get full information.
Mr. Lemass: Very well then, I shall put in order the queries I want answered. First of all: Is the Minister satisfied that the Disposals Board managed the business of the disposal of this particular factory satisfactorily  from the beginning? Does he think they could have made a more satisfactory sale in the first instance? He has now come to the conclusion that it was a mistake in policy to sell the factory as a separate concern at all. Is he satisfied with the management of the factory, in view of the fact that two previous proprietors have failed to make it pay? Does he think that the present manager, who was one of the former proprietors, is capable of making it pay, even with the aid of State assistance?
When the Minister decided to buy the factory a second time is he satisfied that he paid a fair price? Did the £1,000 represent a fair market value of the shares? Have these shares any market value? Was it not possible to get them for a penny each or even less? When they decided to buy the factory a second time does the Minister not think that it might have been better to allow some of the other purchasers in the field, who proposed to continue it as a toffee factory, to acquire it instead of the State? Does he think it possible to run that factory on a profit paying basis without further State assistance other than what it is proposed to give under this Vote? Does he think it fair that the State should subsidise this particular concern to enable it to increase its competitive powers vis-á-vis the other toffee manufacturers in the Saorstát? Is he satisfied that the State will at any time be able to dispose of the factory to a private owner at a profit? Does he know that the value will deteriorate in time at any rate because of the fact that it will be a white elephant upon our hands which we will have to keep going or shut up or sell at a loss?
These are the main queries. I may have some other inquiries to put to the Minister later. If he answers, however, I will be satisfied for the present.
An Ceann Comhairle: With regard to the individual mentioned, does the Deputy state he was convicted of certain offences or was prosecuted?
Mr. Lemass: I do.
An Ceann Comhairle: That he was convicted?
Mr. Lemass: Yes.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy has satisfied himself upon that?
Mr. Lemass: Yes.
Mr. Briscoe: After this estimate was first introduced I was hoping the reason of its suspension was that the Minister had looked into things as the result of information given to him, and that he had decided not to go on with it, but I see it was only postponed. Deputy Lemass covered most of the main points that we on this side have to put forward. I would like to ask the Minister if he is really as innocent in the affairs of this Company as he pretends to be, or if, in fact, he is not better aware of things than we are? If things are public property, surely to goodness the Minister must have cognisance of them. I am not going back as far as the original sale of this factory. The Minister gave us certain figures and, while we understand elementary arithmetic, and that two and two make four, and one and seven make eight, I have yet to learn that one and eight make nineteen. The Minister states that originally the factory was sold for £14,000. The Disposals Board accepted £14,000 from the original purchaser and, therefore, they must have had some idea of its value. We have not been told what capital value they put upon it arising out of the total purchase of the creameries. We have not been told that figure.
Mr. Hogan: And you will not be.
Mr. Briscoe: But we have been told that the original purchaser did pay back £4,000 of the purchase price, and that there was £10,000 left outstanding. The Minister has not made it clear if the Government is liable for that £10,000 if the purchaser did not pay. Was not the Government liable for £10,000 on this transaction originally?
Mr. Hogan: How?
Mr. Briscoe: Was there not a trades loan guarantee or anything of that nature?
Mr. Hogan: I do not think so, but what has that got to do with this question?
Mr. Briscoe: I want to get some information from the Minister as to the exact figures. The factory has changed hands. The Minister is aware that the second owner of this creamery, the present manager, tried to float a company in England and that it was impossible for him to float it. The Minister possibly does not dispute that?
Mr. Hogan: I do not burrow into these things. I have no interest, in such matters. I know the Deputy is interested in this sort of thing. I have enough to do otherwise and I have not the slightest interest in them. I am not interested in the flotation and I refuse to listen to any stories about it.
Mr. Briscoe: The Minister knows nothing about this company or the attempt to float it in England.
Mr. Hogan: I will not say whether I do or not.
Mr. Briscoe: I think the Minister does know. The present manager sought to float this company in England and was not successful. The Minister spoke of the tremendous value attaching to the trade mark as a result of the quality of these toffees. The Minister stated in his opening remarks that the quality of the toffee and the trade mark were of such great value that these were the main things he wanted to preserve. I do not agree with that at all.
Mr. Hogan: I do not know anything about the quality of the toffee. I do not say anything about it. Try and be accurate.
Mr. Briscoe: If that is not the meaning of the Minister's words, or if he has not said so——
Mr. Hogan: I know nothing about toffee.
Mr. Briscoe: I am surprised that this particular manager, who was a previous owner, did not buy this factory. The Government treated him very handsomely, I think, when they bought this share of the Drumm battery concern. He had his own money himself.
Mr. Hogan: I know nothing about the Drumm battery or his share in it. Keep to the point.
Mr. Briscoe: There was a man who owned that factory who is now the present manager, from whom the Government purchased it, and it was not because he had not enough of money to purchase it, because he was handsomely paid when he was bought out of Celia, Ltd. My information is, he got something like £8,000 out of Celia, Ltd.
Mr. Hogan: What has this got to do with it?
Mr. Briscoe: I am making the point that if the present manager, who was not long ago the owner, had such confidence in the factory that he had but to require £1,000 additional capital to assure its success, he had not any occasion to come to the Government, because he was already handsomely paid out of the concern in which the Government had taken over his interests, and he had sufficient capital to carry on himself.
Perhaps the Minister will understand it now. What I want to know is, if this manager is going to manage this concern on behalf of the Government, what control or check is there? How do we know, immediately this Vote is passed, that he will not order £5,000 worth or £10,000 worth of toffee-tins or thousands of tons of sugar, and that if the Minister eventually decides to close up the factory he will not be faced with all those liabilities which he must pay if it is a Government concern? It is all very well for us to say——
Mr. Hogan: The job of running or being manager of a Government factory is a nice one. Any irresponsible Deputy can get up and make charges against you under cover.
Mr. Briscoe: What assurance can the Minister give the House that the manager of this factory will not endanger this State with future huge liabilities?
Mr. Hogan: I will ask the Deputy to nominate my managers for me, and then I will be perfectly safe.
Mr. Briscoe: I do not approve of the person——
Mr. de Valera: It is not the Minister alone who is concerned.
Mr. Briscoe: I want to put this to the Minister: The Deputies on these benches have been given information by persons who ought to know something, not only about the toffee business and the management of it, but also of the present management of the Government factory. It is our duty to ask the Minister to give the House certain assurances that the doubts in the minds of those people who are citizens of this State are without any foundation, or else, if there is foundation for them, that the Minister is quite alive on these points. The Minister made a point that one of the reasons he was anxious to get it going was that there were 70 employees, and that if the Government closed it down these 70 would become unemployed. As against that, there are several toffee manufacturers in the State here who are in a position to produce more than there is a demand for. If this State factory is going to compete with the existing people, in what you might call subsidised competition, it is only changing around unemployment from one place to another, Possibly some of the toffee factories in our areas will close down, and you will have seventy unemployed in Dublin instead of being unemployed in Limerick. These manufacturers state that they are able to produce more toffee than there is a demand for.
I think we should be given some particulars, and I do not think the Minister should decide until we get further information. The Minister stated that in taking over the factory again he was not taking on any extra liability. There were £8,000 assets and also £8,000 liabilities. The Minister said there was additional machinery to what had been there before the Minister originally sold it. I want to know can the Minister state what amount of money has been spent on additional machinery. He has not given us that figure. How much does he value the machinery at, so that we can see the difference between the stocks and so forth?
Mr. Hogan: The machinery put in  was purchased at £3,000. We valued it at £1,000.
Mr. Briscoe: Would the Minister say £1,000 is a fair valuation?
Mr. Hogan: I am no judge, but I am well advised that it is.
Mr. Gorey: They got it at a Jewman's price.
Mr. Aiken: A Christian remark.
Mr. Little: On a point of order, may I ask, through you, that that remark be withdrawn as a slur on this House.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I think it is very improper, and the remark should not be made.
Mr. Gorey: If it is derogatory to the dignity of the House I do withdraw, but I do not see that it is. We have Jews and Christians in this country, and any Jew who is ashamed of being a Jew ought to shut his mouth.
Mr. MacEntee: There is an old saying about a silk purse and a sow's car. The Deputy would not understand it.
Mr. Derrig: May I draw attention to the fact that the Deputy has not withdrawn the remark.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I am quite aware of that. I think the Deputy, when asked by the Chair, should withdraw.
Mr. Gorey: I do withdraw.
Mr. Briscoe: Is the Minister satisfied that he is well advised that £1,000 is a fair value put on the assets?
Mr. Hogan: I am satisfied that I am valuing it conservatively.
Mr. Briscoe: That means the other assets would amount to £7,000. We do not know what they consist of. We do not know what those stocks consist of, or what proportion of them are new, and if there are book debts.
Mr. Hogan: I will give you the figures. There are £3,665 debts after £2,000 have been written off. Stocks are valued at £3,415 after a very big sum has been written off. I am satisfied that that is more than conservative. That is £7,000. There are definite assets of a couple of thousand pounds more. There is stock in trade, £648.
Mr. Briscoe: The Minister did not give us these figures before, and I am sure he will agree that we are entitled to have them.
Mr. Hogan: If I gave them all it would overload the statement. I gave them to you as you wanted them.
Mr. Briscoe: The Minister will agree that when statements are made outside this House it is only reasonable that we should have figures. I am satisfied that these figures are given here. The main point is, is the Minister satisfied that with this factory producing there will not be over-production and that no one will get hit? Is he satisfied that the present factories can cope with the present demands, and if he is prepared to say here that the present factories working cannot meet the demand, then a lot of our arguments fall to the ground? On the other hand, if he is not prepared to say that and says the existing factories can cope with the demand is it fair for this House to use State money to provide Cleeve's with money and to sound the death-knell of their competitors? As Deputy Lemass pointed out, the competition is price-cutting. There will be a price competition, and State funds are used to advertise this toffee as against existing manufacturers. If they cannot get sufficient turnover they will close down and be turned out of business.
The Minister probably does know better than I do that the protection given to Cleeve's condensed milk produced by the creamery adjacent to this toffee factory counts and that when outside factories have to buy their condensed milk they have to buy from Cleeve's, unless they import it. The protection is sufficiently high to enable Cleeve's to sell condensed milk to the existing toffee manufacturers here. That means an extra preference for Cleeve's. They can sell to their own factory at cost, and they will not have to meet the charge of something between 20/- and 30/- per ton on the toffee. That is one item of protection that these ordinary toffee manufacturers would have to contend with. It is pointed out that it is very hard for the Minister to say whether the factory  is making a profit because he cannot say that Cleeve's creamery and the toffee factory are segregated.
Mr. Hogan: They are separate accounts.
Mr. Briscoe: Is the Minister quite satisfied that there is no danger of an accident happening, such as sugar that should go for the manufacture of condensed milk being charged up to the sweets?
Mr. Hogan: That would be a mistake.
Mr. Briscoe: Is the Minister prepared to say that it cannot happen?
Mr. Hogan: I am prepared to say that there is very little risk of that happening, no more risk than there would be in any well-run factory.
Mr. Briscoe: The Minister knows that a certain quantity of condensed milk is not of sufficiently high quality to be sold as condensed milk for ordinary purposes. Therefore, one of the things the Minister is standing over will be that this milk will go free, or at a reduced price, to the toffee factory to be turned into toffee.
Mr. Hogan: I agree that such milk would be sold at a price less than if it were used for its own purpose.
Mr. Briscoe: The Minister will admit that Cleeve's factory will be the first factory to get it.
Mr. Hogan: I would agree that there is a slight advantage there, but that is not because it is owned by the Government but because it is connected with the condensing factory.
Mr. Briscoe: I am glad that the Minister sees that point and agrees. Then, first of all, Cleeve's factory has an advantage over ordinary competitors inasmuch as it will get from time to time condensed milk at very much reduced prices.
Mr. Hogan: I did not say that.
Mr. Briscoe: The Minister has admitted——
Mr. Hogan: Perhaps I would clear up the matter. Any such milk is saleable  and has a market value. If there is a small quantity of it and there are two or three bidding, obviously the condensed milk factory is more likely to sell it to its own factory than to an outside factory. In that way it has a slight advantage.
Mr. Briscoe: The Minister knows that an advantage lies there. If an independent person came along to buy that factory, one of the talking points for the purpose of selling the factory would be that it is adjacent to the creamery, and that a certain raw material would be got at a reduced price.
Mr. Hogan: No, but you will get a chance in purchasing it that you would not get otherwise.
Mr. Briscoe: If a man who was bidding for it happened to have his factory in Dublin he would have to pay the freight on the milk.
Mr. Hogan: Exactly.
Mr. Briscoe: Therefore, he is at a disadvantage, and this factory from time to time is going to get certain raw material at a reduced price. Then Cleeve's creamery is not going to sell to Cleeve's toffee factory milk at the same price that it will charge to an ordinary independent competitor, because Cleeve's factory is part of the creamery and it will help it to succeed. That is a second advantage. The Minister now wants to give it a third advantage, namely, that the State shall subsidise its advertising.
Mr. Hogan: Does the Deputy suggest that we can work this without working capital, part of which goes to advertising?
Mr. Briscoe: I am prepared to sit down if the Minister will assure us that not one penny of that money will be used in the way indicated by Deputy Lemass.
