Wednesday, 19 June 1935
Dáil Éireann Debate
That a sum not exceeding £210,349 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1936, for the salaries  and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, including the Rates Advisory Committee, and sundry Grants-in-Aid.
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lemass): Yesterday I stated it was my intention to give on this Estimate a general review of the work done by the Department of Industry and Commerce in the past year, and also of the work which it is now doing and hopes to do in the coming year. The Department of Industry and Commerce has many activities and covers many phases of the national life, but its most important work at the present time consists in the development of industries and it is in relation to that aspect that I would like, first of all, to inform the Dáil of the progress made and of the additional progress which we hope to make.
Deputies are aware that the development of industry has been proceeding here with considerable rapidity during the past couple of years. Previous to the change of Government, various measures designed to promote industrial development were adopted which, however, did not produce material results and, in fact, in some directions there was considerable retrogression. During the decade prior to the change of Government certain industries disappeared and other industries fell away considerably. I am glad to say that most of the arrears of development have been made good and a number, if not all, of the industries which disappeared in the previous decade have been revived and are now flourishing in the Saorstát.
Deputies on occasions take as the index of the progress of our industrial policy the number of new factories established, but that index is a misleading one because, of course, the greater part of the development that has taken place has been in the form of extended production of existing concerns. It is true that a number of new industries have been established, but the greater part of the progress made to date has taken the form of an extension of previously existing industries. For example, the flour milling industry is a very old one in this country, but, during the period prior to 1932, that industry got into  considerable difficulties. A number of the flour mills were closed down and others of them found their production considerably decreasing. The position was reached in 1931 that, of the mills then in existence, most of them were working only to half their capacity, and roughly half of the country's requirements in flour was being imported.
The development of the flour milling industry was one of the first tasks to which we put our hand and I am glad to say that it has been very successful indeed. Not merely are all the mills that were working to half their capacity in 1931 now engaged to full capacity, but the capacity of a number of them has been extended by the installation of additional equipment. In addition, three of the mills that were closed down during the previous decade have been re-opened and are now working to full capacity and two new mills have been established. There is at the present time a sufficient flour milling capacity in the Saorstát to supply all the requirements in flour of the people of this State. From the 1st April in this year the importation of flour, other than for biscuit manufacture, ceased and, I hope, ceased finally. There are two new mills about to come into production, licences for an additional three have been promised and plans for their erection are, I understand, proceeding. When these new mills are in production, the flour milling capacity of the Saorstát concerns will be substantially in excess of the country's requirements and that is the situation that we aimed to achieve when, in July of 1932, this programme was embarked upon.
Another industry which received early attention, and the development of which has been remarkably rapid, has been the apparel industry, the industry concerned in the production of men's and women's outer garments, of under garments, shirts, hats, gloves and of children's garments. There were, of course, a number of concerns engaged in the production of these goods prior to 1932. All of them have increased their production considerably. In addition, according to the Factories and Workshops Register, there have been 72 additional manufacturing  concerns established for the production of women's clothing; 29 new factories established for the production of men's outer clothing; ten new factories established for the manufacture of waterproof and leather clothing, and ten new factories producing shirts and collars. Associated with those industries there is the hosiery industry, an industry which has long been established in the Saorstát and which, in fact, has given a Saorstát place-name to a particular class of hosiery goods. The industry, however, was not very productive when we acquired the responsibility for dealing with industrial matters and by far the greater proportion of the hosiery goods used in this country was imported. Since then, however, substantial strides have been made. The production of hosiery goods of all kinds, manufactured from cotton, wool, and artificial silk, has increased very considerably and 25 new hosiery factories have been established since 1932.
The manufacture of sacks and bags of paper and of cloth is becoming an important industry in this country and, because of changes in trading habits generally, it is becoming an important industry in all countries. There have been seven new factories established for the manufacture of articles of that kind. The manufacture of yeast was protected in 1932 and, although there has been no new factory established, the production from the existing concerns has increased very considerably, with the result that they are now in a position to supply all the requirements of the country in bakers' yeast.
Another industry of considerable importance which existed for a long time in the Saorstát was the manufacture of furniture of various descriptions, household and industrial, of wood and metal. The development of that industry was also taken in hand in 1932 and the progress made has been quite considerable to date. A number of new concerns have been established and all the requirements of the country in furniture of all descriptions, whether of wood or metal, can now be supplied from these concerns.
In the year 1931 there was a very  substantial importation of paints and varnish. With the contemplated development of the Government's housing programme and, consequently, a substantially increased demand for housing materials of all kinds, including paints and varnish, it was decided to endeavour to develop that industry at the beginning, so that the increased demand would be translated to employment in Irish factories. We were, I think, very successful in the development of that industry. The previously existing concerns, which were few in number, have all developed considerably and, in addition, nine new factories have been established in various parts of the Saorstát.
Another industry which is becoming of rapidly increasing importance in all countries, because of the changed methods of trading, is the production of cardboard boxes, containers and cartons, and the development of that industry in the Saorstát has been remarkably rapid. During the last couple of years ten new factories have been established and all classes of cartons, containers and cardboard boxes can now be supplied from these factories. I might draw particular attention to the cigarette cartons which, previous to last year, were imported. The establishment last year of three new factories for the production of cigarette cartons represented the final stage in the development of that industry, apart from containers such as cylindrical boxes and waxed-container factories for the production of which are being established but have not yet come into production.
Equally important is the production of boxes and containers of tin. At an early date an import duty on such containers was imposed, with the result that that industry has developed considerably, and tin boxes of all descriptions are now available from Saorstát factories. The same can be said of boxes in wood. The duty imposed on cases for the packing of eggs, which was a very substantial item in our import statistics in the past, has resulted in a widespread development and the establishment of a number of concerns all over the Saorstát  for the production of these cases, and also for the production of other articles made from wood. The number of new saw-mills brought into production has been very considerable. There has also been a remarkable increase in the production of factory-made joinery. There is still a certain importation of joinery work, but I hope that that will disappear when the additional large-scale commercial joinery works which are now planned are constructed and come into operation.
We have frequently discussed here in the past the position with regard to boot and shoe development. The development of the boot and shoe industry was one of the most difficult tasks that fell to us. It is an industry that requires a high degree of skill on behalf of the operators. Skilled operatives were not available in the country. The practice in Great Britain and other countries is to require a five-years' apprenticeship from people proposing to engage in that industry. We were faced with the necessity of securing rapid development here, and, at the same time, training workers to the same degree of efficiency as in Great Britain in a much shorter period. In the year 1931, the Saorstát shoe and boot factories were supplying from 10 to 12 per cent. of the total requirements in boots and shoes in the Saorstát. This year the Saorstát factories will supply 75 per cent. of the boots and shoes required, and next year they will supply 100 per cent. There has been a considerable development in the equipment and production capacity of the firms that were in existence in 1931, and in addition eight new factories have been established. Added to those, four others are now being equipped and will commence operations in the near future. When they are in full production there will be no need to import any of the boots and shoes required here.
The production of bricks and tiles was also undertaken. Having regard to the housing programme, a substantial number of new brickworks have been opened in various places throughout the country. The number of concerns for the production of tiles of concrete is very considerable now.  Fourteen new concerns were established for the production of chemicals, disinfectants, cosmetics and articles of that description, and the country's requirements of these goods can now be supplied from these concerns. The development of the brush and broom industry has been also considerable.
It is perhaps not generally appreciated that one of the most important industries in the country is the printing industry. At a very early stage we endeavoured to secure its development because of its importance, having regard to the nature of the employment it gives and to the value of the printed goods of all descriptions which had previously been imported. The development of that industry has been, I think, sufficient to eliminate completely unemployment from the skilled printing trade. A number of new concerns have been established, so that printing of all descriptions is being undertaken here, some of it of a very high class indeed, particularly the new colour printing which is being done in some of the newer factories and which experts have told me is far superior to work of the same description procurable in other countries.
A couple of new factories were established for the manufacture of buttons. In 1931, despite the tariffs in operation from 1925, there was still a substantial importation of soaps and candles. That importation has not been entirely eliminated, but it has fallen to insignificant proportions through the development of the existing soap and candle works here. There have been a number of new firms established for the production of canned fruits, canned meats, soups and articles of that description.
At a very early stage we were determined that the development of the hosiery industry would not take the form it had taken in other countries and which it was threatening to take here. That was the form of a mere making-up industry, taking knitted fabrics from other countries and fabricating them into hosiery goods here. Consequently, though there was no sign at the time of any considerable production of knitted fabrics taking place in this country, we imposed, in  the first Budget in 1932, duties upon these fabrics. Licences to import were issued to a number of firms, but they were given due notice which extended from 18 to 24 months that in each case we would expect them to be in a position to produce their own knitted fabrics or else procure their requirements from firms in the country. In the last year, the issue of licences was terminated because we are satisfied that the new concerns established in that industry were sufficient to supply the immediate requirements of the country. The requirements of the country will, of course, increase as the hosiery industry itself develops, but there is no reason to anticipate that the development in the production of knitted fabrics will not keep pace with the requirements of the hosiery industry.
The production of woven fabrics is, of course, an old industry in this country, but that, like all others of the older industries, has also developed considerably. There is at the present time a very complete production sufficient to meet the requirements in linen fabrics, in certain classes of cotton fabrics and in most classes of woollen fabrics. In due course we hope to secure the establishment of the silk fabric industry, and the Executive Council has given notice of its intention to make a Reserved Commodity Order in respect of knitted art-silk fabrics, the purpose being to secure that the development of that industry will be directed towards the Western counties, but no such Order has yet been made.
The development of the confectionery industry is well known to Deputies. There was, in the year 1931, a substantial importation of confectionery goods, amounting to half a million pounds' worth. The development of the confectionery business by concerns here, for the production of confectionery, of flour, chocolate, and so on, have been sufficient to ensure that our full requirements are being met with from within the country.
There has also arisen out of our housing programme an increased necessity for foundry products, and it was decided to make a special effort within the country for the production  of grates and ranges and other foundry goods in connection with housing, such as rain-pipe gutters and so on. There is still a not inconsiderable import of grates and ranges. The imports last year showed a small tendency to increase, but as the production of these goods here is rapidly developing, and with the new concerns that will arise in the course of the coming year and the increased production, these articles should disappear from our imports statistics. The fabrication of steel work for constructional purposes is also being established as an industry here. It is not possible for us, having regard to the size of our market, to produce the rolled steel required for constructional purposes, but there is no reason why the fabrication of that steel should not be done here. It was necessary occasionally to issue licences for the importation of fabricated steel where the type of work was not of a kind capable of being done in such Saorstát concerns as exist, or in special cases of urgency. The development, nevertheless, has been considerable, and some of the new buildings constructed with steel work entirely fabricated within the country, are a credit to the firms engaged in that industry.
In 1932 the old and formerly famous marble industry in the Saorstát had disappeared. None of the marble quarries in the Saorstát was in production then and we made a special effort to revive the industry. Up to date two marble quarries in Connemara have been re-opened and are in a position to take orders. With the changes we have effected in the duty this year, we hope to commence production in some of the other quarries, and I hope, in due course, the industry will recover some of its former importance.
The production of polishes of all kind is now sufficient to supply the demands of the country. A commencement was made in the manufacture of metal polish, which was not liable to duty formerly, but was made liable to duty by the Budget this year.
The manufacture of spades, forks and shovels and other agricultural implements has been undertaken, and a number of industries established in  various parts of the country. The full requirements of the country for implements of that kind are met by those concerns.
The development of the boot and shoe industry made it possible to establish a number of other industries supplying that trade. The first of these tackled was the establishment of tanneries for sole and insole leather. And Although we are not yet in the position to supply all the requirements of the boot and shoe industry with leather of that description, nevertheless we are getting near to that position. With the establishment of the new tannery that is to be opened in the south-east corner of the country, and with the development of the tanneries in Limerick and elsewhere, and the new tannery established at Portlaw, I think we are well advanced and will shortly be to a position when we can close down all imports of sole and insole leather. I shall deal with other classes of leather later on. I am now dealing with industries that existed in the Saorstát prior to 1932, the development of which had not received the attention it should.
With regard to woollen and worsted tissues, its development creates the possibility of increasing the production of woollen and worsted yarns. Production of fingering yarns has been commenced by two firms. But because of the development of the weaving industry concerned, there has been an increase in the importation of woollen and worsted yarns, and although a number of the industries are now using their own, there is a lot to be done before Irish woollens and worsteds can be said to be 100 per cent. Irish.
Further, arising out of the housing programme, the production of slates for roofing purposes has received attention. Various exceptional measures were adopted to develop new quarries in various parts of the country. Grants for quarrying purposes were made, and these were expended for the purpose of clearing quarries by the removal of over-burden, or removing debris  from quarries formerly worked, but since closed down, so that their new development could be proceeded with. We are not yet in a position to supply promptly all the slates required by house builders. There is still scope for development despite the fact that new quarries are being opened. Even when we get to the stage that we will be able to supply all our own demands, there is no reason why the industry should stop there, because there is unlimited demand for Irish slates in other countries where sometimes they command a higher price than those of other countries.
The development of the rope and cord industry is also proceeding, and a number of new concerns have been established in various parts of the country. The only substantial item in respect of these goods not produced is binder twine. But a commencement has been made this year. The full requirements will not be provided this year, but we are expecting that they will be next year.
I need not refer to the development of the sugar industry, for all Deputies are aware of that. The establishment of three new sugar factories has brought the production of sugar to a point very nearly up to all our requirements in this country.
So much for the development that has taken place in respect to industries which, to some extent, existed here previous to 1932. Apart, however, from the development indicated by the facts and figures I have given, a number of new industries, which never previously existed, have been created, and a number of industries which previously existed here but which disappeared before 1932, have been revived. The list of these industries is, I think, quite impressive. We commence with the production of aluminium hollow ware in Tipperary; vegetable oils and oil cake manufacture in Drogheda, and a large commercial pottery established at Arklow. There was a pottery in the South of Ireland engaged in the production of certain classes of pottery but that pottery was on a comparatively small scale. It has increased its production considerably, but the full requirements  of the country in all classes of pottery goods will, it is hoped, be provided from the new concern at Arklow. The manufacture of suit cases, handbags and attache cases from fibre, and also similar goods of other descriptions, has been undertaken by a number of concerns. A new factory at Portarlington is producing fibre cases and handbags. The manufacture of dry electric batteries has been undertaken by a couple of concerns and the full requirements of the country are now being supplied by these firms.
At an early stage we decided that there was no good reason why bicycles which were imported into this country should be imported completely assembled. We did not at that time contemplate the development of a bicycle manufacturing industry, but by imposing a duty on assembled bicycles, a duty which did not apply to the unassembled parts, a number of firms were induced to go into the business of assembling bicycles. Quite a substantial little industry has been built up in consequence. We have now reached the stage at which we can give more detailed attention to the possibility of manufacturing parts of bicycles in the country. That is having attention at the present time. Two concerns were established for the manufacture of razor blades.
One of the most controversial matters upon which the Government entered was the development of the motor assembling industry. It is within the recollection of Deputies that none of the industrial plans of the Government met with fiercer opposition here in the Dáil than those designed to secure the development of the motor vehicle assembling industry. There were a number of prophets of disaster, a number of people who told us here that we were attempting the impossible and that there were physical, commercial, economic and financial reasons why that industry could never be established in the Saorstát. In fact, I recollect that when in the early part of 1933, before the general election of that year, a certain deputation went to the head office of Cumann na nGaedheal—it was Cumann na nGaedheal then—they were assured by the representatives whom they saw  there—Deputy McGilligan and others— that all the tariffs which the Fianna Fáil Government had imposed would be kept on by the Cumann na nGaedheal Government that they expected was coming into office that year, except one and the one tariff they barred was that designed to secure the establishment of the motor assembling industry. Well, the industry is established. It is quite an important industry and it is giving employment to several hundred skilled adult workers. The products of the industry are equal in appearance and in quality to anything that was previously imported. The prices have not been increased and certain classes of cars are available here at prices lower than similar models may be procured in Britain. I do not think there is anybody in this House or outside it to-day who would seriously urge that our plans should be reversed so as to allow completely assembled cars in at the lower rates which obtained before this Government came into office.
Mr. Lemass: Most of the American models. A number of concerns were established for the production of bolts and nuts. Various descriptions of bolts and nuts are being produced in Dublin and in other factories situated in different parts of the country. The glass bottle industry had a rather varied history in this country. It is not necessary for me to recount it in detail. Suffice it to say that in 1931 there appeared to be a final collapse of the efforts which had been made to keep that industry going and the industry was, in fact, non-existent in 1932 when the change of Government took place. I am glad to say that that industry has now been revived. It has been revived on a very extended scale. All classes of bottles are now being produced at the concern in Ringsend and, in fact, a not unsubstantial export trade has been created by the company.
The manufacture of printing ink has been undertaken for the first time. The manufacture of shotgun cartridges has commenced in Galway. At the present time I understand that there is an international claybird shooting  competition taking place, or about to take place, in the Saorstát. I have been informed by the organisers that the only cartridges used in connection with that competition will be made in Ireland. A number of new factories have been established in Dublin, Cork and elsewhere for the manufacture of metal windows, the popularity of which seems to be growing with house designers generally. The manufacture of electric cables has been undertaken for the first time at New Ross. Deputies are all aware of the fact that the manufacture of rubber tyres and tubes for motor cars, motor bicycles and bicycles has been undertaken in Cork. The manufacture of linen thread has commenced in Dublin. Two factories have been established for the production of galvanised buckets, pails and similar goods. The manufacture of leather handbags and similar leather commodities has also been commenced. There is still a considerable importation of these goods but we hope to overtake it during the present year. The manufacture of paper book matches was commenced for the first time in 1933, also the manufacture of splints from which wooden matches are made. The manufacture of oxygen, as is apparent from some of the debates in the Dáil, has also commenced in the Saorstát. I might also refer to the assembly and partial manufacture of refrigerators.
I am not putting forward this list as being necessarily complete. The Department of Industry and Commerce is publishing an official Directory of industries, and Deputies will be able to get full particulars in that publication of the classes of goods now made in the Saorstát and the names and addresses of the firms making them. I am merely drawing attention to some of the more obvious developments which have occurred quite recently. Dealing with the developments anticipated during the coming year, Deputies will appreciate that I am in a certain difficulty. There are certain developments anticipated to which it is not possible to refer without risking the possibility of action being taken by get-rich-quick  individuals to forestall possible Customs changes, or other action in their own interests. The various developments to which I intend to refer are all fairly well known, or the position has been safeguarded by action taken already in respect to the imposition of duties or the making of Quota Orders. A large scale factory for the production of wire nails, wood screws and tools of various descriptions is being established at Limerick. The company has been registered and an issue of shares is due to take place in the near future. A factory for the manufacture of cutlery of all descriptions is being erected at Droichead Nua, in County Kildare.
We anticipate that the construction of cement factories will commence in this year. Deputies are aware that plans which were made in 1932 and developed during 1933 for the development of the cement industry were wrecked in consequence of the financial crisis that occurred on the Continent when a well-known financier got himself into difficulties. The reaction of that affair in relation to this country was to upset the plans which we were then making in conjunction with a Belgian company for the establishment of factories here to produce cement. We had to regard as undone all the work that had been put into that project, and to start again from the beginning. We have now got to the stage when, I think, it is possible to say that within two or three months at the outside the foundation stones of the factories will be laid and their construction commenced. It will, of course, be 12 or 18 months later before they will have been completed and the production of cement begun. The factories will be quite considerable in size. The building and equipping of them, it is anticipated, may take 18 months.
Mr. Lemass: That is right—two years from to-day. The manufacture of paper of all classes is also being planned, and I think that all the difficulties which we encountered in relation to that industry have now been  overcome. A group is being formed, experts have been consulted, plans have been approved and the construction of the factories will commence in this year. A factory for the production of fire-clay goods is being established in the County of Leix. An industry which we hope to develop in the course of this year is the assembly and partial manufacture of clocks and watches. Certain progress, in respect of clocks, has already been made and developments in respect to watches are expected quite soon. A factory for the manufacture of copper tubing is being erected at Galway and a factory for the manufacture of electric lamps is being constructed at Bray in the County Wicklow. A factory for the manufacture of bakelite products will also be established in this country this year. A factory for the manufacture of men's and women's hats, felt and straw, will also be established.
I now come to the question of the production of leathers of all classes, other than sole and insole leather. The production of chrome-tanned leather, linings and other classes of leather used for the upper parts of boots and shoes and for similar purposes, is a highly skilled industry. In fact, it is an industry which, at the present time, is practically confined to certain countries. I do not think that even in Great Britain there is any considerable chrome-tanning of leather. Most of the chrome-tanned leather used by British manufacturers is imported from the Continent. A factory for the production of chrome-tanned leather is at present being constructed at Carrick-on-Suir, and factories for the production of upper leathers have been planned, and I think most of them will come into production this year. If not this year, then certainly next year. These factories—a number of them are contemplated—will cover the full range of the leathers which we require here: upper leathers of all kinds and linings as well as leathers used for other than boot manufacturing purposes. The manufacture of rubber footwear. Wellington boots and plimsoles, will be undertaken at Cork  in about six months' time—certainly in sufficient time to supply the requirements for next year. The manufacture of waterproof fabrics has also commenced in Cork. A factory for the production of enamel hollow ware is being constructed at Tralee, County Kerry. Three factories for the production of washing soda are being established: one at Galway, one at Dublin and one at Cork. A factory for the manufacture of cotton thread is being constructed at Westport, County Mayo, and will shortly come into production.
I now propose to refer to a very interesting development that is taking place in the County Kildare for the establishment of a peat briquetting factory. As Deputies know, the manufacture of peat into briquets has occupied the attention of more than this Government for a long time. Various Governments have spent large sums of money upon experimental work in that connection. During the course of the war, the British Government alone expended well over £5,000,000 upon experimental work in relation to the briquetting of peat. The Canadian Government has also been interested in the matter. Quite recently a delegation was sent to this country by the Canadian Government to inquire into the work that is being done here. The Danish Government are establishing a State factory in their country for the purpose of experimenting with the process that is now being brought to efficiency here. Similarly, in Germany and in Russia and in other countries where there are large supplies of peat, very large sums of money have been devoted by the Governments of those countries to experimental work in relation to this matter. So far as we have been able to discover, the net result of all that expenditure and of that experimental work pointed towards a development along a particular line, and the line pointed to is that which is now being adopted here in the County Kildare on an experimental scale. A company has been formed with a capital of £150,000, about half of which has been secured on State guarantee, and with certain foreign interests associated with it for the  purpose of trying out that briquetting process. In this country a large amount of experimental work has already been done. The factory has not yet been constructed—only a part of it has been built. The laying out of the bog for the mechanical winning of the turf, as a preliminary to the briquetting of the peat, has been very largely completed.
If that industry should prove to be the success which those associated with it believe it will be, then it is going to be of tremendous importance to this country. The fuel which they hope to produce will have a calorific value very nearly equal to that of coal, with a number of advantages over coal, particularly as regards its cleanliness, while its convenience for storage purposes will also be of very considerable value. It is believed that it will be possible to under-sell coal. The company establishing the factory at Kildare are of opinion that they may even be able to find an export market for some of their products. It is clear, therefore, that if the experiment should prove to be the success anticipated the factory can be duplicated not once or twice but 20 times within the country, and that a very substantial and important new industry will have come into being.
A factory is being established at Roscrea for the manufacture of meat meal and similar products. A factory in Kildare will undertake this year the manufacture of boot and shoe lasts which are required in considerable number by boot and shoe manufacturers. A factory at Mullingar will commence the manufacture of lead pencils and similar classes of goods. We hope also to have commenced before the end of this year manufacture of sheet glass. There are other developments that it is not possible to refer to. Frequently, I receive deputations of people from the different towns in the country and of members of different Parties in the Dáil who seek advice as to the nature of the industries that might be established in the localities in which they  are interested. It is very difficult to give that advice. The Department of Industry and Commerce is not in a position to give technical information concerning any industry, or to say that the establishment here of it, having regard to the peculiarities of this country and the size of the market available, is an economic proposition. Ordinarily, we advise Deputies and others interested in the establishment of industries, such as local industrial development committees, to seek their information from the Trade and Shipping Statistics where they can get particulars of the classes of goods that are still being imported. I would like, however, to get in the near future proposals for the production of an art silk yarn industry which is one of major importance in other countries, and the market for which here is, I think, sufficient to support an economic unit. The same thing applies to art silk woven fabrics. We have, of course, various proposals in connection with art silk knitted fabrics, but the other is also an important industry and one which I would like to see established here. There is a very substantial importation of goods manufactured from asbestos, such as corrugated sheets, slates and even asbestos pipes. All these are now being used here to a very great degree in connection with housing schemes, and there appears no reason whatever why their manufacture should not be undertaken here. There is also a considerable importation of linoleum and oil cloths, the manufacture of which here might, perhaps, be economic.
I would also direct attention to the possibility of manufacturing plywood, which is being used very extensively here at the present time. There is still, of course, considerable scope for development in respect of some of the existing industries. The artificial silk hosiery industry is, as I mentioned last week, only supplying 900,000 pairs per year out of a total requirement of 3,500,000 pairs. In relation to other industries which are in existence here, there is considerable scope for development. Information  as to these industries is generally available from the Quota Orders which are made. Wherever it is necessary, under a Quota Order, to permit importation to continue, it is clear that there is room for additional development.
