Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Tipperary Housing Scheme.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Seizures for Annuities in Cork.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Wicklow Mining Lease.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - “Official Industrial Directory.”
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Aerodrome for Dublin.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Employment of Farm Workers.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Coal Imports.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Drámaíocht i dTir Chonaill.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Acquisition of Tipperary Estates.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Postal Deliveries.
New Deputy Takes His Seat.
Wicklow Mining Lease—Appointment of Select Committee.
Estimates for Public Services.
Committee on Finance. - Vote 57—Industry and Commerce (Resumed).
Committee on Finance. - Vote 58—Transport Services.
Committee on Finance. - Vote 59—Railway Tribunal.
Committee on Finance. - Vote 60—Marine Service.
Committee on Finance. - Vote 61—Unemployment Insurance and Unemployment Assistance.
Committee on Finance. - Vote 62—Industrial and Commercial Registration Office.
Committee on Finance. - Agricultural Produce (Cereals) Bill, 1935—Money Resolution.
Committee on Finance. - Agricultural Produce (Cereals) Bill, 1935—Committee.
 Do chuaidh an Ceann Comhairle i gceannas ar 3 p.m.
Mr. Fogarty: asked the Minister for Local Government and Public Health if he will state (1) whether an inspector of his Department reported on the housing scheme for Cahir, County Tipperary; and, if so, what was the nature of such report and what is the present position in the matter; and (2) whether a site has yet been procured for the proposed Tuberculosis Hospital in Cahir; and, if so, if he can state when building operations will commence.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Local Government and Public Health (Dr. Ward): An inspector of the Department has not yet visited the sites for the proposed Housing Scheme for Cahir. The Commissioner administering the affairs of the Tipperary (South Riding) Board of Health and Public Assistance submitted on the 30th ultimo a Compulsory Purchase Order for the acquisition of sites for the building of labourers' cottages. The Order includes sites for the 16 houses in the town of Cahir and seven houses near the town. A public local inquiry as to the propriety of confirming this Order will be ordered as soon as the statutory period for lodging objections against the Order has expired. The sites will be inspected subsequent to the inquiry. A site has been selected at Cahir military barracks and the question of its acquisition is receiving attention.
Mr. Jas. M. Burke: asked the Minister for Justice if he will state how  many seizures for unpaid annuities were made between January 1st, 1934, and July 1st, 1935, by the sub-sheriff of the County of Cork; the total of the unpaid annuities in respect of which these executions were levied; the number of cattle, sheep and horses seized; how, to whom and for what sum they were disposed of; the cost to the State of these seizures and sales; how, where, to whom, and for what amounts the cattle were sold by those that purchased them at the sheriff's sales; and if any of the said purchasers were agents of the Government.
Minister for Justice (Mr. Ruttledge): As a question of this kind was addressed to me some weeks ago by Deputy Morrissey and as certain other Deputies have signified their intention of asking similar questions I think it well to explain the position of the Minister for Justice in this matter. Under Section 28 of the Land Act, 1933, the Land Commission is empowered to issue to the under-sheriff a warrant for arrears of payments due. A warrant issued under this section has the same force and effect of an execution order within the meaning of the Enforcement of Court Orders Act, 1926, and the Minister for Justice has no authority to interfere with the under-sheriff in the execution thereof or to direct him as to what classes of goods or things he should seize or as to how he should dispose of seizures. The Minister has only one power in the matter, namely to make regulations as to the notices to be served and the things to be done by the under-sheriff before executing a warrant which he has received from the Land Commission; and in pursuance of these powers I have in fact prescribed that 15 days' notice shall be given to defaulters by the under-sheriff before execution is levied so that annuitants may have a last opportunity to pay the amounts and thus avoid the inevitable inconvenience and expense of a seizure. When, however, a seizure is made by the under-sheriff he is personally responsible for carrying out the requirements of the law in regard to such seizure and he is liable to heavy penalties should he omit to  do so. Persons who consider that they have been prejudiced by the act or default of the under-sheriff have their remedy at law. It is not my practice nor has it been the practice of my predecessors to interfere administratively, except in the case of gross or palpable misconduct, until aggrieved persons have exhausted their remedy at law. As regards the detailed information which is asked for in the question, the returns which are furnished to my Department by the under-sheriffs do not contain particulars as to the number and nature of the seizures made or as to how such seizures are disposed of by the under-sheriff, nor have the returns furnished to the Department of Justice ever included information of this kind. I have no information as to how chattels purchased at under-sheriffs' sales are subsequently disposed of. As regards the cost to the State, the main portion of the cost is incurred in affording adequate police protection to the under-sheriff and his assistants. It would be difficult to make any reliable estimate of the sum involved, but it is small in comparison to the sum which would be lost to the State if such protection were not afforded. The Government does not employ agents for the purpose of purchasing chattels at under-sheriffs' sales.