Mr. Hogan: Certainly not. It means that we must give an undertaking that we will not advertise.
Mr. Lemass: It is not a matter of advertising; it is a matter of thousands of pounds for prize schemes.
Mr. Hogan: What do you call that?
Mr. Lemass: I call it price-cutting.
Mr. Hogan: If I could express an opinion on that, I would be outside making millions as an advertising expert, which I am not.
Mr. Briscoe: What I want to get at is this. First of all, this toffee factory is going to have certain advantages over existing independent concerns. The Minister is not prepared to say that portion of this £1,000 is not going to be used as an indirect way of price-cutting. We have no means of knowing. All we know is that this is an indirect way of price-cutting against taxpayers who are contributing to subsidise this in competition with themselves.
Mr. Hogan: Will you explain how advertising is price-cutting?
Mr. Briscoe: The advertising is to be paid out of the subsidy, while an ordinary factory has to pay it out of its profits. In that way, it is price-cutting. If we pass this Estimate we are going to put ourselves in the position of standing for unfair competition. That is what it amounts to. The Minister will not give us certain guarantees about the thing, and therefore we must air these grievances from the light in which we see them. I say through the advantages Cleeve's factory is going to have while it is run by the State it is going to be in unfair competition against the ordinary toffee manufacturers. I asked the Minister before and I ask him again can he say whether the existing toffee manufacturers are or are not in a position to supply more toffee than is required in the State? It has been officially communicated to me that the ordinary toffee manufacturers, apart from Cleeve's factory, are in a position to supply more toffee than there is a demand for. In fact, there is competition to try and keep up full production in each factory. When Cleeve's come into competition either the State is going to get it in the neck or some of these other toffee manufacturers are going to be hit.
Mr. Hogan: The Deputy spoke of my refusing assurances. What assurances does he want?
Mr. Briscoe: Number one, that there is no danger of any raw materials being procured by the toffee factory at prices which will be cheaper than the ordinary toffee manufacturer can secure them in the open market. Number two, that the two firms are kept completely segregated, and that no charge, whether cost of management or in respect of raw material, that would ordinarily go to the toffee factory, is to be taken, accidentally or otherwise, by the creamery. Number three, that the Minister will not stand for unfair competition by allowing this working capital to be used for advertising prize schemes against the ordinary toffee manufacturers. Will the Minister further state that in no case the goods will be sold under the cost of production, by design or even accidentally?
Mr. Hogan: How would the Deputy like to run a business on those lines? Has the Deputy ever sold under the cost of production?
Mr. Briscoe: I have, of course.
Mr. Hogan: So have we all.
Mr. Lemass: Nobody else has the State to make up the difference.
Mr. Briscoe: What I mean is, taking things generally, there is no under cost selling by design. The Minister did not say who had the right to the name of Cleeves in England. That seems peculiar to me. Who had the right to the name in England?
Mr. Hogan: Cleeves, Ltd., England.
Mr. Briscoe: Cleeves, Ltd., England. If the State has taken over Cleeves holus bolus, as we were led to believe, and if Cleeves in England are not included in it, it is a rather peculiar position. Were these people originally in Limerick?
Mr. Hogan: They were originally in Limerick.
Mr. Briscoe: Were they different people?
Mr. Hogan: They were.
Mr. Briscoe: Is there any direct or indirect connection between the present management in Limerick and these people?
Mr. Hogan: No.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I think we will have to have this debate by way of speech.
Mr. Briscoe: I hope that the Minister will be prepared to say that he will look into the matter again. There would be no satisfaction, in my opinion, from the point of view of public interest, in having this estimate opposed, in our voting against it and probably in our being beaten. I would prefer to see the Minister looking into the matter and giving the toffee trade an opportunity of discussing it with him, in all fairness to them and to him. Perhaps he might then find a way to satisfy not only himself but the trade. I beg of him seriously to consider the postponement of this particular item until he has had an opportunity of discussing it with the trade concerned. He can either satisfy the persons concerned or can come back here and tell us that their objections are unreasonable and, if he can show us that they are unreasonable, we must, I suppose, be satisfied. I suppose it is impossible to have all the information which some of us would like to have, and on that account, perhaps the Minister would postpone the matter.
Mr. Nolan: Will the Minister make sure that the toffee factory will not have to repay the Oireachtas for the advertisement given to it by this debate?
Mr. Hogan: I think that the toffee factory has got a bad advertisement.
Mr. Good: I hope that we will have an opportunity of speaking after the Minister has spoken. A number of questions have been raised in this issue and if we heard the Minister's reply it might shorten the discussion. I take it that after the Minister has spoken opportunity will be given to Deputies to raise further points.
Mr. T.J. O'Connell: There are a few remarks which I have to make on this matter arising out of the debate to which I have listened carefully, though I regret I did not hear the first part of the Minister's statement. As I understand it, if this Vote does not go  through, this concern will be closed down and a number of people thrown out of employment. We have it from one of the Fianna Fáil Deputies that it is six of one and half-dozen of the other as to whether people will be thrown out of employment in Dublin. That is a contingency. The other is a certainty. It struck me, while listening to the case which Deputy Briscoe was making, that he was making it entirely from the brief supplied to him by the people engaged in toffee manufacture.
Mr. Briscoe: Not entirely.
Mr. O'Connell: His arguments seemed to be entirely in their interests. I am not prepared to accept the statement of these rival manufacturers as being entirely uninterested. I do not believe it for one moment. I have no doubt that it is their interests, and their interests alone, that they are looking to in this matter. It would be hard to blame them. I do not blame them, but I will not allow them to take me in and convince me that they are acting in the interests of the general public, in the interests of the taxpayer, and that it is only the taxpayers' interests with which they are concerned. Some of these people put their views before us, but I cannot say that we were particularly convinced by their arguments. I am rather interested in a general way in this matter owing to what transpired during the discussion. We see the representative of the Government Party here, who on most occasions would denounce State intervention, advocating it in this instance, and, on the other side, people who always advocate State intervention, people like Deputy Lemass, objecting to it in this instance. I think it will be difficult when the responsibility is thrown on them for Deputy Lemass and Deputy Briscoe to reconcile their varying points of view.
Mr. Lemass: We are dealing with a particular case.
Mr. O'Connell: It is easy to deal with generalities, but the trouble arises when you come to deal with a particular case. If we are held up, as Deputy Briscoe is, by the obstacle of unfair  competition, what will the State do? It is like the Shannon scheme. All the shareholders in gas companies in Ireland immediately cry out “unfair competition.” Every man who has a share in a gas company complains about State interference and the shutting out of private enterprise.
Mr. Briscoe: Before Deputy O'Connell goes too far on the wrong track, I should point out that apparently he does not know that the existing toffee manufacturers, outside Cleeve's, are subsidised by the Government through a trade loan guarantee, and, if they go out of business, we will have to make the loss good out of the taxpayers' money.
Mr. O'Connell: That does not make a great deal of difference. I do not put too much credit on the statement as to what these private firms are able to do. We have heard a lot about it before, but we are beginning to learn a lesson. We heard it from the boot manufacturers and from the clothing manufacturers. They got every chance, but they have not gone very far to carry out their promises. I have no opposition to the general principle contained in the Vote, and as a practical demonstration of State intervention I am prepared to support it. I say, as between the certainty of throwing these people out of employment and the possibility of others being thrown out, because of what Deputy Lemass has stated on the evidence of rival firms, I am prepared to take the risk and prevent the certainty of people being thrown out of employment.
Mr. de Valera: There are two questions at issue. There is the question of State intervention in this case, State activity in this particular line. There is also the question that a number of rumours have been going round and have reached the members of our Party, and also, I suppose, the members of other Parties. There appears to be something unsavoury about this whole transaction. I did not pursue investigations into it, but I think that when a situation like that occurs it is the duty of the Minister to be frank and to give all the details necessary. If time for examination is required, that  time should be given before we commit ourselves to giving State aid in cases like this. That is the first point, the necessity for careful examination, so that it may be clear to all of us who are asked to vote this money that it is a bona-fide, genuine transaction, that there is necessity for it, and the grounds of such necessity should be very clearly put to us.
As far as I am able to understand, the main point and the one particularly which induces Deputy O'Connell to vote for this—I think he said that he was going to vote for this particular Estimate—is that if it is not passed it will throw men out of work. There is nobody here who, in the present condition of things, wants to see any factory, which can be kept going, closed down. There is nobody who wants to see any number added to the unemployed. When we talk of State intervention in matters of this kind, we should certainly satisfy ourselves that we are not going to cause more unemployment. We ought to examine the matter, and I say there has been no examination of it—at least, there is nothing to indicate to us that there has been examination of it. It is not that we are opposed to State intervention in cases like this, but that we are opposed to this particular project. It is not because there is a difficulty— that we are all right so long as we talk about general principles, but that we are not prepared to apply what we say when it comes to practice. This is a case where it is held that the present producers can more than supply the market. If, for instance, it was like the boot trade, where the market is not supplied from home, then I, for one, would have no hesitation in saying that if the present boot manufacturers are not able to equip themselves and will not equip themselves to supply our needs, then the State should examine the question to see whether it should not supply what should be supplied by the manufacturers. This is a different question. This is a case where there is over-production, if anything.
We are not against, and Deputy Briscoe is not against, State intervention  where it is necessary for the State to come in and to build up industries where they do not exist, but here is a case where State money is going to be used in an unfair way against other competitors. We want to see very definitely before that is done that there is good reason for it, that it can be justified on the grounds that if it is not voted there will be unemployment. The safeguards that we are looking for are simply the safeguards that an ordinary individual taking over a factory, apart altogether from the question of the work, would require. If we are going to take over a factory, we cannot, simply because the resources of the community are at our back, enter into that enterprise except with the same care that a private individual taking over a factory would exercise. Every question which Deputy Briscoe asked is a question that would have been asked by any person taking over a factory and working it for himself.
There are three questions involved. There is the question of whether State intervention is justifiable. There is, secondly, the question as to whether as a commercial proposition it is right. Thirdly, there is the question as to whether there is not something behind it, as suggested, other than the mere question of keeping people employed and keeping the factory going on. These are questions which we want examined. We want the Minister to give himself an opportunity of hearing the things that we heard, to give himself an opportunity of hearing the representations from the people in the trade that have been made to us. If after that he can come here and tell us that the case that has been made is contrary to the facts and that he can prove it is wrong, then we will have no hesitation in voting for this. The suggestion that this scheme is on the same footing as the Shannon scheme is all nonsense. I do not believe that any Deputy is going to suggest that we should enter into an enterprise quite irrespective of how it is going to affect the community as a whole. In every single case the State would have to satisfy us that there were good public grounds for doing it. That is the one ground. I agree with Deputy O'Connell that there is also a question as to  whether it would keep in employment people who would otherwise be unemployed. If that is the basis it is all right, but it must be proved. The suggestion is not that there will be more people employed as a result of this Vote, but that there might very well be less. The Minister has talked about efficiency here again. We had it in the case of a proposed flour tariff. Are we going to start without examining where we are going? Are we going to have the state of efficiency as demonstrated in Limerick to the detriment of people elsewhere? Are we going to have a monopoly of the toffee manufacture in the State? Suppose that this is followed up to a conclusion, and that the State puts this factory in the position that it is able to wipe out other competitors, we may have a number of people employed in Limerick, but you will have a greater number of people unemployed elsewhere.
It is said that people will benefit if there is rationalisation of industry. There is a very big question involved in the matter of rationalisation as to whether under our conditions it is going to cause unemployment or not. I suggest to Deputy O'Connell that he should move cautiously before voting for this, simply because the Minister says he is able to get 40 or 50 men employed in Limerick. I suggest to the Minister that he should march very carefully, or he will find that instead of leading towards employment he may be going in the opposite direction.
Mr. Hogan: I have been told three or four times by different Deputies that the fullest information should be given in this case, and I think even Opposition Deputies will agree that I have answered every question that has arisen at the moment. A number of questions were asked by Deputy Briscoe, and he also prefaced his remarks with the suggestion that full information should be given, and I think I answered him. There is one question I have not answered. I have been asked by Deputy Lemass what were the conditions of the original tenders. He wants to know how many tenders there were, and whether one party who did not get the factory offered to pay cash down. There were  only two tenders. The terms of the tenders were the same. They were to pay by instalments, but one was considerably higher than the other, and we accepted the higher tender. That is a full answer to the Deputy's question. Deputy de Valera also says that we should have full information. You have full information, and if any Deputy in this House wants any fuller information I will get it. There is one thing that I will not do—answer questions with regard to disputes between any of the parties who formerly owned this factory. I refuse absolutely to enter into or listen to any charges or counter-charges made by people who formerly owned this factory. Deputy de Valera spoke about unsavoury details and statements. These should never be mentioned in the Dáil unless, first of all, they are relevant. There is no use in trying to generate an atmosphere of suspicion, that there is something to be covered up.
Mr. de Valera: I would point out to the Minister that we did not generate it.
