Thursday, 11 May 1933
Dáil Éireann Debate
Mr. Cosgrave: The published returns for revenue last year amount to  £29,990,935. Deducting a sum which is included in that, namely, £2,968,775 for Land Purchase Annuities, there is a net figure of £27,022,160. The Minister's estimate for receipts was £27,260,000. Yesterday he told us that he had received from the Emergency Duties a sum of £320,000, so that his estimate of receipts is about a half a million short. On the other hand, the expenditure side amounted to £28,849,739. Deducting the Minister's estimate in his Budget speech of £27,260,000, that leaves a sum of £1,651,000, which very closely approximates to the sum which was voted here in the Guarantee Fund to enable full payment of the Land Purchase Annuities to be made to the Exchequer. The Estimate for Services last year was approximately £27,200,000. This year the total figure is £31,529,200. It is right to say that in last year's Estimate there was approximately £2,000,000 to be paid to the British Government and this is not included in this year's Estimate. There was in last year's Estimate no provision for bounties, subsidies and so on. These two sums, though not quite equal to one another, practically cancel out. We are in a position then to consider the two Budgets accordingly. The first notable omission in this year's Budget is the sum of £448,000 which was included last year. There is a sum of £448,000 less to be paid this year to the local authorities in respect of relief on rates on agricultural land. The decision to make that omission must have been come to in the light of the circumstances prevailing. It must have been apparent to the Ministry that the position in the country as regards the collection of rates was serious.
The arrears this year are in excess of the arrears of last year. The expenditure, generally speaking, is much greater. It would have been interesting if we had got more information as to why that deduction was made. We have, of course, been told of the sums of money that have been made available for farmers one way or another, but the fact is that whether these sums have reached the farmers or not the position of  the agricultural industry to-day is by no means comparable with the position of the agricultural industry 12 months ago. This figure of £31,529,000 which it is proposed to spend this year, and which is to be made up in various ways, is a burden which, as I said yesterday, is more than the capacity of the country to bear.
In the course of his speech yesterday the Minister stated: “We have rid ourselves of the burden of over £92,000,000 which was unjustifiably and recklessly imposed on us by the Secret Agreement of 1923.” That statement is not quite met by a previous statement made by the President of the Executive Council here within the last couple of months. On 14th March, 1933, (column 747 of the Official Debates) he said: “If by any possible chance there was to be an award against us our credit would enable us to meet any demand that that award would bring.” Later (column 748 of the Official Debates) he said: “The position to-day is the very self same, because if the award did go against us, then we should have a demand on the national credit to find that money. Our attitude is: ‘We will meet that obligation when it arises’.” That is not on all fours with the Minister's statement, which is to the effect that we have entered into possession of this asset, or rather that we have rid ourselves of a burden. In one portion of his Budget statement he regards some of these moneys as an asset; in another they are a burden. Whichever way you take it apparently the Minister has come to the conclusion that the question is settled. It was not so settled in the mind of the President a short time ago. Speaking last year the Minister stated: “If we are able to withhold these payments we shall be able to reduce taxation substantially.” We have withheld them; we are, as the Minister states in another portion of his speech, in possession of £4,677,014, “which largely accounts for the comparative ease with which the difficulties arising out of the dispute with Great Britain have been surmounted, and to a large extent  also explains the astonishing buoyancy of the revenue.”
The Minister went on to speak about the burden which was so recklessly imposed on us by the Secret Agreement of 1923. That matter has been referred to very often, in this House and outside. On volume 3 of the Dáil Debates of 26th June, 1923, the Vote in respect of Land Purchase Annuities came before this Dáil. There was present in the Dáil on that date one of the signatories of the legal document that has been presented to the Executive Council, or rather to the members now comprising the Executive Council when they were in Opposition. The columns are 2497 to 2500. That was the first reference to the Land Purchase Annuities here in the Dáil. The second reference was in volume 4 of 19th July, 1923, columns 1142 and 1143. They are further recorded in the Appropriation Act, 1923, No. 33, as well as the other sums that are the subject of this present dispute with Great Britain. In the Schedule this is the reference, Enshrined in an Act of the Oireachtas “for making repayment to the British Government in respect of annuities under the Land Purchase Acts, 1891 and 1909, £3,133,577.” I have stated in many parts of the country that no agreement entered into between the Government of this State —as the law stands and it has stood since this State was established— involving the payment of money, is worth the paper it is written on until this Dáil votes the money. These particular items, one and all, were brought before this Dáil and enshrined in an Act of the Oireachtas as I have stated. One would think that in view of the experiences of this Administration in the courts of this country regarding secret documents they would at least have exercised some discretion after the verdicts of the jury.
The Minister stated that we have this sum of £4,677,014 now available, and that it has eased the situation very considerably. We have entered into possession of it twice, that is to say, last year and this year, but there  is no reduction whatever in the taxation on the people; there is no improvement in the national finance by reason of it; in fact we are estimating to spend even more than we did last year, £31,529,220. How do we propose to get it? In the first place, we utilise the balance from last year, £1,141,000. We add to that the tax revenue and the non-tax revenue. We put on new protective duties amounting to £140,000, and we get a sum of £27,721,000. That is the amount which is to be spent, plus a sum amounting to £1,941,000, which is to be borrowed. Allowing for a deduction of £658,220 for over-estimation and for cuts, the Minister is short £1,225,000. He proposes to find that, which is half the cost of the export bounties and subsidies, by borrowing against the Deferred Annuities Fund. If we were told that it was to be found by borrowing one could understand it, but when we are told that it is to be borrowed against the Deferred Annuities Fund one wonders why so much pains were taken last year to explain the financial integrity and rectitude of the Minister. Everything was to be perfect; nothing was to be done which would offend the susceptibilities of the most scrupulous of financiers or business people.
They now propose to borrow £1,225,000 on the basis of the deferred annuities. The moneys in the dispute are now an asset and we are to borrow against them. Let us examine the asset. A short time ago we voted here £1,616,000 towards the Guarantee Fund. That enabled £2,968,795 to be put into the Central Fund. The difference between what we voted and the sum put into the Central Fund is roughly £1,350,000. I presume that this year in the Miscellaneous Account we are taking credit for half of the November and December gale, which amounts to approximately £750,000. The sum of those two items is £2,100,000. We have to deduct from that £800,000 which we voted this year, according to the White Paper, for the deficiency in the Land Bond Fund. We then get the net sum of £1,300,000 from the Land Commission Annuities for two years. That is so valuable  an asset that we can borrow against it. I submit that it is not an asset and it will not be until the question is decided by arbitration, negotiation or some other means. You can borrow on the security of the Central Fund, but borrowing on Deferred Annuity Fund basis would be more likely to damage the credit of the country rather than to enhance it.
The Minister stated that we were relieved of practically £9,300,000 in two years in connection with this dispute. We have to borrow almost £1,250,000 on the basis of the asset there is in the dispute. Yesterday we were told something about the duty of the Government of a Christian State. I recollect reading in the Gospel that if a man proceeds to the altar to place a gift on it and recollects that he has a dispute with his brother, he had better go and settle the dispute and then his gift will be much more acceptable. That advice might very well be followed by the Executive Council, not alone as regards the citizens of this State but as regards their neighbours in other countries. Such a course would give more satisfaction to the people of this country than all these splendid pronouncements about a Christian State and a Christian policy. It is really the practice of Christianity we want and not the nomenclature of it.
There was a portion of the Minister's speech with which I did not agree. He proposes to amend the law in respect of excess profits duty so that there will be no escape. If certain people, in exercising the rights they have got, go to the courts to get a declaration of the law as it is in the statute, their liability stands in respect of the law as it is. This thing of anticipating or endeavouring to regulate the business of the House by statute according as people bring their cases into court is wrong. It is a bad system. If they are not liable under the law as it stands, I submit there is no real moral justification for regulating it now.
We have the promise of a duty on home-grown tobacco. In connection with this new activity of home-grown tobacco and with the various tariffs imposed during the last 12 months it would be very strange if in respect  of that very long list there was not some case for amendment or for some such examination as would show that it was not producing revenue or that it was not effecting the purpose for which it was really intended. The main object was to promote industry in this country.
There is another matter of which I think the House ought to be made aware. The dispute with Great Britain in respect of the land purchase annuities raises generally in people's minds the belief that the whole sum involved is roughly £3,000,000 per annum; and that the British are levying duties in order to collect that money. I find, according to the estimates they have published, that they have excluded certain items from the £3,000,000. In the first place, they are collecting only one per cent. in respect of the 1881 or 1891 Acts. There is a deficiency in respect of sinking fund and interest of about £13,000 in that connection. In the second place, they are not getting a vote for the whole £3,000,000. There is a sum of £411,000 in one case in respect of a sinking fund which they claim they are not entitled to charge; in other words, that they have no liability over it. There is a further sum of £250,000 which was the interest on the advances made out of the sinking fund, for further advances for land purchase.
What the House should understand, in connection with the matter is this, that there is a sum left like Mahomet's coffin and neither of the two Governments is shouldering the liability. This liability remains and it will have to be undertaken. I expect holders of land stock have certain rights, but if people have it in their minds that the British are collecting the total annuities that are due to them, they are wrong in respect of at least £675,000. That matter will have to be settled sooner or later. I think it is very unfortunate that at this time in the history of world economic depression the taxes on the people should have been kept at so high a level; that reductions in the payments in respect of relief of agricultural rates should have been made, and that, in addition to these enormous burdens,  there are the difficulties which are placed upon the farming community by reason of this dispute. I submit it is not in the interest of either country that the dispute should go on; that it is a discredit to both countries; that no real effort has been made to come to an understanding; that the best will and good wishes of the peoples of both countries are for a settlement and that, if the persons representing the two countries at the moment do not effect a settlement, then a way will have to be made for those who will.
Professor O'Sullivan: In considering this Budget and the speech made by the Minister for Finance in introducing it, there was a general disposition, before anything like a proper examination of the situation was possible, to take up the line that we ought to be thankful for small mercies. That particular attitude shows the opinion of the country had of the Minister for Finance and of the present Government. They expected even worse than they got. Whether or not the people have reason to be thankful for that particular relaxation may be open to doubt.
On two things I can congratulate the Minister. I congratulate him on the fact that as he did not find it necessary in the Budget—what may have been done during the year indirectly is another question—or, in his Budget speech, to deal with the imposition of new taxes, the nation and the assembly here were relieved of the pain of hearing his humour, which seems to be, as we experienced last year, in the ascendant when he has the task of imposing new burdens on the people, or, as he expressed it in his speech yesterday, “beggaring his neighbour.” Let us realise that this Budget, though it does not seem to impose increased taxation, is a continuation—a very deliberate continuation—of the policy of “beggaring your neighbour.” I might say that ultimately your neighbour means mankind—is everybody in this island generally. It is not merely one class of the community that will  be ultimately beggared by the policy the Government has indulged in, but practically every class. It is true that yesterday, in a fit of virtue, the Minister neglected for the moment the pleasure of imposing certain burdens. How much that went to his heart and to the heart of the Government we can easily understand. However, we were relieved of what was a very shocking and regrettable feature of the Budget speech of last year—the humour of the Minister. Also, I congratulate him on the fact that, by the apparent absence of new taxes this year, he managed to throw a kind of smoke-screen over the situation. The difficulty about smoke-screens is that they have a tendency to rise, and I have no doubt that the nation will soon be able to realise the real facts of the situation. The Budget speech was not as long or as elaborate or as objectionable as was the speech of last year. A great deal of the time of the Minister was spent in obscuring the situation. In his Budget statement presented to Deputies the Minister glossed over those parts of the balance sheet presented with it that required explanation, while he spent most of the 50 minutes on the matters that were quite clear and that required no explanation. If we have regard to what the Budget represents to the country, then neither the country nor the House has any excuse for taking any pleasure in the present Budget; quite the contrary. If there was reason for uneasiness last year, there is more reason, on the part of those who think, for uneasiness this year.
There is, this year, a deliberate continuation of the policy that was enshrined in the Budget of last year. As Deputies will remember, an attempt was made last year to conceal the real nature of the Budget by dividing it into “normal” and “abnormal.” That has disappeared from the present balance sheet. The word “normal” does appear, but the abnormal Budget is absent. The Leader of the Opposition yesterday stated that there was apparently a check in the Rake's Progress. To that I should like to make two reservations. The pace that was indulged in last year has been  kept up even so far as the actual facts disclosed in the Budget speech are concerned. There is no diminution of the pace but, apparently, there was no acceleration of the pace. In reality, however, anybody who examines the economic situation of the country at the moment will realise that not merely was the pace of last year kept up but that it has been actually increased. The only metaphor for the recklessness of the policy of the Government that I could find when speaking on the Budget of last year was that of a man going down a crowded thoroughfare, like Grafton Street, at 50 miles per hour and hoping that there would be no disaster. I quite admit that, apparently, the speedometer still registers 50 miles an hour. The admitted pace is still dangerous. The thoroughfare is more crowded than it was. In other words, the country is less able to bear the same taxation as that of last year. In reality, although the speedometer only registers 50 miles an hour, the pace is much quicker. I shall recur to that matter in a moment. A number of charges on the community do not appear on the face of the Budget at all. Neither the Budget nor the Budget statement is any longer what it used to be—a full statement of the burdens of the community. It is a statement of a portion of the burdens of the community. Many burdens that the community has to face are not dealt with at all by this Budget statement. In reality, therefore, not merely is the mad pace of the Rake's Progress of last year maintained, but a little examination will show that there is an acceleration of the pace. These physical and mathematical similes may not appeal to the Minister for Finance, but they ought to appeal to the President.
The only reason that people can express relief at the Budget, or at the speech of the Minister for Finance yesterday, is that they expected worse. At a certain critical portion of his speech, the Minister took up the line: “Now we come to a serious situation; I am faced with a deficit of £5,000,000—an appalling situation.” In ten minutes he gets over the difficulty by the time-honoured  expedient of borrowing, pledging the future, as spend thrift prodigal Governments of the past have done. It is quite easy for him bravely to face up to a situation like that, this terrific task, on paper, in the course of five or six pages. As everybody will remember, he had no difficulty in getting over it. That task was quite easily dealt with. I suggest that neither so far as his conduct is concerned, so far as the form is concerned, nor so far as this Budget represents the policy of the Government, is there any reason for congratulation or for any kind of diminution of the uneasiness that was felt last year when the Minister introduced his first Budget. I will admit that it is not quite so spectacular in its destructiveness as the Budget of last year. Why is that? It is because the country now expects nothing except a continuance of that destructive line from the Government. That is the best they hope for, and they view with relief any apparent—and the word “apparent” is one of the Minister's pet words; he was particularly keen on using it yesterday—any apparent relief, though momentary, from that policy of rushing along the road of economic and national destruction in which the Government is engaged.
Balancing the Budget! Of course everybody knows how it was achieved. It is easy for the Minister to make a comparison with previous Budgets when so far as can be seen from his own speech yesterday, he had five millions a year to play with. That five millions per annum that has cost the country so dear, is frittered away, has disappeared, has been eaten up, and in addition, there is borrowing. That from the Party that always preached economy and that when they were on these benches protested that the taxable capacity of the nation had been overstrained!
I am not overstanding the case so far as the real burdens of the country are concerned. It is merely a policy of “beggaring my neighbour.” I will admit beggaring them may be the aim but if you compare this Budget with last year's Budget I suggest that this Budget is as much in advance—and we can all give our own meaning to the word “advance”—of last year's  Budget as last year's Budget was on any previous Budget. As for the way in which the Budget has been balanced, the Minister by the external policy of the Government had got hold of an annual sum of over five millions. That undoubtedly helped him to go a certain distance to balance the Budget, but does anybody suggest that there is an advance in national economy in that particular direction? I will admit that two millions odd may come back to producers in this country by way of bounties. Opportunities will be offered to this House I have no doubt of discussing this policy of bounties. I have heard various views on the matter. It is extremely difficult to know what percentage of these bounties actually comes back to the farmers and the taxpayers, to the people who produce, for instance, cattle.
I have heard that one result of the whole policy so far as bounties and everything else are concerned is —it probably sums up the situation— that a certain amount of the bounties do go to the farmer but only a certain amount. What percentage goes back it is extremely difficult to determine but in counties like my own this policy has meant the disappearance of a certain class of buyer called “truckers,” who have kept up prices in these local markets. I very much question if any large amount of these bounties come back to the producers of cattle on the land, in counties like my own. We shall have an opportunity, as I say, subsequently of discussing these bounties. At the very best what can we say of them but that they are an indirect way of paying the land annuities to England. Is not that what it amounts to? Having adopted a policy that we will not pay the land annuities, that under no circumstances will we part with a penny until a decision has been given in the courts against us, we have really adopted a policy of paying the land annuities in this indirect way, paying them in a way that will inflict a maximum of damage on us and on the farming community of the country.  Apart from the question of bounties, in reality the Minister had five million pounds to play with, then naturally he was able to pretend to show a balance; but even then he has to borrow.
When the Budget came up last year, we on these benches had occasion to refer to the fact that at the time there was a world crisis, a world crisis that was affecting every country and to a certain extent was affecting this country. Whether we were in office or out of office we never concealed that the world crisis to some extent would affect this country. In office we warned the people that they would be bound to feel some of the effects and that it was their duty as Irishmen to consider how these effects could be lessened. Out of office we are quite willing to admit that some of the present difficulties are due to the world crisis, but it is quite clear that only some of the difficulties are due to it. Many more of the difficulties are due to the policy of our own Government. The greater percentage of the difficulties are due to the policy of our own Government. At a time, as has been pointed out again and again when ordinary prudence, ordinary regard for the welfare of the nation demanded that particular care should be taken, that was the time chosen by the present Government to add to the difficulties which the world crisis would inflict on this country in any case. No body of men were more eloquent—eloquence is a matter in which they excel—and no person amongst that body of men was more eloquent than the present Minister for Finance when they were in Opposition, in pointing out that this country had reached the limits of its taxable capacity. Last year, undoubtedly, the future was being pawned and jeopardised by the policy of the Government. If that was true last year, it is still truer now, a result that everybody in the country, except apparently the Ministry, has experienced during the last 12 months, especially since the start of the economic war.
If there was any truth in the contention last year, as there undoubtedly  was, that this country was not in a position to bear the heavy imposts put upon it by the Government, everybody who is moving amongst the people in the country districts and the towns and villages knows that this country is less able to bear them at present. In reality, of course, this Budget does not reveal the full charges on the people inflicted by the Government. I shall leave out of account matters which we have discussed in this House on other occasions, such as what we have to pay, for instance, owing to the butter policy. I am leaving aside what are the merits and demerits of that policy, but in practice it is a tax on the people and there was no reference to it in the Budget.
I leave out of account what their wheat policy and their flour policy will cost the consumer. It may be a policy of beggar-my-neighbour or it may be a policy—the Minister is very rich in these metaphors—of robbing Peter to pay Paul. It may be all that, but when you are considering the taxable weight that oppresses the country it must be taken into account. Let us leave out of account even the real charge that that question we discussed the other day of maize meal means to a large portion of the country, especially the poorer portion. There are any number of these things. In addition, there is the cost that the tariffs imposed. I am not now referring to the cost of the tariffs as revealed in the Budget and in the taxation returns. There is another cost as well that is practically impossible to determine. What it means in the way of taxation can be clearly demonstrated —so much tax collected at the ports. What it means in the way of increase in the price of the articles produced in this country above what otherwise they might have cost, is not revealed in the Budget. All these things which are not revealed in the Budget are so many tax burdens on the population. Above all that there is the outstanding case to which no reference has been made in the Budget, but which is in the minds of every man or woman in the towns and country districts—perhaps not so much in the cities—the tax  that is levied at the English ports on agriculture produce. There was no reference to that particular tax in the Budget, but it is the most serious and the most damaging of all the taxes that the country is labouring under at present. Therefore, again to use that favourite word of the Minister, what is “apparent” in the Budget is one thing; what is the reality that confronts the Irish nation at present is an entirely different thing. There are what I might, for lack of a better term, call a number of concealed taxes, a number of burdens put upon the people by the policy of the Government, of which no mention is made in the Budget. As I say, apparently the Budget statement is no longer a statement of the tax burden on the people. In reality, from what we can gather from the Minister's statement, it is an attempt to conceal from the people what the real tax situation is.
An amazing attitude towards trade was taken up by the Minister yesterday. If it merely represented his own personal view we could leave it at that, but every speech they have made and their whole policy and conduct show perfectly well that it represents the considered—if I might use that phrase —view of the Executive Council. Apparently the view genuinely and seriously held by the Executive Council is that the more your external trade diminishes the better—that applies to the export and import trade alike— that the less trade this country has with countries outside, especially with England, the better for the country. I will say for them that in that they have reached a position unique probably so far as nations are concerned. What other people regard as a calamity they regard as a blessing. With the tortuous mind that appears to rule the policy of the Executive Council, that can reason about any number of things, but apparently must see things in a completely different light from that of every other people, apparently what, as I say, most nations and most statesmen would regard as a serious calamity is held by the present Government as one of their greatest achievements. Reference was made yesterday in the Budget statement to  the diminution of our foreign trade. A stray tear forced out of the sympathetic eyes—not so very sympathetic indeed —of the Minister for Finance was cast upon it, but did not do much damage to the page. It was said that the loss was more than compensated by the development of the home market. So far as that is concerned, everybody who has attended this House for the last couple of months knows the impossibility of getting any information out of the Executive Council as to what the home market is worth in the way of employment or anything else.
Again and again they have refused information as to where the factories are. Each Deputy, if he knows his own constituency, can answer as to the number of factories that are operative in his constituency and the increased amount of employment that is given. He may believe, of course, that in the next constituency, or three constituencies further off, there are industries, but let each Deputy examine his own constituency and consider the amount of real employment at proper wages that is given in any new industry started. In that way, as the Ministry refuses absolutely to give any information to enable us to form any real view as to whether their policy has been a success or not, each man will have to judge from his own constituency. Let him put no faith in what he is told about some constituency 100 miles off, let him look to his own and see what real employment is given there.
One of the first tariffs imposed by the Government was the tax on agricultural machinery. Efforts by Deputy Keating to find out the increase in employment in these factories that turned out agricultural machinery—and by increase in employment I mean of skilled employees, not merely apprentices— ended in a failure to get information.
Perhaps Deputy Corish is in a position to say something decisive in this matter as to whether or not there has been actually a tremendous increase. I do not say now what is promised but the actual increase in the number of people employed in  that industry. It is the same with many other industries. Is it not clear that the home market has been reserved to the home manufacturer but the purchasing power of the home market has been destroyed? What is the good of giving a manufacturer or, if you like, certain manufacturers the whole market to supply the farmers when you have deprived these farmers of the power of buying? You have ruined the benefit that you are giving. The Minister referred you to the success of the tariffs. He referred to the faulty estimation— I am not blaming him—I might perhaps use another word instead of “faulty.”
I am not criticising the estimate of £910,000 that was given last year as to the probable yield of the tariffs imposed twelve months ago. The Minister confessed that that was not a true estimate. I am finding no fault with that. He then began to explain that the reason that, from the revenue point of view, these tariffs were a comparative failure was because from the protective point of view—in building up industries and in giving employment—they were such a success. He said, in fact, that the policy of the Minister for Industry and Commerce was so successful that it hit the Budget. Now we know the Minister can say that or anything else, but not merely has the Government refused to bring forward any facts to support that particular view but they have refused, when pressed for information, to give it so that the House and country would be in a position scientifically to check the statement of the Minister for Finance or, indeed, of the other Ministers. That information was refused.