The main question that arises from this review of industrial development which I am giving is whether it has, in fact, improved the employment position in the country. That is a matter which we have debated here frequently. Deputy McGilligan and I have slung statistics at each other and other Deputies have got tied up in these statistics, so that it was never very clear what they proved. I think that it is necessary to try to clarify the position so that Deputies will understand clearly, so far as the information available can make it clear, what has happened, and will not be led in the future into misreading the statistics in the same way as they have been induced to do in the past. Obviously, the first figures we require if we are to consider the question of whether or not there has been increased employment in the country, is the number of people who have been insured under the Unemployment Insurance Act. Every person who engages in any occupation for wages other than agriculture or domestic service must be insured under the Unemployment Insurance Acts, and the number of employment insurance books current in any period of 12 months is an indication of the number of people who, during that period, have got employment of a class which is insurable under these Acts. In 1930, the number of persons who were insured under the Unemployment Insurance Act, measured, as I have said, by the number of unemployment insurance books current, was 284,380. In the following year—the last year in which Cumann na nGaedheal was in office—the number fell to 282,622, indicating that, in that period of 12 months, the number of persons who got insurable employment was slightly less than in the previous year. Then the change of Government took place and, in 1932, the number rose again to 294,847. In  1933, it continued to rise and reached 314,368. In 1934, it kept going up and reached 359,516. In the present year— 1935—it reached 379,694. That is 97,072 in excess of the figure for 1931. That figure represents the number of additional persons who have got insurable employment in the 12 months previous to this, as compared with the corresponding 12 months in 1931. It does not follow, nor am I asserting, that that number of persons got whole-time employment for the whole of the 12 months.
Mr. Lemass: It has, in fact, been sometimes asserted that the increase in insurable employment is due to a larger number of persons getting shorter spells of employment than was the case previously. In order to test that, I had an investigation carried out and I found that, on the contrary, the average duration of employment is tending to increase, and that the average duration of unemployment is tending to decrease. In fact, in this country, the average duration of unemployment is considerably lower than it is in Great Britain.
There are, of course, other methods of testing whether employment has increased or not. There is the test of the contribution income of the Unemployment Insurance Fund. By comparing the contribution income of the Fund in any one year as against another, we can get a figure which represents, not the actual number of persons who got employment in the period of 12 months, but the average weekly employment throughout the whole of the period. The figures I am going to give are slightly different from the figures given previously. That is due to the fact that, since the earlier figures were given, more reliable datum has become available for the calculation of the average contribution per person. The average contribution per person has now been estimated at 17.6 pence per week. That is the first time that that figure has been produced, and it involved fairly elaborate examination  of the figures, and a number of calculations. Having regard to the fact that there are varying rates of contribution for adult men, adult women, and juveniles, the figure on which we have to work for this purpose cannot be the actual rate for any one class. The average contribution per person over a period has been estimated at 17.6 pence. Working upon the basis of 17.6 pence as the average weekly contribution per person and adjusting the revenue of the Fund as if the variation in the rates of contribution had not taken place, we find that in the financial year 1931-32—the last 12 months during which the Cumann na nGaedheal Party were in office—the average number of persons employed weekly in insurable occupations was 188,000. By 1933-34 that number had risen to 207,000, and in 1934-35 it reached 215,000.
Mr. Lemass: No. Figures based on the calendar year would be misleading. The proper year is the financial year, when the accounts are balanced and audited. The figures represent an increase in the average number of persons employed weekly in insurable occupations in 1934-35 over 1931-32 of 27,000.
Mr. Lemass: I have not. They show an increase. I gave these figures before and they are available in the records. An increase in insurable occupations did take place while Cumann na nGaedheal was in office. I make that concession to the vanity of Deputies opposite. Over the whole period they were in office that increase in employment represented an average of 5,000 per year in the weekly average figures. In the three years that this Government has been responsible for the conduct of affairs the increase has averaged 9,000 per year on the average weekly figures. There is also the evidence of the national health insurance contributions. All persons employed for wages, even persons employed in agriculture and domestic service, come under the National Health Insurance Act, and for every week's work done a stamp must be purchased and affixed to the card. Consequently, by a calculation, taking on the one hand the average contribution per person and on the other hand the total revenue of the fund, it is possible to get from them sources of information as to the employment position. In the calendar year 1931 the average weekly number of persons employed in all occupations insurable under the National Health  Insurance Act was 342,000. In 1933 it had risen to 355,000, and in 1934 to 370,000, representing a total increase of 28,000.
Mr. Lemass: Yes. For national health purposes they are the only figures I could get. Deputy McGilligan did a very ingenious thing when discussing the unemployment insurance figures. He took that calculation in respect of the Unemployment Insurance Fund and said the Minister had produced a figure of 27,000, representing increased employment in insurable occupations. But he said in May, 1934, there were 21,500 employed on house-building. Therefore, he deducted that 21,500 from the 27,000 and said that the balance represented the actual increased employment in industry. That is the type of statistical calculation we have to expect from the Party opposite. It is quite clear that these figures cannot be related one to the other: one representing the average number of persons employed weekly, and the other representing the actual number employed any one day. They cannot be related, particularly when the figures relating to house-building are examined, because, as is well known, that is a seasonal occupation, and the actual number of persons employed in May may differ from the number that would be employed in November or December.
Mr. Lemass: The line of attack with Deputies opposite is not to deny that there is increased employment in industry, but to assert that the increased employment has been gained because of decreased employment in other spheres.
Mr. Lemass: Deputy Morrissey says “Hear, hear!” He spoke too soon. Obviously, there is one source from which we can find whether there has been decreased employment in agriculture and domestic service taken together.
Mr. Lemass: I intend to, but I am going to deal with this first. Comparing the weekly average increase, the number of persons employed under the Unemployment Insurance Act rose from 188,000 in 1931 to 342,000. The difference, 154,000, may be taken to represent persons employed in agriculture and domestic service. In 1934 the figures were 215,000 and 370,000, representing a difference of 155,000. The increase is not considerable, but there is an increase of 1,000 in the average number of persons employed weekly in agriculture and domestic service. The reason why the increase is not large is because there has been a decline in employment in domestic service, as I am going to convince Deputy Morrissey.
General Mulcahy: Would it not be simpler, instead of utilising the number of books current, to give a calculation based on every week of the year for the number employed under the National Health and Unemployment Insurance Acts?
Mr. Lemass: I have given that. There has been an increase in the average number of persons employed of 27,000 in 1934-35, as compared with 1931-32 and under the National Health Insurance Act the average increase is 28,000. There is another source of information which I will quote. It is the Census of Production. Unfortunately, the last figures that we have relate to 1933 when Fianna Fáil was only getting into its stride. There has been a considerable amount of additional work done since.
Mr. Lemass: The Census of Production figures for 1932 and subsequent years are on a much more limited scale than in earlier years, but it is important to know that amongst the industries excluded from the census in 1932-33, were the following:—building and construction—that wipes out Deputy McGilligan's argument at one stroke—timber trades, creameries, butter and margarine factories, bread, flour, confectionery, gas, water, electricity, local authorities and Government Departments. Leaving all these,  and certain other occupations out of account we find the following figures for the total employment in industries reported in the Census of Production for October in each of the years: in 1929, 47,092. Cumann na nGaedheal was only beginning to get to work at that time. They were in full swing in 1931 and the figures had gone down to 44,343. Then the country was saved by the advent of the Fianna Fáil Government and the figures started to go up, in 1933, to 52,043. It is that figure which relates to October, 1933. It is not of very much immediate importance in June, 1935, except to indicate the trend of the development during the last years of Cumann na nGaedheal and the first years of Fianna Fáil. At the present time, according to the estimates prepared by the Department of Industry and Commerce, the additional number of persons employed in tariffed industries, as compared with March, 1932, or the date upon which the particular tariff was first imposed, is 25,000, and that figure is continuously increasing.
Mr. Lemass: It is an estimate compiled in the Department of Industry and Commerce from figures supplied voluntarily by the manufacturers themselves. Employment in agriculture now comes to be considered, and I hope that Deputy Morrissey has his pad in front of him and is taking notes. The peculiar thing about agriculture is that we can say, precisely, for each year, the actual number of persons employed in it, because there is an enumeration taken in respect of the number of persons employed in agriculture on the 1st June in each year. That has been done for the last ten or 12 years. In 1929, the basis of calculation was slightly changed, but it has not been changed since then. In 1928, —the figure has been adjusted so as to prevent any discrepancy arising because of the change made in the method of calculation that took place in 1929—showed that the number of males engaged in farm work on the 1st June, 1928, was 577,764. By 1929, that  had gone down to 566,021. By 1930 it had gone down still further and reached such a low point as 561,700. In 1931, there was a slight revival and the figure went up to 562,573. That is the Cumann na nGaedheal record so far as employment in agriculture is concerned. Between 1928 and 1931 there was a decrease in the number of male persons employed in agriculture from 574,000 to 563,000—a decrease of 11,000. By 1934, that figure had gone up to 579,409, an increase of 16,836 as compared with 1931.
We can analyse that figure a little further, and it will be of interest to Deputies who are continuously asserting that there is less labour employed for wages in agriculture. It is true that the greater proportion of that increase is represented by members of families owning land. That accounts for 15,724.
Mr. Lemass: The additional number of persons in permanent agricultural employment for wages in 1934 as compared with 1931 was 1,630, and the number of persons temporarily employed in 1934 was 3,375 more than in 1931. Deputy Morrissey will see that there is an apparent increase there in excess of the total. The explanation for that excess is due to the fact that, since 1931, there has been a decrease of 3,893 in the number of males under 18 years of age engaged in agriculture. The other figures that I mentioned, by the way, relate to males over 18 years of age—adult males, in other words— but there has been a decrease in the number of persons under 18 years of age employed on agriculture, whether as labourers or as members of a family owning the land.
It is quite possible—and I concede this point to Deputies opposite—to have, at the same time, an increase in employment and an increase in unemployment. That is particularly possible in this country where the population has increased by 56,000, according to the Registrar-General,  since 1931. Therefore, it is clear that we could have an increase in employment, and, at the same time, have an increase in unemployment. From that point of view, it is necessary to examine our statistics further in order to see if, in fact, there has been an increase in unemployment. The figures will show that, instead of that, there has been a decrease in unemployment.
I admit that, in view of the changed circumstances, we have not the information which will enable a safe comparison to be made. There is only one set of figures available now which can be related to any of the figures that were available in any of the ten years during which Cumann na nGaedheal were in office, and that is the number of persons claiming unemployment insurance benefit. That figure is not of much advantage for the purpose of determining the actual number of persons unemployed, but it is of advantage in ascertaining the trend of employment conditions. Let us be clear on the fact that an increase in the actual number of persons claiming unemployment insurance benefit could take place even if there was a substantial increase in the actual amount of employment available. In fact, if there were an increase in the amount of employment available, there could be an increase in the number of persons claiming unemployment insurance benefit, because a larger number of persons would become entitled to make claims. The important factor is the proportion which the number of persons claiming benefit bears to the total number of persons in employment. I shall give the figures for the month of March in each year. I select the month of March chiefly because the figures are most unfavourable to my contention. I shall give the figures for July and December of each year later. Deputies are quite well aware of the seasonal fluctuations that occur in employment conditions in certain industries, and unemployment is usually higher in March than at other periods. In March, 1931, the number of persons claiming unemployment insurance benefit was 6.9 per cent. of the total  insured population. That was the last year of the Cumann na nGaedheal Administration. By March, 1932, that figure had risen to 7.3 per cent. That was when the change of Government took place. By March, 1933, the figure had risen to 7.8 per cent. I admit that that is a point against Fianna Fáil; but by 1934, the figure had gone down to 6.3 per cent.—substantially below the percentage for 1931—and by March, 1935, it had gone down to 6.2 per cent., the lowest point recorded.
Now, let us take the figures for July of each year. In 1930 the number of persons claiming benefit was 5.3 per cent. of the insured population. By 1931 it had gone up to 6.9 per cent. By 1932, when Fianna Fáil had been in office about four months, it had gone down to 5.9 per cent. By 1933 it had gone down to 5.2 per cent., and by 1934, to 5.1 per cent. Now, let us take the figures for December of each year. In December of 1930 the figure was 6.6 per cent., and it had risen in December of 1931 to 7.4 per cent. That figure had fallen in 1932 to 7.2 per cent.; in 1933 to 5.6 per cent., and in 1934 to 5.3 per cent. These figures, as I have said, do not give us any indication of the actual number of persons unemployed, but they do show what the trend was, and it is undoubted that unemployment has been tending to decrease in recent years.
Mr. Lemass: I have not got them here, but they are published, and I am sure that the Deputy has them there before him. We have got to face the fact that the only statistical figures  we have in relation to unemployment are, first of all, the census enumeration that was compiled in April, 1926; and, secondly, the live register, whatever it may mean, in any particular year. It must be remembered, however, that all methods of enumeration, whether by census compilation or registration or any such methods, all have this common weakness, that they depend entirely on what the people want to tell about themselves in the particular circumstances at the moment. Obviously, if you make an announcement that every person who is proved to be unemployed on 1st July next is going to get £10, you will get a much different figure for unemployment in respect of that date than if you made an announcement that everybody proved to be unemployed on that date is going to be sent to a labour camp or in some other way penalised. Nobody is legally compelled to place his name upon the register nor can he be made to disclose in any way his condition in respect of unemployment. Even at best, therefore, any enumeration of the unemployed in this country, or in any other country, taken in the most favourable circumstances, must be expected to yield only approximate figures, and some methods of enumeration might not even yield approximate figures.
It is, however, possible to make some comparison between the census enumeration and the live register at the corresponding date of 1934. The census was taken on 18th April, 1926, and we can take the live register for the corresponding date in 1934. The figure arrived at by the census was 78,071 persons out of work. That figure does not include ex-soldiers not otherwise occupationally described and they amounted to 5,869. It was estimated, on the other hand, that the figures included a number of persons who described themselves as unemployed, but who should not properly be placed in the category of persons normally dependent on wage earnings who are genuinely seeking and unable to obtain work. Farmers and their sons, whose principal occupation was assisting in the home farms, were not included as unemployed, but it was  estimated that of the total returned as unemployed, 7,836 were small farmers and their sons living at home who incorrectly described themselves as agricultural labourers or road labourers out of work. The figure was also estimated to include certain classes who, it was thought, should have been excluded, but who could not be segregated from the 78,071 persons.
Comparing the census figure and the live register for 1934 in respect to different parts of the country, we find that in the four county boroughs, on census night, there were 24,871 persons unemployed. The live register figure on the same date in April, 1934, was 20,879. For the rest of Leinster, the figures were 25,513 and 23,988; for the rest of Munster, 19,707 and 22,596; and for Connacht—and mark these figures—the census figure was 4,255 and the live register figure 16,080; and for the three counties of Ulster, the census figure was 3,725 and the live register figure 13,441. Let us examine them. For the four county boroughs, the live register figure was, undoubtedly, below the census figure, and for the rest of Leinster and the rest of Munster, although, as I have said, the statistics are somewhat different in scope, there is a remarkable similarity between the census and live register figures. The difference in the totals—78,000 on the one hand and 97,000 on the other—is almost entirely due to differences in Connacht and Ulster.
The extent to which the agricultural class is included in the live register figures for April, 1934, may be roughly calculated in this way: the number of persons on the register in April, 1934, in the county boroughs and urban districts constituted the following percentages of the total occupied, including unemployed, populations of these urban areas in April of 1926: Leinster, 8.6; Munster, 10.7; Connacht, 6.2; and Ulster, 6.3; assuming that these percentages apply to the total non-agriculturally occupied populations of the respective Provinces, it may be estimated that the number of non-agriculturists unemployed in the Saorstát in April of 1934  was 57,000, made up of 29,000 in Leinster, 22,000 in Munster, 3,500 in Connacht and 2,500 in Ulster, so that the remaining 40,000 on the live register may be regarded as being normally engaged in agriculture. In April, 1926, the total number described as out of work by the census was 78,000, which included 15,000 in agricultural occupations, so that the number in non-agricultural occupations was 63,000 and that does not include ex-soldiers. While, for reasons which I have already given, these totals of 63,000 in 1926 and 57,000 in 1934 cannot safely be compared, the analysis does suggest that, comparing these two years, it is unlikely that there was any increase in non-agricultural unemployment and apart from these calculations, there is other evidence, some of which I have given and more of which is available to our senses, that unemployment has not increased but that on the contrary it has decreased.
I have spoken for a considerable length. I have spoken in this protracted way in anticipation that Deputy McGilligan would have responded to my challenge yesterday to be here when I was dealing with certain stupid allegations made by him in respect of a mining lease given in the County Wicklow. I will speak on another matter for ten or 12 minutes, but if the Deputy does not turn up then, I shall have to deal with that particular matter in his absence.
Mr. Lemass: He said he was going to be here, and I am giving him the opportunity of being here. I will spend about ten minutes in relation to the Government's policy on transport, shipping and air. The reorganisation of  internal transport effected by the Act of 1933 is now in full swing. Occasionally Deputies are inclined to be critical of what is being done in the Department in that connection. At present, of course, attention is being directed to certain hardships and inconveniences which are being caused by the process of reorganisation, and to such an extent we are inclined to lose sight of the situation with which the Acts were intended to deal. Previous to 1933, transport conditions here were properly described as chaotic. Not merely was there no regulation or control of transport services, but the main transport operators, the railway companies, were in a precarious position. The Great Southern Railways Company had passed its guaranteed dividend and was barely able, by the most drastic economies, to meet its debenture charges in that year. The Great Northern Railway Company was in no better plight. The other couple of smaller railways operating in the Saorstát were definitely losing money and, in fact, one of them was only kept going by getting repeated Government subsidies.
It was to remedy that situation and to preserve the railways, which were regarded as essential to the economic development of the country, that it was decided to create a new situation in which the cut-throat competition would be eliminated and in which a central direction of transport services would become possible. There were two ways of doing that. One was by nationalisation, and the other the method adopted in the Act of 1933. Already, I suggest, that Act is producing results. The cut-throat competition has been largely eliminated. It is true that that meant an increase in fares. Transport was being sold at a figure less than the cost of production, and the obvious first step to be taken in putting it on an economic basis was to secure economic rates for the services it was providing. The railway traffic receipts have been going up since that year for the first time since 1925.
I mentioned last year the intention of the Government to take steps to  procure the development of air services in and from the Saorstát. No development has taken place yet, and I am taking full responsibility for that fact, because I am convinced that it would be unwise for us to facilitate or promote any development of air services here until we are satisfied that they are going to be organised upon sound lines, with proper equipment. and upon a reasonably large scale. The development of air services with inadequate or unsuitable equipment, and inadequately financed, would only result in failures, and might well retard for a long time proper air development here. We are concerned to secure that the development of air services in Ireland, and from Ireland to Great Britain and other countries, will take place under Irish control; that those services, when they come, will be as good as any in the world, and that they will be so organised and equipped as to be able to avail of any opportunity of development that may offer.
Various proposals have been submitted by parties in this country and outside it, but until recently we did not consider that any of those proposals came up to the standard we had set for ourselves. As I have said, we had made up our minds that it was better to delay starting those services than to start them on wrong lines. We have, now, I think, got to the point where we can see development going ahead. In fact, it is very probable that an experimental service — experimental but nevertheless regular — between Great Britain and the Saorstát will be commenced probably next month, and will be continued right through the winter, for the purpose of getting the technical information that is required before a permanent and regular service can be planned. It is necessary to decide the type of aircraft that is best suited for those services, the landing and other facilities which must be provided, and so forth. Next year, as a result of the experimental service that will be operated this year, we hope to have a permanent and adequate service established — with suitable machines, as good as those in use in any part of the world—to and from  Great Britain, internally in Ireland, and ultimately from the trans-Atlantic ports to continental countries. The Department has been keeping in close touch with the possibilities of trans-Atlantic air service development. There are people who consider that the technical development of air craft has reached the stage at which trans-Atlantic services are feasible, certainly in the summer, if not during the whole year round, and we are concerned to secure that, if and when those services commence, the geographical position of the Saorstát and the advantages it offers to persons engaging in those services will be availed of.
I mentioned last year also that we were planning the development of an Irish mercantile marine. We have experienced certain delays in bringing our plans to fruition in regard to that matter. Our aim is to secure that 50 per cent. of the traffic which passes from the Saorstát to Great Britain, and from the Saorstát to the Continent, will be carried in Irish boats. We are making progress, but progress which is much slower than I had hoped, towards that end. However, there are methods by which it can be done and to which we can resort if the lines we have followed up to the present prove to be unavailing. We regard it not merely as a matter of national prestige, but also as of vital economic importance, that a Saorstát mercantile marine should be established. I do not know if there is any other matter to which I need refer.
Mr. Morrissey: Before the Minister passes away, perhaps he would give us some indication as to what steps have been taken by his Department regarding working conditions and wages in the different industries he has mentioned? I think that is a rather important matter.
Mr. Lemass: We can deal with that matter under the Conditions of Employment Bill. The principal trade agreements made last year, apart from the coal-cattle pact with Great Britain, which was fully discussed last week and to which there is no necessity to refer again, were with Germany, Belgium and Spain. The pact with Belgium was, in fact, a continuation of a pact which had been made in the previous year. So far as the pact with Germany is concerned, Deputies will have noted that its result in the first five months of this year is an increase in the value of our exports to Germany from £50,000 to £205,000. So far as the pact with Spain is concerned, the increase in our exports has been from £3,000 to £27,000. I think we can regard those results as satisfactory.
Mr. Lemass: Various classes of goods, cattle, butter, eggs and other products. The export trade of the Saorstát has been declining for some time past; in fact, it has been declining since 1929. Between 1932 and 1934 the value of our exports fell by £7,600,000. In case Deputies opposite are thinking of taking any consolation, or making any propaganda out of that, I will give them the figure for the two previous years. Between 1929 and 1931 the value of our exports fell by £10,600,000.
Mr. Lemass: The decline, however, appears to have been arrested. In 1931 the decline was £8,300,000; in 1932, £10,400,000; in 1933, £6,800,000; and in last year only £800,000; whereas, for the first five months of this year the indications are that the value of our exports is rising, and that the total value of the Saorstát export trade this year is likely to be above the value last year. On the other hand, our imports, which were declining in 1932 and 1933, tended to rise in 1934, a development which was unexpected in some quarters because of the Saorstát protectionist policy, but an examination of the position will show that it is inevitable. We are at present engaged in considerable capital expenditure. Large sums of money are being paid out for new machinery, new equipment of all kinds, cement and other building products, and so forth, in consequence of the industrial revival and of the housing programme. In fact, the whole of the increase in imports, when one examines the details, is explained by those items —imports of iron and steel manufactures, and machinery—apart from one item which was an abnormal one, an increase of nearly £1,000,000 in the  value of tobacco imported. This was due to the action of certain tobacco firms in forestalling the change in the procedure in respect of weighing and sampling tobacco, adopted by the Revenue Commissioners.
Mr. Lemass: I am not going to say anything else now, except what I intended to say if Deputy McGilligan were present. I am sorry he is not here. Some of his colleagues can tell him what I said about him afterwards, and then, if he can pluck up enough courage, he may come in and deal with the matter later. Deputy McGilligan made a statement concerning a mining lease in County Wicklow which some of the papers thought fit to describe as a serious charge against the Government. I read the statement in the newspapers and in the Official Report to-day, and I am not quite clear as to what the charge is. As the matter refers to a particular mining lease issued by me, I propose to give all the information that I have concerning that lease, so that Deputies can decide for themselves whether there is any charge or not lying against the Department.
I do not know how to deal with Deputy McGilligan. One could deal with him as an impish schoolboy, sitting in a pool of mud, squirting slime at his more respectable companions, or possibly as an unfortunate person whose mind has become so warped by hatred and rancour that he is incapable of seeing anything except the rottenness and corruption—of seeing everything but decency; or probably he might be more correctly regarded as an unfortunate investigator all of whose mares' nests have turned out to be booby traps for himself.
All the ... mines and minerals, within the territory of the Irish Free  State ... hitherto vested in the State or any Department thereof, or held for the public use or benefit ... shall, from and after the date of the coming into operation of this Constitution, belong to the Irish Free State ...
and shall be controlled and administered by the Oireachtas, in accordance with such regulations and provisions as shall be from time to time approved by legislation, but the same shall not, nor shall any part thereof, be alienated, but may in the public interest be from time to time granted by way of lease or licence to be worked or enjoyed under the authority and subject to the control of the Oireachtas: Provided that no such lease or licence may be made for a term exceeding ninety-nine years, beginning from the date thereof, and no such lease or licence may be renewable by the terms thereof.
Now, the legislation which was contemplated by that Article was enacted in 1931, enacted by Deputy McGilligan. He seems to have forgotten all about it, judging by his remarks in the Dáil last week. That was the Mines and Minerals Act. That Act gives power to the Minister for Industry and Commerce to demise such mines and minerals or exclusive State mining rights for periods not exceeding 99 years. There is also a provision that the Minister may make some leases by way of a take note or prospecting lease for such term not exceeding two years as the Minister shall think proper, and such lease may contain an option to the lessee to take a reversionary lease of such State mines and minerals or exclusive State mining right for such term as will, together with the term created by the take note or prospecting lease, not exceed 99 years.
Leases under the Act are subject to the payment to the Minister “of such moneys, whether by way of fine or other preliminary payment or by way of rent (including a royalty rent variable according to the price or value of the minerals gotten) or by both such ways, as the Minister and the Minister  for Finance shall jointly think proper and shall agree upon with the person to whom such lease is made.” All such moneys when received by the Minister are paid into or disposed of for the benefit of the Exchequer in such manner as the Minister for Finance shall direct. The section of the Act giving the Minister power to make these mining leases provides that “every such lease shall be made subject to and shall contain such covenants, conditions and agreements as the Minister shall consider proper or desirable in the public interest,” and it is also provided that in exercising their respective powers the Minister and the Minister for Finance may take into consideration the general advantages that are likely to accrue to the State from the development of the mines and minerals to which the demise relates.
It is quite clear that the intention of the Act was to enable the development of the mineral rights which are the property of the State to be undertaken and to put the State in a position in which it could authorise private parties to prospect for minerals and, if they found them, to work them commercially. Until 1931 the State-owned minerals could not be worked, because the Minister for Industry and Commerce had no authority to issue a lease of such minerals or a licence to work them. The object of the Act was to put the Minister in that position. In fact, since that Act was passed some 50 applications for a mining lease have been received by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. Of these, 18 leases have actually been granted, of which seven were take notes or prospecting leases and the remaining 11 leases for periods ranging from 99 to 21 years. The usual period is 99 years. None of the seven prospecting leases has yet reached the stage where the applicants have put forward an application for the reversionary lease which is provided for in the prospecting lease. In cases where no prospecting lease has been asked for, the position was that the existence of the deposit was well known and the necessity for a prospecting lease really did not exist.