Mr. Hogan: What other purpose could be behind this? The Deputy gets up and refers to unsavoury rumours about this, and wants to know what is behind it? All that can point only to one thing, and that is to generate an atmosphere of suspicion. There is the suggestion there that there are, perhaps, corrupt reasons for this deal. It could not mean anything else. Deputy Briscoe, and Deputy Lemass especially, threw wild charges about in regard to the present manager of the factory. These charges do not affect me as Minister for Agriculture. The character of the present manager only affects me in so far as he is a good or bad toffee maker. I propose to leave those disputes where they are now. They have got nothing whatever to do with me. I would be very much surprised if they are left where they are now by the parties interested. I refuse to discuss disputes between any of the parties who made up the company which formerly owned the factory. When I bought this Condensed Milk Company I had not a tremendous amount of experience in business. I happened to be the Minister for Agriculture  and a politician. I realised that I was in a peculiar role. Wisdom dictated to me to keep all businessmen at arm's length.
So far as this company is concerned, the toffee factory, the creameries, the condensing plant, the mills, houses and all the vast property that we bought, I can say this, that I hardly have ever had an interview in my office with any person who was interested as a purchaser, prospective purchaser, buyer or seller. Everything was done through the solicitors. I kept all business men at arm's length. I will not listen to any charges which do not affect me, any charges by people who perhaps now own property which we formerly owned and re-sold. I have got absolutely nothing to do with them, and I am not going to listen to any of these charges. I have no concern with any of these persons now except in so far as they are employees of mine, and in that respect I am only concerned with their technical efficiency.
Let us drop once and for all the pretence that there is anything being hidden. I have given full detailed information with regard to this particular transaction. It will be remembered that I actually interrupted so that I could answer specific questions. I am prepared to give any more figures that are required. If I am asked for a figure which I am not prepared to give, then I will give the reasons for that. Obviously, there are certain figures which I could not give, but I want this to be made plain, that there will be no secrecy whatever. Everything ought to be known. I hope at least that my position in the matter will be understood.
Deputy de Valera tried to work himself into an anxious frame of mind on the question of rationalisation and State efficiency, and protested against that. I do not hold this factory because I have any particular business theories or because I think that the State may usefully take over factories and rationalise them. Least of all do I hold that the Department of Agriculture can run a business much more efficiently than, say, a business man or a company. If there were any  members here who had any doubts in their minds as to the possible advantage of the State running industries, I am sure this debate will have succeeded in dispelling them. Just imagine me trying to run a toffee factory, condensing factory, or creamery and being subjected to the sort of criticism you get in the Dáil—if you like, rightly get in the Dáil. The two things are incompatible. Take the case of this toffee factory. Suppose that I want to sell it. Would it be easy to do it after this debate? Suppose that I wanted a new manager, would it be easy to get one after this debate? Of course not. Most people in business are timid. They are not used to making speeches; they do not like to see their names in the newspapers; they do not like to get criticism; and, above all things, they do not like to hear aspersions on their character, especially when these are made in certain places on privileged occasions. In any event, we all know that business people do not like to be criticised in that fashion.
Mr. Good: But a great many of them like Government jobs.
Mr. Hogan: Quite so, and that is the very thing I am pointing out. It is almost impossible—it is extremely difficult, at any rate—for a Government Department to run a business for that reason. The Deputy knows quite well that this debate will make it extremely difficult for me to run this business. I am not complaining of the debate. I suppose the normal duty of an Opposition is to oppose, and of members of every Party to speak freely. That, I take it, is the reason why statements made in the Dáil are privileged, so that everything can be elicited. But that is not the way business is run. Any business man listening to this debate must realise that it would be next to impossible to run a business if its details could be criticised in the Dáil by an Opposition in face of the person responsible for it, who must answer all questions relating to it. A certain amount of goodwill was required in order to make that big transaction, which involved the purchase of the Condensed Milk Company, including the creameries, toffee factory, etc., a  success originally. We got that good-will from the country and fairly well in the Dáil up to the present, but I can see there is a change to-day.
Mr. Derrig: Might I ask the Minister a question? Did he not refuse to give to a Committee of the House full details, such details as would preclude the necessity for discussing this matter openly? Did the Minister not refuse to give the information we wanted at the time the transaction was begun? Now the Minister is creating a terrible racket because things are being discussed in public when, in fact, he refused to meet people and discuss them in any other way.
Mr. Hogan: What did I refuse?
Mr. Derrig: The Minister refused to meet a Committee of the Dáil to give information and details with regard to the purchase of this business.
Mr. Hogan: In the case of the Condensed Milk Company I refused, but I am not now talking about the Condensed Milk Company. I am on the question of the re-purchase of Cleeve's factory, and I am giving full details. As I have pointed out, I have no theories in regard to the State running business. I am not anxious to continue to run this factory or to run the Condensed Milk Company. I am not in possession of it voluntarily. I am not in it in order to show that the Department of Agriculture can make toffee more efficiently than anybody else, or that it can make condensed milk more efficiently than anybody else. I have no such views. I have the factory because I must have it— by accident if you like. When I bought the Condensed Milk Company it included this factory. In order that I could buy the creameries, I had to buy the lot. I have to run this factory until I can dispose of it. I have to run the business done by the condensing plant and the toffee factory efficiently in order to keep the good-will there and until I can dispose of them.
The suggestion of Deputy de Valera, so far as it means anything, is this that we should close the toffee factory. I have spoken of the disadvantage  of my running any business as Minister for Agriculture. The position at the moment is that there is a business there which consists of the condensing plant and the toffee factory. They are the same business and the two form an economic unit. Now I am asked to close the toffee factory or to sell it, and then, presumably, having put myself under the further disadvantage of getting rid of the paying end of the business to run the other business efficiently.
Mr. Lemass: You did sell the toffee factory, in fact.
Mr. Hogan: I did sell it, and I found that the purchasers were unable to pay me. I have very little experience of condensing factories, but I found it was a mistake to have sold the toffee factory, from the point of view of keeping together an economic unit. I found that the toffee factory was extremely useful to the condensed milk factory. I find that still. It is making a profit and I re-purchased it for two reasons. I did so as a business matter because I considered it the proper thing to do. This toffee factory is making a profit in the ordinary business way, after making allowances for overhead costs of production, and so on. It is making a profit in the sense that I might speak of any other business, and I find that the two make an economic unit.
Mr. Lemass: What is the necessity for this vote of £1,000 for working capital?
Mr. Hogan: I am asked what is the necessity for working capital. One would think that Deputy Lemass and Deputy Briscoe had absolutely no experience of business. Do these Deputies think that you can keep any business static? If you aim at keeping a business stationary, what is going to happen? It is put to me in all innocence; we want certain undertakings that you will not advertise; that you will not charge this or that. That is put forward by people who may have no experience of business but who should know that business cannot be run in that way. I cannot aim at keeping the business where it  is. No business could be run on these lines. You must keep developing or go back. This extra working capital is required for the business. If any business goes back every business man knows what will happen.
Mr. Lemass: Is the Minister not satisfied with the profit that the business is now realising?
Mr. Hogan: I am.
Mr. Lemass: Why does the Minister want to increase it by this particular method?
Mr. Hogan: That is my business. I have responsibility for it, and I must keep it going. I must keep the good-will. I consider it necessary to advertise and to take the precautions that any other person would take.
Mr. Coburn: Why is it necessary to keep this factory?
Mr. MacEntee: To keep it going.
Mr. Coburn: It is the same as the butter tax; the vested interests are behind it.
Mr. Hogan: Behind what?
Mr. Coburn: The vested interests are behind it.
Mr. Hogan: What are the vested interests?
Mr. Coburn: Deputy de Valera was quite right in his contention here to-day.
Mr. Hogan: I think I am entitled to know what are the vested interests. I have this unit at present. I am anxious to sell it. What I would really like to know from the Dáil is: Have I the permission of the Dáil to sell both? The sooner I can get rid of these factories the better I will like it. I have been trying to do it the whole time. I am very anxious to get rid of both factories. I know perfectly well that if Deputies woke up some morning and found that I sold both to a proprietary firm, and got a good price, there would be a scene in the Dáil. You cannot have it both ways. I am in a difficult position. I am running a business, and I am subject to the criticism  of the Dáil. Either I must be allowed to run this in a business way, to advertise, and to keep what is paying, and refuse to answer foolish questions, and deal with people who are making silly charges that I have nothing to do with or I must be allowed to sell both. One thing I will not do, and that is to sell piecemeal.
Mr. Derrig: Or sell at a loss.
Mr. Hogan: To sell what is profitable. The toffee factory is profitable in itself, and is profitabel as an adjunct to the condensing factory. It makes the condensing factory more profitable. There are other ends but people want to buy the profitable end. As guardian of the taxpayers' money I will not proceed to sell this business piecemeal, and I will not proceed to give away a valuable part of the good-will by closing part of the business, as the Deputy suggested.
Mr. de Valera: I have not suggested any such thing.
Mr. Hogan: I will not do that. If the Dáil asks me to do that then they are asking me to do what is unreasonable. I propose to do what any other business man would do. At the moment it is difficult to sell any business. You have to keep the paying ends going to make them attractive. I think I can sell this business. The condensed milk side and the toffee factory are an economic unit and I want to sell it. I have been anxious to do so for months.
Mr. Lemass: Why did you not do so?
Mr. Hogan: It is never too late to mend. I think it should be sold, as I do not think the Government should have anything to do with these factories. Let there be no misunderstanding. I am not going to break it up, to close one part and sell another part, or to let the whole thing disintegrate and go to the devil. Let us be clear about the matter. I have a unit that I believe I can sell at a good price. Do I take it that the sense of the debate is that it should be sold?
Mr. Derrig: On a point of explanation, when the Minister bought out  Lovell and Christmas did he not buy them out for the benefit of this country? Is he now going to sell back to the foreigner probably at a loss?
Mr. Hogan: There you are. That is the glorious position I am in. I am expected to run this business in the face of most irresponsible criticism.
Mr. Derrig: That is your responsibility.
Mr. Hogan: I have to run this business, a thing I should never be at. I hope Deputy Coburn is satisfied now.
Mr. Coburn: You stand in a different position. I am out for honesty in public affairs.
Mr. Derrig: How did the Deputy come in here?
Mr. Coburn: Yesterday's debate on the butter tax finishes me as regards honesty in public affairs.
Mr. Hogan: I have to run this business in the face of very difficult, if you like hostile, and, in my opinion, unfair criticism. At any rate, it is criticism which no other business would stand up to, with all the details advertised to the public and the managers criticised in public. Certainly I am being put in a very difficult position, if I want to get employees. I am suffering from all these disadvantages and, in addition, any time any part of my business seriously competes with any other interests I am to close it up and to make a present of my good-will to them. I am to disintegrate the whole business and, as a result, meet with huge losses, and then be pilloried in the Dáil as inefficient. I refuse to accept that position.
Mr. Derrig: You are the most efficient Minister for Agriculture in Europe.
Mr. Hogan: I actually do not believe that myself. I want Deputies to take this question seriously, and to look at the problem as a whole, because I am seriously concerned here. I hope I have made my position clear. I refuse to disintegrate the whole business or to make losses. On the contrary, I intend  to take every step that any business man would take to try to make the business a paying one. I think the business should be sold. I think there is no way out of it. If this debate has done nothing else but to show the impossibilities of the position, to give the country a certain amount of light on the whole matter, and to enable me to tackle this problem of selling the condensed milk company and the toffee factory as one unit to the highest bidder, then it will have served a useful purpose. But I will not, under any set of circumstances and for any special pleas, agree to the proposition put up by the other side that I should close this factory.
Mr. Briscoe: Nobody suggested that.
Mr. Hogan: That is what it comes to. The proposition made is that the factory should not advertise.
Mr. Lemass: That suggestion was not made.
Mr. Hogan: What suggestion was made then?
Mr. Lemass: That you are indulging in a form of advertising which is illegal in other countries and which is unfair to the people engaged in this business in this country.
Mr. Hogan: What does the Deputy know, or what do I know, or what does the House know about the proper form for advertising toffee?
Mr. Lemass: The Minister is side-stepping the point again.
Mr. Hogan: I am not side-stepping any point. Is not advertising a business proposition for the company? Deputy Briscoe will tell you that you are not to use a certain type of utensil in the factory, that it is unfair to somebody else. And then someone else will come along and make a suggestion that I should use Killaloe slates in the factory instead of some galvanised material. How can I or anybody else run a business along those lines?
Mr. Lemass: That is not the point. The point is that if the Minister were to conduct an advertising campaign out of the profits of the business there would be no complaint, but in this  case the Minister is using the taxpayers' money in that respect.
Mr. Coburn: Yes; we complain of the using of State money for this purpose. That is the real point.
Mr. Briscoe: I would like to make this point clear. Is the Minister going on with this prize scheme? There is no use in bringing in extraneous matters. I want the Minister in his speech to come down to the question of production in the State.
Mr. Hogan: The Deputy will hear my speech under whatever arrangement I think best.
Mr. Derrig: On what grounds did the Minister interrupt Deputy Briscoe?
Mr. Hogan: Because he asked me a question, and I think I was right in answering it. The Deputy invited answers. Apparently the proposition is that I should not close the factory but that I should run it without working capital. Who is to be the judge of what working capital is required? Supposing it was an outsider bought this factory and found himself in possession of it for three months. After all debts cannot be collected instantly. Debts cannot be collected within three months. The assets cannot be turned into money in three months. Supposing such a person having possession of the factory wanted £1,000 in capital, where does he go for it? He goes to the bank for the money. Is not that a normal transaction? But suppose I own the business I go not to the bank for the working capital but I come to the Dáil for it. I am criticised for doing so. No big business can be run without a working capital of at least £1,000.
