Thursday, 16 June 1932
Dáil Éireann Debate
(1) A duty of customs of an amount equal to thirty-three and one-third per cent. of the value of the article shall be charged, levied, and paid on every of the articles mentioned in the First Schedule to this Act.
(2) The provisions of Section 8 of the Finance Act, 1919, shall apply to the duty imposed by this section with the substitution of the expression “Saorstát Eireann” for the expression “Great Britain and Ireland” and as though the Second Schedule to that Act contained a list of goods to which one-fourth of the full rate was made applicable as a preferential rate and the articles chargeable with the duty imposed by this section were included in that list.
(3) The Minister for Agriculture may, with the concurrence of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, issue to any person a licence to import, subject to such conditions and restrictions as shall be specified in such order, grass mowers, wheel rakes, and swathe turners or any of them, either without limit as to time or quantity or with such limitations as to time and quantity of either of them as shall be specified in such licence.
I put down this amendment because I think that, even if the principle is accepted that there is to be a duty on agricultural machinery, the duty proposed in the Bill is far too high. Here is an industry which, without  any protection, has been able to establish itself and to carry on. It is not a new industry; it is an old industry, and an industry which had an opportunity during the European War of making a great deal of money and accumulating capital. It seems to me that to put on a 33? per cent. duty at this stage is going far beyond anything that can really be required. I put down an amendment which would give a preferential rate of tax of 12 per cent. It seems to me that that is ample. We have the experience of other industries, which were not so well established, making very considerable progress under a 15 per cent. duty. It seems to me that a 12 per cent. duty, therefore, ought to be ample if we accept the principle that there is to be protection at all. When the duty is reduced to that extent, if machines must be imported because the Saorstát-made machines are not suitable, the burden that will lie on the person who must import will not be so great as it would be with a duty of 33? per cent. On the other hand, I cannot imagine why, considering all the circumstances, if the industry is carried on with reasonable efficiency, it will not be able to continue with the 12 per cent.
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lemass): The position is that the industry is being carried on with considerable efficiency, and that, as far as prices are concerned, there has been no difference between the price of comparable machines produced in other factories and imported and those produced here. As the Deputy is aware, English companies who have been supplying the market have a very substantial and very widespread trade organisation. They have had a position in the market here which they were able to hold because of their selling organisations. With their larger financial resources, they were enabled to indulge in widespread advertising and had other advantages. The reason why the duty was fixed at this rate was because it was intended to stop the importation of machines for which there was no need, in so far as the existing concerns could supply all the requirements  of the country at a price which would be no dearer than they could be bought abroad. It is intended to stop the importation. It is considered that a duty at this rate is required to stop importation and to break, as it were, the trade connection, the trade habits, which have resulted in the continued importation of foreign machines for which there was no need.
Mr. McGilligan: The answer that has been given does not seem to be adequate to meet the amendment. The amendment is not to take away the tariff, but to reduce the amount. We are told by the Minister that his case is that the Irish firms could manufacture and sell at exactly the same price as the imported machinery; that the only thing that has got to be protected is something which arose from the bigger resources of the English firms. That has been expressed to-day in a different way from that in which it was expressed on the last occasion. Then we were told it was because larger commissions, larger discounts, were offered to the agents. That was denied, and denied specifically, by people engaged in the sale of machinery, who gave us their experience that the discounts were exactly the same. It is to-day put on the basis that better advertising is being done by English firms, so that really all we have to meet is the effect of this better advertising. That argument, as I said, has shifted in one respect. It has also shifted in another. The situation as outlined to us last day was this: that manufacturers here were, in fact, to some extent, in the same ring as the English manufacturers, and that what happened was that English manufacturers had broken the ring arrangement and had sold at less than the prices at which they were selling in England. We were then told by the Minister, when replying to that point, that of course the imposition of this tariff broke the ring arrangement. I think it stands out from the statement he made that the ring price when fixed was one which allowed sufficient profits, because it enabled the English manufacturers to sell under that price. They were  enabled, in fact, to sell under the ring price as fixed. Therefore, what we are up against is, an Irish combine, which was in a ring and which sold here at the ring price, and was, in fact, undersold by people in the ring theoretically, but who put manufactures on the Irish market at a lower price. The ring has been broken, according to the Minister, by the imposition of a tariff. That situation no longer holds. It was a question as to whether the ring was going to continue. Consequently, it is an easier statement to make on this tariff than on any other that the Irish manufacturer has no occasion to raise prices. Whether he will do it or not remains to be seen. In these circumstances, the proposal is made to have a duty of a lesser amount than is in the Bill, as it can be justified by these two reasons taken from the Minister himself: first of all, what had to be met was a situation controlled by a ring, in which the Irish manufacturers were to some extent, and that the price had been fixed at such a rate as enabled other people in that ring to sell with profit, and even to sell under the ring price at a profit. Consequently, the situation, as now explained by the Minister, in the main is that you have to meet the better advertising advantages of the English concerns. Surely if these two things are an argument for a tariff at all they are an argument for a lesser tariff than is put on, particularly if one has to admit, as I think everybody must admit, that the incentive to raise prices grows the greater the tariff is; that one of the few checks left to us is keeping the tariff low, because that keeps, at any rate, the maximum at a particular height above which the Irish manufacturers cannot change. If in the circumstances of a ring-controlled industry, the only thing we come up against is better advertising, then the tariff proposed by the amendment is the most suitable one.
Mr. O'Brien: There appears to be great doubt in the minds of the Government as to whether they were justified in imposing this tariff at all. Most of the foreign firms who manufacture  agricultural machinery have informed me that it may be possible to import these machines without paying the duty. They think it may be possible to have them imported under licence. If that is a fact it would appear that the Government or the Minister must be in doubt as to whether this tax is a justifiable one. The point is that farmers in a certain district want a certain make of machine. Some farmers want an American machine, others want a British make of machine and others may want an Irish machine. It was only on yesterday that a farmer walked in to me and he would take nothing but a Woods machine. I told him that an Irish machine was as good as any other machine, but he would not have anything to do with any machine but a Woods machine; so he ordered the machine and agreed to pay the tax. By yesterday's post I had a letter from Woods' in which they stated that they thought that their machinery would be allowed in free of tax under licence by the Minister. When the Minister decided to tax foreign machinery the most deplorable thing about it for the farmer was the imposition of a tax on the parts. As a matter of fact parts of agricultural machinery on which there is no tax have to my own knowledge been held up at the Quays since the 11th of May. This is a matter of great inconvenience to the people who wanted these parts for the hay season. It is for these couple of weeks that they will be needed.
Mr. Lemass: No import licences have been issued. An arrangement was made in the Resolution which is embodied in this Bill by which the Minister for Agriculture can issue a licence for the importation of certain harvesting machinery this year if the supply from Irish firms proves to be inadequate. That was done in order to meet the suggestion that arose when the duty was imposed in April that in the earlier period the Irish factories might not be in a position to make machinery up to the requirements of the country in time for the next harvest season. It is possible that one or two licences may have to  be issued, but certainly the powers conferred in the Bill on the Minister for Agriculture will not have to be used to the extent that was thought possible at the time the Resolution was drafted. The requirements of the country up to the extent of well over 90 per cent. will be met from the existing factories. The only case that could be made for a reduction of the duty to the figure mentioned in the amendment is that imports will take place on which a lower duty will be paid. If it is intended that the lower duty will be just as prohibitive as the higher one then it does make no difference whether I change the Bill or not.
Mr. Lemass: We have received from the manufacturers a guarantee that the prices they will charge for their products here will not be higher than the prices which the English farmer will have to pay to the English manufacturer.
Mr. Lemass: If in fact we find that that guarantee is not observed then a situation would arise in which we would have seriously to consider the removal of the duty or we would have to consider what other steps would be taken to meet a situation such as that.
Mr. Lemass: The guarantee is being kept. Deputy Hogan came into the Dáil when that tariff was put before us and posed as a farmer. He said that the price of machinery was going to go up. He shouted down anybody who said it might not go up. On the next day an advertisement appeared in the Press giving notice that the manufacturers were reducing the price of agricultural machinery.
Mr. Lemass: The Irish firms will supply agricultural machinery as efficient as any machinery that can be imported. If that is so is there any reason why Irishmen should not be employed in the manufacture of that machinery or is there any reason why we should reduce the duty? No such reason exists. We are able to supply our own requirements in agricultural machinery and there is no reason why all these should not be made here.
Mr. Blythe: The difficulty which the Minister leaves out is the difficulty of price. There is no possibility in enforcing a guarantee unless the breach of that guarantee is an absolutely outrageous breach. If the prices here were something like three-fourths more than the British prices it would be possible to bring the breach home to the Irish firm. But in a thing like agricultural machinery there is so much involved in the quality and design and there can be so much perhaps done in the deviation of prices of parts that it would be found impossible to hold the firms up to the guarantee. Even if dealing with a much simpler article, say like sugar, it would be difficult enough to make sure that there would be no small breach of the guarantee. But when you come to a question of agricultural machinery where there are questions of class and variety of machines and so forth it is impossible.
It seems to me that you are dealing here with something like a monopoly. You have one biggish firm and a couple of smaller firms all situated close together. That is the main part of the industry. It is an industry which we may take it for sure will be ringed inside our tariff wall. There  will be no competition in that industry, and when there is no competition in an industry the tendency is for manufacturers, on one pretext or another, which the Minister cannot control, to get full value out of the tariff. The manufacturers will think the full value is got only when they have got the highest prices they can get for their machinery. There was talk here about giving the labour people employed in these industries full advantages from the tariff. You will, undoubtedly, when the suitable time comes, have changes and various labour conditions imposed so as to make the production costs higher on the manufacturer than they will be in Great Britain. In that way the firms here will get excuses of one sort and excuses of another sort so as to make it impossible to bring home to them that there has been a breach of the guarantee.
Anybody who looks at the thing impartially will no doubt see that after a period of years, where you have a tariff, it will be found that the goods here will be sold at approximately the amount of the tariff or three-fourths the amount of the tariff added to the cost of the foreign article. Therefore, the tariff ought to be low. As I have said already, there is nothing disgraceful for a manufacturer in getting all he can out of the tariff. It is quite right and proper for a man carrying on business to get as much profit out of the business as he can. Our whole system is run on that. To suggest that some business firm is going to go on selling at less than he could get for the goods, or that the firm is going to make less profit than it is possible for it to make, seems to me to indicate simplicity of mind. If we could leave that simplicity of mind out of it for a moment, the minimum tariff that will achieve the result is the tariff that ought to be imposed so that there is a limit to what the manufacturer can do in the way of raising his prices. If a tariff of 12 per cent. would break down the obstacle to Pierce's trade then 12 per cent. is the tariff that ought to be  passed; if 8 per cent. breaks down the obstacles then 8 per cent. should be put on; or if it is 16 per cent. then only 16 per cent. should be imposed. A tariff of 33? per cent. should not be imposed on the import of agricultural machinery unless there is no possibility of a lesser tariff removing the obstacles to the firm's successful trading.
If they can supply the goods at the price, and in the variety, and of a quality to compete with other industries, it does not require a 33? per cent. tariff to break down a mere prejudice, or a mere trade connection, or to counter better advertising. I think that, on what the Minister says, there is no case for a tariff as high as this. He has said nothing to indicate the need for an increased tariff, and there is no use in taking the line that people are going to be patriotic over long periods, and conduct their business in such a way as to make less profits than they need make, or that they will avoid trying, as opportunity occurs, to raise their prices. It is natural and proper for them to raise their prices and they will do it.
Mr. Brasier: The Minister has probably overlooked the conservative character of the Irish farmer and the Irish labourer. If they have acquired a preference for a certain class of implements they will have it in any case, no matter what price it is, or else do without.
