Friday, 21 July 1933
Dáil Éireann Debate
Minister for Finance (Mr. MacEntee): The object of this Bill is to make provision for the setting up of a company having for its principal object the acquisition, erection and operation of sugar factories, and to empower the Minister for Finance to invest funds therein, in accordance with the Government's policy for the extension of the beet sugar industry. As, no doubt, the House is aware, during the last 100 years or so there has been a great development of the beet sugar industry in most European countries, and during the past few decades or so in North America also. This industry now constitutes an important factor in the agriculture economy of many countries as, for example, France, Germany and  Czecho-Slovakia. Since the European War the beet sugar industry has been greatly extended in Great Britain. Prior to 1914 only one beet sugar factory was in operation there, whereas during the past winter there were no less than 18. Naturally, beet sugar, which is a product grown in a temperate climate, cannot complete on equal terms with cane sugar, and it has been necessary in every country, where the industry has been developed, to afford it a substantial measure of State assistance. The nature of this assistance has varied. In some countries, it is afforded the protection of customs duties. In others it is afforded, in addition, a subsidy or bounty, and in Great Britain and in this country it has been fostered by a direct subsidy operating in conjunction with a preferential duty. The Carlow factory has been in operation now for some years, and during that period, with the exception of the year 1931-32, the average output of the factory might be taken to be about 20,000 tons in round figures. As against this, however, our average imports during the past three years have been 83,473 tons, having an average value of £831,000 or, approximately, in round figures, £10 per ton.
It is felt by the Government that in view of the general nature of our agricultural economy, in view, particularly, of the necessity for finding some other means of utilising to its fullest capacity our soil, which changing agricultural conditions in Great Britain and in the great cattle-producing countries which supply the market there will force upon us, this industry is one which ought to be developed in the Free State. Against this there is no sound argument why £830,000 per annum, or putting it in round figures that £800,000, which, on an average, we now pay for imported sugar should not be paid to our own farmers and to our industrial workers in the factories. As I have said, the Carlow factory has been established for some years. It was admittedly an experimental undertaking but the experiment has proven that our soil and, possibly, the agricultural aptitudes and methods of our people are admirably adapted to  the production of sugar beet. The sugar content of the beet grown in successive years here has continuously improved from 17.3 to 16.7 in the earlier years until last year it was 18.5 with the consequence that the average yield of sugar per ton of beet has correspondingly increased from 2.69 cwts. in 1927-28 to 3.1 cwts. in 1932-33. Similarly, also, there has been a corresponding increase in the crop yield per acre until now it stands, I think, at over 11 tons. In fact, it might be said that the Carlow experiment has shown that in no country in Europe are the natural conditions more favourable for the production of sugar beet.
The Carlow experiment, however, was carried out under very exceptional conditions. The average subsidy, for instance, direct and indirect, which is to be granted to the Carlow factory in respect of a production of 20,000 tons of sugar during the coming season will be of the order of 19/9½ per cwt. and if we were to proceed with the development of the industry upon this admittedly experimental basis, continuing considerable inducements which had to be offered to farmers to undertake the initial risks in the venture, we should find that the average cost to the State of manufacturing this additional 80,000 tons would be of the order of £1,560,000 and that the total cost to the State of producing all our sugar requirements at home would be £1,950,000 or over 2d. per lb. to the consumer than foreign sugar.
It is quite clear that to proceed on this basis would not be practicable and, accordingly, a reduction of costs must be sought for under all heads. By virtue of the present arrangement, the Carlow company has been able (1) to pay dividends from 10 per cent. to 15 per cent. per annum and averaging 12½ per cent.; (2) to write down the value in its books of the factory and its machinery from £347,000 to £165,000, and (3) to accumulate cash reserves in excess of £250,000. As I said, we must seek a reduction in costs under all heads. We must ask the growers to accept a lower price for their raw material and investors to accept a lower return on capital and  we must, since these reductions will not bridge the gap, ask for an increase in the price of sugar to the consumer, but an increase which will fall far short of what would be necessary if we were to proceed to extend the industry on the existing Carlow basis.
Assuming a price of 35/- per ton for beet of 17½ per cent. sugar content, a return on capital of about 5 per cent. and an improvement in manufacturing costs which, we believe, it will be practicable to secure when the new factories of the very latest type are installed and are operated under possibly the most competent technical skill that can be secured in Europe, we are of opinion that sugar can be produced here at about 21/- per cwt. and that, I should say, would not be the end because there is the possibility that the rate of remuneration on capital in the earlier stages may be still further reduced and, as well, some further reduction may be sought in the cost of manufacture, so that the all-in cost may be brought down to the neighbourhood of 20/8 per cwt.
Mr. MacEntee: No, I have not, for this reason, that while we have taken the nominal price of the beet to the producer at 35/- per ton, he will also be entitled to the by-products free at the factory. With a price of 35/- for beet of sugar content of 17½ per cent., the grower will also be entitled to the pulp and molasses free at the factory. Taking that at the low value of 2/6 per cwt., and taking the yield of by-products at 1½ cwts. per ton of beet, this is equivalent to an addition of 3/9 per ton to the grower if he wishes to avail himself of it.
I do not propose at this stage to go any further into the question of price to the grower. I am leaving that  aspect of the matter to the Minister for Agriculture. I want to try and set out for the Dáil what the economic value of the extension would be. With three new factories and improved methods of production we can safely assume that there would be paid in wages to industrial workers in the factories, both those employed only during the campaign when the number would be considerable and those employed on the year round basis, not less than £55,000 per factory. In addition, there would be paid, for the conveyance of beet to the factory, freight at the rate of about £70,000 per factory.
Mr. MacEntee: Yes, that is right. The general freights will work out at £70,000. For bags and filter cloths, all of which would be manufactured in this country, there would be paid each year about £15,000 per factory, and for limestone there would be paid about £3,000 per factory, making a total under all those heads for the four factories of £572,000. It is necessary to point out that we have assumed 35/- for beet of a sugar content of 17½ per cent. Last year the sugar content was 18.5 per cent. It is not unreasonable to assume that 18 per cent. is a figure that, with further experience and with improved methods of cultivation, our people could quite easily attain. On that basis there will be paid to beet growers, for approximately 666,666 tons of beet, the sum of £1,299,999. If the average remuneration on capital were to be taken at 4 per cent. there would be paid £64,000, making a total outlay of £1,836,000.
Mr. MacEntee: On four factories, including the existing one. We are dealing now with the prospect of supplying all our home requirements; we are working on the basis that our total requirements can be supplied out of four factories, including the existing one.
Mr. MacEntee: It does not matter whether they are on the basis of three or four factories; they represent the money that will be spent in this country when we are supplying all our national requirements. If Deputies will turn that over in their minds they will see that the statement is correct.
Mr. MacEntee: The total economic output of these factories, expressed in terms of money, will be value for £1,836,000. Assuming the capital costs of the plant and machinery which will have to be imported here will be £1,000,000 and assuming again a return of about 4 per cent. capital—it does not matter if any Deputy opposite wishes to make it 5 per cent.; it will make a difference of only £10,000 either way—the annual export of interest to pay for that plant would be about £40,000. Assuming a sinking fund at 8 per cent., which is a reasonable allowance in all the circumstances, there would have to go out annually the equivalent of £80,000; that would be on account of the sinking fund and the amortisation of the plant.
Let us assume we imported coal for these factories to the value of £80,000. That again is an outside and generous assumption, because means have already been developed in the existing Carlow factory for the purpose of utilising Castlecomer coal, and it is being utilised there at the moment very satisfactorily. Taking the worst case however, that we have to import coal to the value of £80,000 for this factory annually, we find the total export for coal, interest on plant,  annual amortisation of the plant might be put at a figure of £200,000. As against that we have to set the average value of the sugar imported over the last ten years at £830,000, showing on this experiment a net gain to the people and the State, on this development, of not less than £600,000. The economic advantages of that are going to be very great. We shall have circulating in this country, and distributed in the neighbourhood in which these factories are established, a sum of almost £2,000,000 per annum passing from hand to hand, fertilising every opportunity, energising every enterprise and providing for all our people an incentive to labour which hitherto they have not had.
At the present moment it might be said that possibly we spend something not as much but very nearly £1,800,000 buying sugar and distributing sugar— buying it cheaply. But every year we must find, out of the capital resources of this country, a net sum of over £830,000, or an excess over and above what we should have to pay for producing all our sugar here, of £630,000—something that goes out of the country, can never be replaced, for which we get no true economic return. If we do enjoy foreign sugar at a lower price we have to pay this price for it: that a large part of our land is uncultivated, that a large portion of our urban population is unemployed and that from what margin is left we have to pay for the upkeep and maintenance of those people.
I have already explained, coming to the price of sugar, that we hope by making a certain reduction under two heads to bring the average manufacture price of sugar here down to the neighbourhood of 20/6 or 21/- per cwt.
Mr. MacEntee: No. on the new factories plus the Carlow factory. It seems to us, on the basis of these figures, that a measure of protection a little in excess of the present customs duty of 11/8 per cwt. on sugar, that sugar might be manufactured from home-grown beet for sale at 1/- or at not more than 1/6 in excess of the wholesale price now current. If the new factories get into production, along with Carlow, the supply of the major part of the country's demands will be home produced, and, if there was no increase, or a comparatively small increase, in the customs duty, and in the excise duty on home manufactured sugar, there would be little or no return from customs duty and an important source of revenue would disappear. Naturally in present circumstances we could not contemplate that.