General Mulcahy: It is part of the functions of the Minister for Justice to indicate how many much cattle shall be seized for every pound of debt?
Mr. Ruttledge: No, it is not.
General Mulcahy: Has any Minister any responsibility for controlling the number of cattle that shall be seized for every pound of debt?
Mr. Ruttledge: It is a matter entirely for the sheriff.
General Mulcahy: Is it the position then that vindictive robbery can be carried on by a sheriff at the dictation of the local Fianna Fáil club?
An Ceann Comhairle: That is not relevant to the question.
General Mulcahy (for Mr. McGilligan): asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state (1) if by indenture dated 1st November, 1934, and sealed with his seal and that of the Minister for Finance there was granted to two members of the Oireachtas under Section 11 of the Mines and Minerals Act, 1931, a prospecting lease, limited to a period of two years, but containing a proviso for the enlargement of this period by a further period of 97 years, whereby there were reserved to these two members the exclusive rights of mining in relation to 982 acres in the townlands of Ballintemple, Coolgarrow and Clonwilliam, in the County of Wicklow, in consideration of these two members paying annually a minimum rent of five to ten pounds and/or a royalty of 1/25 part of the value of the minerals obtained by them and guaranteeing to employ constantly from four to eight able-bodied and experienced miners; and further, if he will state (2) if he is aware that on the 12th of March, 1935, these two members of the Oireachtas entered into an agreement with the managing director of a London Syndicate, (a) granting to the Syndicate a sub-lease or licence to work the minerals of the 982 acres aforesaid for a term of 97 years, and (b) guaranteeing to do all acts necessary to obtain and, if obtained, to grant to the Syndicate a licence to work for 97 years the minerals of 2,000 additional acres in six townlands in County Wicklow and the minerals of the foreshore of Arklow, and (c) guaranteeing to do all acts necessary to obtain and, if obtained, to grant to the Syndicate a licence to work for 97 years the minerals in any other townlands in the County of Wicklow for which these two members had made application and, in return for the said grant and guarantees and for no other consideration, securing from the Syndicate (a) that the Syndicate would form a company (to be called the Consolidated Goldfields of Ireland, Ltd.) with paid up capital of not less than £80,000, and would allot to these two members of the Oireachtas 48,000 five shilling fully paid up shares, and (b) that the  Syndicate would pay to these two members of the Oireachtas a royalty of 6¼ per cent., and (c) that the Syndicate would find employment for eight men.
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lemass): The reply to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The second part of the question describes in general terms an agreement for certain sub—leases between the lessees of the lease mentioned in the first part of the question and the chairman of a certain syndicate. Under the terms of leases granted under the Mines and Minerals Act, 1931, subleasing requires my consent. I have not given any such consent in the present case.
Risteárd Ua Maolchatha: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state the terms for the insertion of advertisements in the Official Industrial Directory, and the total amount payable in respect of the advertisements contained in the 1935 issue.
Mr. Lemass: The terms for the insertion of advertisements in the Official Industrial Directory were £6 per page, portions of a page being charged for at proportionate rates. The total gross amount of receipts in respect of the advertisements is estimated at £1,450.
General Mulcahy: Is that the amount actually payable or the amount actually paid?
Mr. Lemass: That is the gross amount received.
General Mulcahy: Do I understand from the Minister that there may be a further sum outstanding still to be paid?
Mr. Lemass: I do not think so. I think the Department's arrangement was with an advertising agency.
Mr. Byrne: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if, in view of the request for suggested relief schemes he will consider the provision of an aerodrome for the City of Dublin, which is so urgently needed, and if in this regard he will consider the demolition of the existing buildings at Collinstown aerodrome and the levelling of the ground for the establishment of an aerodrome on this site.
Mr. Lemass: The provision of an airport for any city is primarily a matter for the municipality, who are empowered to provide aerodromes by the Air Navigation Act, 1920.
I understand that the schemes submitted to the Interdepartmental Committee on Public Works do not include any proposal from the Dublin Corporation. The Committee are not themselves in a position to determine the highly technical questions involved in the provision of an up-to-date civil aerodrome.
Risteárd Ua Maolchatha: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state the total number of males engaged in farm work in June, 1934, in (a) Leinster, (b) Munster, (c) Connacht, (d) Ulster (three counties), and (e) the Free State, under the headings (1) males, 14-18 years; (a) permanent workers, members of family; (b) permanent workers, others; (c) temporarily employed; (2) males, 18 years and over, (a) permanent workers, members of family; (b) permanent workers, others; (c) temporarily employed, and (3) total number of males.