When Deputies tell me that I shall have no working capital beyond what the company earns month after month, they are merely telling me to close down the factory. All this talk is so much waste of time and pure nonsense. Let Deputies get down to the point that I am to run that factory efficiently as a business proposition or, as an alternative, that I am to  sell it. I want to sell it and I warn the Dáil that I will take whatever steps I can to sell both. But when I do sell both, people should not be coming to me to ask for guarantees as to what is to be done with the factory afterwards, or what the purchasers are to do.
Mr. MacEntee: I hope the Minister will justify the price.
Mr. Hogan: The only thing that will concern me, if I am selling it, is what usually concerns a business man—that is, the price.
Mr. de Valera: There is something more than that.
Mr. Hogan: I think it was made clear that Deputies will have an opportunity of speaking when I am finished. There is only one thing that will concern me in the sale of this factory, and that is the price, and not what is to be done with the factory afterwards. People do not do business on other than those lines. This is quite a big business down in Limerick. It has to face very big competition from people in the trade, such as Libby's, Nestle's, and so on. You are not going to sell a factory like this to small men. It is going to be a big deal if it comes off at all, but I want to make it clear that I shall get a free hand from the Dáil in this matter. It is my view that the Dáil should say to me that the Government should not be in business except as little as possible, and I should get a free hand to sell the condenseries and toffee factory as early as I can. The only concern I should have is the concern of any business man, namely, to sell at a price that will cover what I paid for it, and as much more as I can get.
Mr. Anthony: If the State is making a profit out of this factory, why should not the Minister continue it as a State concern?
Mr. Hogan: All I am saying is that we are making a profit at the moment on the toffee factory.
Mr. Anthony: On the whole enterprise?
Mr. Hogan: I am not going to listen  to the suggestions that I should run a certain part of the business and close down the other part, and that I am not to employ this man, and that I am to employ that man, and to do all these things at the behest of members of the Dáil. I could not do the thing on those lines. I hope that is now quite clear to everybody. What I am really asking for is £1,000 working capital. I propose to do with that £1,000 what am advised to do with it. I do not need to say to the House that I do not keep in touch with the details of the business. There is a certain Committee in the Department in whom I have every confidence, and the special business of this Committee is to see to these factories. They employ the managers. I am satisfied in a general way with that Committee. That is all I can do. When I speak of myself I mean then whatever arrangements that Committee makes, and for that Committee I must take full responsibility here. I want this money now for the purpose of running the factory and keeping it going efficiently.
I do not propose to close the factory and hand over their trade mark and good-will free, gratis and for nothing to the rest of the manufacturers of toffee and condensed milk in the country. I am not concerned with whether the present manufacturers of toffee in the Saorstát are able to supply the needs of the country or not. I do not know. All I am concerned with is that I have a business here which I had to repurchase as a business proposition. It was repurchased by the taxpayers' money. It is making a profit. But I am not anxious to run it. I am anxious to sell it, and my special aim in this matter is that I will endeavour to keep both businesses going as efficiently and as paying as possible while I have them and sell them as soon as possible. I am not going to inquire as to whom I am going to sell them. But if there are no people within this country who are open to buy them, then we must sell them to others. I say this, that it would be the duty of the State when making a sale to see that these factories are kept open and working. That is the only consideration that I take  into account. I say off-hand as Minister for Agriculture, whose interests are, of course, other than those of a proprietor, that it would be my duty to see when I am selling that the premises were kept open, that they have the best prospects of being kept open and of being worked at full capacity. In fact, if I could part with them with a reasonable prospect that employment would be increased and that production would be increased, then that would be a very good stroke of business. I propose to take steps immediately to see whether these factories cannot be disposed of on those lines and subject to those conditions, if I can dispose of them on those lines —and I believe I can—then I will do so quickly. Meanwhile I will not for one moment listen to the suggestions that have been made that I should try to carry on without working capital, that I should consult Deputy Lemass every time I want to advertise, and consult Deputy Briscoe over something else; nor will I listen to the suggestion that I should generally disintegrate the whole business by getting rid of it portion by portion.
Mr. Derrig: Would the Minister not consider selling the creameries back to the foreigners?
Mr. Hogan: They are sold. What is the Deputy's point?
Mr. Derrig: The Minister bought the whole unit. He said it was an economic unit and could not be disintegrated, but he can now sell back only portion. Nobody wants to buy your creameries.
Mr. Hogan: I did not speak of any economic unit.
Mr. Lemass: What was the position of the factory when it was repurchased? What were the mortgage charges? The value of the factory was £14,000.
Mr. Hogan: The mortgage charges were £8,000, reduced to £2,500; unsecured creditors, £5,498; secured creditors or preferential creditors, £1,794. That would come to about £10,000.
Mr. Briscoe: That does not include the £10,000 already owing?
Mr. Hogan: No.
Mr. Briscoe: That would leave the total figure at £20,000.
Mr. Hogan: But it must be remembered that we have the factory.
Mr. Lemass: At the time the Minister bought the factory there were these liabilities, and, in addition, there was a sum of £10,000 owing to the Minister. That would leave £20,000 owing from a factory which the Minister agreed to sell for £14,000.
Mr. Hogan: Yes.
Mr. Lemass: The Minister bought the owner's right in that factory for £1,000. Was it worth £1,000?
Mr. Hogan: Yes. The Deputy has the figures. What do they amount to?
Mr. Briscoe: A total of £20,000.
Mr. Hogan: Let us say we have a factory valued at X. We had to pay £10,000, and what had we against that? We had, first of all, £4,000, which we received from the company itself. The figures I have given show our total outlay, and what have we against that? We have the factory itself; then we have £4,000, and that reduces the sum against us to £6,000. Then as against that £6,000 we have the figures which I have supplied to Deputy Briscoe. On a very conservative estimate we have £3,365 in debts and £3,415 worth of stores. You may take those figures as absolutely safe. We have new machinery which was purchased quite recently for £3,000, and it was valued at £1,000. We have other items such as stores and money in bank, and these could easily be liquidated for £2,000. In addition to all that, we have the good-will.
Mr. MacEntee: How much actual cash have you in the bank?
Mr. Hogan: The amount is £78 5s. 11d. Taking these items as they stand, the bargain, from our point of view, was good. There is this much to be said, that the factory could have been purchased and closed. There was a  danger that it would be purchased and closed, because it was regarded as quite an efficient factory. Whatever may have been its history when it was out of our hands, I am satisfied, from the point of view of location and equipment, that it is probably one of the best in the country, and there is every possibility that if it is run by efficient proprietors there can be more profit derived from it than from any similar factory in the country. As the result of our experience we are perfectly satisfied that the toffee factory and condensing plant should be run together or sold together.
Mr. Briscoe: Would it be incorrect to state that the Minister up to quite recently was negotiating for the sale of the toffee factory by itself and he could not get a sufficiently high bid?
Mr. Hogan: That would be entirely incorrect.
Mr. Lemass: When did the change take place in the Minister's policy? He did actually sell the factory. He has been abusing us for our suggestion, but the historical fact is that he himself sold it as a separate item altogether, apart from the condensing plant. He admits that was a mistake, but when did he discover it?
Mr. Hogan: Very shortly after selling it. We bought the whole premises in 1926, and we sold the toffee factory practically immediately. We then started to work the condensed milk factory, and we found at a very early stage that it was a pity we had sold the other factory.
Mr. Briscoe: Why did you not take it back when it was in the market a second time? It changed hands after the first purchaser had finished with it.
Mr. Hogan: I know nothing of the circumstances under which the factory changed hands. That was a private matter between the parties concerned. They may have fallen out about it, but that had nothing to do with me. We got the factory back the moment we could do so.
Mr. Briscoe: Was not the Minister  for Industry and Commerce consulted in order that the underwriters would pay off the £10,000 still owing?
Mr. Hogan: I could not tell the Deputy that.
Mr. Lemass: Does the Minister think the factory cannot now be carried on unless the State pays its debts and provides it with £1,000 working capital? When the Minister says the factory is making a profit does he mean that it will be all right when we agree to pay its debts and provide it with £1,000 free of interest?
Mr. Hogan: You are not asked to pay its debts. That is an unfair way of putting it. You have debts on the one side and assets on the other. I have pointed out that our assets are greater than our liabilities. Therefore, the taxpayer is not asked to pay its debts. The Deputy is trying to confuse the issue. So far as we are concerned, all that is required in the way of working capital is £1,000. The Deputy asks me if the factory is making profit and I say that it is.
Mr. Lemass: Does the Minister state that the factory cannot continue to be run profitably unless this price-cutting scheme is embarked upon? Does he think it is fair to the other people engaged in this industry that the taxpayer should be called upon to subsidise this price-cutting scheme?
Mr. Hogan: The Minister thinks it is impossible to run business without capital. We are entitled to sell our toffee at whatever price we consider will enable us in the long run to make a profit, and I say that we are making a profit.
Mr. Lemass: Would it be possible to make a profit if the taxpayer did not provide the money?
Mr. Hogan: It would not be possible for the factory to continue as a paying proposition without working capital.
Mr. MacEntee: The Minister has referred to mortgage charges on the factory. Is it a fact that the present  manager is a debenture holder for £2,500?
Mr. Hogan: The present manager is an employee and has no other interest.
Mr. MacEntee: Who holds the debenture for £2,500?
Mr. Hogan: That is paid off. That amount was formerly £8,000, but it was paid off for £2,500.
Mr. MacEntee: Who paid it off?
Mr. Hogan: We did, of course.
Mr. MacEntee: It has been paid off?
Mr. Hogan: The debenture goes to people called Turner's in England.
Mr. MacEntee: Who paid it off?
Mr. Hogan: We did. That is part of the liabilities.
Mr. MacEntee: That is part of the £10,000?
Mr. Hogan: It is one of the liabilities.
Mr. MacEntee: What fixed assets did you get in exchange for that £2,500?
Mr. Hogan: I have explained already, about ten times, that we got no fixed assets.
Mr. MacEntee: Did you get anything for it?
Mr. Hogan: We did.
Mr. MacEntee: What?
Mr. Hogan: What I told you. As against these debts on the one side which included this £2,500 and also £5,314 we have these assets.
Mr. Gorey: Did you get a receipt?
Mr. MacEntee: Wait one minute until we see what he got.
Mr. Hogan: We have sundry debtors £3,665 and stores £3,415.
Mr. MacEntee: I want to know what he actually got for this £2,500.
Mr. Hogan: The factory.
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. McGilligan): I understand that a  Deputy has introduced into the debate a certain allegation with regard to moneys in connection with the Drumm battery, and I should like to have some indication as to the evidence upon which the Deputy based his allegation.
Mr. Briscoe: What I said was that the present manager of this factory was the previous owner, and that if all that was necessary to make it a paying concern was £1,000, then the present manager, who was the chief owner, should have been in a position himself to finance it, because, I understand, he was handsomely paid for his share in Celia Limited.
Mr. McGilligan: Is that all you said?
Mr. Briscoe: Yes.
Mr. McGilligan: Handsomely paid! Did the Deputy put a figure on it?
Mr. Briscoe: Yes.
Mr. McGilligan: What was it?
Mr. Briscoe: I said I understood he got somewhere about £8,000.
Mr. McGilligan: I asked for some evidence, and the only evidence the Deputy gives is his own understanding.
Mr. Briscoe: My information.
Mr. McGilligan: Will the Deputy give some of the sources of his information?
Mr. Briscoe: I will get it for the Minister.
Mr. McGilligan: The charge has been made publicly. Let us hear the evidence.
Mr. Lemass: There is no charge.
Mr. McGilligan: There is.
Mr. Briscoe: Will the Minister deny that the manager was one of the directors of Celia, Limited?
Mr. McGilligan: I will answer questions when you are finished.
Mr. Briscoe: Will the Minister deny that he was paid a handsome figure, whatever it was? I may be wrong. I did not say definitely. I said I understood it was somewhere about——
Mr. McGilligan: The Deputy has the initiative in this. He has stated this. I ask him will he give some indication of the source of his information. I will answer all the questions immediately, but, before I begin to answer questions, I should say that I think it is an undesirable practice for a Deputy in an irresponsible manner simply to fling out certain statements, simply saying “I understand” or “I am informed.” Could we get some indication where he got the information?
Mr. Briscoe: I say that the Minister has taken good care that the accounts of this particular transaction will not be audited. Therefore, there is no chance of anybody in this House ever knowing what became of the finances of the Drumm undertaking. The Minister knows that. I was informed by people who are interested in the Confectioners' Association——
Mr. McGilligan: Will you give us the names?
Mr. Briscoe: No, but I will get the gentleman to come here and see you personally.
Mr. McGilligan: The Deputy could not give the name in this House?
Mr. Briscoe: I do not know the name of the gentleman but I will bring the gentleman to you. What I want to say is that he either got £2,500 less or more, but he certainly got something. My argument is that he certainly got more than £1,000. If that was all that was necessary for the concern to carry on he should have had that himself. If the man is not the same man, then I am entirely wrong.
Mr. McGilligan: The Deputy's evidence is that because certain accounts have not yet been revealed he is entitled to take the evidence of a gentleman whose name he does not know; that a certain individual got paid handsomely—that is to say, £8,000, or, as an alternative, something more or less than £2,500 out of the Government. That is what the definite charge now comes to.