We must still, having regard to all the other commitments the Government has to provide for, look for substantial revenue from sugar, and, accordingly, the customs duty would in due course have to be increased, and an excise duty equivalent to the increase of customs duty would have to be imposed upon home manufactured sugar. And this increase would, in turn, necessitate an increase in the price of sugar to the consumer. Whether that increase will be a halfpenny or three farthings per pound will be entirely dependent upon the needs of the Exchequer. I am not able to make any closer forecast of our requirements than that. Having regard to the general conditions that will accrue to all sections of the community from an extension of the sugar beet industry and the lower prices that the growers will be asked to accept and the reduced remuneration that will be afforded to the capital invested in the factory, and the needs of the Exchequer, the Government consider it reasonable to ask the community to bear such increases as I have indicated. The proposals I have outlined are, I submit, in all the circumstances, as fair and equitable a division as could be devised between the interests concerned, namely, the beet growers, the investors, the investing public and the Exchequer.
 Now to come to the Bill. The Bill is divided into three parts. The first, I think, is self-explanatory, and the second deals with the formation of the company which it is proposed to set up to carry out the scheme. The new company will be a registered company under the Companies Act and will be a limited liability company. The nominal capital will be £2,000,000 divided into 2,000,000 shares of £1 each and this capital may, with the consent of the Minister, be divided into several classes of shares and these shares may have attached thereto any preferential, deferred, qualified or special rights, privileges or conditions.
Section 7 of the Bill empowers the Minister to acquire shares of any class, the shares acquired not to exceed £500,000 in nominal amount. The company will also be empowered to issue debentures to an amount not exceeding the paid-up share capital of the company, and these debentures may be guaranteed as to interest and principal by the Minister. A prospectus will, in due course, be issued in respect of such portion of the authorised share capital as the company may find necessary to offer for public subscription. Failing adequate response to the prospectus, the company may avail itself of the facilities which will be afforded under the proposed new Industrial Credit Company. In view of the fact, therefore, that the company may at the outset be financed largely out of public moneys and will be given a monopoly of the sugar requirements of the home market, it will be recognised that the Minister should have a controlling interest in the operation of the company. The Bill, accordingly, provides that the number of directors shall be seven, of whom four, including the managing director, will be nominated by the Minister for Finance. This control is to be continued so long as the rate of customs duty chargeable on imported sugar is higher than the rate of excise duty chargeable on home manufactured sugar; that is to say, so long as the industry is afforded any measure of protection. In the light of present conditions it is not foreseen that the home industry will ever be able to carry on or operate successfully  without a monopoly. Therefore, it will be seen that the controlling interest of the Government in the conduct of the company will be more or less of a permanent nature. The Bill provides that the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the company are subject to the approval of the Government, thereby ensuring that many working details of importance, which could not be conveniently enumerated in the Bill, will be settled with due regard to the public interest.
In Part III of the Bill powers are taken to compulsorily acquire lands, etc. It is not, however, anticipated that the occasion will arise for putting these into effect. They are merely included in the measure as a safeguard so as to ensure that no undue delay will occur in setting up the factories. The factories under the present scheme will require to be completed in time to deal with the 1934 crop and it is essential that the preliminary work in connection with the acquisition of sites and the construction and lay-out of the factories should commence early in September. If any undue delay occurred particularly in regard to the acquisition of the lands selected as the most suitable sites, it might not be found possible to have the factories erected in time to carry out the terms of the contracts which will be entered into with the beet-growers. The method of procedure in connection with the acquisition of lands will be as follows: The company will proceed to purchase in the ordinary way such lands as they require for sites, sidings, transport purposes, etc., and it is intended that this procedure should be followed out as far as possible up to the stage at which it becomes imperative to conclude the arrangements in this regard. We hope that if ever the powers in Part III of the Bill have to be used at all, it will be only in isolated instances and in relation to small areas. At any rate, these powers will terminate at the end of five years when the Government and the company will be in a position to know whether the sugar consumption warrants any extension of the existing factories.
 I have already pointed out that in the initial stages of the undertaking it will be necessary for the Government to provide a large part of the capital resources of the company, but it is the Government's desire and intention that the company should be left as free as possible to carry out the business of establishing the industry and, once the company is formed, there will be as little Governmental interference with it as possible. The directors will be left free to administer and to operate the undertaking entrusted to them. They will be empowered to secure the best available technical advice in matters pertaining to the construction and equipment of the factory and they will be left free to the fullest possible extent to develop the business in the same way as a purely privately-owned company would develop it. It is the intention that the new company should acquire the Carlow factory, if the proprietors of that factory are willing to dispose of their interest in it at a fair price. The existing contract with that factory has still three manufacturing seasons to run. If that factory cannot be acquired at the moment, it is not the intention of the Government to renew the contract with the Carlow factory at the end of the period. At the latest, therefore, in 1936 the company will become the sole manufacturers of sugar in the Irish Free State. I do not think it is necessary for me to say any more at this stage of the Bill. If any points are raised during the debate I shall deal with them in my reply.
Mr. Cosgrave: If this new company is a success it will certainly be due more to luck than to the careful consideration which the Ministry has given to the proposals before they were brought in. On 27th June the Minister, in asking for £15,000 for preliminary expenses in connection with the inauguration of this company, stated that £15,000 was in the nature of preliminary and promoting expenses to enable the Government to go ahead and have everything ready to put before the Dáil in the form of definite proposals when the Dáil reassembles after the Recess. The  other night we heard from one of the Minister that they could not get anything definite from the Opposition as regards the business of the House. It would be very hard to get any sort of a definite statement from an Opposition which is met with such a contradictory and changing policy as is shown in the Government's treatment of this business. What is the situation? The night before last some five copies of this measure were distributed to a select few. When we were promised this measure a week or a fortnight ago—the Minister can correct me if I am wrong—it was to be in our hands possibly on Saturday and certainly on Monday. The Minister was almost outraged at the suggestion that it was going to be delayed beyond Monday morning. A select few, as I have said, got it on Wednesday night, and it is being discussed here now on Friday morning. That is the amount of consideration being given to it—and this is within your knowledge, sir—after an all-night sitting and a considerable portion of the following day and successive closures in respect of certain other matters. We had here a short time ago an investment in an industrial credit company, and we were told that in connection with that particular organisation the sum of £2,000,000 was estimated as the cost of the sugar beet industry. That is a fairly substantial figure. Bearing this in mind, the Minister for Agriculture, in dealing with this sugar beet industry some time ago, told us that there were three different methods of lessening the costs in connection with the inauguration of an extension of the sugar beet industry. One method was to lessen the costs, which, I presume, meant, amongst other things, the capital costs. The second method was to lessen the price of beet; and the third was to increase the price of sugar. A sum of £2,000,000 is to be devoted by the Industrial Credit Company towards sugar beet and now, under this Bill, the Minister is entitled to put £500,000 into the same industry. Does that mean that it is contemplated that there is an expenditure of £2,500,000? Is the Industrial  Credit Company then to be saved £500,000? If so, their expenditure is only £1,500,000.
Mr. Cosgrave: It may not be anything? Then what is the £5,000,000 for? The Estimate put before us in connection with that £5,000,000 was £2,000,000 for sugar beet, £750,000 for cement, £500,000 for industrial alcohol, as far as my recollection goes, and either £500,000 or £750,000 for paper manufacture.
Mr. Cosgrave: The case put before us was that that particular Estimate took between £3,750,000 and £4,500,000. In so far as the £5,000,000 is concerned, anyhow, it is relieved by £500,000 by this measure. I take it that that is so.
Mr. Cosgrave: My trouble about this is that I am getting more and more convinced, as I see Government proposals, that their policy changes overnight. I believe that will continue as long as we have the after dinner meetings of the Executive Council. They must meet in the day. It would be much better for everybody, because then we would not have these hasty decisions. What does the Minister mean by saying that he intends to put it before the Dáil in the autumn? I expect it will be before the House during the session. That is the first definite intimation we have got, and we know now that extra time will be required to allow that to happen.
Having cleared up the ground with regard to that, may I come to the next point? The Minister's concluding remarks had more to do with the Bill than his earlier remarks. May I suggest that he should drop the oratory — the “energising,” and “fertilising,” and all the other grand terms which flow out easily, but have nothing to do with what is before us, which is pledging and investing public money and investing it with people with very little experience of the  investment of money. I myself have to be very careful about my investments. It is proposed in this Bill to invest £500,000. That is not the Minister's money. It is the taxpayers' money. I would suggest that, instead of endeavouring to swallow the Carlow factory, they should see whether it is possible to get the Carlow factory to extend. I have no shares in that factory, and I am not personally interested in it, but there was a successful organisation there. We were told 12 or 18 months ago that it was a white elephant.
Mr. Cosgrave: There are three points to be considered in connection with that factory. Number one, was it a success? It was—a remarkable success? Number two, was it efficient? It was—remarkably efficient. Number three, was it an addition to our industrial economy? It was. Now, the proposal, judging by the concluding remarks of the Minister, is that that is to be taken up. By whom? Nominees of the Minister are to run this new company—four, I think, out of seven. The Minister has called it a monopoly —I do not regard it as a monopoly any more than I regard it as a monopoly to give a man money to lose. Nobody will go—nobody can go—into this while circumstances are as they are. When the Minister said that the cost of production were something in excess of 20/- a cwt. and we could buy sugar at 10/- a cwt. nobody will go in. What is the directorate of the Carlow factory composed of? The majority of them are foreigners. I believe even that a majority of them may be of a different nationality from that of the chairman, but, as I have said, it is a success. Does anybody here in this country know a sufficiency about sugar manufacture or the running of an industrial organisation such as the Carlow factory? Does any national of this country, under any of the various terms we have employed in these measures, outside the sugar manufacturing company in Carlow, know anything about this business? I do not know of anybody.  I have never heard of anybody with such knowledge. It must be going to be run, then, by persons outside the country. What do we know of them? The Carlow organisation is being well run and, as I have said on many occasions and as the Minister knows, it is very much easier to expand an industry or a business from a given start than to start a big new industry. It is even very much easier for a farmer with 20 acres to increase his holding up to 100 acres and run it successfully than to bring in a new man and give him 100 acres to start a new agricultural industry on that.