Mr. Lemass: I am circulating with the Official Report a table containing the desired information.
Following is the table referred to
 Males Engaged in Farm Work on 1st June, 1934.
|Leinster||Munster||Connacht||Ulster(3 Co.)||Saorstát Éireann|
|MALES 14-18 YEARS:||No.||No.||No.||No.||No.|
|Members of Family||5,531||9,728||13,668||6,477||35,404|
|MALES 18 YEARS AND OVER:|
|Members of Family||84,949||124,675||122,149||58,655||390,428|
Risteárd Ua Maolchatha: asked the Minister for Finance if he will state the total amount of coal licensed to be admitted from Great Britain and Northern Ireland, free of duty, since the coming into operation of Control of Imports (Quota No. 11) Order, 1935; the bodies or persons to whom such licences were issued; and the total amount of coal for which such licences were granted to each such body or person.
Minister for Finance (Mr. MacEntee): The preparation of a return giving the information asked for would involve an expenditure of time and labour which could not be justified. Further, there are serious objections to the disclosure of information, obtained officially, relating to the business of individual traders.
Information as to the total quantities of coal, etc., imported from Great Britain and Northern Ireland under licence free of duty is, however, readily available, and particulars of such importations since the 1st January, 1935, will be circulated with the Official Report.
Following are the particulars referred to:—
Particulars of Importations of Coal, etc., from Great Britain and Northern Ireland under licence free of Duty since the 1st January, 1935.
General Mulcahy: Do I understand from the Minister that the number of persons who have got licences to import coal free of duty is so great that this return cannot be given?
Mr. MacEntee: I do not know what the Deputy understands, but I have nothing to add to the answer.
General Mulcahy: I understood the Minister to say that it would entail time and expense to provide a list of the persons and the amount of coal they were licensed to import free of duty. Is it because of the number of persons who have got licences that that expense would be incurred and that time taken?
Mr. MacEntee: I think my original reply covers the supplementary question fully.
General Mulcahy: Is it not the Minister's attitude that he is not going to provide this information because of the time and expense it would entail?
Mr. MacEntee: If the Deputy has at last grasped that fact, yes.
General Mulcahy: Do I understand that it is because of the enormous number of persons who have been granted licences that this very considerable amount of time would be taken in preparing the answer?
Mr. MacEntee: I am afraid I shall have to read the first part of the reply again: “The preparation of a return giving the information asked for would involve an expenditure of time and labour which could not be justified.”
General Mulcahy: Why? Is it because of the large number of persons, or because the applications have been lost through want of care in the Minister's Department in filing the licences?
Domhnall O Muirgheasa (ar son Micheál óg Mhic Pháidin): den Aire Oideachais ar chuir a Roinn seéim ar bith ar bun le cúrsaí drámaíochta do chur tosaigh i  dTir Chonaill agus má chuir cé'n uair a chuirfear na rialacha os cóir an phobail.
Aire Oideachais (Tomás O Deirg): Ar an 20adh lá d'Fheabhra seo gabh tharainn chuir an Teachta ceist i dtaobh an sgéil seo agus dubhras leis go raibh sé beartuighthe deontas breise le h-aghaidh Drámaí Gaedhilge do sholáthar sa bhliadhain airgeadais 1935-36, agus go mbeadh cuid den dcontas breise sin are fagháil le h-aghaidh Ghaedhealtacht Thír Chonaill, ach scéim feileamhnach i dtaobh cionnus a bhíothas ar aigne an t-airgead a chaitheamh do chur isteach chugainn roimh-ré.
Bhíothas ag súil go gcuirfeadh an mhuinntir a raibh suim aca sna gnaithe sgéim isteach chun na Roinne gan mhoill. Ní fhuarthas aon sgéim uatha, amh; agus i mí na Bealtaine, scríobh an Roinn chun roinnt daoine—agus chun an Teachta comh maith le duine— agus h-iarradh ortha molta a chur isteach i dtaobh coiste áiteamhail do chur ar bun chun comhairle do thabhairt ins na gnaithe. Níltear ach i ndiaidh na freagraí d'fhagháil (ceann amháin aca ar an 20adh lá den mhí seo) ó na daoine sin; agus ní féidir dam fós aon eolas breise do thabhairt i dtaoibh an sgéil.
Mr. Fogarty: asked the Minister for Lands if he will state when the several estates around Cashel, County Tipperary (a list of which was sent to the Department) will be acquired by the Land Commission to relieve the acute congestion existing in that area.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Lands (Mr. O'Grady): It is presumed that the Deputy's question has reference to a list of 34 estates recently forwarded to the Land Commission. Eleven of the 34 (containing 2,924 acres) are at the moment the subject of proceedings for acquisition. Five others have been under enquiry and a decision as to action is pending. Enquiries will be made regarding the remaining 18 estates on the list which, I should state, was received, together  with similar lists from other sources, in the Land Commission only within the past week. It is not possible at the present stage to state if and when any of these estates will be acquired and ready for distribution.