Mr. Brasier: Yes, or else do without. There is no question at all about it, that if a farmer goes to buy a plough, he will bring his labouring man, who is to follow that plough, with him, to choose it, and many a labourer will object to following a plough other than a Ransome plough. You have to take into consideration the fact that certain makes of ploughs suit certain districts, such as hilly districts, and  other makes, the level plain. I feel that the tariff in this case will simply be a revenue tariff, and will not do such a great amount of good to the industry the Minister desires to serve. It is one of these taxes that are hitting agriculture, and the farmer will probably hope that, on some future occasion, the tax will be removed, and he will wait to buy the new implement and patch up the old one. I think it is definitely a wrong principle to put a tax on agricultural implements and machinery when we are so anxious to help tillage in this country. We are not helping tillage, so far as the crops produced are concerned, and I think the Minister ought seriously to consider the amendment that has been put down to reduce the tax. I believe there is very widespread opposition to it on the part of the agricultural community. They resent it, as adding to their cost of production and, undoubtedly, they will pay the tax to get the implement they want, if it is an implement of the particular character that is being taxed, rather than take another class of implement that they, or their labourers, will not use.
Mr. Kiersey: I would like to ask the Minister if the Irish manufacturer could not hold up the granting of the licence for the importation of an agricultural machine? The reason I ask that is, that as we know, manufacturers make more than one model of a machine. The reason for that is obvious — that a particular type of machine, say, the Model 6 or Model 7, will not do work in a particular place, and they have a special machine to meet the conditions there. It is necessary to have these different models, and my point is that when a trader applies for a licence to get in a certain foreign machine these manufacturers could say that they have that machine in stock. It may be a bad selling line, and it may be useless to the trader, or to the farmer for whom he wants it, but the Irish manufacturer could prevent the proper machine coming in, by saying that he had machines to supply. I know of one particular place, the name of which I could give  to the Minister, where a mowing machine was supplied which failed to do the work. The manufacturer then supplied a different model which did cut the crops. That shows the necessity for more than one model of machine, and it proves that the machine that will work in one field, and on one class of grass, will not be satisfactory in another. I would like an assurance from the Minister that the manufacturers could not do what I am afraid will be done.
Mr. P. Hogan (Galway): I know of instances where agents of certain Irish machinery makers have gone into traders, during the last month, and told them they had better be very polite; that they would have to take their machines now, and that they were long enough the other way, when they could get their machines where they liked, and that they had refused them, on former occasions, for orders, adding, that they would have to give them orders now, and no thanks to them. That is the spirit in which certain Irish traders, who are dealing in machinery in this country were approached and approached on behalf of Irish manufacturers. Of course, every man who is not a fool, or who is not insincere, knows perfectly well that they will exploit this situation, and, of course, they would be fools if they did not. It is the duty of a business man to charge all he can get, just as it is my duty to sell my goods, when I take them to the fair, for the dearest possible price. Equally, every Deputy here who is not a fool knows perfectly well that the Minister for Industry and Commerce, or any official of his Department, is not in a position to operate that guarantee. I get a hay rake. I want five or six different types, dependent on the sort of meadows I have, and on the sort of land I have. I get one hay rake and the material is bad, the timber is bad, the metal is bad, or it is second or third quality. Is the Minister, or one of his civil servants, going to say that it is as good as some machine made in England, or that it is better, or worse, than some machine made in England? Of course,  he cannot, and everyone knows perfectly well that he cannot.
The Minister ought, also, to get this inside his head, if he can, that a very small difference makes a big difference to a business man. At the present time, when profits are small, a 10 per cent. difference makes all the difference in the world to a man. Very few farmers can afford to pay for a bad machine at the present time. Very few farmers can afford to pay for a machine, for instance, that is too heavy, and which will mean heavier horses, especially the small farmer. The loss to a farmer, by reason of his having to use heavier horses, is a serious loss, and is going to mean the difference between success and failure. If I put that consideration to a business man it would be apparent at once, but when it comes to farming, apparently the idea is that anything at all will do. Deputy Brasier spoke of a prejudice — I do not know whether he used the word prejudice, but that was the idea he conveyed — that the farmer has against certain machines, and of a predilection in favour of others. It is not a prejudice. The ploughman has been tilling land all his life and has been testing a variety of machines, and he knows perfectly well that there are certain ploughs useful for him. There are certain ploughs that are no good to me, and there are certain ploughs that I use which would be no good on light Wexford land. If I am to do things properly, and to compete even in this home market, apart altogether from the foreign market, I must have just the machinery I require, and if I have not it is a great disadvantage.
The business of supplying agricultural machinery is one of the most highly organised businesses there is. It was supplied by first class firms— the International Harvesting Company, Bamfords, Moore and McCormick, Woods and Pierce. They were all in it. Most of them were first class firms. It was a highly organised industry and it was run on the most scientific lines. It was necessary that it should be. There is  no business so detailed as farming. There is no business where you require such a variety of machinery to meet such a variety of conditions. It is because of that you had all these firms springing up, spending time and money in this industry to turn out suitable machines for different conditions. You had them in existence when this tariff came along.
What was the position when this tariff was imposed? There was a ring and what was it for? Was it to keep down prices? The ring was to see that prices were kept up well and they were kept up well. There were two examples where manufacturers tried to sell under the ring prices. What happened? They were brought before the Board straight away and they did not do it again. You had no such thing as dumping here when the tariff was imposed. On the contrary you had a ring of manufacturers of agricultural machinery who were keeping prices up to a point at which they could make some profit. In that state of affairs the Minister interfered to impose a 33 1/3 tariff or a tariff somewhat lower so far as the preferential rate is concerned, a tariff which leaves 95 per cent. of the firms at a disadvantage in competing in this market. It leaves free trade in this country in agricultural machinery to a very limited number indeed. Anybody who thinks that that procedure will not result in a shortage of machinery and in unsuitable machinery does not know what he is talking about. Of course it will. Of course it is bound to do it. The man who is going to pay for that, the man who is going to pay the full amount of this increase is the farmer, and that is the class in this country who can least afford to pay at the present moment. Their condition shows no sign of improvement. In my opinion this is a disgraceful tax.
Mr. Gorey: It is very strange that when this tax was imposed on machinery the one machine above all others of its class that stands out on its merits as superior to anything in Irish production was not mentioned at all. That is the McBride thistle cutter. It is the best of its kind on the  market produced in any country. I have been using one since 1912. It has been slightly improved since then, but it is the best of its kind on the market even yet. Its design is different from anything I know and it is strange that it is not on the list at all. In my opinion there is no necessity whatever for a 33? per cent. tariff. I should like to know if it is due to representations from any Irish manufacturer that the tariff was made so high. If it is, it is an extraordinary thing and I cannot believe it. The Minister talks about the fall in foreign prices. Of course it is true that there has been a fall in foreign prices. It is true that there has been an extraordinary fall in the price of all manufactures in every part of the world. There was a machine listed at £7 10s early this year which I bought the other day at £6. The price of machinery has come down to meet market requirements in all parts of the world. They had to come down if the manufacturers were to sell them. I have no hesitation in giving any evidence the Minister wants in regard to the machine which I purchased. Perhaps it should not be called a machine, it is a cultivator. I bought it at £6, but it was not listed at that a few months ago.
I should like to know if the Minister has any application from Canadian, British or American manufacturers to be allowed to come in here to manufacture machinery in Ireland, especially mowing machines. If he has I would urge him to give every facility possible to people of that description, to manufacture machinery that has been coming in here from Canada, machinery such as was manufactured by the International Harvesting Company and Bamfords such as Deputy Hogan mentioned. Another matter is that some machines manufactured in this country could well afford to do without this 33? per cent. tariff. If foreign machinery comes in here, especially mowers with the 33? per cent. tariff, the machine that is manufactured here having a considerable amount of its parts brought in free of tax and assembled here has a considerably greater advantage than 33? per  cent. Such machines are being assembled here and are selling at the tariffed prices.
The question of unsuitable machinery has been stressed but it cannot be overstated. Two years ago we had only one decent week for saving hay, I think there were only six days in June, that were suitable for saving hay two years ago. The latter part of last season was better. From 12th July it was a fairly good season. If a man is forced to buy an unsuitable machine in a critical season like that what does it mean? It may mean a loss of £20 or £25 on his hay crop. If the Minister has any application from an outside firm who wants to come in here to set up a factory for the manufacture of mowing machines or other machinery, I hope he will consider it sympathetically and give that company a chance of doing so. First of all we will have all the improvements in machinery that that company can offer, but otherwise we will have no improvements. We may have copies of them only when the patents run out.
Mr. Moore: I think the supporters of Deputy Blythe's amendment should explain what seems to be an obvious objection against that amendment. They should at least explain how this position is going to be got over. They admit that there was a ring in existence for the purpose of maintaining prices. They admit that the tariff has broken the ring.
Mr. Moore: This ring has very big capital resources. They are making a combined assault on the few firms that are manufacturing agricultural machinery in this country. Would it not be the obvious thing, if the tariff were made too low, for that combine for six or twelve months to flood this country with cheap agricultural machinery?  It seems to me that the supporters of the amendment have to deal with a situation of that kind. I think there is far too much faith in foreign competition as a means of keeping down prices. Surely that ring is admitted, a ring in which not only the foreign exporters of this machinery but the manufacturers in this country were combined and surely that is an admission that foreign competition is no means of keeping prices down and that they can be rigged no matter what competition prevails. But the virtue of foreign competition has been held up to us here as something that never failed to act. It is said that it is always moderate and always considerate for the consumer and that it can never be deflected by any consideration other than the good of the consumer. We all know that in present day trading these virtues are not so obvious at all and I suggest that it would be a very dangerous thing if it was admitted that this industry required no protection. I think that to make the tariff a small one would be to take a very great risk and I suggest to the Minister that he should resist this proposal.
There was one argument supplied by Deputy O'Brien which, I think, would be rather an argument in favour of a higher duty than an argument against it. He mentioned that there was a farmer of his acquaintance who, without explaining why, insisted that he would have a Woods machine, no matter what the tariff was, in preference to an Irish machine. If that man cannot be made to recognise his duty to the community in which he lives and if he will simply follow his prejudice, then he should be made to pay for his prejudice. To that extent, at all events, Deputy O'Brien's example afforded very poor argument for a small tariff.
Mr. Bennett: Deputy Moore has made what I might suggest is a most ridiculous contribution to the debate when he suggested that a possible combination of outside manufacturers may come in here in opposition to the home firms and cut down prices with  a tariff of 33 per cent. The Minister himself, in proposing the tariff, has given a guarantee to the effect that the home manufacturers can produce the articles at the present prices, and he stated that in fact they had guaranteed to him that they will not increase the price. And in the face of that Deputy Moore suggests to the House the possibility of a combination of outside firms coming in here under the Bill as it stands and under-selling the home manufacturers.
Mr. Bennett: Even if he reduces the tariff to 16 per cent. the same argument stands. The Minister says that under the tariff the home manufacturers can carry on and compete with the outside firms price for price and quality for quality and that they will give a guarantee to that effect. We all had evidence, as Deputy Hogan said, that the ring of manufacturers had kept up the prices of agricultural machinery in this country for years and had kept them up to such an extent that there was a certain profit for the manufacturers in Ireland, England and Scotland, and elsewhere. The Minister made an admission a moment ago that it did not matter whether this was a tariff of 16 or 33 per cent., that it would have the same effect in certain circumstances, the circumstances being that the tariff was prohibitive. It is practically prohibitive and I would suggest to the Minister that the acceptance of 16 per cent. instead of 33 per cent. will not make a material difference as far as the importation of agricultural machinery from outside is concerned. It will make this difference to the ordinary farmer: There are, as different speakers have put the case, various types of agricultural machinery suited to all classes and suited to certain districts. Every farmer Deputy in this House knows that. There are certain types of machinery and no matter how intense our nationality is, and no matter how great our preference for Irish manufacture is, to our own common  knowledge gained from our own experience these certain types coming from outside are—I do not say better in quality — but are more adaptable for the requirements of certain farmers in certain localities. Everyone of us in his own district knows that.
Deputy Gorey stated very fairly that the harvesting season, particularly the hay season, is very short, and it is up to every farmer to get the machine and the type of machine that will help him to do his work in the quickest possible time. I can mention several machines, Irish and English— I do not want to mention manufacturers' names here — but there are common types of machines which many of us, with all our preference for Irish-manufactured articles of every description, must at the present moment buy if we are to carry on the operation of hay-saving in the quickest possible time. It will be inevitable, for some years at least, that we must buy a certain number of those articles until such time as the Irish manufacturers place themselves in the position of being able to supply not alone every agricultural machine but every type of every agricultural machine suitable to the needs of the farmers of this country. This they have not done up to the present. I maintain that a reduction of this tariff from 33 per cent. to 16 per cent. will do no great harm as far as the objects that the Minister has in view are concerned, but it will put the individual farmer here and there in the position that when of necessity he must go outside for a certain article—and he is the best judge of his own business — he will not be mulcted beyond a certain extent. I see no reason why the Minister should not accept the amendment.