This Bill is not sufficiently long in the hands of Deputies to deal with it on a Second Reading. It is little more than a farce to deal with public business in that fashion. We had a farce this day week in which huge sums of money were voted in the early hours of the morning after a prolonged sitting of nearly 30 hours. You cannot get that proper consideration to which a subject of the magnitude of this is entitled in those circumstances.
In the first place, the sum of money that is going to be invested here is very large. It is particularly large. The Minister did not tell us how far he had got in respect of the persons whom he was considering he would nominate on this directorate. He did not get that far. I do not know whether he has them in mind and after all they are the people upon whom the main responsibility will rest for the success of this organisation. Take another figure— the plant and other items in connection with the inauguration of this factory. According to the Minister that amounts to £2,000,000. Having regard to the way in which the Minister mixed up the factories that are to be established I do not know whether he included in that sum the Carlow factory or not. I would be inclined to think that he did. Now I happen to know that the Carlow factory cost primarily £400,000. I know the Carlow factory cannot be in this figure. What are the other sums of money?
Mr. Cosgrave: Are there any other items for the inauguration of this plant and machinery? The Minister did not give them to the House. If the Ministry are not lost to all sense of reason in connection with matters of this sort they will not ask the House to consider a Bill such as this at such short notice. They should publish along with the Bill an explanatory memorandum dealing with the various items. Deputies have to wait until Wednesday before they will see the figures the Minister has given. The House I submit is entitled to have an explanatory note circulated giving all these moneys. If the Minister puts £500,000 into these factories is it the suggestion that the Industrial Credit Corporation will put up the remainder or that we may have the whole investment by public money?
The Minister gave us no reason why there should be an alteration in the designations of the various shares; what the reason was that the different designations should be made I do not know. We have not been told what special privileges would attach to the preference shares that he intended to have. We have not been told anything about the special privileges of the preference shares in this company, or whether he has made up his mind on that matter, and whether he has consulted the personnel of his new directorate as to what the various classes of shares would be. What they want debentures for in this organisation I do not know, unless he did not intend to invest as much money as he had already in mind. What is the reason for debentures in the case of a company that is to have a lease for ten years? This company is to be well run; it is to produce sugar at a price that will entail a profit. It is going to give a smaller price for the beets. It is almost certain to earn a profit. What, then, is the necessity of talking about debentures unless it is to provide a trustee security for investors?
I will summarise shortly what the position is, taking the Minister's speech as the basis that it is almost certain that there will be profits. The profits will be limited, I gathered from the Minister's remarks, to 4 per cent.  I take it that he considers 4 per cent. would be quite enough. He did not commit himself to that particular figure, but in assessing the entire sums to be invested there, he said he could take it at 4 per cent. even though people outside said it should be 5 per cent. He mentioned 4 per cent., and extended it to 5 per cent. to meet, he said, the anticipated requests from this side of the House. But he got no such requests from this side of the House. He said he was going to amortise it. Now, summarising it, we are to have (1) smaller dividends, (2) there is to be a smaller price for the beets, (3) there are to be lower costs in the running of the factory, and (4) there is to be an increase in the price of sugar. Everybody is to get less than he is having at present, but the consumer is to pay more. Now the Minister for Industry and Commerce will do something more than shake his head. The fact is that the Minister stated definitely that the Revenue could not afford to lose the customs duty which it was in the habit of receiving in respect of three-fourths of our sugar consumption.
Mr. Cosgrave: The present subsidy charge is a much lesser item than the loss in the customs duties. It is a considerably lesser item. The fact is that if the whole sugar requirements of the country are manufactured in the factories here we must lose the customs duties on sugar. There is no escape from that. We must compensate that by putting from 1/2d. to 3/4d. a lb. on the sugar, by paying a lower price for the beet and paying a lower dividend on the money of the people invested in the factories. We will have a lower rate of interest, but an increased price for sugar.
Mr. Cosgrave: It does not matter what it is called, whether it is a subsidy or the remission of duty. It is a question of how much is involved. Is not the money involved the difference between the cost of the imported sugar and the price at which we can produce sugar in this country? Is not that the  problem? There is unquestionably a problem there. How is that problem being met at the present moment? The most efficient sugar manufactory in the world is in Carlow. That is the most efficient sugar factory. We are going to start three other factories. They will not be more efficient, whatever we may hope for. All they can do is to come near the standard in Carlow. The difference has to be made up between the price of the raw material and the price at which we can produce the sugar here. Is it not obvious that the most sensible consideration would be to see how it would be possible to get the Carlow people to take this on? The Minister shakes his head. I would say as a businessman that that should be the first proposal. It would be desirable, and it is more than possible that it would be good business to pay even a higher price in order to get them to operate and be sure of the results than to experiment, as the Minister is doing, with the best intentions and the best advice and the best directors that one could possibly find. The Minister laid special stress upon what he said we were saving by reason of the fact that no money would leave the country for sugar. As I said before, less oratory and more business would be more desirable.
Mr. Cosgrave: If money leaves the country for sugar we may be getting good value, but it is not getting good value when, in order to save £600,000, or to keep it in the country, you are to spend £1,000,000. It does not follow that by keeping in the country £600,000 you are making a saving for the country. We can discuss all these things now without the flag. No matter under what flag in the world economic matters are under discussion they had best be discussed without reference to any flag and just on their accountancy merits. Is that good business if it costs £1,000,000 to save £600,000? By no means. Would it pay this country to manufacture or to grow or attempt to grow tea and oranges and that other article of diet that the Minister for Industry and  Commerce mentioned here last year— grape fruit, or champagne or any of the other things that were mentioned. We could save a lot of money if we were able to grow a number of these things in this country. A lot of money that is going out of the country for them would be retained here, but would it be an economic proposition to grow them? It certainly would not. If this measure be not discussed on its actual accountancy value, from the point of view that when this further development takes place the people are going to get value for their money, then I say there is very little hope.
Mr. Cosgrave: The Minister knows quite well that it was not my argument. I want to put this to the Minister: Is it his argument that if £600,000 leaves this country for sugar that it is a matter of no difference whatever to the people what it is going to cost them to produce the quantity of sugar for which we pay that sum of £600,000? Does the Minister think it was either respectful or fair to the Dáil that this particular proposal should be made on a Wednesday night and be discussed here on a Friday morning without any information, and subject to the misleading interpretation that was possible from the Minister's speech? The Minister will not answer that question in the affirmative at any rate? I hope, for the sake of the little money that is left in this country, and that is going to be left in it by the present Ministry, that this scheme is going to be a successs. If it does prove to be a success, then that will be due more to luck than to any steps that have been taken by the Ministry to ensure its success.
Mr. Cosgrave: I think if I got the choice I would take the chance of being rich, and I imagine the Minister would, too. The reference to these old sayings suggests to me that when an important matter like this goes before the Executive Council the Minister for Industry and Commerce would say to the President: “We are lucky, we can chance it,” and that the President would say: “I think you are right.” Is that the sort of consideration these matters get there? There is a very big sum of money involved in this, bearing in mind that the price of the beet will be low, that the expenses have got to be reduced, that the interest, it is anticipated, will be earned on the money invested will be smaller, and that the price of the sugar is going to be dearer.
Mr. Dillon: The Carlow white elephant is in labour. The only question that now remains is whether it will qualify for the King's bounty with triplets, or for the leather medal with twins. There are two aspects to the present situation: one is the commercial aspect and the other is to regard this as a gigantic relief scheme. Let us look at this proposal from the point of view of a commercial enterprise. The Minister, in introducing the Second Stage of this Bill, said that during the last century there had been great developments in Europe in the beet sugar industry, and that in the last ten or 15 years Great Britain had taken steps to promote it. The Minister did not advert to the fact that the British Minister for Agriculture stated very recently that, having had considerable experience of beet sugar manufacture in England, the British Government recognised that the time had come to review the whole position seriously; to consider whether the game was worth the candle. I think the Minister will confirm me when I say that there is at the present moment an inquiry going on in Great Britain as to whether it is economically possible to consider the manufacture of beet sugar. Personally, I am completely satisfied that the continuance of beet sugar manufacture in this country, or in Great Britain, is absolutely  impossible as an economic proposition, but there may be something to be said for it as a relief scheme.