I suggest this to every Deputy in the House. Each Deputy knows his own constituency. He knows the view that prevails in the country towns throughout this State and I suggest that he should ask himself whether there is not another explanation as to the failure of these tariffs to yield the expected taxes. That explanation is the diminution in the purchasing power of the community. It is one thing to live here in Dublin, in this big city. It is one thing to see the apparent life of this  city going on in the normal way. But I have met a number of people engaged in business in the country who come up here to the city and who are surprised at the gaiety of this city in comparison with the depression that they, as business people, felt in their own towns. That is the position in every town in the country. This is a question really for the Deputies and for the people as well as the Deputies, because no matter what the Deputies may say the people know the situation. It is a question for the Deputies and the people to make up their minds whether or not the purchasing power of this community is the same as it was 12 months ago.
No wonder there is depression in the towns. No wonder there is decreased yield from revenue, even from customs revenue, when as everybody knows—I mean everybody who has been through the towns of the country—that there has been a serious decline in the purchasing power of the people. Remember that it is not a question merely of the employer that I am considering at the moment. The whole future position of the employee is equally in peril. It may be that the members of the Government have no respect for or pay no attention to the particular form of employment that is given, for instance, in what are generally called the distributing trades. But it is employment and that particular form of employment is necessary and that particular form of trade is necessary. It is one thing to manufacture goods but they must be brought to the people. It may be that the Government has no respect for any other form of employment except what is given in the industries that have sprung up so quickly but about which we can get no information. It may be that that is the only form of employment for which they have any respect. But I challenge any Deputy to go to the country towns and consult the ordinary people in these towns and he will learn there what the real position is in the small towns in the country and not merely in the towns but in the country round about, the people of which buy in these towns.
Naturally big cities like Cork and  Dublin may be hit last but they are bound to be hit. If the farmer cannot buy in the local town the trader in the local town is up against a very serious situation. Every Deputy listening to me knows that. The local trader is up against a very serious situation, and in consequence so is the wholesale dealer in the cities, and so ultimately is the manufacturer. The whole policy of the Government is a policy leading towards a policy of “beggar-my-neighbour.” If the Ministry is determined to persist in this policy it ultimately means beggary for everybody in the country.
What must appal everybody who listened to yesterday's Budget speech, and I presume it represents not merely the personal attitude of the Minister but the attitude of the whole Government—if it were merely the attitude of the Minister we could brush it aside and pay no attention to it—but we presume it must represent the collective attitude of the Executive Council and stands for their settled policy—is the complete failure on the part of the Government to understand the real situation that is confronting the people in town and country right through this State at the present moment. What must shock anybody who is looking at the position of the country is the state of hopeless depression with which the people look to the future. The Government might naturally have been misled last year, the more simple minded of them might have been naturally optimistic and been misled into hoping for something better in the first twelve months from this great “victorious policy.” But it is now clear that the people are to get nothing. The people are to get no relief. They must suffer on. They can hope for no relief from a continuation of the economic war, a policy that is bringing ruin to the country.
That policy has placed a burden on the people of this country a burden that was not referred to in the Budget speech yesterday. True, a certain amount of relief has been promised. I presume the promise will be fulfilled. It has been promised in the shape of  their being allowed off half their land annuities. What is the value of that relief to the farmers in Co. Kerry, when on a two-year-old beast worth £8 or £10 there is imposed a sum of £6 in the way of tariffs? What relief is that to the farmer? Ultimately of course there is a policy envisaged in the tortuous twistings of the Executive Council's mind, a policy which envisages the total disappearance of the export trade of the country. Then, we are to suppose the economic position of the people of the country will be perfect. Then the farmer, having lost the foreign market, will be told— as he has been frequently told from those benches—that he has got the home market. When you ask them what is the home market worth to the farmer you get no answer. When you ask what price the farmer got for his beasts, you get no answer. Of course the farmer has the home market. He cannot help having it. He has to dispose of his beasts. They have to be sold at whatever price offers. In that sense the market is there and he has it to the full. Does that mean he has got a return for his labour or expenditure? Does that mean that he is going to be at a loss year after year, and continue in the production of beasts of that kind? What is to take its place?
Into the substitutes that the Government have to offer for the present form of agricultural industry, we need not go at the present moment. That has been discussed sufficiently in this House already. Apparently the ideal striven after by the Government, and the idea revealed in yesterday's speech by the Minister for Finance, is the total disappearance of foreign trade, export and import. The farmer can then have the benefit of the home market for any cattle he is unwise enough to produce in those circumstances. It is quite obvious of course that it means ruin for the present community. What may come in the distant future we cannot deal with.
A complete neglect of the real situation facing the country was revealed in the speech made here yesterday by the Minister for Finance, as representing Government policy. There is  apparently a determination—not merely a theoretical statement, but every step taken goes to show that this policy will be continued—on the part of the Executive Council to continue at all costs the disastrous economic war which is the real burden on the people of the country at the present moment. What have they done? Have they not taken steps to pledge anything of this money that remains over? Have they not taken steps, even in the present Budget, to see that there will be no going back, and that there will be no possibility of settlement of the economic war so far as they can manage it? That may be the view of many of their followers through the country. There are, however, a number of people in the country who were undoubtedly captivated by the appeal made in the various propagandist statements and literature in the last election that if the present Government was returned with the renewed confidence of the people there would be a quick end of the economic war. They have had their opportunity. We see no approach to that end. On the contrary this Budget nails down the situation more firmly. We are more definitely committed than ever before to the continuance of the economic war. The real situation was not dealt with in yesterday's Budget. I would ask the Deputies of this House, before they give approval to this particular policy as represented by the motion we are now discussing, to consider the real dangers that are ahead for this country, and to consider whither the policy of the Government is leading.
I have had occasion again and again to criticise, from many points of view, the policy of the present Government, and whither it was tending. A situation has been created under the victorious policy announced by the Minister which is really his —though for the moment, like Julius Cæsar, he put the crown aside,—the policy of “beggaring” the country. Out of that particular situation any crisis, no matter how dangerous, can arise for this country. The Budget is, from the point of view of securing the destruction of this country, as  much an advance on last year's Budget as last year's Budget was on previous Budgets. When you examine the situation there is no reason for any kind of even momentary satisfaction, or any momentary suspension of the feeling of uneasiness which prevailed last year. There may have been some excuse for a feeling of hope last year. Now not merely is there no evidence of any growing sense of the real situation but the fact is quite the opposite. It is quite evident that after 12 months of experience the Government has learned nothing, but is determined to sacrifice this country to satisfy the passion of some of its members for shibboleths.
Mr. MacDermot: The general policy of the Government involved in this Budget has just been powerfully attacked by Deputy O'Sullivan. It also has been discussed scores of times in this House, and hundreds of times in the country. I propose accordingly to make my remarks on the subject of the Budget brief. I am not quite sure that Deputy O'Sullivan is justified in congratulating the Minister for Finance on the absence of humour in his Budget speech of yesterday. I do not know whether it is a matter for congratulation in any case. It seems to me that the speech was by no means lacking in humour. I would rather say that there had been a certain improvement in the quality of the humour since last year—that the humour has now become more subtle.
It appears to me that there are some very choice bits of humour in the speech made yesterday by the Minister for Finance. One of them was to say that he had reduced substantially the volume of unemployment. I have not yet had brought to my attention any evidence whatsoever of the volume of unemployment having been reduced. We have a direct statement to the contrary by the Government's own allies on the Labour Benches. The only thing I have ever heard said with the object of showing that unemployment had been reduced was that so much money had been spent on reducing it. The Government has apparently not yet learned the lesson  that Government expenditure has so far proved a failure, here and elsewhere, as a means of reducing the volume of unemployment. Again, the Minister for Finance spoke of the extraordinary expansion of our domestic commerce. The only evidence he offered for that was that there had been a reduction in unemployment. The reduction in unemployment we have already seen to be exceedingly doubtful. Perhaps the best phrase of all is where he talked of the ease with which the difficulties arising out of the economic war had been surmounted. That was really a remarkable phrase. I would like to hear him expand it before an audience of farmers in any part of the country.
I think there are one or two matters on which the Minister for Finance might legitimately be congratulated. Personally, I must say that I am favourably impressed by the steps he has taken for encouraging the fruit growers of the country, and I only question whether some of the items that are being taxed might not better be omitted; for example, I doubt if it is a wise thing to tax foreign cherries, because I cannot believe that there are anything like enough Irish cherries available to satisfy the market.
Then again we have the tax on foreign newspapers. I must say I am attracted by that tax so long as it is not used as an unfortunate precedent, so long as it is not regarded as setting a precedent for the Government putting down any political opinions that they dislike. It so happens that the English newspapers which have the largest circulation in this country would certainly be no loss from a cultural point of view. I think we can say quite confidently that our own “Independent” and “Irish Press” and “Cork Examiner” and “Irish Times” are enormously superior from a cultural point of view to the “Daily Mail” or the “Daily Express,” for instance. I must say that I feel a certain satisfaction at the prospect of the circulation being reduced of the sort of newspaper that goes in more for sensationalism than for truth. I do hope, however, it is not the beginning of a policy of trying to put down  opinions that one dislikes by means of a tax on publications. I have just referred to the subtle humour in the speech of the Minister for Finance, but that has been equalled by an English newspaper which, commenting on the newspaper tax, describes it as a tax on knowledge. Then there is another item, perhaps the most important item for congratulation in the Minister's speech, and that is the fact that he is making a start towards relieving the local authorities in respect of unemployment.
Mr. MacDermot: Whatever the method that may be adopted, one is glad to see the Government making a start in the direction of relieving the local authorities in that respect. One recognises, of course, that much of the unemployment is due to the policy adopted by the Government.
I will now take a couple of minor matters in respect of which I am not so sure that the Minister deserves congratulation. He proposes to spend £150,000 in connection with turf schemes, popularising turf as a fuel. It appears to me that the amount of money is far too little to accomplish anything worth while. If it is to cover the mere cost of preliminary scientific experiment it is too much; if it is intended to do more than that then it is too little to do any good and I greatly fear that the bulk of the money will be wasted. There is a sum of only £25,000 provided for the purpose of distributing fuel gratis in specially necessitous areas. It is to be native fuel. What good will £25,000 be? The amount is scarcely worth providing. I hope it is not going to be a case of distributing fuel to the special friends of the Fianna Fáil Party.
The Minister is going to raise the greater part of the deficiency of £5,000,000 by borrowing. Part of the borrowing is to be against housing  schemes. In normal times that might be justifiable. Whether it is justifiable in times like these and with the prospects that lie ahead of us is another matter. The other part of the borrowing is to be against the deferred annuity fund and I as one who believes rightly or wrongly that the Government will not succeed in collecting any more annuities in this country naturally cannot feel friendly towards the proposal to borrow against such annuities. I know the Government think otherwise. They thought otherwise a year ago and in spite of the fact that they stumped the country—including the President— telling the people it was a patriotic duty to pay the annuities and that the fight against John Bull would fail unless they paid the annuities, they were not paid and in the end they had to remit half the annuities and add the May and June instalments of last year to the annuities that were funded. I am greatly afraid that their calculations will go wrong again. The fight against John Bull has now been won; we have had our glorious victory and if the people were not able or willing to pay for the sake of securing that victory is it likely they will be better able or more willing to pay now that the glorious victory has been won?
This Budget is substantially the same as last year's. The finances of this country would have hopelessly broken down during the last 12 months were it not for the moneys in the Suspense Account. Last year when the Minister was constructing his Budget he decided not to take these moneys into consideration, not to reckon on them, and yet without them the whole financial system here would have broken down. This year, on the contrary, he is taking everything into account and he is assuming that he is going to collect the land annuities. Consequently the situation is a good deal more alarming.
The enormous expenditure that was provided for in last year's Budget was excused on the ground that it was emergency expenditure. That was emphasised over and over again by Government speakers. Deputy O'Sullivan has just mentioned that the explanatory statement with the Budget  was even divided into two parts, the normal and the abnormal; but throughout we were assured it was an emergency situation and it was an emergency Budget. We were led to believe that the Government had not abandoned their attachment to economy. We were assured the Minister for Finance was going to call into consultation a number of business men who were to assist him to frame far-reaching schemes that would not involve hurting anybody or cutting anybody down. They were going to produce immense economies in the nation's expenditure. We were encouraged to think that this year, more especially after we had won the victory over John Bull that we have won, there would be an enormous reduction in expenditure and that the Government's attachment to economy would be illustrated and proved. Our expectations in that respect have been most painfully disappointed. Where is the end of our expenditure going to be? Wolfe Tone said that one of the results of separation from England would be that having escaped from English war debts and English notions of expenditure, Ireland would go up like a balloon. That is a phrase he was fond of using—that Ireland would be lightened of that enormous burden and would go up like a balloon. We have had our opportunities; we have been having our opportunities here for years past and so far from finding our burden lightened and going up like a balloon our own native Governments are piling more and more expenditure on us. When we were under the British everybody was united in saying that we were over-taxed. Those were days when there was much foreign money coming into the country, when there were lots of English people here with English incomes and when the British Army was in the country and spending a lot of money. In those days there was plenty of money coming from overseas and that is not now the case. Is it really a fact that anything has occurred to make us more capable of bearing this immense expenditure? I suggest nothing has occurred and that no Government here is doing its duty unless it is concentrating with great  determination on the question of reducing our expenditure.
Last year I said there were two main principles behind the Budget. Actually the same two principles are enshrined in this year's Budget. One was the principle of economic nationalism, which, even since then, has become more and more discredited, and the other was the theory that money was much more useful in the hands of the Government than in the hands of the private citizen. Now, with regard to economic nationalism, we have had the President of the United States, President Roosevelt, declaring that he regards it as his mission to lead the world out of the morass of economic nationalism. We have had, in Germany, Dr. Schacht, the eminent financier and economist, saying that the time had come when nations must choose between co-operation and prosperity or isolation and poverty. We had lately here an extremely interesting address from Mr. Keynes, the English economist, who, in spite of being rather in favour of what he called economic self-sufficiency not necessarily for a nation, but for a suitable group of nations, or for a large nation like the United States of America, pointed out that here in Ireland—especially if we regard the Six Counties as permanently cut off from us—we are too small a unit to follow a policy of extreme economic nationalism without immensely lowering our standard of living. I urge the Government, as I did last year, not to commit themselves so blindly to the principle of economic nationalism, not to shut their eyes to the fact that high tariffs have not succeeded anywhere in producing prosperity. In some of the countries held up to us as models, such as Hungary, the policy of high tariffs has proved absolutely disastrous. With regard to money in the Government's hands being more useful than in private citizens' hands, I have already said something in referring to economy. I do intensely believe that the only hope of curing unemployment and getting a general condition of prosperity in the country is to leave the private citizen with enough money and sufficient  freedom from interference to go ahead, build up the country, start industries and circulate his money. What we should aim at is a sense of political and social stability and a feeling of good-will amongst the different classes instead of stirring up hatred amongst them and creating fears of change— political and economic—as so many propagandists on the Fianna Fáil side are in the habit of doing.
Dr. O'Higgins: I regard this Budget, and the Minister's statement in association with it, as a clear confession that crookedness does not pay a State any more than it pays an individual. This country has been deluged for ten years with political propaganda that this Budget tells us for the first time was so much cheap, political humbug. People up and down the country have been deluded for ten long years with Fianna Fáil statements of their intention and plan to reduce the taxation of this country by 10 million pounds. In great detail, we were told in every constituency how much the unfortunate people of the country were over-taxed and that, given a little bit of Government energy and Government alertness, it was the easiest thing in the world substantially to reduce that taxation. Last year, when taxation was not reduced but very considerably increased, we had the false rumour started here and spread throughout the country, that the cause and reason of the very excessive taxation then introduced, the crushing taxes imposed then, was that the previous Minister for Finance had left a legacy of a deficiency of £3,000,000. On that account, we were told taxation had to be drastically increased. Was that true? Was that a correct explanation of the particularly wicked increase in taxation last year? If that was the reason last year, why have we the increase repeated this year? We are told that there is no deficiency this year. Cumann na nGaedheal did not administer the country for the past 12 months. There is no deficiency. There is no scapegoat. There is nobody to be blamed, but taxation is still £3,000,000 or £4,000,000 over what it was in the time of the Government's  predecessors. What is the explanation adduced this year? None. We have so many smug phases. We have the statement—I shall be interested to hear the members of the Labour Party on this statement—that during the past year the volume of unemployment was substantially reduced. I disagree with that statement. I do not think it is a correct statement. Moreover, I do not think it is a considered statement and I do not think it is a statement than can be, even in part, substantiated with any official figures or any official records. We have the knowledge of home help doubling itself in every county of the Irish Free State. Why is that? Is it because there is less or more employment? The increase in home help in every county can only be attributable to one of two things—an increase in unemployment—an increase in destitution— or widespread corruption in local administration. The last suggestion I refuse to believe. I refuse to credit it for one moment. Therefore, the only explanation there can be is that there is increased destitution.
Any man viewing the circumstances as they exist can see a hundred and one explanations for increased destitution. Increased destitution and increased unemployment are what Ministers in other countries have learned to be the natural offspring of excessive taxation. Yet, the Party that preached glibly for ten years about the backs of the public being broken by wicked taxation, about the people being crushed down so much that there was no energy left for business enterprise and no money left to develop the resources of the country start off in their first year by very drastically and generally increasing the taxation of the country and they repeat the operation in the second year. Over-heavy taxation in any country always leads to the results it has produced in this country— unemployment, widespread and general. Limit the capacity of the employer to pay wages and what do you get? The state of affairs mentioned by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance who said that the man who suggested that men were not  eager to work for a guinea a week would be torn from limb to limb. That is the Utopia we were led into after ten years' propaganda. That is the Utopia produced by the group of politicians who preached lower taxation. That is the Utopia brought about by political crookedness, by thinking that a country can make progress in trade or in any other department by indulging in a policy of national default, by trying to trick a customer in a deal. Would not anybody know what would happen, that your export trade would wither and wither as it has done, practically to the point of disappearance, that behind the lines money would shrink, that unemployment would grow, that destitution would be widespread and that such funds as home help would have to be doubled?
Now we are getting round to the other end of the vicious circle where the economic war is won. Is there any sign of victory? Is there any sign of jubilation? Is there any widespread happiness? Is there any evidence of prosperity? The war is won; £5,000,000 is retained at home. Your taxes which were crushing are increased. Your revenue is shrinking. Your unemployment is widespread. That is the result of victory; that is the result of electing people who put politics before business, people who indulge in so may expensive political experiments rather than learning something from others, learning something particularly from other countries and learning the fact that the best plan and the only plan for any Government is the plan of going the straight road of paying its debts, of building up its credit, of trying to relieve overhead charges rather than increasing taxation and that going the other road, on the road of increasing taxation, will in the long run only lead to the point where you have increased demands as the result of unemployment throughout the country.
With regard to the general position of the Budget, the public generally are interested in the result of the game rather than in the game itself. In the Budget statement we have in clear language the result of the victory and the result of the financial  manipulations. Wading through that Budget statement, where every attempt was made to use figures to hide figures, to use figures to hide facts, what is the end of it all? What does the victory amount to? Leaving aside the loss of trade, leaving aside the taxes imposed by another Government, what does the victory bring us in this statement? The victory amounts to this: that there is a new tax of £500,000 on the farmers of the country because in reducing the grant for the relief of rates, the reduction is equivalent to a fresh tax of that amount. The victory results in the farmers' receiving a new burden of taxation to the amount of £500,000 and the victory results in the income-tax payers having to face up to another year of a tax of 5/- in the £. The victory results in the announcement that special legislation is about to be introduced in order to hound down the unfortunate income-tax payers, the people about whom the Minister, from these benches here, shed many a hypocritical tear, when he referred to the absurdity of going back and back in the collection of income tax. The officials of this State are, each and every one of them, to be cut in their already too-curtailed salaries in spite of the fact that they have already faced up to their commitments by paying increased taxes. Now when the victory is won we have a campaign of calling for sacrifices throughout the country. The annuities are to be retained. These annuities were to be used for reducing the already excessive taxation of this country.
Is it not about time that we began to reconsider our position, that we began to realise that what matters to a country is the trade of the country, that if you have one great big interest or industry in the country you cannot make up for the extinction of that industry no matter how many minor industries are stimulated behind the lines, that this country is just at a loss of so many more millions a year by the practical suppression of that trade, and that no amount of artificial respiration behind the lines can make up for that? In that position and in the face  of this black Budget, in face of the Minister's dismal wail in introducing the Budget, is it not time for getting back and reviewing the position? There is nothing humiliating, nothing disgraceful, nothing weak, in reviewing a position or reviewing a plan if that plan does not work out satisfactorily. It is only a small man, only a weak man, who is afraid to review his position. The greatest soldiers and the biggest men were never afraid to say if and when they had made a mistake. Reviewing this position in the light of present knowledge, with the knowledge before us that the whole trading community of this country is just drifting, drifting, drifting towards the day when they cannot employ a sinner at all—in view of that, in view of declining exports, in view of declining and disappearing goodwill, in view of the practical certainty that the farming community, in particular, cannot pay or meet their overhead charges, I would suggest that this is a time for reviewing the position and that the country outside will look on the action of those who review it, reconsider their position and alter their plan, as the action of big men and not the action of small men.
Mr. Smith: I am sure the House and the country will be very glad to have a person like Deputy O'Higgins, a whole-time officer, I understand, of the Meath Board of Health, present here in the House to tell us about vicious circles, about the destitution of the country, to lecture the Fianna Fáil Party and to advise them to examine their whole position with regard to their policy for the last 18 months. That is all very well, but this kind of speech which we have heard so often from the Deputy, and the fact that he is himself in the employment of a local authority, that he is a whole-time officer and is paid as a whole-time officer, does not convince many of us of his sincerity when he talks about consciences or about the policy of this Party or the policy of the Minister for Finance.
We also heard Deputy O'Sullivan referring to the statement of the Minister when he explained that in  his attempt to balance the Budget it might be necessary to impose fresh taxation in certain circumstances. The Deputy told us that this was a policy of beggar-my-neighbour. As far as the Deputy's general appearance is concerned the Minister for Finance seems to have failed, because the Deputy looks very well fed, clothed and kept, as also do many Deputies of the Centre Party who complain as a result of the economic war.
Mr. Smith: Deputy O'Sullivan also referred to our contribution to the agricultural community in the matter of bounties, and said that an opportunity would be provided in the House to discuss the whole question of bounties. I have listened to statements made by members of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party and of the Centre Party in regard to the payment of bounties on agricultural products. It has been freely stated both here and in the country that these bounties are not made available to the producer, but are pocketed by the middlemen. I would ask those who made that statement to examine it from this angle. If middlemen and exporters are able to pocket these bounties as alleged why did they not come together at any time in the export history of this country and arrange that the price of Polly bullocks, for example, should be £16 and not £17? Assuming that the average price of a Polly bullock was £16 or £17 why did they not come together and say: “Why should not we buy these cattle £1 per head less?” I should like to have the matter of bounties examined from that point of view by those who say that the farmers and producers are not getting the benefit of the bounties. My experience in discussing the question of bounties with farmers is that while the bounties are in operation the farmers will continue to say: “We are not getting the bounties,” but immediately it is proposed to take the bounties from them there will be a “hullabaloo” in this House and the country. That is an unfair method of examining the question, and while I as an individual  am not prejudiced one way or another, I say you cannot have it both ways. If it is possible for the middlemen to retain the bounties, I say it was possible at any time before the economic war for them to regulate and control the price of cattle and of any other commodity exported.
In referring to the Budget Deputy O'Sullivan said it does not disclose the taxation imposed on the whole community as a result of the policy of the Government and as proof of that he indicated our policy last year to give a fair return to butter producers. He also instanced the wheat policy as proving that the Budget did not disclose the extent to which our policy was taxing the community. It is surprising to listen to that sort of argument from the Deputy because when we introduced legislation to encourage the growing of wheat and offering a guaranteed price to those who produced millable wheat, Deputy O'Sullivan, and others on the opposite benches who argued along the same line that he took in his speech, made the case that the farmers would not grow wheat and that the land was not capable of growing it. If they were right in making that case and declaring that the farmers were not willing, and that the land was not capable of producing wheat, then our policy with regard to wheat would cost nothing. They cannot have it both ways. When this legislation was being discussed we were assured that the farmers would not grow wheat, that if they tried, the land was not capable of producing it, and even if the land was capable, the climatic conditions were not suitable. Now after the Wheat Bill has become law, when they see that their obstructionist efforts along that line will not be successful, they refer to the legislation passed here regulating and controlling the price of wheat and say: “Do you not see what that is going to cost the community?”
