Wednesday, 6 June 1934
Dáil Éireann Debate
Minister for Finance (Mr. MacEntee): I move the Second Reading of the Bill. The purpose of the Bill is twofold: first, to make provision for the imposition, adjustment and remission of taxation as outlined in the Budget; and, secondly, to give effect to any changes in existing taxation legislation which have been found to be necessary or desirable. As the main provisions of the present Bill in regard to the imposition of taxation have been fully debated already when the Budget Resolutions were before the House, and as there will, presumably, be a full discussion on the various sections during the Committee Stage, it will be necessary at this stage to refer to the provisions of the Bill only in a general manner.
Clause 1 of the Bill prescribes the rates of income tax and surtax for the current financial year and provides for the continuance of previous enactments. In regard to Clause 2, income tax assessments under Schedule A on buildings in the Saorstát are based on the poor law valuation. As I have already explained in the debate on the Resolution, an allowance for repairs and maintenance is made in arriving at the valuation and, therefore, there is not, in our view, any justification for making a deduction from the income tax assessment in respect of the same items. It is proposed to discontinue this deduction accordingly. I may say that  no alteration in the existing practice is being made in assessing lands, farmhouses and factories.
The Finance Act, 1933, provided that persons to whom the Public Services (Temporary Economies) Act, 1933, applied should be assessed to income tax during the financial year 1933-34 on the salaries which they would have received in the preceding year had the Temporary Economies Act been in operation during that period. Clause 3, sub-section (1), of this Bill, when enacted, will have the effect of offsetting the concession made to these particular individuals last year. In the case of the national school teachers, however, some concession is necessary in view of the reduction in their salary scales, which took effect from 1st April last, and sub-section (3) of the proposed section is directed to this end. Sub-section (2) of the same section will afford to persons affected by the Local Services (Temporary Economies) Act, 1934, relief in regard to income tax on lines somewhat similar to those afforded last year to persons to whom the Public Services (Temporary Economies) Act, 1933, applied.
In regard to Clause 4, under the provisions of Part II of the First Schedule of the Finance Act, 1929, the tax in respect of income arising from possessions in any place out of the Saorstát falls to be computed on the full amount arising in the year preceding the year of assessment, whether the income has been or will be received in Saorstát Eireann or not, if the taxpayer should happen to be domiciled and ordinarily resident in Saorstát Eireann. It has been decided in the courts that income arising from an employment exercised wholly abroad is income from a foreign possession and it is found that in certain cases of Irishmen employed wholly abroad and technically resident in this country a hardship may thereby be occasioned and the clause is designed to enable the Revenue Commissioners to grant such relief as may be just in such circumstances.
Section 139 of the Income Tax Act, 1918, provides for the issue by the special commissioners of what is known as a precept calling on a person who has given notice of appeal to  furnish a schedule of particulars for the purposes of the appeal. As there are only two appeal commissioners and the appeal may be heard by one commissioner the signature of such precepts by both commissioners gives rise to administrative difficulties and, in our view, is unnecessary. In 1929 legislation was passed enabling one special commissioner to hear appeals. There are certain applications for relief, however, usually unimportant from the point of view of the Exchequer, but important from the point of view of the taxpayer, which are not technically appeals within the meaning of the Income Tax Acts and the 1929 legislation, it has been held, does not apply to these. Clause 5 will have the effect of remedying this and making it possible in applications for relief in certain cases to have the necessary procedure carried through by one special commissioner.
Clause 5 simplifies and brings up to date the method of appointment of collectors of taxes and eliminates the necessity for the sealing by the special commissioners of the warrants appointing collectors, including warrants already issued. It eliminates also the necessity for the signature of the special commissioners to the collector's duplicates of assessments. Clause 7 relates to the imposition of certain new Customs Duties and adjustments of certain other Customs duties which formed the subject matter of Financial Resolution No. 4. Clauses 8 to 11 inclusive, when enacted, will have the effect of codifying the enactments relating to the Customs duties on boots and shoes, wearing apparel, certain woven tissues and motor vehicles. Certain minor modifications in the rates of duty are made, but the main purpose of this clause is to simplify administration by bringing together within the four clauses the existing legislation regarding the duties on these articles at present spread over several enactments.
Clause 12 imposes a Customs duty on steam cars, parts and accessories. Clause 13 makes provision for the reduction as from 1st July next of the duty on tea by 4d. per lb. Clause 14 exempts from Customs duty articles which may be shown to the satisfaction  of the Revenue Commissioners to be more than 100 years old. Clause 15 relates to the alteration of the duty on daily newspapers. Clauses 16, 17 and 18 deal with tobacco and relate respectively to the rate of drawback to be paid, the reduction from 7d. to 3½d. in the amount of rebate allowable in the case of certain manufacturers and the revision of the Excise duty on tobacco. Sub-section (2) of Section 18 makes provision for a concession with regard to the Excise duty in the case of certain experimental tobacco growers and manufacturers. Those are growers who will manufacture their own tobacco. Clause 19 exempts from entertainments duty all outdoor athletic sports. Clauses 20 and 21 are complementary to certain of the clauses, particularly 7 to 11 inclusive, and mainly repeal and amend certain of the earlier Finance Acts and terminate the charge of certain duties.
Formerly road tax was payable in respect of street taxis at the rate of £20 per annum, upon which a rebate of £8 per annum was allowed. Clause 22 of the Bill has the effect of abolishing the rebate system and reducing the rate of tax to £10 per annum. The necessary Resolutions, of course, have been passed by the House.
Clause 23 deals with those mechanically-drawn vehicles which are superimposed upon the tractor part and are for all practical purposes lorries. I might say with reference to the debate which took place on the preceding Resolution, this clause does not refer to tractor and trailer units where the trailer is attached by a simple drawbar arrangement; that is, that no part of the trailer rests upon the tractor portion of the machine. The remaining three clauses in Part II of the Bill relate to administration. The first of these provides that the penalty for a certain type of road tax offence may be recovered and enforced at the suit of a member of the Gárda Síochána. It might be well to mention that the District Court is given power to mitigate any such penalty.
The next clause will bring that particular type of offence into line with the other road tax offences in the matter  of court proceedings. The necessity for that clause arises from the fact that under existing legislation search warrants in certain types of cases can only be enforced in the day time. The legislative provision imposing this limitation does not define daylight, but the Revenue Commissioners have been advised that it covers the period only from sunrise to sunset, as seems to be but natural. The limitation has hitherto provided a powerful safeguard for smugglers and the proposed amendment provides for the conduct of searches by night where necessary. This is by no means a novel provision, in view of the fact that many of the Excise laws contain a similar provision. Clause 26 relates to Customs and Excise and stipulates the penalty for a breach of any of the provisions imposed by the Revenue Commissioners in relation to any Customs duty.
Part III of the Bill deals mainly with death duties. Clause 27 has been explained by me in connection with Financial Resolution No. 19, which provides that in the cases to which it applies, the extent of the beneficial interest in an annuity or other interest shall be ascertained without regard to any expectant interest of the person becoming entitled on the death of the testator. Clauses 28 and 29 embody the provisions of Financial Resolutions 20 and 21 respectively. They both provide for the necessary amendment of Section 26 in the Finance Act of 1931 relating to settled property transferred to a private company. Clause 30 embodies the provisions of Financial Resolution No. 22. In the circumstances which I explained when this Resolution was before the Dáil, it was considered necessary to provide that bequests to foreign charities shall not be exempt from legacy or succession duty. Clause 31 makes provision for granting such an exemption in the case of bequests to Irish charities. Clause 32 is designed to enable summary proceedings to be taken in connection with the recovery of death duties. The proceedings will be more expeditious and less expensive than the cumbrous method of proceeding by way of information and answer, which is at present necessary in certain cases; while on the  other hand the taxpayer will not be hampered or his difficulties increased. At present where there is no dispute as to liability attachment proceedings can be taken for succession duty, but apparently not for legacy duty. This clause puts that right. At present also, it is possible, when taking proceedings for the delivery of legacy duty accounts, to require payment of the duty. This clause enables the same procedure to be adopted in the case of succession duty.
Clause 33 provides for exemption from stamp duty in the case of instruments reconveying property to the Agricultural Credit Corporation. The provisions of clause 34 were the subject of Financial Resolution 23, and were fully explained by me when that Resolution was before the House. As indicated in the marginal note, the clause is designed to provide for the confirmation of the powers possessed and acts done hitherto by the Revenue Commissioners under certain statutory orders made in 1923. Clause 35 is a usual clause and it provides for the care and management by the Revenue Commissioners. Clause 36 relates to the short title, construction and commencement.
Mr. Cosgrave: I should like the Minister later on to give us some more information about Section 34. This Finance Bill, in accordance with the Budget issued by the Minister, proposes to collect practically £28,250,000 from the taxpayers of the State by direct and indirect taxation. Last year the sum to be collected was £26,500,000, and in the previous year the amount was £27,250,000. According to the statement made by the Minister last year, he had a surplus of £1,141,000—that was for the year 1932-33. Last year he claimed to have had a surplus of £1,355,000. There may be £100 or so in the difference. The exact figure was £1,354,884. Let us take the round figures. It means that the Minister has collected almost £2,500,000 in those years over and above what he expended. If you add two sums of £550,000 that were in both Budgets for local loans you come to a figure of £3,600,000, which has been  levied in taxation in those two years and which has not been required for any public expenditure. As regards some of the sums which were included in the expenditure of last year, the Minister proposed to borrow in order to meet them, notably in the case of bounties. This year there is a sum of £1,500,000 which he proposes to borrow from the Deferred Annuities Fund to meet two-thirds of the cost of bounties and subsidies. That does not appear to be a piece of very sound finance. First, as I have already stated, the moneys are in dispute, in respect of which the Minister claims to borrow, and, in the second place, if they were not in dispute, unless some change takes place in the position of the agricultural industry in this country, it does not appear to be a good debt. At any rate, in order to collect it, extraordinary precautions have to be taken by officers of the State in various parts of the country. The Ministry has to give a licence for the sale of the cattle seized in order to collect these moneys. They do not look to be really a very easily realisable asset. Taking that £1,500,000 from the £3,600,000 we find there has been collected from the taxpayers of this country—to use the Minister's more conservative financial disposition—a sum of over £2,100,000, and this Bill now before us proceeds to collect £28,250,000. Some justification is needed for these proposals.
Yesterday, on the Estimate for Agriculture, I read out a description of the conditions of agriculture in the country, as published in the newspaper that supports the Ministry. We have had from various Ministers, in their addresses throughout the country, the admission of the fact that agriculture is not in a prosperous state. We know, from the Minister for Industry and Commerce, of his desire to help the secondary industries of the country. These are not the times when taxation should be at a point beyond what necessary expenditure requires. Now let there be no misunderstanding about this point. There is, first of all, the expenditure with which we have been faced in two years, fairly extensive, and as comprehensive as the Minister could possibly design, and  taxation to meet that situation. There is no indication given to us so far—only in the Estimates or in the Budget speech was any intimation given—that money is required other than this £28,500,000. But we have, in two years £3,600,000 not required, and making an allowance for a certain item of two-thirds provision for export bounties and subsidies, we find, in these two years, that we have collected from the taxpayer £2,000,000 more than was necessary.
In looking down the whole list of taxes imposed one can find many items that would commend themselves to a Finance Minister having the real interest of the taxpayers at heart, and being desirous of helping industry, or aiding agriculture in some respect, in mitigating the taxation proposals before us in this measure. This is the time—to take one very small item in this list of taxation—when it is proposed to tax the thrifty people who when considering whether or not they would own their own houses, must have had amongst other things in mind the prospect of relief in respect of income tax charges on their houses. But even they are brought into the mesh, and asked to contribute a quota over and above what they gave last year even with income tax at 5/- in the £. There is no one in the possession of his house, at the moment, whether it is worth £200 or £2,000, who, by this alteration in the incidence of income tax imposed upon his property, will not pay more this year upon his property notwithstanding that income tax is reduced from 5/- to 4/6 in the £.
The scale of taxation has been, speaking fairly, put at a very high increase because from 1932-33, leaving out for the moment one item which might be regarded as non-recurrent, that is the sum of £350,000 which was expected to be realised from the collection of arrears of income tax in 1932-33, taxation was increased to the extent of £140,000 in the Budget. There was a subsequent increase in February, and an additional tax of 4/8 per cwt. was placed upon sugar. This year, although the table explanatory of the Budget for 1934 has on the face of it a nominal  reduction of £351,000 in taxes, there is an actual increase in taxation, because the imposition of 4/8 per cwt. placed upon sugar in February last is continued over in this measure. It was not in last year's Budget. It was imposed first in February, and should, normally, figure as one of the items that should appear, and would appear if the taxation of £23,000,000 were reduced by the amount which it is proposed to collect under that particular tax. Now in the first year in which the Government introduced its Budget I objected to the very high increase in taxation. Last year we made the same objection. We have now had an opportunity of seeing the result of the year's revenue—collection and expenditure. We find ourselves in the position that the Ministry has collected £3,500,000 over and above its requirements. In these circumstances, if the figures as given by the Minister are reliable, the Dáil requires an explanation as to why there is not some remission of the burden placed on the taxpayers in the country.
Mr. Dockrell: I should like to make a few remarks about the Finance Bill. The Minister has reduced income tax from 5/- to 4/6; there is an additional tax remaining on the manufacturers and the business community of this country, namely, the corporation profits tax. That was always looked upon as an exceptional measure and has been done away with on the other side of the Irish Sea. So that in comparing conditions on this side we might say that the manufacturers here are subject to 5/- income tax, whereas the people on the other side are only subject to 4/6. I should like to bring that matter to the Minister's attention because there are certain manufacturers here who urge, with a great deal of justice, that certain concessions should be given to Irish manufacturers. Whatever justice there may be in that demand, I think that nobody will deny that manufacturers from Great Britain should not be penalised for carrying on operations in the Free State.
I would suggest to the Minister that the present system of collecting the corporation profits tax is an  unnecessary, unjust and cumbersome method of raising the amount of revenue required. It involves for every firm subject to this tax considerable returns which have to be made up by accountants who do not work for nothing. A great number of firms have to make out returns which cost them substantial sums of money in order to show that they are exempt from the corporation profits tax. I would like to suggest to the Minister that this is a tax which ought to be abolished. I do not think that the Minister wishes that everything in this country should be carried on under a special handicap. There is no doubt that the costs incurred by manufacturers in this country are unduly high. This tax is adding to the cost and I would ask the Minister to consider how far that can be done away with. The Minister might, of course, urge that smaller manufacturers are exempt from this tax. That is perfectly true. But I would also like to urge upon the Minister that if he could examine what really happens he would find that the sum out of which the corporation profits tax has to be paid is a fund which, for want of a better name, I will call the “expansion fund” of the firm in question. That is the money that is largely devoted to additional buildings, keeping buildings in a better state of repair or embarking on new enterprises. In that way, by diverting this money from these purposes, the Minister is unduly harassing Irish enterprises.
I do not want to refer in too great detail to some of the other items. In the first schedule of the Bill under “Certain Customs Duties,” I notice, under Item No. 4, “Boilers and cylinders made wholly or mainly of copper.” I understand that these boilers and cylinders are about to be manufactured in this country and there is a good deal to be said for giving that industry protection. But I should like to ask the Minister how far he intends to apply this item to boilers and cylinders which have not been made in this country and which have no hope of being made in this country? What I refer to are boilers  which come in as an integral part of supply ranges which are imported into this country. I think that only three types of ranges are manufactured here at present. I suppose that a very conservative estimate of the types of ranges existing would be a couple of hundred. Some of those have boilers fitted to them by the speciality makers who make those ranges. What I suggest to the Minister is that imposing a tax on an item such as I have mentioned is really only giving Irish industry a bad name. People are inclined to blame Irish manufacture for the increased cost of items which, in some cases, are not manufactured in this country. I ask the Minister to look into the item.
The next items under “Certain Customs Duties” to which I wish to refer are items No. 5 and No. 6. No. 5 refers to articles “made wholly or mainly of galvanised wrought iron or galvanised steel,” and item No. 6 refers to “cast-iron articles.” I notice he does not apply the same description to what I rather think he intends to be the same items in both of these numbers. For instance, under reference No. 5—“Galvanised Wrought Iron or Galvanised Steel,” he puts “(b) gutters, pipes and ridgings which are, in the opinion of the Revenue Commissioners, primarily intended for carrying off rain-water”; and then under item No. 6 he mentions “cast-iron articles of any of the following descriptions, that is to say, (a) external water and soil pipes and gutters, and connections therefor.” I suppose the Minister means the same articles in both cases. I wonder, then, why he does not use the same description for them. In one section he has classified galvanised iron as “galvanised iron or galvanised steel” and as cast-iron in the other section. I take it, then, that cast-iron articles or galvanised iron not mentioned in item No. 5 will come in duty free.
The next item to which I would like to call the attention of the Minister is “whiting.” There are supplies of Irish whiting, but is the Minister quite certain that that can be used for all purposes and is he quite certain that it is entirely suitable? If he is, of  course there is nothing more to be said but I would like his assurance on that point. There are a few more items but I do not wish to refer to them in detail. I hope, when replying, that the Minister will be able to answer these questions I have raised.