Mr. Dillon: I do not propose to go beyond the countries where I happen to know the facts. I have not got the data available for Czecho-Slovakia, Germany or France. The Minister will agree with me that France particularly accepts the principle that manufactures on uneconomic lines are acceptable, and that indirect taxation for the purpose of subsidising them is a recognised part of its policy. Whether in the case of beet sugar manufacture they have a great advantage or not I do not know. I can only speak of the conditions in Great Britain and in this country. Mind you, I think it would have been a very welcome thing if the Minister for Finance had informed himself of the finances of beet sugar manufacture in Czecho-Slovakia, Germany and France——
Mr. Dillon: Surely I am entitled to expect that if evidence is available to the Minister to counteract the evidence that is before us in this country and in Great Britain that the Minister would produce it. I am entitled to assume surely, that the facts—as they are abundantly apparent in Great Britain and Ireland—are as I have stated. There is nothing to contradict them unless the Minister produces it. There is nothing that the Minister has said which would give me the slightest reason to imagine that he has at his disposal any information to rebut the manifest facts of the situation both here and in Great Britain. I trust that the Minister for Industry and Commerce will intervene in this debate and will give us the information that this House ought to have. I shall listen with attention to what he has to say. I invite him to give us a discourse this morning on the finances of beet sugar manufacture in Czecho-Slovakia, France and Germany. He has undertaken to recommend this Bill to the  House, and I have no doubt that he has familiarised himself with these matters. We shall listen with interest and attention to a brief discourse from him to-day on the finances of the industry in these three countries.
The Minister embarked upon a very eloquent period and said that this industry ought to be set on foot here for the very good reason—then he paused for a moment, and said: “There is not any good reason why it should not be set on foot here.” I could not help sympathising with him, but of course, as Deputy Cosgrave said, if you are prepared to set an industry on foot here without any regard at all to the cost to the consumer, there is no reason why we should not set industries on foot here for the growing of bananas as the Minister suggested.
Mr. Dillon: All these things might be cultivated here if that principle was to apply. I do not think the Minister for Industry and Commerce is prepared to accept that conclusion. He has not the effrontery to justify the proposal on economic grounds.
Mr. Dillon: I am putting the case, and I am perfectly sure the Minister does not like the cold light of counting the losses being put on it. A person is not entitled to embark upon any industrial venture without first counting the cost. He is not entitled to say that, no matter what the cost, he is going to produce such and such in this country. People have got to weigh the advantages derived from the new departure against the expenditure, to see whether the sacrifice involved might not far outweigh the advantages. Otherwise it is folly to embark on it. The Minister for Finance and his colleagues believed that the Carlow  sugar venture was one of the white elephants, and was a burden on the State. I think I am correct in saying that that statement was made. Looking at it from the purely economic point of view, I am inclined to agree, but, looking at it from the point of view of a relief scheme, there is a good deal to be said for it. I am looking at it first, from the purely commercial point of view.
The Minister stated to-day that to make the proposition economic the price of sugar to the consumer would have to be increased. Therefore it is proposed to embark on the new venture, and to stabilise the price for beet with a sugar content of 17½ per cent. at 35/- per ton, giving a return of 4 per cent. or 5 per cent. on capital, an improvement in manufacturing costs, that with these we could produce sugar at 21/- or 20/6 per cwt., and, in addition, we could return to the beet suppliers pulp and molasses at 3/- a ton. I doubt if these figures will prove to be correct. I doubt if any of the figures the Minister laid before the House will in practice prove to be right. I do not know where he got them, or how he arrived at them.
It seems to me that in all human probability the sugar beet manufacturing going on at Carlow is about as efficient as that operation can be made. As I cannot imagine that there is anyone sitting amongst the intellectual giants on the Front Benches of Fianna Fáil in a position to give instructions to the management in Carlow with regard to manufacturing efficiency, I set little store by the Minister's undertaking to reduce the manufacturing cost of beet. He says he is going to get a return of 5 per cent. on capital. He knows as well as I do that if the return on capital is not between 4 per cent. and 5 per cent. it is going to attract very little public subscription.
The Minister mentioned that he is going to pay 35/- per ton for beet with a sugar content of 17½ per cent. I suppose these figures are liable to revision, if the sugar cannot be produced at 21/- per cwt. He went on to describe how they were going to pay £1,000,000 for machinery in  foreign parts. Then followed the astonishing calculation about the sinking fund to amortize that sum, with interest payable, and the advantages we will derive from manufacturing sugar which we at present import, value for £800,000. He wound up by showing that we would have a net gain for the people of this State of not less than £600,000 per annum. He told us this quite blandly and in the same breath, informed us that sugar was going to cost the people of this State ¾d. a lb. more than it is costing them. Surely the Minister no longer believes all the ballyhoo about money coming in, and money going out, without any reference at all to the circumstances in which money comes in and money goes out.
Money can leave this country greatly to its advantage, if we get good value for it. The only use of money is for the exchange of goods. If we send out £600,000 every year and if we get in exchange goods value for £800,000 do we not derive a great advantage? In striking a balance of that kind there is no useful purpose in saying that there is going to be no economic advantage to the people here, to manufacture in Ireland, at a cost of £1,600,000, what could be bought in the markets of the world for £800,000. The House will remember that when the Fianna Fáil Government came into office first, they made considerable demarche about transferring the duty from sugar to tea. They explained that they did that because they regarded sugar as an essential element in the diet of the poor, and while they recognised that tea was scarcely a luxury—although a necessity—it was not as necessary as sugar, and, therefore, they proposed to relieve sugar and to saddle tea with the tax. They explained that that was in prosecution of a Christian policy. Now it is found that the duty has to go back, and that while ½d. per lb. was taken off ¾d. is to be put on. Does the Minister realise that that represents, in the budget of the average housewife, a tax of about sixpence? Taking the average woman, with a family of two or three children, she will buy about 1/2 stone of sugar  weekly, and if the price is increased by ¾d. per lb. that means approximately sixpence a week.
Mr. Dillon: There is such a thing as overstating a good case. This is not a small item in the budget of these families. I consider that nothing short of a great national emergency would make it legitimate for any Government to levy a tax of sixpence a week on every married working man in the country.
Mr. Dillon: Oh God forbid that they would have any further progeny. The Minister went on to say that taking everything into consideration he was satisfied that he would be left to carry the baby. He put it more politely. He said that taking everything into consideration the control of this company is liable to be more or less permanently in the hands of the Minister. I heard the President of the Executive Council give it as his considered opinion that he thought on the whole, after careful consideration, that Government control of industry was a bad thing, and led to extravagance and improvidence. I am glad to notice that the Minister for Finance, though he is forced to confess that this is virtually nationalisation of the sugar industry, hastens to add that he proposes to leave the utmost possible discretion in the hands of the manager. That is a pious hope. I quite recognise that where you are going to put an enterprise of this kind on foot there is nothing for it but nationalisation, because nobody else could be induced to carry triplets of that character.
There is one matter that I do not quite understand. The Carlow beet sugar factory was started in this country.  I do not really know what the terms were with reference to permanency, but I heard the Minister say here to-day that it was not proposed to renew the contract. I do not know what rights the Carlow people had in that matter. However, I think they made a pretty good thing out of it, and it is very necessary to emphasise that. I trust that they will be treated with moderation if they are going to be taken over, and that no attempt will be made to take an undue advantage of the position that will be created by the conclusion of the contract. I have no doubt some amicable settlement will be arrived at. It would be most unfortunate if Lippens were forced into the position of having to leave the factory derelict or sell at a cut-throat price. I think that matter ought to be carefully considered. It seems to me that as a commercial proposition there is absolutely nothing to recommend this proposal. Let us examine it from the point of view of a relief scheme. If those factories were located through the country with a special view to relieving exceptional agricultural conditions something might be said for it. If those factories were to be mobilised for the purpose of relieving unemployment in congested areas something might be said for it. There is no doubt that the planting and cultivation of beet is a form of agriculture which gives a good deal of employment. I do not know if it is very remunerative employment, from the point of view of grown men.
Mr. Dillon: I do not think so, because I imagine the cultivation of beet is largely work for juveniles. For instance, a great part of the later work in the cultivation of beet is the weeding and hoeing of the crop; still I can well see that in congested areas it might be a crop on the cultivation of which whole families might be mobilised. It would provide a certain source of revenue particularly for men who are in the habit of migrating to Scotland or other parts of Great Britain. All my interests lie in the congested areas, and I hope that I may  depend upon the support of Deputy Hogan and Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney when I say that if we are going to let loose this herd of——
Mr. Dillon: We might raise him elsewhere, but we will try to feed him if he is sent down to us, particularly when we know that we are not expected to feed him economically, and when we know that he is regarded as a kind of removable relief scheme.
Mr. Dillon: No. I think it is perfectly manifest that the consumers of this country will have to pay for his upkeep at ¾d. a lb., and the larger he grows the dearer he will get. I am quite prepared, on behalf of the congested districts, to welcome him to our midst, and provided he carries with him a guarantee of ¾d. a lb. we will keep him fed. On that basis, and on that basis alone, I think the Government are justified in this scheme.
I see that Deputy Dr. O'Dowd has been active. He was in Boyle a fortnight ago, and he said the prospects of Boyle were strong; that he had been industriously about his constituents' business in and out of Government Buildings, and that his heart beat high. I hope Deputy Doherty has been as busy as Deputy Dr. O'Dowd. I hope to see some of those factories situated not far from Dungloe, where people are no longer able to fish for lobsters. Perhaps they will be able to dig peat. I hope we will get one of those factories in Mayo, another in Galway, and another, perhaps, in Kerry or Clare. If they are situated in that part of the country they can be defended, and defended simply as a result of the economic war, and as an emergency measure in order to provide some kind of employment for the migratory labourers, who are no longer able to get employment in Scotland or  England. If they are situated in the wealthy counties of this country—of course there is none left, but what ought to be the wealthy counties of the country, if given a fair chance—in my opinion there is absolutely no defence for them whatever. By the Minister's own admission, in order to make these factories a possibility, the consumers of this country will have to pay ¾d. a lb. more for their sugar; the wife of every labourer in this country is going to be taxed in order to make a sugar holiday for the Fianna Fáil Government. In my opinion that is quite indefensible. The cost is going to be out of all proportion to the advantage, unless we are going to make up our minds that those factories are to be relief schemes for the migratory labourers of the congested areas. Then, and then only, in my opinion, can any defence be made for them.