They say that the present position is due to the economic policy of the Government. In every debate in this House since the general election we have had the economic war and the policy of the Government dragged in time and again. We have had a motion in Private Members' Time from  Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney asking the Government to provide seed, artificial manures and spraying materials for the farmers. When that motion was disposed of members of the Centre Party came along with other motions with regard to agriculture. On every one of these the economic war was the excuse for everything. They went around the country making that the sole subject of every speech they made. The leader of the Centre Party, in his beautiful English and with his lovely accent, wanted to know whither the Fianna Fáil Party were leading the country.
Deputy O'Sullivan and other Opposition Deputies talked about the economic policy of the Government. Deputy O'Higgins talked of the way that a re-examination of the whole position would be looked at by the country, and said that the members of the Executive Council, if they took such a line of action, would be regarded as big men. He forgets, however, that we were before the people and, as has been stated by members on the Front and Back Benches here, we gave the Opposition all the opportunity that they wanted. When everything was in their favour, when they had the best chance they will ever get of fooling the people and inducing them to run away from the stand taken up on their behalf, the people turned them down. Why are they then on every occasion talking of the economic war and the economic policy of the Government and wondering whether we are going to be in the heart of the Empire in four or five years, as Deputy MacDermot would want to know? Why did they not take their beating when they got it? Why do they not open their eyes and realise that as far as the Centre Party are concerned and the Cumann na nGaedheal Party, or any of them, that they are living in the past and that the policy they hope to see accepted by the people of the country will never be accepted by the majority of the people.
Mr. Smith: During a discussion here on the motion by the Minister for Agriculture certain Cumann na Gaedheal members, and one in particular, twitted back benchers belonging to Fianna Fáil because they did not make speeches and waste the time of the House, as these Deputies did on that occasion. They twitted us because, as was stated, we did not contribute in any way to debates in the House. The Deputies who were silent, and who had to listen on that and other occasions since and before the Cumann na nGaedheal Party became the Opposition to the nonsense spoken here by them, were endeavouring to do the work of the country. Now when one of those alleged dormant back benchers stand up to give expression to his opinions, surely the ex-Minister for Local Government will permit him to proceed uninterrupted.
Deputy O'Higgins referred to the wages that were made available to men working on ordinary relief work by the Fianna Fáil administration. Deputy O'Higgins and the members of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party have been endeavouring to give the impression that 24/- a week rate was put into operation for the first time when Fianna Fáil came into office, but he fails conveniently to remember that 24/- and even 21/- a week were paid on similar works by their own Party when they formed the Government of this country, when the times and when conditions were, if we are to take their statements as meaning anything, much better than they are now. That time we did not hear half the number of protests in this House and elsewhere from alleged Independent Labour representatives such as Deputy Anthony or as Deputy Corish was before he flung himself in with the Party that was the first to establish that rate for relief schemes when conditions were much better.
Mr. Smith: I want to say that as far as I know and as far as I can interpret the feeling in my constituency and the feeling in adjacent constituencies that the majority of the people sympathise with, and appreciate the fact that for the first time they have a Government that is endeavouring and making a determined effort to cater for the majority of our people, to cater for a section of our people who never before were catered for by any national Government. Is not that indicated in our policy with regard to old-age pensions? Is that not indicated in our policy in regard to pensions for the blind? Is not that indicated in our policy with regard to the supply of milk for the children of the poor? Is it not indicated in our policy even to a small extent in the providing of fire material for the homes of the poor in the winter time? Is it not indicated very clearly and definitely by everyone of the legislative measures introduced and passed by the Government? Is it not also indicated, as I have been reminded by a colleague, in the £250,000 that we have made available towards reducing the rates on farms under £10 valuation?
Every one of these things are seen. Every one of these actions are noticed and every one of these attempts on the part of the Government are understood by the people of this country. The members of the Opposition were never in touch during the last ten years with the feeling in the country and that is why they are continually raising this will o' the wisp. They were not in touch with it when brought face to face with the electors a few months ago. The members of the Opposition stood on platforms and said to the electors: “We do not want to canvas for votes.” They said: “The yearling calves and the two-year old bullocks are our canvassers to-day,” but when the people gave their decision the Opposition came to understand the position in the country. But that did not open their eyes for if it did they would  not be adopting the attitude they are now adopting.
The people of this country understand, see, know and sympathise with the difficulties of the Executive Council. They know that the Executive Council is making a determined and honest effort to discharge every one of the pledges they made to them. The people know and we know that it is only for the old, fusty, rusted minds that the Opposition over there speak, and the people know that that Opposition will never again command the respect, sympathy or support of anybody but a very small, miserable section of the people of this country.
Mr. Anthony: It is a pity that Deputy Smith spoiled an otherwise reasoned, reasonable and moderate, though not convincing speech, by a personal reference to Deputy O'Higgins. I wonder did he consider that the arguments he used or attempted to use against the presence of Deputy O'Higgins in this House could with much more force indeed be applied to members of his own Party. To me it appears that it would have still more force if it were made applicable to some national teachers who adorn his own benches, but who would be better engaged in setting exercises for their pupils for the following day than in wasting their time here in this political arena. Deputy Smith also made what I consider a rather serious error in the interests of his Party. I hope that what he said when he suggested that we should not discuss the economic policy of this Government, does not represent the considered opinion of the Fianna Fáil Party.
Did anybody ever hear of such piffle? Is this a deliberative Assembly? If it is not, what is it? It is quite true that we are new to parliamentary institutions; I am prepared to make excuses and allowances for any Deputy in this House, because I sometimes might have to have those allowances and excuses made for myself. I am quite willing to allow that Deputy Smith may not understand quite fully the usages and customs of parliamentary  institutions. He shows a lamentable ignorance and lack of knowledge of parliamentary procedure, usage and custom, when he suggests here that we must not discuss the one matter which really concerns the common people of this country, namely, the ruin that has been brought home to every citizen of the Free State by the lunatic policy of this Government.
Before I proceed to discuss in any detail the salient features or points in the Budget, I want to reply to Deputy Smith's suggestion that 24/- and 21/- a week were paid by the Cumann na nGaedheal Government when they were in office in this country. I cannot at the moment contradict that statement, but I certainly can say with authority —as one who took part in the negotiations with the Cumann na nGaedheal Government—that, when an order was issued by the Local Government Department that a certain wage per week—something like 29/—should be paid on certain works throughout the country under the ægis of the Local Government Department, representations were made to that Department by many county councils and public bodies, who pointed out that the wage suggested, namely, 29/- —or something like this—was not a proper or adequate wage to be paid to those labourers and others engaged on these relief schemes and road works. The Department of Local Government withdrew the order and the county councils were allowed to pay the rate of wages current in their districts before that order was issued.
Mr. Smith: I was not dealing with the wages paid by county councils. I was referring to wages made available on minor relief schemes in congested areas. I am in a position to say that I saw the pay orders and the wage was not 24/- but 21/- per week to those people who worked on them in my own county.
Mr. Anthony: I can refute the statement so far as Cork City is concerned, for which I can speak  with some authority. The amount of 24/- or 21/- was never paid those labourers or road workers. I am not quite sure of the figure, but certainly it was not as low as 24/- or 21/-. They got anything from £2 10s. to £3 5s. per week. It remained for a Cork Deputy in this House to be the instrument through which that wage was paid through a Government Department.
Mr. Anthony: I do not like to be repeating myself. I can only suggest that this Budget may be likened again to the curate's egg—it is good in parts. I welcome the relief for the unemployed. I welcome it as a very fair gesture from the Minister, but I will deal with the cause of the unemployment at a later stage. I can at the moment liken it unto a case of a surgical operation, where a limb is removed, and then the various ointments are applied to heal the wound. I also welcome the grant for necessitous children, which I think is something that the Minister should feel some little satisfaction in.
I must challenge the statement made in some portion of the Minister's Budget speech when he suggested that unemployment was not quite so rife now as it was when the Fianna Fáil Party took office. I challenge any Cork Deputy in this House, representing the Borough of Cork, to make that statement from a public platform in Cork. Let him make it at a meeting of the unemployed. As far as visible evidence goes, and as far as the available returns go, I find that unemployment is increasing. I am sorry to have to say that.
I should much prefer to be in a position to congratulate the Minister on every item in his Budget, and particularly, to be able to congratulate him on the fact that he had to a certain extent solved the unemployment problem by absorbing more of those  unemployed persons into work. That is not the case; that is not the fact; we have a growing number of unemployed persons in the country. True it is that an amount of employment has been given to young boys and girls, particularly to young girls, but I wonder is that a healthy economic symptom. Is it a healthy symptom in the industrial life of this country that employment at almost starvation wages —I might describe them as hellish wages—is found for little girls of 14, 15 or 16 years at wages of 5/-, 6/- or 7/- a week, when the fathers of those children are unemployed and walking the streets of Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Waterford, Wexford, etc.? Is that a healthy symptom? I suggest that it is not; that in my view, and in the view of many other persons who are capable of forming a judgment in this matter, it is a very bad symptom indeed, and one upon which the Government cannot pride itself.
We have emerging from the whole of this Budget one cardinal fact. We find that the estimated expenditure for this year exceeds the revenue—that is to say, on the present basis of taxation— by £5,089,220. I do not care to be harking back to election promises. Personally I never made any myself, except to give some undertakings to people that I would do the best I could for their interests if I were returned. I do not want to be bringing into the discussions in the Dáil some of the propaganda used by the Fianna Fáil Party during the election. At any rate they proclaimed from the housetops, and every poster that you came across on the hoardings and dead walls of the cities and towns—and in the absence of printed posters we had the dead walls, and in many cases the main walls, and other points of vantage in our countrysides plastered all over, by tar and other methods of painting, with Fianna Fáil slogans—that Fianna Fáil would reduce taxation by £2,000,000 per annum. Instead of that we have, on the Minister's own admission, an increase of £5,089,220.
The Minister proposes to borrow £3,166,000. In that connection I want to pay him this compliment. On more  than one occasion here I suggested, and afterwards advocated, that it was a most unfair and, as it appeared to me, an extraordinary system of national accountancy to expect this generation of Irishmen to pay for all the destruction that was done in this country during the past eight or ten years—I do not want to specify any given period. In every country that I know of loans raised for great wars, loans raised for public purposes, have been passed on—at least portion of them—to posterity. I have always felt that it was a most unfair exaction on taxpayers to ask them to pay for everything in this generation and leave nothing to be borne by succeeding generations. They should be obliged to pay some of it.
Having extracted some of the points which I considered were the good points, I can sum up the Budget by saying that it means more expenditure and less revenue. The Minister admits that in some portions of his Budget speech. He speaks of the extraordinary expanse in domestic commerce. I cannot see where this extraordinary expanse in domestic commerce is. If he means to imply that the ladies of this country are buying more silk or artificial silk stockings from our native hosiery factories, I would be very pleased, but I maintain that the purchasing power is not there. This extraordinary expanse in domestic commerce is a thing that I cannot find. The Minister means, of course, by domestic commerce, the interchange of commodities in our own country. For example, I sell boots and the other man sells stockings; I buy stockings from him and he buys boots from me.
I will ask the Minister and those responsible in the Executive—I believe they are all responsible men—to give some further thought to the whole economic situation. Seven or eight months ago when we were discussing either the unemployment or the agricultural problem I pointed out, and I wish to reiterate it, that the only reaction of the farmers to the present state of affairs is to go out of production for the community and produce merely for themselves and their  families. If the farmer puts £3 worth of commodities into a beast, exclusive of his own labour, the labour of his family and other overheads, and if he has to sell that beast for £2 19s. 6d., he is producing at a loss. That is an elementary fact in economics. I observe that the Minister smiles.
Mr. Anthony: Does the Minister deny that if it costs the farmer £3 to produce a beast and he has to sell it at £2 19s. 6d., he is selling at a loss? On another occasion I gave an instance of where a farmer had stock ready for sale in the market. He was offered £8 or £9 for each beast. He refused the offer and brought the animals home. Two or three months afterwards he was offered a lesser price. I have endeavoured to show that that could end only in one way and we have history to guide us. It could only mean that the farmer would get out of producing for the people and would merely produce for himself and his family. That is what has happened. I am glad to say that the opinions I gave expression to both in this House and at public meetings have been borne out by no less an authority than the well-known economist, Professor Johnston of T.C.D. But Professor Johnston does not use the exact words I used. He suggests that the farmer will go into what he terms subsistence farming. In essence that is exactly what I suggested here and at public meetings.
In another portion of his Budget statement, the Minister suggests there has been some decrease in unemployment. I have dealt with that aspect of the matter. I could easily relate the conditions that now obtain in agriculture to the conditions that apply in the industrial market, but they are so evident and so obvious to every Deputy that I will not stress the point beyond saying that it is generally conceded that agriculture is our main industry. The figures usually suggested are 75 per cent. agricultural and 25 per cent. industrial, but accepting even 70 and 30, I contend that agriculture must still be regarded as our main industry. When that industry is depressed it is obvious  that every other interest in the country is depressed and that is well exemplified by the conditions operating in the towns and cities to-day, where poverty and destitution were never so rife.
We now come to another portion of the Minister's statement. He said that home-made spirits yielded £46,000 more than was estimated, whilst home-made beer also gave an excess to the amount of £157,000. I will describe an incident I witnessed and which, I think, must be somewhat common in the country. I was at a fair where a farmer got such a small price for his pigs that he went to the nearest public-house and in desperation drank every penny of the money he received. That is the only explanation I can offer for the revelation by the Minister that home-made spirits yielded £46,000 more than the Estimate.
On that matter I would like to say one thing, although it will possibly bring about my ears the condemnation of all the temperance societies and all the cranks in the country. I would like to see some relief given to the brewing and the distilling industries. They have given very good employment in the country and, with some little encouragement by way of reduced taxation, they might be able to give a little more without in any way affecting the sobriety of our people. I have sufficient confidence in the people of the country to feel that if the price of beer and spirits were reduced by a small sum it would not lead to drunkenness. Perhaps to some persons that might not be so apparent as to those of us who move among the people. I spend every available leisure hour I have on the open mountain or in the bog.
It would be a good gesture on the part of the Minister for Finance to reduce the price of porter or stout to the man who has to toil and work very hard in the cities and towns. I should like the Minister to understand what is going on in the country. I should prefer to mention this by way of homely talk rather than by way of a speech. The average, decent man may like a pint of stout when he finishes his day's work. Let us assume that he is earning £2  10/- or £3 per week. That is a fairly good wage at the moment because most of the people to whom I refer have precarious employment. Their earnings do not average that amount. If he is a good husband and father, he goes home and gives up most of his wages to his wife. With the prohibitive price of stouts and ales, not to speak of whiskey, he cannot afford to have a drink two nights in the week.
Mr. Anthony: I am quite serious in what I say. I know that I am going to bring down a lot of trouble on myself from the various temperance organisations. I am not indulging in vote catching. I do not suppose that I got one vote from a publican in the City of Cork. I have, however, some regard for the requirements of the unfortunate workman not alone in the City of Cork but elsewhere. The present position has led to a great deal of discontent. Any Deputy who examines his conscience will admit that I am speaking the truth and that I am merely stating what is occurring in the lives of the common people. It would be far better if drink were made cheaper for these people. If that were done in Donegal and whatever constituency Deputy Smith represents, there would not be so much poteen consumed and the lunatic asylums would not be as full as they are.
Mr. Anthony: The Minister last year announced that he proposed to make it easier for income tax payers to put themselves right with the revenue authorities in respect of past liabilities. Now, he states that he proposes to get in a lot of money by way of income tax. He said, with a good deal of pride, that he received a relatively large sum by way of income tax last year. I wonder was it by third-degree methods he got in that amount. I know of cases where the income tax officers, in pursuance of their duty, compelled shopkeepers and traders to go back to 1914. I know of, at least,  one case where the payment of this debt, incurred about 1914, almost crippled the trader. We have to remember that members of our own native Government told these people not to pay income tax at the time. Then, they have the audacity to come back and ask the people whom they told from 1915 to 1919—this is not confined to Deputies on one side of the House—not to pay income tax, to unearth their books and pay the tax. I wonder does the Minister look upon this as a sort of fixed revenue, because you can squeeze and squeeze, but after the last squeeze you will have a post mortem.
The increase on the original estimate for old-age pensions was £479,800 and in that connection I should like to draw the attention of the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Local Government and Public Health to the fact that there are dozens of cases— I have a dozen in my bag at the moment—in which pensions were granted as long ago as last September and have not been paid yet. I want to know why, if there is money in the Exchequer, the pensions are not paid to these people.
Deputy O'Sullivan suggested that there was not humour in the Minister's speech, while Deputy MacDermot suggested that there was subtle humour in the speech. In my opinion, the tit-bit of the speech was this: After adverting to the effects of the economic war, the Minister said: “We were left with a surplus for the year of £1,141,196.” I heard of a famous magician who was known as Herr Dobbler. The Minister for Finance has out-Heroded Herod and out-Dobblered Dobbler, because I never saw such a wonderful piece of magic as he has achieved in this instance. He made it appear that we have balanced our Budget, with a whole lot left over, and, like the little boy in the fairy tale, we are to live happily ever after. I cannot see that that is so.
Mr. Anthony: You are nearer to heaven than I am. I do not claim to be pions. I want to refer to another little tit-bit. To relieve the seriousness  of the speech, the Minister indulged in this little flash: “What, it might be asked, would the position have been if there had been no economic dispute?” Good heavens! I propose to answer the Minister though I agree that it is a big job. We were for a time moving fairly well and, while other countries were experiencing the full effects of world-economic chaos, this little country of ours was the one bright spot. It was so described by many farmers and business men who visited it from other countries. I suggest to the Minister that we went out of our way to meet trouble—that we went more than half-way to meet trouble. That has almost been admitted by President de Valera himself. If we had not gone more than half-way to meet this economic war, we might have gone ahead. I firmly believe that if we had maintained our trade relations with Britain, as any sensible people would have done, we would be infinitely better off to-day and we would not be faced with a deficit of over £5,000,000. We would not have had to make these very large relief grants. We would not have to be facing huge sums by ways of bounties and in a thousand and one other ways. We would not have to expend a fifteenth or a sixteenth part of what we are expending at the present moment. We are simply, to quote the old simile, feeding the dog with a bit of his own tail and ruining the dog in the process.
Then we are told by Deputy Smith and others that we are not to discuss economic conditions in this country or our relations with England. Any man who attempts to suggest that we should open up relations with our very best customer, at whose gates every other agricultural country in the world is knocking at the moment to gain trade, any man who has the temerity here or outside to suggest that it is a wrong thing to depart from the tradition of dealing with an old, a good and an honest customer like England is told that he is unIrish, unnational and unpatriotic but I suggest there are as good patriots, in fact in the truest  sense better patriots, on this side than there are on the other. When everything is said and done it is very easy to be a patriot when you are not hungry. I think that many thousands of people in this country to-day who are suffering the pangs of hunger, who are destitute, who have no boots, who are ill-clad and ill-housed would have very little interest in patriotism. To them it would mean more if this Government manifested a little more commonsense, a little more common humanity and much greater concern for the underdog, for the men, women and children who are suffering as a result of the lunatic economic policy of this Government.
One illustration and I am finished. As an illustration of what I have just said let me relate to you an incident that can be vouched for by many members of this House. Within the last few weeks, when the rate collecting officers came back to the Cork County Council, amongst the number was one rate collector who reported that he could not collect rates from Mr. Farmer X. In the usual way, he had to distrain for the amount of the rates. This is one of the best illustrations of the state of agriculture in the country that could be given. Instead of distraining on the cattle, instead of bringing the cattle up to the pound and having them sold by the sheriff's officers, because they were almost valueless, the furniture was seized. That goes to show that an old wardrobe or a broken-down settle in the kitchen is of more value than a decent cow. That is the state to which the country has been reduced. There is an incident the significance of which I hope will not be lost upon the Minister. It can be vouched for by reference to the secretary of the Cork County Council or to Deputy O'Donovan. Even Deputy Corry, on his own benches, can corroborate what I have said. So low was the price for cattle considered to be by the sheriff's officer, instead of distraining on the cattle, which before this economic war were valuable and good useful assets to the farmer, the  sheriff's officer distrained on the goods and chattels of the farmer and was able to satisfy the debt. I can sit down on that note having given the House an illustration of the state to which agriculture is being reduced when an old settle inside a half-door is considered to be more valuable than a full-grown heifer.
Mr. Bennett: While every Deputy and indeed every member of the community must feel some satisfaction that taxes are not greatly increased under the Budget, they will find very little else that is satisfactory in it. What strikes me most about the Budget and what I regard as the most dangerous feature of the trend of events is the disparity or the increasing gap between expenditure and revenue. The revenue for last year was £29,990,935 and the expenditure £28,849,739. The estimated revenue for this year is £26,440,000 and the estimated expenditure £31,529,220. There is an excess in expenditure over last year of £2,679,481 and an estimated reduction in revenue of £3,550,935, so the total gap between revenue and expenditure is £6,230,416. I will admit that the Minister has reduced that huge gap by £1,141,196—the surplus from last year—so that the net balance to debit is £5,089,220. What the disparity between revenue and expenditure might have been if the Minister could have prepared the speculative Budget which he referred to, that is if a Budget could have been prepared having no regard to the economic war, no one can say. Certainly on the basis of the present position it would be far in excess of £5,089,000.
 The Minister succeeded in balancing last year's Budget by the expedient of using the disputed money in the Suspense Account. He is continuing that process this year and, in addition, he proposes to borrow a few millions. One can visualise what that policy will lead to, if there is, as is apparent from the decrease in revenue and the increase in expenditure, a gradual increase in the gap between the two. It is likely to be continued and extended as far as we can see. The Minister, of course, will tell us that this is a period of emergency, that a lot of these taxes are emergency taxes caused, as he said himself, by the world depression but they are due to a larger extent to other circumstances as the Minister and his colleagues should know very well.
I shall leave that question for the moment and keep as close as I can to the Budget. I should like to refer to a few items in the Minister's speech. To me there is a shred of humour running through what to most of us is painful reading. At the beginning of his speech the Minister said that, of course, there were difficulties in the last year. Difficulties there had been, many and varied, not merely for the Government but for the community, but they had been met and overcome by the people, who were heartened and sustained by the knowledge that the old policy of drift had been departed from, etc. If the Government were in difficulties last year, the great majority of the community were financially in a sick bed and, perhaps, the heartening or the solace that the Minister would like to offer them is that, if they continue on the sick list, before the death rattle grips them the Minister may be able to come to their assistance. The only thing I can see for them is that in the end they will be financially killed and the Minister, I suppose, will extend to them the solace that they were martyrs in the great cause.
The Minister also said that they had provided in last year's Budget certain sums for unemployment relief here and there and certain sums in relief of rates on agricultural land. We heard a lot of talk about the £450,000 odd. I  regret very much that it is not in this Budget. Again it is an illustration of the fact that, though we have increasing expenditure and a lower revenue, the most necessary items for the people most affected are omitted from the Budget. The Minister said that they had attempted a hazardous task and whatever prospects of success it had were drastically discounted beforehand by many critics. They were drastically criticised beforehand by many critics.