Mr. Fitzgerald: When the Minister was speaking a few minutes ago he said, with regard to this tax on occupier owners, so far as I could gather, that when valuation is assessed consideration is given to the cost of repairs thereafter. He did not give any details of that and, personally, if he will pardon my saying so, I maintain my right not to believe that until it has been demonstrated. It is a fact, I think, that for the last 30 or more years the habit has been that the occupier owner received relief of one-sixth in respect of cost of repairs, and I should like to hear the details of this valuation process by which people go and value a building and then assess some portion of that valuation as being offset by the necessity for repairs thereafter. It seems to me that as it is a fact that, for the last 30 or 40 years, it has been recognised that the tax imposed on a building on its valuation required a rebate in relation to the cost for repairs it is assumable, until proved to the contrary, that no such consideration was given at the moment of valuation. The Minister, of course, however, may be able to give us the elaborate process through which the valuators go in making that calculation.
Mr. MacEntee: Might I interrupt the Deputy? The Valuation Act provides that the Commissioner of Valuation, in valuing a property, is to make allowance for the average cost of repairs, insurance and other expenses necessary to maintain the property in its actual state. Is the Deputy now alleging that the Commissioner for Valuation has not fulfilled his statutory obligation to value premises according to law, making the necessary allowances for repairs?
Mr. Fitzgerald: I admit that I do not know the Act that governs that, but I do think that the fact that, during  the last thirty years that rebate was given, shows that that rebate had some relation to reality. I do not quite see how the amount required for repairs will be worked out, because, presumably, house property is valued when it is new, and the cost of repairs on house property is a totally different item when a house is ten years old from what it is during the first ten years. Old houses require a much greater proportion for repairs than do comparatively new houses. As I say, I do not know what process he goes through. I do not know whether he calculates that a house will last for so many years and takes an average of the amount required for repairs during that time, but my own experience is that he cannot possibly have taken into account the proportion of the value which should be knocked off in relation to repairs in respect of a building of any sort of non-newness.
There is another matter. The tariff is still on books. I am not able to find it in the Schedule, but I have only glanced through it very roughly. I do not know whether I am in order in speaking on this, as I have not been able to find it in the Schedule, but, two years ago, when this tax was imposed, a completely bogus case was put up for it. For instance, if I remember rightly, the Minister for Industry and Commerce got up and said this was a protective tariff, and he mentioned that some of our printing firms here got contracts for printing popular, cheaply-produced books from English publishing firms. That argument had no relation whatever to the fact, because, in so far as the tariff on imported books is concerned, it only affects the consumption of books in this country. His argument that an English publisher sends over a contract for printing here would only have meaning if the books were actually going to be read here, whereas everybody knows that the Irish consumption of books does not affect the position of an English publisher at all. So far as my information goes, the amount of contracts got from English book-producing firms for printing in Ireland since the tax was imposed is less than it used to be before, so that as the Minister for Industry and Commerce used that as an  argument, his argument was completely fallacious, and subsequent experience, if it means anything, means that the tariff, instead of assisting what he wanted to assist, has had the contrary effect.
I understand—I do not think there is much secret made about it, although there has been a great attempt at camouflage—that the real purpose of this tax was to put a tax on imported Catholic prayer books and, therefore, this elaborate business about “leather bound or partially leather bound” was merely a cowardly way of avoiding facing up to the point and saying: “We want to tax Catholic prayer books.” So far as the production of these religious works in this country is concerned, there is only a very little variety, and I think it is a matter of only one firm that produces them. The assumption which this tax implied was that so far as spiritual pabulum is concerned, once anybody is given something pious to read, it will do them and that the people in this country were to be forced to be limited to one or two varieties of spiritual reading in the interests of publishers or printers here.
That was a complete reversal of values, and the Government themselves seem to be aware of it, because they went to these elaborate and devious methods of describing books as “partly or wholly bound in leather” instead of admitting that they meant prayer books and Missals. This leads to a most ridiculous situation. For instance, just a few months ago, a friend of mine and of the Minister saw advertised in a secondhand book catalogue a volume of more or less the Parliamentary Debates of the Irish Parliament about the time of Queen Anne. It is the sort of thing that is to be got very cheaply, and usually costs about a couple of shillings on the quays. The book had been produced in Dublin, it is true, in the eighteenth century and bound in Dublin in the eighteenth century and when it was brought here, there was a duty to pay of 10/6 or 12/6.
That ridiculous situation was created merely because the Government had not the courage to say that they  wanted to assist a specific firm in this country by limiting the religious reading of the people here in the financial interests of that firm. That tax, from the point of view of revenue, is negligible. There is no point in it, and so far as the Minister for Finance is concerned, I do not imagine it would keep him awake for two minutes if it were knocked off, but the whole situation created is that every book buyer in this country and every book consumer, as I might say, is being taxed——
Mr. MacEntee: Oh, yes, of course, in accordance with the existing law, but there is no new proposal to tax books in this Bill nor is there even a proposal to continue existing taxation in regard to books.
Mr. Fitzgerald: On the Committee Stage. It is peculiar, though, that the Minister protests that I am out of order as the thing is not in this Bill, and at the same time I will be in order on the Third Stage of this Bill. I am only seeking information. That is really the point I want to raise, because I always consider that that is a perfectly ridiculous and scandalous tax, and a completely misleading tax. Under the circumstances I will leave my remarks until the Committee Stage.
Mr. MacDermot: We are opposing this Finance Bill on the general ground that it continues to saddle this country with a higher burden of expenditure and taxation than this country is qualified to bear. A good deal has been said on that subject in previous debates, and I am not going to weary the House by going over ground which has been sufficiently covered already.  I just want to refer to some original and comical arguments which were put forward by the Minister for Finance in the Budget debate to justify the departure of the Fianna Fáil Party from their earlier views on the subject of national expenditure. One was that the retention of the Land Annuities put us now in a position to incur such expenditure without hardship. The short answer to that is that even assuming that we retain the whole of the land annuities, and that the tariffs imposed upon our agricultural products are not to be regarded as having in fact extracted the land annuities from us in another way, the explanation which the Minister gives would not go even a fraction of the distance towards explaining the difference in the ideas of the Fianna Fáil Party now and formerly as to what financial burden this country can endure. There is no necessity to go into figures. I hardly think the Minister would deny for a single moment that the former views of the Fianna Fáil Party as to what financial burden this country can bear were such that, even if you add to their former figures the entire amount of the land annuities, you still do not arrive at a figure at all comparable to what the Fianna Fáil Government are in fact spending at the moment. The other argument used by the Minister reminded me of a broker's circular I once saw—a bucket-shop circular, which sought to attract the unwary to speculate in stocks and shares. It represented that the author of the circular had discovered a new and original method of speculation; that up to now people with the spirit of enterprise and business judgment had always been hampered by the fact that while, on the one hand, the securities they bought might go up, on the other hand there was always the possibility that they might go down; that this bucket-shop had developed a method by which any investor could be quite sure of making money whether the security went up or down.
In the same way the Minister for Finance has discovered a new kind of taxation, which differs from taxation hitherto discovered in the fact that it imposes only an imaginary burden and  not a real burden upon the people of the country. I think the phrase he applied to his taxation was “transfer taxation.” It is merely transferring money from the pockets of some people in the community to the pockets of other people in the community, whereas the wicked Governments of the past have apparently extracted money only in order in some way or other to make that money vanish into thin air. Now, of course, if money is being used for actual warfare it may be said to be vanishing into thin air. I admit that, but even money spent on armies in time of peace is money which is being transferred from one pocket to another in just the way to which the Minister alludes. If it were sufficient answer to complaints of over-taxation to say that the money is merely being transferred from the pockets of certain citizens to the pockets of other citizens, such a thing as over-taxation would not exist anywhere, except perhaps at the time of a great war when the money is being, for practical purposes, blown into thin air. I do not think that the Minister can seriously think he impressed or convinced the House by those two arguments which he put forward to show that his expenditure has a moral foundation superior to any previous expenditure; that he has discovered a way of taxing this country up to a figure far beyond what the authorities in the past, and in the recent past, have considered to be a reasonable burden for this country to bear, that he has discovered a way of doing that without its being felt by the country. I quite agree that enormous expenditure is necessary, to a large extent as a result of the fatal economic policy which the Government has been pursuing, a policy which has opened wounds all over the country that the Government have had to spend money in order to staunch. I quite agree also that, even apart from the economic war, there is a disease of poverty in this country more deeply rooted than we ourselves have generally realised. Poverty in Ireland is not a new thing. If you go back all through the 18th and 19th centuries—and the further back you go, I think, the more poverty you will find—the proportion  of our population that has been living in a state of the uttermost misery has been simply appalling, but we have been gradually improving in that respect. We were certainly improving in that respect during the last 30 or 40 years of the Union. The Minister is now able to point with pride to the reserves that have been built up as a result of a saner land policy in this country, and as a result of the encouragement offered to thrift and industry in this country.
As I say, poverty is something that is endemic here. Two years ago, when I came into Irish politics, and travelled around the country, I thought that the people here were not sufficiently awake even then to the extent of the poverty that existed. Coming, as I did, from travelling in countries on the continent which were supposed to be down and out, and terribly hard hit by the results of the European War, and subsequent peace, I was struck even so by the frightful poverty that continued in certain parts of Ireland. I would go to great lengths, even in the way of increasing taxation, in order to finance a crusade for the abolition of such poverty. My objections to the immense expenditure which the Government are, in fact, incurring at the present time, are subject to that proviso, that while I am conservative in my outlook on matters of finance in general, while I believe that the Government has been profligate in expenditure, I do consider that any Government which might be in office has a duty on it to conduct a shock campaign against the poverty that still exists in certain parts of this country. I should not like members of the present Government to consider that the Opposition were unsympathetic with any ambitions that they may have in that particular regard.
Mr. Belton: I had been expecting the Minister for Finance to hold aloft to-day the copy of a journal that he held aloft here about three months ago, when he read from an article in The Statist—The Economist.
Mr. Belton: The Economist. The correct date of that number was the  14th October of last year, which was incorrectly given by the Minister as the 17th October. Further, the statement was incorrectly made by the Minister that it was the view of The Economist. When I asked him was it the view of the special correspondent he said “no,” but when I procured the journal I found that I was right. It was an article by the special correspondent of The Economist on 14th October last year. From that number the Minister read the correspondent's views on the banking situation here, in which he pointed out that the balance of payments had been in our favour for a certain period to the extent of £8,500,000. “There,” said the Minister, “is the proof, not from a Fianna Fáil source, but from a financial journal of repute outside this country.”
The Minister was very unfair to this House, because from the very article that he read he left out a paragraph which would have changed the whole point of his argument. The article showed that the balance of payments had been in our favour, yet a point had been reached when the balance of payments went against us. The Minister did not read that out of the article. I advise the Minister to get a copy of a current number of The Economist dealing with that matter, and he will find that the point that he stopped dead at and did not quote showed that from that point up to this very moment the balance of payments has been against us.
Mr. Belton: It is a good thing that the Minister does venture a word now and again. It is a good thing that we are beginning to know him, and that some of us come prepared to meet his false statements. This is from The Economist of 26th May, 1934. To explain what the figures are I will go back a bit and read it:—
“is to be found in the movement of banking assets and liabilities between  the two categories, ‘Within Free State’ and ‘Elsewhere.’ In the special circumstances of the Free State an adverse balance of payments (or, more accurately, an excess of payments to foreigners over payments from foreigners) will be reflected with reasonable accuracy in a decline in the net amount of the banks' sterling reserves, and vice versa. It is, consequently, possible to estimate, quarter by quarter, the net balance of payments by watching the movements of these net sterling reserves.”
Then the figures for the last nine quarters are given as follows: 1932, first quarter, £82,180,000. A change is not recorded in that. Second quarter, £83,574,000; our sterling reserves improved on the previous quarter by £1,394,000. Third quarter, £86,490,000; sterling reserves were up by £2,916,000. Fourth quarter, £88,275,000; sterling reserves were up by £1,785,000. 1933, first quarter, £91,858,000; sterling reserves were up by £3,583,000.
Mr. Belton: I did not catch what the Minister said. Of course, it is the Minister's usual trick that he tries to laugh at what he cannot comprehend. This financial paper from which I am quoting has a reputation of over half a century behind it as probably the most reliable financial journal in the world. It has even got that character from the Minister for Finance; not that his opinion on financial character would count for a terrible lot, but it has got it, whatever little it does count for, and it ill-becomes the Minister now to sneer when the case he tried to make here, and which he misrepresented in this House, is now turning back to hit him in the face. The Minister quoted the figures I have quoted, but he stopped when he found that the argument was going against him. I am going to pursue the argument now. This has been the position. For the second quarter of 1933 the banks' sterling reserves were £88,315,000 and that was down on the previous quarter by £3,543,000. In the third quarter the banks' sterling reserves  were £85,844,000, down on the previous quarter by £2,471,000. In the fourth quarter the reserves were £82,983,000, down on the previous quarter by £2,861,000. In the first quarter in 1934 the reserves were £81,547,000, down on the previous quarter by £1,436,000. Before I produced this document our Minister for Finance denied that the balance of payments was against us. It has become the favourite trick of Ministers here, and particularly the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Industry and Commerce, when they are cornered, to get out by false statements on conditions in the country governing certain aspects of their administration. I have not the records before 1932, but from that year on to the first quarter of 1933 the reserves went up. In the first quarter of 1932 they had reached the figure of £82,180,000. They went up for five quarters and now they have gone down for four. They are now down to nearly £1,000,000 below what they were in 1932. That is the first date for which I have a record. What they gained in the five quarters they have more than lost in the four during which they have gone down. In the year finishing on the 31st March last, our sterling reserves show a loss of £10,000,000.
President de Valera has used a formula here relating to the comparative financial strength of Great Britain and ourselves and his figures are 66 to one. On that formula a corresponding fall in British sterling reserves would be 66 times £10,000,000, or a total of £660,000,000. The position in relation to the people of Britain, as indicated by the sterling reserves of the British Joint Stock Banks, is that they never stood higher than they do at the present moment. That is the country that we are told is going down and is not able to buy any more, while our country is going up. We are going with our chests out, full steam ahead. That is the most significant fact in the whole economic situation of this country.
The Minister for Finance was warned, as much as it is pertinent for the chairman of a bank to warn any Minister or Government. Perhaps it  is not correct for me to say, and perhaps I would be doing the Governor of the Bank of Ireland an injustice if I said, that he did warn the Minister, but at any rate, he hinted in this way:
“The effect of the dispute with Great Britain on the economic structure of the Free State was referred to in the speech of the Chairman of the Bank of Ireland at the annual meeting of the Court of Proprietors. Two points of significance were made in the Chairman's statement. Portion of the bank's advances consisted, he said, of loans against the security of land, but the value of this security had fallen greatly of late...”
This is taken from the Statist of the 27th January, 1934. According to the Governor of the Bank of Ireland, that is the position. That bank, I may say, has done an immense business in land mortgages. The Minister can get that confidential information from the Revenue Commissioners; he need not bother the banks about it at all. They have done an immense business. This man is not a politician. According to his profession he should be the coolest of business men. No business man requires a cooler head than the governor of a bank. I take it that this gentleman, whom I met only once, is no exception to the rule that governors or chairmen of banks are cool-headed. I take it that this man is a cool, calculating business man.
“...while there was a hesitancy on the part of the people to invest money in land at a period when an adequate return on capital could not be foreseen. This observation of the Chairman is illustrative of the growing plight of agriculture and the problem of finance now confronting farmers to meet the difficulty by the realisation of land is now apparently out of the question on the  part of many farmers, while the disposal of live stock is naturally rendered more difficult as a result of the limitation by Great Britain of fat cattle imports.”
In other words, since the inauguration of the quota system. We have had it here to-day from the Minister for Agriculture that although he knows nothing officially about the continuance of the quota system yet he assumes that the quota system is going to continue and, further, that he is going to license speculators.
Mr. Belton: I do not want to develop that, even if I had your permission. I would not weight my arguments with it. I know that to develop it would be entirely out of order, but when dealing with the solvency of the State I mention it in passing. All I want to say about the quota is that the Governor of the Bank of Ireland mentioned it in his speech, and that he insinuated the difficulties about agriculture and the difficulties contributory to this insolvency that were in existence then, are in existence now and, apparently, are about to continue. This is said not in any way to excuse my having mentioned it, because I have already said all I want to say about it, and there is no use continuing to say more and taking up more time with it.
I question the Government's policy in borrowing, and we are going to borrow £7,000,000 in the coming year to balance the great Budget which the Minister for Finance brought in, and which so many spokesmen of his Party have been eulogising throughout the country. Let us examine it at close quarters. Now the words I am about to quote are not my words. I would be too ignorant to use such words or to be able to employ such language dealing with such a subject. I am merely quoting the advice suggested by experts. “On the question of the Government borrowing,” the Chairman of the Bank of Ireland hoped “that the recent National Loan issued six months ago would serve to finance  the Government's requirements for a considerable time.” He hoped that; but he hoped in vain, for within three months of the National Loan we have the Minister for Finance announcing his intention of borrowing. Of course, our Minister for Finance is a far greater expert on finance and banking than the Governor of the Bank of Ireland, who has spent his life at it. Our Minister is a successful politician, who, as the nominee of a majority of his Party for a seat in the Front Bench, is now Minister for Finance. Of course, therefore, he is a better authority than the hard-headed business man and financier who has given all his life to it. But I am going to back the successful business man and also the financier rather than the politician.