Mr. Briscoe: I am making no charge.
Mr. McGilligan: That is the definite statement.
Mr. Briscoe: The Minister knows that on a previous occasion in this House when that particular item was under discussion he did state that certain persons in Celia Limited were paid or bought out by the Government for a sum of money—I think it was £5,500 or £5,000. Who held the shares? Whom were they bought from? This present manager was one of the directors and a big shareholder—in fact, one of the initial promoters.
Mr. McGilligan: Of what?
Mr. Briscoe: Of the Drumm battery.
Mr. McGilligan: We have seen that what the Deputy bases this on is this sort of statement. It will be a good criterion to test the Deputy's future statements in this House. Now for the truth. Mr. Wheatley is the man in question.
Mr. Briscoe: I have not mentioned his name.
Mr. McGilligan: The Deputy is always shy about names—the names of people against whom he makes charges or who made allegations against him. It is all in the Deputy's imagination. Mr. Wheatley, the man in question, did not get one penny of Government money in connection with the Drumm battery.
Mr. MacEntee: Did he get it indirectly from Dr. Drumm?
Mr. McGilligan: I do not know, but if he did he could not have got £8,000, because Dr. Drumm did not get £8,000.
Mr. Lemass: That settles that—and we can now get back to the Condensed Milk Company.
Mr. McGilligan: Will the Deputy make any sort of amend for the statement he made?
Mr. MacEntee: The Minister quite obviously does not want this debate to continue.
Mr. Briscoe: Will the Minister say that Mr. Wheatley got nothing?
Mr. McGilligan: From the Government—nothing.
Mr. Briscoe: From the Drumm battery?
Mr. Aiken: He knows damned well.
Mr. McGilligan: If he likes to make that charge again, let him do it and give his evidence.
Mr. Briscoe: I will get it for him.
Mr. de Valera: On the question of sale, the Minister threatened he is going to sell this out. He practically told us he is going to get rid of it at any price. Then he mended his hand, and I am glad he realises that as a custodian he will have to deal with it as a business man would deal with it. He was only concerned with one thing he told us, and that was the question of price. We here have our own trust to carry out, and everyone of us ought to regard ourselves in a position in a matter of this kind as a board of directors would regard themselves. We are entitled to have every bit of information asked for——
Mr. Hogan: You got it.
Mr. de Valera: Every bit of information about the proposed sale with which we are threatened. These creameries were bought out with public moneys; a big price was paid for them. It was done in the national interest. This condensed milk factory, we take it, is a national asset, too. Is it not?
Mr. Hogan: That means nothing. Everything is a national asset, including myself.
Mr. de Valera: The possession of this factory is an advantage to the country as a whole. It is a necessary part of the dairying economy, if I may put it that way. It is a valuable adjunct to the creameries. Is the Minister going to part with it and let it go outside the country? I say for one we ought not to allow it go outside the country, and we want at the start from this side of the House to enter a protest against selling it to any interest  outside this country. Would the Minister answer this question? Has he tried to get the farmers or any of the co-operative societies into this?
Mr. Hogan: What does the Deputy think?
Mr. de Valera: I expect if he was doing his business he would.
Mr. Hogan: I have been awake at night over it.
Mr. de Valera: I want to say definitely that in connection with the carrying on of this factory it is a matter of public enterprise and that full details should be considered here. We ought not to be asked to pass any Vote in connection with it without fullest particulars being given. If we hear, for instance, that a manager is appointed about whom there is good foundation for complaint we are entitled to ask the Minister whether he ought to be satisfied by simply knowing that he is a good toffee manager. Would the Minister give the running of his own private business over to a man whose only qualification was a technical one? He would not. If he did he would be at hand himself, day in and day out, to see that the man was only working on the technical side.
Mr. Hogan: I have not suggested in any way, even by implication, that I agree with any of the statements made against Mr. Wheatley. I know nothing about the man, but I do not admit that the wild and irresponsible charges made against him are correct. The man is an employee so far as I am concerned.
Mr. de Valera: He is an employee of this House and of the country in general. Everyone of us here, as far as we are concerned, have responsibility for this. We are asked to sanction this particular transaction and to let this particular employee take charge. The Minister may not credit it, but we believe there is something in this.
Mr. Hogan: In what?
Mr. de Valera: In the charges made.
Mr. Hogan: What charges?
Mr. de Valera: The charges referred to by Deputy Lemass.
Mr. McGilligan: And by Deputy Briscoe.
Mr. Briscoe: I made no charges.
Mr. de Valera: As far as Deputy Briscoe's remarks are concerned, we have a perfect right if we hear of things and we believe there is a foundation for them to bring them up, and the best amend which could be given to Mr. Wheatley is the amend the Minister was given an opportunity of making.
Mr. Hogan: My honesty against dishonesty.
Mr. de Valera: This is a question of your statement. We are not in a position to hold a judicial inquiry into all these things. We can go a certain distance and find whether they are responsible persons or not, and if they are fairly responsible we have a right, if for no other purpose than to give those who have further information an opportunity of stating whether it is so or not.
Mr. McGilligan: You have the reasonable ground of an unnamed man.
Mr. de Valera: The Minister is able definitely to state that this is not so. He has stated that Government money was not given. That was not the point. The point suggested was that he got money out of the Drumm battery. I do not want to go into that. I simply want to state that we have a right, and that we are not in any way abusing the privileges of the House, when representations are made to us, and when we have no other way of taking them up, to bring them forward in order that they may be investigated and that we may get definite information. We are entitled to make them, and we propose to make them and to continue to make them.
Mr. McGilligan: Propose to continue to make charges on the evidence of a man whose name the Deputy confesses he does not know!
Mr. de Valera: Suppose a group were introduced to the Deputy and that one member introduced the lot, as being representative of a certain trade, he need not know the individual names. At the same time, if the statements were made with a certain amount of responsibility——
Mr. McGilligan: The thing we were getting at was the bona fides of the individual who spoke. You cannot get at the bona fides of the individual when you do not know the individual.
Mr. Briscoe: I make the definite statement that Mr. Wheatley was a director of Celia Limited and that he did get money for his shares, whether from Dr. Drumm——
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Perhaps the Deputy will sit down. I will not hear another word about this.
Mr. Aiken: He got the money, any way.
Mr. Briscoe: Of course he did.
Mr. de Valera: This side issue was introduced by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. I only referred to it because when I was speaking of Mr. Wheatley, as manager of the toffee factory, I said there were other things which we have a responsibility for, over and above being satisfied that he was a good toffee manufacturer. The question of his character is involved. If we were sitting here as a board of directors we would require something more than merely being satisfied that he was a good toffee manufacturer. The proposition here is to make available for that management £1,000. Apart altogether from the merits of the question as to what we should do with this particular factory, on the question of management alone, we are entitled to make our protest and to have the matter investigated as to the character of the manager. That is number one. As to this threat that the Minister is going to sell to the highest bidder, wherever he comes from, I want to say that we wish at this first opportunity to enter a protest against the selling of the factory to interests outside the country. A large sum was  spent in buying it, in the interests of the Irish people. I am not satisfied that the Condensed Milk Factory cannot be run as an adjunct to the creameries. I believe it should be retained as an adjunct. What we are asked to consider is this whole question of this factory. Every one of us would naturally put ourselves in the position in which the Minister puts himself. Though we might feel that we had not the immediate and direct responsibility we have indirectly the same responsibility of making up our minds as to what is the best thing to be done with the toffee factory. How far it is necessary, how far buying the factory was useful, how far it can be made profitable, how far it is fair to finance it with State money in competition against other factories, all these are big questions, and in order that we should make up our minds upon them we want the fullest possible information. The Minister ought not to feel that unfair attacks are being made upon him, that his position is being made difficult or anything of the kind. It is perfectly fair and square. We are asked to vote money and we should not vote the money without the information asked for.
Mr. Hogan: What information have I withheld?
Mr. de Valera: I was speaking of your attitude. Your attitude was that this information should not be given.
Mr. Hogan: What information have I withheld?
Mr. de Valera: You only gave it when it was dragged from you.
Mr. Hogan: Nonsense! Who dragged it?
Mr. de Valera: It had to be dragged from you by one question after another. We expected to have in the original statement the fullest possible information which would give every one of us an opportunity of forming a judgment on the proposition. The reason I intervene again at this stage is to say that we do not favour the sale of the factory to interests outside the country.
Mr. T.J. O'Connell: I want to say on this Estimate that, like Deputy de Valera, we would very strongly oppose the sale of this factory to anybody outside.
Mr. Hogan: Do you honestly believe I could run it in face of this sort of thing?
Mr. O'Connell: I am coming to that. We would oppose the sale of it to any private firm. I think that will not come as a surprise from these benches.
Mr. Hogan: You are entitled to take that view.
Mr. O'Connell: I want to make it clear, in view of the Minister's attempt to argue the events which have taken place as a fatal objection to State enterprise, that it is not our conception of a State enterprise that this kind of thing should go on; that, for instance, we should argue and talk and discuss here every single thing that is done by a State run enterprise. It is absolutely impossible to do it on these lines. We would be just as justified in raising debates continually here and asking the Minister for Industry and Commerce why he appointed “John Murphy” instead of “John Jones” to a particular job on the Shannon scheme. I want to say that whenever I or this Party advocated State enterprise it was not on such a basis as that, or that we should regard ourselves as being entitled to get every particular of the business. The responsibility rests on one individual only, and that is the particular Minister upon whom we put the responsibility when we voted the money.
We might as well logically go into the details, as some Deputy behind me suggested, of the proportion of sugar in the toffee. My only point in rising was that I did not want the Minister to get away with it, as he did evidently, cheered on by Deputy Good and other people, from whom such cheers might reasonably be expected, when he said he was anxious to get rid of the factory as quickly as possible, and when he said that what has taken place here to-day is an argument against every man doing what he did in the case of creameries, using State funds  in a State enterprise. Certainly nobody with any common sense will agree that business could be run properly if you were to have not one meeting of shareholders but a daily meeting inquiring into how the business was run.
Mr. MacEntee: In the prize-ring people are often admired for their footwork. I congratulate the Minister for Agriculture upon his footwork in this debate. He has changed his attitude so many times that I am sure every other Deputy in the House is, like myself, uncertain as to whether he is anxious to keep this factory or whether he is anxious to sell, or whether it has any good-will at all. The Minister stressed the point that the factory was now working at a profit.
Mr. Hogan: It will not continue very long at this rate.
Mr. MacEntee: Possibly not. At any rate, we know that it has not been making a profit for long, though it has remained under the same management for quite a considerable time.
Mr. Hogan: It has been making a profit every month since we took it over.
Mr. MacEntee: I will ask the Minister to prove that in a moment.
Mr. Hogan: You will have to take my word for it.
Mr. MacEntee: The Minister stated that under an efficient manager this factory would be profitable. The present manager is a gentleman not unknown in the commercial life of this country, though a comparatively recent arrival in the country. In the period in which he has been in this country how many successful businesses has that manager been associated with?
Mr. Hogan: He was not well looked after.
Mr. MacEntee: The Minister told us that the only thing he was concerned about was to get an efficient toffeemaker. How many toffee factories has this manager been associated with, and what has been the fate of every one of them?
Mr. Hogan: You know all about him.
Mr. MacEntee: I know something about him. I know that every toffee company with which he has been associated has either gone into bankruptcy or been wound up, or has been reconstructed, or has indicated in some other way that his management was not profitable to the concern.
Mr. Hogan: It is irrelevant, but that is not so.
Mr. MacEntee: At any rate, there is one thing certain, that those people who were associated with this very efficient manager were invariably glad to part company with him. Possibly the Minister may be glad to part company with him when he has as costly an acquaintance with him as other people had. I asked the Minister at the beginning what were the charges on the factory. He said that there was a debenture for £2,500 which they had paid off. What justification was there for paying off that debenture?
Mr. Hogan: None!
Mr. MacEntee: That is precisely the point I am going to make. I am glad the Minister admits that he has given away £2,500 of public money without any justification.
Mr. Hogan: Not even an asset.
Mr. MacEntee: Because you had already Receivers in, and it was yours for the taking.
Mr. Hogan: We only got the factory.
Mr. MacEntee: You had the factory. You were registered as the first debenture holder for the first £20,000.
Mr. Hogan: What do you know about it?
Mr. MacEntee: I am asking you is it correct or incorrect?
Mr. Hogan: I am telling you we got the factory.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I think the Deputy ought to address the Chair.
Mr. MacEntee: Very well. The Creamery Disposals Board are the first debenture holders for £20,000. Is that true or is it not?
Mr. Hogan: £10,000 I am told is the figure.
Mr. MacEntee: You were registered as proprietors of £20,000, I am informed. What chance have the holders of the second debentures of getting one penny? How did they come to have an interest in the company at all? How did those people who got £2,500 out of the Exchequer of this State for nothing, come to be interested in this company at all? The present manager of this company was fortunate enough, I believe, to make a particularly safe contract with them which they failed to fulfil, a personal contract which they failed to fulfil. He took proceedings against them which they settled on these conditions that they would put £8,000 in shares into this company and take second debentures for them. That £8,000 was given to Mr. Devlin who had personally guaranteed to repay to the Creameries Board the £14,000 purchase money. Of that £8,000 he redeemed £4,000 worth of debentures. He paid approximately £3,600 of debts to the company and then cleared out, leaving the Minister for Agriculture's efficient manager in possession of the company with £400. That is the position. This efficient manager was virtually the principal proprietor of this company after Mr. Devlin cleared out, and, under his efficient management, he could not meet the charges on the first debentures of £10,000 and on the second debentures of £8,000. A company which has fixed capital assets, according to the Minister, of something like £24,000 could not make enough profit to pay £900 debenture charges, and that is the efficient manager whom we are asked to finance under the proposal which the Minister has put before the House.