On the introduction of the last Budget the Minister was criticised very severely by many Deputies on this side and in other parts of the House. One of the things we told the Minister was —leaving the economic war altogether outside the scope of the argument for the moment—that his high tariff policy would have the effect eventually of creating unemployment rather than increasing the number employed. We also told him that his tariff policy would have the effect of bringing about a diminishing revenue in almost every Saorstát port outside Dublin, that it would create intense unemployment amongst the numerous dockers in the ports of Cork, Limerick, Waterford, Galway, Sligo, etc. Were these predictions verified? If the Minister looks up the reports of the various bodies in these towns he will see that not only has the revenue of the harbour commissioners in every one of them been reduced considerably, necessitating huge numbers of workers being disemployed, but there has been a kindred loss to the shipping companies carrying goods to these ports and harbours, with another addition to the unemployed. These were results which were foreseen and which the Minister was told of when he introduced his last Budget and which he himself ought to have foreseen. No attempt, however, was made to provide for any of these losses or any of these unemployed people. No attempt is made in this Budget to cover up the losses that the Minister then created.
The Minister also referred to tobacco growing and said the result had surpassed expectations. He said that tobacco growing had spread like wildfire and that the rate of planting was such that if it increased it was going  to swallow up the revenue. Is the Minister running away from the effects of his own experiment? Having persuaded many farmers to engage in this branch of agriculture, he is now, by taking away the inducements, asking them to return to the forms of agriculture they hitherto pursued.
In fact he is going to control tobacco growing. He is not going to allow the farmer to sow more than a quarter acre or a half acre of this crop. By the 1st January next the Minister is going to wipe out the inducement that he is now giving to the growers of the crop. The only particle of hope in the situation is that some person might now be induced to engage in the manufacture of tobacco solely from Irish leaf. I trust the Minister's hope will be realised and I look forward to seeing some such manufacturer making a strong mixture solely for consumption by the Ministerial Benches and making it extra strong. “We have rid ourselves of a burden of £92,000,000.” That is the reference of the Minister I suppose to the capitalised annuities. He says that we have rid ourselves of this £92,000,000 “which was so unjustifiably and recklessly imposed upon us by the secret agreement of 1923.” Deputy Cosgrave informed the House fully about that secret agreement.
Mr. Bennett: What I want to refer to is what the Minister left out of his Budget statement. When the Minister said that we had rid ourselves of a burden of £92,000,000 he might have said that we have imposed on ourselves a burden of—I hesitate to say how much—but again capitalising the figure, as the Minister so often does, I venture to suggest that it might run into anything from £500,000,000 to £750,000,000.
Mr. Bennett: Yes, only I have not gone to the full extent that I might. I have not put it far enough. There is an annual loss to the farmers—and the Minister can get out the figures himself—of over £16,000,000 in cattle and kindred products. Capitalising that I suppose the Minister would put it at £400,000,000 at least. There are 4,400,000 cattle in this country. I do not know what loss per head the Minister would put on them owing to the economic war. I would put it at between £4 and £5 per head. There is a loss of from £16,000,000 to £20,000,000 on our cattle if we compute not only the number exported but the number that remain at home.
For example, we exported during April of last year 44,000 cattle estimated at £647,327 or roughly £15 a piece. In the following April we sent 47,611 cattle to Great Britain. Notwithstanding all the efforts of the Minister we increased the number by 4,000 more than in April, 1932. For that 47,000 cattle we only received £417,868 or a sum of less than £9 each. There was then a loss on all these cattle, young and old, of over £6 a head. That is much more than the figure at which I have put our loss. There are in the country 3,575,000 sheep and I put roughly the loss on that number at £1,000,000. I know the loss is more. In April last year we exported 14,000 sheep for which we received £2 each. This year we exported 12,700 sheep for which we received 30/- a head. So that we are losing 10/- a head on sheep, old and young.
Mr. Bennett: As one who sold cattle in England and who knows the price got for the cattle and the price at which cattle are bought here this year and last year, I say there is very little difference between the prices in England this year and last year.
Mr. Bennett: I will now leave the question of sheep and come to the consideration of pigs. The Minister for Agriculture told us a day or two ago that there was an easy way in pig breeding by which the farmers could make up some of their other losses. But what do we find in the pig business? In the month of April last year we exported 26,196 pigs at a cost of £99,818 or roughly £100,000. That was nearly £4 apiece for pigs last year. This year in the corresponding period we exported 15,705 pigs valued at £32,000 or barely £2 apiece. Yet the Minister tells us there is no loss. What really is the loss in pigs alone? There are 1,227,000 pigs in the country. I will not put the loss at £2 per head as I might. I will put it at £1. There is a loss of at least £1,000,000 in pigs. There are 22,000,000 poultry in this State. Everybody who was engaged in the business of keeping poultry and eggs knows that the drop in the price of eggs and in poultry during the last 12 months would at the very least be more than £500,000. Adding these together we come to a sum far in excess of £20,000,000 which, I suggest to the Minister, the agricultural community  is losing. If that £20,000,000 were capitalised, as the Minister for Finance is so much in the habit of capitalising when he is trying to get out of a tight corner, it would come to £500,000,000. I would suggest that he put that £500,000,000 against the great saving of £92,000,000 to which he referred in the Budget.
If these figures are put side by side, the ordinary man will know on which side there is a profit and loss. The Minister provided a big sum in this year's Budget as he did in last year's Budget for the relief of unemployment. Nobody grudges that sum. We did not grudge it last year and we do not grudge it this year, but we do venture to point out to the Minister that this method of curing unemployment has failed in many States and it will fail in this State. Employment and prosperity were never built up on doles and relief. Unless we get back to normal conditions in trade and industry, when the farming community and the business community can engage in their business with some reasonable hopes of success, there is no hope for the assimilation of the great number of unemployed that at present unfortunately exists. There may be a hope that the Minister will be compelled eventually, or his successor, by the trend of events, when the gap between expenditure and revenue of six million pounds odd, which I spoke of at the start, is increased as it must increase if we advance on the same road as we have advanced in the last 12 months, to take some drastic steps to save this country. The only steps that will then be open to the Ministry, because the getting of money both by revenue and borrowing will be practically impossible, will be at some date, whether it is near or whether it is far, to engage in some settlement or somehow to end this unfortunate war that they have helped to bring upon the people. I say definitely that the day must come when that will have to be done by somebody. Why not now? Why not take your courage in both hands, and do now what you will be compelled to do within 12 or 15 months, or which somebody will be compelled to do? That is the  obvious course. That is the only course which will enable the Minister this day 12 months, or some future Minister, to present a Budget to the people in which there will be some hope; a Budget the taxes under which they will be able to pay; a Budget showing expenditure which will be reasonable in all the circumstances; a Budget above all which will not present, as the Budget did present this year, a disparity of six million pounds odd between estimated revenue and expenditure; and a Budget which will come nearer to being balanced without borrowing, and more within the capabilities of the community to bear.
I do not wish to say any more on this matter, but I should like to reiterate that all the blessings which the Minister said in opening his Budget speech we are sharing in—and one would need a microscope to see them —are a poor return for the expenses and the losses which the actions of the Ministry have imposed on the great majority of the people of this State within the last 12 months.
Mr. Davin: Concluding the first Budget statement which the Minister made in this House on the 11th May of last year he said, (column 1520 of the Official Debates) amongst other prophecies which have not yet been fulfilled: “We hope next year to reap the full fruits of the Government's policy both in regard to industrial development, and in regard to housing, and thereby to have secured a solution for the unemployment problem. There is every reason to expect that this hope will be fulfilled, for we have taken special steps to set free additional capital for our enterprises, and to make Irish industrial enterprises more attractive to Irish manufacturers. We shall then be in a position that it will not be necessary to provide any further grants of this kind.” He was then referring to the necessity for the provision of relief grants for the special purpose of relieving abnormal unemployment. That is only one of the many prophecies which the then inexperienced Minister for Finance took the opportunity of making during a long speech in this House last year.  I do not want to pain him by quoting any further similar unfulfilled prophecies of this kind. He has learned something in the school of experience during the past year, but I think, even though he has had one year's experience, he is not justified in making some of the statements he made yesterday. Here in the House yesterday, dealing with the same aspect of Government policy, he said: “The fruits of this active and progressive policy have been realised, not merely in the field of constitutional and industrial development but on the financial side as well.”
At a further stage in his speech he said that there had been no drying up of revenue during the past year. I can only conclude that statements of this kind, even after the experience of one year in office as Minister for Finance, must have been made by the Minister without having, as he should have had, close touch with what is going on in the country at the present time. I am sure he is not so brave as to suggest that the unemployment problem has been solved within the period he mentioned last year. I want to warn the Minister—and I am giving him a friendly warning—that the position in the country at the present time is much more serious than some of his Deputy supporters are telling him about. I have been listening to back-bench Deputies of the Fianna Fáil Party speaking in this House and outside it, presenting an unreal picture of the situation, and by doing so misleading the Minister and his colleagues as to what the real position is. I would suggest to Deputy Smith and other Deputies who are constantly repeating those statements here in this House that they would be doing far more real service to their Minister for Finance if they would state here the real truth as to what the existing position is. It is their duty as loyal Deputies of the Fianna Fáil Party, either at Party meetings or speaking in this House or outside it, to tell the truth, as otherwise, as in some of the statements which I have heard them make, they only disclose their ignorance of the existing situation even in their own areas.
 I think we have figures upon when we are entitled to judge the situation which we all know in our hearts exists in the country. Surely the amount of money paid and the number of individuals who are in receipt of home assistance this year and those receiving home assistance in previous years at the expense of the ratepayers should be some indication as to the existing state of affairs in the country. The number of persons in receipt of public assistance under the Poor Law and the persons receiving treatment in county institutions other than district mental hospitals on the 28th January, 1932, was 109,020. On the 28th January, 1933, exactly 11 months after this Government came into office, the figure had been increased to 143,975. The number of persons in receipt of home assistance on 28th January, 1932, was 90,270; on 28th January, 1933—and increased since that date in my area and all over the country—it was 125,102. Surely the Deputies who talk in this way here and elsewhere should have some regard to the realities of those figures, and should understand in their own minds at any rate that they represent some sort of picture of the realities of the existing position in the country. I do not want to exaggerate the state of affairs that exists in my own area, but I say it is a very serious thing for the ratepayers to have to pay more this year than they had to pay last year. In one county in my own constituency they have to face an increase in the local rate of 3/8 in the £ over last year. The Fianna Fáil Party, ever since they came into this House in 1927, promised the people of the country that if and when they came into office they would carry out total de-rating.
I quite appreciate the fact that the remission given in the amount of the land annuities is a considerable concession to the farming community. I would like to know from the Minister what percentage of people who own or occupy agricultural holdings and who are not paying land annuities will not receive any benefits from this concession. I am sure there is a very high percentage of occupiers of agricultural holdings who are not subject  to the payment of land annuities and in consequence, they will receive no benefit from the reduction in the annuities; but nevertheless they will have to pay a very large increase in local rates. In the two counties in my constituency the amount paid in respect of home assistance last year exceeded the amount of the estimate by anything from £5,000 to £7,000. That means from 5d. to 7d. in the £ on the local rates for that service alone. We were told there was a considerable amount allocated for the relief of unemployment. I will compare the amounts allocated to the two counties to which I have referred in connection with special relief works. The amounts allocated to Leix and Offaly were £3,392 and £3,107. I dare say they will be regarded more or less as a set-off against the amount involved for home assistance. These sums would not go very far to relieve the unemployment that exists in one electoral area not to take into account two whole counties. The two sums combined would not even make a decent attempt to relieve unemployment over one of the two counties.
The Minister says there is no drying up of revenue. I will tell him in the most friendly way that so far as my constituency is concerned the position is rather alarming. The circulation of money, which counts for everything in an economic war, has been decreased to an alarming degree. People cannot sell what they produce and they cannot get commodities unless they are given credit by the local traders, the banks or other channels. I was talking recently to a very prominent trader with whom I am very intimate and he told me that eight very industrious farmers, whom I know very well, too, were in his shop on the previous Saturday and they paid over his counter the remarkably small sum of 45/-. He remarked that four or five years ago the same farmers probably spent more pounds than they did shillings on this occasion. The fact is that the farmers are unable to buy anything except the absolute necessaries of life. If this economic war is to go on, and it will continue purely on the responsibility of the Government, some more  courageous, some bolder policy will have to be adopted in order to defend the people, to defend the nation as a whole.
Mr. Davin: Deputy Anthony is well aware of the position of the Labour Party in regard to that matter. I may say I will not allow myself to be interrupted by Deputy Anthony. We supported the present Government in its attempt to retain and, we believe, rightly to retain, the Land Commission annuities, but as the Minister for Finance knows perfectly well, the procedure we suggested to the Government was different from that which they subsequently adopted. That is their responsibility.
Mr. Davin: No, sir. I will continue to support the Government so long as it makes an honourable attempt to end the economic war and secure for the people their lawful rights in so far as they are affected by the Financial Settlement. I will support them further in adopting a bolder and more courageous policy in the carrying on of the economic war if the necessity exists for that course.
Mr. Davin: I believe there is an increasing number of people in the country who are of the opinion that no attempt has been made to secure a settlement of the economic war since the last election took place. I am aware that thousands of people believed that the Opposition, by their tactics during the first ten months' life of the present Government, did not give the Government a fair chance of arriving at an honourable settlement.
Mr. Davin: Thousands of people believe that is the truth and they returned this Government in the hope that an early attempt would be made to settle the dispute along honourable lines. It is the duty of the Government to tell the people what the present position is. If they believe an honourable settlement cannot be secured, it is their duty to defend the people during the continuance of the economic war by a more courageous policy than they have adopted during the last eleven months.
Mr. Davin: I suggest that the circulation of money is more useful in carrying on the economic war than guns and bombs and bayonets for another type of war. It is the duty of the Government to increase the circulation of money as long as this economic war goes on.
Mr. Davin: Deputy MacDermot is not going to be allowed to interrupt me. I submit I should not be cross-examined by Deputy Anthony or Deputy MacDermot. I never said a word while they were delivering their orations.
Mr. Davin: The Minister claims that large sums have been set aside for the purpose of relieving the people in the front line trenches in this economic war. He and his colleagues have repeatedly indicated what has been done in connection with the remission of the land annuities. They claim they have made considerable concessions in the way of bounties and subsidies to the farming community. The farming community are not getting the benefit of the bounties that are  raised from taxation for assisting those exporting livestock. I have had discussions on this subject with people in the trade and with certain Deputies here. Certain documentary evidence was submitted to me relating to the percentage of the £2,450,000 raised last year that found its way into the pockets of the farming community.
Mr. Davin: I would not go so far as to say not one penny. I suggest to the Minister that instead of utilising the money for the purpose of paying these bounties he should set aside the money for the purpose of increasing the agricultural grant further and in that way passing the money directly into the pockets of the people who want it badly. If you set aside the large sum raised from taxation and utilise it for the purpose of increasing the agricultural grant, every penny of it must find its way back to the farmers. I am satisfied that a fairly high percentage of the sum allocated for bounties goes to the cattle dealers and salesmen and not to those who produce the live stock for export. I would like to hear from the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether the money raised for this purpose really goes to the people for whom it was intended. I am satisfied that the money raised by subsidy for the purpose of maintaining the dairying industry is going back to the people for whom it was intended and was bound to go back under the system of organisation that obtains in the dairying industry. Were it not for the fact that a large sum was paid to the creameries, the dairy farmers would be selling their milk about 2¼d. or 2½d. per gallon to-day. Does Deputy Bennett deny that?
Mr. Davin: I suggest that when Deputy Bennett is having a friendly talk with Deputy MacDermot in the lobby in connection with matters of this kind he should convince him of that and save him and his colleagues from being in the ridiculous position of walking into the lobby against the Government when making provision for the payment of this subsidy.
Mr. Davin: The Government promised total de-rating and, instead of total de-rating, they have raised the rates on an average by 2/6 in the £ over what they were last year. In one county in my constituency, the rates are 3/8 over what they were last year and at a time when the ratepayers, as a whole, are in a far worse position than they were this time last year.
Mr. Davin: Neither are you. President de Valera says that every section of the community must “bear and share sacrifices” during the continuance of this economic war. In pursuance of that foolish policy, he has brought proposals before the House for cutting the wages and salaries of lowly-paid and highly-paid members of the State services. The members of this Party feel, with those who spoke in a similar strain on behalf of Fianna Fáil when in opposition, that a great home market will never be built up by reducing the purchasing power of  lowly-paid wage earners. Every shilling taken off a man earning £4 a week or less is a loss to the trader and to the person who produces the commodities required by the wage-earner and his family. That is why we cannot understand the Flinnish policy of foreing down the wages of those employed on relief schemes. I hope that the wages paid and the working hours on these relief schemes during the present year will not be less favourable than those which obtain in the case of similar schemes under the local authorities. “Every section of the community,” says President de Valera, “must make its fair share of sacrifice.” Does that apply to the dividends paid by the banks to their shareholders? Does that apply to the rate of interest charged by the bankers to the farming community and those engaged in industrial development?
As a result of the pressure of the banking institutions, these people are being restricted in their business. I can speak from knowledge of the position of traders in my own area. The banks are applying pressure and refusing to give traders in my constituency the accommodation they gave them last year. The traders are forced, in turn, to refuse credit to the farmers. There is a more serious position in the country than Deputy Smith and some of his colleagues would admit. I hope that when the Deputy and his colleagues are advising members of the Government at Party meetings or in the country they will present a proper picture of the state of affairs and not mislead members of the Government.
I believe that in my constituency and other tillage constituencies there is a fairly large increase in the acreage of land under tillage. What is to be the position of the people who till more when they come to look for a market for their produce next year? Are those who sow more potatoes to be confronted with the same position with which they are at present confronted, when they cannot get 2d. per stone for their potatoes while the same potatoes are being sold for 8d. per stone in Dublin? Eggs are being sold at 4d. per  doz. and pigs went down to 20/- per cwt. live weight. The people engaged in agricultural production, and particularly these tillage farmers, who are unable to get credit facilities from the wholesalers or bankers, can only go on producing for a limited period. They will come up against shortage of capital and that will prevent their carrying on business and result in a further decrease of tillage and of employment on the land.
I have made very careful inquiries in every part of my constituency as to the state of affairs that exists. I have been receiving a largely increased number of communications of late— much larger than I have ever received since I became a member of this House 11 years ago. The alarming nature of the contents of some of these communications compels me to go into areas which I had not previously constantly visited. The state of affairs in my constituency is very serious to the extent and for the reason that unemployment has increased. That can be proved by the amount now being paid out for home assistance and the amount paid at this time last year or two years ago. Many ratepayers in my area who are paying for this home assistance claim that they are far poorer than those in receipt of it. The £450,000 which the Minister says he is to allocate for relief works will not meet the position. There, I want to correct the Minister. The Minister left the House under the impression that £450,000 is being allocated for this financial year whereas anybody who looks at the Estimates will see that £150,000 of that amount has been revoted from the amount voted for last year. Instead of providing an additional sum of £450,000 for relief works, there is only an additional sum of £300,000 being provided.
I want to remind the Minister that, as a result of the small grants for minor relief works last year, many of the works in my constituency were left unfinished. I hope the Minister or the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister will see that the first sum that is allocated to carry out relief works will be devoted to properly completing works left unfinished as a result of shortage  of money last year. I believe that that is what occurred on Land Commission works on previous occasions and I hope that the uncompleted works will be completed as the result of the further allocation of moneys this year. This economic war can only be carried on as I say by the Government doing everything in its power to increase the circulation of money up to the point at which it circulated at least before the economic war started. If the Government does not set its face to deal with the problem from that point of view I am afraid that when the Minister makes his Budget statement next year he will find himself in a much worse position than he finds himself in to-day.
Mr. Roddy: I do not know whether it should be regarded as a healthy sign or not to hear Deputy Davin criticising the economic policy of the Government so vigorously as he has done now, but there is no doubt that Deputy Davin and members of the Labour Party must accept full responsibility for the policy which the Government has pursued and is pursuing, and they must also accept full and complete responsibility for the consequences of that policy. There is no escaping that. No plausible speeches or no statements about the unfortunate state of affairs in his own constituency are going to absolve Deputy Davin from his own share of responsibility for that particular policy.
Mr. Roddy: Deputy Davin said that some better and bolder policy will have to be adopted by the Government. I agree, but Deputy Davin and his Party are in the position to force the Government to adopt that bolder and better policy.
Mr. Roddy: If Deputy Davin and his colleagues had insisted on the Government adopting that bolder and better policy there is no question that the Government would have adopted it. In any event any policy would be better than the policy which the Government is pursuing at the moment.
Mr. Roddy: I am quite aware of it, but that did not give them the right to pursue a wrong policy or a policy that would injure the interests of a majority of the people of the country. In any event, I am glad that the Deputy has come to realise the consequences of the policy that the Government is pursuing at the moment. Presumably recent visits of his to his constituency have made him realise as, perhaps, he never realised before, the actual consequences and the actual losses which his constituents are suffering as a result of that policy.
Mr. Roddy: What the Deputy has said is literally true of every constituency in the country at the present moment. There is no question but that the economic policy pursued by the Government has brought serious losses; especially to the farming community, and so long as that policy is continued it is inevitable that the farming industry must suffer if it will not be literally wiped out altogether. I do not know whether the Minister for Industry and Commerce is actually aware of agricultural conditions in the country at the moment. If he is not aware of them, then I suggest to him that he should have a conversation with his supporter, Deputy Davin, and he will tell him about conditions in his own constituency. He can take it for granted that the conditions in Deputy Davin's constituency are identical with those prevailing in every constituency at the moment. I hope that Deputy Davin is not going to rest content merely with making a speech in the Dáil outlining the conditions in his own constituency but that he is going to take further action with the object of bringing pressure on the Government to pursue a different policy, or if they are not prepared to do that, to try to bring about a settlement of the economic war which has had such dire results for the country.
Mr. Roddy: I am not in a position to discuss that. It is difficult to determine and I am sure even the Minister for Agriculture himself would find it difficult to say what benefit farmers are getting from the bounties, but one thing is true, and that is, that the farmers are not getting the full benefit. I quite realise that it is very difficult to administer a bounty system such as was embarked upon by the present Government. I realise also that it is very difficult for the Minister to see that the people for whom the bounties were intended will get the full benefit of them, but I am perfectly certain that the farmers are not getting the full benefit of them. The bounty system is working in a peculiar way. When there is a boom in prices in England—and this shows the extent to which we are dependent in this country on market fluctuations on the other side—the farmers in this country do get the full benefit of the bounty. On the other hand when there is a slump the farmers do not get the benefit of the bounty to any extent whatever. At the moment there happens to be a boom in prices on the English market due to the fact that English farmers are anxious at this season to stock their farms, with the result that the farmers here are getting the full benefit of the bounty, but the moment that that boom ceases the farmers will cease to get the full benefit of the bounties.
Deputy Davin referred to one point which is not mentioned in the Budget, notwithstanding the very extravagant promises that were made by members of the Fianna Fáil Party, many of them now members of the Government,  when they were in opposition. Deputy Davin said that the country was promised de-rating the moment that Fianna Fáil got into power. There is no doubt the people of the country were given clearly and very definitely to understand that when the Fianna Fáil Party were put in power the country would get the full benefits of de-rating. It has been discovered since the Fianna Fáil Party assumed the reins of Government that it is not financially possible to give the country the full benefits of de-rating. The Government maintain that the ratepayers are getting an equivalent advantage by the reduction of 50 per cent. in the annuities. I submit that the reduction of 50 per cent. in the annuities is not under existing circumstances an advantage equivalent to de-rating. Even that 50 per cent. of the land annuities about which so much propaganda has been made by the Fianna Fáil Party, I am afraid will be uncollectable if the present economic policy of the Government is pursued very much longer.