Mr. Dockrell: This question can be approached from various angles. The Minister in introducing this measure certainly did not touch on the aspect of the question which interests me most or which appears to me most important. In promoting industry and trying to relieve unemployment there are certain factors that must be taken into account. One of the most important of these is how far the scheme under consideration will interfere with the cost of production. The cost of production might be thought to apply only to manufacture and machinery, but surely if you increase the cost of living of the workers engaged in industry, the workers engaged in the whole country, you are justified in concluding that that is increasing the cost of manufacture. I do not think the Minister sufficiently realises the enormous increase in the cost of living, or in the cost of manufacture, if you consider the whole country as one single unit of production that this measure entails. I have a certain diffidence in quoting the figures because the Minister talked about tons, about cwts. and pounds, and these he mingled together with the benefits that were to accrue to the community through the spending of this large sum  of money in the country. Apparently he threw into the melting pot the benefits that had already accrued to the country by reason of the Carlow beet factory. He also seemed to think it a negligible consideration whether three or four factories were ultimately to be decided upon. The Minister seemed to think that it was a question of getting the production of the three factories up to 25,000 tons of sugar per annum.
There is one other very important matter to which the two previous speakers referred. Like these speakers, I can disclaim that I have any capital invested in, or any knowledge of the personnel of the directorate of the Carlow beet factory. It would be a most unfortunate thing for this country if the impression were created that all you can hope to embark on is one single transaction, and that having embarked on that transaction, you are then fair game inside the four corners of your agreement, for anybody who wishes to see what can be done with you or what can be got out of you.
The Minister has mentioned 3 years as the period before the agreement of the Carlow beet factory expires. That company will be left either with a feeling that they are going to disappear in three years or that they will have to be bought out at an exaggerated cost. Either of these eventualities in my opinion would be disastrous. If they are left to compete all round the country with factories that have ouly just been set up, that the price the people in Carlow are paying for beet can be pointed to as a headline, and that therefore the producers should get the same figure in other parts of the country, that in my opinion will tend towards anything but peace in the industry.
As I have stated before, I have a certain diffidence in quoting the figures but I shall endeavour to show the effect on the community which this change over will entail. I am dismissing from my consideration an element the Minister has brought in, namely the turnover of the factory. He is counting the turnover of the factory as making for the circulation  of money in the country. While that is undobtedly true, I think the hard facts seem to stick out somewhat more prominently. As far as my recollection of the Minister's figures goes he said—I hope if I make any mistake in these figures the Minister will correct me when he is replying—that the average imports of sugar into this country are approximately 80,000 tons per annum. The value of these imports taken at the world price is approximately £10 per ton. That makes the total value of the imports £800,000 per annum. If we take the excise duty, which the Minister said is 11/8 per cwt at the present time,—I have reduced it to 10/- per cwt in order to make a rough and ready calculation— the country is at present paying £1,200,000 for the sugar brought in. One third of that, namely £400,000 is excise duty. The Minister has stated that the subsidy to the Carlow factory is in the neighbourhood of 19/- per ton. I am taking the liberty of increasing that to £1 per ton for the purposes of my calculation. The Minister says that the all-in cost of the new factory will be round about 20/- per ton—20/6 was the precise figure. I have taken that at 20/- per ton. If we take the consumption of sugar as remaining at the same amount, that will leave 80,000 tons to be paid for at £1 per ton.
He also says that the country could not afford to lose the excise duty on the sugar coming in, and I think he suggested that it meant 12/- or 13/- a cwt. For the purposes of calculation, I have reduced that to 10/- a cwt. and we are then faced with the position that, at present, the 80,000 tons of sugar which cost £10 per ton with the excise duty of 11/8, which I have reduced to 10/-, brings the total cost to the consumer of the sugar imported into this country to £1,200,000 per annum. Under the new system there are going to be 80,000 tons produced in this country at 20/- per ton, which would amount to £1,600,000 per annum and the Minister says we cannot lose the excise duty, which I am taking at 10/-, and which would mean another £800,000, so that as against the present  cost of £1,200,000 per annum, you will have a cost to the consumer of £2,400,000 per annum or exactly double and if you take it on the basis of cost, it is three times. In other words, the costs are to be steepened up to 200 per cent. I should like to call the Minister's attention to the figures that were quoted for the sweet and confectionery trade and to ask whether he considers that with that cost put on to them, he will not find that the sweet and confectionery manufacturers in this country will probably be looking for an increased protection, or, which would be equally bad, they may come to him and say: “We could not carry on with this going on; you will have to give us import licences,” and the cost then will be still further steepened up on the ordinary producer and worker of this country. As I said, the Minister appears to consider an increase of 200 per cent.—perhaps that is not quite fair; we have to add the excise duty so we will say 100 per cent. because that is what it amounts to— to the consumer quite calmly. Apply that to other industries. For instance, we have a Cement Bill. I do not know at what figure one would take the present price of cement but let us say, for the sake of argument, that it is £2 a ton. Does the Minister calmly contemplate an increase to the consumer of £2 per ton? Because that is what is happening in the case of sugar. It has already happened in the case of butter and I understand that you can buy Irish butter in England at somewhere around 7d. per lb. and it is, I suppose, more than 1/2 here. How long is that going to go on until we discover that it is causing an absolute shut-down of our present exports by increasing their cost to an impossible point. That is the question to which the Government, I feel, have not given sufficient attention in this case.
There is one other matter which is in the nature of a detailed criticism of the Bill to which I wish to refer. In the Bill the Minister takes power to raise capital and also to raise debentures. Everybody is I think, conversant with companies which have been floated with ordinary capital which, when they were not doing well or when  additional capital was required, raised debentures which were put in ahead of the ordinary shares. I hope that the Government are not going to leave themselves open to the accusation that, having induced the public to subscribe the ordinary capital of this company, they, at a subsequent date, put debentures in ahead of that capital. In my opinion, the Government ought to state quite frankly what amount or what percentage, because that is the fairest way of dealing with the matter, of debentures they are going to issue and that they will not go beyond that percentage. I think the investing public are entitled to know that. There was one other matter to which the Minister referred very lightly. He said: “Of course, this company must be a success.” I suppose that if the Government have the fixing of the price that the consuming public are to pay for the sugar, it must be a success because I take it that the Government cannot let this company go down. That is all the more reason why men of tried experience in the manufacture of sugar should be brought in in order that the manufacturing costs should be the lowest possible. I think it was established during the late European war that when the British wished to promote any industry it paid them to take over an industry, no matter how inefficient it was, and to utilise its existing machinery instead of commencing de novo. If that experience is correct and if that statement is true, it would seem to point to the fact that some advance ought to be made to the Carlow people before the Government absolutely abandons the idea of its being possible to enlist their experience over a number of years of production in that industry in this country. and before the Government start out with any group of experts or, what would be much worse, untried people who are presumably, perfectly ready to spend the Government's money.
Mr. Hogan: (Galway): I agree with Deputy Dillon and I want to register my point of view that not only is this Bill unsound, but any extension of beet growing for the manufacture of sugar is unsound and uneconomic. There was an experiment made in Carlow  and it was carried out very efficiently. It is admittedly one of the best factories in the world. Everything connected with that factory has been well done. I do not think you can possibly improve on it, and I beleive that is admitted now. It gave us a result and from that point of view it has not failed. If you are able to draw adequate conclusions from any experiment, that experiment certainly has not failed. What people do not seem to realise is that if you are making genuine experiments at least 75 per cent. of them should fail. They are not experiments if they do not; they are not worth while making. When I say “fail,” I mean they should not lead to a result one might wish to get. In that sense, the Carlow factory has not failed. Something definite has been proved.
It has been proved that there are no advantages in sugar beet growing in this country. I am willing to admit we might have proved it more cheaply, but that is the result we have now. We cannot say it might have been different if the factory were more efficient or if we had another group or it might be different for some other reason. We cannot say these things because it is one of the best run factories in the world and it has an ideal location from the point of view of having a very big number of efficient farmers around, farmers who are operating on first-class tillage land. I think that factory is costing in direct and indirect subsidies something like £400,000 a year. I do not believe it can be worked for less and pay a 10 per cent. dividend. The beets are as good as ever could be grown in this country; they will not be improved on.
The factory is worked most efficiently. The manager and the technical adviser are amongst the best-known technicians in the world. The owners of the company are the best-known sugar people in Europe. There is everything in your favour It costs £400,000 of good State money to make the sugar and provide a 10 per cent. dividend. What are we getting for the £400,000? How many acres of tillage  are there? There are something like 12,000, to 15,000 acres. Perhaps the Minister will say if those figures are correct. How much is that an acre? Between £28 and £30. That is the subsidy per acre.