All these leases contain very similar  provisions. They contain conditions requiring the payment of a half yearly dead rent and of yearly royalties based on the amount of minerals produced. The dead rent merges in the royalty when the latter amounts to or exceeds the amount of the dead rent. There are also conditions as to the proper working of the minerals and the employment of a minimum number of able-bodied men and there is the provision that if work ceases the Minister may determine the lease and resume possession. That power has, in fact, been exercised in two cases. The lessees shall not assign, under-let or part with the demise without the consent of the Minister. It is also provided that in the event of the lessees granting a sub-lease, the lessees shall pay half the amount payable to them under the sub-lease with the minimum of the amounts for rents and royalties reserved in the original lease. There is also provision for the determination of the lease by the Minister in case of default of the payments of royalties and rents or in the event of bankruptcy on the part of the lessees.
I am not quite clear what Deputy McGilligan was getting at in his allegation, or charge, or insinuation, and so I have to deal with every possible contingency. I would like to point out that there is nothing in the Act which says that it shall not be lawful to give to a supporter or a member of Fianna Fáil whatever rights and privileges other members of the community are entitled to; neither is there anything there which says that members of the Oireachtas shall not be entitled to receive a lease and, in fact, in respect of three of the leases issued to various groups and companies, members of the Oireachtas were interested.
The history, however, of the particular lease which we are now examining can be quite simply stated and, because of the attention which has been drawn to the matter, I propose to give the whole of that history, which goes back beyond the time this Government came into office. An application dated 28th March, 1933, was made by Senator Michael Comyn, K.C., Deputy Briscoe  and another, whose name I need not mention, because he is not now interested in the matter. That application was for a mining lease in respect of nine townlands in the County Wicklow. Ultimately, a prospecting lease was granted on 1st November, 1934, to Senator Comyn and Deputy Briscoe, and that lease covered an area of three townlands. It was issued for a period of two years at a dead rent of £5 per annum with a royalty of 1/25th out of what minerals might be obtained during the term of the lease. The lease provides for the payment of rent and royalties, the employment of labour, and the furnishing of a true and fair account of the particulars of all minerals. There is provision made against under-letting or assigning over or parting with, except with the consent of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, first obtained in writing, and for the payment to the Minister in the case of sub-letting of half the rent and royalties payable to the lessees. There is the usual provision for the determination of the lease in the event of default. I observe Deputy McGilligan has arrived. How did they spur him up? Congratulations, Deputy!
Mr. Lemass: As I have indicated, there is the usual provision for the determination of the lease in the event of default of payment of rent or royalties or in the event of failure to carry out a search for the minerals concerned. The prospecting lease also makes provision for the granting of another lease. This lease is to be granted at the request of the lessees at any time prior to the determination, and, on the Minister being satisfied that the lessees possess the necessary technical and financial qualifications to carry out the full development of the undertaking.
That is the whole story. I am not going to stop there, but that is the whole story. I have informed Deputies of the background, namely, the effect of Article 11 of the Constitution and the purport of the Mines and Minerals  Act of 1931. Under the Mines and Minerals Act of 1931 application was made for a lease by the persons I have mentioned in respect of certain townlands in the County Wicklow. They got that lease subject to conditions. In view, however, of the nature of the insinuation made by Deputy McGilligan, it is necessary to go further than that. I pointed out that the existing lease was issued for three townlands, though nine townlands had been applied for. That was due to the fact that the Land Commission examination of the ownership would have occupied considerable time if extended to the nine townlands. The applicants were prepared to accept three townlands, so that they might start operations at once. It is possible, however, if the original application in respect of the nine townlands were pressed we would have had to consider whether the area was too large. An application for the six townlands has since been received from the same parties; a decision has not yet been taken on that application. Deputy McGilligan, as reported in column 350, Volume 57, No. 1, of the Official Debates, said—I give you his words in order to make sure I am not misrepresenting him:
“The statements which the Deputy is making cannot be answered by me in this debate and should be reserved for the Minister for Industry and Commerce. This is not a case of a financial slant; it is a case of an Opposition squint.”
I would intervene to say that Deputy McGilligan is entirely wrong. It does not come under the State Lands Act. It comes under the Mines and Minerals Act, 1931, which Deputy McGilligan, as Minister for Industry and Commerce, introduced here. The Deputy, apparently, forgot all about that. The Minister responsible is the Minister for Industry and Commerce.
Mr. Lemass: Then the Minister for Finance said that the matter should be raised on his Vote, and Deputy McGilligan replied “Rubbish!” and that in order to comply with Article 11 there could not be sub-leasing except with his authority. In fact, it is with the authority of the Minister for Industry and Commerce. The Deputy then went on to say:
“This lease was made to certain Deputies of his own Party, and to one Senator of his own Party, and they sell it in England to a group of concessionaires, on the terms that that group will pay the Minister a one-twenty-fifth royalty; that they will pay this group 2¼ per cent. extra, and give them 48,000 five shilling shares in an £80,000 company. Why  did three Deputies of the Fianna Fáil Party and the Vice-Chairman of the Seanad get that concession merely to hawk it around London? Surely that is a matter which, if it is going to be dealt with, should be dealt with in the House.”
Right; we will deal with it in the House. I have pointed out that the Deputy was obviously misinformed as to the nature of the situation under which the lease was issued and as to the functions of the Minister for Finance in relation to that lease and the nature of the lease itself. Deputies who have read the Official Debates will notice there is no charge under it except whatever charge can be levelled against the lessees, arising out of these words:—
I will deal with that first of all. I want to make it clear that the prospecting lease which was issued can hardly be described as a concession. It is a lease of the mining rights for a period of not more than two years, and it imposes on the lessees the obligation to carry out a search and trial for minerals and to report the result of their investigations to the Department. But it contains also this provision, that if the minerals for which the search is made are proved to exist, and if they satisfy the Minister that they possess financial and technical resources for the full development of the undertaking, then a further mining lease for 97 years shall be granted.
With regard to the allegation that a prospecting lease was hawked around London, I want to say now that that is entirely contrary to the fact. There is no information as to that in my Department, and we would know it was not true when it was stated by Deputy McGilligan. It is untrue. The Deputy also stated none of the lessees had any previous industrial history in these matters. The statement is entirely without foundation. At least one of the lessees has considerable experience of mining and minerals in this country.  He has been engaged in mining investigations for years, as the Deputy must have known if he had any information as to what his Department was doing when he was Minister for Industry and Commerce. It is quite clear that Deputy McGilligan did not intend to make a charge. He never makes a charge. He will never be specific. He throws out a number of sentences which are intended to convey an insinuation not to make a charge, something he can run away from, if necessary. It is the type of charge that is hardest to meet, but it is the type of thing that Deputy McGilligan has made peculiarly his own. Let us get his allegation here in all its ugliness. I think I can put it in this way— Deputy McGilligan wanted the House to believe that the Government gave to certain persons who were its supporters in the Oireachtas a concession of valuable State property; that they gave that concession because these people were their supporters, and that they gave the concession for the purpose of enabling them to sell it for the purpose of profit, although the Government could have disposed of that property to greater advantage otherwise. That is the allegation and the insinuation that Deputy McGilligan tried to get across. It is not stated in so many words there; but the Deputy was practically making that insinuation on Friday morning when he knew that it would not be possible for any member of the Government to reply to it so that his mean insinuation would have got a week-end's start before it could be caught up. Incidentally also there were the by-elections in Dublin and in Galway, and no doubt the allegation was intended to influence votes in these by-elections, Let us examine what the allegation says. I have already indicated the extent to which a prospecting lease can be described as a concession. But let that go. Assume that this is a valuable property. I wonder when Deputy McGilligan first began to realise that it was a valuable property. Perhaps I shall have a little more to say about that before I finish. On the general question, as far as I am concerned, I have no information that it is valuable property. Certain statements  are made that there are many million pounds of gold in these townlands. I hope they are true, but so far as I am aware there has been no adequate investigation of the mineral deposits in that area yet, and no one with any certainty can say what there is in that place.
The allegation that a lease was given to the lessees because they were political supporters of the Government is entirely without foundation. At the time they applied, and were granted the lease, there was no other application before the Department. It was a case of granting them a prospecting lease or not giving the grant to anybody. The whole purpose of the Mines and Minerals Act was to enable such leases to be granted, and the investigation work which was neglected for ten years when Deputy McGilligan was Minister, was made possible by it. The allegation that the lease was made to those parties for the purpose of enabling them to dispose of it at a profit is also without foundation. The actual terms of the lease provided that no assignment, or subletting, of the lease could be made without the permission in writing of the Minister for Industry and Commerce. In fact, no application for such consent has yet been made by the lessees, although if such an application were made it probably would be granted provided we were satisfied that the giving of the consent was going to lead to the commercial development of whatever mineral resources there are in that neighbourhood. It is suggested, also, that the Government could have disposed of that mining right elsewhere at greater advantage. I have mentioned the fact that, at the time the application was made, there was no other application before us. Furthermore the lease is subjected to the same dead rent and the same royalty charges which would be enforced no matter to whom the lease was made.
I said that the history of this matter goes back earlier than the date of the lease. Early in 1930, Deputy McGilligan, who was then Minister for Industry and Commerce,  was approached by representatives of a company calling itself Crusade Prospectors, Limited. Mr. Heiser was the principal and his name will arise again. I have nothing to say against him, and I may say that he bore credentials from the representative of the Queensland Government. So far as I know the Crusade Prospectors, Limited, were a company formed in London and included Sir H. Brittain, Sir Basil Clarke, Sir Basil MacFarlane, the Right Honourable Harry Samuels, and others. That company applied to Mr. McGilligan for authority to prospect for gold and other minerals in the County Wicklow, and, subsequently, generally throughout Ireland.
Deputy McGilligan rightly pointed out to them that the Mines and Minerals Act, not having been passed, there was no authority or legal power to issue such lease or grant such licences. But he did indicate to them that if they proceeded with their prospecting, and made whatever arrangements they desired with the surface owners and the other Government Departments concerned he promised favourable consideration subject to their proposals being in every way satisfactory in the matter of recording of priority for any application subsequently made, after the passing of the Mines and Minerals Act.
At some time Crusade Prospectors, Limited, had been acquired by the people known as Risberget Syndicate, Limited. An Irish group was also organised under the name of Irish Prospectors, Limited, the members of which were at that time Mr. F.M. Summerfield, Mr. Joseph McGrath and others and at the present time, Mr. Summerfield, Mr. Manus Noonan, B.L., Mr. Heiser and Mr. E.J. Smith, a former civil servant.
I do not quite know what Deputy McGilligan's interest in this matter is, but the question in respect of these minerals remained in that position while the Mines and Minerals Act was going through. This London interest, with their Irish associates, had intimated their interest in the mines and minerals. Mr. Heiser expressed the opinion that valuable mineral deposits existed, and they  proposed that they should be granted some sort of a monopoly concession for the purpose of carrying out prospecting work, but the proposal was not accepted. They were informed that while they could not be given absolute priority in respect of any application before the Act came into operation, nevertheless, that if they proceeded with their work they could anticipate favourable consideration in respect of any lease or licence application for which they made when the Minister had acquired power to grant such lease or licence.
The Mines and Minerals Act was passed and, shortly afterwards, there was a change of Government. This particular group then appear to have lost interest in the matter. Some of its members were in America and others, on their own statement, were temporarily involved in financial difficulties and generally indicated that they were unable to proceed. Early in 1932 they were informed that the Act was now passed and were invited to send in their application. They were told the form the application should take, and from the nature of their reply to us it was clear that no application was likely to be forthcoming for some time. We gave the members of that original group a full 12 months' notice that the Act was passed, and that they were free to make an application for this licence. In May, 1933, we wrote and said, having regard to the fact that we received no application in response to our letter of 12 months ago, and no indication from them of their intention we must regard their application as having lapsed. Similar letters were sent to a number of persons interested in mineral deposits at that time and, as they did not proceed, we regarded their applications as lapsed. Then the application that was submitted by Senator Comyn and Deputy Briscoe was taken up. It was discussed at considerable length. The application was very carefully examined. Eight months after the application was made, in November, 1933, I think, the prospecting lease was granted.  There is obviously no charge lying against the Government or anybody else because certain people interested in mineral development in this country applied for certain rights in respect of certain townlands in the County of Wicklow and got them and with them the obligation to carry out searches for minerals in that area.
The allegation is, however, as I understand it, that the Government gave that lease knowing or believing that the lessees were going immediately to sell it to somebody else at a profit. So far as I am aware no such allegation can be sustained. The only application in fact which was received for the giving of the Minister's consent to a sub-lease, was made very shortly after the lease was granted. It was for the purpose of permitting the Risberget Syndicate, which was associated with the investigation of these minerals to set up a gold-mining unit in the three townlands covered by the lease. As the documents did not reveal any definite parting with the interest in the minerals, but something in the nature of an experimental working of these mining units in the area, by arrangement between the company mentioned and the lessees, they were informed that the Minister's consent did not appear to be required.
Subsequently, Irish Prospectors, Limited, came into the picture. Apparently this group was associated with the proposed establishment of the experimental mining unit on the leasehold of Senator Comyn and Deputy Briscoe because they communicated with the Department representing themselves as perturbed lest there should be difficulty, when they had proved their pilot plant, about the Minister's sanction to the proposed sub-lease, under the main lease, to Risberget. They asked me for an assurance that if Deputy Briscoe and Senator Comyn applied for a sub-lease to be granted to Risberget, my consent would not be withheld. I replied to that application to say that I could not give my assurance at that stage as the precise terms of the sub-lease were not known to me. The letter went on to add that “it was the definite desire of the Minister for  Industry and Commerce that the mineral resources of this country should be developed to the largest practicable extent and it may be taken that proposals in that direction by reputable firms with the necessary technical and financial backing would have his sympathetic consideration at all times.” That is where the matter stands. It is true that the lessees have supplied us with the copy of an agreement which they have made with Risberget, Limited, for the formation of a company to carry out the commercial working of the minerals in the area when prospecting had been satisfactorily completed but no application for my consent to the making of a sub-lease or to the assignment in any way of the lessees' interest in the lease has yet been made. That fact disposes wholly of Deputy McGilligan's allegations.
To sum up, the position is as follows: A two years' prospecting lease, dated 1st November, 1934, has been granted to the two gentlemen I have named. The lease provides for the grant of another lease of 97 years at the request of the lessees and on the Minister for Industry and Commerce being satisfied that they possess the technical and financial resources necessary for the full development of the undertaking. No application has been put before me for a formal agreement to such a sub-lease but a copy of an agreement between the lessees and other parties for a sub-lease has been put before the Department. An application in respect of a mining unit in the area was submitted to the Minister but it was not considered to require his approval under the original lease.
It is quite obvious that Deputy McGilligan's insinuation is entirely without foundation. I think he knows that himself. I think he has been surprised at the fact that his insinuation was taken seriously and regarded as a serious charge. Of course it would be a serious charge if it could be contended that the Minister for Industry and Commerce had given to certain political friends, for the purpose of enabling them to re-sell it, State property that could be disposed of more advantageously elsewhere to anybody  else. Nor did Deputy McGilligan say that in so many words. He left it to be inferred. I think it is about time that Deputies got out of the habit of abusing their privileged position in this Dáil for the purpose of making mean insinuations against persons who are engaged in commercial enterprises in this State, whether these persons happen to be their political opponents or not. I am not assuming anything against Deputy McGilligan because he entered into discussions with the parties who were interested in these matters in 1930 even though members of that group were political supporters of his. I think he did quite right in endeavouring to get prospecting carried out and in promoting legislation which would enable him to give a lease, if the parties had remained interested in the matter and if he had remained Minister for Industry and Commerce. I hope that these parties who are still interested in the matter and who have obviously entered into an agreement with the present lessees of the property will be able in cooperation with them to find some valuable minerals in that area and arrange for their actual excavation.
It is a rotten thing that any Deputy should come in here and make mean insinuations of that kind and then expect to get away with it by pointing to the vague nature of his remarks and by pretending, perhaps, that he meant something else altogether. I hope that we have had the last of this. So far as I am personally concerned, my administration as Minister for Industry and Commerce is open to examination by anybody in this House. I do not think it desirable that papers and documents which the Department has, relating to matters of this kind and which contain letters written by a number of private interests who are dealing in various ways with the Department on a number of matters, should be seen other than by the Minister or officers of the Department. but if there is any Deputy in the House who seriously believes that there is an iota of justification for the insinuation contained in Deputy McGilligan's remarks, there is the file relating to  the mining leases in County Wicklow since early in 1930, and I invite him to road it, to read every document in it, every minute that was written by every official as well as by Deputy McGilligan, when he was Minister for Industry and Commerce, and by myself. I ask, for the sake of the decency of this House and for the purpose of ensuring that its time will not be wasted with matters of this kind when we could be dealing with important public business, that the more responsible members of the Fine Gael Party should try to restrain Deputy McGilligan from unloosing these misguided and entirely malicious allegations. It is easy enough for anybody to defend the political weakness of his Party, their absence of policy and his own personal incapacity, by throwing out allegations of the kind that we are accustomed to get from Deputy McGilligan. That is an easy thing to do. Any schoolboy could do it, but a Party which claims to be a responsible Party and that thinks it has a future in the political life of the country, should surely be able to produce some justification for its existence other than Deputy McGilligan and those like him.
Mr. McGilligan: On behalf of Deputy Mulcahy, I move that the Estimate be referred back for reconsideration. On this Vote of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, there are quite a number of interesting topics such as employment and unemployment, the wages given in the so-called successful tariffed industries, say, the handling of the Dublin tram strike, and the last item, the elucidation of the details of which the public are anxiously awaiting at this moment—this Wicklow gold mine. I would like to deal with all these matters, but I propose postponing what I have to say on the tramways strike, and the Minister's handling of it, until the Transport Vote comes on.
Mr. McGilligan: I suggest that this Vote is too heavily loaded with the misdeeds  of the Minister to deal with it on this Vote. The Transport Vote will afford a suitable opportunity for discussing the tramway strike.
Mr. Lemass: On a point of order, the labour disputes section of the Department of Industry and Commerce is not dealt with on the Transport Vote, and if the Deputy wants to deal with that question, then he must do so on this Vote.
Mr. McGilligan: There is a special transport section which deals with the giving of licences, and there are certain moneys allocated for transport. I believe—at any rate I am prepared to risk my belief—that the tramway strike can be raised on the Transport Vote. Therefore, I propose postponing what I have to say on that until that Vote comes up, and also in order not to cloud the best discussion that we could possibly have in this House on this concession on the main Vote. I move to refer back the Vote, mainly because of the scandal that is associated with the granting of this concession. We have heard of “Teapot Dome” scandals elsewhere. Now we have our own. The Minister said that he did not know whether I made a charge at all or not. He changed that by saying that this was a charge against himself and his Department, the conjunction being effected by innuendos.
I suggest to the Minister that, when privilege was attached to what Deputies say here, it was given for the purpose of enabling Deputies to raise matters like this. That is the special reason why the privilege grew up; that Deputies in the deliberative Assembly of the nation could discuss freely any matter that seemed to them to warrant open discussion, and to warrant the letting out of a lot of disordered matter from a wound or an abscess that had grown up in the administration. There is a great abscess and a great deal of matter to be let out of this particular thing. If the Minister wants me to formulate charges I shall do so immediately. I say that the Minister did handle State property in this way: that he gave what  the concessionaires believe to be a valuable State property—worth, as they say, £17,000,000—that he gave that definitely, clearly and admittedly to two political friends of his, and that he gave it under conditions of secrecy. Under the Mines and Minerals Act there was a way of having it so done that it would have to be laid on the Table of the House, but he did it under conditions which ensured secrecy for two years.
Mr. McGilligan: Let me deal with that. Under the Mines and Minerals Act, if a lease is given for more than two years, a report has to be laid on the Table of the House. If given for less than two years, it need not be laid on the Table of the House.
Mr. McGilligan: That is the law. By making it two years and a day, the Dáil had to know about it. By making it a day less than two years, the Dáil need not know about it until the two years had passed.
Mr. McGilligan: It could have been. What happened then? A Deputy has become so annoyed about this that he has had to leave the House at the moment. If it had been made for two years and a day, what would have happened? The fact that the lease had been made would have become known immediately. I suggest that this is an important matter that we should discuss here openly and freely: the handing over of certain State property,  which the concessionaires believed to have great value, to two members of the same political group as that to which the Government belong, and the handing of it over under conditions of secrecy. I suggest a far more scandalous matter is that when the Minister for Industry and Commerce, who had handed over that lease, discovered that these people were likely to make a big sum of money on it, that he did not act under the powers given him in the lease and void the whole thing. Let me again restate the principle. I am afraid it will have to be restated several times before this discussion ends. If there is valuable State property, and it is going to be worked, there should be the quickest possible conjunction between the property and the people who are going to work it.
Much as I dislike Labour philosophy on certain things, I think that in this matter the Labour view of middlemen's profits, and lazy middlemen's profits at that, is quite sound. Can anyone really believe that this House would have stood for the open proposition, made here, that two members of any Party should get a concession in relation to a good part of the County Wicklow: that they should not work that themselves but should convey it over to certain other people who would have worked it under Government control, and that for merely bringing the workers and the property together these two members of a political Party should get shares to the amount of £12,000 in a company with a capital of £80,000, with 2¼ per cent. over and above anything that they would have to pay to the State? That is what has happened. Does the Minister for Industry and Commerce believe that he could, brazen and all as he is, have come into the House and stood over a proposition of that kind? To hand over to two people—let me call them X and Y, and let their names be hidden even—and that these two people, instead of working the particular property themselves, were simply going to get in people who had previously made an application in connection with the same property: that for bringing in people to work this valuable  State property, valuable in the eyes of those who wanted to work it, these two lazy middlemen should get £12,000 in a company with a capital of £80,000 and, in addition, 2¼ per cent. over and above anything that they would have to pay the State? That is what is before the House. I say it is a fact that the two men who have got this are members of the Fianna Fáil Party. I say it is a big scandal that one is a Deputy, and one the Vice-Chairman of the Seanad. I say it is an extra big scandal that the contract document was drawn up on Seanad Eireann notepaper to give an official stamp, as it were, to the whole matter.
What were the public to get out of this? The best apparently that could be demanded in the lease was that for two years four able-bodied and experienced miners would be employed, and that for the remaining term employment would be given to four other able-bodied and experienced miners. The best that the two people who had got this £12,000 concession in an £80,000 company, with 2¼ per cent. over anything that they had to pay to the State, could offer in return was to keep constantly employed four able-bodied miners for the first two years, and four others for the remaining term. There used to be an old music-hall ditty: “Don't go down the mine, Daddy; let the mine come up to you.” There never was such an example of a mine coming up to people—a gold mine—as in this particular instance.
As regards the concession that has been granted to these people, I have only dealt with it so far as it relates to 982 acres in the Co. Wicklow. Remember that there were more considerations than merely passing on that bit of a concession to these people who were going to work those particular minerals. There was a second and a third item of consideration also gained from the Government. These two gentlemen immediately guaranteed and agreed to pass over whatever rights they had obtained in 982 acres in certain named townlands in the County Wicklow, but they also guaranteed that they would do everything in their power necessary to obtain further  leases, and when they got them to hand these over too. What do they cover? 2,000 extra acres in the Co. Wicklow and the whole of the foreshore of Arklow.
“You are also, at the request and expense of Risberget, Ltd., or their nominee, to do all acts which on your part may be necessary for completing the lease to you of the mines and minerals in six other townlands in the County of Wicklow included in your application, viz., Kilcarragh West, Rostygah, Monologh, Mongan, Knockmiller, Ballinvalley Lower, approximately 2,000 acres, and the foreshore of Arklow.”
Mr. Briscoe: That is not what the Deputy said before. The Deputy definitely stated that part of the consideration was that further applications for agreements from the State were to have passed to this company.
Mr. McGilligan: We have not got to the end of it yet. There was a third clause. The first clause dealt with the granting to Risberget, Ltd., of 39a Maddox Street, Hanover Square, London, or its nominee, a sub-lease of licence to work the mineral substances of the lands demised. That refers to the 982 acres, part of the mineral rights in the townlands of Ballintemple, Coolgarrow and Clon-william. That is what the Deputy was putting into the hotch-pot—what he got from the Government. In the second place, the concessionaires were to do everything in their power to get the lease of the mines and minerals in six other townlands, covering 2,000 acres, and the foreshore of Arklow. As if that was not big enough to get the Deputy the £12,000 in shares and 2¼ per cent., there is a third clause providing that— again, at the expense of Risberget; the careful Deputy does not allow himself in for any expense—they will
“do all acts which on your part may be necessary for obtaining a lease or leases of the mines and minerals in any other townlands in the County of Wicklow in respect of which you or either of you may have made application for a lease or licence.”
This transaction involved 2,982 acres in the County Wicklow, the foreshore of Arklow and something in addition. That is what is brought into the bargain by the Deputy and his colleagues, and they have got that from the Government.
Mr. McGilligan: I do not care when they made it. What consideration did these two gentlemen bring into the bargain? They brought in what they got from the Government. What were they bound to do? To pay a rent of £5 or £10, according to the period, and to pay a royalty of one-twenty-fifth. They pass on those obligations to Risberget. They got originally a concession in respect of 982 acres, and there is to be a lease of 2,000 acres more, the foreshore of Arklow and something in addition. They pass that over, with their obligations, to the new company, and the new company guarantee that they will occupy and work the mines, that they will pay the Deputy and his colleague one-twenty-fifth, with this 2¼ per cent., and give them 48,000 5/- shares out of 80,000 shares, the company to be known by the grandiose title “The Consolidated Gold Fields of Ireland, Limited.”
Mr. McGilligan: Possibly, but see how it has been taken up and sold for 48,000 5/- shares and 2¼ per cent. as  long as the lease lasts. The Deputy and his colleague believe—they have put it on paper—that there is £17,000,000 worth of gold in that mine.