It is difficult to analyse the financial details of this Budget because the Minister has succeeded in so manipulating the figures that it is rather difficult to distinguish between revenue and expenditure. However, there is one thing that emerges quite clearly and it is that so long as the present policy of the Government is pursued there is no possibility of taxation being reduced. It is inevitable that if the Fianna Fáil Government is still in power when the next Budget comes to be introduced, taxation will be still further increased. Undoubtedly the policy embodied in the Budget, as was publicly announced by prominent members of the Fianna Fáil Government, is the policy of “take from the people who have and give to the people who have not.” That is the policy enshrined in every page of the Budget statement issued by the Minister yesterday. I would ask the Minister for Finance to contemplate how long he will be in a position to continue that policy. There is a limit to the extent to which he will be able to take money from people who have it at the moment and give it to the people who have not.  There is a limit to the extent to which he will be able to carry out that policy. I wonder has the Minister contemplated the reactions of that particular policy.
The Minister for Industry and Commerce is very anxious that his industrial policy should be successful in every detail. He realises better probably than any member of the Dáil that if that policy is to succeed it is necessary that he should get capital for the purpose of enabling him to start the industries about which he has spoken so much. From whom is he to get the money which will enable him to start these industries? The only class of people in this country from whom he could hope to get that money are the people who have certain reserves of capital at present.
Surely if he is to encourage these people to invest money in the industries in which he is so much interested it is absolutely necessary in carrying out the financial policy in this country that a certain encouragement and inducement should be held out to these people to invest money in these industries. Is the policy enshrined in this Budget an inducement and an encouragement to these people to invest money in industrial enterprises? If, as has been announced on more than one occasion by Ministers, it is their policy to take money from the people who have it and give it to the people who have not got money, and if it is their intention to pursue that policy so long as they remain in power, how, I ask them in all seriousness, can they induce these people to invest money in industrial enterprises here? I do not believe they are doing it at present.
It would be interesting to hear the Minister for Industry and Commerce on that particular subject. In fact, it would be exceedingly interesting to hear him on the whole question of industrial development in this country at present. He has been very secretive about it up to the present, notwithstanding the efforts made by certain Deputies on these benches to secure information from him on that particular subject. Deputy Mulcahy and other Deputies tried to ascertain from him on  more than one occasion how many new industries have actually been started, what employment are these factories actually giving, how many people are employed in these industries, what amount of capital is invested in them, and generally, what are the prospects of development of these industries, and what amount of employment does the Minister think these industries will eventually give. That is very necessary information, and information which is really vital for the purpose of enabling Deputies to discuss the Budget intelligently. I hope the Minister for Industry and Commerce will avail of this debate to-day to give such information to Deputies.
The Minister for Finance stated in page 2 of his Budget statement: “We have rid ourselves of the burden of over £92,000,000 which was so unjustifiably and recklessly imposed upon us by the secret agreement of 1923.” That is certainly an interesting statement. I wonder, after all, if the Minister did not make that statement prematurely. Is it so certain, after all, that we have rid ourselves of that liability? Are we to assume from that statement that, if the Government discover in the course of six months or a year that the policy of self-sufficiency which they are engaged in at present does not succeed, they are not going to revert to the original policy of encouraging the farmers to produce for export? Are we to interpret the statement contained in the Budget literally and take it to mean that, if the Government are satisfied at the end of six or twelve months that the policy they are engaged in of developing internally all the resources of the country does not succeed, they will not revert to the original policy of encouraging the farmers and the people to produce for export? Is there any alternative? Personally, I cannot see that there is any alternative. If, as in my opinion is bound to happen, their present policy fails and they are bound eventually to try to secure a settlement with the British Government, and the farmers will have to revert to the original policy of exporting their surplus to the British market, surely in such circumstances it will be necessary  for the Government to make a settlement with the British Government in respect of the capital sum due for the advances for land purchase, and, under the terms of such settlement, it will be absolutely necessary for the Government to pay some sum, whether large or small. I do not suggest for a moment that it should be the amount of £92,000,000 mentioned by the Minister in the Budget. It may be considerably less. I am, however, perfectly certain that if such a set of circumstances should arise, and the Government should be forced to effect a settlement eventually, some payment of some kind will have to be made, whatever the amount may be. In these circumstances the statement of the Minister seems certainly rather ill-advised and, to say the least of it, premature.
It seems to me that the Budget statement itself is the best evidence that the Government policy is heading the country for disaster. Last year a sum of £2,400,000 was set aside for the purpose of relieving unemployment this year. This year the definite sum of £450,000 is set aside for the purpose of enabling local authorities to assist in the relief of unemployment, and various other sums, amounting in all, I think, to over £1,000,000, have been set aside for the purpose of giving employment in various other ways. Surely, if evidence were required of the extent to which the present Government policy has brought disaster on the country, that figure in itself would supply it. There is no evidence, so far as I can find, in any part of the country that unemployment is lessening. On the other hand, there is ample evidence to be found in every direction that unemployment is increasing. It was mentioned by Deputy Bennett that in port towns like Limerick, Sligo, Waterford, Cork and Wexford, unemployment is increasing week by week, due to the tariff policy pursued by the Government. The Minister for Industry and Commerce, I think, is well aware of the fact. I know from my own personal knowledge that in the town of Sligo, a prosperous port town until the imposition of the recent  wholesale tariffs, unemployment is rife at the present moment. Prior to the imposition of these tariffs, Sligo enjoyed quite a big seaborne trade, with the result that quite a big number of men were employed continually at work on the quays. The earnings of these men ranged from £2 10s. to £4 5s. per week. Their earnings at present, whenever they are fortunate enough to get employment, would not average more than from 10/- to 15/- per week, and, as I inferred, employment is very intermittent. The Government seem to be blind to the fact that the national income of this country is depreciating rapidly. It would be very difficult to give figures in support of that statement.
Mr. Roddy: I will, however, venture this statement, that since the introduction of the Budget last year the national income has depreciated by at least 15 per cent., and there can be no doubt that week by week, and month by month, the national income is further depreciating. If the Minister for Finance would travel round the country and attend occasionally fairs held in different parts of the country, or if he is not prepared to expose himself so publicly, if he would just drop down quietly for a week-end, let us say, to some part of my constituency, or any other western constituency, and go around amongst shopkeepers and traders, they will give him very convincing figures in support of the statement I have just made.
There is no shopkeeper or trader in a Western town at the moment who will not tell the Minister that the income of every individual customer of his has depreciated very substantially during the past 12 months. I know from my own personal experience that the income of the overwhelming majority of the farmers in my constituency has depreciated very substantially in the last 12 months. I, personally, cannot see that there is going to be any end or stop to that depreciation and that lowering of the national income so long as the present economic policy is pursued by the Government. There is  not a Deputy representing a Western constituency in this House who will not bear out the statement I have made.
It was anticipated even by very enthusiastic supporters of the Fianna Fáil Party that there would be some relief of taxation on the occasion of this Budget. There was an obligation on the Government under existing circumstances and existing conditions to give some relief in taxation to the unfortunate people of this country. Whatever may be the ultimate success of the industrial policy pursued by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, there is no question whatever about it that up to the present it has meant an additional drain on the people of this country. Whether that drain may be ultimately justified or not I am not in a position to argue, and neither is the Minister in a position to argue. Time and experience alone can justify that experiment. It is only time and experience that will place the Minister in a position to justify the policy embarked on a year ago.
The people of this country as a whole were looking for some relief in this Budget but, alas, no relief has been given. The people are still going on with diminished resources and carrying identically the same burdens as they carried last year. There is no prospect, even at the end of another 12 months of hardship and suffering, that taxation will be reduced. That is inevitable so long as the present policy is continued. It is inevitable that under that policy unemployment will increase and the people instead of being relieved of existing burdens will have to bear additional ones.
There is one subject on which even the Minister for Industry and Commerce himself waxed eloquent here. I have heard him on more than one occasion make speeches on the subject of excess profits duty. I realise perfectly well that the law relating to excess profits duty was in existence before the Minister for Finance took office. I realise too that that law in actual operation and in the way in which it was administered by the Revenue Commissioners imposed hardships and severe sufferings on many traders in  many parts of the country. But harsh as that law was up to 1932 when these traders were perhaps in a position to meet additional charges and the additional demands made on them by the Revenue Commissioners, it is much harsher now in view of the diminished trade and in view of the difficulty traders have in collecting their money. The result is that it would be quite impossible for them to meet the demands which the Revenue Commissioners at the instigation of the Minister will have to make on them now.
Yet it is in circumstances such as these that the Minister proposes to tighten the law and to take to himself increased powers for the purpose of enforcing these assessments. That is the Minister who on many occasions in this House blamed the late Government for the harshness with which they were enforcing this particular section of the Income Tax Act relating to excess profits duty. Surely to goodness under a sympathetic and kindly-disposed Fianna Fáil Government the people of the country should expect something better than the harsh measures which the Minister proposes to use against merchants and traders if they do not meet these payments. I submit in all seriousness to the Minister that the traders and shopkeepers are not in a position to meet this heavy impost. On many occasions the Revenue Commissioners have gone back to 1913 and 1914 for the purpose of making assessments in respect of excess profits duty.
Mr. Roddy: Oh, yes, they have gone back to 1913 and 1914, and that same law still operates. Now it is that same law which the Minister proposes to strengthen with the object of giving the Revenue Commissioners more powers of enforcing these demands.
Mr. Roddy: I cannot tell the Minister, but that is quite immaterial. I am aware it has been levied for a number of years past. It is still levied by the Fianna Fáil Government but with much more stringency than by the late Government. I suggest to the Minister that in view of the fact that the existing depression has hit the shopkeepers and traders as well as every other section of the community that it is grossly unfair and unjust that the Minister should propose to strengthen the law for the purpose, perhaps, of enabling the Revenue Commissioners to close down the businesses of traders, and thus deprive them of any chance of making a livelihood.
There is one other point. In page 20 of the Minister's statement he includes the sum of £50,000 with regard to the Gaeltacht Housing Act, which sum is to be paid out of the Local Loans Fund. Is it to be assumed that in future the money to be spent on Gaeltacht housing is to be charged on the Local Loans Fund, or is it to be raised in the ordinary way of taxation? That is rather an important point, because if it is made a charge on the Local Loans Fund it might conceivably deprive the Dáil of an opportunity of criticising the policy of the Government in regard to the whole question of Gaeltacht housing. I would like an explanation as to why that item is to be levied on the Local Loans Fund this year. I know that in the Estimates there is an item of £86,000 provided for Gaeltacht housing.
Mr. Roddy: I admit that but the Minister, in his Budget statement here, mentioned that a sum of £40,000 is to be devoted to Gaeltacht housing. I cannot understand why Gaeltacht housing should be chargeable on the Local Loans Fund. I only mention the matter because I hope it is not to be taken that in future the charge for Gaeltacht housing will be exclusively on the Local Loans Fund. If that were so it would prevent the Dáil from  criticising the administration of Gaeltacht housing which it has a legitimate right to do.
Mr. Derrig: The first thing that strikes one about the discussion on the Budget this year is the rather subdued tone of the speeches from the Opposition Benches. When one recalls the fiery oratory, the burning eloquence, and, above all, the direful prophesying that went on last year, one wonders what on earth has happened to the Opposition in the meantime. One recollects that there has been a general election, and no doubt that is, to some extent, responsible for the subdued atmosphere.
Deputies like Deputy Roddy get up one after the other and tell us of the extraordinary depression in the country; of the difficulty that farmers have in paying their debts and that shopkeepers have in collecting them; of unemployment, and of the bad conditions that exist generally. One would imagine that this terrible state of affairs was specially accentuated in this country, or that in this country, above all others, we had a special form of depression. Everybody knows that this depression is world wide. It is not confined to this country. It exists to a much greater extent in the largest and wealthiest empires in the world. As Deputy O'Sullivan pointed out in his remarks, it was always the contention of the Party now in Opposition that this little State of ours, no matter how much we should try, could not escape some of the reactions of the world depression. The Deputies, in their propagandist speeches, entirely devoid of constructive or helpful suggestion, conveniently forget that one of the cardinal factors in this world situation for many years past has been the drop in agricultural prices, and that so long as agricultural prices continue at the low level stated in the British Press to-day to be far below pre-war level, there is no hope of recovery for the agricultural industry except by special effort.
Mr. Derrig: And what is the co-operation that we got from the Opposition  in the efforts that we have made to provide an alternative market, and to produce an agricultural economy in this country that will enable us to place our growing population upon the land? Is it contended by the Opposition that upon the British market—which the British Minister for Agriculture announced to-day is totally incapable of enabling the British farmer to make ends meet, and that there is no hope for the British farmer in that market except by a substantial raising of the price level—should depend the future of this country, with its growing population? Is it contended that it should be dependent on that market, overrun by competitors from all over the globe? We know that the British market has been important to this country, and we know that in the transitional stage difficulties and hardships are bound to arise, but we have tried to distribute the hardships and equalise the sacrifices as best we can. Let us remember that in addition to that world depression, and that extraordinary fall in the price of primary products, you have all the other general evils which you would have in this country if you never had an economic dispute. You have the falling off of your cash receipts from the United States in emigrants' remittances; you have not alone a growth in your population along the western seaboard, which will be very substantial in a few years time, but in addition to that you have people actually coming home from America in fairly large numbers, and demanding employment here. You have also the fact that the value of investments abroad has fallen considerably, and Irish investors have felt the pinch. That was in no way due to the economic dispute, or to any special circumstances in connection with our affairs in this country. It is part of what has happened everywhere throughout the world. On listening to the speeches of those opposite one would imagine that all those evils, and all the consequences of the agricultural and financial depression, were visited upon this country in a very special way.
When we compare, as the Minister for Finance pointed out in his statement, our tax yield and our bank  clearances—aye, and our unemployment figures as well—with those of other countries, I think we have reason to congratulate ourselves. At any rate, if we cannot find supreme satisfaction in those figures we must admit that we are, on the whole, somewhat better off than other countries, and that with our small population, our fertile soil and undeveloped resources, if we would only as a united people turn our attention to the problems that confront us we should undoubtedly be able to make a big inroad upon the problem of depression and unemployment. It has been stated that the Minister for Industry and Commerce is specially to be blamed because the unemployment figures have not been completely wiped out. Deputies seem to forget that it takes more than 12 months to build up an industrial plan or an industrial policy. It takes a period of years. They forget also that, with the resources of modern industry, the machinery, and the special planning that has been brought about, not nearly so much employment—no matter how much one tries—is given as could be given in the equivalent industries in pre-war times, or even in after-war times; that every year there is further technical perfection, that people who invest their money in industry are trying to reduce their overhead costs; are trying to instal further machinery and to reduce the labour content. That in itself is a very special problem, and one to which the Government could devote a great deal of attention, but in the meantime it cannot afford to include it in its general policy, which is to build up the industries in our towns and villages as fast as ever we can, and to give every possible facility that the State can afford to those who are prepared to invest their money here. The Minister for Finance once again announces in his Budget statement that any proposition that is put up to us which would mean a development of our resources, a development of existing industries or the building up of new ones, would receive very careful consideration.
I think the position is not quite so gloomy as our friends on the opposite benches would have us believe. In  spite of the special depression, in spite of the economic war, in spite of the existing unemployment, which is admittedly grave and serious, and in spite of the serious condition generally, we have the figures in the Budget to show that whatever we have lost in our external trade we are not, at any rate as far as the general body of our people is concerned, failing in regard to the provision of purchasing power for them, and we are not failing in our endeavours to provide them with a higher and better standard of living. If the agricultural community cannot feel the benefit of that policy as directly as we would wish it is because there are, as I have said, special circumstances, and in the second place because the general position of agriculture has always been difficult. It has never, except during the years of the Great War, been a very remunerative or profitable occupation. One would imagine from the speeches of the Opposition that until this Government came into power the farmers were millionaires living in luxury, and that now they are all bankrupt men. At any rate, so far as we are concerned, we have not evicted any of them, in spite of the fact that it is absolutely essential that the farmers, like every other section of the community, should realise that no matter what their difficulties and their hardships may be, they too have their obligations to the State and their responsibilities.
It is unfortunate that agriculture cannot be rationalised, improved, capitalised or modernised—whatever you like to call it—in the same way as industrial organisations. It is a special branch and requires special treatment. The general policy of the Government is well known. It is to promote tillage, to reduce taxation on the man who tills the soil and gives reasonable employment, and to encourage, in so far as our resources will allow, the development of wheat, beet and tobacco. It has also been forgotten that of the £500,000 which has to be budgeted for under the legislation which we introduced amending the old age pensions code, some 65 or 70 per cent. is going  into the farmers' homes. Deputies like Deputy Roddy are dissatisfied because this Party has abandoned the idea of de-rating. As far as de-rating is concerned, everybody who has examined the question recognises that complete de-rating in this country practically means the abolition of local government.
Mr. Derrig: That is not relevant at the moment. The State is at present the largest ratepayer; it pays more in rates than the farmers. If the State were to go further, and pay all the rates on agricultural land in this agricultural country, it would simply mean that the State would have to take over local administration altogether. I do not say that the State should not, but those who talk about extravagance and taxation ought to realise that for every new service the State takes over we are going to have additional costs, additional officials and additional taxation. In connection with our policy we have asked civil servants, teachers, and practically all public officials who are paid from State grants, to accept a reduction in their remuneration. We know that in a great number of cases these reductions cannot very well be afforded, but in the special circumstances, and on account of the fact that the farmers are bearing the brunt and are in the front line trenches in the present struggle, we consider it right that other sections of the community should pay their share.
The point I am anxious to make in connection with de-rating is that if you take a comparatively small number of landholders, men who hold farms of over 200 acres, tot up their valuations and find what relieving them completely of their rates would amount to, and then take the population of a similar area of land in the poorer districts, embracing perhaps 20 or 50 times as many people, you will find that if de-rating were in operation it would benefit chiefly the large rancher who gives comparatively little employment. We believe that if a man is going to be relieved of taxation or rates there  should be very sound reasons for it. In the case of de-rating, leaving out of consideration altogether the question of the abolition of local government and the fact that you would have no proper supervision or check on expenditure, the attitude of the local authorities such as they then would be, would be this, that the State, providing nine-tenths or more of the expenditure, would be well able to look after itself and the idea would be to spend the money as quickly as possible.
Examining the question from the point of view of what type of farmer is really relieved, we have several important considerations. We must remember that we are going to have an increasing population and that in the houses of the small farmers you usually find five or six children whom the farmer is not able to educate or put into professions or soft jobs. At most they can try to get into industries or ordinary employment or find a living on the land. It should be our duty to endeavour to put them in the forefront and to see that whatever policy we are devising to deal with the relief of agricultural rates and the agricultural position generally, will put their interests in the forefront. As far as we can possibly do it, we are trying to relieve rates almost completely in the case of the small farmer. We recognise, however, that he has to pay some rates in order that he will take some interest in local administration and also some responsibility.
As regards the bigger men, we are going to embark on a scheme by which the agricultural grant in future will be paid out in accordance with the value the person who is receiving it is giving to the country and in relation to the employment he is providing. That policy may seem very radical and very advanced, but anybody who has watched the trend of events for years past must realise that you must have a bold and vigorous policy if you are to find employment for the people. The Minister for Industry and Commerce cannot be asked to place the whole of the population in industry in the towns. The whole of the rural population cannot be brought into the towns and cities. We must try to build up some  scheme that will give them employment on the land. We do not expect that can be done in a year or two, but it is for that we are striving.
Deputy MacDermot suggested that the Government would have difficulty in collecting the annuities. I am not quite sure whether he suggested that the annuities would not be paid. I remember last harvest, when the campaign that has now culminated in the refusal of certain counties to strike rates was begun, that it started in certain constituencies where Deputy MacDermot's Party was fairly well organised. The economic war so-called was then in progress only three or four months and it seemed to me that they thought they would take advantage of the situation, perhaps not intentionally, but that was how I viewed the matter, to create trouble for the Government and speeches were delivered throughout the country, the speakers saying: “We will not pay rates; we will not pay annuities.” What is the object of these speeches? I do not think that they can have been intended to bring the economic war to a conclusion. Such speeches, like a good many of the speeches we heard in the Dáil to-day, instead of bringing the economic war to a conclusion, are more likely to prolong it and to make a solution more difficult. Every Deputy knows that if a satisfactory settlement of this dispute can ever be brought about, it can only be brought about by standing together. The Irish people gave a splendid lead to their Irish representatives last January but, as my colleague Deputy Smith pointed out, it apparently had no effect. The people, in spite of their troubles, hardships and difficulties, were prepared to give the Government a chance. I suggest that the Parties in Opposition also give the Government a chance. Let them criticise fairly and honestly. Nobody can object to that. But let them, at least, not obstruct us in a policy which, on the whole, is, I think, good for the country and which is an honest and sincere policy. Let them not obstruct merely for the sake of obstructing—merely for the sake of giving encouragement to people outside. Let them feel that in obstructing  they are doing something that will benefit the country.
Deputy MacDermot would be wise to reconsider whether, at this particular juncture, his Party, in its anxiety to earn the suffrages of the farmers in the coming elections, may not be overstepping the limits of commonsense, the limits of patriotism and the limits of constitutional opposition. I can tell Deputy MacDermot that, so far as the Government are concerned, they are going to carry out the law. They are going to see that whatever laws are passed in this House are carried out, that the people will carry out their responsibilities as laid down here. Deputy MacDermot and other Deputies harped a great deal on the argument that the hope of this country depended on keeping taxation down and leaving as much money as possible in the private citizen's pocket. For ten years, a Government which had committed itself to some extent to the policy of protection and, I suppose, the building up of the country as far as possible, according to the lines they had laid out for themselves, were here in office. What help did they get from the vested interests or the moneyed interests outside—from the investing public for whom our friends purport to speak in this House? Very little, indeed. Our attitude has been that if private citizens come along and help we shall be very glad, and we shall give them every support and encouragement we can. We gave a special remission of taxation last year to those who were prepared to invest new money in Irish industries. But if private enterprise is not forthcoming, if it is necessary—as it is often necessary—that the Government should take initial steps and spend money to help to bring about a particular economic development, the Government will continue to provide the money. So long as the Government carries out its duty to the mass of the people by making a fair and reasonable effort to provide them with employment, by making a fair effort to help the bulk of our agricultural population—the body of our people, who are not represented on the benches opposite, but who are represented  on the benches here, and who have given this Government its majority—so long as the Government endeavours to do that, it is surely entitled to the co-operation of the citizens. If the Government were to give up that policy of pushing forward vigorously in various directions the development of our own resources and the finding of employment for our people, it would be simply committing itself to the policy of drift.
The people of this country have shown in an emphatic way that they are tired of the policy of drift. They want a lead. They want a vigorous lead such as the Minister for Industry and Commerce has given them. They are prepared to follow that lead. The fact that imports have fallen in the way they have fallen in spite of the very short time the Minister's policy has been in operation is, to my mind, clear proof that in a very short time we shall be producing in our own country practically everything in the nature of manufactured articles that we require. Why should we not? We have the capital and we have, as the President often said, the man-power. If we have not the technical knowledge, or the technical requisites, we can get them very easily. There is no reason why this country should not go forward in the future and build up a better and higher standard of living for its citizens generally. The policy of crude criticism and constant harping on our woes is not going to get us anywhere. If we are to get out of our difficulties and face the future, we must be united in our efforts and tackle wholeheartedly our plan of making our country as self-contained as possible.