Mr. Belton: I often criticised the banking system and the want of a central banking system in this country, but I never criticised the way the banks have done their business here with the authority the Government has given them. “Since it is evident,” the Governor points out, “that the continuance of economic stress must involve a draw upon the capital resources in the country, and so diminish the amount of such capital available for long term investments at low rates of interest.” That is the opinion of the Governor of the Bank of Ireland. Here we have a Minister who denies that the balance of payments was going against us. I am showing, by an authority, that they are going against us. I have given the advice of the Governor of the Bank of Ireland that there should not be any borrowing in the near future. The Minister is going to borrow £7,000,000; and on the strength of the money he is going to borrow he proposes to find £4,200,000 for local loans; £110,000 for property losses; £102,000 for industrial  alcohol; £300,000 advanced to Guarantee Fund—I suppose that £300,000 is from the funded Annuities Fund, to replace the overdraft of the local authorities—£1,000,000 to Dáil Eireann External Loan. I suppose there will be slices of that for some newspapers that will be looking out. Two-thirds of the provision required for export bounties and subsidies——
Mr. Belton: Well, I am sorry. In the loans proposed to be raised, I understand that the Security Fund that will be offered will be the annuities on land which were fixed by the 1933 Land Act, at a figure equal to half the original land annuities, and which are now payable into the Central Fund.
That is all the security that has to be offered for the Minister's loan of £7,000,000. Now let us see what that security is. Before the Minister's Party came into office, it is on the records of this House where they made a strong case, a good case and a case well-founded for the contention that owing to the world depression in agriculture it was necessary to relieve the rates by £1,000,000. About that time there was relief afforded already to the extent of £750,000. The then Opposition, of which the Minister was a Front Bencher, was not at all satisfied with the relief then afforded. They said it should be at least £1,000,000.
 At the time when they wanted £1,000,000 to help agriculture, the general prices for agricultural produce were much higher than they are now. Perhaps they have fallen 20 per cent. or 30 per cent. since then. At that time the original annuities payable out of the land were being paid. A number of things have happened since then and these annuities are not now paid in the same way. But in lieu thereof, out of the very same land, money is payable, some of which leaves this country and never comes back to it. These sums are equivalent to what this country, through its Government, paid prior to the present Government taking office. In other words, the payments to Great Britain are still being made, out of the economic life and business of this country. These moneys are being extracted from the agriculturists. It is immaterial whether they go through Government channels and are sent off voluntarily or whether they are seized and taken over. They are being taken out of the business of this country.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy dealt with that at some length on the debate on the Vote for Agriculture. I understood he was proceeding to deal with the security offered for certain loans—whether he is submitting that the money of which he is now speaking is security for these loans I do not know.
Mr. Belton: When I said it did not matter I did not mean any discourtesy either to the Chair or to the Minister. I was dealing with the security offered and I had not arrived at my destination. The point I was making was this: that the land on foot of the annuities was bearing as much as it ever was though it was not paid into our Government  as annuities, but was extracted out of agriculture. In addition and over and above that now there is a payment under land purchase annuity, a payment which cannot be construed as anything of the kind because it is paid into the Central Fund as revenue. That means that the Government proposes to borrow on half the original land annuities. To my mind that is the security.
Mr. Belton: That is all right. The capacity of the country to bear taxation will depend on its economic strength. The capacity of this country to bear increased taxation or to bear taxation at all must be governed by the general national income which in turn is governed by the general national outlay. The overhead charges on agriculture have been increased by the present Government. Agriculture is paying directly more on British special duties than the amount it paid for land annuities. It is paying in addition to our own Government a sum equivalent to half the land annuities and in addition it is paying the burden in respect of the local loans and the R.I.C. pensions that hitherto were national charges and not special charges on agriculture.
The repercussions of that increased burden on agriculture have been very well portrayed in the speech of the Governor of the Bank of Ireland which I have just read to the House. That added burden on agriculture is reflected in the freezing of mortgages which the banks had on the land of this country rendering these mortgages valueless. In addition we have the appalling situation that was disclosed here yesterday and that was disclosed in Question time to-day. This question has a terrible bearing on the capacity of this country to bear taxation. Twelve months ago this country was in a far better position to face up to the bill of taxation than it is at the present time. We had it admitted here by the Minister  for Agriculture yesterday that at the very least there will be 10,000 fat cattle per month left on the hands of the farmers of this country. The country will have produced 10,000 fat cattle fit for the butcher and there will be no market for them. That will mean another 10,000 beasts five or six months old and there are the others. It will mean at least 30,000 cattle per month, or 360,000 per annum for which there will be no use. That is the situation that never before arose in this country.
At the time when that situation has arisen the peak point in taxation has been reached. That is the time when the Minister unblushingly introduces his bill and asks the country to bear it. The country is not able to bear it. How can it with its markets destroyed? The country has first to bear all the taxation. Then, secondly, having to bear these taxes on our cattle and farm produce the market is limited and, thirdly, in the principal industry of this country we are going through a period of the greatest depression in history. I quoted the condition of the country as disclosed by the sterling reserves in the banks. I also quoted the speech of the Governor of the largest banking institution in this country. All of these go to show one thing: that this is a time for saving, for economising and for reducing taxation instead of increasing it.
Mr. Belton: If the Deputy were here he would have heard the figures I read out. These disclosed that the sterling reserves in our banks to-day are down by over £10,000,000 as compared with a year ago. Has that any significance for the Deputy or does it hop off him in the way that it does off the Minister? If people in responsible positions in this country will not read the financial and the economic signs that are staring them in the face, then there is no hope for the country until one thing happens and that may happen too late: that is, to clear the present Ministry out of office, and that would happen if they were to face the country in the morning.
 I do not want to go into details on the Bill. What we are primarily concerned with at the moment is this broad principle: is the country able to bear this burden of taxation: is the economic life of the country so strong that it can carry the burden of taxation that hitherto has been placed on it? If we look up the commercial gazettes for the last year, at all the failures that we have seen recorded, and at the general condition of the country, with nothing doing in the fairs or markets we must all be satisfied that the country cannot bear the present burden of taxation. We have to kill our calves which represent the finest stock in the world. There is no room for them, and if that is so what is going to be done with the country? I quite agree that in present conditions it is much better to start killing 200,000 or 300,000 calves a year than allow them to grow up and, after a couple of years sell them at a loss. Supposing that is done, what are we going to do with the land meanwhile?
Before this situation arose, when we could produce to the full capacity of our land, we were finding it difficult to bear a lighter burden of taxation. This has to be considered, not from a sectional standpoint because on the economic and financial strength of the agricultural industry depend all the efforts the Government are making for an industrial revival. Both agriculture and industry are going to be crippled by this huge burden of taxation that is being piled on agriculture. Of course industry is quite safe, because it has not to go out to meet world competition. Our industries are sheltered. The only thing that has to go out and meet world competition with a view to bringing in a national income is agriculture, and it is being throttled by the double payment of annuities and the double payment of rates. An attempt has been made to put the bogey over on us of an additional charge on agriculture of about £2,000,000 a year—not a halving of the land annuities. In reality it is an additional land tax is being put on, and that is the security offered for the borrowing of money to carry out a  housing programme and other social services. On top of all that we are asked to bear a burden of taxation of close on £30,000,000 a year.
In conclusion, I want to say this, that there are too many people in this country who will not think. They will not realise where the policy of the present Government is blindly driving the country until people here become hungry, and hunger will make them think. Anyone with an ounce of business experience can see that we are heading straight over the precipice. Any industry here that has to stand on its own legs is not paying, except, perhaps, dog racing. But there is no industry in the country paying. We are told about the schemes that have been successful. I have read for the House the views of an impartial and competent judge—the Governor of the Bank of Ireland—and quoted figures that prove the direction in which our economic life is ebbing or flowing. For the first time within our memories, certainly since the Free State was established, the balance of payments is against this country, and this is the time chosen to increase taxation. If we had a central bank, with our own currency, our paper £1 note would not be worth the paper it was printed on.
Mr. Belton: I was not. I said that if we had a central bank, and with the sterling reserves of our banks diminishing at the rate of £1,000,000 a year—taking the whole economic situation into consideration as stressed by the Governor of the Bank of Ireland— our paper £1 note would not be worth the paper used in producing it. And well the Minister knows that.
 He wanted to divert me to another line to know if I was advocating a central bank. When the time comes, and when anybody will have the pluck to introduce the question of a central bank, I will not be afraid to give my views—unlike the Minister, who is a republican on a platform and a conservative Free Stater inside here. I do not care which he is, but I would like to see him a good financier in the very important position he holds. He has all the evidence that, financially, we are going downhill, and economically downhill, yet he piles on further taxation. It would not remedy the position to say any more, and it would not strengthen one argument I have used if I were to quote further data. The Minister is a man of intelligence. He knows all these things as well as anybody else in this House, yet he proceeds to pile on taxation, claiming the new land taxes as an asset. We will only have to wait until the country learns that instead of the promises of the Minister and his Party, before they got into office, that if elected they would remit the land annuities, being realised, they have been doubled. We will also have to wait until the people realise that a tax is not a security for borrowing. The £2,000,000 of annuities that the Minister is using as a security, is a new land tax, which was imposed last year, and it is that land tax the Minister puts up as security so that the public should contribute money for the public services. Let him try. If he does, I think he will get a more severe shaking than he got some months ago, when he floated the Fourth National Loan of £6,000,000.
Mr. Bennett: I would like to add my protest against the ever increasing load of taxation, which has gone beyond the power of the community in general to bear, and particularly that section of the community which I represent, the agricultural community. At a time when farmers are unable to pay local taxation—and there is evidence of that in every county owing to the difficulty in collecting taxes—at a time when farmers and borrowers are practically defaulters in the payment of instalments  of bank debts, indeed at a time when farmers are unable to pay shopkeepers, we have been presented, since the Fianna Fáil Government came into office, with additions and changes in taxation. All these taxes fall more heavily on the agricultural community than any other section. It would be impossible for the position to be other wise, when it is considered that agriculture represents 75 or 80 per cent. of the wealth of this State. The taxes set out in this Bill certainly fall more heavily on agriculturists than on any other section except, perhaps, the workers, agricultural labourers and, perhaps, town labourers. They certainly fall more heavily on them than on the commercial community, because nearly all the taxes are passed on to purchasers. It is very difficult for the ordinary purchaser to know what a particular tax amounts to. He does not realise what 40, 33 or 25 per cent. represents on each article and it is never elucidated by the Minister. In a sense the matter is left to the shopkeeper to put on what he likes. If he is an avaricious man or a little dishonest he puts on a little to the original tax or tariff. There is always a loophole for the commercial community to recover any taxation that is imposed. If we take any of the taxes set out in the Bill we always find that there is generally a margin left for the commercial people to mulct consumers. To take an example, I notice that the tax on newspapers has been increased from two-fifths to two-thirds of a penny, which means that the unfortunate purchaser has to pay the full tax of one penny. That is also true of other cases. It is clear that the purchasers of newspapers have to pay an extra penny and it is not hard to guess where portion of the tax goes. Why that is not stated in plain terms I cannot understand. While there is always a margin of protection for the commercial section, there is no protection for farmers or consumers.
Deputy Belton's contribution was a very intelligent one, and he referred the Minister to the remarks of a director of one of the banks, relating to the reduced security of land for loans. I made a reference to that matter during  the debate on another Vote. While it is impossible to make anything except a rough and ready calculation of what would be the loss on land, I venture to say, judging from the position in my own county, and from the information I could get as to the losses in other counties—leaving out of account bad and waste land—that the loss has been £100,000,000. I think that is an undeniable fact. The Minister smiles, but any bank director will state that the value of our 15,000,000 acres of land as security has been reduced by £100,000,000 in value within the last two years. Let Deputy Davin swallow that.
Mr. Bennett: I am the particular expert at the moment. I estimate— and I challenge contradiction of the statement—that the selling value of land in Ireland has been reduced by at least £100,000,000 during the last two years.
That is caused by a great number of circumstances. One of the circumstances I should like to deal with very much, but you, a Chinn Chomhairle, would probably rule me out of order. Another is the burthen caused by this Bill which has added so much to the ordinary expenses of the farmer, and left him in a position in which he is not able to pay his rates, his shopkeeper, his bank or anybody else. Anybody who looks at this Bill will see how it bears on the agricultural community. Opening this document casually the first article in the Schedule I hit on is “any article of domestic use, 30 per cent.” Certainly farmers and labourers are hit by that. I shall open another page in a haphazard way: “horseshoes made wholly of steel.” I do not suppose anybody outside the farmer uses horseshoes very much. Another item taken at random is “filled shot cartridges.” They do not interest the farmer, whether they are filled here or not, though I suppose sometimes he might use them. On the next page we find “spades and shovels.” They certainly interest him, and they are all taxed. There are many others. All these taxes are a  load on his industry which he cannot bear.
It is rather adding insult to injury that at this moment, when we are presented with this huge bill, farmers are also actually being presented with demands for income tax. The farmer is put to a loss of time and to a good deal of trouble in trying to prove to the satisfaction of the Revenue Commissioners that he has no profit from land, and the Revenue Commissioners are put to the loss of time, expense and trouble in trying to prove that he has profit from his land. I think every individual, even a six-year-old child attending a national school, knows that at the present moment there is no profit whatever from land. Whilst I am on the subject I should like to point out to the Minister that not only are the farmers being subjected to these demands, but they are being assessed at war time rates. They are still getting the assessment they got from the British during the war time. Prior to the war they were assessed at one-third of their valuation, but during the war the assessment was made on the full valuation, and that has been continued by the Minister. It is true that the British did not get as much as they tried to get, but the farmers are still being assessed on three times the amount they were assessed prior to the war. Mind you, while there is no income out of land, by constant application and constant endeavour the Revenue Authorities occasionally succeed in forcing some unfortunate farmer to pay them income tax.
I protest that at this particular stage in the farming industry—I do not want to get out of order—when the industry is in the position that it cannot even maintain the occupier, much less give him a chance of paying his debts and ordinary commitments, there should be any such thing as a demand for income tax from any farmer, big or small. If the farmer makes a proper case they will not get it, but why there should be any necessity to ask a man to make an unnecessary case I cannot, for the life of me, imagine. Yet they are put to that trouble. I got a demand for income tax myself. I had no trouble whatever in proving to the particular  official who sent me that demand that my loss on farming was very considerable indeed. The Minister would be surprised to know how much my losses were. Anyhow, I satisfied the Revenue Authorities. Why should there be all this trouble and waste of the time of office hands in sending assessments to farmers who can have no possible income? It can only mean that the Revenue Authorities hope that they will get some fool here and there to give them something. I think the Minister himself stated at one time that he collected £30,000 or £40,000 from the farmers. I do protest, in the name of the agricultural community, against any farmer, big or small, being called upon to pay income tax at this moment.
I should have liked to have referred to some of the things at which Deputy Belton tried to get but I, too, would be declared out of order. We shall have an opportunity of referring to these in another debate. I shall end, as I began, by protesting in the name of the agricultural community, against this huge burden of taxation at a time when the principle industry in this country is at the lowest ebb it has reached for 100 years, at a time when every farmer finds it almost impossible to exist and certainly impossible to meet his ordinary commitments except at great stress. There may be a few individuals in the agricultural industry who, by constant endeavour over a great number of years, by denying themselves or their families ordinary luxuries and sometimes even the necessaries of life, have succeeded in making some small savings. Somebody has referred to it in other terms and said they were saving the unclaimed wages of their sons and daughters. Certainly anything the farmers are able to put by in these days are really the unclaimed wages of their sons and daughters. It is on these unclaimed wages that the farmers of the country are carrying on at the moment, and in the name of the industrious farmers who are striving to save something in that way in these difficult times, I protest against this huge taxation.
Mr. McMenamin: I had a few remarks to make on this matter on the Budget Resolutions, and I should like to add a few more words to-day, even though I may be accused of repeating the old story. At one time in the past 10 or 12 years I was in agreement with the Minister as to the amount of taxation this country could bear. I was in very considerable agreement with him but we parted company. At that time, when this country was bearing considerably less taxation than it has to bear to-day, he and I agreed that it was bearing much more than it should bear. The Minister apparently has departed from the attitude he took up then, and he says now that it can bear much more taxation. His entire Party agreed with him in those years. One of the main planks on which they got into office in this country was that the country was bearing a burden of taxation that it was beyond its capacity to bear. With that there was general agreement and apparently an overwhelming number of electors of the country endorsed that view, voted for the Minister and his Party and returned them to office. Let us recall what the position then was. Approximately there was taken from the taxpayer at that time £22,000,000. In the autumn of the year prior to that in which the Minister and his Party entered office, it was found necessary by the Cumann na nGaedheal Government to introduce a supplementary Budget to raise an additional sum of money. The main body of the Fianna Fáil Party proceeded immediately to stump the country with a howl of horror at the imposition of this additional burden on the taxpayer. They all had one feeling. They all had one remedy. Apparently it was so simple that the humblest back bencher was fit to tell the electors what it was. What was it? Not to impose fresh taxation! There was no necessity to impose fresh taxation!
There was no necessity even to retain the disputed moneys to provide the amount of money required. All you had to do was to economise—very simple. I was not in the House at the time but I was alive at the time and  when these proposals in the Autumn Supplementary Budget were introduced, the Minister went post-haste to the country, along with the minor fry of the Party, and he proceeded to Baltinglass, down to the valleys of Wicklow, to tell the people there how this additional sum could be found. He said:
“The proper way to meet the deficit was by cutting down expenditure, not by the imposition of further taxation. If they had the £1,250,000 paid the ex-R.I.C. pensioners, the £1,500,000 spent on an Army which General Seán MacEoin had said was useless for any national defence, and the land annuities, there would have been no need to throw fresh burdens on any section of the community.”