Mr. McGilligan: That is what I call a scandal. Am I supposed to dot the “i's” and cross the “t's” of what I have said? A lease has been given covering 982 acres. Leases are under consideration in regard to 2,000 acres more. Applications are under consideration in regard to some other property, and these people cross the seas to London. They go to Hanover Square and get Risberget to take over this property.
Mr. McGilligan: These peculiar friends of mine come across and make the peculiar proposition, as friends of mine, that they will give the Deputy £12,000. There are other matters in this sub-lease about a bond for £500 which has been handed over. The receipt of it has been recorded, and there are guarantees about employing people. Let us not have much more verbiage in connection with this matter. Does this House consider that it is a proper thing, in relation to the sale of State property, that certain people should be given a concession and that these people should, to the knowledge of the Ministry, at a later stage at all events, have sold that property for valuable consideration to others, with no increased consideration to the State? If ever there was a case in which middlemen's profits should be decried and scouted, surely that is the case.
Let me go back a bit. I am told that these people had already made application. That would show that they were anxious to work this property. They had, apparently, paraded themselves as having certain skill, finance and mechanical equipment. The Minister told us that some of them had met with financial difficulties. Whether they had or not, they are the group on which Deputy Briscoe and his friend finally descend. Very early, these people made application for a mining licence in Wicklow. The only thing that could be done then was to register the application. It is registered. An invitation is sent to them later to make further application and they do not respond. Whether their financial position be sound or unsound, they are somewhere in the background and they are easily found by Deputy Briscoe. That adds to the scandal. These people were known to be at the game, were known to be making application for this lease, apparently having some thought themselves that they had some skill, finance and equipment behind them. The Minister mentioned that they had suffered a lapse in their finances but  they were in a sufficiently healthy position to promise the Deputy shares worth £12,000 in a company. Let us leave out the fact that there were a Deputy and a Senator involved in this transaction. The Minister asked me what better bargain the State could have made. Suppose the State had gone to Risberget and said: “You are a foreigner and we shall put an extra tax on you. You shall pay us 6¼ per cent. and give us shares in the company.” Would the State be better off? Does the Minister consider it a proper thing that men should be allowed to traffic in property that is not their own, the value of which they have not enhanced to any degree by their activities and that they should be enabled, if the transaction works out rightly, to get their 2¼ per cent. over and above the money they have to pay, as long as the stream of gold lasts and that they should get shares worth £12,000 in a company, with whatever these shares will yield to the shareholders after this 6¼ per cent. has been paid.
I suggest that those simple facts indicate a scandal. As to this matter of the State Lands Act and the Mines and Minerals Act the Minister for Finance spent a considerable time here yesterday, and a short time on Friday, denying that he had anything to do with this. He was put a very precise question yesterday by Deputy McGuire. Deputy McGuire said: “You were a party to it,” and the Minister answered, “No.” Deputy McGuire is reported a few sentences later to have said: “You had to sanction this,” and the Minister said, “No.” The original lease is made out in the name of the Minister for Industry and Commerce of the first part, and the Minister for Finance of Saorstát Eireann of the second part.
Mr. McGilligan: I have to analyse this. The Minister for Industry and Commerce is a party of the first part and the Minister for Finance is a party of the second part and when Deputy McGuire said yesterday in almost legal language: “You are a  party to it” the Minister answered “No.” Talk of misleading the House. I do not think there are words that the Chair would care to allow to pass to deal with it if the Minister still denies full knowledge of what took place. I find these words, “In witness whereof the parties of the first and the second part have caused their respective seals to be affixed hereto.” The Minister for Finance is in this up to the hilt. Whatever the mess, it is not right to submerge the Minister for Industry and Commerce in it leaving the others to climb out on his bedraggled shoulders. The Minister for Finance is in the mess up to the neck, and possibly higher. That Minister evolved a peculiar theory with regard to the lease. It is quite common in regard to legislative business in this House to have a Minister named, and if there is any finance matter in a particular lease, in the way of a licence or concession of any type, the Minister for Finance is necessarily named. The Minister for Finance told us yesterday that he could only be regarded as rather formal, that he would not interfere with a colleague, unless, so to speak, there was a very bad scandal in the proposal. We will remember that when we come to other pieces of legislation. Up to this this House has put Ministers' names into Acts of Parliament. I suggest that this is almost in entirety a financial matter. “We want mines developed in this country,” says the Minister for Industry and Commerce. Apparently, he was quite indifferent as to how it was to be done, whether by Deputy Briscoe, Senator Comyn, or some nominees of theirs. The Minister for Finance was concerned to get the best rent. He did not get the best rent. It only required a couple of months possibly to find that there was a better rent to be got. There was the 4 per cent. or the one twenty-fifth that the Ministry demanded, and there was the 2¼ per cent. and the £12,000 that the lessees were to get. Had the Minister not an interest in getting an extra £12,000 for the Government?  We had a discussion recently on employment, and the statistical figures showed that wages in two or three years, with all the tariffs, only increased by £25,000. Think of all the labour, according to Deputy Norton, sweated labour, it took to get £25,000 additional to a wages bill of £4,000,000, when Deputy Briscoe and Senator Comyn could get half of that for doing nothing? They could get more than half that. They can get £12,000 stone cold in the company.
Mr. McGilligan: I hope you were digging your political graves. They were to enjoy £12,000, half the increased wages secured in two years. I wonder would Deputy Norton fancy himself when speaking to a trade union assembly, having to say that he did in any way sanction an agreement whereby a Deputy and a member of the other House, acting, as I say as the most lazy type of middlemen, were able to get, apart from the dividends, such a location as brought them in an increase equal to the wages bill of two years. That is what we have here.
“The lessees in this case have made arrangements for the exploration of the mineral resources of the property covered by the lease, and have applied for the consent of the Minister to a sub-letting in accordance with the terms of the lease.”
Mr. Lemass: I said that there was an application for consent, for the purpose of having exploration work done, and that as the proposal did not involve any alienation of the terms of the lease, I replied that my consent was not required.
I do not imagine that a Minister would stray so far from the truth that he would make a statement like this when, in fact, these two gentlemen's prospecting was of an experimental nature and did not require consent. Did the Minister rush into print on Saturday about something that was under consideration when, in fact, there was nothing under consideration? I hope I am not  pressing the point too much, but it is very important.
“At this stage the Minister wishes to take the opportunity of saying that while he would not give his consent to any arrangement which would be likely to militate against the fullest commercial development of the mineral deposits of the Saorstát, his primary object is to secure such development, and it is not necessarily reprehensible for a lessee to dispose on satisfactory terms of his interest in a lease.”
I hope the Deputy will mark the word “necessarily.” Can the Minister tell us straight-forward now? This lease that he made contains a clause that there shall be no sub-letting without his consent. The Minister is in the agreement. Has he indicated to these two gentlemen that when their period for experimental digging has concluded he will not favour the sub-lease? Has he told them that?
Mr. Lemass: I did not say that. On the contrary, I was asked by the firm concerned, Messrs. Summerfield, Smith and Noonan, if I was prepared to agree. I replied I would give no assurance until I saw the sub-lease.
Mr. McGilligan: I am merely drawing this conclusion that by this procedure these two people, members of the Oireachtas, members of his own Party, might get £12,000 in a company and 2¼ per cent. dividend for nothing. Does not that shock him? I would like an answer.
Mr. McGilligan: Now we have it. Surely, I suggest that a Minister in charge of the mineral wealth of this country should be immediately alert in answering if such a proposition was put to him. What value is the Minister getting by these two people being enabled to get £12,000 in a certain company and 2¼ per cent. dividend, over and above anything the State was going to get? What value is accruing to the State? Does the Minister think that these two people have put sufficient work into this business to warrant them getting £12,000 and 2¼ per cent.? I suggest that there is no other person in this House, except the Minister, but should be shocked into an immediate answer by way of a repudiation of such a sub-lease.
“I undertake to form a Company, to be called ‘The Consolidated Gold Fields of Ireland, Ltd.,’ or some other name to be substituted therefor, with paid up capital of not less than £80,000, with the object of working the mineral substance of the said lands compriséd in the said lease and all other lands in the County Wicklow which may hereafter be acquired by you under paragraphs 2 and 3 hereof.”
Mr. McGilligan: Let me understand that. Does the Minister mean that I cannot call 48,000 fully paid-up 5/- shares £12,000? Is the Minister accusing Deputy Briscoe of being a share-pusher, or is he accusing Deputy Briscoe of being “codded” by a share-pusher?
Mr. McGilligan: Supposing certain people floated a company and asked people to subscribe £80,000 to this company and talked of the leases that had been granted and what a valuable property it was, and so on, and supposing that the public were fooled into subscribing for it?
Mr. Lemass: At the present time I am answerable for matters of administration in connection with the Mines and Minerals Act, but the particular document which Deputy McGilligan is reading is one with which I have nothing to do. In regard to the matter about which Deputy McGilligan is speaking, there has been no sub-letting by me, and I have not even been asked to approve of any such sub-letting.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Minister for Industry and Commerce has stated that no sub-letting of the concession has been sanctioned. His word must be taken by the Chair on that matter. With regard to the document which Deputy McGilligan is quoting, the Chair has no knowledge of whether or not it is a document signed or sanctioned by the Minister.
Mr. McGilligan: So that there is no question of £12,000 for sub-letting what Deputy Briscoe has got? On a point of order, Sir, Clause 9 of this agreement, which the Minister has signed and sealed with the Minister for Finance, has this prohibition: that Deputy Briscoe and his colleague are  not “to give, underlet, or assign over, or part with the possession, by way of licence, or otherwise, of these presents of the several premises hereby demised,” etc., etc., “without the consent of the lessor in writing first had and obtained.” The lessor is the Minister for Industry and Commerce. Without his consent they cannot sub-let, according to that, but the Minister has in his possession an agreement signed and sealed by the Deputy and Senator agreeing to sub-let.
Mr. Briscoe: That is not true. If the Deputy is really honest I have no objection to his raising this question, but the Deputy himself knows that he is absolutely dishonest in his contention. There is a clause there which specifically says that anything done under this agreement has first to have the sanction of the Minister.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Chair would like to know whether Deputy McGilligan purports to discuss the conduct of the Leas-Chathaoirleach of the Seanad and a Deputy of this House or the Minister's administration in regard to the alleged sub-lease. The Minister for Industry and Commerce has assured the House that there is no such sub-lease, and that being so, he cannot be held responsible for any proposals made.
Mr. McGilligan: I would be prepared to accept that, with one addition. I suggest that, if a committee of the House is to be appointed to inquire into this particular matter, it should also inquire into the granting of licences in relation to cattle, flour, and thread—just these three things.
Mr. McGilligan: The Minister is running away, as usual. I thought that, when the Minister said that the administration of his Department was open to examination by anyone in this House he would be willing to have an investigation into all these branches of his Department. The Minister welcomed examination. My object is to expose these scandals in regard to the granting of licences and permits.
Mr. McGilligan: I have not said that I would refuse that offer. I want to make the case that, once one scandal of this type is exposed, there is a prima facie case for investigating the Minister's Department thoroughly, and also the Department of his colleague, the Minister for Agriculture. It must be remembered that this is only the beginning of it. May I take it that the Minister is not prepared to discuss this matter of the sub-lease?
Mr. McGilligan: I will tell you. It is that, under conditions of secrecy, a valuable piece of State property was parted with to members of the House belonging to the Minister's Party and that those members of his Party, known to him, are going to get £12,000 and 2¼ per cent. in return for the giving by them to an outside company of State property. That is a serious charge, and it is against the Minister I make it.
Mr. McGilligan: Surely to goodness this House is not in such a state of confusion in relation to a simple matter like this that we cannot discuss it to the limit, particularly on the challenge from the Minister that he wanted my falsehoods in this matter exposed. If these things are false, the best argument is to expose them.
Mr. McGilligan: No; the Minister has definitely power to do it. In fact, he knows well his powers and he has exercised them in a way that prevented publicity being given to this—by a two-year lease instead of a lease for two years and a bit. However, I do not care. Stop this or carry it on.
Mr. Lemass: Carry on, so long as you are relevant. I am prepared to meet the Deputy in respect to these allegations by proposing here and now a resolution that a select committee of seven Deputies be set up to consider the allegations in relation to this mining lease which Deputy McGilligan has made in this day's debate. That committee would be asked to consider and report to the Dáil——
Mr. McGilligan: The Minister will not accept my challenge to have it enlarged. I will take that certainly, but I want to add on that the Minister has stated that his administration is open to investigation by anybody in this House. That was stated to-day. Is the Minister running away from that?
Mr. Lemass: No. The method of investigation by a select committee is proposed in respect of the allegations concerning a mining lease. There are all the other methods of investigation on any other matter you like.
Mr. McGilligan: Why not let us have this enlarged? The Minister has asked us to inquire into the administration of his Department. Let us give—do not let us even say “we will inquire into other things”—this committee power to investigate other things than this mining business, on a case being made which satisfies that committee that prima facie some investigation should be carried on.
Mr. McGilligan: That will be done by agreement, I understand from the Minister. I suggest that he should transform his challenge in the House to-day into terms of reference to inquire into the administration of his Department. The Minister does not welcome that?
An Ceann Comhairle: The matter before the House is the Vote for the Department of Industry and Commerce. Any special committee would have to be set up by regular motion in this House, and, on that  motion, Deputies could discuss terms of reference.
Mr. McGilligan: I assume that I may refer to this committee which will be entirely dealing with the Department of Industry and Commerce—the administration which the Minister in his opening statement challenged us to inquire into. Why should we not do it?
Mr. McGilligan: You can narrow it to that. It will be a good day's work done when we get that, but I think it shows shocking cowardice on the part of a man who challenged us to enquire into the administration of his Department that he will not let us do it.
An Ceann Comhairle: I have stated that the establishment of a special committee and its terms of reference are quite irrelevant now. Such committee cannot be set up in this haphazard, casual fashion; it would have to be done by way of a motion duly tabled. It should not be necessary for the Chair to have to state that position twice.
Mr. J.I. McGuire: On a point of order. In view of the fact that the President of the Executive Council, on one occasion in this House, promised a committee to enquire into a charge made against Deputy Mulcahy, I suggest that his failure to set up that committee——
Mr. McGilligan: Like quite a number of other things, Sir. We are going to get a motion, which the Minister will introduce, setting up a special committee, carrying on its proceedings in public and enabled to send for documents, papers and——
Mr. McGilligan: The Minister has put that up. I am not allowed to discuss this particular matter in certain ways because the Minister has cut across that by his offer of a committee. I should like to get known what the offer amounts to. Can the Minister tell us?
Mr. McGilligan: It is a matter which, I think, should be pursued to the extent of pointing out whether I indulged in correct or in incorrect procedure on Friday in referring to this matter at all. Supposing there were something in the way of a valuable concession in this country for which a licence had to be given under the Mines and Minerals Act. I stated on Friday, in the course of interruptions, that the Minister for Finance is fully involved in this and I repeat that.
Mr. McGilligan: I said under the State Lands Act, and went on to say that the Minister for Finance is the man who controls the letting of mines and minerals under the State Lands Act in so far as they are gripped by Article 11. That is a correct statement, and it is even recognised in the Mines and Minerals Act.
Mr. McGilligan: Unfortunately I brought it in and made it relevant. It is here in the Act. The State Lands Act did not die when the Mines and Minerals Act was passed, because there is a clause, Section 15, which says that the Minister for Industry and Commerce cannot do—I am paraphrasing it—except after consultation with the Minister for Finance, anything which relates to the State Lands Act. The situation, in fact, is that under the  State Lands Act the only person who can make a letting is the Minister for Finance, and his power is carried on——
I suggest that a considerable amount of the property included in the lease which we are not allowed to discuss is Article 11 property, and that the Minister is responsible; as a matter of fact, his actions show that he knows that. May I point out further—this is what I call the economic philosophy side of the argument—that when the State drifts into a position in which the Government is controlling valuable mineral rights, and is controlling reserve commodities, and is controlling business by tariffs as high as 90 per cent. and 100 per cent., there is bound to be dissatisfaction, and there is bound to be corruption, unless care is taken against it. How can care be taken? There is only one way, and that is publicity. The State Lands Act definitely legislated that, in regard to any lease made under it, the lease did not take effect unless each House of the Oireachtas passed an affirmative resolution, and a certain period—21 days—elapsed after the lease was laid on the Table of the House.
When you come to the Mines and Minerals Act the same sort of publicity is mainly preserved, because under that Act in relation to State property the Minister was bound, as soon as may be after every 30th June and 31st December, to lay on the Table of the House the Oireachtas Report containing particulars of every lease for a period exceeding two years. The only thing in regard to which there is secrecy, or  may be secrecy—and it is not necessary —is a lease for less than two years, so that the scheme of those Acts definitely recognised that there was bound to be criticism in connection with the letting of State property, and that the only answer to it was publicity. Under the State Lands Act it was definitely provided that a lease must be approved by the House, or, at any rate, be published 21 days before it operated. With regard to mines and minerals applications, it insisted on publicity within a six months period, except in regard to two-year leases. That was a good scheme. The only answer in regard to any of those things, when the State is handling property, is publicity. Supposing, say, the Shannon scheme, when it was previously brought forward, had been engineered in the way of a concession being granted to citizens of the State, and that they were then allowed to sell it in whatever way they liked, would there have been an uproar, and would there justly have been an uproar?
Supposing the Government operated their sugar-beet concession by getting in two or three people, particularly if they were members of their own Party, and saying to them: “We will give you a concession with regard to the price you may charge for sugar, and we will guarantee that we will prohibit certain sugar from coming into the country,” and that they allowed those people not to run a sugar-beet factory, but to sell it to other people to run, would there not be a scandal, and would there not justly be a scandal? Those two examples will make the point I am driving at, that once the Government gets business into a condition in which it mainly depends upon licences granted by the Government, there is only one way to clear the air of any suspicion, and that is by publication of everything; by making known to the House immediately that in regard to licences, tariffs, reserve commodities, or concessions for mines and minerals, named people have got those concessions. Then the searchlight of publicity—the Dáil, the Seanad and the Press—will be upon those people to see how that will operate. I suggest that we have got into a very hopeless condition  in this country. I do not see very much difference between handing over a valuable mineral concession in any county of this country to two people to sell——
Mr. McGilligan: I am not going to quibble about that. I am not referring to anything that has been done. I am talking now about the principle. I see no difference between giving a lease in relation to valuable State property and giving, say, a lease in regard to a reserve commodity, or giving——
Mr. McGilligan: The particulars were not given. We were told we would not get publicity. We asked for publicity about licences, and were told we would not get it. This is only a descending scale. People may be attracted and shocked by this business of something said to have mineral wealth in it being given to people to traffic around and make money out of it without doing a hand's turn of work on it. There is very little difference between that and two or three people getting a reserve commodity which they may sell to other people. There is very little difference between that and giving a company a licence for the importation of certain goods while their business rivals are denied it. There is little difference between the licence given to those people and the granting of mineral concessions and reserve commodities unless there is publicity about the whole thing. This country has gone further, as far as bureaucracy is concerned, than most other countries. The situation is clouded here by the fact that there is no publicity. On every occasion upon which even a prima facie case has been made from those benches the answer has been: “At any rate there will be no publication  of the licences. We are not giving it any publicity.” I suggest that that is bad. I suggest that the scheme set out in the State Lands Act, and copied mainly into the Mines and Minerals Act, should be copied into everything in regard to which property controlled by the State passes to anybody. Why should it not be an obligation on the Minister, which he would take upon himself whether it is in the statute or not, that in regard, say, to the granting of a licence to import certain threads, the House should be informed that a particular named firm—I think they call themselves the Irish Thread Manufacturing Company—alone have got the rights in the matter.
Mr. McGilligan: I am not pretending to be accurate about the name, but I can be accurate in a moment. The Irish Thread Manufacturing Company, of Thomas Street, Dublin, are in being. Has the Minister referred to them the people who have made applications with regard to thread?
Mr. McGilligan: In relation to such a thing as the prohibition of imports of thread we should be told that there is a company to whom everybody is going to be referred, and its name should be set out, so that everybody can know that no licence is going to be granted except after application made to those people. If the Minister does not grant a licence to X in regard to, say, the importation of thread, he should publish that, so that Y, who has been refused a licence, can get inquisitive, and discover why one has  been refused while the other has been granted. I think this runs right through the whole fabric of the economic structure of the country at the moment. On the one side—it is not immediately proper to this Vote but I can use the analogy—the main industry is being destroyed by a licensing system about which the people are given no information, and the industries of the country are attempted to be built up by a licensing system in regard to imports and prohibitions about which the country has no information other than that the importations are being stopped. Then it does leak out that one man has got a licence where another man has been refused. The Minister says “No.” Is not the Minister's answer to me that, since the particular Irish Thread Manufacturing Company was recognised, he will publish the names of anybody who got the licence, or he will say that nobody got a licence. If he will say nobody got a licence, the way is clear for a particular individual to take another step and find out where did a certain man get the thread which he is using at the moment. There is very little difference, apart from prohibitions and import quotas and reserved commodities and mining and other concessions, between that and the tariffed article which is protected to the extent of 80 per cent. or 90 per cent.
Here I would like to get the Labour view-point. I put it to the House that the only possible honest economic philosophy upon which we can run is this, that when tariffs are given, when reserved commodities are given and when licences are given they should mainly enrich the community and not an individual. I put it as a test to Deputy Davin as to whether he would approve a tariff being given to an individual and continued to that individual if, after two years' experience, it was found that neither the employment in that man's establishment had increased nor had his wages bill gone up, and particularly it should not be continued if it was found that, while the wages bill and the employment did not increase, the  man's personal profits had increased. I suggest the Deputy would not stand for that and he would be quite right in objecting to it.
A tariff is a tax on the community. The people are paying and they will not willingly pay a tax by way of a tariff if it is going to enrich merely a manufacturer and his family. If the wages bill increases and if employment spreads, then, because the purchasing power of the community is increased, the burden will eventually be taken off the community in the way of unemployment assistance and in other respects. The Labour Party must know that, so far as a number of the high tariffs are concerned, prices have gone up. The community is, therefore, paying and the ransom that is taken from the community does not go back to the workers either in the form of an increase in their numbers or by way of increased wages; it goes to the proprietor.
On another occasion I said that, much as I dislike socialising industry, I think a far better scheme with regard to such things as prohibited commodities would be to say “We will take that in hands the same as we have taken, more or less, electricity and sugar beet; we will set up a company consisting of so and so and we will publish the salaries we will pay them. We will let them gather their staffs and we will make no attempt to check their prices, because we know it cannot be done, but if the community pays a big amount in the way of prices the State will benefit and it will go to the revenue and so enable some taxes to be lowered.” Once you get to the region of prohibition, and even in the region of extremely high tariffs, you are close to the point at which industrialists will realise they are cutting off the bough on which they sit. If a man gets a reserved commodity in this country under present conditions what is the use of capitalism? We do not know whether he brings in money of his own. If he does, it is protected. He must get a return, because the community are at his mercy. The community must get the goods somewhere. If he sells  good goods and has experience, he will get plenty of money, but the community will not.
There should be some shading of the ordinary capitalistic industrial results, where you cannot control profits because you cannot control prices, and where the profits are going into the hands, not of the community or the workers but into the hands of one or two individuals. If we had any Labour leader in this country who had any knowledge of economics, there is a case there for such a Labour representative to make and it is a case that is unanswerable. I think the House would be shocked by a proposal brought before it in a particular line if the line was this, that we are going to grant the making of certain goods entirely to three named people; we are going to preclude competition, not merely foreign but national; that these three will work at that article and produce it and nobody else will be allowed to work against them. The community needs the articles and the community must pay the price and we are not going to bother about the price or how the articles are produced and we are not going to watch what the employment is or what the increased purchasing power is.
It is because that is neglected that we get the astounding result revealed the other day. Statistical returns show that on a total wages bill of £4,000,000, tariffs, subsidies, concessions, Government loans and credits, everything, have resulted in an increase of only £25,000. It is inconceivable that on that total only £25,000 profit has accrued to somebody. Whatever be the profits that have accrued through these high tariffs and through prohibitions and quotas, we know the working side of the community has only got £25,000. Is that a suitable return? Remember, the community have paid in the meantime and they have paid heavily. I will give a line on what they have paid through these figures. In 1924 the Customs duties in this country brought in something over £8,000,000. From that time the Customs duties declined, even when  tariffs were put on in 1925 and 1926; they declined until they got to the point of over £6,000,000—it was nearly £7,000,000. In 1931-1932 they had risen to about £8,000,200. In the time of Fianna Fáil they rose to £9,600,000 and, eventually, to £9,800,000. Next year they are going to be £9,000,000, with the exception of £44,000.
The community has been paying in the Fianna Fáil period at least £1,500,000 more than what was exacted previously. In relation to that £1,500,000 which the community in some way bear between them, the wages of the workers in the industries show only an increase of £25,000. Has the Minister any idea of the profits in those days? Are the profits only £25,000? It seems to me that if the amount of tariffs we have had in the last two or three years can only yield increased wages to the workers to the extent of £25,000 and profits to employers to that amount, they have failed entirely of their purpose.
I ask Labour people to say whether their economic philosophy agrees with those results or whether they would not claim—and they would get backing for the claim—that when you get into a particularly high region of tariffs, when you hand over the exploitation of the people under reserved commodities and prohibitions to a group of employers, then, in the absence of any way of checking those employers' prices, it would be better to throw the whole thing into the possession of the State, bad as that might be, and let the State associate men in control as managers and let the benefits accrue to the coffers of the State. I suggest in the region into which we have got we want two things attended to. First of all, we want to get a better return to the community than what is got at the moment and, if that is not feasible, we have to pass a condemnation on these devices that have been adopted and, secondly, in relation to the grants and concessions and licences, the community should demand that there is publicity of the most thoroughgoing type in relation to anybody who gets these concessions from which  he makes profits for himself at the expense of the community.