Deputy MacDermot has mentioned various countries. He might have said, as I said in the beginning, that in all the countries he mentions, in spite of the enormous wealth of the private citizen, the situation is going from bad to worse. It has been recognised that the only salvation for those countries is practically to do away with parliamentary government altogether, and to appoint somebody who will give some direction, who will try to unite the people in some national effort and get them out of their difficulties. That is  what is going on in every country. In this country, instead of trying to meet our problems, we simply take advantage of every opportunity to make party capital out of actions like this. We conveniently forget that during the past year at any rate—whatever the coming year may be like—the big yield from whiskey, beer and tobacco duties and the duties on other commodities has shown that the standard of living here has not been impaired. There is no proof whatever that the buying power of the Irish people has decreased. On the contrary, I should say that owing to the extraordinary manner in which the people have taken up the support of their own products and their own manufactures, as the bank clearances show, there has been an enormous increase, and people have spent every penny they could to help out in giving employment in building up their own industries and encouraging their own producers. One would imagine that the Minister for Finance, in borrowing, was borrowing for some useless or unnecessary purpose. It must be remembered that, apart from the emergency of the economic conflict, there is the emergency—unless it is so regarded and dealt with as such no serious effort can be made to cope with it—of unemployment. We have treated it since we came into office as an emergency. We have dealt with it as such. Our opponents who have spoken on the Budget statement have conveniently forgotten that the special sacrifices and the special taxation asked for have been asked for on very good grounds, when the money is going to help to try to provide bread and employment for the poorest of our people. The pity of it is that more is not available. If the Minister were to impose further taxation would the country be able to bear it? If, instead of borrowing, he were to put on further taxation what then would be said? We all know what happened last year. According to the speeches made last year when additional taxation was imposed, this country should have been bankrupt by this time. The fact that the Minister for Finance can show, as he did, such splendid figures, such extraordinary  buoyancy in the revenue returns in view of the situation generally, seems to have staggered the critics so much that they can find nothing to say. We are making these special provisions and if we did not borrow or if we did not impose taxation and we tried to economise where would the economies be made? In that respect we know that very little real help or assistance is going to be given even by the Centre Party.
Mr. Lynch: Listening to the statement of the Minister for Finance on the Budget yesterday, if one had any kind of conviction that it was a true picture of the financial state of the country, one might be inclined to develop the same comfortable feeling that the Minister for Finance has apparently developed, and obviously also that the Minister for Education has developed—presumably that the whole Executive Council has developed—that everything is lovely in the loveliest of all possible worlds. The Minister adopted a most happy attitude in telling us a doleful tale of a shrinkage of revenue coupled with an increased expenditure. One however must congratulate him on the amazing juggling he did with figures which juggling brought him eventually out of the puzzle with a supposedly balanced Budget. I wonder does the ordinary taxpayer feel so comfortable about things? I wonder is the ordinary taxpayer quite so satisfied that we are living within our means as apparently the Minister for Finance is because after all that is what a balanced Budget means—living within our means? I doubt very much whether he is.
The Minister has told us the various means he is going to adopt in order to bridge the difference between receipts and expenditure. He referred to many things but there was one thing particularly conspicuous by its absence. The Minister for Education, replying now to criticisms in the House, has referred to it, but the Minister for Finance in his statements made no reference whatever to this reduction of £450,000 in the Agricultural Grant. In two or three places in his statement he  referred to the fact that the Fianna Fáil Government last year in the Budget made provision for a further quarter of a million for the Agricultural Grant as some new and great achievement, but he conveniently forgot that not only was the quarter of a million passed last year lopped off this year but a further £200,000 was lopped off in addition. Does the Minister for Finance or the Government suggest for one moment that the farmer is better off now than he was 12 months ago when the Government thought it necessary to add this £250,000 to the Agricultural Grant? Does the Government think that the farmer is better off than he was this time two years ago when Deputy de Valera, as he then was, grieved and was pained because the then Government could only bring forward an additional £750,000 instead of £1,000,000?
No sane person of course could say that the farmer is anything as well off to-day as he was either last year or the year before. His markets have been destroyed and it would be utterly impossible for him to be in the position he was in 12 months ago before the economic war was started or especially to be in the position of two years ago. Yet the Deputy de Valera of 1931 brings in as head of the Government in 1933 this provision by which he cuts a further couple of hundred thousand pounds off the £750,000 which he then considered too small. Either his attitude when he made the speech, reported in the Official Reports in 1931 was entirely hypocritical or now that he has reached office he is entirely regardless of the farmers' difficulties. This question of the Agricultural Grant does not need to be dwelt on very long. It has been talked of a great deal here and in the country and it will continue no doubt to be talked of on the motion which is down in the names of Deputy O'Donovan and Deputy Curran.
There were other notable omissions from the Minister's statement, reductions in other Supply Services about which in our day as Government the Fianna Fáil Party pretended to take the greatest and the liveliest interest.  There is for instance a total reduction of nearly £16,000—of course an extremely small item when we are dealing with millions—from the Fisheries and Gaeltacht Services as against the amount voted last year. I am sure we are going to hear a great deal about that reduction from those Deputies on the Fianna Fáil Benches who have, I am sure, persuaded themselves and who are trying to persuade people in the Gaeltacht that they are the true inheritors of the Gaelic tradition and that they, and they only, are the champions in this House of the country and the people in the Gaeltacht. I hope we shall hear something from them because in the past we used to hear a very great deal indeed. The Minister, perhaps to try and gloss over that little default of theirs, talked a great deal about Gaeltacht housing but the provision for Gaeltacht housing is the provision which was made under the Gaeltacht Housing Acts, 1929 and 1931.
I may say this, that if the progress in Gaeltacht housing that had been reached when we left office had been maintained, it would have been necessary before this to bring in a further Gaeltacht Housing Act to provide further money, but everybody in the Gaeltacht knows that there has been almost a complete cessation of the operation of that Act. In reply to various questions put down by Deputy McMenamin and myself, in connection with a number of sanctions issued over a period of months, we get answers showing that there were 15 in March, 20, perhaps, in April, and 30 in May, whereas, in the corresponding months during our time, the number of sanctions issued averaged over 200 per month. That additional £100,000, provided in the Gaeltacht Housing Act of 1931, should have been entirely exhausted by about last October. Let us hope, at any rate, that the amount provided in the Estimates this year of £80,000 is going to be spent because there has been a great deal of hardship on applicants as the result of the hold-up of the administration of the Acts.
I do not know whether Deputies are aware of it but persons are told by the inspectors who go round and investigate  their applications in the ordinary course of their jobs: “I will recommend it” when asked what they are going to do about it. These people then proceed to collect stones and go to considerable expense—many of them have got into considerable debt to the contractors under the Gaeltacht housing schemes—and, even though their building, as it goes up, is being inspected and certified, no money is being issued or has been issued for a long period. That has not only created hardship for a number of applicants but has also done very great damage to the prestige of the Department of Lands and Fisheries. I am perfectly certain that it is not the Department or the officials there that are in any way to blame.
To come back to the question of taxation, some Deputies have expressed their thankfulness that there is no increase in the 5/- in income tax. The Minister for Education, in fact, prided himself and the Government on the fact that there was no increase. Certain persons to-day have expressed their thanks and gratitude, but, of course, the fact is that the Government has such a bad name that people are even thankful to be allowed to breathe. Five shillings remains as the income tax charge and we are no longer to say—the Minister for Education has warned us about it—that income tax is any burden on industry. Since the Fianna Fáil Government got into power—industrialists may not quite appreciate it—income tax and super-tax are now aids to industrial development. That shows a very considerable change of heart since we had to bring in a Supplementary Budget in 1931 and when in order to balance the Budget we had to add 6d. to the existing rate of 3/- in the £. Deputy MacEntee, as he then was, used all his voluminous vocabulary in denouncing that extra 6d. as a crippling blow to industry. That little “tanner” was to be the straw that was going to break the industrial camel's back and yet, just a few months after, when he became Minister for Finance, he planks on an additional 1/6, bringing the tax up to its present rate of 5/- in the £. He is quite happy about the result. In fact,  he makes fun, or tries to, of anybody who said last year that industry would be crushed or that revenue would dry up. The Minister for Education joins with him in laughing at the persons who were so pessimistic last year. If the revenue did not dry up, why did it not? There was still a buoyancy in the revenue. That was because of the reserve the people had created for themselves, during the years in which there was comparatively low taxation and when they had their markets free and open to them.
Another thing that persons forget is that income tax is not collected on the assessment of the particular year. Income tax, as shown here in the White Paper for 1932-'33, is not based on the income of the taxpayers during 1932-'33. It is based on their incomes during the year 1931-'32 just as next year's White Paper will show the tax on the incomes for 1932-'33.
Mr. Lynch: The Minister is terribly satisfied with the revenue, but, in fact, it was the revenue from incomes which were earned during the period of the Cumann na nGaedheal Government in office except for one month.
Mr. Lynch: I will come to that in a moment. He is hoping, as the Minister for Industry and Commerce points out, to have an increased yield of £150,000 during the coming financial year. I honestly hope that he is right, but I doubt it. Five shillings in the pound was bad enough last year, but after a year of the present Government's régime and ten months of this economic dispute, I say that 5/- in the pound is an inhuman tax and, if I had the Minister's vocabulary—I am glad he is here—I could spend an evening stringing out adjectives in connection with the tax so far as it hampers industry. The Minister, in his statement this year, as he did when introducing his first Budget, made use of the occasion for political propaganda and, mind you, I would not fall out with that. I could forgive him that  if he ceased trying to be funny, because the Minister's attempts at being funny are really painful. Perhaps it is because of my incurable kindheartedness, but I always pity the Minister when he tries to make a joke. I force myself to laugh at him through sheer sympathy. The extraordinary part of it is that the Minister can be extremely humorous when he means to be serious. There are some gems in this statement of his. Listen to this, which appears on page 9:—
What a profound truth! The Minister has discovered it in the year 1933. Perhaps one of the best things, one of the most naive statements he has made in the whole Budget is in page 3, where he says that the sum of £4,677,014
“largely accounts for the comparative ease with which the difficulties arising out of the dispute with Great Britain have been surmounted, and to a large extent also explains the astonishing buoyancy of the revenue.”
As an American would say: “It sure does.” It is easing the Government's difficulties! But at whose expense? Was it at the expense of Great Britain? Was it not at the expense of ordinary persons throughout the country, the farmers, the shopkeepers and the like? Deputy Davin pointed to his own constituency. Deputy Davin, like a certain very eminent historical character of old, washed his hands of the sins of the Government, and referred to the increase in the rates in Leix-Offaly as a result of the Government policy. The Deputy also referred to the shrinkage, or the falling off in  the circulation of money. He mentioned that the rates have increased between 3/- and 4/- in the £. I do not want to be parochial, but I might say that Deputy Davin and his constituency are lucky, because the rates in Kerry have gone up by an additional 5/- in the £. I doubt very much whether the ordinary Kerry ratepayer will be quite as happy as the Minister appears to be that the Minister's and the Government's difficulties have been eased at his expense—at the expense of another 5/- in the £.
Mr. Lemass: I had not the pleasure of listening to the whole debate on the motion, but for the period during which I have been here, I have been struck by the fact, as speaker after speaker poured out strings of adjectives and nouns and then ceased, that he immediately left the Dáil. Each speaker got out of the Dáil as quickly as he could for some reason. I am anxious to find out the reason. I hope Deputy Lynch is not going.
Mr. Lemass: The Deputy might learn something. The only explanation I can give of the extraordinary timidity shown by Deputies is that they are afraid of having their various fallacious arguments and false contentions exposed in their presence, but do not mind reading the exposure in the Official Debates. They do not like meeting face to face the ugly facts that are going to destroy their fancy theories.
Mr. Lemass: I am referring to the Deputies who spoke from the Opposition Benches, and also to the conglomeration of various interests that occupy the centre benches. Deputy Roddy said that the Labour Party must accept responsibility for the Government's policy. He was speaking to Deputy Davin at the time. I notice that Deputy Davin is here now. I want to make it clear that we are not  asking the Labour Party to accept responsibility for Government policy. We are asking the Labour Party, the members of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party, and the members of the conglomeration on the left, the Centre Party, to take responsibility for their own policies, and taking these responsibilities for their policies, that they will tell us what they are. We have not had a single Deputy offering a single suggestion for an alteration in the policy of progress set out in the Budget statement.
Mr. Lemass: There is not one. That is my assertion. If the Deputy knows of a better policy why not produce it? If it is worthy of adoption the Government will adopt it on its own responsibility, and not on the Deputy's. Any of the Deputies who have been criticising the Government's policy so loudly should, at least, pay the Government this compliment, that they believe the Government will know when it is wrong, and, if the fact that it is wrong is proved, then we are prepared to modify our attitude in consequence. Let them produce their alternative instead of vague denunciations. That is the effective way of disputing an argument. Let them put before the Dáil for examination exactly what they would do if, by some misfortune, they were transferred across to this side of the House and became the responsible Government. Let us see what the position is. We have been told again and again that the Government promised reduced taxation. It has reduced taxation. Taxation in the coming year will be one million pounds less than it was last year. Deputies do not appreciate that. They are concerned  only with income tax, and because income tax has not been reduced they say that taxation has not been reduced. They do not appreciate the fact that a reduction of taxation can be achieved by other methods. There has been a decline in the yield in customs duties. A reduction of over one million pounds has been produced in the best way possible, because it points to the fact that industry is developing here, and that Irish people are being employed in Ireland instead of Englishmen in England supplying our needs. Although there has been a decline in customs duties of one million, we are not imposing a single penny to make up the deficiency. We do not have to, because we are able to make other provision for the various services we maintain. I want to know from any Deputy on the benches opposite who rises to speak in this debate to defend a reduction in taxation, to tell us what item of expenditure he wants cut off. That is a fair offer.
Mr. Lemass: The Deputy can put the question now. Let any Deputy tell us what items of expenditure he wants reduced, and upon which of the various estimates economies are to be achieved. Now that Deputies are in Opposition they talk and talk. No doubt if they were on this side of the House we know how they would get economies. We know how they did get economies—from the old age pensioners, from the different social services, and by cutting off supplies available for the relief of distress, for the purpose of having an income tax rate of 3/- in the £. None of us like to impose a charge upon anyone. No one likes imposing an income tax of 5/-, but we are not the only country in the world with an income tax of 5/- in the £. Despite all the deplorable conditions that exist, Deputies before talking should remember that a 5/- rate is not exceptional. Why do not Deputies in Opposition say a few words about the conditions in other countries, not so very far away, where income tax at 5/- in the £ has  to be maintained, because of the conditions prevailing there.
Mr. Lemass: That is the country nearest the Deputy's heart, and that is why he is able to tell us all about that country. Will Deputies tell us exactly why we should be regarded as bankrupt and, possibly, as derelict, because income tax is 5/- in the £, when at the same time the same rate applies in Great Britain.
Mr. Lemass: Deputies seemed annoyed at the revenue position. Of course no one likes to be proved a false prophet. In last year we had the various Jeremiahs opposite standing up one after another telling us that the country was going headlong into bankruptcy, that the increased taxation imposed would dry up revenue and that instead of getting more, as we were aiming, we would get less; that we were heading for a big deficit in the Budget and would drive the country to bankruptcy; that we could not get blood out of a turnip; that we could not get more money out of the taxpayers than they had to give, no matter how we put on the screw. That is what they told us last year. The fact is that revenue has exceeded the estimate. They do not like facing facts. That is one fact they cannot ignore.
Mr. Lemass: It is a fact. The Deputy is just adopting the usual attitude of Cumann na nGaedheal. When a fact does not suit his argument he says it is not so. It is so. The increases are there. Does the  Deputy suggest that the Revenue Commissioners cooked their returns?
Mr. Lemass: In respect of the important items. Deputy Roddy said that our national income was depreciating. He caught my eye at that stage and said: “It is very difficult to give figures to prove it.” He is right, of course. I must say I sympathise with him in his difficulty about producing figures to prove it, because the available figures prove the opposite. No wonder he did not even offer to quote a single figure to support the allegation, because there is not a single figure available that does not indicate the opposite. Deputies talked about less money being in circulation. On what do they base that contention? Look at the bank clearances. Do they indicate that there is less money in circulation? Deputies should not come into the Dáil and make statements of that kind, which every available economic index proves to be fallacious. The higher yield of the various taxes to which the Minister for Finance referred yesterday, the fact that most industrial concerns will tell Deputies, if they inquire, that their cash returns to date are better than they were last year, together with these figures to which I referred, all indicate that instead of there being a more sluggish fluctuation in currency amongst people there is a much more active circulation, and that the national income, instead of depreciating, is rapidly appreciating.
The Government, we are told, promised de-rating to the farmers, and are not going to give it. There is only one reason why the farmers are not getting de-rating this year, and that is, that by de-rating land we could not give them as much as we wanted to give them. We wanted to give them more than the de-rating of land would involve, and so we gave them more.  Three million pounds which, if Cumann na nGaedheal were in office, they would have to pay over to the Exchequer for transfer to Great Britain is being left in their pockets this year. I think there are very few farmers who do not fully appreciate the difference between £3,000,000 left in their pockets in unpaid land annuities and the amount they would get even if the reduction in the agricultural grant had not been made, or if full agricultural de-rating had been effected. There are various arguments against de-rating as a practical measure of affording relief. We chose a much more practical method. Instead of collecting money from the farmers and giving it back to them with the other hand we decided to leave in their pockets the money already there—£3,000,000—and the reduction which has taken place in the agricultural grant has been offset five times by the concession given to the farmers in that particular manner.
Now that we have members of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party face to face in the Dáil we should like to ask a few questions concerning their policy in this matter of rates. Certain county councillors, for purely political reasons, are trying to wreck Government policy, to prevent the success of our efforts to develop a new economy here, at the expense of the very poorest of our people, and the Cumann na nGaedheal Party has publicly and officially given approval to that attitude. The Leader of that Party, even though he knew these men were acting illegally, acting in defiance of the law in a manner which would secure for them a sentence of death under the Coercion Act which that Party introduced here only a few years ago, gave them his blessing in public.
Mr. Lemass: Is the Deputy denying the attitude taken by his Leader, or is he repudiating that attitude? The Deputy was at one time Minister for Local Government and he knows what the law is in this matter.
Mr. Lemass: I am judging them as little-minded politicians who choose to make the poor of the country suffer so that they may achieve their political aims. Deputies opposite who took upon themselves the responsibility of encouraging people in illegality of that kind have got to realise that the measures which they themselves designed to deal with just that situation are still in existence.
An Ceann Comhairle: A matter which is sub judice is not usually referred to in the Dáil. But the question of de-rating and ability to pay rates and taxes has been discussed by at least two Deputies in the course of this debate. The Minister is referring to that discussion and incidentally to a certain Party attitude and action in connection with it.
Mr. Lemass: If the members of Cumann na nGaedheal will stay quiet about it, I undertake to say nothing either. I think they are beginning to realise themselves that they said a little too much. Even the Irish Times repudiated them.
Mr. Lemass: At the beginning of the debate I heard Deputy Cosgrave wandering around in a maze of figures trying to prove I do not know what. In any case, he did not prove it. Then Deputy Roddy, a few minutes ago, said he found it difficult to distinguish between revenue and expenditure in the Budget statement. I want to congratulate him upon his frankness. If the Leader of his Party had displayed the same frankness we would have known where he stood. We heard various statements made concerning the employment position. Deputy Davin said the employment position is getting worse; Deputies opposite said it was never worse. I am just anxious to find out upon what these statements are based. Again, every available index shows the contrary. It may be that these indices are not reliable, that there is a difficulty about getting accurate indications in matters of that kind; but the fact that every one of them shows the contrary to be the case should, at least, suggest to Deputies to be a little cautious in their statements, a little more reserved and conservative in their assertions.
The unemployment position here is serious. I do not pretend that it is not. It would be quite foolish to do so because we are going to find it very difficult to solve it. It would be very difficult to solve it in the sense that of abolishing unemployment altogether in our national life. The President of the United States said recently that he had made a calculation and arrived at the conclusion that if every industrial concern in America was to work full time, producing to the utmost of its capacity, they could not absorb all the unemployed in the United States of America. If that statement is true of a highly organised industrial country like America, it may also be true of this country. I do not believe it is. But we have to face the fact that unemployment which is a world-wide phenomenon at the present time cannot be easily solved.
Mr. Lemass: And we are going to do it. The Minister believes, as the  Budget statement put it, that the only practical way of solving unemployment was to provide work. Deputy Lynch who despite his courage of ten minutes ago has disappeared from the House——
Mr. Lemass: I can understand why Deputy Lynch should regard as a joke the assertion that the only way to solve unemployment is to provide work. Anyone who has been in the same Cabinet with Deputy Mulcahy and his colleagues for the last ten years could not but regard the solving of unemployment as a joke. There is only one way in which we can solve unemployment, but there are certain ameliorative measures for those for whom work cannot be found at once, and we are adopting them. If Opposition Deputies know of any other means of providing work than the means we are adopting why do they not tell us? We are developing industry. We are providing work upon State schemes to a degree that our predecessors never dreamt of. Various measures which have been brought before the Dáil and different projects to increase the amount of work available have been revealed and put into operation.
If Deputies have any other suggestions to make as to ways and means by which the amount of work available in the country could be increased let them produce them. We will be glad to have them and glad to act upon them if they are sane, though if they come from the benches opposite they are not likely to be. What is the industrial position? Deputy Mulcahy occasionally has come into the Dáil here and asked questions concerning industrial development—questions rather of an elaborate nature. It would take a lot of time in which to get the information asked for even if the information was available at all. The main design behind these questions was to convey the idea that the industrial development which we assert is taking place is only mythical. I do not propose to give an industrial review here, but I will deal with some points. I will take the food producing industries first and start with  flour milling. Do Deputies deny that there is a development in the flour-milling industry? Let them read the statement made recently by the Chairman of Messrs. Spillers. Take the general position of the flour milling industry now——
Mr. Lemass: And the price as well. Deputy Roddy can make inquiries in his own constituency. There is a flour mill in his constituency. We have authorised an increase in that plant. That mill is working full time and cannot fulfil its orders. Deputy Roddy should go down there and discuss the soundness of the Government's policy in relation to that industry. The same applies to quite a number of Deputies here. At the present time Irish flour millers are producing at the rate of 2½ million sacks per year. This time last year they were producing at the rate of 1½ million sacks. They were held to that position by agreement with the millers' combine at the other side, so that if they attempted to increase beyond that point they had to pay a fine for every sack in excess of the number agreed upon with the association. We broke that situation. We have increased production by 1,000,000 sacks per year. At the present time there is a new mill being built in Waterford, another in Cork, and mills are being erected in other places.
Mr. Lemass: And the cost. I do not know that there is any reason for being dissatisfied with the cost, but we are having an inquiry into that position to satisfy ourselves and the public as to the present prices paid for flour.
Mr. O'Leary: I was told to-day by a man that he was buying foreign flour at 10d. a sack lower than that at which he could get Irish flour. I am not making any point of that. I am only giving that information now to the Minister.
Mr. Lemass: And I am asking the Deputy not to come to the conclusion from that assertion that an excessive price has been charged here. There were mills in Great Britain selling 2,000,000 sacks per year here. They are now putting that flour on the English market. It pays the other mills in Great Britain to subsidise the sale of that flour here so as not to have it disposed of in their own market; other English millers are ready to pay to keep that flour off the English market.
There is the question of the bacon factories. Does the Deputy suggest that these factories have not been more active this year than last year? Take the confectionery industry. Employment in it has been doubled. The output has been more than doubled and it is still increasing. Progress has not yet stopped in that industry. One new factory of considerable magnitude is being built and there are more to come. We will not cease our efforts until everything in relation to that industry will be produced in this country down to the least important raw material. We have a number of bakeries installing additional plant in the Border counties and new bakeries are being built in Donegal. The free imports of bread and buns, which amounted to a quarter of a million a year, have been stopped everywhere. Imports are reduced by that amount and the wages paid here increased.
Mr. Lemass: Another industry usually dealt with under the head of food is the drink industry. We have figures from the Minister for Finance that show that the home production and the home consumption of the products of that industry last year  exceeded the estimate prepared at the beginning of the year and consequently brought additional revenue to the Exchequer.