Mr. Roddy: I should like to refer to some points made in the discussion of this amendment. The Minister said that he had a certain guarantee from the manufacturers that the price will not be increased. The question of price is a vitally important matter for the consumer, that is, the farmer. I wonder what that guarantee is. I  think the Minister said that it was subject to two conditions — that the freight charges would not be increased, and that the price of the raw material would remain the same. It is quite possible that there might be increases in other directions in the case of these firms that would justify them in increasing prices. And the point I want to get at is this: How is the Minister to regulate prices? He has no machinery at present for regulating prices. By what means will he be able to determine what is a fair price for a machine? If the manufacturers inform him that they are putting up their prices by 25 or 15 per per cent., and that the Minister considers that the increase is unreasonable, how is he to decide that it is unreasonable? What method is he to adopt in order to ascertain whether the price is reasonable or unreasonable?
I do not see that it is possible for the Minister to devise any machinery for the purpose of regulating an increase of prices at all. There is only one means, as far as I can see, by which it would be possible for the Minister to ascertain whether the manufacturer is charging a fair price or not, and that is by putting in an official of his own to manage that particular business for a period, say, of six or twelve months. Then he would be in a position to decide whether the price was a fair one or whether it was not. But I cannot see how, at the moment, it is possible for the Minister to regulate a matter of that kind, and I cannot see that it is possible here to devise any form of legal machinery for the purpose of regulating, in an equitable way, a matter of that kind.
I support this amendment because I do consider that under existing circumstances and conditions it is necessary to allow imports of foreign machinery for some time. Deputy Hogan referred to the fact that the firms engaged in the production of agricultural machinery are very highly organised. There is no question whatever about it that they are very highly organised.
 They are so highly organised that they have been in a position for years past to supply this country with a wide range of machinery suited to all sorts and conditions of farming and to all classes of land. The Minister, in this Bill, proposes to hand over the whole of the Free State practically to one firm and one or two subsidiary firms.
These firms only manufacture a limited range of machinery, not suitable to the conditions of the farmers, and not suited to all classes of land. Every farmer who has experience of the use of machinery in this country knows perfectly well that Irish machinery is not suited to the conditions of all classes of land. The Irish farmer who has been using machinery for many years buys the type of machinery best suited to his land and it is uneconomic, as Deputy Gorey has pointed out, to force him to buy any other type of machine.
There is another matter in addition to which Deputy Hogan referred. The animals have to be big and strong in order to work this machinery. A man may only have a jennet, or a pony, and in many cases will have to join with his neighbour in order to work the machinery. These animals are not able to work heavy machinery and, therefore, the farmer has, of necessity, to buy light machinery. The great complaint that Irish farmers have against Irish agricultural machinery is that it is too heavy, and that it is unsuitable in certain classes of land and especially unsuitable in certain parts of Ireland.
The Minister, I think, made a statement outside this House a short time ago to the effect that it was the intention of the Government to embark on a tillage policy next year. I wonder with what degree of enthusiasm the farmers of the country are going to take on his tillage policy, after he has pursued his present line of action of raising unnecessarily the price of machinery. The Minister must realise, in existing conditions, that it is very difficult for farmers to carry on, and  that increases in taxes will greatly handicap them in their enterprises. It should be the duty of the Minister and the Government during a period of depression like this to endeavour to make the burden as light as possible on the farmer, and not, as he is doing in this Bill, to increase the charges on machinery.
Mr. Lemass: I think we could dispose of the points raised without prolonged discussion upon this particular amendment. We went into the matter with very great care, and it seemed to us that a lesser rate of duty would be unsuitable to the circumstances of the time. The British firms supplying the various foreign markets had, because of the increased import duties in these countries, lost those markets, and there was every indication that there would be a very intensive effort made on their part to secure a larger share of the market here. Reports were received from customs officers at the ports that unusual quantities of machinery were coming in from firms across the water much earlier than heretofore.
Mr. Lemass: Having gone fully into the point and having considered that it was desirable that these importations should be stopped, and that the markets set out in the Schedule to this Bill should be reserved to the Irish manufacturers, we decided it was best to adopt a policy that would give them security so that they could go ahead increasing their plant, improving their methods and increasing their selling organisation with freedom and security. The guarantee in respect of prices which we received appeared satisfactory.  I do not know that we can afford to go on on the strength of that guarantee, but trade catalogues and other sources of information will be available to see that the guarantee is observed. If we find it is not observed the question will then arise what is the best action to be taken in the circumstances — the abolition of the duty, or the retention of the duty with an invitation to other firms to come into the business, or other means.
Deputy Broderick referred to this as a revenue duty. It is not a revenue duty. It is not expected that any revenue will come from it. There are of course certain farmers in a position to pay the enhanced price for foreign machinery but the actual yield in the way of revenue will be very small indeed. Deputy Kiersey made a speech in which he indicated that Irish machine factories were only making one class of machinery. That is altogether wrong. Irish manufacturers are making a full range of machinery.
Mr. Lemass: He would see different kinds of machinery on the stands of the different manufacturers. As I mentioned before one conclusive fact seems to dispose of all that argument. We have a census taken and we find that the percentage of Irish made ploughs in each county of the Saorstát was the same and that they were used in every county of the Twenty-Six Counties in the same proportion.
Mr. Lemass: It applies to agricultural machinery of the type I have spoken of. Deputy Hogan made a statement at the way that the agents of Irish manufacturers were treating  the merchants here, and the arrogant attitude they were taking up. I happen to know, from other sources, that that statement could not be correct. I am certain that Deputy Hogan started up to make a speech and he wanted something to start with and the first thing that came into his head he poured out without thinking whether there was any foundation for it. The rest of his speech was based on the fact that the Irish article must necessarily be inferior to the imported article. There is no reason for that assumption. In respect of some of the articles I think there will be a general volume of opinion amongst large numbers of Irish farmers that the Irish article is not only as good as, but that it is better than, the imported article. In answer to Deputy Gorey's question I may say that if foreign firms came along with a proposal to establish a factory we would consider their proposal——
Mr. Lemass: I cannot answer that at the moment. I do not think so. These are all the points raised in the debate. I do not think that any point was made for a reduction of the duty, so I think we could pass on to some other amendment more important.
Mr. Brasier: The point is that the ring was able to keep up the machinery at a certain price. That prevails to-day. At any rate Irish firms have not dropped below the selling price of English firms and is not the difference equivalent to a portion of the tariff?
Mr. Lemass: I understand it is intended to dispose of the amendments to this Bill by two o'clock to-morrow.  I suggest, therefore, that amendments which would require more discussion than this which had already been discussed on two or three occasions should be taken.
Mr. McGilligan: We were told by the Minister, when this was introduced first, that he did not think it desirable or necessary to have the Resolutions discussed at length then, because they would be discussed at length upon the Bill which would be introduced within ten sitting days. This is our opportunity.
Mr. McGilligan: They were discussed for a portion of one morning. If there had been an application before the Tariff Commission, and if the Tariff Commission had turned down the application, the present Minister would have made a speech of as great length as all the speeches that have been made on this proposal on the refusal of the Tariff Commission to accept the proposal for the imposition of a tariff. I think the Minister's mentality with regard to the evidence upon which he will found a statement has been pretty definitely revealed by one remark. Deputy Hogan made a comment which was founded on his own experience.
Mr. McGilligan: I heard him speak about it a couple of times and I know the area to which he referred. The Minister's statement in reply to that is that that “cannot be correct”— that is the phrase he used—from information given to him. He knows that this statement cannot be correct. It is the height of absurdity for anybody in a responsible position to father a statement of that sort. He has made another surprising statement with regard to all the types of machinery which farmers require. He says that they are being made — not that they are going to be made.  According to the Minister, they are being made and were on parade, apparently, at the Spring Show as made by Irish firms. Although these firms are only supplying one-third of the entire requirements of the country in volume, yet they are making every class of machine. It is very difficult to credit that.
The amendment which we are dealing with is not concerned with the question as to whether there ought or ought not to be a tariff. The question is only as to the height of the tariff. The height turns only on the question of price. I made a statement here on another occasion and I repeat it, that every application for a tariff is, in fact, an application by people that, under Government auspices, they be enabled to raise prices. Stripped of all hugger-mugger, that is what such an application comes to. The grant of a tariff application is a grant to people of the right to raise their prices. That is absolutely certain. The Minister says there is going to be no increase of prices because (a) he has been told by the manufacturers that they will not raise them and (b) he believes that home requirements are going to be met by home firms and that there is going to be something in the way of competition. Let us see his touch with the manufacturers. He introduced a Resolution in April and he stated on that occasion that the questions about parts being tariffed and exemptions were decided upon in consultation with the manufacturers. The manufacturers, at that time, had apparently assured him that the order as it stood was a good one. Yet, when we got on to another stage, there were considerable modifications. What happened in the meantime? Was the second proposal arrived at in consultation with the manufacturers? Had the Minister cross-examined them in a better way and to better effect than on the first occasion and had he found that they were not correct in their previous assertions as to what they could do? There was some flaw in the manufacturers' statement on either of the occasions.
We go on a bit later and we find that, apparently, there was some lingering doubt in the mind of the Minister or of  the Minister for Agriculture as to what the manufacturers could do, because we were told that when permanent proposals — which, I presume are these — would come forward with regard to this industry, we would have a licensing clause or an exemption clause. To-day the position is different. Surely that zig-zagging, that in-and-out performance shows definitely that there was no very definite consideration of the relevant details. It does not inspire us with confidence in the statements made by the manufacturers — statements which any manufacturer will make with great vehemence at a time when he is looking for a benefit, the benefit of being enabled to raise his prices under Government auspices.
Leave even the manufacturers aside and what is the situation which we are facing? The situation is described by the Minister as follows: “The Irish firms are members of the Harvesting Machinery Section of the Agricultural Engineers' Association. That is a British Association which includes amongst its members most of the British manufacturers of agricultural machinery. The Association fixes prices for its products in Great Britain and Ireland.” That is the Minister's statement regarding the people whom we are going to protect. It is not a statement made by me, which the Minister would deny. It is his own statement. They are members of this price-fixing ring and the only complaint made was that on some occasions it was found that the British were selling, contrary to their assurances in the Association, under the ring price. We are told further that when that complaint was made it was rectified. How was it rectified? The price went up to the ring price. Deputy Brasier has made a point in which there is considerable virtue—that there was a considerable amount of the tariff already there. In other words, I take Deputy Brasier's point to be that this is not the case of an industry being beaten down by a cut price. The price fixed is not a cut price. It was a price which enabled the Irish agricultural machinery manufacturer to live and it had added to it, so far as  the British manufacturer was concerned, something for freight. He was bearing that. We are asked, on the strength of a promise given by these manufacturers that they will not increase the price, to give them 33? per cent. or whatever the operative tariff is to be—25 per cent. We say that it should not be fixed so high. What we are starting from at the moment is a ring price which bore some part of the freight on the goods to this country, and which must have yielded some profit. What were the Irish manufacturers afraid of? Apparently it was not that the ring would be broken, because they were able to get the ring re-made when it was previously broken.
The Minister tells us that, owing to depression everywhere, there was going to be a fall in the price of agricultural machinery in England, presumably. Was it thought that there was going to be a special price fixed for Ireland? That is the reason I asked the Minister the price of this abnormal consignment coming in. If it was the old fixed ring price it must have been a price that was going to operate for England and Ireland. In these conditions, presumably what was feared was that the situation in England was going to break down and that that was going to react here. In these circumstances, we are asked to grant a tariff of 33? per cent. on the promise that the Irishman is not going to be asked to pay more than the Englishman is going to be asked to pay. If that promise is absolutely and clearly carried out, surely we have the old condition resurrected. We have what was feared brought in on us. Prices are to go down in England owing to depression, and we are to get, under the tariff, the same cut price that is to be given to the English purchaser. We say, “Give us the safeguard here of a lower tariff.” A tariff is an application to increase prices. The tariff, when granted, amounts to a franchise to increase prices. The only way you can have any kind of hold upon that is to have your tariff fixed at a certain point. That is all that is being argued for on this amendment. Let us have a 16 per cent. instead of a 33? per cent. tariff in a ring-controlled industry.