I do not want any remarks of mine in this connection to be associated with industries that have grown up in this country years ago, that have progressed, possibly, in recent years with the help of tariffs. There are industries that could have survived any storm with a moderate protection which, at the same time, would have sheltered the people from exploitation. But under the shadow of the new high tariffs there are certain groups of industries which have not made any return to the community; they have made a return to the proprietors, but not to the community. That we may know who these people are there should be the fullest possible publicity, and I suggest that in connection with that publicity the Dáil should not rest content without considering whether it would not be better to take all these things out of the hands of private proprietors and fix it so that the benefit would go to the State.
I have argued this matter over and over again. I have taken the figures the Minister has given and also other figures. The Minister chooses, on the basis of the unemployment fund, to give us the figures as to the number employed. A question was asked in the House on the 6th December, 1934, and on the 11th April, 1935, as to the figures of those in employment. From the figures which the Minister gave, taking as the basis of comparison the employment of men in insurable full time employment, it appeared from that that the increase in the number of employed had been about 19,000. The Minister told the Press in May last year that 20,000 people had found direct employment in the building trade. The Minister knows that the building trade is an insurable occupation and, taking it that each man in full-time insurable occupation pays to the Unemployment Fund £4 a year, we can see how many are in employment. I asked a question to find that out. At first the Minister refused the information. His colleague the Minister for Local Government and Public Health answered in relation to subsidised housing. From  that I found that there was not a drop of 1,000 between the winter and the summer part of the year. We roughly find from these figures that it is not a seasonal occupation. I was told that about 5,000 of these 20,000 in the building trade were in employment when we left office. The Minister's own figures prove to me that there were 15,000 last year of an increase in employment in the building trade. He also proved by the same figures that 2,500 more than in our time had found work in relief schemes of an insurable occupation type. He has, therefore, got 17,500 between relief works and the building trade. But the increase, according to his own figures, only amounts to 19,000 in all. I have to protest when I make statements that I am not to be taken as arguing that there are not places that have employed between them more than the residue of that figure of 2,500. But there has also to be taken into consideration the number put out of employment in the old industries. Can the Minister, when challenged as to the increased number employed in industry of which he boasts, reconcile these figures? That figure that I have now given is, more or less, borne out by the Minister's own trade returns. He gives us a tot of 6,000 people and £25,000 extra paid in wages. We used to be told there were about 300 new factories. That would represent about £80 paid in wages in each factory. The President, yesterday, raised the number from 300 to 600. Why, that would only leave £40 paid in wages by each factory. The Minister, when challenged by Deputy Norton on one point, answered that the number employed in the factories include learners' apprentices and out-workers. But they will all be added in as adult workers working the whole year round. We have this amazing situation at the end of all that secrecy, at the end of that absence of essential publicity, that no interest is taken, apparently, in what the employers do once they get a concession. With the multitudinous concessions being given the wages bill is raised by only £25,000 and the Minister, by counting in learners, apprentices, half-time  workers and out-workers, can tell us that he has 6,000 left.
We are asked to continue this hopeless state into which our industry has come in order to get in a two-year period an increase of £25,000 paid in wages and an increase of 6,000 people in employment. I think the price we have been asked to pay is far too high, and I suggest that the Minister should as a result of this debate tell us that we are to get the fullest publicity with regard to every lease, licence and tariff given. The Dáil can then investigate the other conditions.
Professor O'Sullivan: Deputy McGilligan will remember that one of the great difficulties the House has had for the past three or four years is to get any information on certain matters from the Minister. Again and again, questions have been put down in this House in order to find out the nature of these factories that the Government claim have been started. I understand from Deputy McGilligan that, according to the President, the number of these factories has now been raised to 600.
Professor O'Sullivan: If the Minister wanted a discussion in the House he should have given the particulars a long time ago. He was asked again and again to give them. The Minister is very simple if he expects in a long discussion here this evening to have his word accepted. It is not a question of my doubting the figures. The Minister knows perfectly well that his own Party have the same views and doubts as to where these factories are. The people of Kerry do not seem to know where they are. It is quite clear from a statement I have here that the people of Tralee do not believe in the existence of these factories. Neither do they believe in the goodwill of the Minister. They do not believe in his word so far as these things are concerned. It is not only a member of our Party or a supporter of ours who has doubts as to the Minister's word in this respect. The  Minister knows perfectly well that no later than January last the Republican organ in Kerry called for his resignation. That paper had its celebrated scare heading—“The Minister who broke his pledges.” I presume the last word in that line of the document I have before me is “pledges.” I am sorry to say that this particular sheet is like the Minister's pledges. It is broken too. At all events this Republican organ in Kerry proclaims that the Minister broke his pledges. It is not an organ that at that time was hostile to the Government. It was in favour of the Government. The passage I am going to quote will show the way in which his own followers are beginning to doubt his words. I think the Government Party has no stauncher followers anywhere than the Republican Party in the County Kerry. In a long diatribe against the Minister this Republican paper says:—
“The people of Kerry are not looking for doles. They only require fair play and fair dealing one would expect from a responsible Minister, and not from a petty politician. Minister Lemass of the ‘tired and sick’ outlook towards Kerry has done much to damage the reputation not of himself, but of the Ministry. A Minister who breaks a solemn promise, repeated over and over again, cannot have the confidence of anybody.”
“A Minister who breaks a solemn promise repeated over and over again cannot have the confidence of anybody. He should not hold such a position, and Mr. de Valera must realise that the broken promises of Mr. Lemass considerably damage the present Executive. The people of Kerry can put up with a good deal but not with the sneers and contempt of a cheap politician of the Lemass kind. His resignation must be insisted upon by everybody who has the welfare of our county at heart.”
 Again, I say this is a Republican organ in Kerry. The only thing they have against the Minister is that they cannot believe what he says. But they make a very subtle distinction, and I know my county is famous for wit and subtlety. They make a distinction between the President and the Minister for Industry and Commerce, but, in my opinion, they are not right in the preference they imply. The Minister for Industry and Commerce always appears to make plain, blunt statements. After a certain amount of experience you will not believe them; they are not in accordance with facts. Let us assume that this is because the Minister does not go to the trouble to find out what the facts are. But he makes a plain, blunt statement that such and such a thing is the case. The fact that the Minister says so is no guarantee that it is the case. The fact that he promises a thing to-day is no proof that he will stick to it. There is something bold and barefaced, if you like, about the statement the Minister makes. But why distinguish between him and the President. What the President would say to the people in Tralee would be altogether different. He would have left them in the belief that they were going to get a factory. Six months afterwards what they would have found out would be, not that he was going to give them a new factory but that he was going to take away from them the one that they had already, and that that was what his statement meant.
Professor O'Sullivan: No, but I am discussing the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the fact that the people of Kerry contrasted him with the President. I think it was a mistake of this Republican organ to devote all its criticism to Deputy Lemass. Personally, I prefer the plain, blunt statements of Deputy Lemass. Why they should contrast him with the President I do not understand.
Professor O'Sullivan: I am quoting from a Republican organ in Kerry. I suggest that if there is any writing to be done, the Deputy who has interrupted should do the writing. The Chairman of the Urban Council, who is also Chairman of the Fianna Fáil Cumann, made the charge that Deputy Lemass was not telling the truth. I am not saying whether he was or not, but that was the statement made by the gentleman who interviewed him. He says that the account given of the interview by himself was the true one, and the account by the Minister was a false one.
We often find ourselves in great difficulty by figures quoted by the Minister. Everybody knows that figures can be juggled to a tremendous extent. The Minister for Industry and Commerce, when he gives one set of figures, and finds the ground cut from under his feet in regard to that set of figures, introduces another set and, as these can stand for some months before they can be examined, he gets away with it for a while. That is the difficulty.
A number of questions were put by Deputy McGilligan at the close of his speech. Undoubtedly, the procedure of the Government has been exceedingly costly, so far as this country is concerned. It has proved exceedingly costly in the matter of bounties and subsidies in connection with industries. We are told about a number of new industries, but the total increase in wages in 21 for which returns are given was only £25,000. The House is entitled to get information as to where the rest of the money has gone, and what good it has done for the country. There is nothing like the increase in wages that might be expected; there is an increase only to a fractional extent not really worth mentioning. No one can follow the Minister on the question of unemployment figures. If there is one thing I learned from the Minister for Industry and Commerce and also from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance, it is that if you want any information about unemployment you should not go to the  unemployment figures. They may give you information about anything else, but they will give you no information about unemployment. I listened on one occasion to Deputy Flinn expounding the doctrine that it was most fallacious to found any conclusion upon unemployment statistics. According to him, it is the last place you should go for such conclusions. That is the difficulty. A number of statements have been dragged from the Minister in reply to questions, but it is still found impossible to know what is the position in regard to the employment given in such new industries as he has established. We do not know the character of these industries, or the type of people employed in them; whether they are on full pay or on half pay, or whether they are people in full service or only in partial service. If you try to make anything out of the figures, it is suggested that these particular figures are not for that purpose. I suggest that the Minister, when publishing figures, so that people should misunderstand them fully, should give a running commentary upon them, and then there would be no fear of people drawing a proper inference from them.
It used to be charged against our Government, when in office, that we had no plan. Planning was the great thing that was to save this country. A similar solution was to save industries in other countries. I was afraid, and everything said in these debates in the last couple of years fully justifies this fear, that if we indulged in this elaborate system of planning we would find we were letting ourselves in for a great deal more than we bargained for, a great deal more than we bargained for in the way of interference with industry, a great deal more than we bargained for in opening the door—shall I put it in as mild a language as possible?—to the possibility of corruption.
I again and again pointed out when Bills were going through this House that a policy was being introduced into this country that in the long run could  not avoid bringing on this country a very serious state of corruption. I am not going into the question of the various matters debated here to-day, but I can say this, not as to the attitude of the Minister or the Department, but as regards the attitude of the business community. I am not saying what justification there is for their particular psychological state in this matter, but I think there cannot be the slightest doubt—and we have had plenty of evidence of it in the last three weeks— that business men are afraid to take an open part in politics on account of the licensing policy of the Government. I cannot say that there was any action on the part of the Government to justify that fear, but I do say that the fear was there, and several businessmen gave us as an excuse for not taking part in a political election that they dare not do so for business reasons and the business reasons they alleged was the fear that the licensing policy of the Government would be used to their disadvantage. That is inevitable if you have this system, and if the people have not the fullest confidence in the Government. That is the first stage—fear on the part of the public. These people had not the slightest doubt as to how they were going to vote. They had always proclaimed their political opinions, but they gave as their reason for not taking an open part in politics at the present time that they were afraid of the way in which the Government would use the licensing system against them. That is in itself a bad result. It is a result due to the system which the Government are employing. It flows from their system, and that is one reason I object to the system.
If you have all these things—tariffs on a large scale, prohibitions, a licensing system and so on—is it not obvious that every day the interference of the Government with business must increase? It is unavoidable. It has happened, and I do not think it has happened to the advantage of business. I think, on the contrary, it has injured business. That is inevitable when the Government has not at its disposal the means to carry out this enormous task  properly. It has taken on its shoulders a task altogether beyond its strength. The system is bad. It is bound to lead to increased uneasiness, to fear, to discontent, and, ultimately, to bring in a very bad type of corruption into this country.
As I have said, the great fault that was often found in the industrial sphere with our policy was that we had no plan. We had a plan, a very definite plan, but following examples elsewhere, this Government had a considered super-plan. Again and again a figure has been quoted which excited amusement in this House—naturally it should excite amusement here—the number that they were going to put into certain industries. They worked it out in detail, as everybody knows— 84,605. People laughed at that. People did not know that all decent planners go in for that kind of foolery, that it is part and parcel of their make-up, that once you adopt that system of planning you cannot get away from the idea of foreseeing everything. You want to control everything, and finally you cannot get away from the belief that you can control everything. It was only the other day the Minister for Finance, speaking in County Dublin in reference to a very important industry, the bloodstock industry, asked: “What did Mr. Cosgrave's Government do for the bloodstock industry?” Apparently his only conception of a Government's regard for an industry was to interfere with it, to control it, and to assist it with bounties. He could not understand that it was the business of the Government to secure conditions under which an industry could live and develop under its own strength. That apparently has vanished altogether from the mind of the Government. The answer was given perfectly plainly by one man in the bloodstock industry, a breeder of horses, when he was asked: “What did Deputy Cosgrave do for you?” He said: “He let our industry alone, and while it was let alone it flourished, but when the others came in, when the planners came in, they destroyed the industry.” You have that mentality, the idea that you must interfere with everything, that civil  servants, the Government, must have their fingers in every pie and protect us and guide us with their high tariffs, their system of licences, their prohibitions and so on.
It is inevitable that under these conditions the fears of businessmen must increase from day to day. It is no good your asking whether we would prefer Socialism. You must realise that you are preparing the way for it. If you use State resources and State machinery in order to increase the profits of a certain industry, a demand is bound to be made for the control of the wages of that industry. You are at least three-fourths of the way towards a policy of Socialisation once you have gone as far as the present Government has gone. I do not see how they are going to avoid it. Every day they are travelling more quickly in that direction. It was apparent from the beginning as the House knows. It was to be seen in the very first Budget the Government introduced; and every action of the various Departments, the Department of Industry and Commerce in particular, every action of theirs since then, only gives strength to the conviction. There is a belief that you can plan out everything. If the Fianna Fáil plan said that 84,605 could be put into employment, it was following the example of those who had given a great deal of attention to the matter, who were their masters, so to speak, in this particular line. Let me quote from a colleague—he is not quite a colleague—of the Minister. You will notice the similarity between this type of mind and the Minister's. I am about to quote from the Soviet Minister of Agriculture. You will notice the similarity between that type of mind and the type of mind responsible for the absorption of 84,605 in industry. I shall quote only one example, but I could quote dozens of examples of “exact” planning from the same source. I may say that the number of peasant proprietors had increased in the Soviet Union since the war from 14,000 to 24,000 but the State Planning Commissioin got to work and this is what they worked out. This is a statement from the  Soviet Minister of Agriculture:—
“In 1929 for the first time since the war the number of peasant farms ceased to increase, thereby refuting the assumptions of one of the learned Committees of the State Planning Commission which drafted the general plan”—like the Fianna Fáil plan—“to the effect that the number of peasant farms would grow with each year and would reach by 1941”—you will notice that it is a little more ambitious than the Fianna Fáil plan—“30,984,888.”
Professor O'Sullivan: The quotation is from a speech made by the Soviet Minister for Agriculture to his Party just about the time that the Fianna Fáil people were getting out their plan. The speech was made at a meeting of the Soviet Communist Party held in the Soviet Union in 1930.
Professor O'Sullivan: I recommend it to the Minister. I am sure it will prove very instructive to him because he has apparently absorbed a lot of it without knowing it. That is the difficulty. I hope the Minister is impressed with the accuracy of the figure for the year 1941. In your figure of 84,605 you are only dealing in thousands, but here you have people who give you the very unit as to the number of peasant farmers who will be there.
Professor O'Sullivan: 30,984,888—not a tittle wrong. There was one slight thing wrong with that. The Minister went on to say “In the year 1930, we have a decrease of at least 4,000,000.” The plan went wrong; it was not borne out by events. But the Minister, like our Minister for Industry and Commerce, will take credit for that, too. He will take credit not merely for drafting the plan, but, if necessary, he will take credit for the failure of the plan. As I have said, the Government have followed a good model. Their policy is to a large extent based on that particular policy. That they should follow it in minor matters does not surprise me.
We were told again and again by the President and by his Ministers that there was no excuse for unemployment in this country, but if we are to judge by any figures that we can get there has been very little inroad made on unemployment in this country by the policy of the present Government. Even their boasts, when you get what they mean, do not compare with the 5,000 a year that were put into industry during the period of office of the Government whose policy they condemned. If there is no excuse for unemployment here—that, mind you, was one of the slogans on which the Ministry rode into office — why have they not dealt with it? Why have they only tinkered with it, and tinkered with it to a very costly extent—to the cost of millions to the nation and to the cost of interfering with the standard of living in the country? The result of their policy has been to make articles of food and of wearing apparel much dearer than they need be.
According to the figures given in official publications—the Minister can get new ones to-day—you had between 1931 and 1933 a decline of 10,000 people in the number engaged in agriculture and, at the same time, there was an average decrease of nominal wages of 3/6. With an increase in the cost of articles of food and clothing and of everything else, there was probably a larger decrease in real wages. That is what the Department of Industry and Commerce and the Government have to show for its elaborate system and plan, that elaborate system and that detailed plan which have cost the country so much. The Minister for  Industry and Commerce has the habit of throwing out challenges in this House. When he does that you have to make up your mind as to what he means by his challenges. I remember one of the challenges that he threw out when he was imposing his first set of tariffs, was this: wait until eight months have passed, and if my policy is not justified then you can judge me. Now many eight months have passed since then. The President wants three or four more years to carry out his policy: to give the country an opportunity of getting the full value out of that policy—in other words, letting the country be completely ruined by the carrying out of that policy. It will be observed that the Minister for Industry and Commerce has, as usual, committed himself to a great deal more than the President is anxious to commit himself to. The President, as I have already pointed out, is much more careful in any statement he makes than is the Minister for Industry and Commerce. He wants three or four years, and then he says we will see the results of this policy. I suggest that we can see too much of it already. We can see all too clearly the results of his policy and that of the Minister.
There is confusion in the main Departments of the Government so far as industry is concerned. There is confusion, as we have pointed out on more than one occasion, so far as the principal industry in this country is concerned. There is no coherence in the policy of the Minister for Agriculture at the moment, and, still more important, between the alleged activities of the Department that we are now discussing—the building up of industries in the towns—and the main industry of the country, there is no connection whatever. It was a mad project to think that you could build up industries in this country by means of protection: by forcing industry to rely completely on the home market while, at the same time, you were destroying that market. That is another proof of the lack of coherence in the policy of the Ministry. There is no plan: there never was a plan. That was only meant as an election slogan. The Minister had not  thought out then what could be done in the way of dealing with employment. He has not thought it out since. There has simply been a hand-to-mouth policy. The policy has driven the Minister daily further and further. I am convinced that he has been driven a great deal further than he ever intended to go, but it was inevitable from the start that he would be so driven.
At the beginning Ministers thought that a mere protection policy could save the country. They found out that is not so. It is quite obvious from statements made by the Minister for Finance that their whole conception of assisting industry is State interference. The idea that industry should be allowed to develop, that it should grow rich and thrive for itself, has passed beyond their ken. It is quite obvious from statements made by the Minister for Finance, and clearly his view is shared by every member of the Government, that their only conception of helping industry is to interfere with it. I say that is completely wrong. Tariffs undoubtedly may be necessary, have been necessary and are necessary to build up industries in this country. What we have to complain of is that so far as tariffs are concerned and the subsidising of industries is concerned, the Government have plunged into all these things, into each and every one of them, without any kind of investigation whatsoever; without asking themselves whether the industries that they propose to help are suitable for the country, and whether the cost to the country does not altogether outweigh the advantages that some of those industries are supposed to confer on the country. These are considerations that, I am convinced, never entered into the mind of the Government. I do not see what hope there is when we have the head of the Government giving, as his express view, that the economic war has nothing to do with the ruin of our principal industry. What can you expect in the way of anything like solid, sound judgment in relation to industry from a Government of which a man of that type is the head. You have had tariffs imposed.  You have had monopolies granted. You have had restrictions, licences, prohibitions—everything that leads to interference and corruption. But we have yet to get a clear, satisfactory statement as to the alleged beneficial effect of these particular measures. In that connection, I have merely to point out that, so far as the present Minister is concerned, in respect of not one of the various charges brought against him, or his Department, has he put forward any evidence to show that his Department has been successful in its operations.
Minister for Education (Mr. Derrig): It does not always work out well when Deputy O'Sullivan applies his philosophic ideas to the development of industry. I find, in his speech, a certain tendency to associate the Minister for Industry and Commerce and his policy with some particular brand of philosophy on the Continent of Europe. The Deputy and his Party are very strong on continental philosophies. The Corporative State has been held up to the people of this country for a long time as the great agency for solving all our economic problems. That is a system of government under which you knock the heads of contending parties together, give them a kick and tell them to do as the great Babeuf in charge of economic affairs directs. On the other hand, we have Deputies on the opposite side of the House telling us that the ideal system of economics for this country is the policy of free trade, no interference with industry, laissez faire. It is very difficult to know on which leg Deputy O'Sullivan stands. He dislikes interference with industry, but in what country in the world to-day is industry not being interfered with? We have even the League of Nations attempting, through the International Labour Office, to regulate conditions of employment all the world over. We have national systems of economy not alone in great countries like the United States of America, Italy and Germany, but we have even the smaller countries complaining of the  extent that foreign exchange, foreign transactions, and foreign trade are under the control of certain interests. There is nothing extraordinary in the Irish Free State doing what, as we have frequently pointed out, is being done in every country in the world. That is, endeavouring to produce, as far as possible, our own requirements, reduce imports and increase productivity. That is simply the policy upon which the Minister for Industry and Commerce has been working. I think that the introduction of the extract from the unpronounceable Soviet Minister for Agriculture is not worthy of the deep philosophic spirit of the Deputy who has just spoken.
Another matter that worried the Deputy is the question of corruption. How often have we heard the word “corruption” trotted out in this House? What is the meaning of the word “corruption?” It means the giving of certain advantages for a monopoly or other advantage; the Party in office giving certain advantages to their friends. The Deputy referred to examples. I wish he had given us examples of the “corruption” of which he speaks. If the Deputy is relying on the cat which Deputy McGilligan let out of the bag last week, I think his case for alleging corruption on the part of the Government is very weak indeed. The Deputy has also said, without advancing any proof, or any substantiation whatever, that there has been an increase in the cost of living —an increase in the cost of clothing and an increase in the cost of food. I wish the Deputy would substantiate that. I wish he would really prove that since 1932 there has been a decrease in real wages. In my opinion, there has been an increase in real wages.
Another matter with which the Deputy seems to be dissatisfied is the licensing system. The licensing system is merely a method by which the Minister endeavours to prevent certain hardships to industry arising from a policy of very rapid progress and very rapid development. It  would, obviously, be very hard upon industrialists, and very hard upon importers, if, on every occasion when the Minister makes a quota order or puts on a tariff, the guillotine fell and a great many transactions were impeded while the goods were actually in transit to the country. I think the Minister for Industry and Commerce showed, in his opening speech, that there has been a great improvement in the way in which industrial development has been tackled and directed since he took over the helm. We remember the long delays of the old Tariff Commission in operating the policy of selective protection— the long delays extending over a period of 12 months by the Tariff Commission, then examination by the Government, debates in the Dáil and nothing done in the end.
The present Minister has departed from that principle. He has made up his mind, with the assistance of his experts, that over a great range of commodities we can afford to undertake production ourselves and, as his opening statement shows, he has been successful in establishing such enterprises and increasing them.
General Mulcahy: I have some slight recollection that there used to be a kind of Chinese torture, whereby a person was tied up and then exposed in a place where a drop of water from some place above the head of the victim fell continually, drop drop drop for hours. This evening the Minister for Industry and Commerce attempted, not the same kind of torture but a kind of soporific treatment on members of the House. We became so dazed by the minutest drop drop drop of new industry after new industry that it almost made us completely insensible to the very laughable state of affairs that exists, economically and industrially. It was natural that the Minister for Industry and Commerce, back from off the election platforms, would make a very elaborate statement as to the number of industries that were wiped out during the régime of the previous Government. Perhaps we can forgive him for that. He said that when the Government took office most of the flour mills were working half  time, that now they were working full time, that their capacity had been extended, that three mills which had been closed in the régime of the previous Government had been reopened, and that two new mills had been established. When we look at the Census of Production to see all the progress statistically reported by his Department we are rather surprised to find that in grain milling there were 3,221 persons employed in 1933 and that 205 persons have been added.
General Mulcahy: Up to the date for which we have got the Minister's figures. Although the Minister told us the total number of persons employed in agriculture he refrained carefully when dealing with the extension of industries from giving the figures up to date. There has been a very considerable development in the flour milling industry, but all we know is that 205 persons have been added to the 3,221 we had in employment and that wages have gone up. To some extent we have got that benefit as a result of paying 2/2 a stone for flour that can be got in Belfast for 1/10. As far as prices at the end of May go, we are, as a result, paying 9d. for the 4lb. loaf as against 8d. in Belfast. At the end of May we had a statement on behalf of the Dublin Master Bakers that the present price of bread, 9d. for the 4lb. loaf, was unremunerative. The Minister was asked questions about the wages in the various industries referred to, and he very carefully avoided referring to the number of persons employed in. He treated us to what I might call his fifth litany. We had the Minister's first litany of achievement in January, 1933, when he stated that there were 303 new factories and workshops set up. He issued a list containing something over 100 new factories. On the Budget statement in May, 1933, he treated us to a second litany of his achievement. In August,  1933, he treated us to the third litany, and, when addressing the Chamber of Commerce in Dublin in autumn of that year he treated us to the fourth litany. We had the fifth litany to-day. We want to see exactly what he means by the fifth litany and where the various other litanies have taken us. He spoke of the apparel industry.
The President and others speak of that industry from time to time and indicate the very great development that has taken place. For instance, when in January, 1934, the President issued a statement to the Press Association, a London newsagency, we read:
“Take the case of made-up clothing. In 1931 the value of imported clothing was nearly £5,000,000, and in 1933 it had fallen to less than £3,000,000. If you translate that £2,000,000 into terms of home manufactures you can get some idea of what we have achieved in that direction.”
The Minister not only made promises but he made statements about what he had achieved in the clothing industry. He told us to-day that 72 additional concerns have been set up for the manufacture of women's clothing, that there have been 29 new companies set up to turn out men's underclothing, that there have been ten new firms set up to turn out men's underclothing, that there have been ten new firms set up for the production of waterproof and leather clothing, and ten new firms for the production of shirts and collars. The latest figures we have generally for the clothing industry are those issued in 1933, in which the result of two years of the Fianna Fáil Government's operations on the clothing industry are disclosed. In February, 1932, that Party promised that 10,501 persons would be employed in the clothing industry by the operation of the Fianna Fáil policy. Apparently the one is what Deputy McGilligan talks of from time to time. The Minister, speaking here on May 11th, Column 192 of the Parliamentary Debates, said:
“I have not yet referred to women's garments of all kinds, an  industry which was practically nonexistent 12 months ago, but which is, at the present time, employing several thousand hands. Rapid strides have been made in connection with this industry, so that we can contemplate a greater range of garments reaching the stage of self sufficiency at the end of this year.”