I wish to emphasise this point, that if the Minister had not put this money into the company the Turner Manufacturing Company would not have got anything, but, by Mr. Wheatley's influence with the Minister, they got £2,500. That was paid to the Turner Manufacturing Company, and this is all we have of it.
The Minister said he is not going to close down this toffee factory and present the good-will to other toffee  manufacturers. What value is this good-will for which we are now going to pay, not £1,000, as the Minister would like the House to believe, but in actual fact £10,000? We could get, remember, the whole of this factory to-morrow. We have already receivers in on it, and yet the Minister is asking us to spend £10,000 in order to keep alive a good-will which I contend is of no value. What are the profits which this factory has made? How long has it taken to make profits? As I indicated before, before the new arrangement was entered into by the Minister, before the factory came under the control of the receivers the factory was not even able to earn enough profit to pay its own debenture holders. If there are not profits enough to pay the debenture holders, what possible good-will could attach to this factory as a going concern? It is merely a liability. It is no asset, and, therefore, any good-will it may possess is certainly not worth £1,000.
Apart altogether from the question of good-will, I state that good-will must be related and can only be related to the possible profit to be made by the factory. The Minister has stated that the factory has made a profit. What amount has been set aside out of its profits for depreciation? What amount has been set aside and allowed for capital charges? What amount has been set aside out of these profits to cover advertising charges? As soon as we know this we will be in a position to estimate the possible value of the good-will about which the Minister talks so loudly. The Minister has said that if the factory were run by an efficient manager it would be profitable. If there is one thing that is quite clear about the history of this factory, it is that the present manager is not an efficient manager, and that the only chance the Minister has of keeping the factory going and of creating a good-will which has been destroyed would be to change the manager.
Deputy O'Connell stated that we could not turn the sessions of the Dáil into a company meeting, that we could not have the manager here and interview him, and that the only person in  a position to deal with it is the Minister for Agriculture. Very well. Before we sanction the expenditure of any further money to keep going this questionable commercial concern we ought to be satisfied, first of all, that the person who is now managing it is a person who is likely to show a profit. I do not believe, even if he were the most efficient manager to be had, that he could show a profit with the moneys allocated in the way in which the Minister indicated when introducing the Estimate. We have a factory which was disposed of for £14,000. I have some recollection that this factory was originally valued much more highly than that. At any rate, the amount of the fixed capital of this factory would have something like £24,000 or £25,000, even on a minimum computation, and, in order to run that factory and put it in a position to deliver an output which would enable it to show a profit upon that capital, we are going to provide it with a working capital of £1,000, most of which has already been earmarked for advertising, a service which should be discharged out of revenue and not out of capital. Consequently, we are going to reduce the working capital of this concern from £1,000 to something very much below that figure. I would ask any business man in the House if he thought he could take over a factory of this magnitude and run it successfully with a working capital of £500, run it even for three months successfully. I see Deputy John Good smiling at the idea.
Mr. Good: I was smiling at the idea of the Government trying to run any business after what I have heard this morning.
[An Ceann Comhairle resumed the Chair.]
Mr. MacEntee: I agree. The idea of the Minister coming to this House and glibly telling us that approximately £9,000 was to be used to discharge the liabilities of the company and that we are going to run the factory and show a profit with a working capital of £1,000 is too ridiculous to merit a moment's consideration from any man in this House with business  experience. Yet that is the proposition you are being asked seriously to vote on.
Would any of you, engaged in business enter into such a proposition upon your own personal responsibility and think that you would preserve a reputation for business sense? We think if the factory is to be continued, even in order to enable the Minister to dispose of it, that there should be a change of management. We do not believe that Mr. Wheatley's personal connection with the factory is of such a nature as will induce him to consider his position, as manager, any more than a pied-a-terre while he passes on to “fresh fields and pastures new.” He has been a bird of passage since he came to this country. He remains a bird of passage and when he gets what he hopes to get he will leave it, leaving the factory on the Minister's hands still for sale and still without any goodwill.
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. McGilligan): I just want to join in this debate for the purpose of underlining a comment made a moment ago by Deputy Good, that this debate is the death knell of State intervention to any large extent in industry, either by way of trade loan guarantee or anything else—
Mr. Good: It is the funeral of State trading.
Mr. McGilligan: ——if operations are to be continued under the type of criticism that Deputy MacEntee has devoted himself to recently. I will take two points that have been urged in this debate. Is it to be, for instance, an instruction from one part of this House to me that if I find a company run under a trade loan guaranteed by the State and operating under a manager who has a previous record of bankruptcy that I should interfere and stop that concern from going on, or try to get rid of that manager?
Mr. Lemass: It is a pity you did not do it in the case of——
Mr. McGilligan: We will have to apply it generally. I would like that  the Deputy would consult some of his own party people with regard to a particular manager. Secondly, am I to take it further as an instruction from that part of the House that if I find any company operating under a trade loan guaranteed by the State using these moneys for advertising purposes, I am to try to stop that company? The clamour in this case is that part of this money is being used for advertising.
Mr. Lemass: No.
Mr. McGilligan: It has been said so.
Mr. MacEntee: No.
Mr. McGilligan: And in this very trade which is complaining about this factory there is an individual who is running on Government money who has not yet met his obligations towards the Government, and who pleaded as part of his excuse on one occasion that he had to spend a great deal of money on advertising. In fact, the Government money was linked with that advertising scheme.
Mr. MacEntee: My contention was that the Minister for Agriculture stated that he was providing £1,000 for working capital and that a considerable portion of it had already been earmarked for advertising.
Mr. Hogan: Part of it, not a considerable amount.
Mr. MacEntee: Part of it, and consequently the real working capital of the company would be reduced by the amount allocated to advertising, so that the amount of working capital which, at the outset, was already too small was, after allocation, rendered much smaller still.
Mr. McGilligan: I do not know whether the Deputy's view is the view of his Party on this matter, but am I to take it that there is no objection to any part of this money voted by the State being used for advertising even though advertising will react adversely on the firms competing?
Mr. Lemass: The objection is to the form of advertising. It is a form of price cutting. I do not think that  public money should be used to enable one concern to cut prices.
Mr. McGilligan: Price cutting. We are getting to another point, the Document No. 2 of advertising. If money supplied by the State is used in a form of advertising there is price cutting and it is to be ruled out. Is the Deputy to be the arbiter in such cases?
Mr. Lemass: It is a matter of common sense.
Mr. McGilligan: I am to take the Deputy's common sense. It is difficult to get that. It will vary with the week-end mood. It will be pro one thing and anti another from time to time. If that type of criticism is to be put up against persons and managers who are not under the control of people here as to the manner in which the money is to be used, undoubtedly the House will have to come to the conclusion to which Deputy Good has come, namely, that State trading or interference by the State must be at an end.
Mr. Lemass: Has the Minister that complaint to make against the Shannon scheme?
Mr. McGilligan: If the Deputy goes on he must make that complaint against the Shannon scheme. The House did not make it. The Labour Party have a particular view in regard to State trading which is based on common sense, and when the Labour Party think that a concern is being run with State money they will not attempt, just for the sake of a certain amount of Party satisfaction, to put down that industry and keep people out of employment. The Deputy's Party, however, will do so.
Mr. Lemass: The fact is that the State in this case acquired the factory by accident. It was a mere accident that in order to acquire creameries the State had to buy a toffee factory. The question whether the State should or should not engage in commercial enterprise is not going to be decided in relation to this question of toffee. That is sheer nonsense. The Minister is only making a debating point. We contend that there has been considerable  mismanagement on the part of the Minister as regards toffee. He admitted it.
Mr. Hogan: No.
Mr. Lemass: Of course he did.
Mr. Hogan: No.
An Ceann Comhairle: Has the Minister for Industry and Commerce finished?
Mr. McGilligan: The Deputy is making my point.
Mr. Lemass: I was under the impression that the Minister was finished.
An Ceann Comhairle: I was under the impression that the Minister was yielding to interruption.
Mr. Lemass: I want to make a few points arising out of the Minister's reply. Our contention is that this business was mismanaged, and that the taxpayer has been involved in a loss owing to this mismanagement on the part of the Minister. If the Minister had not made an initial mistake we would not be asked to-day to vote £1,000. That is why we are anxious that the fullest information should be given to the Dáil. We have never criticised, and will never criticise, an industry subject to a trade loan guarantee until the Minister comes to the Dáil asking the taxpayer to make good that guarantee, in which case we will make sure that the Minister fulfils every obligation imposed under the Trade Loans Guarantee Act, and, if not, we will subject him to the same criticism.
Mr. McGilligan: We are horrified at the fact.
Mr. Coburn: I intend to vote against this proposal. I am not convinced that the thing is genuine. It has, I suppose, been thought diplomatic on the part of the Government to narrow this discussion as between themselves and the Opposition. I am going to go with the Opposition, because I believe that it should not be the duty of a Government to interfere with private enterprise. I say, so far as Government intervention is concerned. “Hands off private enterprise.” If this industry  cannot be carried on by private enterprise I am confident that it cannot be made a success by Government intervention. I do not mind whether it is placarded throughout the country that the refusal to grant this Vote means the closing down of these works and more unemployment. I will stick to that. The whole question of creameries, condensed milk factory, and toffee factory is brimming over with suspicion, and I am confirmed in that opinion by the discussion here during the last three or four days.
I agree with Deputy de Valera and the other members of the Opposition Party that it is absolutely unfair to use public money in bolstering up an industry in competition with private firms engaged in the same industry, even though the successful carrying on of such industry by the Government might mean the closing down of other factories, thereby creating more unemployment. My chief objection to this Vote is the solicitude shown by the Minister for Agriculture in regard to certain industries in the South of Ireland as distinct from others in the northern parts of the Free State. The Minister seems to have a very soft corner in his heart for industry in the South in comparison with other industries which should also command attention from his Department. While I do not want to appear narrow-minded or desirous that industry in the South should not flourish, I must look after the industry in the northern area as well.
The Minister has shown very little consideration for the agricultural industry about the Cooley area, very little solicitude for the farmers in that district, but when it comes to a question of creameries the Minister has no hesitation in asking us to vote a large sum of money for the carrying on of that industry in the south. I do not believe that that is right. I am absolutely opposed to the Government carrying on any industry on its own. It has been sought here to draw an analogy between this business and the Shannon scheme. The latter scheme was started by the Government and is really a national scheme, whereas the  industry under discussion now was initiated by private individuals, so that the Shannon scheme has no relation to the matter under discussion. Although I represent Labour, I dissociate myself from the attitude of the Labour Party as regards nationalisation, and I say: “Hands off private industry.”
Mr. Davin: May I ask the Deputy why he did not speak in opposition to the trade loan guarantee given to the Drogheda meat factory?
Mr. Coburn: I was not here then.
Mr. Anthony: I am at a loss to understand the attitude on this and other economic questions of the Fianna Fáil Party, and again the attitude of Deputy Coburn. Deputy Davin anticipated me when he asked the question —did Deputy Coburn object to State interference or State help when thousands of pounds were advanced to the Drogheda meat factory.
Mr. McGilligan: And lost.
Mr. Anthony: That, I understand, was a very bad economic proposition.
Mr. Coburn: That was different from the actual working of the factory.
Mr. Anthony: The Minister for Agriculture made it very clear that so far as this undertaking which we are discussing is concerned it is now a paying proposition, an ordinary commercial proposition. The suggestion from Fianna Fáil was that he should sell this industry piecemeal.
Mr. Lemass: No one on the Fianna Fáil Benches suggested that.
Mr. Anthony: It is like offering a plum to a small boy when the fruit has been eaten and nothing but a stone is left. The Minister has made it clear to me at any rate that this is a commercial proposition. He has come to the House, as he said himself, as he might go to a bank. An ordinary commercial man would go to the bank and ask for an advance of £1,000 to continue such an enterprise until such time as he is able to sell it to a group of people who are able to run the business. The only objection I see to the Minister's attitude is that he might sell this enterprise to an outside combine who might afterwards close down  the factory, though he has indicated, in some way at least, that he is able to give a certain guarantee that the business will be carried on and that a certain amount of employment will be given. I am certainly at a loss to understand the attitude of Fianna Fáil in this connection. It is quite at variance with the public announcements which they have made on platforms on every Sunday for the past few months. Am I to understand, in regard to a State enterprise where undoubtedly certain profits are earned, that because these profits are earned the objection from Fianna Fáil is that the State must not cut prices while it is making a profit, and that we must leave it open for other firms to profiteer at the expense of the public?
Mr. Lemass: Cutting prices out of taxpayers' money.
Mr. Anthony: The Minister stated that this is a profit making concern. It is a profit making concern whether it is the taxpayers' money or other people's money. There are other people in competition with the State. It is only a temporary competition, but the Fianna Fáil Deputies object because other people in their business are not allowed to make more profits. The Fianna Fáil attitude summed up is that the State is selling at a profit. If the State is making a profit all the other people in the business are making a profit, but Fianna Fáil says: “We want private enterprise to make further profit”—in other words, to extract more money out of the consuming public in the country.