Mr. Hogan: What are you getting in the way of employment on the land? You are getting very little more than you would get for mangolds, turnips or potatoes. Deputy Dillon was quite right. At certain periods of the year, in the matter of cleaning and thinning, a certain amount of juvenile labour is employed. There is probably a little more labour employed on beet at certain periods of the year, but it is very little more. What are you getting in the factory? You are getting employment for three months of the year for a comparatively small number. I should say the ratio of wages to other costs in the case of sugar beet is extraordinarily low. I have no doubt that with mangolds or turnips fed to cattle or sheep you get more employment. When you add the employment given in the growing and producing of them to the employment given in feeding them I think you will get more employment than you will get in producing beet and turning it into sugar. Whatever lesser employment there is in mangolds and turnips, it is more than made up by the extra employment that you give in feeding them to cattle and sheep on the farm. I do not think any farmer will have any doubt about that. What then are the advantages? I cannot see them. What are the farmers getting at the present moment for beet? I think it is 38/- or perhaps it is 36/-.
Mr. Hogan: Of course, if you are to listen to the farmers themselves, there is nothing in it. I had to listen to them for three or four years and I take all their complaints with a grain of salt. But that price can be given only in the case of a first-class factory on the basis of a £400,000 subsidy. If that  huge subsidy were not there, that price could not be paid. Has the Minister any idea of what the farmer does make out of the 38/-, even on this suitable land? I do not think he makes a lot. I go so far as to say—I have considerable experience of the Carlow factory and I have taken some trouble in going into the accounts in connection with sugar beet—that beet at 38/- does not pay a farmer better than mangolds or turnips fed to cattle at 40/- a cwt.— 40/- a cwt. for beef or 50/- for hoggets. I think that is absolutely certain. If that is so, why have you sugar beet at all? That is really the burden of the interruptions of the Minister for Industry and Commerce. Why have you sugar beet in other countries? That question goes straight to the point.
What countries do grow sugar beet? France, Czecho-Slovakia, Belgium, Poland. Not one of them could produce beef or sufficiently good grass or crops of mangolds or turnips such as we produce, not one of them except in very limited areas where they do not grow beet. It is nothing like as good or rich land. We can grow magnificent crops of mangolds because we have heavy land and an open, rainy climate. We can grow fine crops of turnips and produce a very good type of live stock, because we have a temperate climate, especially in winter. When you combine both you can make a big success of that line of business. The result is that the standard of living of the Irish farmer, when he was producing live stock and live stock products and when he was getting the price I mentioned, was incomparably higher than the standard of living of the French farmer producing beet or the Czecho-Slovakian or the Polish farmer—incomparably higher.
What sort of subsidy have you in Poland, Belgium or Czecho-Slovakia? I do not remember the figures, but the Minister for Industry and Commerce had them and probably the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Agriculture have them. Would I be right in saying that the subsidy would be about half the subsidy we are paying here, or less than half? I think there was one country where they paid no subsidy at all. But what is the price?  Less than half; 25/-, 28/-, 30/- per cwt. That is what these farmers are taking and glad to get. Why? Because they have the type of land that cannot do any better and they are willing to live at a much lower standard. The French farmers, the Polish farmer, the Belgian farmer growing beet works much longer hours and lives at a lower standard than our farmers. They spend much less money on clothes, on food and on amusements, and they overwork their families. The small farmers in France, Czecho-Slovakia and similar countries where the standard of living is very low display tremendous thrift. They carry on the sugar beet industry and make a profit on a low subsistence. It is with these conditions that we are comparing this country. But can you really do it?
If the Minister for Finance faced up to the problem and said: “We intend to change the economy of this country. We are going to get away from live stock and live-stock products and must get on to tillage,” or whatever way you like to put it, we would know where we are. If he announced that we are going to change to tillage, and that in furtherance of that people will have to realise that they will have to live at a lower standard of life, that they will have to work harder, show more thrift, spend less money on clothes and amusements, and on other branches of life, and that if they do that we are willing to help them and to give that economy subsidies as far as we can afford to do so, then everybody would have to face up to these conditions. That would be a reasonable proposition and one that might succeed. But that is not the proposition, that is not the problem that is faced up to by Deputies on the benches opposite. They want to have it both ways. They want to continue the good times, the higher standard of living that we have had and that we could continue to have under the old economy, when beef was £2 a cwt., when mutton fetched good prices, when eggs and butter were bringing in good prices, when people were living fairly well. Deputies opposite want to have that still while dropping the economy  that brought it about. They say they are doing that in the interest of increased population. Admitting that for the sake of argument, I could understand Deputies opposite if they said, we cannot afford these good times any longer. They were good times for the few only. That would be logical. Let them tell the truth. If more people are to live on the land in the European way we must all agree to let this nonsense go. We must be agreed to work extremely long hours and to live frugally, to depress the standards of the people far below what they have in contemplation now. The people should be told that.
The Government are telling the people now that they are going to set up sugar beet factories, and to subsidise them, and to subsidise them to an extent that will give the farmers just as much profit out of the sugar beet factories as they made in the old days out of cattle, sheep, pigs, eggs, butter and live-stock products. It cannot be done. It will lead to bankruptcy, and that is the reason I protest against any extension of the sugar beet from Carlow to the rest of the country.
The Party opposite can make as much political capital as they like out of that. They may say to me: “Why did you start it?” It was started as an experiment. Are we never to be allowed to make an experiment without being called upon to extend it into a series of commercial propositions? No experiment could ever be made if the conditions were that it would have to be extended in that manner. We find examples of that kind in Canada. I was in Canada some years ago. There you get into a train in Quebec and you take a continuous journey of 3,000 miles across the country. You look out and you see another train on a parallel line to your right performing the same journey. You ask what it means. You are told that one is the Canadian National and the other the Canadian Pacific. They have the experiment of the two railways running side by side. You look through your carriage window and you see a magnificent building. You ask what it is. You are told it is a factory, but it is closed up. That building contained about 40,000 tons of  cut stone. You look again and you see in the distance a great cold storage building. You are told that that was a cold storage erected by some Minister or by someone else, but it is closed up now. In that way you see enormous waste of money—any amount of overhead expenses. But it is a rich country possessed of immense wealth with enormous national resources, a fairly small population and they can afford it. We cannot. These three new factories will be there as an experiment. They are going to cost £1,200,000 a year at least. What will you get out of any one of them that you would not get out of the Carlow factory? You will be lucky if you get 45,000 acres of tillage. How much of that will be substituted tillage? How much of the Carlow tillage is substituted tillage? The Minister knows that there is much of it substituted tillage. You will not get a net 20,000 acres of tillage for your £1,200,000 a year. Fianna Fáil Deputies think that the country can afford it. I am perfectly satisfied it cannot. If you contemplate remaining in as a Government for five or six years, I would advise anyone who has ambition to get into the office of the Minister for Agriculture, to cut that out; otherwise his life will not be worth living.
When I was Minister for Agriculture the barley growers came up every year and complained of the price for barley, which was the world price. I said to them, what can I do about it? They said you must do something. We must get some more money for our barley. I had to answer that. Look at the impossible position you are in in regard to sugar to-day. The farmers tell you that £1 19s. is no price for beet. They say that they have nothing out of it. Mr. Bergin and others will prove that the farmers cannot grow beet to-day at £1 19s. yet, remember it is your intention to reduce it to £1 13s., £1 14s. or £1 15s. How are you going to do it? You will have deputations from farmers to prove that they are broke. The factories will tell you that they cannot make money; that they must have  beet at reduced prices while the farmers complain that they are broke and cannot produce beet at the price. They will point out that they cannot grow it at a price that is economic. You will be asked to increase the subsidy and told that you can get it by taxation. Make the people pay a litte more for sugar and then we will be all happy. A hard-pressed Government looking for political support will do these things, and the whole thing will end in political demoralisation. I am absolutely against this scheme and I know that in five or ten years time what I am saying now will be absolutely proved. I think we will be justified. But I suppose there is no way out of it. This is going ahead, and this complete waste of money that the country cannot afford is going to occur no matter what I say.
Mr. Cleary: Deputy Hogan's quite frank statement I think should be helpful to the Minister. But we cannot all be so frank in accepting a defeatist doctrine as Deputy Hogan can. He has been living in a spirit of defeatism for some time but we all cannot feel that way. The one thing that Deputy Hogan ignores and that the Government refuses to ignore is the position of this country with a growing population where you have a large number of men looking for work, on the one hand, and a considerable amount of very fine tillage land idle, on the other hand. Deputy Hogan prefers to ignore the existence of these two big forces, while the Minister for Agriculture realises them and wishes to turn them to the best advantage of the country as a whole.
Unless the policy of the Minister is accepted what is going to be done in connection with these two big forces in this country—farmers and farmers' sons idle and land lying idle on the other hand? What solution would Deputy Hogan advance to turn these two assets, if you wish to put it that way, to the advantage of the people as a whole? He has offered no solution. He refers to idle mills in Canada and talks about the low standard of living in Czecho Slovakia. But the big failures in other countries are no justification  for leaders in this country accepting the defeatist doctrine of lying down and saying: “Until a world settlement comes for the upliftment of the people and removing the economic depression, we can do nothing on our own.” That is a very dangerous defeatist doctrine. It is a doctrine that will inevitably lead to Communism, which we are led to believe the Opposition Party are anxious to bar out. The problem must be tackled. When Deputy Hogan talks about the farmers working longer hours and of this policy of the Government leading to a larger number enjoying the fruits of the soil but in a less hospitable way than at present, he talks of something that is very practical in many parts of the country. As far as the standard of living and the longer working hours are concerned, they do not affect the working farmers of the country. The working farmers in the West of Ireland that I know of are working from dawn until dusk. They have no fixed hours. They are working from dawn until dusk to try to eke out an existence under Deputy's Hogan's policy for agriculture. By working these hours from dawn until dusk they did not even succeed in making farming a profitable occupation by tilling land to grow turnips and mangels to feed to live stock.