At the end of 1933, the House was told in connection with the manufacture of women's garments that we would have reached a position of self sufficiency. The Minister returned to the question on August the 9th, and said:
“I am glad that the success which met our efforts has more than exceeded our expectations. In relation to men's clothing of all kinds, the job is finished. We can shut down on imports and probably will. I can state with confidence, that the existing concerns can more than supply all the country's requirements. In relation to women's outer garments, the same is not yet true, although very considerable progress in that very difficult industry has been made.”
So that, the job had been completed in connection with men's clothing, which included all kinds of men's clothing, such as shirts and so on, and that several thousand hands had been put into employment in connection with women's clothing in 1933. When, however, we get the figures from the Minister, we find that in this industry, which, under tariffs, imposed in April 1925, had had the employment in the industry raised by 4,405, the Minister had simply added 2,518 persons as a result of the raising of the Customs duties from 20 per cent. and 15 per cent. to 60 per cent. and 40 per cent.; but in doing that there had been brought about a fall in the average wages paid to the persons employed in the clothing industry of something like £5 in the 12 months. Accordingly, while the Minister said that he had completed the men's side of things and had added several thousand hands to the women's side of things, he had also brought about a falling off of wages  in the industry. He had also, as a result of the operations of the Government's policy generally, throughout the country, brought about a condition of things which rendered the people less capable of bearing the cost of clothing themselves in the way in which they were accustomed to clothe themselves up to then, because there was a fall in the consumption of clothing, as between 1931 and 1933, of £814,000, or 20 per cent.; so that, on the clothing industry, where, according to the President, £2,000,000 had been reduced, there was in fact, only an increased production in the two years from 1931 to 1933 of £457,000. It is not conceivable that the President, when talking about made-up clothing, was speaking about anything beyond ordinary clothing. He hardly included hosiery. He hardly included boots or shoes in the description of clothing. Therefore, the Minister's return shows that the employment is infinitesimal compared with the rise in the tariffs that have been imposed on the people and compared with the wiping out of imports that indicate the consuming capacity of the people. In fact, as against the falling off of an import of £2,000,000, as indicated by the President, the increase in the net value of the industry is only £457,000. So much for the industries for which the Minister claims to have set up 22 concerns dealing with men's clothing and 20 people dealing with shirts and collars and water-proofing. Hosiery is one of the industries in which progress has been made, along the same lines that progress has been made in the clothing, boot and shoe industries, but in the clothing industry we see what the Minister's previous litanies and statements on the matter have meant, and we see the prospect that is before the industry. The hosiery industry was an industry that got the benefit of a tariff in April, 1925. From 1925 to 1933 the employment in that industry had increased from 500 to 1,237, an increase of 737 persons. The Fianna Fáil promise was that 6,395 persons would be given employment in the hosiery industry which was to be developed by the Fianna Fáil Government.
“In the hosiery industry we have more than doubled production. At the present time there is hardly a hosiery factory in the country that is not installing additional machinery, and taking steps to train workers, so that the production can be doubled in this year.”
“In the case of hosiery I said here some time ago that we had in 12 months doubled the production of the home industry and would, in this year, double it again. I am glad to say that our expectations have been realised, and I hope that in a very short time we shall be able to say, in relation to that branch of the apparel industry, that we have also finished our job.”
According to that, production had been doubled by the end of May, 1933, and yet we find that, whereas the total net selling value of the production of the industry in 1931 was £237,814, the increase at the end of 1933 was only £146,389; in other words, the net selling value of the production had been increased by half, but the production of the net output had been increased by something over a quarter. In spite of the doubling in 1933 and the redoubling later on, instead of an additional number of persons to the extent of 6,395 being employed, as promised by Fianna Fáil in 1932, we find that, six months after the Minister told the House that he had practically finished his job, he shows himself that there were only 538 additional persons employed. Not alone that, but these people had been employed in an industry that had had a drop in the average annual wage earnings of about £4 19s a year. Again, it must be remembered the general circumstances of the country had brought about a drop in the consumption of such goods as hosiery to the extent of £229,246, or one-sixth of the total consumption; and, again, it must be remembered that this is an industry where the tariff has been  increased from something like 16 per cent. to something like 40 per cent.
The Minister also mentioned the development that had taken place in the boot and shoe industry. He said that in 1931 we were producing from 10 per cent. to 12 per cent. of our requirements, whereas, in 1934, we were producing 75 per cent. of our requirements and that he hoped that in 1935 we were going to be able to produce 100 per cent. of our requirements. He said that eight new factories had been established and that he thought that four more factories would be established soon. Well, the boot position is another position in which the Minister's litany does not encourage us to have the fullest possible confidence in his Litany Number Five, because he told us in August, 1933 (column 1537):
“In the case of the boot and shoe industry, I saw quite recently the figures for the production in the Saorstát factories during the first six months of this year. These figures for the first six months of the year, were more than double the figures for the whole of the year before Fianna Fáil came into office. Extensions have proceeded very rapidly indeed. We still, it is true, have a long way to go, a long way made difficult by the fact that workers have to be taken raw and trained in that somewhat difficult industry while the extensions are going on and plans have been made and approved of by Department for the erection of new factories in the remaining portion of this year which will almost bridge the gap between production and requirements. We will certainly close that gap early in the next year.”
He was speaking in August, 1933, and he was speaking of a situation in which he would close the gap between our productive capacity and our requirements within 12 months. In this industry, the Fianna Fáil promise was 5,801 persons to be put into it. There had been a tariff put on the industry before which had brought about increased employment from 250 persons to 1,205 persons. The operations of the  new policy, in the two years 1932 and 1933 had put 1,399 persons into the industry, but it brought about a fall in the annual wages of the average wage-earner in the industry of about £19 5s. a year, and that at a time when there was a fall in the consumption of boots throughout the country as a whole of something like one-eighth. The fall in the consumption of boots in 1933, as compared with 1931, was £256,619. This again was an industry where the rate of Customs duty had been increased from 15 per cent. to 30 per cent. and in which the amount of Customs duty being raised from boots coming in was actually increasing. The Customs duty raised during the year ended March, 1932, was £239,000 and in the year ended March, 1934, £281,000.
The confectionery industry was also referred to by the Minister. This is another of the industries which shows what the Minister is capable of when dealing with, not only industrialist promises, but statements of industrialist achievements. The Fianna Fáil promise was that, in the confectionery industry, 1,620 extra persons would be employed. The tariff imposed in April, 1924, had added 1,696 persons to an industry in which 3,400 people were already employed. On 11th May, the Minister claimed:
“The output has been more than doubled and it is still increasing. Progress has not yet stopped in that industry. One new factory of considerable magnitude is being built and there are more to come. We will not cease our efforts until everything in relation to that industry will be produced in this country down to the least important raw material.”
“In the confectionery trade we have completed our job. The imports  are now of no consequence. The country's requirements of confectionery of all kinds are now being supplied from Irish factories.”
In May, 1933, he said that employment in the industry had been doubled and that the output had been more than doubled. The net selling value of the output of the confectionery industry in 1931 was £1,198,084. At the end of the year in which the Minister told the Dáil that he doubled the output in that industry, his own returns show that the addition to the output of that industry in the year of which he was speaking was only £279,741. That was the industry in which he said he had doubled employment. He had increased it by a quarter and the promise that when the job was finished, they would have put 1,620 persons into the industry, wound up in a situation in which there were 584 additional persons put into it, but with a fall in their wages of an average of £5 1s. in the year, and a condition brought about as a result of their policy in which the consumption of sugar confectionery and jams in the country had fallen by one-fifth. The consumption of the products of this industry had fallen in 1933 by practically £363,000, as compared with the previous two years and that, again, in an industry in which the tariff had been raised from about 5d. per lb. on sugar confectionery to 1/6, and from 6½d. per lb. on chocolate to 3/- per lb., so that in spite of a small increase in the industry, so far as employment is concerned, compared with Fianna Fáil promises, the cost to the community was substantially great.
The Minister speaks of furniture, and he said that when he took over office the development of the industry was taken in hand and considerable progress had been made to date. The furniture industry had been tariffed in April, 1924, and employment had been increased between 1925 and 1931 by an extra 1,245 persons in an industry in which only 300 persons had previously been employed. The number of persons employed was raised from 300 to 1,545. The Fianna Fáil promise was that they would add 492 persons to that industry, and in his third litany of  achievement the Minister said on 9th August, 1933:
When we come to examine the statistics for the year we find that in this industry in which “considerable progress has taken place to date” as a result of the Minister taking the industry in hand, employment had decreased; there was a slight fall in the average annual wages and a definite fall in the value of production. The conditions shown by the Minister's figures for 1933 are all the more interesting in view of the fact that he told the House, in the beginning of 1933, that seven new furniture factories had been established and that these had been established in Dublin; and that four new upholstery factories had been established, three of them being in Dublin. Here we have a position in which the actual returns of the produce of an industry, in which seven new factories of the Minister's type in furniture and four new factories of the Minister's type in upholstery had been set up, show that there was actually a reduction in the number of persons employed and a reduction in the output. Again, the furniture industry which was brought to this condition after two years of Fianna Fáil assistance by means of increased customs duties——
General Mulcahy: The Minister has yet to tell us how many persons were employed in the industry and the Minister has yet to explain the fall in consumption when you take the production in this country and the imports into the country during the same year. It is interesting, however, even if there is a fire in one factory, that in an industry in which seven new furniture factories and four new upholstery factories have been set up, a fire in one factory is enough, not only to offset 11 new factories of the Ministerial type, but even to reduce employment and to reduce output. It is interesting, how  ever, that in regard to the furnishing industry it was also affected by a fall in the consuming capacity of the people. The value of the consumption of furniture in 1931 was £691,343. For 1933 it was 12 per cent. below that. Again, the industry is one which is protected by a tariff increased from 33? per cent. —which brought about an increase in employment from 300 to 1,545 on 1st September, '31—to 75 per cent. with a preferential rate of 50 per cent. The Minister has also told us about the development in the soap and candles industry. This, again, is one of the industries in regard to which the Minister stated, in August, 1933, “the job is completed.” The Fianna Fáil promise was that 154 additional persons would be put into the industry. The tariff in July, 1924, had increased the employment in the industry from 230 to 643. 413 additional persons had been put into employment by the end of 1931. The industry in which the job had been completed disclosed, however, at the end of 1933 a fall of 68 persons in the total employment, and a fall in the total wages paid in the industry of £14,109, with a slight fall in the average wages paid to the average worker in the industry—a fall of something approaching £2 in the year. This, again, is an industry the fall in the production of which may be, to some extent, explained by the fall in the consuming capacity of the people, because there has been a fall off in the consumption in the soap and candle industry of something about one-eighth. We consumed £69,581 worth less soap and candles in 1933 than we did in 1931.
Those are some examples of the reliance which can be placed not only on the Minister's promises but on the Minister's actual statement of the position. When we hear the Minister so glibly running over the new list of achievements and the new list of promises we are driven to remind him of those things. He says, very truly, that what we are concerned with above perhaps any other thing in industry is the amount of employment that it gives  to the workers; that is, whether the additional industry in the Saorstát is of such a nature as to enable the workers to get such payment for their services as will enable them to establish homes, rear their families, and support society generally here. When we turn to the general figures with which the Minister has provided us, we are struck by the fact that in regard to the 21 headings of industry for which he has provided information in respect of the 1933 census, in fifteen of them there has been a fall in the wages paid to the average workers in the industry. The Minister has indicated that the census of production in 1933 did not cover, I think, butter, bread, timber and perhaps some other headings: that is, he has reduced the number of headings in respect of which he has published the actual annual census of statistics. There used to be 27 headings. Twenty-seven headings were sufficient to cover the whole of the productive industry of the country, in so far as it was of such a size as to be capable of census. Twenty-one of those headings have been published, and in 15 of them there is a reduction in the average wages paid.
In the malting industry there has been a fall off in wages amounting to £23 10s. a year. I have already mentioned that the figure in regard to the sugar confectionery industry is £5. In the tobacco industry, where there has been a fall of 117 in the number of workers, there has also been a fall in wages of approximately £6 16/- in the year. The coachbuilding industry has shown a very considerable fall in wages, due, no doubt, to the Ford position in Cork. In the engineering industry, where we might have expected a certain amount of development in the matter of wages, we find that the average wages are nearly £20 less in 1933 than they were in 1931. In the boot and shoe industry I have already stated that the wages are down by £19 5s. In the hosiery industry the reduction is £4 19s. ; in the clothing industry the figure is £5. and in the manufacture of fertilisers, and other articles which are included in the fertilisers'  return, the reduction in average wages paid is something about £26 16/-. Generally on the wages question, as Deputy McGilligan pointed out, on a wages bill of £4,065,000 there is only an increase in wages of about £25,000, but there has been a reduction of something like 5/6 per week in the average wages paid over the whole of the 21 groups of industries.
The Minister is fond of claiming that there is a fall in the cost of living, and we have just heard the Minister for Education declare that there has been a rise in the real value of wages. The Minister for Education challenges us to say under what particular heading there has been a decrease. We get a sample of what our people here are suffering from in the matter of the high cost of living when we compare some of the prices which people have to pay here for ordinary household commodities with the prices they would have to pay in Newry or Belfast. Here are some figures for the last week in May showing a comparison between the Dublin and Belfast prices. Granulated sugar which could be got in Belfast for 3/- a stone cost 4/1 here. Loaf sugar in Belfast cost 3/6 against 4/8 here. The people in Dublin have to pay from 1/1 to 1/2 more for their stone of sugar than they would have to pay in Belfast; 4d. a lb. more for their flour; 5d. a lb. more for butter; 2d. more for a dozen of eggs; 1d. in the 4-lb. loaf for bread; 3d. a head more for cauliflowers; 1d. per stone more for potatoes, and in regard to onions it is suggested that they had to pay 8d. per stone more. Whatever the Minister may say in a general kind of way, he is not going to persuade any person, who, within the last 12 months, has his foot inside Belfast, that clothing or boots or any other of the common necessaries of life, or furniture or anything for the house, can be purchased more cheaply in Dublin than in Belfast. The fall in wages reflected in the census of production figures for 1933 indicates a fall where the prices of the ordinary commodities are considerably higher than they are in the Six Counties and where the burden of taxation is infinitely greater.
 The Minister is able to see an increase in the number of persons employed in agriculture. He says there has been a substantial increase. In the latest returns the public have had the benefit of studying from his Department it is shown that between 1931 and 1933 there has been a fall of 12,039 males employed in the agricultural industry. People are also aware that a greater fall in employment has taken place in those counties where the subsidised crops are. He is able to tell us that there was a considerable increase in 1934 of persons employed in agriculture, but he is not able to give us any information as to what has taken place in the country that has brought about that increase. He is able to see certain things, but he is not able to see the position of wages in the various industries and he explains that he has no responsibility for fixing wages. Where an industry has been helped by public assistance in the way of tariffs and State loans, the House requires the Minister to take an interest in the wages that are paid in such an industry. The Minister is able to see the unexpected rise in employment in agriculture, but he is not able to take cognisance of a very definite fall in the consumption of the necessaries of life that he has been warned here is taking place.
People in the country and in the various towns are aware that there is a fall in the consumption of the necessaries of life and the Minister's statistics have been pushed under his nose to remind him of that fact. He explained that there has been a considerable fall in the price of these things. His way of dealing with the fall in the consumption of boots and shoes is worthy of some notice. On a recent occasion here I said the fall in the consumption of boots and shoes between 1931 and 1933 was equivalent to one-eighth of the 1931 consumption and approximated to £256,000. I said it was because the people were not able to pay as much for these things at present as they were in the past. The Minister says that during the year 1933 we imported 16,000 dozen pairs of boots  and shoes more than in 1931. One of the reasons for any large import of boots and shoes during that year was, in 1933 we imported 120,000 dozen pairs of boots and shoes that could not be described under any of the ordinary descriptions that in the past we were able to apply to boots and shoes. In the past we were able to describe boots and shoes as “men's and boys' heavy and light” and “women's and girls' and children's heavy and light,” and children's shoes of a particular kind and “shoes wholly or mainly of rubber.” They had to describe the 120,000 dozen pairs simply as “other materials” and they cost 1/7¼ a pair! The Minister thinks that the standard of wearing apparel is being kept up in a country that imported in 1933 a thing it never did in its national life before, 120,000 dozen pairs of shoes and boots at 1/7¼ a pair.
The Minister, if he is not setting up a rickety structure of industry, if he is going to have any solid ground under the industries that he told us here to-day are being established or are going to be established, must open his eyes to the fact that consumption of the necessaries of life here is going down and that there is even a little bit of dissipation in purchasing the necessaries of life simply because we are in a war atmosphere. Lots of people do not know where their next half-crown is going to come from. Usually you do not spend your last half-crown as wisely or as intelligently as you spend your first one and the week's wages paid in the last week on a job are not going to be expended quite as wisely as were the first week's wages.
The Minister knows that, in spite of all his glossing over of the figures for employment and unemployed, he is paying about 90,000 persons unemployment assistance throughout the country. He must know, if you take the western counties, Donegal, Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Clare, Kerry, that 50,00 are in receipt of  unemployment assistance. Their conditions are such that they have to look to the State for assistance. The Minister is talking about plans in connection with industrial development. Will he tell us how his industrial plans, to speak only, not of the general situation, but of what he sees going on around him in actual production and in the way of new industries being set up, are going to provide for any of the 50,000 in the West of Ireland who are at present drawing unemployment assistance?
It is part of the Fianna Fáil policy to have a set of conditions here where we can have early marriage. The Government organ told us some months ago that the object of the economic policy ought to be to produce these conditions and in every possible way to encourage marriage so that the present disparity in ages with other countries may disappear and our race persist. Surely, it is simply bitter humbug to address statements of policy to people who are in the condition of the 50,000 who are in the West of Ireland? It is nothing but humbug to issue a statement of policy like that to them. We do want to know what future there is in the Minister's industrial policy for even a fraction of that population there.
The Minister is responsible for telling us from time to time what our trade returns are and what the position of our balance of trade is generally. The Minister knows that this was a country that had, as the President said in Cork a few years ago, an income of £12,000,000 from investments abroad. The Minister tells us now that that is reduced to £9,000,000. The country is the poorer in the matter of that part of its income. The country is the poorer in the loss to the farmers of their markets, the markets which the policy of the Fianna Fáil policy has cut off from them. The country is poorer by the policy which leaves us in 1934 with an adverse balance of our visible trade of £20,000,000 as against £16,000,000 the year before. If our income from investments abroad has fallen off, if our trading income has fallen off and if we are losing on our  international trade, how long does the Minister think that we can afford to continue in that way without opening our eyes and facing the fact as he is facing some facts to-day, and saying definitely to ourselves “it cannot continue?” This is the policy which costs us these terrible large sums and which completely blocks any kind of agricultural development in the country. It is clear that if this policy continues we cannot provide for those persons who are unemployed throughout the country, whether they are in rural or urban areas. It is clear if that policy continues that we cannot have industries here that will sustain even the rates of pay that were paid in 1931.
The Minister must be aware of the condition of affairs that is being brought about even in well-established industries here. He was fairly near the mark in one sense in respect of one of the industries he spoke about in 1933, when he said “their job was done.” It was true that there was a sufficient fabric of industrial machinery in some of these lines to provide the country with its needs without any of the four new factories which had such a peculiar influence on furniture production in 1933. The job was done and the condition that is brought about now is that these concerns that would have been capable of providing the country's needs, concerns that were progressive and that were approaching a point in which they were doing it are now suffering and suffering to the extent that their output is going to be curtailed because the purchasing capacity of our people is going to be curtailed. Wages are to be reduced and the Minister must know that the reduction of wages is steering for social unrest, and that he is, in addition, facing other industrial unrest as a result of the conditions that are arising in industry purely as a result of the people not being able to sustain the purchasing power they were able to sustain in the past.
Mr. T. Kelly: One would have to have the patience of a martyr to listen here day after day and week after week. For the last three years almost  I have sat here at that job. About a week ago I made a mental calculation that I had heard the same speeches 400 times since I came to this House. In listening here, I have heard the Opposition Deputies deliver the same oration over and over again. On today's agenda, Sir, there is set out the motion to refer the Minister's Estimate back. The motion was down in the name of Deputy Mulcahy. He did not move it.
Mr. Kelly: But the motion on the agenda here is in the name of Deputy Mulcahy. That being so, I wish to refer to the antics of Thursday evening last. On Thursday evening I was here listening to the speeches on the Finance Bill. Deputy McGilligan came into the House and sat down there with his usual bundle of documents. He began to develop a very fidgety position, more so than usual. I said to my neighbour, Deputy Mrs. Concannon, who sits here patiently: “This man has evidently a great speech on his chest to-night and I wonder what it is all about.” I watched him for some time and I suggested that it would be a good job to move the adjournment of the Dáil until Tuesday and let him make his speech on Tuesday. Then Deputy Dockrell intervened in connection with washout ink and made a speech about it. It was afterwards discovered to be paint. At a quarter past ten Deputy Bennett sat up and spoke and I said: “You are going to wash-out the last quarter of an hour” but at 10.25 he finished and Deputy McGilligan stood up, spoke for five  minutes and then moved to report progress. He was in full possession of the House on Friday morning.
Unfortunately, public business kept me away on Friday and I did not have an opportunity of listening to him. But I knew there was something coming and I was not in any way astonished on Friday evening at seeing on the newspaper posters: “Grave charges against the Government,”“Serious charges against Minister.” These charges were made and so far as I can read them, they were to this effect: that the Minister for Industry and Commerce corruptly gave a concession to three members of the Dáil and the Vice-Chairman of the Seanad—that he gave them a concession of a valuable property belonging to the State. That was duly reported in all the newspapers on Friday. He had a good press; a splendid press. It had Friday evening and Saturday and it was circulated all over the country on Sunday. With an election in the County Dublin on Monday and in the County Galway to-day, naturally, it was good electioneering stuff for the time. We have the sequel here to-day when this great Deputy, the champion light-weight of the Party opposite set out to smash up the Minister for Industry and Commerce.
The Deputy said in the beginning that the reason he moved to refer back the Minister's Estimate was because of the scandal of this lease. He said that deliberately. What was the case he made? The case he made was that the Minister deliberately handed over to one member of the Dáil, Councillor Briscoe, and to the Vice-President of the Seanad, Senator Comyn, the lease of very valuable mining rights in the County Wicklow. The Deputy made a charge that this thing was kept secret and the lease was made for only two years. He said that it should have been made for two years and a day because the extra day would have brought the document before the Dáil and everybody would have known about it. Then he developed that and passed on to produce a great number of documents, agreements, letters, newspaper reports, all accumulated to  prove his case. And the case amounts to this: that the lease of certain mining rights in Wicklow were demised to these men, and that they had sold them to a syndicate and that the syndicate was to give them £12,000. We were told that this was hawked about and that the syndicate at last gave them £12,000. I understand it was not hard cash but 48,000 five shillings shares in the company. But the Minister had given this company no rights whatever. Forty-eight thousand shares, if worth 5/- per share, would amount to £12,000 but they might not be worth five pence a share.
I understand certain works were carried out in this mining area. The prospectors went down 30 feet and brought up a lot of clay. Then they discovered that the gold was under the lake. The difficulty here was that if they went mining under the lake, the lake would fall in, and the bottom might fall out of the lease. Then the mining rights and the 48,000 five shilling shares might be all gone, and the lives of the representatives of the prospectors, if they happened to be underneath the place, might be gone also. That is the case that was made. The gallery was thronged for the occasion, the benches opposite were filled. There was a lot of admiration at first on the faces of those who looked at their champion, the celebrated Deputy from the North, Deputy McGilligan. One of the name had a celebrated daughter— Mick McGilligan's daughter, Mary Anne—a very famous woman at the time. But then came the climax. The Deputy was two hours making charges of all sorts against the Minister, but at the end of that time there were only three representatives of his Party remaining. He had produced a damp squib. The Minister said: “We propose to you here a motion appointing a Special Committee of this Dáil, or the Oireachtas”—I forget which—“to solemnly investigate all these charges.” Deputy McGilligan would not accept that. He wanted it extended to many other things. He wanted it extended to licences for thread, for flour, or something else.
Mr. Kelly: It is so, I was listening to it. He also wanted it extended to an investigation of the Government's agricultural policy and even to the tram strike. It was no wonder that his Party faded away when they heard the result of his two hours' speech-making. I call it a disgraceful episode, one that this deliberative Assembly representing the national opinion of Ireland, or of the Free State, ought to be ashamed of. There is nobody with a head on him but knows the dangerous position the Minister for Industry and Commerce occupies in this country. Fortunately, or unfortunately for himself, he is full of enthusiasm for his job. Probably, if he moderated his zeal a little he might act in a quieter way. But he is bubbling over with enthusiasm for his work. Anyone listening to him reading out the long list of industries that he has created, or helped to create, or brought back into being, must see that. Men prospecting, or even those men out for using money to gain a concession, or to get a licence, may be zealous for their pocket and may make mistakes. I do not suggest that any mistake was made either in connection with Senator Comyn or with Deputy Briscoe. I know Deputy Briscoe for a long while and I regard him as a very earnest and honest man, and I say that without the slightest hesitation. I do not know Senator Comyn so long. I met him here for the first time. But he is a lawyer of long standing, with a scientific bent of mind. He may investigate old fossils or sands looking for gold or diamonds, but he enjoys a very high reputation amongst his colleagues of the law, and if there was anything against his character these are the people who would know.
Let me take my own experience with the Minister for Industry and Commerce. I may ask him, as every member of the Dáil might ask him, to do things for people. Sometimes you cannot refuse people when they make this request and you cannot resist the pressure they bring upon you.