Mr. Lemass: Is the Labour Party against profits?
Mr. Anthony: So far, at any rate, in this enterprise the Government has made good. We do not object to State enterprise so long as it gives decent employment under fair conditions. There are two kinds of nationalisation. In this respect at any rate we have had the most acceptable form of nationalisation. We have a Department of Government which says in effect: “Here is an industry which we are prepared to carry on until such time as we can sell it as a going concern.” There may be a difference  of opinion between the Labour Party and the Department there, but we feel so long as it is an economic proposition the Government should carry on so that when this factory is handed over to private enterprise the Government can hand it over as an asset and a paying proposition. On the other hand, Deputy Lemass states that there are other people in the industry who want to make more profit. The profit made by the Minister for Agriculture is but the case which it is endeavoured to make for the people outside, that they should be allowed to make the plus something less. I commend the efforts of the Minister in this case. There is absolutely no case made in opposition to this vote. The Minister simply says in effect “I want £1,000 to carry on this business proposition.” This House has no valid reason to refuse it.
Mr. Hogan: I only just desire to say that personally I feel there should be a definite limit to State interference, but I do admit that under certain conditions you may have a Department of State carrying on business. If you have, we must have a general level of understanding, intelligence and public spirit amongst the Parties here. That is what Deputy O'Connell stated. I am willing to admit that the Labour Party have been fair from their point of view. They are quite in favour of State enterprise but realise its limitations. They realise also the necessity for a high level of understanding here. Then you have the Fianna Fáil Deputies who have been always preaching about State enterprise. I am quite satisfied from this debate—and I want to put it on record—that it is quite impossible to carry on anything in the way of State enterprise here, and I refuse to do it. It is impossible to have State interference in business or to have the State running an industry while you have the complete lack of understanding, intelligence and public spirit that has been evinced here on the opposite benches.
Deputy Anthony spoke about making a profit. I am making a profit for the moment, but I do not believe it can continue; the disadvantages are too  great. I stated that I am selling this factory. This debate will make it more difficult, as far as I am concerned, to sell it, and I want to tell the House deliberately that I refuse to accept the responsibility of running this business, in the difficult times we have now and on the conditions put up to me in this House.
Mr. Davin: Not by us.
Mr. Anthony: Is the Minister showing the white feather?
Mr. Hogan: Not by you. I want to be quite frank with the Party opposite, but so far as I am concerned my desire is to sell this business as a whole on one condition and one condition only. That is, that the business be kept running and be developed if possible, and that at least the present labour be continually employed. I want to put that on record. Meanwhile I want to carry it on, and I ask the Dáil to give me this assistance.
The Committee divided: Tá, 76; Níl, 47.
|Aird, William P.
Alton, Ernest Henry.
Beckett, James Walter.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Bourke, Séamus A.
Byrne, John Joseph.
Cassidy, Archie J.
Cole, John James.
Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
Connolly, Michael P.
Cosgrave, William T.
Craig, Sir James.
De Loughrey, Peter.
Dolan, James N.
Doyle, Peadar Séan.
Duggan, Edmund John.
Egan, Barry M.
Esmonde, Osmond Thos. Grattan.
Finlay, Thomas A.
Gorey, Denis J.
Hassett, John J.
|Heffernan, Michael R.
Hennessy, Michael Joseph.
Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
Kelly, Patrick Michael.
Law, Hugh Alexander.
Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
McFadden, Michael Og.
Mongan, Joseph W.
Myles, James Sproule.
Nolan, John Thomas.
O'Connell, Thomas J.
O'Hanlon, John F.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
Thrift, William Edward.
White, Vincent Joseph.
Wolfe, Jasper Travers.
Corkey, Dan. Kent, William R.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick John.
|Corry, Martin John.
Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
De Valera, Eamon.
Gorry, Patrick J.
Kennedy, Michael Joseph. O'Dowd, Patrick Joseph.
Ruttledge, Patrick J.
Sheehy, Timothy (Tipp.).
Ward, Francis C.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Duggan and P.S. Doyle; Níl, Deputies G. Boland and Allen.
Motion declared carried.
Minister for Lands and Fisheries (Mr. Lynch): If there is no objection. I would like to have the Report Stage of the Resolution that was taken in Committee on February 26th for £11,250, for Fisheries in the Gaeltacht, taken now.
Mr. Derrig: As I understand that this is a matter of urgency, and must be taken to-day in order that a payment may be made from the Contingency Fund, we have no objection.
Question—“That the Dáil agree with the Committee in the Resolution”—put and agreed to.
Proinnsias O Fathaigh: Chuireas ceist ar an Aire Rialtais Áitiúla an tseachtmhain seo ghaibh tharainn i dtaoibh rúnaidheachta Fo-Choisde Phinsin na Sean-aoise i Leitir Mór, Conamara, agus is é an freagra a tugadh dom ná gur chuir Mrs. Caitlín Maude in iúl don Aireacht ar an dómhadh lá de Mhí an Mheithimh, 1924, gur ceapadh í mar chléireach don Fho-Choisde sin.
Ba mhaith liom a rádh, ar an gcead dul síos, nach bhfuil aithne agam ar aoinne de na daoine atá i gceist, nach bhfuil fhios agam cé an taobh ar a bhfuil siad i gcúrsaí polaitíochta, agus nach bhfuil aon phaor agam ar aon duine acu. Ní abraim nach rúnaidhe feileamhnach í Mrs. Maude. Deirim, ámhthach, nach bhfuil an ceart chor ar bith sa bhfreagra a fuaireas, agus nach raibh Mrs. Maude ach in a rúnaidhe sealadach ar feadh tamaillín i mbliain a 1928.
Tig liom an méid sin a chruthú ó mhiontuairiscí an Fho-Choisde agus ó leitreacha a scríobhadh ag an rúnaidhe agus ó roinnt chlúdach leitreach a tháinig ó Roinn an Rialtais Aitiúla féin. De réir na fiadhnuise sin, is mar seo atá an sceul. Do toghadh Caitlín Maude, inghcan do Mrs. Caitlín Maude, mar rúnaidhe don Fhó-Choisde, an 20adh lá de Mhí na Samhna, 1923. “Miss Kathleen Maude” seadh atá ar mhiontuairiseí an Fho-Choisde sin, agus sé an t-ainm céanna atá i gclóscríbhinn ar mhiontuairiscí na Comhairle Condae. Chonnacas féin na miontuairiscí sin agus, dar ndóigh, tá cóip díobh ar fágháil i nOifig na Roinne. Ag seo an rún:—
Secretary's Office, Courthouse, Galway.
Copy of resolution passed by the Lettermore Old Age Pensions Sub-Committee at meeting held on the 20th November, 1923:—
“At a meeting of the Lettermore Old Age Pensions Committee held to-day—present, John Walsh, P.D. Conroy and Colman Conroy—it was proposed by Mr. Walsh and seconded by Mr. C. Conroy that Miss Kathleen Maude of Letterbricken, Rosmuck, be elected Clerk instead of her father, the late Mr. Joseph Maude—Signed, P.D. Conroy, Chairman. 20/11/23.”
Anois, más cinnte, dearbhtha gur toghadh Miss Maude i Mí na Samhna, 1923, cé'n chaoi a toghfaí a máthair sin i Mí an Mheithimh 1924? Céard ba fáth leis an athrú no an amhlaidh a bhí beirt chléireach ann, an mháthair agus an inghean, san am gcéanna? Nach aisteach an sceul é nár airigh an Fo-Choisde focal fén athrú sin go ceann cheithre blian ina dhiaidh sin? Seo rud níos aistighe: Rinne Miss Maude an rúnaidheacht ó 1923 go dtí 1928 agus sul ar imthigh  sí do scríobh sí an leitir seo leanas ag an bhFo-Choisde:—
DEAR MR. HICKEY,
I beg to inform you that the Lettermore Old Age Pension Committee have accepted my resignation as Clerk (as I shall be going to America very soon), and have appointed my mother (Mrs. Maude) as temporary clerk, until such time as they'll appoint a permanent one.
Hoping this will meet with your entire approval,
Yours very sincerely,
(signed) Kathleen Maude.
Bheinn buidheach den Aire ach an leitir sin a mhíniú ar ball: Mrs. Maude a bheith in a rúnaidhe ó 1924 agus gan a fhios sin a bheith ag a hinghín féin agus an bheirt acu in a gcomhnuidhe sa tigh céanna; obair na rúnaidheachta dá déanadh ag an geailín, agus an mháthair in a rúnaidhe fá cheilt, i gan fhios don choiste agus i gan fhios don tsaoghal. Is fíor go rinne Mrs. Maude an obair ar feadh roinnt míosa tar éis dul go Meiriocá dá hinghín. Annsin, do toghadh Miss Ellen McDonagh mar rúnaidhe.
Risteárd Ua Maolchatha: Cathain?
Proinnsias O Fathaigh: Léighfead amach an leitir. Níor tugadh fógra ceart le haghaidh an toghtha sin, de réir cosamhlachta, agus b'éigin an scéal a cheartú.
Seosamh O Mongáin: Cé chuir an fógra amach?
Proinnsias O Fathaigh: Tá na leitreacha annso agus fágfaidh mé ós cóir na Dála iad.
Seosamh O Mongáin: Mar tá fios agat ar an méid eile, ba cheart an fios sin a bheith agat.
Proinnsias O Fathaigh: Tháinig an Fó-Choisde le chéile tar éis fógra dleathaigh agus thoghadar Miss Ellen McDonagh go dlisteanach, de réir na riaghlacha, agus do rinne an Chomhairle Chondae an toghadh sin a dhearbhú.
Risteárd Ua Maolchatha: Cathain a toghadh í?
Proinnsias O Fathaigh: Léighfead na leitreacha a ghníonns an scéal sin a dheimhniú.
Lettermore Old Age Pension
28th March, 1930.
At this day's meeting we, the undersigned, the following members of Lettermore Old Age Pension Sub-Committee, have appointed Ellen McDonagh, Bealadangan, Clerk for Lettermore Sub-Committee. Proposed by Michael Stanton, seconded by Michael Walshe. Presiding Chairman, Michael J. Stanton. There voted for Ellen McDonagh five, namely—Michael J. Stanton, Michael Walshe, Thomas Naughton, John Flaherty, Redmond McDonagh. Michael F. McDonagh did not vote. Five for and one not voting.
Seo leitir eile:
17th April, 1929.
Re Clerk to Lettermore Sub-Committee.
Dear Madam,—Referring to your letter dated the 16th instant, I am to state that after a careful search I have traced my file in the matter, and enclose herewith copy of resolution passed by the Lettermore Sub-Committee at meeting on the 20th November, 1923, appointing Miss Kathleen Maude as Clerk to the Sub-Committee. As Miss Maude has resigned the position, and the Sub-Committee appointed Miss Ellen McDonagh, Bealadangan, I take it that Miss McDonagh is now Clerk to the Sub-Committee. Please bring the matter before the Committee at an early date.
(Signed) Eugene Hickey,
Clerk to Local Committee.
Mrs. K. Maude,
Miss Ellen McDonagh,
Risteárd Ua Maolchatha: Cheapas gur toghadh í i Mí na Samhna, 1923.
Proinnsias O Fathaigh: Ní raibh an fógra in ordú an chéad uair agus  tháinig an Coisde le cheile arís. Tá leitir cile agam annso:
19th July, 1929.
Old Age Pensions.
Madam,—I am directed to state that the Local Committee have approved of your appointment as Clerk to the Lettermore Sub-Committee. Please take over possession of all books, documents, etc., from Mrs. K. Maude.
I am, Madam,
Your obedient servant,
(Signed) Eugene Hickey,
Clerk to Local Committee.
Miss Ellen McDonagh.
Copy to Mrs. Maude to hand over all books, etc., to Miss McDonagh.
Anois, tá miontuairiscí agam ó Chomhairle Chondae na Gaillimhe. Tá siad clóbhuailte.
Risteárd Ua Maolchatha: Tá siad fior, mar sin.
Proinnsias O Fathaigh: Is dócha go bhfuil cóip ag an Aire agus is féidir leis iad a cheistniu muna bhfuil siad fíor. Séo iad na miontuairiscí:
Submitted minute of the Lettermore Sub-Committee made at meeting held on the 18th March, 1930, appointing Miss Ellen McDonagh, Bealadangan, as Clerk to the Sub-Committee, Councillor Keane proposed, the Chairman seconded:—“That the appointment of Miss Ellen McDonagh as Clerk to Lettermore Sub-Committee be confirmed— Passed.”
Risteárd Ua Maolchatha: Cad é an dáta atá air sin?