Mr. McMenamin: Apparently, there was an organised effort because the Party went South, East and West and this, apparently, was the kicking off of the ball by the Minister or the throwing in of the ball for the team to start. They went to the Midlands, to the West, to the South and to the East. We had Deputy Harris in Kildare; we had Deputy O'Reilly in Meath; we had Deputy Kennedy in Westmeath; we had Deputy Cleary going to Mayo to tell the overtaxed people of the West how the position could be remedied; we had Deputy Geoghegan, who was afterwards Minister for Justice, and we had Deputy Ruttledge. There you had about half a score of them going immediately to the country when the country was bearing a sum of approximately £22,000,000 and when this country was crushed. The general theme then was that this money, in a sense, was not necessary at all if there was an efficient and competent Government in office and that it was because of the Government's corruption and adoption of a policy of squandermania that this money was necessary.
What has happened since? There was the Minister, then Deputy MacEntee, who, when he went to Baltinglass, could have got all this  money by cutting down the Army. He did not want the £5,000,000 that was being paid to England at all and as a matter of fact, when they got into office and retained those moneys, this country was to flow with milk and honey. There was going to be entire derating for the farmers out of that sum and there was to be £1,000,000 left for the reduction of taxation. This is the Minister's second year in office. He has retained the disputed moneys for two years and we were told by the President in this House, and, through the House, the country is told, that the disputed moneys were to be kept in a separate account and would be paid over if and when it was decided they were payable. I should like to know from the Minister if that money is in a separate account? Is it under the control of the Minister? Is it ready to be paid over if and when it is found it is due to be paid? If not, what has become of it, and if, on any future date, it has got to be paid how is it going to be found?
As I said, we had this plan, and I think, as a matter of honesty, both in this House and outside it, it would be a very prudent thing to recall the battle cry that went up and down the country at the time they wanted this extra £1,250,000 in the autumn of 1931. Deputy Harris went to Kildare and said:—
“They are taxing the country to the tune of £26,000,000 a year. They planned and depended on a Budget in which the taxes for certain commodities were estimated to meet the expenses of all services. That Budget has been a disappointment, and there is at present a deficiency of £1,000,000.”
Mr. McMenamin: No, I beg your pardon; it was Deputy Harris. Deputy Cleary went down to the poor crushed people of the West and, of course, the same would apply if I had been addressing the people in a similar place in County Donegal. What did he tell them down there?
Mr. McMenamin: Deputy Geoghegan is a gentleman from whom one would expect some deliberation. One, perhaps, might not expect much from Deputy Cleary, or Deputy Harris, but we expect something from Deputy Geoghegan, who is a trained man, a cultured man and a man supposed to speak deliberately. He was down at Coole on 26th December, 1931, and he said:—
“This was a country from which all her industries were banished, and they were left to produce food for John Bull, and unless there was a visitation by God there was no reason why this country should not be prosperous. Why isn't it prosperous? Because——”
Again, I agree with Deputy Geoghegan, as he was then. Because he made that statement and because the country believed that Deputy Geoghegan believed that statement, in the following January the country elected Deputy Geoghegan and his Party as a Government. That was not enough for Deputy Geoghegan because, apparently, at some of these meetings, the suggestion was made that Fianna Fáil was going to destroy the farmers' market and Deputy Geoghegan, of course, wanted to reassure them on that point. He said:—
“A year ago Lord Rothermere and Lord Beaverbrook tried to start a movement in England to put a tax on  food coming from outside England. They had a powerful Press at their command, and they put up candidates at elections. But their candidates were swept aside because the English people would not let taxes be put on food. They wanted the food, no matter where it came from.”
Apparently, there was some such suggestion which came to the notice of Deputy Geoghegan and he wanted to dispel any suspicion that there might be in the minds of his audience. Then we have Deputy O'Reilly from Meath. He comes from a pastoral county and it was essential that he should reassure his constituents in particular that there was no threat of destroying the English market and injuring the incomes of farmers. Speaking at Ballinamuck, in October 1931, he said:—
“They tell you that you have no market but the British market. It is an extraordinary thing that Canada is sending cattle to France and every other European country as fast as they can send them, and we are within two days' reach of these places and why should we not do the same?”
He was going to have it both ways. The alternative markets were there. They were only two days' sailing away. We were within a few hours of France and we had nothing to do but to dump our food there. The implication was that if the English market was swept away, the French market was there. This was designed to reassure the agricultural community in this country that, in the first place, the English market was there and that England would have to get the produce of our primary industry and secondly, that if it was lost an alternative market was to be found. I dealt with this matter on the Financial Resolutions, and I asked the Minister what suggestion he had to make, and how he expected to get the present return from the revenue of this country if the purchasing power of the people was reduced. Take the minimum figure. If the income of the agricultural community is reduced by the minimum of 40 per cent.—there is no doubt about that sum; others tell us it is up  to 60 per cent., but there is no use in making wild statements; we know there is a concrete figure of 40 per cent.—and if the price of the stuff that is sold at home is reduced by a similar amount, how then does the Minister foresee that this country can go on bearing its present burden? When he was in Baltinglass in 1931, the agricultural community of this country were then getting world prices for their goods. If the price of the export portion is now reduced by 40 per cent., and the portion sold at home is reduced by a similar amount, I want to know how he proposes that this thing can be carried on. The country and this House would be very anxious to know what is really happening to the money. What is happening to the revenue? What is happening to the amount of money that is being collected? Deputy Cosgrave told us this evening that at the close of the two financial years since the Minister came into office there has been, between the two years, a surplus of £3,600,000. What has become of that? Where has it gone? Is there any explanation as to where it went? Is the policy: “If you want to have a surplus go and borrow. Borrow sufficient to balance your Budget, and leave you with whatever amount you want as a surplus?” We have retained the disputed moneys for two years. They are £5,000,000 annually. We were told they are that. What has happened to them? Are they in the account in which the President told this House they would be kept? If they are not, what has happened to them? There were to be economies amounting to £2,000,000 according to the Party opposite before they came into office. The taxation when they came into office was £22,000,000; hence the taxation to-day, taking into account the £5,000,000 they have retained, provided that they have used it for revenue purposes and expenditure, plus the £2,000,000 economies, should be £15,000,000. What is it? The net figure we propose imposing upon the taxpayers this year is £26,500,000. The Minister is to borrow, and at the end of the year he is to have a surplus. Again I  repeat, it is quite easy having a surplus in that way, but what confidence are the taxpayers of this country to have in the Government when they see them borrowing money in order to show a surplus at the end of the financial year? It is quite an easy matter. If I owed somebody £200 I could go to somebody else and borrow £300. I could pay the debt of £200, and then tell the world, “Oh, I am clear; I have discharged all my liabilities for this year and have £100 surplus.”
Deputy Cleary told us in 1931 that this was not a poor country. I agree with that. This is not a poor country. This country was not a poor country. It was and is a much wealthier country than it has ever been believed to be. If it had not been so it could not have survived. The very part of the country from which Deputy Cleary comes, and which people thought was a poor part of the country, was not, in fact, poor. It was much richer than it was ever represented to be, because those people, while they are ostensibly poor, have hidden wealth. They have wealth which they never disclosed to anybody. It was never disclosed, and it is only now it is becoming apparent. Where was it derived from? It was derived, in the main, from two sources. They were a frugal, hard-working people. People were led to believe that they were not, but they were, and they are. There are no more industrious people in the world than the small farmers in the congested parts of Ireland. They were making a profit of £3, £4, £5 or £10 annually out of their little farms. They were, in the main, homes in which very large families were reared. They all emigrated; they went to America. They were sending home, at Easter and Christmas, anything from £10 to £20 annually. This money was all put in the bank, and that is the way in which the wealth of this country was being built up. It is those hidden resources that are maintaining this country now. Those are the resources that are now being drained to pay the shopkeepers, to pay rent, and to pay for clothes and food. I want to utter a warning to the Minister. Very likely  it is quite unnecessary for me to do so, for, after all, he has gone up and down the country and is in contact with those people, but I should like to warn him that those resources are coming to an end. I am not going to say how long they will last. When this economic war began, people told me that it could not last six months, or that, at any rate, it could not last a year. I ventured to suggest that it could last four years. Take a small farmer who had got £100 saved. That would last him about four years, at £25 a year, along with the produce of the farm. If you take a farmer who has £200, that would last a proportionately longer time, but still the drain is going on. Day after day, month after month, and year after year the drain is going on, but it cannot go on indefinitely. We are told that whatever difficulties there are with regard to getting in money are the fault of people who are opposed to the Government. Let us test that. We are told that the farmers are deliberately keeping back the rates. There may be cases of that kind—and it is a very dishonest thing if they are doing it—but is that true in the main? Let us see. During this last fortnight or ten days we had several speeches. One was delivered on Sunday by the Minister for Agriculture; one was delivered by the Minister for Local Government; and one was delivered by the President. The Minister for Local Government on Sunday asked the people down in Roscommon, I think it was, “Why do you cry out at your losses? If you are suffering a loss of £5 or £6 per head on cattle why do you cry out? Is it a patriotic thing?” Apparently the Minister for Local Government is of opinion, and admits, that the farmers are suffering that loss.
Mr. McMenamin: Certainly, I am giving it to you. What I am suggesting is that, even as admitted by Ministers, the income of the people of this country is daily being lessened. On Sunday last the Minister for Agriculture was speaking in Roscommon and told the people not to elect Fine Gael county councils because when they had struck the rates they would ask the ratepayers not to pay them.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy must realise that that is travelling very far from the question of raising revenue to carry on the services of the State. We cannot discuss the position of the unemployed and of the farmers and of everybody in the community. If we did we would never get to considering the means of raising revenue.
Mr. McMenamin: Undoubtedly we have reached a stage when this country is having the screw put on. We have a sort of conspiracy between the British Government and our own Government to extract the last penny out of the people here. Normally it would be sufficient for any country to bear its own taxation without having two Governments trying to extract money out of it. We were told that the sum that was being paid to England was causing the pauperisation of the country. If that was so that money is still being extracted and a corresponding sum for the same liability is being extracted at home. If, as the Fianna Fáil Party told us when they were in Opposition, that was an intolerable burden on the taxpayers of the country, I should like to know what it is when it is being paid on the double, and how it is hoped to go on doing that while, at the same time, internal expenditure is increasing? We will be told by the Minister when he comes to reply that there has not been a solitary constructive suggestion made, that the Opposition did not point to one item that could be reduced. That is not our business.
Mr. McMenamin: It is the business of the Minister who said before he entered office that he would reduce taxation by £2,000,000. The doing of that is in his hands alone. Is he going to do it? What steps is he taking to live up even approximately to his promise? When he was criticising the taxation of this country the sum raised was approximately £25,000,000. Last month he got up and told the House and the country that he would have to ask for £36,000,000. He then began subtracting until he came down to about £34,000,000. The present Minister for Justice, Deputy Ruttledge as he then was, when the taxation of this country amounted to about £25,000,000, told the country that it was because the then Government were a corrupt Government that this money was required. I will not use language of that kind towards the present Government. It is sufficient to point out the figures and relate  them to the statement made by Deputy Ruttledge, as he then was. If the sum of £25,000,000 was only necessary then because the Government were corrupt, what are this House and the country to think of the present Administration when the Minister asks for £36,000,000? Where is it going to end? Where is the prosperity on which it is based? Where are the indications of prosperity? Eighty thousand people were to be put into employment when the present Government came into office. According to the Minister, on Sunday, his figure now apparently is 20,000. I hope that is true. Let me ask the Minister another question, and I hope he will answer it. How many has he disemployed? How many has he put out of producing wealth in this country? If he has not put any out of producing wealth in this country, why was it necessary to pass an Unemployment Assistance Act? Why have we bus loads of young men proceeding to the labour exchanges to register as unemployed in order to get assistance out of State funds? I should like to know how many actually have applied for State assistance?
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: There are means by which the Deputy can ask that question. There are opportunities afforded in this House by which the Deputy can get all the information he wants and make all the statements he desires on matters of this kind, but this is not the occasion.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: It would be just as relevant to ask how many people were drawing unemployment  insurance or how many people were in various occupations. This is a Bill to enable the Minister to raise revenue to carry on the services of the State.
Mr. MacEntee: That is not what the Deputy has been doing. He has been too lazy to frame a Parliamentary Question and put it down, and now he is trying to get information which he should have had before he started to speak, if he were to speak intelligently.
Mr. McMenamin: Is that so? The Minister went to Cork on Sunday and said that they had put 20,000 people into employment. Where are the indications of that? Where is the evidence of increased wealth? Is there a proportionate increase in income tax? Is there an increase in income tax from the farmers, or has the yield decreased? Here we have increased expenditure and we have a general wail, whether correct or otherwise, that the country is becoming poorer. People are telling us that they cannot pay either rates or taxes; that they cannot pay the urgent demands made upon them for local rates and, at the same time, the Government proceed to increase taxation.
I should like the Minister to review the situation for us and not merely content himself with asking us for constructive suggestions. Will he tell us how, when and by what means he proposes to reduce taxation? Possibly his answer will be: What do you want to reduce? It is not for me to answer that. It is the duty of the Minister to carry out the promise he made before he took over control of the finances of this country. In his first Budget statement he said he would have to increase taxation so that afterwards he might reduce it. Month after month each piece of legislation sent out of this House has involved increased taxation. We were told when the Economies Bill was introduced that unless there were economies the Budget  would not balance. The economies were brought about and there was a balance over and above what was effected by way of economies. How does the Minister relate these things? He is going to borrow this year in order to pay the subsidies. He justifies that by saying that the subsidies are only a temporary thing. How can we relate that to the two speeches made within the last ten days, one by the President at Clifden to the effect that England was trying to extract the moneys from us and one by the Minister for Education last Sunday to the effect that no matter what England did this Government would not pay?
Mr. MacEntee: There is nothing in this Bill about borrowing. As the Ceann Comhairle already pointed out, it is through the Appropriation Bill or the Central Fund Bill that the Minister gets the power to borrow. Apparently Deputy McMenamin does not know that.
Mr. McMenamin: The Minister is going to borrow, and he says that that does not arise under this Bill. Of course, nothing at all arises under this Bill. This is merely to raise the taxes, and we are to let that pass. I  would like the Minister to relate his performances to his promises. Where is he heading for? If the prosperity of this country were keeping pace with its taxation, it would be a very simple matter. In my opinion this country cannot much longer continue to bear the burden imposed upon it. I submit that while the burden of taxation is increasing the capacity of the people to pay is decreasing.
Mr. Minch: The Minister to-day introduced his proposals for the purpose of raising money from the taxpayers to meet the more insistent parts of his annual Budget. That the Minister will get sanction for his proposals, there can be no question. It does not matter what the Minister asks for, the merciless machinery of this House will see that his appetite is gratified. Apparently, we are gradually becoming inured in this country to huge figures; we are beginning to get acclimatised to millions of pounds, sums which some years ago would stagger any student of finance in this country. Where you have good trade you have good budgetary figures and where you have bad trade the position is reversed. I quite appreciate that the condition of trade in this country, because of the trade disturbance, makes the Minister's task a difficult one. I can well understand that when the Minister has to consider insistent demands from the Central Fund made by each Department he has no alternative but to come to this House and make huge demands from the taxpayer. The hypodermic needle, so to speak, has had to be used so constantly that it is becoming less effective.
Some time ago we listened to a broadcast sent across the either from America relating to a major surgical operation that was going on in the States. Here it is not a question of a major surgical operation, but rather a sickly, but otherwise healthy body. At any rate, the doctor's bill is becoming a colossal one. There is no doubt that the existing position in this country is such that the Minister soon will not be able to grant even a small concession to the taxpayer. He  probably has reached the stage that he can give no further concessions in the future.
Our rejuvenation and economic resurgence will never take place by the present methods of securing economic revival in this country. Therefore, I re-echo, and appreciate the Minister's statement, made some time ago, where he referred to our dispute with Great Britain, and said it was so closely allied with trade in this country and was closely allied in turn with the budgetary position in this country, that the day must come when we must dissociate trade from politics, and, in business matters, leave the political position aside once and for all. We hear a lot of talk about prosperity but I hold it is posterity we should be thinking about. We should give more regard to posterity. If borrowing is to be a feature of our Budget finance let us pass on even a bigger charge to those who come after us. Let us face up to the facts that if there is not going to be a settlement our trade is going to run in uncertain currents, that it is going to run in currents that are full of rapids and full of danger and that no one knows how to chart. I do not desire to hold up the House for any length of time. It is rarely I speak, and I speak with diffidence on a question such as this Budget. I have not the aid of experts and good advisers to help me to make an effective criticism of the Budget on the one hand, and neither have I the time or the opportunities necessary on the other hand. I see an attempt being made to bring about a trade revival, but it is like cutting the head off a live man and trying to get the trunk to perform all the achievement which should be accomplished by the whole live human frame. There is a point that I would like to stress—it is difficult to put it into words but it is this —that we should try to bring about a good budgetary position in this country.
The Minister cannot hope to secure taxes if we are to carry on the sort of trade that this country is endeavouring to carry on at the present moment. I know that the Minister,  undoubtedly, has tried to give certain consideration, as he announced, to the taxpayers, but the considerations that he has offered are mighty small. The only way to enable a country to stand up and to assume a proper place in the economy of the day is to remove the restrictions from her trade. That is the only antidote. But what has happened here? A miserable 6d. off the income tax is a very poor consideration, but an honest one, I admit. I would like to see the corporation profits tax, which the Minister extracts from business, and which is a tremendous brake upon the progress of business, particularly considering the conditions of trade and business in this country at the present moment, receiving special consideration. The business community is making an honest effort to do its part. It will never have a lasting effect, and it will only be an artificial revival, unless and until, our surplus trade beyond the seas becomes a permanent and genuine trade. I would like, in making a criticism of this Budget, to study it closely. I should say the figures are far too big. The levy is too great, the shoulders of the people are not broad enough to bear it. A stage has been reached when at least an effort should be made to end the insane economic war between our country and the people across the water.