Mr. Lemass: I do not think it is necessary to deal with all the points raised by Deputy McGilligan, because they have been dealt with already. The one error on which his whole speech is based is this — that the ring was there for the purpose of keeping the prices at such a point that large profits could be secured. In fact, all the English firms in this business have been losing money and quite a number of them have gone bankrupt in recent months. That one point would destroy the whole case the Deputy has built up.
Mr. O'Shaughnessy: I have never yet known a farmer, where he could suit his requirements, who did not take an Irish built machine; but I say this, and I have experience of every class of agricultural machinery, that in certain localities a certain machine is required that is not made here by the Irish manufacturers and this tariff of 33? per cent. debars the farmer from this very much to his detriment. I would ask the Minister to reconsider his attitude on this particular tariff because as I have said, in certain localities a certain machine is required which is not catered for in the home markets. I favour a class of machine as far as agriculture is concerned, and every machine I have is an Irish made one, but I will say this that I have machines that are not suited in certain areas in the locality I come from and that an Irish machine is not made to suit that locality, and if you put 33? per cent. on you are putting a load on that farmer which he is unable to pay. Further, any tax on the agricultural community at the moment will defeat  the object for which it is intended, because the farmer is not able to meet his responsibilities and any further tax — and possibly some of them are justifiable — will have the effect of wiping him out of existence altogether.
Mr. Gorey: I will make one last appeal to the Minister and it will be very short indeed. There are three or four machines mentioned — grass mowers, wheel rakes, swath turners and perhaps potato diggers, the price of which will be from £15 to £18. Thirty-three and a third per cent. will be an increase of from £5 to £6 each. Does the Minister honestly think he needs a barrier of from £4 to £6 on each machine and if it is reduced to a barrier of from £2 to £3, which would be the barrier at 16 per cent., does he not think that sufficient? Even if one machine did creep in here and there— say one or two in each county — even at the £2 or £3 of a difference what better could he have — what better test of efficiency could he have?
This Bill kills competition and comparison. You have not even the power to compare one machine with another. If the Minister had the long view and looked at it from all its angles and considered the value of this class of machine at £2 or £3 of a barrier could he have anything more suitable for his purpose than the odd machine that might come in, as a matter of comparison? Could there be anything better for comparison of them than design, price and quality—the three things that matter, A lot of the lands through the country are light lands where light horses have to be used and nothing eases draft so much as the ball bearing machine. Reference has been made to the Woods. Twenty or twenty-five years ago I would have nothing but the Woods, but to-day I would not have it because it is not the same machine. It is all a question of comparision. Sometimes a man will go ten or twenty miles to make a comparison between machine and machine. The best thing the Minister could do would be to allow the possibility of a machine coming in and giving the opportunity of making comparisons.
Mr. M. O'Reilly: It seems hard  enough to agree with Deputy Gorey that this particular tariff will destroy competition. I think it will increase it here. If all that has been said is going to come true that any particular manufacturer of machinery here is going to reap the benefits of this 33? per cent., I think there are people who would start an opposition to try to reap that benefit. As far as the machinery produced by Irish manufacturers in the past is concerned, it may not have been up to all the needs required, but the needs and requirements are very varied and foreign manufacturers have organised themselves very highly and that shows exactly the value of this market to them. I think that if we have any little respect for the ability of the people of this country, I take it that there is nothing at all to prevent native firms themselves in a small country like this from being able to produce machinery to suit the requirements of every single district, and that within a very short time. There is nothing at all in the argument that the tariff should be reduced from 33? per cent. to whatever reduction the amendment states, because if the tariff is too low it means there can be no expansion here, and if the manufacturer here is going to pocket all the tariff there is hardly a doubt but that other people will start in opposition. The main reason why the particular tariff was put on was that it may have an effect on a farmer for a year or so. There are prejudiced farmers who feel compelled to buy a foreign-made machine.
Mr. O'Reilly: I hope not. If he does, the thing fails. That is the position. At the same time the reason why the tariffs were conceived was  this. Farmers with families must all of them hope to get their sons employed here. There does not seem to be employment anywhere else — at least there does not seem any hope of getting it — and this is one of the places where they can get employment. This is an opportunity for farmers' sons to get employment.
Mr. O'Reilly: Keep them all on it. Have they remained on it up to this? Would they be in this country now only that they cannot get to America? What has happened in the last ten years? What has been happening all along the line? Those who did not get into distribution here had to emigrate. All the talk from the opposite benches is in order to delay legislation that may be beneficial to the community. They may as well admit that.
Mr. O'Reilly: As I do not want to be accused of taking up time, I will conclude by saying that I did not hear a single argument from the opposite side that had in it the slightest degree of sincerity.
Brady, Seán. De Valera, Eamon.
Dowdall, Thomas P.
Flinn, Hugo V.
Gorry, Patrick Joseph.
Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
Kelly, James Patrick.
Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
Lemass, Seán F.
Browne, William Frazer.
Corry, Martin John.
Derrig, Thomas. Maguire, Conor Alexander.
Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
O'Kelly, Seán Thomas.
Powell, Thomas P.
Ruttledge, Patrick J.
Ward, Francis C. (Dr.).
|Alton, Ernest Henry.
Beckett, James Walter.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Bourke, Séamus A.
Broderick, William Jos.
Byrne, John Joseph.
Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margaret.
Cosgrave, William T.
Craig, Sir James.
Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
Doyle, Peadar Seán.
Esmonde, Osmond Grattan.
Gorey, Denis John.
Hassett, John J.
Minch, Sydney B.
Mongan, Joseph W.
Murphy, James Edward.
Myles, James Sproule.
O'Reilly, John Joseph.
O'Shaughnessy, John Joseph.
Thrift, William Edward.
Wolfe, Jasper Travers.
Question declared carried.
Mr. Lemass: I move:—
In sub-section (1), page 2, line 25, after the word “Act” to add the words “imported into Saorstát Eireann on or after the 26th day of March, 1932.”
This is merely a drafting amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
Mr. Lemass: Amendment 3 reads:—
In sub-section (2), page 2, line 30, to delete the word “one-fourth” and substitute the word “three-fourths.”
Amendment 3 corrects a misprint. The duties were originally imposed at the rate of 33? per cent., with a preferential rate of 25 per cent. In the Bill it appears as “one-fourth.” It is a printer's error.
Mr. McGilligan: I am not concerned with printer's errors, or any explanation of that sort. What did the House pass? Was it the quarter?
Mr. Lemass: The House adopted the imposition of a duty at the rate of 33? per cent., with a preferential rate of 25 per cent.
Mr. McGilligan: I would like that made very definite because I submit that otherwise another imposition will have to be made by means of another Resolution.
Mr. Lemass: I am quite satisfied that the Order did not specify any percentage, such as one-third, one-fourth, or three-fourths. It definitely stated that there would be 33? per cent. with a preferential rate of 25 per cent.
Mr. McGilligan: After the Order we had the Bill and on the Second Stage of the Bill the Minister was queried with regard to one-fourth and it was not corrected then.
Mr. Lemass: It was. As a matter of fact, Deputy Blythe said, “The term one-fourth is here and I presume it should be three-fourths,” and I think I assented.
Mr. McGilligan: The Minister will have to look that up, because he did not assent. He said he would look it up. He will have to see what the impact of that particular Second Stage passage is on the Order.
Mr. Cosgrave: My recollection is that the Minister was amazed when the fact was drawn to his notice.
Mr. McGilligan: And certainly he did not reply.
Mr. Lemass: It is obviously only a printer's error.
Mr. Cosgrave: That is a new explanation.
Dr. Ryan: It would be hard to amaze the Minister.
Amendment put and agreed to.
Mr. Blythe: Amendment 4 reads as follows:—
In sub-section (3), lines 34 and 35, to delete the words “with the concurrence of the Minister for Industry and Commerce.”
I do not want to take up much time with this amendment, or with the other amendments in my name. Perhaps I might mention that this was really for the purpose of having a licence given  by the Minister for Agriculture and to do away with the necessity for consultation with the Department of Industry and Commerce. The season is advancing, and everybody knows that if there has to be inter-Departmental consultation a great deal of time is lost. It seemed to me that in this particular matter the needs of the agriculturist ought to be paramount. The industry is getting a very high tariff, and even if there should be a few more licences granted than there was absolute need for, the interests of agriculture should not be sacrificed, and the thing should be done when a case would be made out for the Minister for Industry and Commerce.
I might mention that my two other amendments were put down with a view to avoiding discrimination between persons. They were put down with the object of having licences granted, not to individuals who might make cases, but to traders, and if a licence is granted to one trader a licence should also be granted to his trade rival. I think that is fair. It is undesirable that one trader should get a licence to import and another trader should not. I think it is only to traders that a licence should be given. If it becomes a question of individual farmers there will be far too much wire-pulling, far too much anxiety, to use the influence of a T.D., and so forth. The whole system would become something that we should not set in motion.
Mr. Lemass: I would not like to have the words “with the concurrence of the Minister for Industry and Commerce” deleted. It is the Department of Industry and Commerce which is in continuous touch with the manufacturers of these machines, and they would know if any difficulty was likely to arise that would result in a shortage of machines for the farmers. If there is any danger of a shortage, and if licences are to be issued, we will err on the right side, so as to ensure that there will be no shortage. The intention is that the licences should be issued to persons engaged in trading in agricultural machines. It would be undesirable to limit that power unless exceptional circumstances arose.
 If the Deputy's third amendment were passed the whole tariff would be defeated. The suggestion is that immediately one licence is given to a trader another trader in an adjoining area must also get a licence. That would go on in a gradually widening circle until you would find every trader in the country having a licence. To pass that amendment would mean that the tariff would be entirely removed in the course of a very short space of time. Under the Bill as it stands there is no danger of the kind the Deputy mentioned. Only a few licences will be required, and for a very limited period in this year.
Mr. Blythe: Perhaps the Minister could give me some definite declaration that there is not going to be such a thing occurring as a trader on one side of the street of Bally-Somewhere getting a licence, and the trader on the other side of the street not getting one. Where licences must be granted to meet the requirements of a district all the traders supplying that district should get one.
Dr. Ryan: If a demand comes in from a certain town for a particular type of machine, the licence will be issued to the trader who usually deals in that particular type of machine; in other words, the agent of that manufacturer would get the licence.
Mr. Blythe: You might have two closely-adjoining towns which share the trade of a certain district, and I think the traders in both should get licences. I want to avoid injuring a particular trader. One trader might have a licence, and if the trader in his vicinity did not obtain a licence, portion of his trade might be taken.
Dr. Ryan: That would not occur. As a matter of fact, we shall probably consult the manufacturer who is sending in machines as to what trader he was in the habit of supplying machines to, and we will issue the licence in that way.
Mr. McGilligan: Has amendment 5 been accepted?
An Ceann Comhairle: Amendments 4, 5 and 7 are being discussed together.
Mr. McGilligan: Has amendment 5 been accepted?
Mr. Lemass: I have no particularly strong views on the subject. It seems to me it would be safer to have the wider powers of the Bill.
Mr. McGilligan: What is the intention with regard to the wider powers?
Mr. Lemass: One of the intentions was that it might become necessary for a particularly large farmer in a district to be given a licence to import a certain type of agricultural machinery that he needed and that could not be supplied by any of the Irish factories. The Minister for Agriculture informs me that that intention is not being pressed by his Department; rather the contrary intention is being followed, namely, that the licence ought to be given to persons ordinarily engaged in the sale of machines.
Mr. Blythe: I think it would be better to make it clear and so prevent claims that are certain to arise.
Mr. McGilligan: The farmer does not order from an outside manufacturer.
Amendment 4, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment 5 agreed to:—
In sub-section (3), after the word “person,” line 35, to insert the words “ordinarily engaged in the sale of agricultural machinery.”— (Deputy Blythe.)
Amendment 6 agreed to:—
In sub-section (3), page 2, line 37, to delete the word “order” and substitute the word “licence.”— (Minister for Finance.)
Amendment 7, by leave, withdrawn.
Mr. Blythe: I take it there will be no case of discrimination?
Mr. Lemass: No.