Proinnsias O Fathaigh: Chuir an Rúnaidhe amach é ar an ladh Bealtaine, 1930, agus tionóladh an cruinniú ar an 26adh Aibreán, 1930. Tá trí chlúdach leitreach agam a theasbáineanns go rinne Roinn an Rialtais Aitiúla Miss Ellen McDonagh d'aithint mar rúnaidhe. At an gcéad chóip tá:
Saorstát Eireann—Miss Ellen McDonagh, the Clerk of the Lettermore Pension Sub-Committee, Bealadangan, Co. Galway—Old Age Pensions,  Roinn Rialtais Aitiúla agus Sláinte Puiblí
Isé an dáta atá ar an stampa na Lughnasa 23, 1929. Ar an dara clúdach tá an seoladh: “Miss E. McDonagh, the Clerk of the Lettermore Pension Sub-Committee, Bealadangan, Co. Galway.” Isé an dáta atá ar an gelúdach san ná 20adh Meadhon Fhoghmhair, 1929. Tá an scoladh céanna ar chlúdach eile ar a bhfuil an dáta 28adh Samhain, 1929.
Risteárd Ua Maolchatha: Cé nár toghadh í go dtí Mí na Márta, 1930.
Proinnsias O Fathaigh: Dubhairt mé go raibh ceist i dtaobh an fhógra agus go raibh an dara cruinniú ann. Uair éicínt i mbliain a 1929, thosaigh argóint idir an Chomhairle Chondae agus Roinn an Rialtais Aitiúla i dtaoibh. Mrs. Maude Tá beart leitreacha agam ina thaoibh sin, acht eamh:
Secretary's Office, Courthouse, Galway.
29th April, 1929.
Lettermore Old Age Pension Sub-Committee. Re Clerkship.
Rev. Dear Sir,—Referring to previous correspondence with regard to above, I enclose, for your information, copy of letter received from the Ministry of Local Government on the matter. I have no record at this office of the appointment of Mrs. Maude as Clerk in June, 1924. As stated by the Ministry, the appointment rests with the Sub-Committee in respect of which notice of motion should be given by a member of the Sub-Committee.
(Signed) Eugene Hickey,
Clerk to Local Committee.
Very Rev. P.J. McHugh, P.P., Carraroe, Co. Galway.
Cruthuigheann an leitir seo nach bhfuair an Chomhairle Chondae aon fhógra ná foráileamh ó Fho-Choisde na bPinsean i Leitir Mhór fá Mrs. Maude bheith toghtha mar Rúnaidhe, Ní raibh aon fhocal faoi sin ar na leitreacha a cuireadh isteach chúcha.
Risteárd Ua Maolchatha: An raibh aon bhaint acu leis?
Proinnsias O Fathaigh: Bhí. Má tá an scéal mar adeirim cé an bunadhas  a bhí leis an bhfreagra a tugadh dom ag an Aire? An bhfuil an leitir no an foráileamh ó Mrs. Maude go rinne sé tagairt do ar fagháil in Oifig na Roinne no an mbeadh cead agamsa no ag aon Teachta Dála eile an leitir sin a bhreithniú? Agus má tá a leithéid sin de leitir aca cé an t-ughdarás a bhí léithe? Ní hamhlaidh ba mhian leis an Aire a rádh go bhfuiltear chomh simplidhe sin, chomh amaideach sin, go dtig le duine scríobhadh chucha, agus gan aon tacaidheacht leis an scéal, á rádh go bfuil post fachta aige ag Bord Puiblidhe agus go nglactar leis an leitir sin gan an scéal do dheimhniú? Nach leanbhaidhe atáthar sa Roinn sin! Ba mhaith liom míniú d'fháil ón Aire mar gheall ar leitir a scríobh Miss Maude ag rá go raibh sí ag eirighe as an bpost—
Risteárd Ua Maolchatha: An mbeidh aon tseans agam freagra do thabhairt?
Proinnsias O Fathaigh: Ba mhaith liom fosta dá n-abrochadh an tAire cé'n fáth do scríobh a Roinn chuig Miss McDonagh mar rúnaidhe an Choisde.
Seosamh O Mongáin: Dubhairt an Teachta O Fathaigh gur cuireadh fógra amach an cruinniú seo a thabhairt i dteannta a chéile le Cléireach a thogha. 'Bhfuil cóip den fhógra sin ag an Teachta? Má tá, ba cheart do é do theasbáint mar breathnuíonn sé go bhfuil cóip de gach uile rud eile aige ach an rud a theastuíos uainn a bheadh aige. Deirim-se nár cuireadh a leithéide amach. Bhí cruinniú ann agus bhí beirt shagart ag an gcruinniú sin—an tAthair Mac Aodha, Sagart Pobal Cheathrú Rua, agus an tAthair O Deaghaidh, Sagart Pobal Ros Mhuic. Nuair a bhí obair an chruinnithe thart d'fhág an dhá shagart seo, agus an cléireach, an cruinniú. Annsin tháinig a ceathrar no a cúigear eile i dteannta a chéile gan fógra agus chuir siad isteach inghean de dhuine aca— inghean Réamoin Mhic Dhonnchadha— mar chléireach. Im' bharúil-se níor ceart é seo do dhéanamh. Tá an bhean seo ag déanamh an obair le ceathar no cúig de bhlianta agus á dhéanamh go maith. Annsin, 'tuige go mbainfi dhí í le haghaidh áit do dhéanamh d'inghin  Réamoin Mhic Dhonnchadha? Baintreabhach bhocht a bhí i Mrs. Maude fáth gur fágadh go haonráchanach í nuair a cailleadh a fear a bhí ina chléireach ar an gCoiste seo ó cuireadh ar bun é. Seo é an méid a d'fhág sé aici. Anois, tá dream Fianna Fáil ag iarraidh é a bhaint dhí. Seo é an dream atá ag leigint ortha féin go bhfuil siad i bhfábhar na bochtanachta. Go bhfóiridh Dia ar an mbochtannacht nuair a thagann siad seo i réim, má thagann. Seo cás den bhochtanacht is measa atá in Eirinn agus siadsan ag iarraidh í a dhéanamh níos measa. O go bhfóiridh Dia orainn. Deirim-se duine ar bith a d'iarfadh é a bhaint di go mbainfeadh sé an bráithlín den chorp.
General Mulcahy: There is a saying in Irish: “D'fhuiliceoch fuil fuil i ngorta ach ní fhuiliceoch fuil fuil dá dhortadh.” I suppose that even in the human nature of the Gael, as in general human nature, there was something that brought that expression to mind and tongue. But it is because in the first place there is something in this case that I do not associate with the Gael, and, in the second place, to ensure that a veil of secrecy will not not be drawn over what is attempted here, that I want to talk in plain, blunt English.
Mr. Fahy: I know nothing of the matter beyond what is disclosed by these letters.
General Mulcahy: Of course, and nothing of my function in the matter. Of course, the Deputy did not go into the matter. If he did, he would not bring it up here.
Mr. Mongan: That is so.
General Mulcahy: The Deputy would have thrown out the Government some time ago if, as he said, in the interests of humanity and of animals the humane-killer had not been introduced. The Deputy will put on the banner of his Party a demand for pensions for widows. Yet he will come along and ask me to justify my attitude in a case like this. He takes care to excuse himself, in the case of eventualities, by a declaration that he has not gone into the merits of it. So small is my function in this particular matter that the case ought really not to arise here at  all. I think that it is only Providence that watches over widows and those who are dependent on widows that has induced Deputy Fahy to bring this matter into the open here. The position of a sub-committee of a pension committee is governed by certain rules and regulations. If the Deputy will look over the Old Age Pensions Consolidated Regulations, 1922, he will see in Section 3 something about subcommittees which he might have read before. He will see on page 29 that when the clerk is appointed to a sub-committee the person appointed is supposed to write to the Minister for Local Government and Public Health, on the one hand, and to the Commissioners of Customs and Excise on the other, and say, as he would say in this case, “The Lettermore Sub-Committee of the Pensions Committee of the above named county have appointed me the undersigned to be Clerk to the Committee.—Signed ——, Clerk to the Sub-Committee.” That communication warrants my dealing with the writer as clerk to the sub-committee within the limits of my functions with it. The Trans-Corrib version of that was “A Chara, Kindly address letters Mrs. Maude, as I am clerk in the place of my late husband, Joseph Maude.— Mise le meas, Mrs. Maude.”
Mr. Fahy: Why did her daughter say she was resigning? I have the letter here.
General Mulcahy: It is a long story.
Mr. Mongan: And a dirty story.
General Mulcahy: And within the limits of time, I will give it. Mr. Joseph Maude was appointed, in 1908, Secretary to the Lettermore Sub-Committee of the County Galway Pension Committee. He died about September, 1923. Things move slowly sometimes in the West of Ireland. They moved particularly slowly in years like 1923 and 1924. As far as the Department were concerned, until June, 1924, letters to the Secretary of the Lettermore Sub-Committee were apparently addressed to Mr. Maude. Then we got Mrs. Maude's letter just quoted. From that day until January, 1929—all through 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928— the Department of Local Government dealt with Mrs. Kate Maude as secretary to the sub-committee in all matters  pertaining to old age pensions in that area. We got this letter from Mrs. Maude on the 14th January, 1929:—
14th January, 1929.
Dear Sir (or Sirs),
Will ye kindly enlighten me on the subject I am going to ask ye. It's as good to explain the whole of it to ye. First of all, my late husband, Joseph Maude, was appointed Clerk of the O.A.P. Lettermore Sub-Committee, County Galway, in 1908, and continued as Clerk until the time of his death, September, 1923. After his death I went for the clerkship, and the day of the appointment I was sick in bed, so I sent my daughter, Kate, to the meeting. I was appointed Clerk, as there was no other one going for it at the time. My daughter was doing the work for me and going to the meetings. As I did not feel strong after my husband's death, so after I getting better she continued doing the work as she was younger, until the 5th November, 1928. She had the last meeting and on November 11th she left for America. There are none of the Committee on now that appointed me, as the County Council formed a new Committee about June or July and that Committee wanted to make out that it was my daughter that was appointed Clerk five years ago. There was a mistake in the County Council as it was Miss K. Maude that used to be on the cheques, and Mrs. K. Maude on any communication coming from Dublin. I knew of the mistake all along and did not think worth while to bother about it as my daughter used to hand me every cheque to be cashed.
I think there would be nothing about it now, but one of the members wants to get his daughter Clerk instead of me. I think there are a few more going for it, so between the whole of them I stand no chance if it goes to the vote as they are all the one side except two, and there are nine members in the Committee. There are two of the old members that appointed me can prove that it was I was appointed. The other member died about 18 months ago. At the last meeting 4th January, 1929, the members were  to appoint a new Clerk so I told them that I would stick to the old appointment and if they had nothing better to get after their big work but watching to take that little job of a poor widow and her orphans they could not boast of much. Those are the men that is going to stand right for the poor of Connemara. I am 57 years, and if I had anything to fall back on I would never say a word about it after my daughter leaving me, but as God is my judge there is not a shilling in the world coming in to me but what I am getting out of the O.A.P. and my parish priest can certify that I have some land, but what can I do on it when I have no help or money. The next meeting will be some time in February for the appointment and now I am asking ye to let me know what I am to do, or have I any right to stick to the old appointment. The answer ye will send me I will bring to the meeting, D.V., whether it is in my favour or not; I hope ye will consider it, and let me know if I am entitled to it or not. Ye must excuse the poor way I am trying to explain it to ye, but it is my first time of trying to write anything like it. Hoping I am not causing ye any trouble.
Your obedient servant,
Mrs. Kate Maude.
There was never any fault found with the work done by me by Pension Officer Committee or L.G.B. The only mistake that was in the County Council was between Mrs. and Miss and I think that was not much between mother and daughter as all notifications were signed K. Maude.
Mrs. K. Maude.
Kindly send me answer as soon as ye can.
We have a statement signed by the only two living members of the Committee that it was Mrs. K. Maude that was appointed.
Mr. Mongan: That is the truth.
General Mulcahy: That letter arose out of the circumstance that the daughter in going to America wrote the letter that the Deputy speaks  about. From our point of view, it was utterly irrelevant to our position. At a meeting of the Sub-Committee on the 4th January, it was proposed that a Clerk be appointed to replace her daughter, but Mrs. Maude pointed out that she was the Clerk. At the next meeting, on the 23rd March, 1929, after the business had been completed, someone proposed that a permanent Clerk be appointed. The reverend chairman. Father McHugh, refused to deal with the motion, on the ground that the Department of Local Government had stated that they relied on this communication I have mentioned, and that Mrs. Maude was their Clerk. He left the chair, and the Clerk also left the meeting. After their leaving, one of the remaining members was moved to the chair, and they purported to appoint Miss Ellen McDonagh.
Mr. Mongan: God help the people who bring this matter on.
General Mulcahy: That was in 1929. When the matter came before us, in a letter from the Secretary of the County Galway Pension Committee, he was written to to the effect that Mrs. Maude was the Clerk to the Sub-Committee, and that if it should at any time be desired to reconsider the question of the clerkship this should only be done by the Pension Sub-Committee after due notice of motion, and no fresh appointment should be made without a prior declaration that the office is vacant and an intimation to that effect to the existing Clerk. In such event, moreover, full opportunity should be afforded to suitable candidates to apply for the position.
That communication is dated 29th November, 1929. It is now March, 1931. The eager but palsied hand of a certain section of the Sub-Committee is ever since hanging over that widow. They had not the conscience——
Mr. Mongan: Or the courage.
General Mulcahy: They have not the conscience to say: “We are removing the present Clerk, and we are going to appoint somebody else.” It is really a shameful business.
Mr. Mongan: And nothing else.
The Dáil adjourned at 2.30 p.m., until Wednesday, 11th March.