Mr. Davin: I wonder does Deputy Mulcahy agree with the concluding remarks of Deputy Minch? The Deputy fairly confesses to this: listening to him one gathers that he is opposed to this Ministry and to the policy shown in this Finance Bill because the policy of the Ministry is to increase the purchasing power of the old age pensioners and to make the payers of super-tax pay for that. Deputy Minch argued himself into a state of rage because the Minister for Finance forgot about the claims of the super-taxpayers and because he did not give more consideration to the people of the State who were in the happy position of paying super-tax and corporation profits tax. I presume he  was thinking of the shareholders of the banks, people who get 16 and 20 per cent., on their capital, people whose subscribed capital is repaid to them about every five years. These are the people that Deputy Minch thinks are entitled to more consideration than the old age pensioners who got £750,000 last year from this Ministry more than they got from the people whom he supports.
Mr. Davin: No but that money was taken out of the pockets of the old age pensioners by a former Government and handed over to the people for whom Deputy Minch speaks, namely the small number of people who should feel honoured by being asked to pay super-tax. When I listen to a speech such as Deputy Minch delivered I begin to think whether such speeches coming from people who have no faith in their country——
Mr. Davin: I am dealing with the arguments used by Deputy Minch. In the course of the appeal he made to the Minister he asked him to think of the poor down and out super-taxpayers and not to think of the old age pensioners who are, of course, entitled to much more consideration.
Mr. Davin: I wonder would the Deputy ask the Official Reporters for the last few sentences of his speech, or has he forgotten, already, what he has said? I am certainly not endeavouring to misrepresent the Deputy. He must have misrepresented himself.
Mr. Davin: I would not have asked the question only that I was under the impression that Deputy Minch was a constant reader of that paper. I am sure if he read the leading article in to-day's edition he would talk with greater care about the terms of settlement which he mentioned in the concluding portion of his speech. When he speaks here again I would like him to tell the Minister for Finance and the Government the terms on which he would make a settlement with Great Britain.
Mr. Davin: I have listened to Deputies here discussing the policy of the Government. I understood it was possible on the Second Reading of the Finance Bill to have a general discussion on Government policy.
Mr. Davin: I bow to your ruling but we have heard the matter discussed here to-day by various Deputies. We had a statement from Deputy Bennett that the value of the land of this country had been decreased by the round figure of £100,000,000, and he alleged that that is due to the economic war.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Deputy Davin is carrying it farther. He wants a discussion on the settlement which might be made with Great Britain.  The Deputy cannot go into the question of any settlement or projected settlement with Great Britain.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I have already ruled against Deputy McMenamin that we cannot discuss the position of the farmers. I understand Deputy Davin was here at the time. There is nothing about loans in this Bill.
Mr. Davin: Would you ask this eloquent Deputy from Kildare to desist  from interrupting me and from trying to usurp the authority of the Chair? I want to deal with the condition under which remission of income tax is given to the parents of children who attend universities or schools. Is it extended to persons whose children are being educated in schools situated in the Gaeltacht?
Mr. Davin: I want to raise the question, but not at any great length, as to the instructions which were issued during the last 12 months by the Revenue Commissioners as to the necessity for the 100 per cent. search upon passengers and passengers' luggage coming into the Free State, whether these are tourists or otherwise. I have some personal knowledge of the effect which those instructions have upon certain sections of the travelling public. I would like to put it to the Minister and to the Revenue Commissioners that the inspection has been carried out in such a way, in some places at any rate, as to cause a good deal of irritation, unnecessary annoyance and delay. That is the position regarding the luggage required by passengers, even tourists coming into the country.
I understand that those instructions without any qualification or the right to use discretion on the part of experienced officers are being carried out to an extent which must seriously interfere with the tourist industry. I understand it was the policy of the Government and, particularly, the desire of the Department of Industry and Commerce that every possible facility and encouragement should be given to tourists no matter from what country they come. I suggest, from my own limited knowledge and experience, that it is undesirable that these instructions should be carried out to  the full letter of the law and I suggest that the matter might be looked into by the Revenue Commissioners with a view to giving discretion to responsible officers who are in charge of the customs staff at various ports; and that in the case of tourists, those coming here for short periods should not be put to any unnecessary trouble or inconvenience owing to the carrying out of these instructions.
I am prepared to leave it to the wisdom of the Revenue Commissioners, who are men of long experience and of discretion, to review these particular instructions in the light of the complaints which I have reason to believe have reached the Revenue Commissioners. I work in close contact with some of the people who have to carry out these instructions. I have reason to know that on many occasions strong objections were made to every piece of luggage being searched. The whole idea of searching people coming into this country is for the purpose of testing whether they are endeavouring to smuggle into the country goods that might otherwise be chargeable with duty. But it is not necessary to search say, in the case of ten pieces of material, every piece. That is being done in some cases, because the customs officers are under the impression that they are compelled to do it.
I suggest that these instructions should be modified in the case of tourists, and that some discretion should be given to those in charge of the customs staff in Cobh, Dun-Laoghaire, Cork, Waterford and wherever customs officers are examining passengers' luggage. There were some other matters which I had intended to raise on the Second Reading and which I thought would be in order but I know that another and a more appropriate occasion will arise when I will be able to enlighten Deputy Mulcahy on matters about which he seems anxious to get enlightened.
General Mulcahy: Deputy Minch, whose contribution to this debate has roused Deputy Davin so much, might have added that some of the things which caused him to intervene so strongly in this debate were the condition  of the workers in the various towns in his constituency, Naas, Newbridge and Kildare and the hopeless outlook that many of them have as to the future and as to whether they might find employment or whether their children are likely to find employment or a place in industry: the position that some shopkeepers, some of the principal residents of these towns in his constituency are in, which brought about the position that the urban district council of Naas decided some months ago not to spend any more money lighting the town while the condition of the town was what it is as the result of want of income and the fall in the purchasing power of the people. When he sees the farmers——
General Mulcahy: ——around there reduced to such a condition that they are driven to make such protests, however peaceful, that they are threatened by the Chief Superintendent of the Gárda Síochána down there that arms will be produced against them, and that if those arms are produced they will be used with deadly effect.
General Mulcahy: The Minister for Justice said no such thing. If the Deputy will refer to the statement of the Minister for Justice he will see what exactly he did say. He will see that the instructions were issued under a Fianna Fáil Government. These are the conditions of the workers, of the townspeople and of the farmers around  Deputy's Minch's area. Deputy Minch might have added them to the conditions that, as he said, caused him to speak on this Bill. If the conditions that caused him to speak are such, then they are close enough to Deputy Davin for the Deputy to understand something about them. The charge against the Minister for Finance is this: all sections of the country have been reduced to the impoverished condition they are in by the Government's general policy. They have suffered the loss of their immediate purchasing power, and a reduction in their capital resources which, as far as they can see, will continue to reduce. It shows very little hope, if the present general policy is pursued, of increasing in any way. That is the condition of all classes of the people, and yet the Minister for Finance is dipping more deeply year after year into the people's pockets, taking increasing sums from them, piling increased sums on their shoulders by way of loans and giving no additional services in any way adequate to the amount of money that he is taking out of their pockets. He is taking sums to an extent that they cannot bear even to-day and that must crush them to-morrow.
Deputy Davin questioned some statements that were made here about the reduced capital value of land. I think it was in the case of somebody who lives very close to his constituency that a judge of the High Court within the last two or three months—the case came before the Court for the purpose, I think, of selling out land in respect of certain commitments that the owner had—ordered that no steps be taken to sell the land for a number of months because, he said, it would be disastrous to attempt to sell the land at the present time. The Minister for Finance goes down to Clonakilty and wonders how it is that the people of West Cork, national as they are, a people who fought and exercised themselves in the defence of their country when there was work to do some years ago, have so little sympathy with the Government to-day. He explains it away by saying that they do not understand. They must not understand the Government. The Minister stands over the introduction  of this Bill to-day. Instead of making any attempt to explain where the raising of this finance is leading in the matter of general policy, as far as the general betterment of the people is concerned, he sticks his thumb in his pocket and runs down Sections 1, 2, 3 and 4 and states what, more or less, we all know: that each of these sections is going to impose additional taxation on the people, but with no word at all from him about their capacity to bear this taxation, as to what the position is going to be in the next year or two with regard to taxation, or as to what the position is going to be in the next year or two with regard to the people being able to bear it.
The facts are that the Minister for Finance in the Budget for 1932-33 imposed additional taxation to the tune of £3,951,000. He collared £2,000,000 that, normally, would have been paid that year in repayment of local loans and for other purposes to Great Britain, and £3,000,000 of the land annuities. In the following year, 1933-34, he told the Dáil in his Budget speech that he was imposing an additional £140,000 for customs duties. In fact, during the year that has passed, he pilfered the taxpayers' pockets to the extent of an additional £2,000,000 because, instead of raising £140,000 in extra customs duties, he dipped into every pocket in the place and lifted an extra £1,500,000 in customs duties out of the people's pockets. He took £300,000 extra from the payers of excise; but, generally, last year while pretending or telling the people that he was going to take £140,000 additional taxation from them, he took £2,000,000 more. During that year he again spent £2,000,000 out of the normal taxation that would, in previous years, have gone to pay off debts for local loans, pensions and other things to the British. He collared that sum of £2,000,000; he also collared £2,250,000 of the land annuities so that, in the last two years, he has imposed additional taxation to the extent of £6,000,000 and has collared £9,250,000 as between Land Commission annuities and moneys that ordinarily would have been paid to the  British in respect to debts owing to them for local loans and other purposes.
The Minister comes along this year and, as Deputy Cosgrave has pointed out, when you take into account the new sugar duties imposed in the beginning of this year, imposes an additional £38,000. During this year he is again going to spend £2,000,000 of taxation on purposes other than the purposes that this money would ordinarily be spent on, such as local loans, pensions, etc., due to the British, and he is going to collar, he hopes, from the land annuitants £1,500,000. With that enormous seizure of money, what additional services are being given throughout the country? Can Deputy Davin point to a single class of his constituents that has benefited in any way comparable to the raising of this enormous sum of money from the people, in addition to the sums raised, say, during 1931-32?
General Mulcahy: If the Deputy will look at the figures, which he can get for nothing, he will find that in the year 1931-32—the last year of Deputy Cosgrave's administration—the poor super-tax payer paid £789,000, and that the Fianna Fáil administration took £154,000 less from him.
General Mulcahy: At any rate, that is what they did for the super-tax payer. They dipped their fists in the ordinary person's pocket and took £1,500,000 in customs duty. That did not come from super-tax payers, so that the Deputy should look up something about super-tax payers before he begins to raise the whole structure of the State on that.
General Mulcahy: Income tax payers are paying more. Why? For the reason that there is about 2/- extra on income tax added to the 3/- or so that it was in 1930-31. If the Deputy wants to know the financial position he can take a pen and a little bit of paper and figure out how much income tax ought to be got at present from income tax payers if they were in the satisfactory position that they were in in 1930-31. The charge against the Minister for Finance is that in the present condition of the people he is taking enormous additional sums of money from them. All Deputy Davin can say is that they are building extra houses. But Deputies must know that the Minister for Local Government has been standing up on his hind legs declaring that he will wipe out some local authorities if they do not build more houses. No one bothers examining why local authorities are not prepared to build more houses than they are building. As someone has suggested, someone pays for the houses, and not only that, but the rents, such as they are, will have to be paid by somebody. I would like to hear Deputy Davin, on some other occasion, when it is more in order, discuss how agricultural labourers, to take one particular class, are going to pay the rents for the houses that are being built for them to-day. Housing is only one of the things for which borrowing has to be made, but it is one thing in respect of which a very big burden is going to be put on the shoulders of the people, as somebody will have to pay it some day.
General Mulcahy: If the Deputy will show me where the slums are being cleared, outside the City of Dublin, then I will say that for some of the money some value is being got. If the Deputy is really bothering his head about housing, he knows that housing authorities are being given grants to build houses, on condition that they were to wipe out the slums, and that they are not doing so, even with the  extra grants. I do not want to follow the Deputy along any of these lines now.
General Mulcahy: It would suit me very well. I ask Deputy Davin to look up something more about the super-tax payers, about the income tax payers, about the houses being built, and the condition of the people who will have to pay the rents of these houses, not to mention the condition of the people who have to pay the rates.
General Mulcahy: The Deputy will have an opportunity of comparing the two policies sometime. He had an opportunity on the Estimate for the Department of Local Government and I did not hear him doing so. I would confine my remarks strictly to what is before the House, if Deputy Davin could really make up his mind as to the kind of speech he wants to make on a subject like this, instead of looking around for odd thoughts or interruptions as a substitute for a speech. I did perhaps invite him to intervene when I asked, considering the amount of additional money being spent, what particular class in the community would get an increased benefit from it.
General Mulcahy: In Cork the President addressed himself to the subject  of this Budget and to the condition of the country. If I might reply somewhat to my question, as to who has got any benefit, the President pointed out that during the year 1931-32 there was spent on social services £4,525,000, and that for the coming year the Government were going to spend £11,580,000. That is near £500,000 a month more than was spent in 1931-32. But where is the activity, or where is the wellbeing that shows, in respect of the two months of the financial year we have passed through, that £500,000 additional has been spent on social services with given results? I do not know any part of the country, or any part of the City of Dublin, where there is any evidence that that is so. The President addressed himself to the position as shown by the Budget and objected to the Government's progress being described as “A Rake's Progress” eating in on national reserves. He declared:
“The community as a whole is now in a good, strong position, second to none in the world; that the population was increasing at the rate of 30,000 a year, and that when these people were put into employment the wealth of the country and the agricultural market would both grow.”
We find ourselves being told to-day through the Press that the Trade Statistics for the first four months of this year are not all that could be desired. Although this is June 6, Deputies have not yet had any information from the Department of Industry and Commerce as to the position of our trade. The Press to-day had and, as far as we can see from the necessarily curtailed references in the Press, the adverse balance for 12 months ended 30th April, 1934, has risen to £4,512,000.
The President was telling the Cork people, when dealing with the Budget, that we got £12,000,000 income every year from investments abroad. I wonder if the President would stand over that figure. At any rate, the President will hardly say that the national income from investments abroad has increased, say during the last year as against the year before.  Alternatively, he will not say that our invisible imports have so risen as to make amends for the increase in the adverse balance in the last 12 months of £4,500,000.
I suggest to the Minister for Finance that that shows that not only is the position of our farmers such that their capital has substantially reduced to the figure about which Deputy Belton talks, but it shows that there is very little chance under the present policy of improvement. It shows that we are losing capital very definitely and that by losing capital we are losing the capacity to give employment. The Minister for Finance declares that during the last two years 20,000 persons have been put into employment as the result of the Government's industrial policy and he quotes his authority for that as the Statist. The statement was made here by the Minister for Industry and Commerce and copied into the Statist. I suppose, knowing that the people of West Cork had heard so much about the capacity of the Minister for Industry and Commerce to tell anything but the truth, he felt that he could only get them to appreciate that something was being done for industry, if he told them that this statement emanated from a respectable source, when it came from the Statist. The Minister in dealing with the matter here, instead of glibly running through the different sections of the Bill, should have made some statement to substantiate the statement made by the President in Cork in which he said that the community as a whole was now in a strong position, second to none in the world. He should have told us something of the people's capacity to bear this very heavy burden. He should have made some kind of attempt to show where these enormous sums that have been taken from the people for the last two years, and are going again to be taken this year, are going. Then there might be some tendency on the part of the people of West Cork and other people to show some sympathy with his professions. The trade position disclosed here, the position of our farmers, the unemployment position, the position with regard to home assistance, and generally the hopeless outlook that so many  people in the country have as regards the immediate future, all bear evidence of the fact that no description can be given of the roads that the Minister for Finance is pursuing except that it is simply a rake's progress.
Mr. McGilligan: I am sorry that Deputy Davin has seen fit to leave the House at the moment because I propose calling the attention of the House to a comment of his which, coming from one with such close association with the Government I would like to have explained, putting it side by side, as one must, with statements that come from the Government Benches. When one speaks of the economic situation in the country, the argument is generally put forward from the Government Benches in respect to agriculture, the chief industry of the country, that we are really no worse off than the British farmers are and the fortifying and buttressing argument of that is that the British market has gone for ever and that we can never hope to get it back. I have heard farmer Deputies, Deputy McGovern and others, make statements derived from practical experience of sales after cattle were removed across the Border. Despite what they say as to the actual facts, statements derived from actual experience, we get the comment made by the Minister for Agriculture that there is no difference in the price got on the other side and the price paid here. I have to quote Deputy Davin on this.