Question proposed: “That Section 2, as amended, stand part of the Bill.”
Mr. White: I should like to refer to the question of knapsack sprayers.
Mr. Lemass: They are not liable to duty.
Mr. White: The fittings for them are liable to duty.
Mr. Lemass: No.
Mr. McGilligan: We shall have to discuss that on the Schedule.
Mr. White: “Brass nozzles and rubber tubes for agricultural sprayers,” if the Schedule is passed as it stands, would make the repair parts for knapsack sprayers liable to duty. I suggest that these should be admitted free of duty when the knapsack sprayer is not subject to duty.
Mr. Lemass: It is clear that a knapsack sprayer is an agricultural sprayer.
Mr. White: There is a horse-drawn sprayer and there is a knapsack sprayer.
Mr. Lemass: They are both agricultural sprayers and brass nozzles and rubber tubes for agricultural sprayers are exempted from duty.
Mr. McGilligan: That, of course, will remain to be queried on the Schedule, because I think there is a point in what the Deputy is speaking of.
Question put and agreed to.
(1) A duty of customs at the rate of twenty-eight shillings the hundredweight shall be charged, levied and paid on all potatoes imported into Saorstát Eireann on or after the 14th day of April, 1932.
The following amendments appeared on the paper:
8. In sub-section (1), line 14, to delete the words “twenty-eight shillings” and substitute therefore the words “nine shillings and four-pence.”—Patrick McGilligan.
9. To add at the end of sub-section (1) the words—“and before the 1st day of July, 1932, and on all potatoes  imported on or after the 15th day of May and before the 1st day of July in every subsequent year.”— Patrick McGilligan.
Mr. McGilligan: If it is considered desirable, I can speak to amendments 8 and 9 together. I put the amendments down to get an explanation from the Minister as to what he is intending to catch by this, and why he was putting on what seems to be an extravagant rate of tariff of 28/- per cwt. I am moving to reduce that by one-third. I am also moving to have the tariff operate against potatoes which come in during certain months of the year. The reason is that I understand, if this is intended to have a protective effect for Irish new potatoes, that these do not appear in the market, even although produced under glass, until much later than 14th April, and that, as far as the ordinary new potato, produced under ordinary conditions, is concerned, it does not appear until very much later than 14th April. As far as I understand, there is an import of potatoes and it varies according to the early months of the season; that in the very early months the potatoes which come in are a French product, and when these are exhausted the production shifts more or less to the south of England; that certain other counties are then thrown in as the months go on, until such time as the Irish potato comes in, whether produced under glass or ordinary conditions. I do not see why we should have an extravagant tariff operating in months in which there is no Irish potato of the type produced.
Dr. Ryan: The Deputy has asked what the idea behind the tariff is. It is put on principally to protect the new potatoes that come in, as the Deputy said, after the middle of May usually, and are called new potatoes, I suppose, up to early in July. The tariff was put at such a high rate in order to prohibit the import of new potatoes at the end of February and March. If a tariff of 9/4, as suggested by the Deputy, had been imposed, it would have been ineffective to stop the importation of potatoes at that time. As a matter of fact, a person engaged in the trade  here approached us when the tariff was imposed and told us that unless we lowered the tariff to 9/4 we would get no revenue. That showed the opinion of the trade on this tariff. They believed that if a tariff of 9/4 were put on new potatoes would come in and that we would derive a certain amount of benefit from the tariff. They were evidently under the impression that we put on the tariff as a means of revenue. We did not. We put it on as protection, in order to keep the new potatoes from the Continental countries out until our own new potatoes were available for consumption, in order that our people might be prepared to pay a better price for our own new potatoes.
With regard to the dates suggested, I do not think that any point would be served by confining it to a certain part of the year. We do not import any potatoes, except this particular class of new potatoes, from outside the British Commonwealth. It is only a small lot of new potatoes that were brought in principally from the Canary Islands which came from outside the British Commonwealth, and any change of date would make absolutely no difference.
Mr. McGilligan: It would make no difference?
Dr. Ryan: No.
Mr. McGilligan: Surely the equities of the situation are with the amendment. As far as the date is concerned — I am leaving the price question out for the present—what is the good of protecting the Irish product at a time when it does not come on the market?
Dr. Ryan: What is the good of worrying the Revenue Commissioners with dates when it is not necessary?
Mr. McGilligan: They have fortythree tariffs put on them and they cannot accommodate themselves to this by saying, “After a certain date we have to look out for new potatoes and before it we have not.” It is a tremendous burden on them. I suggest that the proper accommodation would be this: leave your 28/- to cover the period in which you want to have protection until, in other  words, the Irish-produced potatoes, whether grown under glass, or grown in the open, are on the market, and for the other period put on the 9/4, and if people want to import new potatoes let them pay the extra price for them. We could have accommodation on these lines.
Mr. Blythe: I think the Minister is losing sight of something that is of importance in this matter. One of the things that people are attempting to extend here is the tourist traffic, There is no doubt that the main tourist traffic is in the summer, but there are visitors coming at other periods of the year. You have to consider that these new potatoes are practically imported solely for use in hotels and restaurants in the early part of the year. Very small quantities are bought up by private consumers and if you put a tariff like this on them it means that the people coming here will not get the new potatoes at any hotel or restaurant at the time when they would get them outside this country. That is undesirable. By accepting both of these amendments you would be doing nothing that would discourage the growth of early potatoes here. If there is a tariff like this it simply means that the potatoes will not be bought. You may take it that whatever trade there might have been for them they will not be bought. If the Minister thinks it is desirable to encourage the growing of early potatoes the position will be met by these amendments. What is being done by the section as it stands is that you are simply preventing these hotels and restaurants which are visited by people coming here having something that people will get outside this country. To some extent you lower the reputation of these hotels and you do no good to the growers of potatoes. The whole thing is relatively small. The tariff is practically a farce as a tariff and the whole effect of it in promoting the growth of early potatoes here will be small. On the other hand whatever small benefits it may confer will be neutralised by the damage it will do to the hotels.
Mr. Cosgrave: Did the Minister ask the trade if it were likely if this tariff were put on that early potatoes would be produced here at an earlier date than the 31st May?
Dr. Ryan: No, they could not be produced earlier but the people will wait for them.
Mr. Cosgrave: Wait for them!
Dr. Ryan: Yes, and so that the desire for the new potatoes will not have worn off when the Irish potatoes are coming on the market.
Mr. Cosgrave: I think the Minister ought to write to the Revenue Commissioners to see how much they are concerned about it.
Mr. Brasier: Will the Minister allow potatoes for seed in under licence?
Dr. Ryan: From where?
Mr. Brasier: From Scotland or Northern Ireland.
Dr. Ryan: Yes; there is no tax on potatoes coming from Scotland.
Mr. Brasier: Do they come in free from Scotland?
Dr. Ryan: Yes.
Mr. Brasier: For seed?
Dr. Ryan: Yes, and for eating purposes. There is no tariff on potatoes coming from England, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
Mr. Corry: Will the Minister consider the fact that the farmers in Northern Ireland pay no rates and that the land annuities have been left to them to meet these matters?
Mrs. Collins-O'Driscoll: I think the Minister really should accept this amendment. I was speaking to some traders too and they told me that this tax of 4d. per lb. was an absolutely prohibitive tax. As a result no new potatoes were sold at all. Nobody could afford to pay a tax of 4d. per lb. plus the cost of the potatoes. If the tariff were made 1d. per lb. as suggested in the amendment the Minister would get more revenue and he  would not be doing anything at all to discourage the growth of early potatoes here. I see no reason why both these amendments should not be accepted. Some revenue would be got from the 1d per lb. tax.
Dr. Ryan: We do not want revenue.
Mrs. Collins-O'Driscoll: Then what is the Minister protecting? The quantity of new potatoes raised in this country under glass is negligible. I cannot see what the section is protecting.
Dr. Ryan: We will ask the people to wait until the new potatoes come in.
Mrs. Collins-O'Driscoll: They do not come from Rush sooner than the end of May.
Mr. McGilligan: What is being protected prior to the 15th May?
Mr. Gorey: The appetite for potatoes.
Dr. Ryan: The people's taste for new potatoes is being protected.
Mr. O'Neill: I do not think that the protection of the people's taste is quite a matter for the Minister for Agriculture. I do not think there is anything at all in the second amendment in the matter of fixing the date between the 15th May and the 1st July inconsistent with the Minister's own ideas. If he accepted that amendment the whole thing would be got over. The two sides of the House seem to be of one mind, that the early Irish potatoes should be protected, and they will be protected effectively, and perhaps more effectively by the addition of amendment No. 9. I am not so much concerned about the amount of tariff put on. It is a question of protecting the Irish potatoes up to a certain date. There should be no difficulty about accepting the amendment.
Mr. Blythe: They will get a better price for the early potatoes grown in Ireland if the foreign potatoes are allowed in up to the 15th May, because the people will have acquired a taste for potatoes then. The Minister would be doing far better for the potato growers by accepting the amendment.
Mr. Gorey: Accepting amendment 8 may be of some benefit to the revenue. A tariff of 28/- per cwt., or £28 a ton, is just a mockery, whereas if the tariff were made £9 6s. 8d. a ton and with the price to the producer of the potatoes added to that there would be sufficient protection. There would be some sense in a tariff like that, and some revenue might be got between March and the middle of May from the competitors allowed in against the Irish potatoes. The Minister is taking an altogether exaggerated view of the position. It is ridiculous to say that you can grow early potatoes in Ireland in March and April. The growers have the rest of the year. If the Minister accepts the amendment he excludes everything from the middle of May until the 1st July, and that would satisfy us. The tariff should be fixed at some reasonable figure.
Mr. Allen: Potatoes can be grown earlier in Ireland than the 15th May. I saw them grown this year in a glasshouse without any heat, and they were matured on the 1st April. The man who grew them told me that if he liked he could have them earlier in the year. The early potatoes can be grown by the 1st April.
Mr. McGilligan: Are they marketable?
Mr. Allen: Yes.
Mr. McGilligan: Did they come on the market?
Mr. Allen: They can be brought to market by the 1st April. I was given that information by the man who grew them.
Mr. McGilligan: Your own Minister admits that they cannot be grown before the middle of May.
Mr. Gorey: Was it potatoes or mushrooms Deputy Allen was talking about?
Mr. O'Neill: I suggest that amendment 8 be withdrawn, and that the Minister would accept amendment 9 — that would be fifty-fifty.
Dr. Ryan: What is the reason for it?
Mr. O'Neill: I have already given the reason.
Dr. Ryan: There are no potatoes coming to this country from the British Commonwealth. The only new potatoes that did come in were those that came during March and April.
Mr. McGilligan: During March and April, when there are no Irish potatoes, and the Minister is going to tariff them!
Amendment 8 put and negatived.
Mr. McGilligan: That beats the bend in corrugated iron.
Amendment 9 negatived.
Section 3 put and agreed to.
(1) In lieu of the duties now chargeable under Section 19 of the Finance Act, 1924 (No. 27 of 1924), there shall be charged, levied and paid on all articles mentioned in Part 1 of the Second Schedule to this Act imported into Saorstát Eireann on or after the 23rd day of April, 1932, a duty of customs at the several rates mentioned in the said Part 1 of the said Schedule.
(2) The provisions of Section 8 of the Finance Act, 1919, shall apply to the duty imposed by this section with the substitution of the expression “Saorstát Eireann” for the expression “Great Britain and Ireland” and as though the articles chargeable with the said duty were mentioned in the Second Schedule to that Act in the list of goods to which two-thirds of the full rate is made applicable as a preferential rate.
Dr. Ryan: I move amendment 10: —
In sub-section (1), line 28, to delete the words “Part I of” and in line 31 to delete the words “Part I of the said”.
This is merely a drafting amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
Mr. McGilligan: I move amendment 11:—
Before sub-section (2) to insert a new sub-section as follows:—
 Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 19 of the Finance Act, 1924 (No. 27 of 1924) or this section of this Act no duty of customs shall be charged, levied or paid on any article specifically mentioned in the Second Schedule to this Act as excluded from the several rates of duty mentioned in the Second Schedule.
In connection with this amendment it is not clearly comprehensible unless the Schedule is discussed along with it.
An Ceann Comhairle: Could it not be discussed later with the Schedule?