Take the textile industry. Our woollen industry is an old one. A few years ago it was largely depending on the export trade. Its products went to Italy, France, Germany, and the U.S.A. Because of the world depression and tariff barriers which have been raised against woollen goods these markets have to some extent been lost to the industry. When we came into responsibility for the nation's affairs we found the woollen industry here fighting for its existence. We found some of the woollen mills closed down and production reduced considerably. We changed that picture. At the present time not merely are all the mills working to a much greater extent than they were 12 months ago, not merely has employment been increased by over 300, but some of the mills are at present erecting new buildings, installing new machinery, and taking steps to provide a still greater output in future. Last year only 15 per cent. of the cloth used in the ready-made clothing industry was produced at home. We have multiplied that by four. At the present time 60 per cent. of the cloth used is produced at home. That increased production for the home market does not necessarily mean that any revival in trade abroad cannot be taken full advantage of, and the woollen industry here restored to something like the degree of prosperity it enjoyed a number of years ago. As regards the linen industry the same thing applies. The reservation of the home market for its products has enabled them to weather depression abroad, has enabled them to increase their production despite the decline in exports to certain foreign markets, and to give increased employment in this country. The apparel industry, which covers a range of different forms of production, has also progressed much more rapidly even than we contemplated. Deputies who read the newspapers these days will find them full of advertisements for skilled workers in that  trade. Every skilled worker in the country has been employed. Increased production has been held up by the fact that additional skilled workers are not available, and the people concerned in that industry are writing to my Department asking for sanction to bring in skilled workers from abroad. In the hosiery industry we have more than doubled production. At the present time there is hardly a hosiery factory in the country that is not installing additional machinery, and taking steps to train workers, so that the production can be doubled in this year. Although it is a highly skilled industry and although every skilled worker was long ago absorbed and the development since has taken place with the aid of only semi-skilled or unskilled workers, the level of efficiency has not been impaired in the least. In recent weeks when certain foreign merchants were here, persons associated with the retail clothing trade in other countries, they were struck by the degree of efficiency reached in the fancy hosiery trade here, and many substantial orders for those goods for foreign markets were received by our industrialists.
In this year, for the first time, we are getting a beginning made on the manufacture of men's felt hats here. Although there was a customs duty on men's felt hats since 1926 they were not made here except to a very small degree. Now one factory has come into operation capable of supplying 25 per cent. of our requirements, and two other factories are to be built this year. In the boot and shoe industry every single concern in the country is at the present time installing additional machinery. Four new factories have been built, and two more are about to start. Even that does not complete our progress. There is still room for four or five large-sized factories, and I have no doubt whatever that we are going to get those factories in this year if the difficulty concerning skilled workers can be overcome. I have not yet referred to women's garments of all kinds, an industry which was practically non-existent 12 months ago, but which is at the present time employing several thousand hands.  Rapid strides have been made in connection with this industry, so that we can contemplate a greater range of garments reaching the stage of self-sufficiency at the end of this year. Foundry industries have made great progress—metal industries of all kinds, including tin plate factories and steel works. If Deputy Mulcahy will make inquiries in his own constituency he will realise what has been done there, and other Deputies will similarly learn what has been done in their constituencies. They can look at the Customs resolutions which have been proposed in the Dáil, and note the additional articles which we are able to bring, subject to protective tariffs, articles that require a considerable degree of skill and a considerable amount of equipment to produce, and which now can be produced here. The same applies to the engineering industry. Because of the power given to us under the emergency duties imposed last June we are able to arrest the decay of the industry. We have been able to put it on such a footing that at the present time the number of skilled engineers employed has been more than doubled, and work is being done here which those who are concerned in these matters did not, a short time ago, believe to be possible.
The industries associated with housing are also making considerable progress. We have had voiced here in the Dáil from time to time complaints that builders could not get enough Irish slates, and could not get orders for Irish roofing materials supplied. That is something different from what other countries talk about. If the position is that the demand exceeds the supply it is one easy to remedy, and we are taking steps to remedy it. We hope to get in this year not merely all our requirements of slates met from Irish quarries, but to get back some of the valuable export trade in those goods which has been built up upon quality in recent years. The same applies in relation to the woodworking industry. I do not know if Deputies are familiar with the conditions in that industry at the moment, but they are very difficult. It is an industry which should exist here, which  did exist here and which gives very considerable employment. At the present time it is possible to get articles made from wood from abroad cheaper than one could buy the timber. We have brought that industry out of the stage in which we found it, out of the position in which it was almost dead, and put it on its feet again. The developments which have taken place have more than exceeded our expectations, and again enable us in the Finance Bill of this year to extend its range by putting protective tariffs upon other classes of goods. The same applies in respect of paints. The manufacture of paints in this country has been undertaken on a considerable scale. Much additional equipment has been installed in various factories, and three new factories are on the point of opening. In relation to paints we can hope, because of certain advantages we possess in this country, not merely to supply our own requirements but to get a considerable export trade.
We have also made some progress in the matter of developing our mineral resources. That is necessarily a direction in which progress must be slow. Technical difficulties are there. We have difficulties associated with ownership, with equipment, with various rights, and with the actual task of discovering what those resources are. We are getting over those difficulties. The marble quarries of this country are again in production. They have only been just started. I admit, but they were completely derelict for many years. The stone quarries also are experiencing a new era of prosperity. Expert investigation of our resources in coal, zinc, copper, silver and iron is being undertaken, and if it reveals that those resources are as great as a preliminary geological survey would indicate we can hope that the industries associated with those deposits will be developed and will employ many people. That is what has been done. The impetus that was given to development along the lines I have indicated will carry progress to the point of self-sufficiency. This year we have got a plan to bring into existence the larger scale industries, which require a greater degree of technical skill. We hope to get a start made on  the production of paper. There is a market worth over a million pounds a year for papers of various kinds in this country. There is no reason whatever why all the requirements of that market cannot be supplied from Irish mills, paper which is at present imported. If we plan upon the right lines and make no mistakes in the matter of location or equipment we can produce all classes of paper here more cheaply than it is now being supplied from abroad. I have satisfied myself on that ground, and it is now only a matter of getting the various initial steps taken so that the production of paper can commence.
We have a Bill before the Dáil dealing with cement which will, I hope, lead to a commencement being made this year in connection with the erection and equipment of factories for the production of cement here. At present we are paying over £400,000 a year to other countries to supply us with cement. The beet sugar industry is well known. It is my hope that in the next season we will be able to extend the beet industry considerably and by the end of next year we will have established factories for the treatment of beet for the production of our entire requirements of sugar. It may be that difficulties we do not foresee at the moment will arise. No difficulties of the kind have yet arisen and there seems to be no reason why our plans will not succeed. We have investigated the possibilities of producing industrial alcohol in this country and we have every reason to believe that such a project will be quite feasible. That will permit of the establishment of a number of distilleries in different parts of the country and it will necessitate an additional acres of tillage. We have examined the possibility of producing nitrogenous manures of various kinds. The capital investment in that connection will be large, but up to the moment we have come across no difficulty which will prevent our success.
We are making a beginning also with the pottery industry. We have resources of clay here which are very considerable and we hope to get a  beginning made in the production of the various kinds of glazed and unglazed articles of clay that are used in this country. I might mention that a start has already been made in this respect. We hope also to give considerable employment in the production of peat as fuel. At present our efforts have been concentrated upon the methods of winning and marketing a first quality peat. Considerable employment can be given in that direction and a considerable improvement can be effected in the national accounts by reducing the imports of foreign fuel. If various enquiries which we are undertaking at the moment into the possibility of marketing peat in another form prove that difficulties have been overcome and that a method of doing so has been invented, we will be able to establish an industry which will be by far the most important in the country and which will provide us with a fuel not merely as good but better than coal. These are some of the things we are planning.
If Deputies are aware of any way of dealing with the unemployment problem except by some such plan as that, we will be glad to hear their suggestions. The only real solution for the unemployment problem is the provision of work and productive enterprise. I do not want to deal with the agricultural industry. Other speakers can deal with it much more competently than I. The admission which many Deputies have made that our policy has at least produced an increase in the area under tillage is an indication that we are devising ways and means of getting a larger amount of employment on the land. That is what we must do. There is no reason why the land of this country cannot give the same employment per 100 acres as does the land in Denmark.
Mr. Lemass: The Deputy is entirely misreading the figures. There are more people trying to get a precarious livelihood out of the land of this country than there are in most other countries; but they are not being  employed on it because the proof of employment is the productivity of the land. If we can make the land of this country sufficiently productive to meet our requirements then we will have absorbed not merely those who are trying to find employment on the land at the moment but also many of those who are being driven off the land in order to earn a livelihood in the towns.
Mr. Lemass: The trouble with the Deputy is that he does not understand statistics. We have been told that the policy of the Government in maintaining the economic war is bringing the country to ruin. Deputies opposite always seem to assume that we are responsible for the maintenance of the economic war. Even Deputy Davin is falling into that error now. Surely we are not responsible for the duties that have been imposed on Irish produce exported to Great Britain. Those duties were not imposed by us and we are not maintaining them. If an arrangement which is in our opinion honourable and satisfactory can be made, which will result in the removal of the duties, then the duties will be removed, but we are not going to choose the position of having the duties removed by imposing on our people a burden much more severe than the duties themselves impose. Deputies should try to think on two cylinders in matters of this kind. They see only the duties and the apparent effect of the duties on our export trade. They seem to forget all the other considerations that must be taken into account before we can arrive at a conclusion as to the wisest policy in relation to the position. I asked Deputy MacDermot on another occasion to prove that by returning to the status quo, the position that existed before the economic war started, we are going to improve the position of the farmers. The onus of proof lies on those who make that assertion. The fact of the matter is that the people have decided otherwise and have done so freely. They had every inducement to decide to the  contrary, but nevertheless they came to the conclusion that it was better to have the present position maintained than to revert to the old position. Those who want the people to reverse the course that they decided upon only three months ago will have to show good reasons why they should do so. They have not shown why yet.
Mr. Lemass: No solution of the difficulty which was acceptable to us has yet been offered. I want Deputies to appreciate that the position created by the economic war is one that we would have to face sometime. Deputies do not, perhaps, realise that or else they are deliberately ignoring it. They are acting on the assumption that if these duties were removed prosperity would be immediately restored to the country. Deputy Lynch talked about people now living on the reserves built up during the ten glorious and prosperous years of Cumann na nGaedheal rule. I have asked Deputies to show us that the farmers in the Six Counties are so very well off that we should abandon our honour and our rights in order to be put into a similar position to that which they occupy. I would like to have it proved that the farmers in the North of Ireland occupy such a desirable position as to warrant that course of action on our part. The farmers in the North of Ireland have the best conditions in the British market that they could get—
Mr. Lemass: Will the Deputy demonstrate that we are so much worse off that we should undertake a liability of five million pounds a year in order to get into the same position as the Northern farmers occupy?
Mr. Lemass: If the Deputy wishes to prove that, he will have every opportunity of doing so when I am finished. At the present time agricultural conditions are depressed throughout the world. When I was in Canada last year I could have bought a sheep for 25 cents.
Mr. O'Leary: In Macroom a farmer told me some time ago that he sold a cow for a bob, but the buyer was so conscientious that he gave him two shillings. I can give the Minister the man's name if he wants it.
Mr. Lemass: At the present time Deputies who read the English papers —they are not going to find it quite so easy to get inspiration from the English papers in the future—will get some picture of the agricultural conditions prevailing in Great Britain, and particularly of the outcry that arose recently, because of the arrangement by the British Government to secure certain privileges in the British market for other countries supplying foodstuffs.
Mr. Lemass: The fact is that despite world depression, despite the peculiar circumstances of the economic war, we have made more progress industrially, nationally and economically during the past twelve months than we made in the previous fifty years. Deputies who controvert that statement have got to produce facts and have got to produce figures. They must examine the records.
Mr. Lemass: What is the criterion by which national prosperity is to be judged? Look back over 50 years and you find a decline in tillage, a decline in agricultural production, a decline in population, a decline in industrial production and increased emigration. We have stopped it all. We have got things going and we are going to keep them going despite the Jeremiahs opposite.
General Mulcahy: The Minister objects to Deputies using adjectives, verbs and nouns and then sitting down. He has treated us to a general outline of the tremendous industrial development that has taken place  under his guidance. Lest that was not bright and happy enough, he treated us to a story of what he was going to do in the future. The difficulty with regard to the Minister is that to a House that knows that unemployment is more and more evident in the City of Dublin and in every part of the country, he gives nothing but his adjectives, verbs and nouns. He has departed from the regular method by which information was given to this House as to industrial development. The Minister complains that he has been put questions as to the industrial position by me that were too elaborate. The Minister will remember that I put two types of question to him. I questioned him as to certain numbers of new factories given by him in a certain line of industry. I asked him the names of the persons who set up these factories, the places where they were situate, the number of persons working in them, the amount of wages paid, the amount of capital involved and whether it was Irish capital or not. Appreciating the Minister's difficulty in answering that question—although, I think, a certain amount of employment might be given in scheduling those particulars for the information of the House—I reduced my demand to asking not who started the factories, not how many people were working in them, but where the factories were. The Minister would not give the location of these new factories. In respect of employment in tariffed industries, the Minister referred me the other day to statistics which, he said, were in the Library. Reference to the Library showed that these statistics were eighteen months old and referred to the position at the end of September, 1931. Why could not the figures that were got every six months up to September, 1931, be got for the subsequent half years? If they were got, why were they not made available?
General Mulcahy: There is a fixed point—to 31st March, 1932, 30th September,  1932, and 31st March, 1933. The progress is not so rapid that we could not have the figures at these particular dates. The figures do not flash by like something on a cinematograph when giving the impression of enormous speed. There is a fixed date and it should be possible, as in the past, to put down on paper the number of persons in employment in these tariffed industries on these dates. Can the Minister tell us why that has been discontinued?
General Mulcahy: Yet the Minister is able to come here and tell us that employment is doubled, that 300 more are employed in this industry, that there is enormous development in that industry, and that new factories have been set up in this and that line. The Minister argues that all sorts of industrial development are taking place and he ask us to believe that, while it is not possible to get the figures that have been available in the past.
Mr. Lemass: What happens is: forms are sent out to all industrial concerns in the country, which they are asked to fill up and return, stating the number of persons employed and certain other information. A large number do return the forms but unless they all do the information is obviously unreliable. We had to abandon the attempt to compile the figures in relation to September. We hope to get it done in relation to March of this year but, even up to date, all the forms have not come back.
General Mulcahy: The statement the Minister has made is not so convincing as if made in reply to our questions. The Minister is going to give us a directory showing the position of Irish manufactures generally. I asked if forms had been sent out and whether the Minister would lay copies of the forms on the table. He replied that forms had not been sent out.
General Mulcahy: The position is that the Minister is having a directory of Irish manufactures prepared in his Department. He is speeding it up, he says, but he has taken no steps, apparently, to obtain the necessary information nor has he the information already.
General Mulcahy: If the Minister has the information and the directory is being compiled, he has been giving us misleading answers in the House. As far as any knowledge of the industrial position from the statistical point of view is to be obtained, we shall not get it until goodness knows when if the Minister is going to wait to begin the compilation of the directory until he has got the estimate for it passed here, as he seems to suggest. The Minister is in a position to compile the directory without getting any special vote for it. The census of industry and the statistics with regard to persons in tariffed industries were compiled before without a special vote and what particular hitch there is in connection with the preparation of a directory I do not know. That is not to say that I regard the type of directory which the Minister seems to have in mind as, by any means, an adequate method of giving us statistical information with regard to industrial development.
General Mulcahy: The Minister is not making a flying start. So much with regard to our attitude in respect of the industrial position. We were glad to hear the Minister's remarks, and we were glad to hear of his hopes, but we do not see the signs of his industrial development around. When he asks us to take it that the decrease in customs duty below what he anticipated is an index of industrial development here, we take leave to doubt that until such time as he can give us something more convincing than a mere statement that that is so.
The Deputy objects to Deputies talking of the country being bankrupt and derelict. I do not know who has been talking in that way. What is being argued is that this country is proceeding along the lines of bankruptcy. The position, in so far as we know it, is that our total net production here is value for £25,000,000, of which £14,000,000 is available for wages. We get in £11,000,000 from outside investments. We are dependent on agriculture for the rest of our national income. The position in regard to agriculture is that we have a home market for £11,700,000, and we had an outside market for £31,000,000. The attitude that is taken up in the Budget as submitted to us is that it is proposed definitely to discontinue any attempt to make that larger market available for agriculture. It is a warning to the Irish farmers that they are going to lose that £31,000,000 market, not to talk of the extension that could be made of that market. I should like to hear the Minister discuss how he is going to get capital to lay the foundation of Irish industrial development, apart altogether from what he is going to do for agriculture, if our farmers are not going to dispose of their surplus agricultural products in the British market. The Minister talks about tillage. Is there going to be increased tillage that will not mean  and must not be accomplished here by an increased production of live-stock and live-stock products? Will the Minister say where that increased tillage is to be disposed of if the policy enshrined in this Budget is to be continued?
General Mulcahy: That is the trouble that the farmers find, that the bullocks are eating as much as if there was no tariff on them going into Britain. We are talking of national income. By national income I do not mean apparently what the Minister means, or what the Minister for Finance means.
General Mulcahy: I am showing that our Irish farmers got in the first three months of last year £2,900,000 for their live-stock in the British market, whereas for the first three months of this year they received only £1,414,000, and the Irish taxpayer had to pay £500,000 this year to the British Exchequer in order to be allowed to  send in his cattle and get that amount of money. Let the Minister just think over it. If the Minister will look at the evening papers he will see that the position is as bad in respect of the fourth month he is talking about. Surely the Minister is not going to tell the Irish farmers that their position in the British market for the first four months of this year is better than the first four months of last year.
General Mulcahy: It was much worse the first three months of this year. The Irish farmer had a loss of 1½ millions on live-stock sent to Britain, and for the honour and advantage of losing that 1½ millions the Irish taxpayer has had to pay a half a million to the British and a certain amount in bounties.
General Mulcahy: I am saying that the Irish farmer has lost 1½ millions on the British market for the first three months of this year as compared with the first three months of last year on his cattle and that he has had to pay £500,000 to the British Government in order that he might be allowed to do that. It is because the Government is pursuing a policy that is driving our main industry along these lines that the Minister seems to think or has it on his ears that somebody said the country was bankrupt.
General Mulcahy: There is always some snag in the Minister's statistics. If it is not in his own he will find it when he is dealing with somebody else. He would find it very difficult to go down to Macroom as Deputy O'Leary said and explain to the Macroom farmers that the payment of that £500,000 by the Irish taxpayer——
General Mulcahy: It is because £31,000,000 a year, and the prospect of a greater amount, is being taken out of the pockets of our Irish farmers, who at the present time have a home market of only £11,700,000, that many people despair of the success of anything that Ministers will do along the lines of agricultural or industrial development. We have been told that the national income is increasing. I wonder what does the Minister for Finance mean by national income? He tells us that he got more than he expected from tobacco. He said: “Tobacco at £3,762,000 gave us £137,000 more than we anticipated.” Everything was magnificent in regard to the national income. The Minister for Education said the standard of living was kept up, but we find from the figures with regard to the imports of tobacco that the Minister received this unexpected yield from tobacco from a people who were using much less tobacco than they were using the year before.
General Mulcahy: This additional yield from tobacco was made in a year when the amount of imported unmanufactured tobacco was 7,292,000 lbs., as compared with 11,385,000 lbs. the year before. On the import of tobacco there was a fall of 37 per cent.
General Mulcahy: I do not know whether it was because there was so much home-grown tobacco grown and put on the market that there was this  big fall in the amount of unmanufactured tobacco brought in here, but if the Minister has particulars of that, as part of the general particulars he has about the great industrial development here we would be glad to know it and we should be happy to realise that there was a fall of 35 per cent. in unmanufactured tobacco imported here if it meant that, with due regard to national economy, the tobacco was made up by home-grown tobacco. The fall of imported unmanufactured tobacco in the first three months of this year is even more because it is down by 67 per cent. by weight and by 54 per cent. in actual value.
General Mulcahy: At any rate, I am deducing this from that great fall in the imports of unmanufactured tobacco last year and the continuing fall in the imports of unmanufactured tobacco in the first three months of this year, that the Minister is enjoying an unexpected revenue from the people whose standard of living is not being maintained, and I suggest to the Minister that he will find the same with regard to tea.
The Minister spoke of local authorities. He must know that, so far as local authorities were concerned, they were approaching the end of their financial year and that a very large number of them had very big amounts of rates outstanding. There were five of the county councils that had over 30 per cent. of their rates uncollected. Including  those five, there were eight which had over 25 per cent. uncollected, and, out of the 27 county councils in the country, there were 13 which had over 20 per cent. of their rates uncollected, and the Minister, with that position in respect of rates uncollected and with a growing expenditure in the matter of home assistance, allowed these councils to examine their estimates and to face the coming year without knowing that he was going to deprive them of £448,000 in relief of agricultural rates. These councils, realising the position in which they stood, from the point of view of their inability to collect the full rates for last year and realising how they stood in the matter of increased expenditure on home assistance, had difficulty enough in deciding what estimates of expenditure they could agree to levy off the people for the coming year, having due regard to their duties and responsibilities. They made their estimates and it was when they had their estimates made that they were told that they need not expect £448,000 and the Minister passes judgment now here to-day on these councils. I would ask the Minister, as I asked him before, why now the promise is made by him to these local bodies, after they have been forced into the frame of mind in which they are that they have been treated most unsympathetically and most unjustly, having, as I say, great difficulty in making up their minds that they would impose on their ratepayers the burden they were proposing to impose, that he will relieve them, in some way or another, of £450,000 in respect of some kind of home assistance.
General Mulcahy: That is the suggestion made in the Minister's statement and made two, three or four months too late. If the Minister had, in due season, indicated what he was proposing to do along the lines set out in his reference to this £450,000, I submit that he would have had no difficulty with the councils and he would have avoided the particular situation which has now arisen and which disturbs the ministerial mind as to whether they are going to face local elections or not.
General Mulcahy: The people who take away from the agricultural community the ability to pay rates ought to explain to the agricultural community how they can keep their local services going, and if Deputy O Briain will go and explain to the Council in Limerick——
General Mulcahy: Ní fheadair in aon chor, mar is anamh airimíd an teachta ag cainnt. There would not be this difficulty with local bodies and we would have been spared, at a very difficult time, the dislocation of, I will not say the local services, but of that link between the local administrative machine and the local councils that exists at the present moment. I say that the Minister, and the Ministry generally, must have been aware of the position in which these local bodies were, or, if they were not aware of it. they keep very far away from the realities of the situation, because, from day to day, the difficulties in which these local bodies are can be seen and as early as January or February the position that local bodies were going to be in in the matter of the collection of their rates was quite clear. The Minister proposes to give a certain grant in respect of relief but I should like the Minister to compare, for the information of the House, the position from the point of view of grants in which local authorities are going to be and the position that, say, a Department like the Board of Works is going to be in this year, compared with last year.
Of the £1,000,000 the Minister planned for expenditure on roads last year, only £700,000 have been used and it is proposed to spend the remaining £300,000 this year, but most of the provision that the Minister makes for the relief of local bodies is in the shape of loans when, on page 18 of his speech, he deals with the expenditure in respect of unemployment. We have leans to the extent of £2,354,000 and grants for housing to the extent of  £452,000, for fuel and bog roads and bog development, £425,000, with the relief already in the Estimate of £150,000, being a total of £575,000. I submit to the Minister that, in offering local authorities, at this particular stage, loans mostly for housing, to the extent of £2,354,000, he is offering them something that can be of very little use to them, because the security for these loans is based on the rents and on the rates, and, with the decreasing purchasing power of our people, and, with all due respect and deference to the wishes and the imagination and hopes of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, with less prospect of employment in our towns of all kinds, rents are not necessarily a very secure basis upon which to lay this elaborate system of loans nor, to the extent to which the responsibility for the repayment of these loans is going to fall on local authorities, is there anything at the present moment to show, from the financial position of local authorities, that local authorities either will take advantage of these loans, or, if they do take advantage of them, that the securities on which these loans are raised will be of the soundest.