Deputy Davin, speaking at Mountrath, as reported on 16th April, said that he thought that the President and his Ministers ought to stop thinking of politics and get down to economics, to see whether it was possible to put a new scheme into operation immediately or devise a better scheme than that which existed because, he said, it was a scandalous state of affairs that they should be asked to tolerate the continuance of the existing position which enabled cattle drovers from the Six Counties to come into the Free State and to smuggle fat cattle across the Border, thereby making profits averaging about £7 per head. Those who smuggle cattle do not look for bounties. Those who do  not get bounties on these cattle are able to make £7 per head, according to Deputy Davin. Yet, we are told that prices in the Northern area are no better than they are here! Apparently their friends in the Six Counties are so glad to get these cattle that they will pay more than £7 per head than the market price here. That all impinges on the economic war. For many months past we have been told that we have won the economic war. We have, in fact, cashed in the victory. We have held the annuities. It has been pointed out, on the contrary that a certain price is being paid for the dishonesty in regard to the land annuities. It has been even proved here by practical experience that honesty is the best policy in a financial as well as in a moral sense. Up to some time ago that was denied.
Figures have recently emerged which have been gone over here before but I should like to refer to them again. The British claim that by tariffs imposed, some of them about July, 1932, but most of them about October or November, 1932, they have been able to get up to the 1st April of this year, the full £7,000,000 which represents the fruits of victory, which represents the sum total of all the moneys that we withheld from the British, claiming that they were not owed to the British. So that, by tariffs imposed over a period of 18 or 21 months, the British Government has been able to recoup itself for all the moneys we pilfered from it in two years. For a long time that was denied but repetition wears away even the stony heads of some of the members of the Government. The constant drip is there and must penetrate even to the mind of the Minister for Defence who now represents the Government in the House on this matter. Recently he made a speech which showed the first glimmerings of sense that I have seen from him. He realises that to win the economic war we have got to do something more than merely hold on to money because we may show a credit balance by saying that we have so much in the Suspense Account and here it is and here we are spending it. But the farmers know that the full amount of the  £7,000,000—if we take the £5,000,000 of land annuities and the £2,000,000 of other money—has been taken out of the payments derived from the sale of every beast that goes into England.
To win the economic war, we have got to do something more than merely hang on to the money, and it is well that we should face up to the test of victory, and the test of victory is that we should have some way to coerce the British to allow us to remain in possession of that £7,000,000 and to take our goods into their country without tariffs. How near are we to that? As I said, the Minister for Defence showed a glimmering of sense in his speech of last week when he said that there is no doubt they are getting £4,000,000 odd. He thinks that we are saving £5,000,000 and that we are £1,000,000 up in the balance. If so, we are only up in the balance in this way —that the annuities that used to be terminable, because a sinking fund was made in order to bring them to an end some day, have now been turned, through the default of the Irish Government, into permanent payments. There is no sinking fund now; no money is being put to reserve or to the payment of the principal, as these payments in part represent. However, the Minister says that it is clear—it is admitted by him—that they are getting about £4,000,000, and he came to the conclusion that they can only get it and can only continue to get it as long as we are sending over any goods to them on which they can put tariffs to recoup themselves. Accordingly, he propounds the grand policy that we have the British completely and entirely beaten whenever we give up sending them our goods, because in that case they cannot levy tariffs on the goods. That may be a happy day, but it certainly is a far off day.
Following up this brilliant idea, with which the Minister for Defence has been so impressed, of ceasing to send any goods to Britain so that she cannot levy tariffs on our goods, his colleague, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, decides that this is the time in which Ireland needs a mercantile marine. What for? The Minister for  Industry and Commerce has no illusions that we are going to send a lot of our exportable surplus goods to countries other than Britain, because his plea was this: that it is only fair that at least 50 per cent. of the goods we send to Britain will be carried in our own ships. I should like to see that matter fought out between the two Ministers. The Minister for Defence thinks that we should stop sending our goods to Britain and thus win the economic war by taking away from them the power to levy tariffs on our goods, and the Minister for Industry and Commerce thinks that it is essential for the economic future of this country that we have our own ships to carry over our goods to England. Which is the better economist? Who sees victory the sooner? Is it the man who thinks that there is a future in the British market and is preparing, in some haphazard and ill-developed way, this plan of a mercantile marine of our own, or is it just the slap-dash attitude of the man of war who says: “No goods to England, and no payment from us?” It would be a good thing to have these economic policies reconciled, because on the result of them, or the Minister's view of the future of them, depends our financial situation here at home.
At any rate, there we have it. We have got to spend money here. We have got to provide all these social services that the Labour Party wants. We have got to do it by increased taxation, and the Minister for Finance says, luxuriously, that what we could ill-afford when we were sending the land annuities to Britain we can well afford when we are retaining them at home. I wish he would put that to the test of a farmers' meeting. Do they think that, having been relieved, on paper, of the payment of the land annuities, they are now in the position to finance social services, when it is admitted that they should not have been asked to finance these services, say, three, four, and five years ago when the land annuities were being exacted from them, and being paid to Britain? That is the merest child's play. That is merely juggling with  figures—simply setting off a bookkeeping entry and regarding it as a real and solid achievement, and ignoring the fact, which we cannot deny to be a fact, that the British claim that the £7,000,000, which we stole from them in two years, has been taken from us compulsorily and very much against our will, despite Government activity, in 18 months of tariffs with regard to some of them, or in 21 months of tariffs with regard to most of them. What is the better situation which we have at home in which to impose increased taxation— because the present Budget does mean increased taxation? The calculation was made, on the last occasion on which there was a census of production in this country, that of every 1,000 in occupation in this country, 500 were engaged in agriculture and 130 in industry. Has there been a change over? I doubt, even on the figures that the Minister for Industry and Commerce so brazenly tries to put forward —not merely unsupported by figures but negatived—that we have not made any change in that proportion of those employed in industry to those employed in agriculture. If we have made any change, it is only because those employed in agriculture have gone down, and not that they have gone over to industry.
The Minister claimed that he had put so many men into industrial activity in this country. His figures were challenged. It was then found that he had done the rather unfair thing—I would almost say dishonest thing—of counting in, as part of his activity, those who had gone into industry in the year in which he had nothing to do with government. When he had his own figures segregated we found that in two years of high tariffs, bounties, trade loans, Government credit, and everything that can be done for industry in this country, he has not got into industrial activity in the two years as many men as, in its last year, the Cosgrave Administration, without so many tariffs, bounties, subsidies and all the rest of it, succeeded in getting in in one year. Yet we are supposed to have had a change over. I admit the proportion may have changed, but if it has changed it is not because of the 1,000  employed. There has been really no change made by way of addition to those in industry. There has been a better appearance put on that proportion because, certainly, a big number have gone out of agricultural production or agricultural employment. The Ministry have been forced to establish what they call an Unemployment Assistance Fund. The Minister for Industry and Commerce said that it was to assist 30,000 people for whom, he sorrowfully had to confess, he saw no chance of improvement, as far as employment was concerned, last autumn or winter. We know now that that tot of 30,000 was an optimistic undercalculation. We know now that it was more in the region of 60,000. There are 60,000 who are, if we can use the phrase, dolefully unemployed.
There are not more people in agriculture. I doubt if the proportion of 130 out of 1,000 has changed for the better as far as industrial employment is concerned. Suppose we leave those comparisons aside for the moment and simply take one test. The Ministry has told us that there used to be about 30,000 people—that is the usual figure given, but let us take it at even 20,000, or midway between the two, and say 25,000—who used to go abroad and who now do not go away because they cannot get to these other countries. In two years, tariffs, subsidies, Government credits and everything that can be done for industry, have brought in 20,000 into employment, according to the best calculation or the best boast— not supported by figures—that the Ministry can make. Twenty thousand extra in two years, and yet we are told that the population of this country is increasing by 20,000 a year. So that, on the best boast the Ministry can make—they are not putting any extra people into agricultural production—if we take industry as the mainstay, and if—and it is a big “if”—they continue for ten years to come to get as many men put into industrial activity year by year as they have got in the two years past, they are failing, by 10,000 a year, to provide occupation for the extra population of the country. That is after everything that can be done for industry has been done, because we have had the boast here on many occasions  by the Minister for Industry and Commerce that his task was done, that nothing more could be asked of him in the way of tariffs, quotas or completely prohibited import of goods in opposition to goods made here, in the way of subsidies or in the way of putting at the disposal of industrialists the credit of the Government.
We have to face up to two difficult propositions. One is that, until we change our scheme of economy, we cannot beat the British in the economic war. The change has got to be a radical one—a change which leaves us with no exportable surplus of goods after meeting our own requirements. So long as we continue to have goods to export, and so long as the Ministry fail to find—as they have, so far, failed to find—alternative markets, we cannot continue even to count as again those land annuities and other moneys which we have withheld. We have got to have a radical change in the whole scheme of the country's economy. We are supposed to be attacking that at the moment. We are in the two best years of development—the two years which saw the greatest change, the change from the laissez faire policy, the policy of doing nothing, the policy which left everybody, supposedly, starving and without occupation. In these two years, with all this new development, with all the rush of work there ought to have been, with the imposition of all these tariffs, quotas and prohibitions, we get—I do not admit the figure, but it is the biggest boast made—20,000 new people in occupation. In those two years, again according to the statement made, there are 40,000 over the old population, with whatever its proportion of employed and unemployed was, looking for employment. We have given employment to 20,000 of them. The best the Ministry can promise us is that if things go as well as they, unsupported by figures, say they have gone in the past, we shall be able to provide for 50 per cent. of those for whom new employment has got to be found year by year. We have got to change our agricultural system. We have got to get at the point at which we shall have  no surplus goods for which the British market offers a sale. How are we to do that? We have decided on a variety of schemes—sugar beet——
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy is within his rights in discussing the capacity, or incapacity, of the country to meet the taxation proposed in this Bill, but I would remind him that the Votes for the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Industry and Commerce have been passed by this House and should not now be re-debated.
Mr. McGilligan: I did not propose to refer to them in detail. If I am not to be allowed to paint a picture of the position of the country in relation to this taxation, and if I am not to be allowed to refer to the capacity of the country to bear the taxation imposed, I do not think that any purpose would be served by my continuing this debate on the Finance Bill. I am showing that, industrially, we are no better fitted to bear taxation than we were, and in the same way I should like to deal with the capacity of agriculture to bear this burden.
Mr. McGilligan: To resume, we have tried sugar beet. How is it going to work? By subsidy. By a perpetual subsidy. By imposing upon the people what the Minister for Finance, in his first Budget, called a hard tax. It has to be imposed in perpetuity. We are to have sugar produced. Anything can be produced in this country—at a cost. So far as sugar beet is concerned, it is to open up extra acreage. It did not do that before. We shall wait with interest and see whether it will do it now. Whether or not we get anything in the way of new or substituted cultivation, it is no longer a thing which people grow because, in the open market, they see a profit coming from  the sale. It is something which they grow because, as taxpayers, they meet part of the price they get themselves for the product. They pay in the form of what the Minister for Finance called a “hard tax.” We are going to make this country a picture with wheat. We shall wait to see it. It is a bit of a Cubist design at the moment and it is costing a good deal. The difficulty about wheat cultivation is that the more we are successful the more we shall pay. Again, in so far as this substituted cultivation is concerned, we are to have grown here what is probably the cheapest of all products that the earth gives when we import it into this country. We are going to substitute for that cheap commodity, which is the foundation of the main foodstuffs of the community, something which we can grow at home at a very heavy cost, and the more successful we are in getting it grown the heavier the cost will be. We are doing that while at the same time we are wiping out a type of cultivation for which the people went in and towards which they were attracted by the economic gains from it.
Agriculture had a certain economy before. It changed backwards and forwards as the times changed, but always there was before the agriculturists this bait—they grew what paid. They grew for profit. Where they got profits and the thing paid them, the community got richer. We have got to destroy that because we produce a surplus—a surplus over our own requirements. For that surplus we found, and can still find, a market in great Britain. But, as the Minister for Defence now realises, the hard economic fact is that so long as we have goods to send to Britain, so long can Britain take from us the whole tot of the land annuities. Therefore, we must destroy a system of agriculture that was founded on economic gain and replace it by a system of agriculture founded on subsidies that we pay ourselves—all because the Ministry, before they wandered into this economic war, did not realise that we had a good type of agriculture, that we had surplus production and sold that surplus at times well and, at worst, fairly well.
 Now they find themselves in the dilemma that that system has got to be destroyed no matter what the internal consequences may be so that they may, on paper, have something to point to—even if it is a mere bookkeeping entry—to show that they have withheld certain moneys which used to go to Britain and which Britain is getting from us by taxes on our goods. Britain may not get these moneys, but by this confused and chaotic system of agriculture we will lose as much as we are losing to the British at the moment in the taxation of our goods, leaving those goods to flow in just to the point at which they will get back from us the money which we withheld and not allowing another head of cattle more than that. So with industry in that way, and with agriculture, luckily much more resistant than the Ministry thought, being changed over from a sound position to a ludicrously sound position, we find the Ministry simply forgetting, or trying to forget, their own promises and deciding that more taxation is what this country wants to bring it economic good health. We had the promise:
“and is convinced that a saving of many hundred thousand pounds can be made, not including such items as the sum of £1,152,000 paid to the British Government in respect of Royal Irish Constabulary pensions and other similar payments not required by the Treaty. The burden of taxation can be lightened by not less than £2,000,000 per year.”
£2,000,000 per year! It was a good  bait. Has the Minister brazenness enough at this moment to say that he has lightened the burden of taxation by anything? On the Financial Resolution I gave him a series of figures. They amounted to £14,000,000 exacted extra to the 1931 revenue in the last two years. We should have had a remission of £4,000,000 in those two years, on the promise, instead of which we have £14,000,000 extra taken from the people of the country. Deputy Dowdall says that that was not a promise; that it was only a statement. Previously we had talk about an oath and when it was not an oath and when perjury was not perjury. People were to die in their graves before they came into this House, and they came in, and Deputy Dowdall now thinks that what I have read is not a promise but a mere statement. The Minister for Finance also made statements on his own. Speaking in 1927, he said:
Now, we have repudiated the Ultimate Financial Settlement. Why do we not abolish the Army? £9,000,000 is a big saving, and a country which has had £14,000,000 exacted from it could do with that saving. Is there anything to prevent the abolition of the Army? The Minister used to hold that it was merely for the purpose of keeping down the political opponents of Cumann na nGaedheal. They surely do not want to be kept down now. Why should not the country get £9,000,000 relief when the Minister has it in his power so easily to grant it?
The Minister for Justice, as he is now, probably feeling that honours were due to him and not wanting to say upon what services the millions could be saved, expressed himself more generally in 1932. He had had five years to think over the statement of  the Minister for Finance and he did not like this idea of abolishing the Army. In 1932, the Minister for Justice was nearer to responsibility and, mind you, I am speaking in a year in which we have taxation increased over last year and last year showed taxation increased over the year before, the whole tot of the two years—I have not spoken of what is happening this year yet—showing £14,000,000 extra in taxation. This was his view:
Let us apply the test. Has taxation been kept down? Clearly not. Will one dare to say that the Government is imbued with dishonesty and full of corruption, and if that answer cannot be given, will the Minister for Finance supply the answer? It must be somewhere between the two.
At any rate, we have got our £14,000,000 extra and the Minister thinks that revenue is buoyant. We can, therefore, afford to go ahead again with a Budget, which, in fact, when one adds on the sugar tax of February of this year, shows increased taxation even over last year and last year showed an increase over the year before and the first two years of the Minister's rule show £14,000,000 exacted from the people of the country more than what was exacted previously. The Minister thinks that revenue is buoyant. He still has outstanding the big question he has never faced up to. Deputy Davin is anxious to have the super-tax payer and the income tax payer heavily mulcted. The Minister has no love for either; he is not of their class. Yet, he remits sixpence this year. Why? At any rate, the financial fact had been borne in on him that that tax had got to saturation point, and that income and super-tax were yielding less than they had ever yielded before. The White Paper Estimate which he published this year showed that bad as last year's return was, it was estimated to bring in less this year even if the taxation had remained the same.
Again I want to run over the income  tax paying classes of this community. There are the people with fixed incomes, people like the Civil Service, who pay, because they must pay, their income tax with great regularity. There may be some drop in what is derivable from them because of the Minister's foolish attempt at economy in regard to the Civil Service, but it is small. There is, secondly, the class of people who pay tax on incomes which they get in this country, but which are derived from investments outside the country, and it is well known that the greater proportion of the investments placed by nationals of this country abroad are placed in English securities, and it is further well known that of all the securities the world has, these have shown an upward tendency recently. There should, therefore, be more income tax derived from them. The Minister's White Paper showed an appreciation of the fact that there is going to be less derived. We have the third class; the people who make their money here; the people who have put their money into some of those grand industries which the Minister for Industry and Commerce has so often boasted of; the people who, having their money in industry in this country, are protected by tariffs, quotas, bounties and the absence of competition; the people to whom it was the Minister's aim to give profits, and yet apparently they are going to fail, because the old calculation that an extra 6d. used to bring in £500,000 a year no longer holds. The Minister last year put on three sixpences extra, and he had in addition the lag of the 3d. of the last 6d. which the Cosgrave Administration put on, but instead of showing that he was going to get £1,750,000 from that extra amount he calculated that he was going to get something about £1,000,000, and he just about got the £1,000,000.
He calculated that income tax was going to yield about £800,000 less than what it used to give. Is not that a test of the wealth of the industrial section of the community, of the people who are supposed to be very wealthy, of the people who are deriving money from dividends, whether those are coming out of business in this country or out  side it, and of the people who occupy good posts at fixed salaries? Yet, from all those, he expected—and was right in his expectation—that the yield would be about £800,000 less than it used to be in the bad and degenerate days of the Cosgrave Administration. The Minister had to take 6d. off, and he had to get his taxation in some other way. He gets it by imposing what he called the hard tax before— the sugar tax. The people who consume sugar met with great sympathy from the Minister in 1932. Then it was a tax that was an iniquitous one; it was one that bore most heavily on the poor; it was a widespread tax, scattered amongst every class of the community. That is the reason it is reimposed this year, because sugar is a necessity. When there is a tax on a necessity, you can hope to get a return from it, when you are not going to get a return from profits, even though you are supposed to have almost an industrial paradise in this country at the moment. Certainly, if there is money made out of industry in this country, according to Deputy Norton it is not the workers who are getting it. They are getting sweated conditions in back street shops. The income tax goes down.