Mr. McGilligan: This is a really important item and the Schedule without the list of exemptions to the Schedule would not be of much value in discussing it. I suggest that we discuss the Schedule now with the list of exemptions, a group of seventeen or eighteen amendments which are down in my name, on pages five and six, which, to a certain extent, hinge on this one.
Mr. Lemass: I would be prepared to discuss it now.
Mr. McGilligan: To discuss the whole Schedule, certainly.
1. Thirty-seven and one-half per cent. on the value of the article on the following articles, that is to say —
(a) all boots, shoes, slippers, goloshes, sandals, and clogs of which the upper is wholly or mainly made of leather and skin or either of them, but excluding boots, shoes, slippers, goloshes, sandals, and clogs intended for wear by infants or young children; and
(b) all shaped soles (whether complete or in parts), shaped heels (whether complete or in parts) and shaped uppers wholly or mainly made of leather and skin or either of them, but excluding soles, heels, and uppers intended for wear by infants or young children.
 2. Twenty-two and one-half per cent. on the value of the article on the following articles, that is to say —
(a) all boots, shoes, slippers, goloshes, sandals, and clogs of which the upper is neither wholly nor mainly made of leather and skin or either of them, but excluding boots, shoes, slippers, goloshes, sandals, and clogs intended for wear by infants or young children, and
(b) all shaped soles (whether complete or in parts), shaped heels (whether complete or in parts), and shaped uppers which are neither wholly nor mainly made of leather and skin or either of them, but excluding soles, heels, and uppers intended for wear by infants or young children.
3. Twenty-two and one-half per cent. on the value of the article on the following articles, that is to say —
all boots, shoes, slippers, goloshes, sandals and clogs intended for wear by young children and of any size from 7 to 1 (inclusive).
4. Fifteen per cent. on the value of the article (being the rate chargeable under Section 19 of the Finance Act, 1924) on the following articles, that is to say —
all boots, shoes, slippers, goloshes, sandals, clogs, shaped soles (whether complete or in parts), shaped heels (whether complete or in parts), and shaped uppers not included in any of the foregoing paragraphs of this Schedule.
Mr. McGilligan: I move what, in fact, amounts to a motion to have considered amendment 11, and the amendments on pages five and six, as follows:
49. In paragraph 1 (a), lines 20 and 23, to delete the words “slippers, goloshes” where they occur in those lines.
50. In paragraph 1 (a), line 22, after the word “but” to insert the words “excluding all evening shoes and.”
51. In paragraph 1 (a), line 24, after the word “children” to add  the words “of any size from 0 to 1 (including sizes 0 to 6, 7 to 10, and 11 to 1).”
53. In paragraph 1 (a), line 24, after the word “children” to insert the words “and excluding all ladies' welted and machine sewn footwear.”
55. In paragraph 1 (b), line 29, after the word “intended” to insert the words “or use in connection with the manufacture of evening shoes or intended.”
56. To add at the end of paragraph 1 (b), line 29, the words “in footwear of any size from 0 to 1 (including sizes 0 to 6, 7 to 10, and 11 to 1).”
58. To add at the end of paragraph 1 (b), line 29, the words “or for use in connection with the manufacture of all ladies' welted and machine sewn footwear.”
60. In paragraph 2 (a), lines 32 and 35, to delete the word “slippers” where it occurs in those lines.
61. In paragraph 2 (a), line 34, after the word “but” to insert the words “excluding all evening shoes and.”
62. In paragraph 2 (a), line 36, after the word “children” to insert the words “of any size from 0 to 1 (including sizes 0 to 6, 7 to 10, and 11 to 1).”
64. In paragraph 2 (a), line 36, after the word “children” to insert the words “and excluding all ladies' welted and machine sewn footwear, and.”
67. To add at the end of paragraph 2 (b), line 42, the words “in footwear of any size from 0 to 1 (including sizes 0 to 6, 7 to 10, and 11 to 1).”
69. To add at the end of paragraph 2 (b), line 42, the words “or for use in connection with the manufacture of ladies' welted and machine sewn footwear.”
71. To delete paragraph 3.
72. In paragraph 4, line 51, to delete the word “slippers.”
73. To add at the end of paragraph 4 the words: —
“but excluding —
 (a) all slippers;
(b) all evening shoes;
(c) all boots, shoes, goloshes, sandals, clogs intended for wear by infants or young children and of any size from 0 to 1 (including sizes 0-6, 7-10, 11-1);
(d) all ladies' welted and machine sewn footwear;
(e) all shaped soles (whether complete or in parts), shaped heels (whether complete or in parts) and shaped uppers intended for use in connection with the manufacture of —
(ii) evening wear;
(iii) footwear intended for infants or young children and of any size from 0 to 1 (including sizes 0 to 6, 7 to 10, and 11 to 1), or
(iv) ladies' welted and machine sewn footwear.”
They may have to be divided on, separately, but I think they all fall for discussion together. Amendment 11 is to insert, in Section 4, a new sub-section as above, and then the other amendments set out the segregation of these items as I would like to have them. They can be simply enough explained, and although, as I say, we may have to take divisions on them seriatim, they can be discussed, I think, together. I aim at making a new disposition of the duties in regard to goloshes of a particular type, slippers, evening shoes, children's shoes of particular sizes mentioned, and ladies' footwear, and, in effect, what I am proposing comes to this, that I want to take away, from that part of the Second Schedule which imposes a duty of 37½ per cent., slippers and goloshes of leather, all evening shoes, all boots or shoes or sandals or clogs intended for wear by young children, of all sizes from 0 to 1, including in these sizes the sizes 0 to 6, 7 to 10, and 11 to 1, and excluding all ladies' footwear, if welted and machine sewn.
The full effect of that will be seen from amendment 73, for I am really adding at the end of paragraph 4 of the Schedule the words “excluding  all slippers, all evening shoes, all boots, shoes, goloshes, sandals and clogs intended for wear by infants and young children, and from any size from 0 to 1, including 0 to 6, 7 to 10 and 11 to 1, and all ladies' welted and machine sewn footwear, as well as all shaped soles, heels and uppers for any of these articles. I want to get that list of exemptions very carefully considered, because this is a tariff in which we, on this side, are very deeply interested. We put it on, phrasing it to be the biggest experiment we were making in protective tariffs, and we indicated at the time we were putting it on that, as it was an experiment, we were not setting ourselves to any great segregation of the items that we thought might be speedily made in this country, and because we knew that doing it in that general way there was going to be, for some years to come, an increased cost to the community, we remitted the tea duty. We thought that the charge which would be put on the community by reason of this tax on boots and shoes would be about equal to the amount of the tea duty, as then paid, and we remitted the one in order to equalise the other.
There has been no tariff so much criticised as that particular one, and from time to time, as criticisms appeared in the newspapers, or were voiced here, I had a consultation with a very great number of people in the trade, and had, from time to time, different reasons put before me by them as to why the tariff had not been more of a success, and had often, not merely suggestions, but recommendations of a very strong type made to me that the tariff should be modified. I suppose there was hardly ever an occasion on which modification was suggested that there was not a very definite statement made that they wanted, or desired to have excluded from the operations of the tariff, goods which they said were not being made here, and were never likely to be made, and, amongst these, they included evening wear. At first, it was described as “ladies” fancy evening wear,” but afterwards, when a general recommendation came forward, it was put in the form of “ladies  and gentlemen's evening wear.” They also asked to have slippers exempted. They asked to have exempted—generally speaking, the phrase used was —“all babies' shoes,” but, later on, that phrase came to be used in the more extended form of “children's shoes.” A little while later that was modified to the point of “children's shoes, at least, of every size from 0 to 6,” but, on a later occasion, a recommendation was again put forward that it should be “children's shoes.”
From time to time, although it was not what might be called a recommendation by any great body of the trade, there certainly was a very strong recommendation made by a considerable number of them that we should exclude the finer grades of shoes, and that, particularly, we should exclude the finer grades of ladies' footwear. I do not mind seeing — in fact I would welcome seeing — the tariff increased to give these people a chance of making better progress than they have made in the past, but I think, if we are going to get progress speedily, we have to insist that manufacturers in the country will turn their attention to the article they have been, in the main, producing effectively, and that is the heavy boot and shoe. If we want to give them some extra chance of development in a variety of lines — and I think they should get that chance — let us give them also the men's and boys' finer type of footwear, but let us remove from them — because, in the main, these articles are only an encumbrance and an embarrassment to them—the things that they have confessed they were not likely to make ever, and certainly are not making to-day. These will be the categories I enumerate, namely, slippers, evening shoes, boots and shoes for infants and young children of the sizes I have mentioned, and ladies' welted shoes.
Mr. Moore: Leather slippers only?
Mr. McGilligan: No. As a matter of fact, I would particularly like to exclude the slipper which has an upper of either felt or some other material—the thing that is called a carpet slipper. That is certainly not made here, and, as a matter of fact, the recommendations  I had from time to time did not speak of slippers made of leather only, and did not speak even of the felt carpet slipper. They spoke of slippers. At any rate, there is, I suppose, within the procurement of the Minister, information with regard to the home production of, say, slippers, evening shoes, babies' footwear, young children's footwear and ladies' boots of a type I have mentioned. I would like to give these people the advantage of the tariff. I would like to give them either the advantage of the old tariff-clearing away from them certain things that they announce their intention, or certainly announced previously their intention, of not making — or, if necessary, even an increased tariff, and even, if necessary, to give them other lines to play around with, but let the thing proceed in some sort of orderly way, or let us see if they can have the full home requirements met in agricultural boots and shoes. Let us see also if they can make some advance in the making of men's boots and shoes, not of the heavy agricultural type, and only when they go so far I suggest is it fair to ask them to undertake these other grades of manufacture.
From time to time these manufacturers did meet and make recommendations. I mention this in connection with the tariff generally. Not merely did they make recommendations of this type, not merely were these suggestions thrown up but from time to time a hint was conveyed by one section of the group that the whole fault in the tariff was that it did not entice into this country any manufacturer. Some of the manufacturers went so far as to say that they had tried to entice certain manufacturers here. They went so far as to say that they thought there could be no question of an increase in the tariff until we had undertaken the provision of a decent type of housing for the accommodation of the army of skilled workers that would have to be imported if they were to make any effort at production in the better class trade. If that is the situation, that the manufacturers themselves say that an increase in the tariff should not be considered until they had undertaken  the provision of proper housing accommodation for the invasion of skilled workers, and if they are only able to get production going by the importation of skilled workers, I think until that point is reached the tariffs should be confined to the type of footwear in which they are likely to be able to meet home requirements.
I suggest that the best way to put the industry on its feet and to give it a chance of making better progress is to put it in a position in which it will confine its attention to the article which it is capable of making in sufficient numbers to meet the home requirements, to give it something of a more standard type of men's footwear or boys' footwear so that if there is going to be any extension of factories they can proceed along the lines in which they are most likely to succeed. Let us cut away from the types of footwear which they are not making at the moment and which they are not likely to make at all.
Mr. Lemass: I would be opposed to the removal of the duty suggested by the Deputy because such removal would mean a definite abandonment of hope on our part that the manufacture of such goods could be undertaken in this country. It would mean definitely that we had to give up any idea that we could get these things made here and would make it almost impossible, or certainly very difficult should we decide at a later stage to come forward, to get persons to engage in the manufacture of this class of footwear under any circumstances. It is true that the duty imposed in 1924 did not to any considerable extent result in the production of the class of goods which the Deputy now wishes to exclude from duty. It would be wrong to say however that these goods were not being made. They were and are being made but not to the extent necessary to meet the requirements of our people. We have excluded from the duty, that is the duty imposed by the Act, of 1924, infants' footwear under size 7, which were subject to duty. The duty which was heretofore imposed on that class of footwear now ceases to operate. From size 7 up the existing manufacturers  are engaged in the production of children's shoes. We have however for a period of six months exempted from duty cut-parts of such shoes. We did so as I explained before at the request of new firms that were proposing to engage in this industry, in the manufacture of children's shoes, and who stated that they required that period of six months in which to train their workers. They believed and were confident that they could train their workers in that period. We propose to insert by way of an amendment a provision which will give us power for a period of twelve months to permit of the importation free of duty of cut parts of particular classes of shoes where it is considered necessary to give facilities to a particular manufacturer in order that he might have a period during which he can train his workers.