Mr. Cleary: No. It is because we feel that there should be some remedy that we are trying to adopt other methods; but Deputy Hogan's remedy would be to leave things as they are. He talks about the good old times when beef could be sold at 40/- per cwt. and a good hogget for 50/-. Can Deputy Hogan or Deputy Belton show us any method by which these good old times can be brought back——
Mr. Cleary: When you could get 40/- per cwt. for beef and 50/- for a good hogget? No member of the Opposition has shown us how these conditions could be brought back; how the farmers  could sow mangels and turnips to feed to stock and make it a productive occupation. If we are to judge by the happenings in other countries and the up-to-date methods of transport and of production throughout the world these times are not likely to come back to the farmer. As far as that is concerned, we might as well be asking for the moon as thinking that any Government can bring back that type of good old times here. I think the effort of the Government to build up an economy here, which may appear to be new to Deputy Hogan, but which is being studied in a very interesting way by other Governments throughout the world, is a thing that should be given very serious consideration. In the good old times tillage was not increasing in this country. There were drastic reductions in the number of acres under tillage year after year during Deputy Hogan's régime as Minister for Agriculture—fabulous reductions in the acreage under tillage. Until we come back to the time when tillage will be made, as far as possible, a productive occupation, and there is a tendency to increase tillage because of its being productive, there can be little hope for the people making a living on the land. Even an increase in the small way that Deputy Hogan regards it, namely, 15,000 acres per factory, or 45,000 acres in one year for beet, would be a welcome thing for the farmers of the country. I hope we will be fortunate enough to get one of these beet factories in the West of Ireland, in Mayo, for instance, to increase the tillage thereby by 15,000 acres from the very start. We have farmers there who are working from dawn until dark as it is, and they have families who will be very anxious to till the extra land. They will not have to diminish the present acreage under tillage in other respects, as Deputy Hogan suggested, to provide for 15,000 acres of beet. It will be worked in conjunction with the policy of the Department of Lands and Fisheries to give extra land. If we can bring about these conditions they will be very desirable and in the interests of the farmers who have never got a chance of making a livelihood. Therefore, this scheme should  be welcomed unanimously and the defeatist attitude announced by Deputy Hogan is not the attitude in which it should be approached even by the Opposition.
Mr. O'Leary: I am opposed to this measure because I believe that the country is not going to get value for the money to be expended. For the last few days we have been discussing a Land Bill, and there is a question about getting sufficient land on which to plant the people of the country. I think it is admitted that the Carlow factory has cost the country about £400,000 per year since it was established. What does the Minister estimate the three other factories are going to cost?
Mr. O'Leary: I will take the cost of the Carlow factory as an example of what could be done towards planting the people on the land. It is admitted, I think, that 12,000 acres of beet were grown to supply the Carlow factory. The cost of the subsidy was £400,000. That works out at £33 per acre. I am prepared to make an offer to the  Government of 265 acres at that price— lock, stock and barrel—70 head of cattle, horses, machinery, hay, straw and everything else that is on the place. According to the President's estimate of 30 acres for each person, that would plant eight families on the place. There is housing accommodation for, probably, three or four. I estimate that at that rate you could plant, for what it would cost to subsidise the one factory, about 500 families on the land every year. That would be a better business proposition and it would encourage people who have invested in land, and who may not be very anxious to part with it, to get out of the land and allow in those people who are crying for land and provide them with an opportunity of living on it. I think that when we are spending the money of the taxpayers it should be our duty to try to get the best value for it. I think that rushing a Bill like this through is simply putting a millstone around the necks of the people. We have no guarantee that the factories will succeed. The evidence gathered by Deputy Hogan shows that they have not succeeded in other countries. I think I have put up a fair suggestion to the Minister and that I have given him something to think about.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: This is a Bill which is to be of assistance to agriculture in this State. It is the first Bill which has been introduced by the Government which really professes, at any rate, to be of assistance to agriculture. If it were the great Bill which we expected that it would be, one would have imagined certainly that it would be hailed with much more enthusiasm than this Bill has been hailed with. Looking at the Fianna Fáil Benches, at the present moment, I find that, while this great measure, this enormously beneficial measure to the farmers of the State, is being discussed, there are four members of the Fianna Fáil Party in the House in addition to the Minister. The Minister is here, of course, out of a sense of duty, and I notice that, out of those four Fianna Fáil Deputies, two of them represent the City of Dublin and another the National University.  Deputy Cleary is the only representative of a rural constituency in the House and, possibly, I am not wrong in assuming that the reason he is here is that he is so exhausted by his recent oratorial efforts that he cannot sum up sufficient energy to depart.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: That is a very good criterion of the views of the Fianna Fáil members on the importance of this measure, and of the views of the whole House upon what substantial benefit this measure is going to bring to the agricultural community, because the agricultural community is largely represented in this House and, as a rule, debates on agriculture, which are regarded as important, crowd rather than empty the benches.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: This is a subsidy, of course, to agriculture. We know, of course, that it is going to be a very enormous subsidy to agriculture. Agriculture needs a subsidy, and there are parts of this country which will benefit by this enormous subsidy which is being given to agriculture. It has this defect, however, and it must have this defect, that it is not a benefit to Irish agriculture as a whole. When this Bill comes into operation, when this company has been formed, and when these three extra factories have been set up, they will be the medium for distributing a very large sum of money raised from the taxpayers amongst the farmers in a particular area. They will benefit that area. They will benefit nowhere else, however, and therefore, I agree entirely with Deputy Dillon when he says that these factories, when set up, are going to be set up for the benefit of a class of farmers, and if a large sum of Government money is going to be spent in  relief of a particular class of farmer— and by a particular class of farmer I mean a farmer living in a particular area—then, most unquestionably, the farmers who have been most hit by the economic war and by the general policy of the Government, are the farmers who should benefit by the setting up of these industries. I say that because if you are going to spend a couple of hundred thousand pounds in an area, it must be of benefit to that particular area. It may not be wise from the point of view of the State—I am not arguing that now—but from the point of view of the recipients of that large sum of money it must be very beneficial. I certainly know that as far as I, personally, am concerned, assuming that this very large sum is going to be expended, I am going, if a factory is not established in my constituency and if my constituency does not get the benefit of this £200,000 or the considerably larger sum which is going to be expended in some constituency, to exhaust all the powers of vituperation which I possess, be they large or small—I am afraid they are rather limited—but I am going to exhaust all the powers of vituperation that I can exercise in denouncing the Minister for Agriculture.
I may improve my style. I am afraid it is not up to what Deputy Kelly thinks it should be, but, after all, I can study the great examples of literature. I can study, for instance, the letters of Junius or I can go further and read the Second Philippic and I can come out armed admirably with vituperation for the Minister for Agriculture or for any other Minister who does not place a factory in my constituency.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Oh, you will. The Minister for Finance appoints the managing director and he also appoints a majority of the board. If the majority of the board appointed by the Minister does not set up a factory in my constituency, I give fair notice and warning that the Minister will hear a very considerable amount about it from me. I do not think I will be alone in that.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Well, certainly I am making every effort I can to get it there, and I informed the Minister that if it does not come there the Minister will in season and out of season hear about it. I say that because if there is a subsidy to be given to the farmers of this State who have been hardest hit, it surely should be the farmers living in the congested areas, for they require this help more than any other farmers in the State. Deputy Cleary said if there were 15,000 acres in the county to be grown under beet that would be one of the considerations. I recognise if this factory is established that 15,000 acres will not be grown in any one county, because I presume that if there is any factory established in Mayo—not in Deputy Cleary's constituency but in mine—there will be a considerable amount of the beet manufactured in that factory brought not merely from that county but from the neighbouring counties.
For instance, in the case of the Carlow factory, we know that the beet that is manufactured there is not all grown in Carlow. Of course it is not. It is brought by train to Carlow. It will be the same wherever a beet sugar factory is established. The beet will be brought to the factory in that county from other counties, but it will give particular help and assistance to the people who are nearest the factory, to the people living in the near neighbourhood of the factory. I do not think for a moment that if a factory is established in South Mayo capable of dealing with 15,000 acres of beet per annum that the whole or even 50 per cent. of that 15,000 acres will be situated in that particular constituency or even in that county. I do not think that that is probable or that it is advisable.
When I come to consider some of the arguments that were put forward in favour of this scheme, as an economic scheme, I must confess that I am a little bit astonished. I heard the Minister, for instance, when he introduced  this measure talking about the advantage of the money not leaving the country. The country, he said, will keep the money. That is a doctrine which was exploded hundreds of years ago. Because if that is a sound doctrine let us see how far it would go? If having no trade and no dealings with outside countries were a benefit to a State, why limit this benefit to the State? If having no dealings with outside States is a benefit to these States why should not the same apply to the province or the county? Let us take, if you like, the Province of Munster. If the Irish Free State is going to be a gainer by having no dealings with countries outside why should the Province of Munster have any dealings with any other part of the Free State? Why should Munster not grow rich by keeping its money at home? Why should Munster not do that? Why should Munster impoverish itself by dealing with Leinster, Connaught or Ulster? If that argument is sound why stop at Munster? Why stop at a province? Why should not Cork say they would have no dealings with the rest of the country? If the argument is sound why should Cork have any dealings with any other part of Ireland? Why stop at Cork? Why should not the different baronies in Cork act in the same way, and say: “We will have no dealings with the rest of the county. We will keep our money at home?” Why should they not say: “We are going to get astonishingly rich by keeping our money at home?”