There is one other way in which money can be got, and that is the way in which we set out in this Finance Bill to get it. There are two other ways, tariffs and borrowing. This is a borrow Budget if ever there was one. We are going to borrow. We cannot meet our ordinary expenses. We are going to see what our credit is worth, badly damaged though that has been by the failure of the Fourth National Loan. Then we are going to rely, in the main, on indirect taxation—tariffs— which it is hoped the people will not feel so much because they will not have a particular demand presented to them at a special time of the year. They will not have it put up to them in a round sum, on which they could make their calculation as to what they used to pay, and possibly begin to commiserate on their present state when they make that comparison. Last year, we were told by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, and  I think he astounded even the people who are accustomed to his brazenness, that taxation was being lowered last year by £1,000,000. It was down by £1,000,000, and down in the best way, he said. “Deputies opposite, of course, do not appreciate that.” Some of his own colleagues on the Front Bench do not appreciate it. Some of his colleagues on the Front Bench found it hard to meet that argument when it happened to return against them this year. This was the Minister's economic thought last year. Speaking last year on 16th May he said: “Taxation in the coming year will be £1,000,000 less than it was last year.” He thought that was not appreciated because Deputies were concerned with income tax, and because income tax had not been reduced they said that taxation had not been reduced. “They do not appreciate the fact that reduction in taxation can be achieved by other methods. There has been a decline in the yield of customs duties. A reduction of over £1,000,000 has been produced in the best way possible, because it points to the fact that industry is developing here, and that Irish people are being employed in Ireland instead of Englishmen in England supplying our needs.”
I have analysed that before, but it will bear inquiry again. The Minister for Industry and Commerce promised us and assured us on his economic word, which is the best he can give, that taxation in the year we have just passed through was going to be down by £1,000,000. It was going to be down by £1,000,000 because the customs duties showed that reduction, and that reduction showed a lessening of taxation in the best possible way, because the other side of that argument is that more Irish people are employed in industry at home, in the production of goods for Irish consumption by Irish hands, where previously those goods had been produced by Englishmen for Irish consumption. So we went on through the year. The finance accounts of the year show that the customs duties are up £1,600,000 instead of being down £1,000,000, as the Minister promised. Can we apply  the old argument of 16th May, 1934? Was taxation last year increased by that amount? Of course it was. Was it increased in the worst possible way? Yes, in the eyes of a man who is anxious for the industrial development of this country, because it meant that there was being brought into this country a very big amount of goods upon which duties were being levied amounting to £1,600,000 more than had been estimated. If the duty was £1,600,000 extra, we can get a rough idea of what was the value of the product coming in here. Whatever was its value, it was to that extent substituting for the goods which the Minister for Industry and Commerce expected to have made at home. What did we expect this year in the way of customs duties? Have we to lower the tot? Are we content to believe that there is still coming into this country that amount of goods? If so, are we again staggering on under two disappointments: first, that taxation has not been reduced; and secondly, that the Minister's boasting about all the production in industry at home has been clearly disproved, because we are getting in goods—whatever be the value of them—yielding this £1,600,000 extra. We used to have the boast made that our job was done; that tariffs had been piled so high that goods could not be brought in; that, whether they could be brought in or not, Irish industry was supplying all that we require, and that there was no necessity to bring those things in. Now, suddenly, we find that although they are costing more, apparently the people's necessities are not being sufficiently catered for by Irish-manufactured goods, despite the high tariff walls, the quotas, prohibitions, bounties and everything else. We have still got to supply that amount of our wants more than the Minister expected by goods manufactured outside and brought in here to meet them.
So we have got again to this awkward situation, that we require a very big change in our agricultural economy. We have to get ourselves into the position, if we want to beat the British, in which we are not sending them any goods and then we have  to destroy whatever part of agriculture in this country produces more than we consume here. It is easy to destroy, whether it be projects of slaughtering calves or other fantastic things. But if the people have to live there has to be something in the way of production substituted for what we destroy. Ministers boast that it is easier to bear the burden now when we have not leaving the country the money which used to leave it under the head of land annuities. If this money goes to England, not under the head of land annuities, but as penal and retaliatory tariffs, it is harder to bear the burden if the exaction of the same amount of money completely disrupts the whole trade of the country.
Have we a substitute production? As far as the economy of the country goes, in proportion to its general amount to an inappreciable extent we have something heavily subsidised, paid for by the taxpayer or by the consumer as far as agriculture goes. As far as industry goes, we have a situation that, even if everything was as rosy and successful as the Ministry would have us believe, and for which they cannot produce figures, we are not even meeting those who are coming of age and require to be gainfully occupied to any greater proportion than fifty per cent.; we have an Unemployment Assistance Bill brought in to relieve the others, and the prospects are that, instead of the numbers fed out of that being lessened, as the years go on they are going to increase. We have to reduce taxation because taxes have reached saturation point as far as direct taxes are concerned, and the only hope there is from indirect taxation is that we may lift more money still from tariffs, and if we lift money from tariffs we come back again to the other point in the circle and we must accept the conclusion that Irish industry is not making the progress that it is boasted of having made and there is still a vast amount of goods which are not manufactured at home and we have to get them in from outside.
Naturally, in that rather unmanageable mess that the situation has been  brought to, there is only one result. As long as we can borrow we can live, and live fairly well. The Minister has been taught one lesson about borrowing. He went for his Fourth National Loan. He made a Commonwealth speech in order to try and get support for that National Loan. He delivered himself of an oration at the Dublin Chamber of Commerce which was completely inside the framework of the Dominions. He opened with his optimism about closing the lists early and he ended with his optimism about the day not being far distant when we would have peace with Great Britain. The result of that cheery optimism was that out of £6,000,000 that he ran for he got less than £3,000,000. He tried to explain that in the last speech he made on this issue. The lists could have been kept open for some days longer, but the Minister preferred to close them as he had the whole amount secured. Presumably the whole amount was secured from the day he started. It is a wonder he ran for it at all.
He had previously looked for money for the Industrial Credit Corporation. I asked him how much he had gone for. He told me that an issue of 500,000 ordinary shares had been applied for. I asked if it had been successfully floated. I was told that the issue was fully subscribed. Then we got how it was subscribed. The public took up 7,936 shares and the Minister for Finance all the rest. So that when, in November, 1933, the Minister tried to get £500,000, with the Government's backing to aid industry, with all the tariffs and quotas and subsidies, the public showed their enthusiasm by taking up less than £8,000 and the Minister took up the rest. I think it is natural enough that there should have been public reluctance, even public pessimism about Irish industry. It is one of the things that has to be fought against in this country. There has always been a defeatist spirit about it. The Minister plumbed the depths of that defeatism. £8,000 out of £500,000 with all the aids that were being given to industry; with the Government fully set on getting self sufficiency attained here immediately in industrial production.
 Let us leave industry out of it; let us leave the industrial capacity of the people out of it. There were some industries, good or bad, in 1933, as they were for years past. Let us assume that the people had in some way passed judgment, good, bad or indifferent, upon them. We were told that under Fianna Fáil there was, for the first time, a Government really keen on industrial development; not merely keen, but showing their keenness in the most practical way by a variety of means. All the industrial cards were on the table. All the industrial aids that the Government could give were displayed, and the Industrial Credit Corporation ran for £500,000 out of the £5,000,000 that they may run for eventually——
Mr. McGilligan: Possibly. I am prepared to meet that argument by saying that the present Government stated that there had been no attention paid either to agriculture or industry until they came in. This was in November 1933. The Fianna Fáil Government had been in power since early in 1932, and the memories of most Deputies had become clouded with the mass of legislation which brought aids to industry. That is the spread that there was for the investor. The Government, fully appreciative of the community's needs, keen on developing Irish industry, and not merely keen, but having given practical effect to their views, fully displayed all this in sight of the wary birds, the investors who stated that £8,000 was the extent of their belief in the Government's aids which they boasted of so much. £8,000 out of £500,000—terrific odds! That was a very bad vote of no confidence in the new aids and in the fresh determination of the new Government with regard to industry.
Mr. McGilligan: If I said that I would be accused of damaging the credit of the country, so I do not say it. You say it. You now want to make me change my argument and say that this vote of no confidence by 400,000 odd against 8,000 is against the credit of the State.
Mr. McGilligan: That is the test. Apart from the people who subscribed, at what rate do the shares change hands? What is the demand for them? What is the price, as opposed to the issue price? The Deputy will get some idea, when he considers these points, as to just how high the credit—I do not say of the State but of the Government—is. I only alluded to the Industrial Credit Company because I think it should have been a warning to the Minister for Finance where he was travelling. Instead of that he ran for his £6,000,000 and he got half that amount. What he got was analysed before. How much the small investor put in, in so far as the published figures revealed, was analysed before and more particular what the Irish industrialist put in was analysed before. It is a well known fact that whatever money was got freely for the Fourth National Loan was subscribed by the people to whom the Minister for Finance paid a tribute in his Budget speech, the big finance corporations, people in a big way interested in the brewing and distilling industries, a variety of people like that——
Mr. McGilligan: They are described as keen businessmen when it comes to investing in the Fourth National Loan, but they are ragged, low-class Imperialists when matters of politics are being discussed. They are useful when negotiations are to be started— that is for another day. I gave the Minister his chance in a question and I think the public should have heard from him what the newcomers to Irish industry, fostered and very effectively fostered to the fullest extent in so far as this Government could do it, subscribed to the Fourth National Loan. The Minister was asked what they did subscribe. Did we get any answer? We know that the Minister himself confessed that he got £2,912,000 in some way or another out of the £6,000,000 that he ran for and that he had to look for £3,087,000 from the underwriters. Now he opens in a Commonwealth vein, with his hands across the sea to Great Britain. Everything was to be rosy and that would have done until the time when a further apology could be made to the I.R.A. and the Republicans, if the money were successfully got in. Somebody could have gone back to the rock of the Republic if the lists had closed successfully. As a matter of fact, they more speedily hurried back to the rock of the Republic because the list closed unsuccessfully.
There was that attempt to delude the people. What is the Minister's only defence about all this? He says that credit was spoiled by certain inauspicious circumstances that attended the opening of his loan. There was one very inauspicious circumstance and that was the blundering series of letters that President de Valera addressed across the water. They may have made even men with keen business intellects pause a little bit. It possibly made them apply their keen business intellects in another way, a more long-sighted way, and they saw what they were buttressing up in this country and possibly  they felt inclined to wonder, apart altogether from the question of politics, whether it was a sound business proposition to buttress up—what the President was writing to Mr. Thomas about. In any event we never heard what the industrialists put into the Fourth National Loan. The Minister did not give an opportunity to the people to find out how they had rallied.
Mr. McGilligan: We are throwing him over towards you and he is apparently having a great effect on you. There is a certain retreat from him that is getting more pronounced, and the Deputy who finds himself bereft of his county council for a very definite reason might ponder on it. General O'Duffy has said that the people would want some guarantee that the money would not be wanted for vote-catching and Communist policy purposes and that spoiled the loan.
Mr. McGilligan: I will deal with General O'Duffy for the moment. He referred to vote-catching and Communist policy purposes. There is no doubt in the world that a number of people who ordinarily would have been disposed to subscribe towards the National Loan did feel that the money was going to be used for vote-catching purposes and for Communistic purposes. Whether the Ministry realise what Communism is, when it does not bear that label, their policy is certainly driving them towards it. According to the Minister the credit of the State is so rocky that a speech by General O'Duffy causes it to be a 50 per cent. failure. At least, that is what we were told at one time. Occasionally the Minister for Finance tries to say that it was the most successful loan floated. I have heard that from him. I have heard him compare it advantageously with the other loans. I have heard him talking about the other loans that had been taken up by the underwriters, without ever hearing the amount which the underwriters took up of the other loans. But here we have trotted out a statement about “vote-catching and Communistic purposes.” That was the phrase used by General O'Duffy on the 2nd December last when the first announcement appeared in the the Press in connection with the Fourth National Loan. We are told that phrase had the effect of destroying all that the Minister had put up and worked towards in the Chamber of Commerce when he was waving a friendly hand towards Britain, not the hostile first that he had been waving previously.
How did the Third National Loan succeed? On the day on which the Third National Loan was floated, the present Minister for Industry and Commerce decided to make the comment upon the country as a country “moving at a rapid pace into a bog of bankruptcy.” That was, presumably, supposed to be an advertisement for the Third National Loan. The present Vice-President of the  Executive Council on that same occasion, stated that “unemployment was constantly on the increase; the area of land under tillage had decreased, the number emigrating was practically as great as ever and the prospect for the future was as black as night.” These were statements made to help the Third National Loan. These were the circumstances under which the Third National Loan was launched. Note the excuse we have now made for the failure of the Fourth National Loan—and the outstanding feature of it was that it failed.
The outstanding feature of this Budget is to meet what the Minister regards as expenditure on social services necessary for the people at the moment. The question is as to whether it is by the fruits of taxation in the last few years, or by raiding certain little pockets that are still to be raided, or by borrowing in some way or other that the gap is to be met. The Minister is going to borrow. He is going to fund the sum. He is not going to meet what is required for export bounties out of ordinary expenditure. That item, whatever is meant by it, changes from time to time. That is a further economic feature of the Budget—that we are not going to meet out of ordinary revenue the amount of money which we are going to give the people to encourage them to get into a market which alternately, we are told, has disappeared, and, secondly, if we are told it has not disappeared, is a market which we are to regard as an economic danger to the community. Sometimes they say this market has disappeared and they thank God for it, and sometimes they realise that it has not completely disappeared because its disappearance is the only thing that can save us from a defeat by the British in the economic war.
Again, there is the counter-authority of the Minister for Defence, who thinks we have only one thing more to do to win the war, and that is that we should be in the position that we cannot send any more goods to England. While the Minister for Defence is taking up that attitude, the Minister for Industry and Commerce tells us he is actively  engaged in preparing to build a fleet to carry to England the goods which the Minister for Defence thinks we should not send. We have the position that the Minister for Finance is going to borrow money to give to the Minister for Industry and Commerce to build a fleet to convey goods to England which the Minister for Defence thinks and urges we should not send. Is there sanity in that?
Do the Ministry know what they want before they start looking for the money with which this Finance Bill deals? They have a plan, we were told, in that advertisement; they have a plan for tillage, for national economy and for employment. I have gone through their achievements as well as I could and it all narrows down to this issue of finance—is the country better off than it used to be? There is certainly more money spent. Whether it is usefully spent remains to be seen. Is the country better off as a whole or is there a prospect if we face up to another year's rigorous conditions that we would be better able to face the difficulty when it does come later, or are the finances of this country to be knocked about in such a way that it will take many years to make them right again? People will stand for taxation for a bit. But if the collapse does not come sooner, when it does come, then all the worse it will be.
I do not think anybody can say there is a glimmer of improvement ahead. The Minister for Finance will again say that he has hopes the economic war will not be perpetual; the Minister for Defence has himself got the idea that this economic war has to last for ever, and that the only way to win it is not to send any goods to England. The Minister for Defence, it appears, argues in a strain which would make his borrowing for bounties a good, sound and economic thing.
The last time on which this subject was agitated he agreed with the argument put forward to show that the British market was not gone. He said that undoubtedly we had advantages here over any other part of the world. He said we had advantages that no other part of the world could offer the British traders. These were not economic  advantages but advantages arising from our geographical position in the time of war. But the very moment we got that speech from the Minister for Finance we got a speech from his leader showing that he is not heading towards any friendly alliance with Great Britain, but that he is bent on hostility and we are to get the hostility only. Comparable to his leader's view are those of the Minister for Defence. That is the only hope this Fianna Fáil Administration can give. They tell us that we are holding on to £5,000,000, but we have now got to realise that the British are taking most of that back and taking it back by a process which is destructive of our whole trade to a far greater extent than is represented by the money that England is taking from us. The Minister for Defence says that the only hope of winning is to get as speedily as possible into the position in which England will not get anything from us and that then we will have reached the stage when we will have won the economic war. I wonder how many will be alive to see that day.