The Deputy mentioned the fact that the duty imposed by the late Government did not result in any foreign firms coming in here. The increased duty which we have imposed has had that effect already and it is likely to have that result in a much greater measure. Already three external firms have definitely decided and are actually engaged in the process of equipping factories here. It is the intention of one of these firms to engage exclusively in the production of children's shoes. The other is a firm which has been engaged entirely in the manufacture of high-class ladies' shoes, dress shoes, to which the Deputy referred. The third will be engaged in the manufacture of men's boots and shoes of the ordinary type. I am aware that two other foreign firms are at the moment considering putting forward proposals to the Department of Industry and Commerce with a view to the establishment of factories, one in connection with the production of children's shoes and the other in connection with the production of ladies' shoes of the cheaper type. It seems, therefore, that we can contemplate a fairly rapid development of this industry. That development will take place with the assistance of these foreign firms because it is necessary that we should have, because of the circumstances  existing here, the advantage which the technical skill and the business experience of these foreign firms provide in that development.
If we should find that our hopes in that respect were dashed, if we should find ultimately that we had got to a stage where we had done everything possible but were unable either to get the manufacture of a particular class of shoes, or, say, any type of ladies' shoes or any type of children's shoes properly established here, then we would have to consider the removal of the duty, but I think we should be certainly as slow in removing a duty of this class once it is imposed, as the late Government was in removing the duty on glass bottles, despite the fact that the production of glass bottles ceased in this country for various reasons. I think, therefore, that the Dáil should not accept this amendment. In any case I should like to draw the attention of the Chair to the fact that the Dáil cannot pass the amendment, as it is out of order. I waited until I had explained my point, before I drew the attention of the Chair to that. The Deputy is proposing to remove a duty which is not imposed. If this amendment were carried it would be necessary that a new Finance Bill should be introduced to give effect to it. It is clearly out of order and should not be passed at this stage.
Mr. Blythe: I doubt if it is out of order because it deals with a matter that is pertinent to the Bill. I think the Minister is taking an unduly optimistic view of this matter. There is no doubt that the particular lines of shoes that are affected by these amendments are of a kind that are most difficult to make. It was demonstrated that they were most difficult to make by the fact that there was no attempt worth while made under the 15 per cent. tariff to extend or to establish their manufacture here. As long as that tariff was low, a 15 per cent. tariff is relatively low, it was of an experimental nature and it was all right to have that class of shoes included. As a matter of fact, it was amongst the first tariffs that were imposed. It was imposed without the assistance of the machinery of investigation  which afterwards became available in the Tariff Commission. It was also imposed before the type of investigation that afterwards began to be carried out departmentally had been developed to the stage of efficiency which afterwards was reached. Many classes of shoes included there is very little likelihood of making at an economic price here. I think all the statements of the Minister with reference to the possibilities of manufacture left out of account the question of relatively close approximation to the price at which the shoes could be imported. There is a line of development which will impose no great burdens on the consumer. If we take the class of shoes that have been manufactured here, I believe that, with extensions of factories and increasing competition, there is a good possibility of the consumer getting reasonable value. He will continue to have to pay something more than if there was no tariff. That will continue for a long time. I do not believe there is likely to be sufficient competition to wipe out completely the effect of the tariff, but because this is a relatively easily-run and relatively easily-established end of the business, there is likely to be internal competition on a considerable scale.
So far as the other lines we propose to leave in are concerned, somewhat the same remarks would apply. When we come to these difficult classes of shoes, shoes for which there is a more limited market, if there is by any chance a factory of any reasonable size established, we are not likely to have any more, and we are going to have a monopoly in that line for a long time, the cost being out of proportion to what the people ought to have to pay. If we are going to give further encouragement to this industry — I always felt that the tariff was somewhat too low—the thing to do would be to try under the stimulus of the tariff to develop gradually from the easy to the difficult. If the increase proposed is given, there will be, undoubtedly, development in the manufacture of the heavy boot, which will lead to the whole demand of the country being  supplied in a relatively short period of years, with adequate internal competition. So far as the other lines of men's and boys' boots are concerned, it is going to be a very long time, indeed, before there is any possibility of adequate supply, with reasonable competition. There is great scope yet, even if all the classes that we propose by these amendments to exclude are excluded, for development and for additional enterprise. Even taking men's and boys' heavy shoes, there is a great deal to be done before the needs of the country will be met, and I think the industry will be established on much sounder lines if we start with these, and arrange, so far as we can arrange by a tariff, that that market will be captured by Saorstát manufacturers. The training of labour is somewhat difficult. I have talked to certain manufacturers, and they would not regard labour as fully trained at the end of six months. It may be possible for a factory, operating up to the full point of the tariff, to carry on with that kind of semi-trained labour, and incur no loss, but there is not going to be a sufficiency of efficient labour in a factory until a very much longer period shall have elapsed. All the manufacturers I have met — and I have met several — are agreed that there is tremendous difficulty in training labour so that it will be of the same level of efficiency as the labour which competing factories outside have at their disposal. There may be certain processes in which labour in a short time will become proficient, but there are other processes in which you cannot bring labour to the same standard of efficiency as outside labour except in a much longer period than that suggested. We are, therefore, up against a very definite difficulty in getting the industry on an efficient and economic basis and I think, if we set out for what might be regarded as mushroom growth in this matter, we are going to get factories started that ought not, perhaps, to be started, and which cannot be got rid of.
We may have a standard established in home production, both as regards quality and cost, which will be hard to depart from and which will  mean additional cost to the people all the time. There is pretty good competition in the heavy lines now, and if we develop from the heavy lines I believe there are possibilities of having these standards of efficiency and that kind of internal competition maintained. We certainly will not get it in the lighter lines. There will be no competition at all in some of them. A factory may come in and may manage to struggle along under the tariff, selling its goods at the highest amount the tariff allows over the imported goods. It will probably, even in these circumstances, with all the difficulties it will have to face and the ruts it will get into, have great difficulty in making any profit worth while. We will have the position in regard to these light ends that we had in regard to the heavier ends with 15 per cent. tariff — that there will be no real competition to get in and that there will be a sort of static position with which it will be difficult to do anything. If we start and build up we can, when the market for men's and boys' boots has been fully met, extend the tariffs. I think there would be no difficulty at all in putting on new tariffs. I do not think that accepting these amendments would mean giving up hope. It is not as if there were factories doing a large amount in the sort of shoes that we are proposing to exempt. There are one or two factories doing something, but it is not their whole trade and they will be able to carry on without loss with the additional tariff, even if they drop that trade. It is not a parallel case with that of the glass bottle factory, where, if we took off the tariff, in all the circumstances, it meant giving up the hope of doing anything about glass bottles. Here, we are simply proposing to ask the firms to concentrate on the line they can do best, the line in which labour is most easily trained, the line in which it will be possible for the industry to adopt, at the beginning, standards of efficiency and enable industry to grow up under competitive conditions.
When there has been healthy growth where growth is most easy, then we can, by a tariff, set the industry to the more  difficult tasks and hope, in the carrying out of these more difficult tasks, those same standards of efficiency and those same habits of competition will prevail, so that we will have here an industry, even within the tariff, which will give the people good value and will probably—as can happen where you have not rings cutting out competition, but where you have sufficient struggle for big portions of the market between home manufacturers — provide goods at a price very little above the world price. That is going to mean that in the same way there is going to be a complete departure from prices at which goods can be imported. I think the effect of that sort of departure from general prices and the organisation of what I might call monopolistic factories will not help industry.
Mr. Brasier: I take it the Minister, in his wildest dreams, does not contemplate carrying on an export trade in boots from this country, and that he only contemplates supplying our own needs and our own requirements. There is in Cork a very efficient factory in which sufficient lines of manufacture are carried on. I have seen that factory at work, on a good many occasions, and I have had frequent conversations with the proprietors of that factory. I found they were satisfied with the 15 per cent. tariff, and do not ask for an increase. I think that factory is carried on efficiently. It is engaged in the manufacture of the heavier classes of boots. They aim to supply, with the 15 per cent. tariff, or a small increase, the boots required. That serves the purpose of giving employment in this particular trade and working in a very efficient manner. They are turning out their products far more cheaply by concentrating on a few lines than extending their operations, for a small population, over a larger number of lines which would involve considerable capital, and would mean the training of an extra number of working people. I feel that we would be taking a very great risk, with the material advance in the price, if we extended the operations of this particular trade over a very large number of lines. In Nottingham, and other places in England, where this trade is  carried on extensively, one factory sticks to one particular line of production. If that procedure was attempted in this country it is more than likely we could not produce as cheaply as they do across the water at the present time.
Owing to the conditions under which apprentices are trained in this country we have not an adequate amount of labour, and it would be very unlikely we would have adequate workers to carry on, and that, for a very considerable time, we would not be able to train them in. I think it would be wiser, at the present time, to stick to a narrower line and to fewer classes. I support the amendment because I think what it proposes would be a very sensible thing to do. We have a good number of factories already carrying on this business, and I suggest we should stick to the fewer number of lines and go on the lines suggested in the amendment.
Mr. Lemass: I wish to state there is no prospect, and no intention, that there should be any monopolistic factories engaged in any special lines here. The existing factories are here and are developing, and are coming in to the more difficult end of the business such as children's shoes and better class ladies' shoes. They are going into that business now. Plus the addition of factories that will be started there will be adequate competition when the industry has reached the stage that it is able to supply the whole, or greater part of the requirements of the Saorstát. I feel it is futile going on with the consideration of an amendment which we cannot carry. I submit the amendment is not in order.
Mr. Blythe: Why?
Mr. Lemass: We have a Bill, the purpose of which is to confirm certain duties that were imposed by Provisional Order in the Customs Duties (Provisional Order) Act. If any section of this Bill were deleted, or any amendment carried, the duties in existence before the order was made will remain in existence. We are proposing ourselves, for example, to exempt from duty, children's shoes under size 7. We  do that by a section in the main Finance Bill. It could not be done by a section in this Bill.
Mr. McGilligan: You may submit that, but it is not so.
Mr. Lemass: I submit it is, and that is the advice we have received. I submit an amendment being passed to remove duties imposed by the Finance Act of 1924 would not be in order here, because you cannot, by amendment of this Bill, remove a duty imposed by the Finance Act of 1924. It can only be removed by an amendment to the main Finance Bill.
Mr. McGilligan: That is not so.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: In the first place, this point of order should have been raised when the amendment was moved and not reserved to this stage. The Ceann Comhairle has ruled that the amendment itself is in order, and it is open for discussion.
Mr. Lemass: I am pointing out that if the Dáil were to pass this amendment, and subsequent consequential amendments, the purpose the Deputy has in mind would not be served, because the duties in the Act of 1924 would not be affected.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: If the Minister argues that the amendment would not have any effect, or that it is superfluous, and that there is no necessity for it, that is a matter for the Minister and Deputies. It is not the concern of the Chair. The amendment is in order for discussion.
Mr. McGilligan: I intervene again upon this point. The Minister has told us, by way of reply to the arguments I put up, that the new duty is going to bring in outside companies. It is rather amusing to hear the Minister boasting of that. He used to allege against the tariff of 15 per cent. that the manufacturers would not press for a revision upwards because they were afraid of its bringing in outside firms. The Minister stated that over and over again. I shall get the quotation from his speech later on. Now we find him boasting that other firms will be coming in.  I hope he will take them for a walk round by Gallaher's before they settle down and remark to them, as they are coming in, that if they are coming here under a licence that does not prevent him or anyone else from putting a discriminatory tax on them at any time in the future. He does boast about it. One of these three firms which he mentioned is going to indulge, he said, in the ordinary ranges of men's wear. One is going to confine itself to the lighter kind of evening shoes, with, I presume, the other things which go with such wear, and the other is to specialise, I think, in shoes — ladies' shoes — of a high-class grade. When Deputy Blythe referred to the possibility of these monopolistic concerns being established in the country, he says there is not any fear of monopolies because there will be competition. What competition will there be with a firm which is going to specialise in evening shoes? None of the others are making them to any degree. What competition can there be for high-class shoes for ladies? He cannot allege that any firm in the country is making this class of shoes to any great extent. The very thing which he envisages as being brought about by the tariffs will produce monopolistic conditions, and he has the power to refuse to admit to licence other companies. What will he do if he is faced with the possibility of one firm turning out evening shoes to the full requirements of the country, employing 300 people, and if another firm should then apply for a licence, will the other firm get it?