If the Minister seriously comes in here and puts before the House an argument like that you have only to consider it for a moment to see how absolutely you can reduce his argument to a reductio ad absurdum. Why should not the people of every parish grow rich by keeping their money in their pockets by buying nothing that they can grow? That shows the ultimate fallacy of the argument. I do not think the Minister for Finance can be very serious when he put that forward to the House. It is only a little window-dressing and electioneering on his part in order to catch the  ears of the groundlings. I do not think the Minister should come in here and talk in that strain. Everybody knows that if he is fit to be a Minister for Finance he should give expression to ideas that a person who is fit to be a Minister for Finance would give expression to.
Of course we must have international trade, and if we can get sugar from outside at a very much lower price than we can get it produced at home, and if we would put the area which might be put under sugar beet under other crops and produce something which we can export to the country from which we import the sugar it may happen that we would get a great deal more for our exports than we could get by producing sugar beet. If we had grown some other crop in the same areas we might be able to produce farm produce that in the exchange would leave us very much better off. I hope, however, that whatever will be said for this Bill, that arguments of the nature used by the Minister will not be advanced in favour of it again.
Let us recognise frankly that this is an uneconomic measure, that sugar beet cannot profitably be produced in this State. It requires a State subsidy and an enormous State subsidy to have it produced. The question is, is it justifiable or is it not justifiable to subsidise the agricultural population in three or four selected areas in this State? Is that justifiable or not justifiable? I think most of the Deputies in the House would be rather inclined to take the view that it is entirely justifiable if their constituents are getting the better of it, but if their constituents are not getting anything from it then they will think otherwise. In that the Minister I know completely agrees with me. The question put by the Minister for Industry and Commerce was, is beet a profitable commodity to produce anywhere? Well, of course, there again you have to consider what is profitable in relation to a particular country and that what might be regarded as a profitable crop in one country is not regarded as a profitable crop in the other. In one country it might be thought that if you were to  get £2 an acre for the product of your land that you are doing very well. In another country that might be regarded as starvation. It depends upon the particular standard of living in the different countries, but I think it is admitted generally that beet production in the world has far and away out-run sugar consumption and that that condition of affairs will probably continue unless there is an artificial limitation of sugar production. We all know that before the Economic Congress in London the other day there was a proposal put forward that there should be a voluntary limitation of the production of beet sugar by the various beet sugar producing countries in the world. I do not profess to say that I have made anything like a close or deep study of beet production in other countries. I have read up the subject, of course, but I cannot really say that my reading can be described as deep reading but rather as cursory reading for general information than for any other purpose. This is what I have discovered in my reading on beet production in other countries: in Germany, for instance, they do not look upon beet as a crop that should pay anything more than the cost of production. They do not expect anything more. The way they look to advantages from beet growing in Germany is not from the point of view of the profit made out of the sugar beet in any particular year. They look at the advantage gained from the improved condition of their soil which is brought about by the growing of beet on their land.
They look upon it as an improving crop that will only just pay its way. A direct profit is not looked for. It is considered worth growing for its indirect profit—the soil improvement that it brings about. That seems to be rather an accepted proposition in such works as I have read on the production of beet in Germany. I do not know whether the growing of wheat would have the same effect in this country, whether the soil improvement in the counties in which beet is being grown now is greater after a beet crop than it is after other crops. I am not in  touch with these counties, and, therefore, I can express no opinion on that. Possibly the Minister may know.
We have had practically no time to consider the details of this Bill. It sets up a company and, as far as I have been able to gather, the Minister for Finance is now to become a company promoter. The House is giving him £20,000 to expend on the flotation of the company. The Minister tells us that the company is going to set up three sugar beet factories. In connection with that I would like to point out a rather remarkable contradiction. There is nothing in the schedules on or in the Bill itself to say that there shall be one, two, three, four, or any number of factories set up. Is this going to be an independent company that can exercise its own choice as to where the factory sites are to be? The Minister says “yes.” Is it going to be an independent company which can say how many factories are to be set up?
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: We have been told that three factories are to be established, but that may not be the fact at all. If this company is to get complete discretion, then it can set up one more factory or no factory at all, but simply enlarge the Carlow factory. Is that not so? I hope the Minister will deal with that when he is replying. I gather now from what the Minister said that this company is going to be completely free: that the managing director and the other nominees will  not be under the Minister's control at all. They are to have a free and a complete choice as to the number of factories, and the location of the factory sites so that each factory may vary from area to area. In other words, if they so think fit they can set up 26 or 30 small factories, or if they think it would be a better plan they need only set up one more. So that this Bill leaves everything in the air. All that has been said about the three factories is, therefore, so much empty talk. The Carlow beet factory was set up as a financial concern—it was run to make a profit. It had at its service expert advisers, and was run by a very experienced firm. The managing director of this company is to be one of the directors appointed by the Minister. Looking back at the precedent of the appointments which have been made by the present Executive Council, I confess I do not look forward to that appointment, which will be a matter of all importance, with any feelings of hope: that a man completely conversant with, and knowing the details of this business inside out, will be the person selected for that position. Then, as regards the other persons who are to be directors. So far as I can gather, if the scheme is not taken up there may be no directors—that is if the public do not subscribe—except persons who are the nominees of the Minister. The whole board may be composed of nominees. I cannot look forward with great confidence to the appointments which will be made by the Minister to this board of directors; that they will be selected irrespective of political considerations and purely for their business ability. If there are going to be three or four, or ten or 15 or 20 other factories, will the manager of each be a person selected because of his skill in the management of such factories? I do not think there are such persons in this State. There can be no such persons except those who received their technical training in the Carlow factory. It is elementary that in a matter like this success will rest upon the person who is the directing brain of the enterprise. Unless such persons are got from outside, I very much question whether this company will be  able to get persons who will make this business a success.
As has been pointed out by Deputy Dillon, it can always be made a success on paper, by adding to the indirect subsidy received every year, by making the duty on sugar higher, not merely by 1/2d. and by 2½d, if necessary. By taking a course like that I suppose it would be always possible to make these factories, no matter how badly or how wastefully managed, a success on paper. When I talk about success, I mean success, even within the limits put before the House by the Minister to-day. To make them a financial success on the figures given us, with no higher increase of taxation on sugar than 1/2d. per pound, I am afraid that will be very doubtful indeed, in any circumstances, unless these factories are managed by persons of the highest skill.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: No, but I certainly expect a reply from the Minister. This is a very important matter, and there is an enormous sum of money at stake. I am entirely opposed to this principle of Ministers closuring themselves out, of which we had an example the other day.
Mr. MacEntee: From the point of view of a reply I take it that the Deputy does not intend to divide on this; that the reply would have to be of an exceptionally unsatisfactory nature before a division would be forced. I put it to the Deputy that he should let the Second Stage of the Bill be passed now, and that a discussion might be continued on the Committee Stage or on the last stage.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: I prefer that procedure in this House should follow the regular practice and, if Ministers bring in an important Bill they should  be in a position to close the discussion. I said that there was going to be no division, but, if the Minister does not reply; in other words if, for practical purposes, they apply the closure then, of course, quite different considerations arise.
Mr. Dillon: I do not think there is any suggestion of the closure being applied. The suggestion from the Government Benches is that the Bill should be given a Second Reading. If the Bill had been circulated earlier ample time would have been available last night to discuss it.
Mr. Corkery: It seems to be the policy of the Opposition to point out to farmers what they should produce. At the same time they say that this is an agricultural country. They say that we cannot grow wheat; that we cannot grow beet, in fact, that we can do nothing for ourselves but must rely on people outside to produce what should be produced here. That seems to be the policy of the Opposition the whole time. The Opposition should realise that the policy of Fianna Fáil and of the people is to produce everything that is required whether wheat, flour or other necessaries. The people realised that long ago when they put the Opposition out of power. The previous Government was in power for ten years, and they allowed the land of Ireland to go out of cultivation. An attempt is now being made, under the wheat scheme, and under the sugar beet scheme, to bring some of that land back to cultivation. Under the Land Bill the people will be put back on the land, and they will have to produce everything they possibly can. I hope it will not be necessary for the people of Cork to send up to other parts of the country for sugar.
If Deputy O'Leary succeeds in getting the Minister to take the farm which he offered him, we may be able to give the Deputy a piece of land in his own county on which to grow sufficient beet for sugar. I wonder how would the price which Deputy  O'Leary would ask for his land compare with the price he would get from the last Government for the same land. Cumann na nGaedheal should wake up. There are people in that Party who attempt to talk on behalf of farmers, and who say that they are farmers. They may be part-time farmers, trying to tell farmers about farming. These people should get a lesson from Deputy Belton or from some other Deputy who knows something about farming.
Mr. Belton: When introducing the Bill the Minister for Finance explained it up to a certain point, and then said that the other things that are of interest in this project would be explained by the Minister for Agriculture. That was as it should be. On the broad principle of sugar production for our own requirements, I am as much in favour of that as the promoters of the Bill, or of any member on the Government Benches. I  was sorry the Minister for Agriculture did not take up the agricultural end, where the Minister for Finance ceased dealing with the financial end, so as to complete the matter. We could then see the Bill in its proper perspective. It is regrettable, but perhaps unavoidable, that we had not the Bill earlier so that we could go into it in greater detail. There is no difference of opinion in the House regarding the general principle of what the Bill wants to accomplish, provided a case can be made that it can be done at a negligible loss to the State. Anybody who has any experience of the production of sugar from sugar beet, knows that it is not a question of a profit on the whole transaction, but a question of reducing the loss to the smallest point. I move the adjournment of the debate.
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