Mr. Kelly: I do not think so. I am only dealing with an incident that occurred to myself. I see how it would be if the Minister was put in a false position, even by me, who had no intention of doing so. I asked him to do something for a man in the city. I received a reply from the Minister to the effect that the matter would receive his most careful attention. Some time elapsed, and I learned, to my astonishment, that if he had done this thing which I had asked for this person it would have been a bad job for him. I made great haste the next morning, as soon as I heard that, to the Minister's office, and, on seeing him, I told him that the position was such that I had to withdraw the application that I had made, that the circumstances surrounding it then were not such as they were when I made the application. If that had been granted, in the interval between the time I made it, and the time I had withdrawn it, the Minister would have got the blame. I am only giving that instance of a case that happened to myself. What must it be with the Minister himself, with thousands of applicants swarming his office and Department? I think he deserves all the support and encouragement this Dáil can give him in this job. Anybody with an unprejudiced mind, watching the business here this afternoon, would applaud that statement. The usual speech upon every Estimate and resolution, and in every debate here, is, that this is the worst Government ever; it is the worst Government ever brought into existence. The President is black as black could be. He is ebon black, a white spot cannot get through. His Ministers are all black. I do not know what the back benchers are as black as. This country is ruined we are told, absolutely ruined.
Years ago there was a meeting of the Dublin Corporation. It is, I may say, a very respectable body, and one which I prefer to be in rather than here. It is a long time ago. A member was making a speech to the assembled aldermen and councillors, and he said to them: “Gentlemen, we are on the edge of a precipice and if we do not  mind ourselves it will be round our necks in no time.” That is what is wrong with us here; we are on the edge of a precipice. The members of the Corporation, having heard this weighty pronouncement by their colleague, all hung down their heads, because they felt the precipice around them already. A Deputy opposite, speaking here the other night, said that somebody told him that the Fianna Fáil back benchers were all living tombstones. When I heard him say that I stretched myself to see if I were flattened out. I have not much room to stretch here, but I felt the tombstone all over me.
Mr. Kelly: I do not think that we are the type of jockeys that the Aga Khan would employ to ride his winners. We would be too heavily weighted with precipices round our necks and tombstones hanging out of our eyebrows. The country is ruined! Every time we are told here it is ruined, wirrastrue! Then we hear about all these promises from Deputy McGilligan, Deputy Mulcahy and the others. We are told: “You promised this in 1930. You promised you would take £20,000,000 off the rates. You promised you would halve the police and do away with the Army. You promised that you would do a terrible lot of things for the country and you did nothing. The country is ruined.” That is the whole of their oratory from one week's end to another, from one month to another, from one session to another. In what way is the country ruined? If Dublin is the heart of Ireland, I never saw Dublin look so well or feel so well. I can say with absolute confidence that the condition of the poor in Dublin is much better than it was. It is not as good as I would like it to be, but it is much better than it  was. There is an air of confidence amongst them that something is being done for them. The evidence of that was given at the recent election when our man polled 32,000 votes in County Dublin constituency, principally from the working class. Has not every application that has been made within the last six months for money to promote industries, in the way of issues of stock by companies called into existence, amounting to millions of pounds, been filled up inside half-an-hour? Have notices not appeared in the Press stating that subscriptions opened at 10 o'clock and closed at 12?
Mr. Kelly: My friend mentioned the Corporation loan. I do not know what he means. I was not speaking about it at all. I was referring to industrial issues which are more akin to our subject this evening. If he refers to the Corporation loan, as I have pointed out already, the Corporation got their full £1,350,000. If I apply for a loan of £5 and I get that loan of £5, that loan is a success as far as I am concerned. That is the position of the Corporation. It asked for £1,350,000 and got it. This is not the first time that Deputy Davin referred to the Corporation, adopting Deputy McGilligan's manner of insinuation. Cough it up the next time you have to say anything to the Corporation. It is true that the underwriters asked for public subscriptions and they did not get sufficient subscriptions from the public to fill it, but there were reasons for that. I am not a high financier and I was not on the Finance Committee in connection with the raising of that loan. I wish I had been, as I would certainly have offered investors a higher rate of interest and we would have got it. We will get the whole of the next loan and more. The list will be closed in two hours, so you had better have your money ready.
Mr. Kelly: I do not want to enter to any extent into the Minister's Estimate, as I am perfectly satisfied that his work is good and sound and that he is inspired by patriotic motives. I know that he has promoted many industries. As a matter of fact, I have a list in my pocket of 39 new workshops established in Dublin since January. Our job in the Corporation in connection with this matter is a fairly difficult one. Only last night we had insults and abuse of the type to which we are accustomed — innuendoes, especially from the other side, in connection with the matter that was raised on the adjournment. A Deputy over there had a long grievance to relate in connection with a factory which it was proposed to start in Tipperary and which did not come off. I make no complaint about his making his case. Probably he had good grounds but he mentioned two names in connection with it. One was the promoter of the factory and the other was the solicitor concerned. This is what I complain of. In the course of his remarks, making his case after half-past ten, he said this factory would not be like the Fianna Fáil factories, employing a few girls in back lanes. There was no necessity for him to bring that in at all, not the slightest, but he brought it in. If I ever meet the man who wanted to start that factory or his solicitor, I shall undoubtedly tell him what occurred here last night. This matter of Fianna Fáil factories is something that has evidently got on their nerves. The reason it has got on their nerves is that the factories have every attribute of success. If they were going to be failures, they would not trouble much about them. There is the case made against the Minister in connection with these factories.
I saw a straggling crowd going up Rathmines road last Sunday evening. My wife and myself were on a bus going out to Rathfarnham. The bus was stopped to let this crowd go through. It was a procession for Deputy Lavery and was headed by a band. I think there was a flag in front of it and there were a few placards  referring to Fianna Fáil factories. The only representation of a factory I saw was a man smoking a pipe. How they could represent a Fianna Fáil factory by a caricature of an old man smoking a pipe, I do not know. In connection with these factories many innuendoes and some insults have been uttered here, and I should like to put the case fairly before Deputies here. As a matter of fact, I do not care whether it operates on your minds over there or not. You can talk with a sneer about the Fianna Fáil factories as long as you like, but it might operate on the minds of my colleagues who might be more or less influenced by that class of talk. I happen to be chairman, of, I think, 17 trade boards. It would be a fairly good job if I got £100 a year from all these trade boards. I would then be a very big man in the city, but I do not get £100. However, it is coming, and I hope the Minister will be very careful about it.
Mr. Kelly: I hope, as I was saying, that the Minister will be very careful in the dispensing of it so that he will not give scope to Deputy McGilligan to come in here again with his great fireworks which developed into a damp squib. At these trade boards we deal under the Minister's orders with the fixing of minimum rates of wages to be paid and the minimum hours of work that are to be worked in these workrooms or factories. Consequently, I have got a good deal of experience of what happens in connection with them. The idea of these trade boards is to protect workers who are not already protected by the trade unions represented by Deputy Norton and Deputy Davin. Where you have people in trades unions, of course, they are protected. The trade unions are able to fix rates of wages and hours of work for their members, but there are workers who are not members of trade unions and, consequently, are not protected by them. Because of that the Minister established these trade boards, and I have told Deputies what our job is on  these boards. We see that when a boy or a girl is brought into those factories they must be paid the rates of wages fixed. I do not say that they are very high rates, but they are certainly not the starvation rates that have been alleged. These rates, as well as the hours of work, are fixed. I do not know of any little boy or girl brought into work after reaching the age of 14 years who is paid anything under 11/- or 12/- a week. I do not say that is a very big wage, but still it does not at all correspond with the statements made regarding the Fianna Fáil factories. The hours of labour are also fixed for those boys and girls.
Of course, the great difficulty here is to find work for our people. Due to the fact that emigration is stopped, you have young men and women coming up to Dublin from all parts of the country. They have no other place to go to. We cannot put up gates to keep them out. Probably if we could, I might be a gatekeeper myself, and I might only let in certain people, because as Deputies know I am a bit of a Dublin man myself. I would like Dublin to contain more Dublin people. We hear the Cork accent, the Kerry accent, and the Northern accent too often here, I am sorry to say. The Ministers in charge here have a very grave responsibility on them to find employment for all those people who are coming into Dublin. It is their responsibility and their task and they should be applauded for what they are doing. The Minister for Industry and Commerce, in particular, should be applauded for the efforts that he is making to promote industry.
I could talk for at least another quarter of an hour. I have already occupied 25 minutes of the time of the House and that is a very long time for me. I always try not to delay the House longer than ten or 15 minutes, and if that desire could be developed on the Opposition Benches, it would, I think, prove a great acquisition. I have been thinking for some time that some reform is badly needed in this Chamber. I have been thinking over this for a long time. I think I had  better expose it now. I have been thinking that what we want in this Chamber badly is a striking clock. If we had a clock that would strike every quarter of an hour, it might prove some deterrent to the long-drawn-out wearying speeches that we get from the Opposition Benches. The striking of the clock might, perhaps, drive it into their skulls that their time was up. I have been thinking so much about it for some time that it is now either the clock or the Corporate State for me, because I cannot endure much longer the oratory from the opposite side. I ask Deputies opposite: why not develop a constructive oratory that would show us where Ministers are wrong in the ordinary business way in their work? Why abuse them all the time? Why be constantly finding fault with them, reading out all your documents and all the rest of it? Why can you not show where they are wrong, and where they are right, help them: where they are wrong try and put them on the right road? Probably that is too much virtue to expect from Fine Gael or whatever you call yourselves now. I offer that suggestion to you in a charitable spirit. I am perfectly satisfied that, after to-night's display here, the Minister for Industry and Commerce can leave this Chamber with his head even higher than he usually carries it. That is all I have to say, and I hope the Deputies opposite will remember it.
Mr. Dillon: I welcome the announcement that has been made by the Minister for Industry and Commerce to the effect that he proposes to have an inquiry into the administration of licences and cognate matters by his Department. In the course of this debate, he has said that he invites members of the House to examine all the activities of his Department in the matter of the issuing of licences, the creating of monopolies, and cognate matters, and, in reference to the mining concession which his Department has granted to two members of his own Party, he suggests that a select committee of the Oireachtas should examine that as well. I have no doubt that the Minister will agree with us that, when the examination of that  transaction comes to be made, it will be well to employ the same machinery to conduct the inquiry into both matters. I have no doubt that he will agree with us that an inquiry of that kind, conducted in public, will satisfactorily dispose of any public uneasiness that exists as to the method employed in the distribution of these concessions in the future, and will make it possible for all those who are interested in the promotion of industry in this country to co-operate more effectively with the Minister than it has been possible to date.
Now, I note that the Minister has, up-to-date, taken up the position that there was no good ground whatever for complaint in regard to the way licences had been allocated and these transactions carried on. I am glad that he has at last come to recognise something of which I warned him 18 months ago, and that was that if he continued the distribution of licences and concessions of this character under the cloak of secrecy public anxiety would grow until, eventually, he would be forced to yield what he should have been much more willing to give when he embarked upon this very difficult enterprise of distributing benefits of this kind. As Deputy Tom Kelly has said, the task of the Minister in distributing these things was well nigh impossible. Deputy Kelly has pointed to the fact that heavy political pressure is brought to bear on the Minister. He has had Deputy Kelly and, doubtless, other Deputies of the Fianna Fáil Party, clamouring at his office demanding that concessions should be given, and the Minister finds it, as Deputy Kelly has pointed out, virtually impossible to resist their applications when they are sufficiently influentially backed.
I pointed out to him 12 months ago that he would find himself face to face with that difficulty. I warned him that the best help he could get would be full publicity. That would be a complete answer to any political pressure brought to bear on him. The Minister said that he would not allow political pressure to operate with him. But Deputy Kelly, who is a frank and  honest man in these matters, comes out freely and says that he himself is continually plaguing the Minister to get jobs or concessions for friends of his own in the city. If other Deputies in the Government Party were as frank and honest as Deputy Kelly they would get up and say the same thing. The Minister, I am happy to think, is going to put an end to all that kind of transaction by inviting a Select Committee of the Oireachtas to examine the records in connection with all these licences——
Mr. Dillon: I am glad that the Minisster has invited me, by implication, to ventilate certain matters in regard to which the gravest public anxiety exists. Recently, an announcement was made by the Minister that he proposed to grant a monopoly for the manufacture of thread. I ask Deputies to note the term “the manufacture of thread.” The monopoly is to be enjoyed by two firms—one to be known as the “Irish Thread Manufacturing Company” and another which is to operate in Thomas Street and, I think, in Westport. I invite the Minister to say categorically if either of these firms has undertaken to produce thread from raw cotton. That is a very straight question. The impression created in the public mind, when you talk about manufacturing thread, is that the raw cotton will be imported and transformed industrially into thread. I want the Minister to tell the House plainly and straightly if that is the intention of these two companies. If it is not, is it the intention to bring in yarns under licence issued by the Minister, finish them and  spin them on cops? We ought to know that, because the present situation is that firms who have been getting their supplies of thread for decades from various foreign sources are now informed that they will get no more licences to bring in thread without paying duty. That is, apparently, for the purpose of providing a market for these two companies. I say that it is a monstrous thing, if the only purpose is to spin yarn on cops, to give anybody an opportunity of increasing the prices of thread by about 30 per cent. to the consumer here. At the present moment, if my information is correct, quotations have been given by these firms for certain types of thread. According to these quotations, threads that are available in Great Britain at 112/- to 120/- are going to cost 200/- here; threads that are quoted in Great Britain at from 48/- to 52/- are going to cost us here 60/-; and thread that is costing from 52/- to 58/- in Great Britain is going to cost 80/- here. If this industry were going to convert the raw material into the finished product, a case might be made for permitting the Irish manufacturer to charge 150/- or 160/- for what costs in Britain 120/-, because he would be going into a trade which requires technical skill and he would be in competition with a country which had led the world in that trade for generations. We could not expect an Irish manufacturer to turn out cotton thread at prices comparable with those charged in Manchester or one of the big centres in England. But a jump of from 120/- to 200/- is considerable. The difference between 52/- and 60/- is not so bad but the difference between 58/- and 80/- is altogether excessive. It is perfectly monstrous that these increases should be permitted if it is not intended to encourage an industry which will import raw cotton and convert it into thread.
That is not all. I understand that one of these concessionaires has informed thread buyers that if they want coloured thread—coloured thread is a very important raw material of the ready-made clothing industry—they  must buy net less than six gross of a shade. The Irish producers will not be in a position to furnish less than six gross of a particular shade. That means about £20 worth. Heretofore, the ready-made clothing manufacturer could get his choice of 360 shades, in 5/- lots of any shade, from a central agency for a world-wide firm of English thread manufacturers. I have repeatedly pointed out that this system of imposing tariffs without careful inquiry into the probable consequences of their imposition very often does far more harm to established industries than you can hope to balance by the good you are going to do in setting up the new industry you have in mind. This is a case in point. I have referred (1) to the question of whether this is going to be an industry to convert raw cotton into thread; (2) whether this grossly unfair proviso requiring a cloth manufacturer to buy six gross of thread of a particular shade is going to be tolerated by the Minister if he gives a monopoly to these two individuals and (3) I want to question the suitability of the persons who have been chosen as concessionaires. This monopoly system is an extremely bad system but, assuming the House has adopted it, it brings us to the extremely disagreeable task of considering the suitability of the firms which the Minister proposes to make monopolists. Take this Irish Thread Company which is going to have its premises in Thomas Street. Until very recently that company was addressing its correspondence from Belfast. I do not know whether the Minister has examined the history of that company or its position in the thread trade but my information is that the company which is to be known in Saorstát Eireann as the “Irish Thread Company” and which was known in Belfast as the “Belfast Thread Company” of 30, Sydney Street, Belfast, can scarcely be fairly described as a thread company at all. I do not think that they have ever manufactured thread. Their history is a perfectly honourable one and there is nothing about it to be condemned. I am merely impugning their reputation as thread manufacturers. My belief is that their commercial history is as  follows: They set up originally some years ago and bought yarns from J. and P. Coats, of Paisley. They reeled these on cops in Belfast. They sought to sell these at competitive prices there and they were able to do that by having low overhead charges in their reeling sheds and by adapting the quality of the thread they were offering to the trade with which they wanted to deal. I do not think that that business throve very well and they turned from cotton to linen thread. They bought Dutch linen yarns and reeled them for the purpose of competing with firms like Barbour's and those other manufacturers who have been in the linen trade for a very long time. I do not think that their trade in that respect grew to very large proportions. Their third development was to approach the Minister for Industry and Commerce of Saorstát Eireann and ask him for a concession to become one of the two monopolists in the thread trade in this State.
I do not think Deputies can imagine that a firm with that kind of experience is a suitable one to undertake the manufacture of thread in this country, particularly when I am satisfied that J. & P. Coats, or one of the well-established thread firms, such as Alexander's, would be very willing to entertain proposals for the establishment of the thread industry here, if they had been approached or notified that the Minister would be interested to hear if they had any proposals to make. So far as I am aware, J. & P. Coats, of Paisley, first heard of the proposal to restrict imports of thread after monopolies had been granted to either one or both of these monopolists. The Minister will be able to tell us later whether, in fact, he received applications from J. & P. Coats for a licence to manufacture thread. Is the Minister in a position to interpolate that now?
Mr. Dillon: I know that J. & P. Coats had contemplated making application, but they may have  received such information as led them to withhold the application, because I am aware that it was only after it was made public in the Press that it was understood steps were being taken to create a monopoly in thread. I am satisfied that this thread manufacturing situation is highly unsatisfactory. Furthermore, I have this complaint to make in regard to thread. Last December applications were made to the Minister for licences to import thread, and some such licences were granted. I think each of them was accompanied by notice that it would be the last licence that would be made available, as an Irish firm had undertaken to make deliveries in January. Of course, the Irish firm has not made deliveries yet. Subsequently other persons did make application for licences, and I think were told they could not get them, that no more were being given. When very urgent representations were made to the Minister the licences were eventually forthcoming. What I want to point out to the House is this: that a great many merchants bitterly resent having to go and plead for licences to bring in merchandise and be told one thing and later find that the Department had changed its mind. That may be in good faith or as a result of the political pressure to which Deputy Kelly referred. There is a change of mind, and then you have the situation, that while one merchant in good faith has paid a tariff of perhaps 40 per cent., his next door neighbour three weeks later can import the same thread free. The Department may be sympathetic, but it is poor comfort for a merchant to find himself in possession of stock that cost 40 per cent. more than it cost his neighbour. A few days ago the Minister announced that he would give no more licences for the import of reels of thread.
Mr. Dillon: Oh, no. I am in a position to refer to a firm which applied to the Department for a licence. The firm was good enough to furnish me  with a letter from the Department informing them that no further licences would be issued.
Mr. Dillon: Firms say: “Very well. The Minister, for God knows why, is determined to give no more licences. We must get thread, because we require it for our trade,” and an order value for £30 or £40 is given. I put down a Question in the Dáil and two days after thread being imported and the tariff paid, the Minister announced a change of mind, that he only suspended the issue of licences, and that it is possible he will issue them again next week. But what is going to happen to a merchant who has paid 40 per cent. on £40 or £50 worth of thread that will last for a month or six weeks? These are the difficulties that are arising. The Minister asks: “Why do you not produce the merchant that has any cause to complain?” Merchants will not complain. I have discussed it with them and they shake their shoulders and say: “What is the use of talking? You cannot afford to be kicking up rows or it will be made difficult for you at a later date.” There is no use in the Minister pretending that if one merchant is going to make himself a continual nuisance by kicking up rows and protesting there will be the same anxiety in the Department to meet him as firms that never make any adverse comment. I am not suggesting that the permanent official would do anything that was wrong or do anything like that, but one can be made see that nothing more than the letter of the law will be given. The average merchant is trying to carry on his business in the extremely difficult situation that obtains at present. He does not want to put any sand in the wheels so far as he is concerned, and he rightly feels that if he is going constantly to attack the Department in public the Department would take very good care that he gets his legal rights, but nothing more. It is extremely difficult to get any merchant  to come out in public. Merchants will not do that so long as it is possible to carry on at all. Nevertheless, that kind of abuse—as such I must describe it—has taken place in the licensing system. The publicity that the Minister for Industry and Commerce adumbrated this evening will be a good help to everyone in clearing up the misunderstandings that have arisen. I do not think the Minister will deny that he said at an earlier stage in the debate that he challenged and invited Deputies to investigate all the licences that he ever issued. Is not that so?
Mr. Lemass: I said that every act I did as a Minister is open to investigation here. On the particular matter under discussion I invited any Deputy to inspect the papers, and I subsequently proposed that a committee should be set up for that purpose.
Mr. Lemass: If considerations of public policy in my opinion decide that any special publicity should be given I will arrange to have it, but if the information is desired merely to get information as to how much business particular traders are doing——
Mr. Dillon: No such question arises. The Minister said earlier that he would welcome examination by any Deputy of any Ministerial act in connection with the issue of licences for a monopoly or trade concession. I welcome that. I think it is a most admirable gesture and one that will facilitate every party in co-operating with the Government in the promotion  of industry. I would be sorry to think that the Minister should retreat from that position. I do not want to press him too hard now, because, if I do so, he may be driven, from the contrariness of his nature, to getting out of the concession.
Mr. Dillon: Another feature of this licensing which is causing great annoyance to the trade I should mention merely to show how necessary it is to have the fullest publicity attending the Minister's activities. At the present time there is a duty on sheeting and shirting. The theory is that licences will be issued for these two commodities only to such persons as intend to convert the sheeting into sheets and the shirting into shirts, but not to any retail distributor who, perhaps, might sell to individual customers for conversion into these articles in their own homes by domestic labour. Naturally, Deputies who are not in the drapery trade find it extremely difficult to understand how that could be a serious matter to anyone. If they had even the experience of the Minister for Industry and Commerce in the drapery trade, they would know that in certain parts of the city, and in very wide areas in rural Ireland, these articles are very largely sold, and form a very considerable item in the weekly expenditure of the average countrywoman. What has happened? In fact, certain individuals are going to the Minister saying: “We want licences to import shirting and sheeting for the purpose of conversion into shirts and sheets.” Having got it in duty free on that representation, they go and wholesale to the very retailers who have been refused licences by the Minister, because these retailers are not prepared to make the same false representation to the Minister as the wholesalers. Now, the Minister expects the retailers who have a complaint to make to come and give him the facts. What will happen if they do so? The moment they go to the Minister and say: “So and so is getting sheetings  and shirtings into the country free of duty or at such and such a rate,” the Minister will say: “Do not get any sheetings or shirtings of that kind in, because, if you do so, that fellow will go up to the Department and complain.” The result is that the one retailer who is honest and who wants to act in the right way will not be able to get the sheetings in, because he knows that he will have to connive with the Department in order to get the things that, in the ordinary course of events, he would be able to get in the ordinary course of trade.
The Minister asks for particular cases of this kind of thing. I have given him particular cases and I have given them to the House. I asked the Minister some time ago to lay it down, either by statute or as an axiom of procedure, that if he requested the Revenue Commissioners to admit into this country any merchandise for any merchant, free of duty, he would accede to any other merchant who was similarly circumstanced the same privilege as he gave to the first merchant. If he would do that, any danger that might be there would evaporate. The Minister refused to do that, although the Minister for Finance gave it as his opinion that that would be the procedure. I asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he would undertake to make that a matter of statutory obligation. Now, I give him the case of these sheetings and shirtings and he said he would not do it, and I submit that his failure to do that is acting to the detriment of a number of merchants in this country.
The question of another commodity arises here, though whether it is a reserved commodity or not I cannot say. I refer to elastic goods. I challenge the Minister to say whether or not any elastic is being manufactured here. I take it that what the Minister means is that raw cotton or raw rubber is being brought in here and converted into elastic. I suggest that unbleached elastic is being brought in here and bleached and polished and put on rolls here. I suggest that it is likely that that is what is happening.
Mr. Dillon: It is likely that that is what is happening, but the tariff on that is very heavy. We are all told that that is a factor—that it is an elastic factor—and everybody is led to believe that it is a brand new industry just because the raw material is brought in here to be manufactured into the finished product. As a matter of fact, it is just as good an establishment as any woman has for bleaching her clothes, and because they are doing that, they are free to charge the people of this country up to 60 per cent. I am not sure of the exact percentage. Perhaps the Minister can tell me.
Mr. Dillon: Well, it is from 40 per cent. to 60 per cent. Now, let us take the question of boot laces. I submit that the braid for boot laces is being brought in here in large quantities and that it is being cut up here and tags put on it. That is a great new industry —putting tags on boot laces!
Mr. Dillon: In Ennis. Mind you, it was only when the prohibitive tariff was put on that this great new industry began here. There was a duty on boot laces for six months and you could not get a licence to bring in boot laces. I object to that kind of thing because I think it is unjust to the citizen and the consumers, but I object to it also for another reason. There is a large body of men in this country, who have founded industries in the country that would be a credit to any country; men who are paying good wages and producing clothing, furniture, confectionery, boots, shoes, and many other articles that I do not wish to mention because they might escape my memory. These people have set up industries here that would be a credit to any country in the world, and I hold that lumping such industries with factories that are factories in name only means that you are bringing them all down  to the same level. It means that you are bringing down these reputable factories to the same level as the factories that are factories in name only—factories that seem to be able to extend or contract themselves according to whether there is a general election in the offing or not. A few nights ago, President de Valera swelled the roster of factories to 200. Another Deputy said that the number of new factories amounted to 300, while another speaker said that the number was 350. Of course, a large part of that was pure fraud.
Mr. Dillon: Yes, possibly it was elastic in more senses than one. However, we should keep in our minds the distinction that ought to be made between the real industrialists of this country, to whom all sections of the community owe a debt, and the industrialists that are industrialists only in name. Deputy Tom Kelly referred to the trade boards to-night. Does Deputy Tom Kelly allege that the trade boards rules are being enforced in this city at the moment?
Mr. Dillon: I have got a factory of sorts. I have got a bakery, and the trade boards expect me to carry out certain painting and other conditions in regard to that business. If I do not comply with these conditions and keep the factory in a certain state, an inspector can deal with me. Perhaps Deputy Kelly will confirm whether I am right or wrong in that.