It bears out what I suggested to the Minister when he was taking his Vote on Account in March last that he was dealing unfairly with local authorities and that he was proposing to make less provision this year for direct grants in respect of relief works and that he was going to put on local authorities the burden of carrying out works by forcing them to take loans. The Minister for Industry and Commerce endeavours to persuade local authorities that they are dealing with a position in which unemployment is decreasing. Unfortunately, again, we cannot feel that there is any information given us by the Minister when he gives us figures. The Minister tells us in his various returns that, on 2nd January last, over the whole country, there were 100,987 persons unemployed and that, on 24th April, over the whole country, there were 70,039. He tells us, therefore, that, in practically four months, there was a decrease of  30,948. When, however, we look at these figures to see where that decrease in unemployment comes about, we find that, in the area covered by the counties Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Mayo, Galway, Roscommon, Longford, Offaly and Westmeath, the centre and north-west of the country, there was a reduction in unemployment from 39,000 odd to 18,000 odd or a reduction of 20,000 persons. When we turn to the group of counties to the East— Carlow, Meath, Dublin, Cavan, Louth, Wicklow, Leix, Kilkenny, Wexford, Monaghan—the decrease in the registered unemployment figures is from 33,000 odd in the beginning of January to 30,000 odd on 24th April, or a decrease, in four months, of 2,800, so that over the whole of the cast of the country in which there is supposed to be a reduction of 30,000 unemployed, 2,800 is the reduction, and over the counties in the north-west, 20,000.
General Mulcahy: What I want to know is to what kind of production the 20,000 persons in the north-west of Ireland have gone, and what is going to happen in the matter of finding a market for the production that is going to be brought about by these 20,000 persons? I say that the figures are quite unconvincing because, when you take one of the areas—the Athlone registration centre—we find that the unemployment there rose from 1,565 in March, 1932, to 6,000 odd in July; to 13,297 in November, and to 13,904 in December, and that on 24th April of this year the figure was 5,680. The remarkable thing about it is that, while these figures were rising from 1,500 in March, 1932, to 13,297 in November, the tremendous increase in unemployment in that area was practically unreflected in the home assistance position there. There was a general rise in the amount of home assistance paid during the year and, particularly, in December, but, even there, where I suppose there was the steepest rise in unemployment as well as the steepest fall, the percentage increase in the amount of home assistance during  these summer months was half what it was in the rest of the country outside Dublin.
On the home assistance side, the difficulty in which local bodies find themselves is very marked. Home assistance generally throughout the country has risen from £12,300 a week in July, 1932, to £16,547 in January, 1933, and it is still rising. It was £17,041 in February and £17,592 in March and that is the position in which local bodies find themselves at a time when they are being deprived of £448,000 which they expected when making up their estimates and when they are going to be asked to deal with relief, mostly by way of loans given them, and mostly by way of house building, and when there is being held out to them, as a kind of sop, that, sometime, before the end of this calendar year, they are going to be given in some way £450,000 to relieve them of home assistance.
We are told that £92,000,000 that we are supposed to owe to people outside is now being kept here; that as it were, that is the end of the economic war, and that we can now turn to the carrying on of our business. When we ended the civil war here our income tax was 5/- in the £. A tax on tea was bringing in more than £600,000 yearly, and a tax on sugar was bringing in about £2,000,000 yearly. In the year ended March, 1926, we had reduced our income tax to 4/- and in 1929 to 3/-, bringing down towards the year 1931 the amount of money we took from income tax payers from nearly £6,000,000 to £4,000,000, doing away entirely with £600,000 tea tax, and reducing the tax on sugar from £2,000,000 to £1,000,000 within a few years after the civil war. We now find ourselves, supposedly, at the end of the economic war. Does anyone think that the impositions disclosed in this Budget indicate that in two or three years you are going to reduce the burden of income tax payers in this country by nearly £2,000,000; that you are going to reduce the taxation on people using tea to the extent the Minister for Finance stated, £400,000 odd; that you are going to take that off all the people  who use tea, or that you are going to reduce the tax on sugar by £1,000,000?
I ask Deputies on the far side who think they are on the eve of a period that is going to bring about this reduction in taxation to give us the reasons why they think we are on the eve of that. We are not on the eve of that, and the one reason why we are not is because the people leading the Fianna Fáil Party do not take on themselves the responsibilities and the duties that attach to leadership. We are told that when the people want so-and-so they will get it. We are told that the people gave a lead in the beginning of last year. The people whose lead is taken by the leaders of the Fianna Fáil Party are cattle driving at night down in Tipperary. It is not the hazel rod that is doing the cattle driving at night now in Tipperary; it is the rifle. They are knocking ditches in Tipperary and seizing land in Tipperary. The Minister for Education boasts that they do not evict people. No. He boasts that they are going to see that the law that is made in this House will be carried out; that the people will carry out their responsibilities as laid down by the law made here.
I would like to ask the President does that apply? Are people to have their lands seized in Tipperary and not to have that called eviction? Are people to cattle drive with rifles and not have that called a breakage of the law as it would if it was a hazel rod was driving them? These are the people whose leadership the leaders of Fianna Fáil accept and that is why this situation is going to continue until it can continue no longer. Some speakers from this side have said that the rake's progress on the far side has stopped. The rake has got up against some kind of a stone wall, but his progress is not stopped and the mentality that made him a rake is still there. Leadership brings responsibilities with it. We find ourselves at the end of the economic war, or at the beginning of something that is a kind of sequel to it in the position in which we would have found ourselves in 1921 if we had not a Griffith and a Collins to go to London as leaders and take upon themselves  the responsibilities and the duties of leaders. We find ourselves in the position in which we would have found ourselves in 1922 if we had not a Cosgrave to do the same thing and in the position in which, from the point of view of many Deputies opposite now in 1933, we would have found ourselves in 1916 if we had not a Clarke and a Pearse and a Connolly to beat down the judgments of some people who sit on the Front Bench of Fianna Fáil now.
General Mulcahy: I have nearly finished. We find ourselves at the present moment in the position in which we would have been in in 1916, 1921, and 1922 if those who then accepted leadership from the people did not accept the responsibilities and the duties that attach to leadership. I would recommend to the leaders of the Fianna Fáil Party, in dealing with the present situation, the attitude taken up by Collins, expressed by him on the 19th December, 1921, when he spoke of the spirit which moved him to serve the people in 1921.
General Mulcahy: The policy, sir, enshrined in the present Budget is a policy dictated by people who accept leadership and will not live up to that leadership. I want to hold up before them a phrase used by Michael Collins on the 19th December, 1921, which will be found in the records of this House that would be a guide and an encouragement to them to-day.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy in doing that is opening the discussion very wide. Obviously we have to accept it that the present Government are responsible for the financial policy that is being discussed here. Surely to go back to 1916, 1921 and 1922 is carrying this discussion very far. On the basis of Deputy Mulcahy's reasoning we could discuss almost everything that happened in this country during the last ten or fifteen years, but surely we can only discuss the financial policy of the Government and its repercussions in this debate. I cannot see how the Deputy can relate that to some of the things he is introducing.
General Mulcahy: I would be sorry, sir, to make your difficulties great or to get you into difficulties in any way, but am I not entitled to argue here that this Budget and all the financial provisions in it arise entirely from the fact that we have to pay approximately two and a half million pounds as a kind of fine to get such agricultural produce as we are likely to have produced here into the English market——
General Mulcahy: ——and that the solution of the problem that is involved in that can be found in watching and keeping in mind the spirit and the actions of Irish leadership in the past and in the very recent past, particularly the leaders who made this House and put these institutions into the hands of the people as powerful institutions to do their will—in moulding their financial and other policies. I would ask leave before I sit down to quote a sentence from a speech made by Michael Collins at a time when there were matters in dispute between us and the people with whom we have a dispute now. Speaking on 19th December, 1921, he said:—
“I knew when I was going over there that I was being placed in a position that I could not reconcile, and that I could not in the public mind be reconciled with what they thought I stood for, no matter what we  brought back—and if we brought back the recognition of the Republic —but I knew that the English would make a greater effort if I were there than they would if I were not there, and I didn't care if my popularity was sacrificed or not. I should have been unfair to my own country if I did not go there. Members of the Dáil will remember that I protested against being selected.
The solution of the disastrous problems that are opened up before this country in this Budget can be brought about, and only brought about, by acting in the spirit and after the example of the leaders I have mentioned.
Mr. Dowdall: I had no intention of intervening in the debate just now, because the matters to which I intended to refer had been admirably dealt with by the Minister for Education and by Deputy Smith. Also, one of the principal matters to which I had intended to refer was, just at the last moment, referred to by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. However, I think that it would be just as well if I said a few words, because it seems to me that the Deputies of the Opposition—all of them—have forgotten that a certain event took place at the last election and at the previous election. What was arranged then was that the policy which had obtained in this country for very many years, and which was continued by the Cumann na nGaedheal Government when they got in, was completely reversed by the people at the last two general elections. The people did give to the Fianna Fáil Executive, authority to carry out the policy which was advocated by the Fianna Fáil Party, that is, a policy of self-containment of this country so far as that was possible of achievement. All of the Deputies on the other side seem to have completely forgotten that. The policy that this Party and this Executive Council is now carrying out is the policy that the people authorised them to carry out. In the carrying out of that policy, which was put before the public at two elections, it was stated definitely that the financial arrangements  between this country and Great Britain would be altered. They were altered by the authority of the people and the authority of this Dáil. As a result of that, we have had what is called an economic war. Scarcely a speech on any matter in this House has taken place without some reference on the part of the Deputies opposite to the economic war. One would imagine that the history of this country was simply a matter of the past ten or 15 years. The whole history of this country, if the Deputies would be good enough to look up their history and go back on it—the whole history of the relations between this country and Great Britain has been one of perpetual war. At one time it was the bayonet and the bludgeon and massacre. Another time it was the crowbar brigade. Now we have another phase of it, but it is only a continuance, in an accentuated form, of what has always been going on.
There has been an economic war in operation in this country since the repeal of the Corn Laws in Great Britain in 1845. There is no question whatever that that economic war was going on all the time, but because it was gradual in its results, people paid not much attention to it. Nevertheless, we have had a development of it to such an extent that in the lifetime of people at present living—and I should like all Deputies to keep this carefully in their minds—in the lifetime of people at present alive the population of this country has been reduced by over 4½ millions, which is more than the present population of the whole country. That has happened within the lifetime of people who were alive when the population was 8¾ millions. The population now is only 4¼ millions for the whole country and it was an economic war that brought that about.
Mr. Dowdall: Well, possibly we might be very happy on that diet if we had enough of it. I will not trouble the House with my remarks very much longer. I am rather disposed to think that there is altogether too much of  what we might call idle or empty words used in this House and I have some little recollection of something I learned years ago—I think it was in the Penny Catechism—about having to render an account for every idle word I speak, and that is why I do not talk so much.
I will just say a few words about that economic war which commenced in 1845. There was a decrease in the population of more than the total population at present in the whole country, and that happened within the lifetime of people who are at present alive. Is not that an astounding fact? Does that not penetrate into the intelligence of the Opposition, or are their heads so encrusted with Party prejudice that they cannot see it? Has it no significance that this is the only country in the whole world—the only white country—where such a thing has happened? Even the Armenians under the Turks did not decline at that rate Ours is the only country in the whole world that has declined like that. The policy that was in operation in this country during the past 80 odd years was a policy of death. The policy that this Party, with the authority of the majority of the people, are putting forward is a policy of life for the people. It is a policy of hope. What is the attitude of the Opposition? Nothing but obstructive tactics all the time by every single one of them—well, perhaps I am exaggerating—but I will say, with very few exceptions. Instead of recognising that we have a world condition in which things are very bad for us all, and instead of trying to give their help and assistance, they do nothing but come here with little finicky points on superphosphates or corrugated iron and debate for days about such things, and the people's needs are not taken into account one iota. There is a new policy backed by the people which the Executive Council are here to carry out and, with God's help, we hope they will carry out.
There has been some talk of “cuts” for the civil servants and others and there has been a lot of opposition got up against these “cuts.” It should be remembered by all the people in the  country, including the Opposition and including the people whose salaries are being cut, that this is a comparatively poor country. It has great resources, but they are not developed. If they were developed, there is no doubt that we could afford to pay, perhaps not the salaries we pay now to our highest individual officers, but we could afford to pay moderately well. You can only pay out of what you have got. I think it was Deputy Norton, speaking on some other motion, who made use of the remark that you cannot get more out of a pint pot than is in it, and I think he put the authority for that remark down as Deputy Flinn. You can only get out of the country the total production of the country; you can only get what you produce and nothing more. If there is not sufficient production you cannot afford to pay salaries which are unsuited to a poor country. You must cut your cloth according to your measure and not according to your imagination.
We have heard a lot of talk about the British market. It is gone, and it is not much loss at the present time. I am nearly half a century in business, particularly in selling farmers' produce, and I have seen many changes in that time. They have been gradual, but our production is going down owing to the decay of our tillage and the decline of the population. We will not restore our export trade, or any other trade, except by increasing our population and providing employment for our people. If anyone comes forward and suggests constructive proposals they will be considered by the Government. The market for butter, of which I know a little, has been very low for the past year. Prices of Australian butter came down in the London market to 61/- per cwt., that is, 6½d. to the wholesaler, and it takes a penny a lb. to bring it from Australia. It takes 1½d. a lb. to manufacture it, and they pay a bounty of 4d. in order to ship it, so that practically the whole of the 6½d. is gone. They cannot do anything, just at the present, to improve that condition though they are hopeful that the price will increase to the extent that they may make a profit. If they are producing more than they require  it does not matter so much because it is a surplus; if they are not producing more than they require it is a different matter. Our cattle trade has grown in the past—it was one million a year approximately—but four and a half millions of our people went away. They cost nothing to the people to whom they went, but they cost, according to the current value of money, from £200 to £500 apiece to this country. That four and a half million is irrespective of the two or three million who are reported to have died from famine and famine fever.
Now the market for our cattle is a declining market. Of necessity it must continue to decline. It cannot do anything else in view of the fact that England has lost, and is not going to get back, her foreign export trade. Why do I say that? It should be obvious to anyone from what is happening in other countries that it must of necessity be so, that she will not get back her foreign trade. Her only chance of living is to go back to the land. If she does that she may have a chance, but at present she is gradually going down the hill.
Mr. Dowdall: I say that the market is declining, and will require less and less of our goods according as they go more and more into production of these goods themselves, and while countries like the Argentine and Australia and New Zealand are producing surpluses that they cannot use, and will send to the English market, which is practically the only market of any magnitude that can absorb such things. But these countries will have to send them to the English market at a price at which they can be absorbed, and if such goods were sent to the English market at such a price then they will be of no use to the producer. I shall not say anything more about the market. It is evident to anybody who considers it carefully that the English market is not much use to us for most of our produce. I grant that it is not a good thing that we cannot get our goods into the English market without paying  a 40 per cent. bounty. That is evident to everybody and it would be only an insult to intelligence if I said anything else. But there is one thing that we must get clear upon. Deputies opposite pretend that we are paying the 40 per cent. twice over, so that the farmer is losing not only twice but indeed three times what the penal tariff amounts to. That is simply rubbish. There is no truth at all in that. We get on the British market a better price for our goods than Australia or New Zealand. There is no other country which has as big an interest in cattle. We get the price for our cattle because the English people want them. If they did not want them they would not buy them. But the farmers are not paying the annuities twice over and are losing nothing but the 40 per cent.
During my 14 or 15 months in this House, I have been listening to threats and insults hurled from the Opposition Benches at the Government Benches, and sometimes hurled back again; they have been thrown across the floor and bandied between the Parties. The position of the world is bad. The position of the Free State may be worse owing to these penal tariffs, but we are better off even with the penal tariffs than most other countries. America, for example, is not so well off. I do not wish to speak of the economic aspect of that country now or of the world. I wish to speak about the necessity for sacrifice. The people of the country, after all, did authorise the Executive Council to do certain things. They authorised them twice to do these things. The economic war was in operation for seven months before the last general election, and the people evidently want that policy because they know very well that the other policy could only lead to the same results. We have now closed the safety valve of emigration for which we should be very thankful, but people who cannot get work will not be content to continue without work and money and some sort of enjoyment. This country is really in a position in which we want unity not of two sections just at the moment, as Deputy MacDermot seems to think advisable,  but unity and goodwill amongst us all. Let us forget the past. Do not let us be continually referring to the civil war and continue to look blackly at one another because we did not agree with each other's attitude at a particular time. I am prepared to give everybody the credit of acting on that occasion according to what he considered was right. Now that that is over and that the country is not in the best of health, it is the duty of all to make whatever sacrifices are necessary; to forget the past and unite to bring about such a condition of affairs that progress can be made and that the country will benefit. We should all act as one man and have one purpose and that is to serve the country, and the only way that can be done is by working for this country and not for any other. The country that we are making our living out of, the country that we have existed in, is the one to which we owe allegiance and the one that every citizen should serve.
Mr. O'Neill: After the speech of Deputy Dowdall we should never be accused again of preaching pessimism from these benches, because he has certainly drowned the whole House in a sea of sorrow over our present troubles and future prospects. I think he has gone a little way off the immediate subject before us, which is the Budget. He spoke of the economic war to an extent to which I cannot follow him at present. He talked about population being the basis of a nation's greatness and the great object to be aimed at and achieved in the working out of the national destiny. I think if we look back on our history we will find that when our population was at its highest peak our national spirit was not at its strongest. The economic condition of our people then was very weak and the standard of living very low. He went on to tell us that because the Fianna Fáil Party had been returned by a majority at the last and the previous election nobody should criticise their policy. That may be so, according to Deputy Dowdall, but everybody on this side of the House has, perhaps, a better and  more intelligent outlook on national affairs than some of those opposite. At all events, we yield nothing in our national principles to any of the gentlemen opposite. We claim to be as good Irishmen and to have very much more of a stake in the country. I shall not enter into the question of how the Fianna Fáil majority was achieved and is kept in this country, but we see some little indication in the new Bill which has been brought in with regard to the Local Government register that the Fianna Fáil Party realise how they gripped power and how they mean to stick on to it. At all events, I think that as long as we are here it is our business to criticise everything that we know to be wrong; everything done by those opposite that we believe to be against the interests of the country; and I certainly shall do so as long as God spares me and gives me a voice to do so.
To return to the Budget, the one thing that struck me most about the Budget was the utter unreality of it in reflecting the actual condition of affairs in the country. The Budget has no relation to real facts. Last night the Minister for Finance glibly floated through his speech with his usual smugness, as if everything was for the best in this best of all possible worlds. Underlying it all there was yet a spirit of hopelessness, a sort of sense of guilt, of realisation that “someone had blundered.” There was a grave foreboding of danger ahead, which was in very striking contrast with the bravado with which in February, 1932, we were told that we were going to have an immediate reduction in taxation of £2,000,000 at least, without any diminution of social services or of good government and with full employment for all. Instead of a reduction of £2,000,000, we had to face last year increased taxation amounting to over £4,000,000. That was the first Fianna Fáil Budget. In the Minister's second effort now we have to face a total expenditure for the coming year of over £31,000,000 and our revenue, taking credit for the stoppage of the payment of land annuities, and the results of all the multitudinous tariffs  that were imposed and that are still being imposed, is calculated to bring in not more than £26,000,000. There has, therefore, to be made up a deficit of £5,000,000, a very grave amount for a poor country like this, and a good deal of the deficit is to be made good by borrowing. I do not wish to say anything that might injure the credit of the country, but the Dáil ought to be reminded that once before money was lent to this country to purchase Irish land.
Mr. O'Neill: These advances have been repudiated by the present Government. The repudiation of this responsibility was jocosely referred to by the Minister for Finance as creating an asset. The retention of the land annuities was referred to by him jocosely as creating an asset. Tomorrow if an ordinary trader goes to his banker and looks for an advance, he may, perhaps, impress his banker by telling him: “I have created an asset because I have refused to pay any of my old lawful household debts.” The moral foundation of such a creation of assets is certainly one that is not commendable even in a Minister for Finance.
Mr. O'Neill: The Minister talked of having successfully undertaken the reduction of unemployment. From certain facts adduced in this House only this day we know that to be a brazen, blatant statement, and any reference to figures will show it to be false. Certainly something has been done to modify Fianna Fáil unemployment because it is asserted that in certain parts of the country it is impossible to get employment on any Government relief work except through a  Fianna Fáil Cumann. This discrimination in dealing with the social evil of unemployment is shameful and dangerous. The Minister will admit that some unemployment does exist, but he certainly cannot hope that unemployment will be radically and permanently cured by a basic wage of 24/- a week.
In another part of the Budget speech the Minister talks of increased banks clearances as being indicative of the good results of the Fianna Fáil policy. We all know what he refers to, but it might refer to “bank clearances” of another kind that we heard of in this country; I am not going to enter now into past history by suggesting that it might have any references to these. I have heard of persons who for some time past have been clearing their deposits in the Irish banks in parts of this country and taking them across to a country where there is less intensive economic nationalism.
Mr. MacEntee: Can the Deputy give us any proof of this? He says he does not want to damage the credit of this country, but when making statements of this kind he is damaging the credit of this country.
Mr. O'Neill: That was the case some time ago, but at present the money is being sent out of the country to places where economic nationalism is not so strong as it is here. Economic nationalism is the keynote of the policy of  Fianna Fáil as is this striving after a self-contained country. The Minister rejoices at the diminution in value of the external trade of the country, and he rejoices that at the same time there has been an extraordinary growth in our internal commerce. The Minister knows that a country cannot grow great by merely selling to itself. There can be no creation of wealth while we are working and producing for the home market alone with our exports decreasing. While our exports decrease and while the things we must necessarily purchase from abroad will be dearer by reason of the tariffs we shall inevitably grow poorer and poorer; the cost of living will be higher while the standard of living will be forced down to a lower level. Producing for ourselves alone means a reduction to a mere subsistence level in our economy.
The Minister again talked of getting rid of a liability of £92,000,000. He talked about ridding ourselves of the burden of these millions. That statement by the Minister in a way is reminiscent of the story of the man who went to his banker and told him he would pay his overdraft by giving him a cheque for it. Such a ridiculous method of getting rid of a liability would not occur to anybody except, perhaps, the Minister for Finance. The Minister told us further that he approached last year's Budget in a spirit of trepidation. In doing so, perhaps, he was excusing his inexperience, but he has no such excuse now, as he has had 12 months' experience as Minister of Finance. With that 12 months' experience all we can say about his present Budget is that it is worse than his first. He has had time to realise the fall in the nation's trade and yet he is callously forcing on the country what is called his economic war. In my opinion, this is not an economic war but a highly criminal form of commercial suicide and no other country in the world would be guilty of it.
No wonder the Minister says in another place that the happy day of our resurrection is not just yet. I am sure he realises by this time that that  happy day can never come to this country while the policy that he is advocating is being followed and while the Party that supports him is in power. This promise of a happy day is like the promise of the Munster Fusilier in France who wrote home to his wife and said: “Dear Mary, I am sending you a 10/- note, but not in this letter!” Does the Minister think for a moment that the burden of taxation that he laid before us last night can be received with equanimity by the people of this country? We have forced upon us at the present time the difficulty of collecting the local rates, and everywhere there is an increase as compared with last year of at least 25 per cent. We are 25 per cent. over what was levied last year. I do not think I would be very far out in expressing the opinion that local taxation will approximate to something like £7,000,000. With this burden which the Minister has introduced to us in his Budget of £31½ millions, we have to add this £7,000,000 for local taxation. That is a crushing burden on this small country, this Free State of Twenty-Six Counties. It is faced with a national burden of £38½ millions for the coming year. That amounts to about £13 per head of the population. I think everybody in this House will agree that that is a burden this country cannot bear with equanimity.
Mr. O'Neill: Can we meet that burden when our trade in one year has been reduced by £22,000,000? This increased taxation, this £38½ millions has to be met by people whose turnover in trade has fallen in the last year from £86,000,000 to £64,000,000. That is a loss of £22,000,000 in the turnover of one year's trade. Can we face that crushing burden under these conditions? I move to report progress.
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