Mr. Lemass: Probably.
Mr. McGilligan: What use then is there for the licence existing? What was it intended for? I am afraid the Minister will lose caste with some of the stalwart economists around him if he indicates that licences will be granted even if production reaches saturation point in the country. The Minister has not yet answered the main point which I made, and that was that the home manufacturers have requested a revision of the tariff from time to time — possibly “requested” is too formal a word — but at any rate  they suggested a revision of the tariff and they suggested it with regard to the special items down here. They said they were not going to make slippers; that they were not going to make evening shoes; that they were not going to make the finer class of ladies' shoes; that they were not going to make ladies' or children's footwear — that they were not going to make any of these in the main. They said specifically that they were not going to make ladies' footwear with uppers other than leather, and in the main they were not going to make ladies' footwear at all.
We ask to have them relieved of these things which are embarrassing to themselves, and I put it as a plea on their behalf in the setting in which I put it previously, that they themselves do not believe there is going to be any manufacturing done in this country even on our heavy agricultural end, because there are two difficulties. One difficulty in the manufacturing end is the necessary training and good housing accommodation to be provided for skilled workers if they had to be brought in, as they would have to be brought in to give a rapid development on the main line of footwear — the heavy shoe. I make the plea on behalf of the manufacturers for the time being. It does not tie our hands for the future. It does not give an indication that these other articles are going to be made. At the present time manufacturers have suggested that these things are not merely not needed, but are an embarrassment to them, and that we should get them to confine their attention to the thing they are doing with some approach towards meeting home requirements, although they are very far from doing that. If the tariff were confined to the heavy agricultural boot and shoe and to the lighter type of wear suited for men and boys, and even if three or four extra factories come in from outside, I do not think the Minister in his most optimistic moments hopes to get them to come in on the making of the finer wear shoes for a number of years. Why, therefore, dissipate their energies in doing an odd range of children's shoes or meeting the odd series of orders for ladies' shoes of  a particular fine type? Why not let them concentrate their attention and specialise on the other end? We are giving them an extra tariff. I do not believe it is going to speed up production to home requirements, and, therefore, I believe that the home purchaser is going to have to face an increased cost even in these things for some years to come. The Minister should try to equate it as we equated it before when we cast off the tea duty — equate the new situation to the facts. You are going to put a heavier tariff on the end of the boot trade that they can do efficiently. Why not give a remission of tax on what they cannot do? If you are going to charge the working man, the farmer and the middleman more for his boots, why not give him some remission and allow his wife's and his children's boots and shoes to come in free of tax and come to that point of production where you see there is any chance of getting the production properly established in these other ends.
I found my case for this exclusion of certain specific articles on the manufacturers themselves. I notice that the Minister has not adverted to that or denied that what I say is accurate and holds good at the moment. In those circumstances—and the facts at any rate prove what I am saying — the Minister can segregate the items of the importations and the items of the home production and I think it will jump to his eyes that the only advance made since the tariff was established has been in the heavy end — the agricultural boots and shoes — and that some degree of success, but a very slight degree, has been attained in the ordinary wear for men and boys. In these circumstances is it a wise thing to increase this tariff on one end while keeping it on the other end — on certain articles which are not being manufactured in any number and about which the manufacturers themselves have complained for a number of years? They should not be asked to manufacture these things. Let us have this examination openly by ourselves, and let us have a decision that the tariff is going to be imposed in an ordinary progressive way; that we want to have  all boots and shoes of every kind manufactured here, but that for the moment we are specialising on a particular thing and we want factories if they come in to specialise on these things.
I move this series of amendments rather on the basis of what I have said — that the manufacturers themselves would, I believe, in the end be better pleased to have the tariff modified as I want it than to have it as the Minister wants.
One other point. There were no more vehement opponents of a tariff on leather than the boot manufacturers themselves. They are having an increase now on one end of their own production, but I would like to insist that they will now go further than they have gone to-day in aiding the tanning industry and that that should be put on them in the way of an extra burden instead of what they are given in the way of an extra advantage. When this tariff was being dealt with before the Minister astonished me by saying that he was going to remit the duty on component parts of a certain type of children's footwear for six months. The reason he gave was that at the moment there were not skilled workers and that in six months the situation would right itself. I want to ask him, does he seriously debate that in six months' time workers not now skilled are going to be skilled, or is he hinting at the importation of skilled workers? I asked before that we should have some attention paid to that. I now ask again. The plea put forward was that because skilled workers were not here now they would be skilled in six months. I want to know where they are coming from and how they can be skilled.
In defending the tariff the Minister said that English manufacturers had paid it, and he announced with pleasure to the House that the manufacturers in England were again going to modify prices, and to bear the tariff for the benefit of consumers here. I went to some pains to find out how far that statement could be described as accurate, and I find it is  wholly and completely inaccurate. There are certain people who have invoiced goods at a certain rate, 1/- or 1/6d. lower than they were invoiced last year. The prices are put in parallel columns as if what is invoiced now is the same as what was invoiced last year. Examination shows that that is not so. There has been a modification of the particular type of leather used in the boots. The same type of leather is used in the quarters and in the fronts, but the thickness of the spread of the sole has been reduced, and laces which were previously supplied free are now charged for, so that the boot which costs 1/3d. 1/4d. and 1/5d. less than it cost last year is, as a fact, when you deduct the value, much dearer. It is being sold at a dearer price relative to quality. I think it well to notice that, since the Minister has founded many statements on what manufacturers told him and on the production of invoices. If the Minister can produce an invoice of the same boot sold here last year at a particular price, and sold here this year at what is really a less price, taking the cost of the raw material into consideration, I grant that some case has been made. But I want to see that invoice. I suggest that the best thing to do with this tariff is to concentrate on one end of the industry and leave out the smaller things. My amendments were put down in order to get special things excluded. If a case could be made for the retention of some of the items that I want excluded I want to have it made in detail. I do not think evening shoes are being made at all; I do not think slippers are being made to any extent; I do not think infants' shoes are being made at all; I do not think children's shoes of the smaller sizes are being made at all; I do not think children's shoes of the larger size are being made to any extent. I believe ladies' footwear of a certain type is being made. I want those referred to in the amendments excluded so that manufacturers can concentrate on the other types.
Mr. Lemass: We can discuss this  question back and forward and get nowhere. I want to make two or three things clear. I said first that foreign firms would be allowed into the industry here. I meant that, so long as there was an obvious need for these foreign firms, until we get to the point that the industry will supply our requirements, no unreasonable objection would be raised to any foreign firm proposing to establish a factory. But we wish to have, and we hope we will have, a development of the industry under the auspices of those now engaged in it, or of new Irish firms that may come into it. Everything that the Department of Industry and Commerce can do will be done to ensure that development will take place along that line. In so far as we succeed in getting that done, we will ensure that those who invest their money in the industry, or take the risks associated with development, will not be put in the position where they will be definitely prejudiced by the incursion of additional foreign firms. I think there is little need to worry about the other aspects to which the Deputy alluded. Everybody must admit that there is very considerable room for development and that it will be some considerable time before any part of the industry will have reached saturation point.
As to the time it will take to train workers I am not in a position to give an authoritative decision. I know that a responsible firm of manufacturers, proposing to engage in the manufacture of children's shoes in this country, stated that they could take untrained workers and, with the assistance of certain skilled workers brought in, and with the concession in respect to parts which we will have power to give them, bring these workers to a degree of efficiency so that it will be possible to engage competitively in the manufacture of shoes without the concession in respect to parts. I think it would be, in my opinion, a disastrous thing not merely for this industry, but for all industries, if we were at this stage to remove the duty behind which a number of firms which have engaged in the manufacture of children's shoes and ladies' shoes, and invested a large  amount of capital in endeavouring to extend, were discouraged. These firms are going ahead with considerable enterprise, and are now getting to the more difficult end of the business. If we were to remove the duty which has been in operation for a number of years, behind which they have been gradually developing to the point where extensions were possible, we would destroy confidence to such an extent that they would remain probably for all time merely manufacturers of the heavyweight agricultural boots.
We want a diversified boot industry. We think we can get it, and we think the best means of getting it is by making this advance in the general duty at this stage. When I say advance in the general duty, it should be noticed that certain classes of footwear are not been subjected to any duty. For instance, slippers with non-leather uppers, to which the Deputy referred, will be subject to the same rate of duty as heretofore. That duty is not increased. The same applies under this Bill to rubber footwear and to canvas and rubber footwear. The position is that this industry is one in which considerable development took place in consequence of the 15 per cent. duty, a duty which, it is admitted, was so low in all the circumstances, that development was not being accelerated at an increased rate. I think we should be slow to modify the proposals contained in the Bill in any way, until we are convinced that modification can take place without any deterrent effect on established industry.
As regards the point made by the Deputy in respect of importation of boots, it is, of course, quite true that there are importers who are trying to delude Irish customers into the belief that they are, in fact, cutting their prices to meet the tariff, when, in fact, they are merely deteriorating the quality of their products and not cutting prices at all. I think we can assume — and we have information which leads us to assume — that if not to the entire extent, some considerable part of the increase in duty is being met by the importers.
It is quite correct that certain classes  of footwear are imported and sold at a cheap rate, although they look quite sound and similar to footwear produced in an Irish factory, costing a bit more; but when the imported footwear is taken to pieces it is found to be nothing of the kind and consists merely of layers of cardboard and pulp, with a thin outer coating of leather for a sole. If the importers and consumers of footwear will insist, when making purchases, upon getting the products of Irish factories, they will not merely accelerate the development of the industry and give increased employment, but they will be assured of much better value for their money and they are much less likely to be deluded by appearance without substance. We can confidently recommend to the Dáil the duty contained in this section as one which should be imposed and which, since its imposition, has led to considerable development of the industry and is likely in the future to lead to increased development and to give very substantially increased employment to a suitable kind of people in the country.
Mr. McGilligan: On a previous occasion the Minister referred to certain price lists of English manufacturers and he showed that in some cases the prices were cut to the extent that the same class of boot is sold here now at a cheaper rate than it was sold last year. Where could I get evidence of that? The Minister apparently had price lists before him or knew of them. Will he send me a particular reference of the price list which proves that statement?
Mr. Lemass: I have seen price lists to the importers in which it was set out that they were cutting the prices of the same class of boots in order to meet the tariff and were quoting them, with the duty paid, at a lower price than they were last year. I cannot say I have seen that invoice side by side with the imported boots. It may be that the statement contained in the trade circulars was not correct and that the prices were not, in fact, being cut, but that the quality was being deteriorated. I am sure every boot retailer could produce circulars containing statements to the effect that the  prices are being cut to meet the tariff and that boots are now available at the same price as before.
Mr. McGilligan: That is the data  upon which the Minister bases the statement that I have referred to. That is the type of thing he is going on.
Amendment 11 put.
The Committee divided: Tá 45, Níl 60.
|Alton, Ernest Henry.
Beckett, James Walter.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Broderick, William Jos.
Byrne, John Joseph.
Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
Cosgrave, William T.
Craig, Sir James.
Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
Doyle, Peadar Seán.
Esmonde, Osmond Grattan.
Gorey, Denis John.
Minch, Sydney B.
Mongan, Joseph W.
Myles, James Sproule.
O'Reilly, John Joseph.
Thrift, William Edward.
Wolfe, Jasper Travers.
Browne, William Frazer.
Corry, Martin John.
De Valera, Eamon.
Dowdall, Thomas P.
Flinn, Hugo V.
Gorry, Patrick Joseph.
Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
Kelly, James Patrick.
Lemass, Seán F.
Maguire, Conor Alexander.
Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
O'Kelly, Seán Thomas.
Powell, Thomas P.
Ruttledge, Patrick J.
Ward, Francis C. (Dr.)
Tellers:— Tá: Deputies P.S. Doyle and Conlon; Níl: Deputies G. Boland and Allen.
Amendment declared lost.
 Section 4, as amended, agreed to.
An Ceann Comhairle: I presume this decision will be taken as covering a series of amendments to the Second Schedule on pages 5 and 6?
Mr. McGilligan: Yes.
Progress reported; Committee to sit again to-morrow.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Friday, 17th June.
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