Mr. T. Kelly: You are dealing with the regular factory inspectors. Under  the law, which the Minister is now about to change, I could establish a factory in my back kitchen. Anybody can establish a factory or workshop in a laneway or in an alley or anywhere like that. That is going to be changed under the new Bill, but that is the position at present. There were 69 of these workshops established in 1933; 39 in 1934, and 37 since January in this city. The only supervision over these is exercised by the Dublin Corporation who see that they are kept sanitary, clean and healthy, so far as it can be done. The job of the Minister's inspectors, under the Factory Acts, is to see that the regular factories are inspected and that all complaints are attended to. We have received 40 complaints this year in respect of these very places that were opened as workshops during the last six months. The Corporation attends to those and where they are insanitary or unhealthy, they are closed down at once.
Mr. Dillon: My submission with regard to a very large number of the factories, or so-called factories, that are operating at the present time— they are, in fact, what Deputy Kelly described as workshops—is that they are not factories at all and it is a very grave libel on the industrial community of this country to lump some of the model factories that have been established in this country with back-street workshops, and if that has been done, it is the fault of the Minister for Industry and Commerce who has consistently described these one-horse shows, many of them run under scandalous conditions, as factories. They are not factories and they should not be so described and the Minister should not take unto himself credit for having promoted factories, when, in fact, he knows that many of them are a type of workshop which reflects credit neither on the community nor on the Minister who is responsible for their promotion.
Mr. Dillon: If the Minister will make that differentiation between what is a  factory which reflects credit on the community and those other workshops, which he now says he intends to make an end of, he will do a greater service to industrial development in this country than he could hope to do by abusing political opponents and suggesting that they are attempting to sabotage legitimate industry in this country.
I have referred to the question of licences and I want to draw the attention of the House to an observation made by the Minister for Industry and Commerce a few evenings ago. I challenged him with regard to the method employed in issuing licences for the importation of, I think, elastic, and he said he made no disguise whatever of the fact that he intended to use that licensing power in order to make free imports available only to such persons as gave him undertakings to make certain new industrial departures in the country and that he intended to use that power for the purpose of discriminating in favour of the persons who gave him that undertaking. The Minister remembers saying that? I said that this is an admission I have been trying to get from the Minister for some time and which he has always studiously refused to give in the past. Now, I want to draw the attention of Deputies to what the Minister said to exactly a similar inquiry on 7th August, 1934, as reported in the Official Reports, volume 53, column 2236. We were then discussing the Agricultural Produce (Cereals) Bill and the licensing provisions under that Bill and I said:
“We want an undertaking from the Minister similar to that given by the Minister for Finance that he will incorporate in this Bill a provision that any other person similarly circumstanced shall be entitled by statute to a similar licence.”
Mr. Lemass: That is the position, as the Deputy knows. Why are licensing powers given? If it were possible to set down in precise terms the circumstances under which goods could be imported, it would be done. It is because it is not possible to do that in certain cases that it is necessary to allow an element of discretion to enter into the matter. If it were possible to indicate the exact circumstances under which importation could take place, there would be no necessity for licensing powers. That is why we have this licensing power—so that the peculiarities of each case can be dealt with separately. A discretion is allowed to the officers of the Department of Industry and Commerce as to how each case is to be dealt with. If the Deputy wants any information as to how these officers are doing their work, he should consult the business members of his own Party before coming in here to make wild charges. He should not come here to make charges which he is not in a position to prove.
Mr. Dillon: Will the Minister give legislative effect to the undertaking given by the Minister for Finance so that persons similarly circumstanced to those who have got licences will be in a position to obtain licences?
You perceive that the Minister protests, on August 7th, 1934, that he is under a statutory obligation to give a licence to anybody who is similarly  circumstanced to any successful applicant. I point out to him that it is not the law and I want him to make it the law. That he refuses to do and, six months later, he gets up in the House and says: “I never wanted that to be the law; I wanted to be free to use this licensing power to discriminate between two persons similarly circumstanced and to compel one of them——
Mr. Dillon: Take the cases of two merchants who have habitually imported thread or elastic and are still importing it in the ordinary course of their business, and who say to the Minister: “We want licences to import free of duty.” The Minister says to one of them: “Will you at some future date start a factory to produce this article?” and the man says : “It does not suit me; I cannot because my business will not permit me to do it; I want to import elastic in the course of my trade until Saorstát Eireann supplies are available,” and the Minister then says: “I will not give you a licence.” To the other merchant, in exactly the same position, except that he has perhaps a little more money than the first applicant, the Minister says: “Will you start a factory to produce this article?” and he says: “Yes, I will, in six or nine months' time; it will take me some time to get going, but in the meantime, I want supplies of elastic,” and the Minister says: “Very well, I will give you a licence because you are prepared to do what I want, but the other competitor, who, through financial circumstances or possibly family circumstances or something else, is not in the position to fall  in with my majestic will, must pay a tariff and deal through you.”
Mr. Dillon: But it did happen in the case of the firm in Ennis which is to-day bleaching elastic and putting tags on boot laces. I brought that case up in the House and it was in connection with that case that the Minister said all I have read out here to-day. It is that very kind of abuse which I am trying to drive home to Deputies. I know the enormous difficulty of doing it because there are so few Deputies in this House who are familiar with the technicalities of the trades to which I have referred. Therefore, I say that the only way to get rid of the public anxiety and of the general dissatisfaction which at present exists in commercial circles in regard to the administration of the licensing powers under these several Acts is by full publicity about the whole matter. Then if any case arises every Deputy in this House will know all about it, and everybody in the country will feel that what is done in the light of day will not be in any way discreditable to the Government, or to the Minister who is administering the law. As I say, I welcome the announcement that the Minister is going to invite that publicity through the medium of his colleagues in this House.
Has the Trade Board I wonder taken within the ambit of its business, sack manufacture? We had a great publicity campaign recently about a new sack factory which was being started in this country. I think a Minister of State went down to open it, in the absence of the Minister for Industry and Commerce himself. I think sacks were manufactured in this country long before the Athenry factory was opened.
Mr. Dillon: There were two or three very good sack factories in this city. I did business with one of them. It is very nice to see one started in Atherny. But is the Minister prepared to tell this House what rate of wages is being paid to the girls in the sack factory at  Athenry? Would it be true to say that some at least of the girls working there are getting only 6/- a week? Is an additional factory—in a trade that is already catered for—paying 6/- per week to girls working in it, a very desirable acquisition for the industrial equipment of this country? It may well be that, in the circumstances, the man operating that business cannot afford to pay more than 6/-, but if he cannot, would be not be better out of the business altogether? Surely a wage of that kind condemns an enterprise of itself? It does not necessarily condemn the man who started it, because he may have been urged into the business, and he may find that the return from it will not permit a higher wage than that, but if that is the highest wage he can afford to pay— and we are obliged to assume that it is, in the absence of conclusive evidence to the contrary—surely that industry stands self condemned, and is not an industry in regard to which a Minister of State should go down with all the panoply of Government about him to declare it to be a great achievement in the industrial revival of this country. It brings into odious association industries in this country which are paying decent wages, turning out a good article——
Mr. Dillon: I do not care if I myself were a director, I think that a factory which cannot do something better than that should never have been opened. There is no use belabouring me with my political colleagues any more than there is in my belabouring the Minister with his. The fact remains that whoever opened the factory opened it under the advice and guidance of the Department of Industry and Commerce, and if that is the best wage which that factory can pay it never should have been opened. It is a reflection on the Department which encouraged people to embark on such an enterprise.
I think it is in order to discuss the general question of unemployment on  the Vote for the Department of Industry and Commerce. I want to make a submission to the Minister for Industry and Commerce that, in addition to the minor assaults which he is endeavouring to make upon the problem of unemployment itself, the time has come to consider that whole question in a rather wider way than it seems to have been considered heretofore. This Party and the Minister's Party stand for the principle that if a man is willing to work and cannot get work the duty devolves on the State of standing between him and destitution, but I think the Minister and I will agree that a very sound instinct in every man in this country is somewhat outraged by giving people money when they are not earning it. A much deeper instinct is outraged by offering a man free beef, because that attaches to him a stigma of poverty and pauperism, and I am glad to see that the Government is abandoning that business and has rather made it easier for them to buy beef cheaper than they would otherwise have been able to get it. My submission to the Minister is that unemployment, as we now know it, seems principally to be due to the fact that the increased efficiency of modern machines has not been distributed equitably between those who own the machines and those who work them. Science is a jump ahead of politics in that matter; it is putting into our hands scientific developments which we, who are responsible for the running of the State, are not controlling equitably.
I might put it another way if I say to the Minister that unemployment really ought not to be a problem at all. Unemployment ought to be a blessing. Leisure is a good thing. The necessity to earn our livings by the sweat of our brows is one of the afflictions of humanity. It is only when leisure is accompanied by destitution that it becomes the evil thing which is popularly known as unemployment. I have referred to the undesirable aspect of giving what have come to be known as doles to able-bodied men. I do not think any sound instinct is shocked by the provision  of a reasonable allowance for old men, or even men who might not be properly described as old, but advanced into middle age, so as to provide facilities to enable them to withdraw from the labour market, just as persons of independent means or in the professional classes would normally retire from their profession into a life of leisure when they attained the age of 60 or 65 years. Neither would it, I think, shock the susceptibilities or the sound instincts of anyone in the country if the State deemed it prudent not to forbid the employment of women—because I do not think that, in existing circumstances, would be defensible—but to provide inducements for women to withdraw from certain types of industrial occupation. I doubt if I should say “certain types of industrial occupation”; I think I should say inducements to women to withdraw from industrial occupation as a whole. I submit to the Minister that if those two remedies were considered, and at the same time if his colleague, the Minister for Education, would devote his energies to raising the school-leaving age by gradual steps, so that the children of the working people of this country would be provided with the same measure of secondary education that they get in the United States of America——
Mr. Dillon: My suggestion to the Minister is that along these lines of gradually contracting available supplies of labour until such time as we have brought this problem within the demands of industry and agriculture in this country, we would be moving along more profitably and, I believe, more hopefully than we are at the present time. I doubt, if the Government had the courage to approach this problem from that direction, whether it would cost the State very much more than unemployment is costing it at the present time. I am convinced that unless the Government, or even the Parliament of this country, can, in the course of the next few years, adopt some drastic method of overcoming that problem here, and unless the Parliaments of Great Britain, France, Germany and other countries of the world can do the same thing, that democracy, private ownership and individual liberty will perish in every country, and every country will be forced to choose between the equally beastly alternative of Russian Communism or German Hitlerism. Democracy and individual liberty are going to survive only if they can overcome the problem of unemployment. Doles will not overcome that. Paying able-bodied men not to work will not overcome it.
To my mind, the tragic element of the situation is that if this country or any other country were threatened with revolution in the morning and were called upon to count the potential cost of revolution as against the possible cost of a scheme such as I outlined, there is not a democracy that would not face the expenditure necessary for a scheme something on the lines I have suggested. The tragedy is that every democracy is apparently going to go on trusting to God that something will turn up and refusing to face the fact that the real essence of this problem is that what ought to be the benefits that science has conferred upon mankind are being  allowed to become curses, because the Governments of countries have not bothered to satisfy themselves as to how best they should be used for the benefit of all. It is an entire illusion to imagine that to allow individual members of the community to reap larger benefits for the time being is for their eventual good or even for their present benefit, because if that momentary gain is the real cost of permanently maintaining unemployment, it is as certain as the dawn follows night that an appalling price will be paid by everybody for that failure to adapt ourselves to modern conditions.
The difficulty in great exporting countries like Great Britain and the United States of America is that reforms of that kind put them at such a terrific disadvantage in the foreign markets that they are trying to capture, that they are very slow to face them. But I do not think a reform on the lines I have outlined here to-night would present the same difficulties as the one-sided adoption of the 40-hour week, because the expenses of the kind of reform I have adumbrated would be spread over the whole community as taxation drawn into the central Exchequer, whereas the financing of the 40-hour week is going to fall on the individual manufacturers and place each individual manufacturer at a disadvantage as compared with the foreign manufacturers who are maintaining the 48-hour week. But that consideration does not seriously affect us here now. We are not an exporting country. The consideration of expense does affect us, but I believe the resources of this country—and I am not going to touch upon the economic war— would be equal to a scheme of that kind in normal times. I might be reluctant to undertake such an enterprise if I was not profoundly convinced that the continued existence of liberty in this country and other countries depends on the successful solution of that question.
I do not share the Labour Party's somewhat mournful attitude towards this question. It is not a question of  humanism or sympathy that is moving me; it is a question of doing what I believe is necessary to preserve political institutions without which, I think, life becomes almost unbearable, doing what I believe is not demanded by charity—and that is the note which I so often hear the Labour Party sounding and which I so often and so bitterly resent—but doing what I believe is really essential justice and what the people of this country would understand to be justice if it was put to them in the right way. I have often heard Deputy MacDermot say on those benches and through the country that what we want is a crusade against poverty and partition. What I am talking of now is really a crusade against poverty, not in any morbid humanistic sense, but a crusade because the people of the country believe that it is the right thing to do, and that it is something for which every section of the community would be prepared to suffer. There is a great deal of suffering going on and some of us resent it, because we do not agree with the purpose for which it is being endured. We should endeavour to put all that courage and zeal and endurance into a fight to make an end of unemployment along the lines I am suggesting, reducing the visible supply of labour until it is equated with a visible supply of work to be done. I venture to suggest to Deputies we could do it, and the reason it seems so attractive to me is that it would be to the advantage, not only of this country, it would be something not only supremely well worth doing for Ireland, but it would be something in the national tradition of this country—it would be a contribution to the betterment of the world.
We have preached crusades of one kind or another from time to time, and as a nation we have wrought great changes in the world in other spheres of activity and in earlier stages of our history. We have met all sorts of strange developments and have been called upon to spread ourselves over the world to meet and overcome them. This problem of unemployment is the  greatest evil in the world to-day. It is the forcing bed of Communism all over the world. I do not believe that there is a country in the globe to-day in which Communism would have a chance of getting a footing if the people had not first been prepared by hardships, destitution and poverty. Unless you are prepared to resist Communism with this weapon—the solution of the unemployment evil—Communism will spread. So far as I am concerned, if a choice is to be made between Stalin and Hitler I do not give two hoots as to which is to be preferred. I believe we in Ireland could give an example to the world in the solution of this evil of unemployment. I believe we could work it without hurt to any interest. All that is required is the intelligent control of the powers conferred on us by science, which has got ahead of us. If we can make any contribution to the solution to this problem of unemployment, I believe we would justify our existence as an independent country.
If the Minister for Industry and Commerce will face the unemployment problem in that wide spirit rather than by chipping chips off it here and there, he will be really achieving a great thing. If he will really make a bold attack on that problem he can rest assured that his courage in facing it and attacking it will be appreciated by all Parties in this House. I think he would be able to do it. The Minister for Industry and Commerce is, to my mind, a deplorable politician, but I admire him as a buccaneer. He is a man of courage. He is a man ready, apparently, to take any risks, mostly, I am sorry to say, for unworthy objects. He does not give two hoots as to where his folly is going to land the country. If he will now embark on a crusade to end unemployment, even if he collapses in that fight, we will all be ready to gather round him and to give him all the support we can. This is an enterprise worthy of his buccaneering spirit. It is an enterprise worthy of his absolute disregard of prudence and of his venturesome disregard of the consequences of what he undertakes. I am not asking him to take a leap in the  dark. What I am asking him is to take a leap in the twilight of dawn, and very shortly after he lands on terra firma he will find that full daylight will break on him. If he does that I believe we will all, in the circumstances, if there is any danger of failure, hurry on with hurricane lamps to protect him from impending danger.
Mr. Anthony: I rise to complain once again of the delay in deciding claims for unemployment assistance. The Minister is quite aware of the circumstances surrounding these cases. He has promised to introduce an amending Bill in the course of the next few weeks. For that reason I do not want to emphasise the complaint which was quite general throughout the whole of the Free State in relation to a matter that has been complained of more than once in this House. I would urge upon the Minister to arrange to expedite this amending Bill, because he must be aware of the large number of cases of hardship that have arisen owing to the delay in Dublin in deciding these appeal cases.
The Minister, in the course of his speech to-day, referred to a number of new industries which had been established in the country. He referred, amongst other things, to the extension of some of the old industries, industries which have got into greater production, notably the flour milling industry, the boot and shoe industry, the ready-made clothing industry and one or two others. I should like to have from the Minister some assurance that a periodical examination is made by his Department in connection with the industries I have just mentioned. I am aware that from time to time, the Department of which he has control issues very informative and enlightening statistics-the Census of Production. But I am wondering if it has dawned upon the Minister that there is a necessity also for a still further and closer analysis of the whole position in relation to these industries in the Saorstát. There is a feeling that the saturation point in some of these industries will soon be reached. In other words, there is the danger that they may reach the point when  you have a certain amount of over-production. I do not care whether you use instead of that term “under-consumption.” That is quite a debatable point. The fact is that you have already a number of old-established boot and shoe factories in the country. The Minister for Finance to-day—and I do not want to misquote him—said that he had given licences for the establishment of two new flour mills, a couple of boot and shoe factories and that there were others to follow. I do not think I am misquoting him in this——
Mr. Anthony: So much the better for my argument. I think the Minister stated that he was going to consent to the erection of two or three flour mills and some two or three new boot and shoe factories. The information I want to get from the Minister is this—what caused him to give his consent for these? Has he had sufficient examination made of the position as it exists to-day? Has he examined the position in relation to the consumption of these goods? To my own knowledge some of these old-established boot and shoe factories were working short time at the period when the Minister was granting licences for new factories. I believe myself that it would be preferable to have one factory working on full production all the year round than to have four factories working on quarter time. I am sure the Minister himself will agree with me in that. I feel that the Minister is giving a good deal of his time and attention to certain aspects of industrial development in the country. At the same time there is a fear in the minds of many people —and it is a fear present in my mind and has been there for a long period— that we might at some juncture reach the stage beyond the saturation point or, in other words, beyond the capacity of the people to purchase the goods produced in these factories. It may be said that there is under-consumption and that under-consumption is being brought about owing to the fact that numbers of people because of unemployment or because of under-employment  are unable to purchase the commodities that are being produced. There is that danger. I think the Minister will readily agree that there is a danger unless there is that examination of the whole industrial position that I have just suggested.
In connection with the boot and shoe industry, any person interested in the industrial development of this country must know that on the other side of the channel many factories, in places like Northampton and Leicester, go in for specialisation in certain lines of the trade, with the result that competition is not so keen in these particular lines. I do not think that any of the older factories in this country have specialised to the extent of the factories across the water. The answer to that, of course, might be that the industry, in this country, is only in its early stages; but, again, I go back to the question I first put to the Minister: Has he satisfied himself that while there are factories supplying boots and shoes, and most of the commodities he mentioned in his speech to-day, that there will be sufficient demand for the output of these factories, whether boots or shoes or ready-made clothing? Has he satisfied himself that all these goods and commodities will enter into consumption here? One can readily and easily visualise a time in any industry, when you might come to the stage of what is regarded as over-production; in other words, when the things produced would not come into consumption. I have satisfied myself, at any rate, that at this stage of development, there is very great danger we may establish three or four extra boot factories for the output of which there will not be sufficient demand to keep these factories at full production. That is a danger, I think, that faces our people. I dare say the Minister can easily quote statistics-statistics which I myself have examined-which show that the boot and shoe factories which we have are not in full production, or are not producing to the extent that factories, with the latest and best equipment in addition to  skilled operatives could produce; but there is the danger I mentioned. When I say this I do not want to put a stop to any development along properly ordered lines. But I feel that some of these factories, even when in full production, may not be able to distribute the goods in a way that will enter into consumption. I think that is a point the Minister might consider, because if there is any case of over-production or under-consumption it will act to the detriment of Irish industry and will react upon Irish workers who enter into all those industries mentioned.
In relation to the development of the flour-milling industry, while I have always agreed that there is a great deal to be said for decentralisation, the Minister must agree, I think, in regard to that industry, that the more efficient the mill the less man-power required. It is also acknowledged by persons who have given the industrial position in this country any thought at all, that the flour-milling industry, important though it is in the life of the nation, gives less employment than any other industry in the country. As I have already said, the more efficient the flour mill the less man-power employed.
There are one or two other matters that I should like to advert to. The Minister must be aware that as a result of his policy and the policy of the Government, there is in many big towns and cities a great dearth of employment amongst dockers and other kindred workers. In Cork City the position is very bad in that particular sense. The Cork Harbour Commissioners, who give very useful and well-paid employment, found it necessary in the last few weeks to place one half of their employees on half time. In other words, these employees are working week about which amounts to half time. Another section of the employees in that service, who are established men and pensionable workers, have been placed on a five-day week. That state of affairs has been brought about owing to the policy of the Government. I feel sure it was never contemplated  by either the Minister for Industry and Commerce or the Minister for Finance that exercising, and putting into practice, the policy they put before the country when they were seeking election, would have such disastrous results as I have quoted. What is true of Cork, I understand, is also true of Wexford. The Minister admitted, on more than one occasion in this House, that he and his colleagues in the Executive Council, were aware that, in putting into practice their industrial policy, there would be a good deal of disturbance in an industry which was almost traditional, particularly in some of the ports in Saorstát Eireann. That disturbance has occurred in the parts I have mentioned. I do not know much about the port of Dublin. But whatever disturbance has happened in Dublin in this way is more than compensated for, I understand, by a number of small factories which have been set up in Dublin.
I do not think the Minister would stand for a policy which has been referred to in this House, and which, in practice, means that a number of young girls and boys are employed up to the ages of 16 or 18, or whatever the age is when they become insurable, and are then cast adrift. The contention of the Minister may be that they are not. But in practice it is found that the fathers of these boys and girls are drawing the dole or the unemployment assistance when they should be at work, and that those changes, which it was believed at first that the late Arthur Griffith preached as a policy of salvation, had to take place. But never in his wildest moments did Arthur Griffith conceive of a policy which, in practice, would mean that boys and girls would be employed at low wages while fathers and mothers were walking the streets unemployed, drawing the dole or unemployment assistance.
The Minister must have regard to the fact that, notwithstanding the way in which he has presented his case this evening, the unemployment figures are rising daily. I have experience of a very populous city. I find that in the  city of Cork the queues at the Unemployment Exchange are growing every day. The Minister may answer, as he readily could, that that may be due to one or two causes, the principal of which is that more people are now registering for unemployment assistance because of the operation of the Unemployment Assistance Act, and because it is reaching and helping a greater number of people than could be helped under the old Unemployment Assistance Act. I could, as I said, talk at some length in relation to the speech the Minister made this evening, but I merely want to stress again the query I put to the Minister: Has he caused his officials to make a periodical examination of the figures in relation to the output of these factories, and to ascertain whether it is desirable at this stage to cause a fuller examination, if he has made any examination at all into the advisability of establishing more boot factories and more flour mills up and down the country? If the Minister were to follow out the gospel of the late Arthur Griffith, it meant, as far as I could understand it, the decentralisation of industry and the growth of smaller enterprises round the country. I do not think it was his conception that we should have huge mills at places such as Cork and Dublin, employing a relatively small number of men because of their very efficient milling plant. I shall conclude on that note because Deputy Belton intends to speak, I understand. I would ask the Minister to examine the position in relation to production and as to how far that production will be consumed by the Irish consuming public.
Mr. Belton: The Minister, in opening the debate to-day, smothered us with a lot of figures and percentages. Whether these were correct or not, I do not know, but, summarising his figures, the Minister made a statement which substantially is correct, I am sure, that too much reliance cannot be placed on these figures. The Minister's introductory remarks do not help us to throw much light on this matter. Deputy Anthony has referred two or three times to the doctrines of Griffith.  I think that the generation that came into contact with Griffith will all have passed away before his economic teaching will be forgotten. I think the Minister prides himself on the fact that he is carrying out the economic policy of the late Arthur Griffith. I have read where, on many occasions and in many places, he claimed to be doing that. In the remarks I am going to make, I intend to examine the Minister's policy on the standard set by Griffith, as I understood it. It is about 30 years ago since Griffith enunciated his doctrine at what might be called the inaugural meeting of Sinn Féin, when he said: “We are only a one-armed nation and we must become a two-armed nation.” The Minister is the instrument of a native Government to develop that second arm of the nation, and it will be interesting to analyse his efforts to see how he has succeeded.
I have not the least doubt of the determination, the will and the intention of the Minister to develop that arm. I am quite satisfied that he is genuinely attempting it. Perhaps he believes that he is going on sound lines, that he is not going too fast or too slow. However, at this time of the evening it would be useless to try to develop that and so I shall deal, in the few minutes that are left, with the lighter side of the matter. The Minister quoted certain figures to-day. I think it would be better if Ministers, in making their case, would endeavour to show the House and convince the House and the country, that they are making progress rather than to issue tabular comparative statements showing the position as between their Government and the previous Government. The Minister mentioned that from 1928 or 1929 to 1931 there was an almost catastrophic fall in our exports and in prices. The change of Government  arrested that, the Minister maintained. The Minister should not be trying to get away with that debating point. The catastrophic fall in prices from 1929 to 1931 was due to two causes. It was due to world depression and it was due to monetary causes in Great Britain. The cumulative effect of these two causes reached its climax in September, 1931 when Britain could not carry on any longer on her then monetary basis and she had to slip off it in order to hold her position in the trading world and we slipped off with her. Since then there has been a rise in sterling prices due to monetary causes and due to nothing else.
The Minister should not endeavour to compare gold prices with paper prices. That is what he tried to get away with to-day. There is a terrible difference between them. Britain could not carry on with gold prices. She had to go off them. America could not carry on and she had to go off them. Belgium could not carry on and she had to go off them. The Minister is aware that when Belgium went off the gold standard, our bit of a cattle trade with Belgium was snuffed out that night. The Minister for Industry and Commerce was so firm in his conviction and in his admiration of that monetary standard as to pay a tribute to the fact of our being tied to that monetary system. Where did he pay that tribute? In Trinity College of all places.
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