Mr. MacEntee: The Deputy who has just sat down referred to this country as a cubist country. We have listened to a cubist speech, angular and incoherent and lacking in any aesthetic or ethical contents, lacking particularly in any concern for the credit of this country. I interrupted the Deputy by saying that he was like a white mouse running around on the revolving drum in its cage. The Deputy repeated on four occasions the same statement when he referred to what he described as the failure of the Fourth National Loan. In what way did the Fourth National Loan fail? That loan, like all the loans for which our predecessors have been responsible, was arranged by us with the keenest financial brains in this country. We listened to the speech of the new shadow, the shadow which has as much prospect of ever becoming a substance as any of his other colleagues on the opposite bench. A large part of the speech of that shadow, Deputy Belton, was devoted to a eulogy of the chairman of the leading financial  institution in this country and of those who are associated with him. It was with the chairmen of the Irish banks that the Fourth National Loan was arranged. It was they who undertook the responsibility of making that issue to the public. It was they who appraised the credit of this State under this Government as being equivalent to the credit of the British State under the present British Government: who put the credit of this State upon a 3½ per cent. basis. It was that same group, when they were negotiating with our predecessors in 1931, put the credit of this State upon a 4½ per cent basis——
Mr. MacEntee: ——and when, in addition, they had to throw in, as a make-weight, an adventitious aid to the subscription, making the stock tenderable at nominal value for the repayment of death duties. There was none of that window-dressing when we issued the Fourth National Loan. The reason that they thought the issue would go at 3½ per cent. was because they had studied the position and thought that the Opposition would act patriotically towards that loan in the same way as we had towards the earlier loan. The quotation which Deputy McGilligan has given in his speech has nothing whatsoever to do with the credit of this country: at any rate, he cannot find an allegation made by the Leader of the then Opposition Party that the money which was to be raised by the Fourth National Loan was going to be used to buy votes and to bribe voters or to finance Communism. When one is issuing a loan one wants to get in the small investor. It is desirable that nothing should be said by any Party which would affright the small investor, and there is nothing more likely to affright him than the idea that the money which he is asked to subscribe to the Central Government is going to be used, as General O'Duffy declared it would be used, to bribe voters and to support Communism in this country: Communism, which has been associated  with the repudiation of State obligations, particularly to its own citizens.
Mr. MacEntee: ——that undoubtedly did deter the small investor in this country who, unfortunately, is rather prone to take General O'Duffy at his face value, and at more as representing the collective intelligence of the Front Opposition Bench. We have been told that this gentleman is the new Moses: that he is going to lead the people out of the bondage of representative government into the promised land of Fascism: that behind him he has able lieutenants like the former President of the Executive Council, Deputy Cosgrave, like Deputy MacDermot, the former President or Chairman of the Centre Party, and like Deputy McGilligan, the gentleman who, when Minister for Industry and Commerce, second only to the then Minister for Finance, was responsible for the debâcle of the Industrial Trust Company of Ireland.
Mr. MacEntee: At any rate, this new Messiah, surrounded by this galaxy of talent which has now crossed the floor of the House and will remain in perpetual Opposition, when he makes a pronouncement he is careful to tell us that he speaks because nobody dare say “Boo”: that he speaks for the whole of the Fine Gael or Finish-the-Gael Party.
Mr. MacEntee: Is it not only natural to assume that the men of property whom the people on the Opposition Benches tell us are behind them in their campaign, when their chosen leader spoke in that strain, no matter what their patriotic instincts may have been, no matter how much the lead of the intelligent men of finance in this country may have impressed them, that they naturally would say: “At any rate, it is better to be safe than sorry, and even though we do not believe that this money is going to be used in the way in which General O'Duffy says it will be used, we are not going to take the risk, we are going to keep our cash in our own pockets and allow the banks who have underwritten the loan to carry the burden.” I am glad to say that the banks are quite prepared to hold every penny piece of the National Loan that they have, because they know that it is going to be a good investment.
Deputy McGilligan referred to the Industrial Credit Corporation and to the first issue which it made. When the Bill establishing the Industrial Credit Corporation was going through this House, I made it quite clear that that Corporation was going to be asked to finance industrial enterprises which, because of their novelty and because of other circumstances attending them, would not be attractive to the ordinary investor, and that  we were merely going to the public in this case as a matter of form. It was with this in view the Bill had been drafted in such a way that when the Industrial Credit Corporation had been firmly established, when the enterprises which it was going to be asked to finance in its initial stages had been soundly established and when Irish investors did see that the properties of the Corporation were a good and attractive investment, we would then be able to dispose of the corporation to private enterprise in this country. From the very beginning we never anticipated that, so far as the ordinary shares of the Industrial Credit Corporation were concerned, there would be any real substantial investment on behalf of private individuals.
Mr. MacEntee: No. Deputy McGilligan made the same mistake as Deputy Minch. He said that the issue of the stock was guaranteed by the Government. It was not. That shows how much Deputies know of the business done in this House, when Deputy Minch will get up and even ask so unnecessary a question as that. There was no guarantee.
Mr. MacEntee: The Government always intended to take control at the earlier stages of the Industrial Credit Corporation. It had the lesson of the Industrial Trust Company of Ireland to guide it. The Industrial Trust Company was a concern floated by our predecessors, in which not merely Irish but American money was invested. Investment was secured by the inducement being held out by our predecessors that they were going to put money into the company. What was the history of the company? The money subscribed for investment in Irish enterprise was invested in some wild cat schemes, in the shares of British picture houses, in mines in Korea, in cement undertakings in Great Britain, in oil fields in South America, but scarcely a penny piece in Irish enterprise. That was the Industrial Trust Company of Ireland, floated by our predecessors, for which they accepted responsibility, and in which they induced Irish investors to place their hard-earned savings. At a meeting held to consider the winding-up of the company, one Irishman intimated that he had taken his life's savings out of perfectly sound securities and entrusted them to the mercy of the previous Government, by investing in the Industrial Trust Company of Ireland and every penny piece of that man's savings was lost. With that precedent to guide them, does anyone think that Irish investors, with the history of the Industrial Trust Company before them, were going to put a penny piece into the Industrial Credit Corporation? We did not expect them. We did not want them to do so. We issued the prospectus, as a matter of form, as the Bill was drafted in such a way as to ensure that the company would be a public company, and that any Government that came in would be able to dispose of it. But until it was soundly established, until its development had followed the lines we had mapped out, we were not going to allow the entrance, at the early stages, of any controlling interests which might have different ideas as to how Irish enterprise was going to be developed and fostered. That was the history of the first issue made by the Industrial Credit Corporation. Deputy  McGilligan was careful not to refer to the second issue made by the Industrial Credit Corporation, an issue that was guaranteed by this Government as to interest and principal. The second issue, made under the auspices of the Industrial Credit Corporation, was an issue of debentures at 4 per cent., and it was oversubscribed. It was guaranteed by the present Government both as to interest and principal. It was oversubscribed but Deputy McGilligan said nothing about that. His one concern is to injure, and he even showed it when he was a Minister, because he did not scruple to quote departmental files in order that he might injure political opponents in their personal and commercial reputation. He is entirely regardless of what damage he would do, either to this country or to its people, to this Government or the interests which it has in its care. Time after time from the moment the Fourth National Loan was issued he has attacked not merely the credit of the Government but the credit of this State, and he has tried to do all the damage he can. He is a little more skilful, but just as malicious as Deputy Belton.
Mr. MacEntee: Deputy McGilligan knows that the outstanding thing about the Fourth National Loan was that it was a success. We got our money on more favourable terms than our predecessors got it. Not merely that, but when we came into office the Second National Loan, for which Deputy McGilligan and his colleagues in the Cabinet had responsibility, was standing at 75 for 100 dollars of stock on the New York Stock Exchange. Today the Second National Loan, under this Government, is standing at 115.
Mr. MacEntee: All through the debate the Opposition has been voluble but incoherent and inconsistent. We had Deputy McGilligan condemning us because we proposed to borrow for certain items of heavy capital expenditure, following, in regard to every one of them, the precedent set by our predecessors. They borrowed for the Local Loans Fund. So do we. They borrowed to repay the Dáil Eireann Loan. So do we. They borrowed to finance the Shannon scheme. We are borrowing to finance the industrial alcohol experiment. But they borrowed also to defray some part of the cost of the Army, some part of the cost of Army pensions, some part of the cost of afforestation, and some part of the cost of the Vote for Agriculture, for ordinary services like advances to co-operative societies. They borrowed for a large part of the Vote for Public Works, but you will not see us borrowing for one of these questionable items. Whatever we borrow for is clearly for capital purposes and for nothing else. The Opposition borrowed for many things, the cost of which should have been defrayed out of revenue, and in consequence left us with a debt of at least £5,000,000 more than it should have been, compelling us to impose a burden of taxation on the people of about £300,000 yearly that they should not have had to bear. Deputy McGilligan condemns us for borrowing and Deputy Minch says that this Budget should be levied on posterity. Deputy Cosgrave said that  these are not times in which taxation should be put to a point beyond the extent required. The Deputy went on to say that there were many items in the Budget which he thought should be borrowed for. Why does not the Opposition get a common policy? Is it because they lack the common sense to take counsel to decide a common policy before they come here to make speeches which are as contradictory as those of Deputy McGilligan, Deputy Minch and Deputy Cosgrave? Deputy Minch thinks that taxation should be levied on posterity. That is the spendthrift's remedy for everything, to pass it on to the children. It does not matter if the family substance is squandered, let them borrow and borrow, and then let the moneylenders come in and take all. That is not the way we regard our responsibility as a Government. We may be here only for a time but we have a duty and a responsibility to posterity, and while it may be more popular to borrow and to let the taxpayer go free now, we are not going to mortgage the future of this country in the way our predecessors did, simply to secure mere popularity. That sort of thing defeats itself in the end. The people woke up when they saw these Budgets coming in every year, with their classification into normal and abnormal expenditure, and when they saw borrowings for things that they knew should be paid for out of revenue. They made up their minds that the Government which did that was no longer fit to be in charge of the finances of the country and they transformed that Government into an Opposition.
Deputy McGilligan asked, if it cannot be said that this Government is full of corruption, how does the Minister explain the increase of taxation. The increase in the rate of taxation, which is quite a different thing from the total amount of revenue collected, is due partially to a falling off in certain forms of income in this country and due also to the fact that we have to make greater provision for certain social services. We are not full of corruption, but we are full of consideration for the people, consideration which did not enter into the Cubist  politics of the Cubist Minister for Industry and Commerce, whose name is associated with a notorious statement, which will make him remembered when all his other speeches have been forgotten, the statement that it was not the duty of the Government to a Christian people——
Mr. McGilligan: On a point of order, five times I have had to ask Deputies to produce that quotation and the Deputy or the Minister who referred to it has had either to withdraw or to quote it. I think the Minister should produce the quotation or withdraw his statement.
Mr. McGilligan: I submit that when the Minister purports to quote from a statement of mine and when I challenge him with deliberately twisting my words, he should either produce the quotation or withdraw his statement. Will the Minister produce the quotation?
Mr. McGilligan: This statement has been referred to five times previously and on each occasion I have held up the people who referred to it to try to get the quotation. When it has been read, it has been found usually that a sentence has been dropped. Surely the Minister will have the decency to get the quotation?
Mr. MacEntee: The Minister has no regard whatever for the tender conscience of the Deputy. His name is associated with a certain statement. He has had many opportunities of denying it during the past five years, and despite these denials the people, looking at his record as Minister, believe that it is true.
Mr. McGilligan: The Minister knows that the rules of the House do not permit of my characterising his conduct in certain forceful language. The regulations do not permit me to do that, but I now do so characterise it.
Mr. MacEntee: I have said that this Government was not full of corruption, but was full of consideration for the people. At any rate, we have in our Budget this year provided—a provision never previously made—a sum of £1,500,000 for the assistance of the unemployed and a sum of £500,000 for relief works. These things were more necessary in all the years before 1934 than they are in the present year. There was more want, more hunger, more misery in the country during the period that Deputy McGilligan was a member of the Government than there has been since he has become a member of the Opposition. We have provided £1,500,000 for the Act to assist the unemployed. We have provided £500,000 for the execution of minor public works. We have provided £750,000 more than our predecessors did for old age pensions. We have made provision in the Budget for a sum of £250,000 for widows' and orphans' pensions. We have made provision for a sum of £600,000 for the stabilisation of butter prices, for the preservation of the dairying industry in this country. I have said already in this House that when our predecessors were in office a Bill of that sort was brought before the Executive Council and rejected by them. They would do nothing to help the farmers in the dairying counties.
Mr. MacEntee: They would allow them to sink below the level of farmers  in the Six Counties and the farmers in Great Britain. We have reduced the annuities payable by the farmers in this country, not merely under the 1903 and 1909 Acts but under the Land Act of 1923, by 50 per cent., and it is for the payment of the Land Bonds which were issued under the 1923 Act that a large part of the additional taxation we are asking for becomes necessary.
Mr. MacEntee: That is where the additional taxation is going, in providing for these services, for the assistance of the unemployed, for the provision of relief works, for old age pensions, for widows' and orphans' pensions, for wheat, for butter, for land annuities.
When Deputy MacDermot spoke he was concerned to try to save the face of his Party. He was saying that, while the Opposition were opposing these increases in expenditure, he would not like members of the Government to consider that the Opposition was unsympathetic to its programme of social reform. Deputy MacDermot can speak on this matter with a clear conscience. As he said himself, in the course of his speech, he has only been back in this country for something like two years, but when he did come back two years ago, after ten years of our predecessors' régime, he said that he thought, coming through the country and contrasting conditions here with the conditions as he knew them elsewhere, that the disease of poverty was more deeply rooted than we have realised. When Deputy MacDermot spoke in that strain he should have applied that  judgment of his to the conscience of his own colleagues, because we, both when we were in Opposition and now when we are a Government, have realised that the disease of poverty is much more deeply rooted in this country than the present Opposition ever admitted. If it was not for that realisation, would we spend the people's money in providing —I shall repeat it again—the £1,500,000 for the relief of the unemployed, the £500,000 for minor public works, the £750,000 additional for old age pensions, the £250,000 that we are providing this year, and the £400,000 as it will be in a normal year, for widows' and orphans' pensions, the something over £600,000 that we are providing for the stabilisation of butter prices and the preservation of the dairying industry, the something like £2,000,000 that we are providing to secure the reduction of the land annuities in this country, the additional £250,000 that we are providing for the relief of rates upon agricultural land, and the £300,000, over and above that, that we are giving this year in order to ease the finances of the local authorities?
If we did not realise that the disease of poverty was deep rooted in this country, would we face the opprobrium and odium of having to tax the people to the extent to which we have had to tax them in order to provide these services, and would we sit here patiently listening to speeches of the type we have heard from Deputies Mulcahy and Minch? It would be easy, if we had the same sort of callous conscience that our predecessors had, and the same cold disregard of the conditions in which the people were living, to go out and say that we have brought down taxation, that income tax is lower than the British income tax, that we have no tax upon sugar, no tax upon clothes, no tax upon boots, that we are letting all these things in at the lowest possible rate while our own people here in our own land are condemned to live under conditions of starvation and misery and to die of hunger and want. Could we not make the same excuse that our predecessors  made as to the custodianship of the public finances, if we did not admit that the disease of poverty was deep rooted?
Deputy McMenamin asks, when this dispute with Great Britain is ended and we have to pay, where are we going to get the money from? This Government will never have to pay because this Government believes that its first obligation is to the Irish people. If ever that secret agreement of 1923 has to be honoured by this country it will have to be honoured by other men and by another Party. I should not use the word “honour” in that context because the agreement was a dishonourable one from the moment it was kept secret and withheld from the knowledge of the Irish people from 1923 to 1926.
Mr. MacEntee: Once more the people have had that issue before them and have passed judgment on the Deputy and his colleagues in regard to it. At any rate, if ever a payment has to be made which will fulfil to the full the shameful arrangement which was known as the Ultimate Financial Settlement, it will not be made by this Government or it will not be made by this Party. The reason it will not be made by this Government or by this Party is because it will be clear to every man in this country where the money to finance a settlement of that sort will have to come from. It will have to come then to the clear view of everyone where the money came from during the years that preceded our taking over office. It will have to come from the widow and the orphan, from the old age pensioner, out of the pockets of the tenant purchaser, out of the mouths of the unemployed, out of the want and misery and starvation of the Irish people, where it came from during every year that the money was paid over from the year 1923 until we stopped it in 1932.
When, asked Deputy McMenamin, are we going to be able to reduce taxation? We are going to be able  to reduce taxation the moment the Opposition Party in this House takes up an attitude that belongs to true patriotism—the attitude that is taken up in the British House of Commons in relation to the British debt to America. You do not have the Opposition Party there getting up and pressing on the Government that a settlement should be made.
Mr. Minch: The Minister for Finance is raging and working himself up into a rage as he usually does. Have we ever been asked for co-operation here? Have we ever tried to form a National Government as they have in England? Not at all.
Mr. MacEntee: The people, as Deputy Cooney says, formed a National Government. I am talking here, however, of the contrast between the honourable conduct of the people in Opposition over there as contrasted with the people in Opposition here. You do not hear the members of the Opposition in the English House of Commons getting up and telling Mr.  Chamberlain that he is dishonest because he is not making a payment to America on behalf of Great Britain. You do not see him slandered up and down the country and traduced by members of the Opposition and traduced in the Opposition newspapers in the way in which every member of this Government is traduced by the Opposition members and the Opposition newspapers here. No, you see the Opposition there standing shoulder to shoulder with the Government and, if anything, spurring them on and reinforcing them in the attitude that they will not pay, not because they do not acknowledge that the debt is owing, but because they say that, in the interests of their people, they cannot pay their debt. That is not the attitude of the Opposition here, and if that attitude were taken up here, and if the Opposition did not give to the other side in this dispute the comfort and succour of their factionism in this country, then, I think, the dispute would be ended very quickly and very easily and ended most profitably to the people of this State.
Browne, William Frazer.
De Valera, Eamon.
Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
Kelly, James Patrick.
Little, Patrick John.
Maguire, Conor Alexander.
Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
Pearse, Margaret Mary.
Ruttledge, Patrick Joseph.
Ward, Francis C.
|Beckett, James Walter.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Broderick, William Joseph.
Burke, James Michael.
Cosgrave, William T.
Costello, John Aloysius.
Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
Doyle, Peadar S.
Esmonde, Osmond Grattan.
McFadden, Michael Og.
McGuire, James Ivan.
Minch, Sydney B.
O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Rogers, Patrick James.
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