Mr. Norton: asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he will state the number of posts performed by auxiliary postmen and allowance deliverers on which the delivery of letters is of less than daily frequency, and if he will state the estimated cost of providing a daily service on such posts.
Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Boland): It would not be practicable without considerable trouble to furnish the information asked for as regards the posts performed by auxiliary postmen and allowance deliverers. It may be stated, however, that over 70 per cent. of the residents on rural posts are afforded a daily delivery. The cost of extending a daily service to all posts is estimated at £36,000.
Mr. Eamonn Corbett, Deputy for the Constituency of Galway, was introduced to the Ceann Comhairle by Mr. P. J. Little (Parliamentary Secretary to the President), and took his seat.
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lemass): I move:
That a Select Committee consisting of eleven Deputies, to be appointed by the Committee of Selection and with power to send for persons, papers and documents, be established publicly to investigate and report to the Dáil on the following allegations made by Deputy P. McGilligan:—
That the demise of the State Mining rights in respect of certain lands in County Wicklow, made on  1st November, 1934, by way of take note or prospecting lease, to Senator Michael Comyn, K.C., and Deputy R. Briscoe by the Minister for Industry and Commerce was—
(a) made to Senator Comyn and Deputy Briscoe because they were political associates of the Minister,
(b) made under conditions of secrecy, and
(c) made at a time that the Minister was aware that another party or other parties were proposing to seek a demise of the same rights, on terms more advantageous to the State;
and that the action of the Minister in making such demise was improper; and further, publicly to investigate and to report to the Dáil on all the facts and circumstances connected with and surrounding the application for and the grant of the said lease, and all the facts and circumstances connected with and surrounding the agreement made by the lessees for the assignment of their rights and obligations under the said lease.
The motion proposes the establishment of a Select Committee to investigate certain allegations, set out in the motion, made here last week by Deputy McGilligan and also to investigate and report to the Dáil on the facts and circumstances surrounding the application for the mining lease in question and the facts and circumstances surrounding the agreement made by the lessees for the assignment of their rights and obligations under that lease. I do not know if it is intended to have any discussion upon this motion at this stage. I have framed this motion in the widest possible terms. It covers wider ground than that covered by the motion in the name of Deputy Cosgrave. I do not know if the motion in the name of Deputy McGilligan is to be taken seriously.
Before, however, dealing with that matter, I should like to make one or two corrections which, I think, it is necessary to make. In the course of the Dáil discussion on Wednesday last,  I stated that the company known as Irish Prospectors, Limited, approached the Department of Industry and Commerce in 1930 concerning certain gold prospecting plans and that Mr. Joseph McGrath was a member of that company. I find now that while Mr. McGrath was associated with the group which included Mr. Summerfield and Mr. Heiser, now members of Irish Prospectors, Limited, and which contemplated the registration of a company under the title of Consolidated Goldfields of Ireland, Limited, and which approached Deputy McGilligan, as Minister for Industry and Commerce in that year, he has no connection with the company called Irish Prospectors, Limited, which latter company was only formally registered quite recently. In fact, I am informed that when certain action, taken early this year by Irish Prospectors, Limited, left the impression on the minds of certain people that Mr. McGrath was associated with them, he took definite action to remove that impression.
The second matter relates to a report which appeared in the Irish Times yesterday and which created an impression that, I think, in the public interest should be removed. The report is as follows:—
“Further prospecting in what is rapidly becoming known as the ‘Wicklow Gold Rush’ has just been revealed.
“Borings are now being made in the townland of Glenogue, on the borders of the Counties Wicklow and Wexford. It is understood that they are being made on behalf of Captain H.P. Mahon, of Strokestown, Co. Roscommon, and the work is being directed by an Australian mining engineer.
“The prospectors are reticent about their activities, but it is believed that they are hopeful of striking gold in the southern end of the Wicklow lode, most of which is controlled by the licence granted by the Minister for Industry and Commerce to Senator Michael Comyn, K.C., and Mr. Robert Briscoe, T.D.
“The townland of Glenogue, where the shaft is being sunk by the new group, is south of the townlands and  south of the mountain where the deposits are located in which Senator Comyn and Mr. Briscoe are interested.”
Captain Packenham Mahon made application for a prospecting lease on the 15th July, 1930. He repeated that application on the 23rd December, 1931, and the prospecting lease was issued to him on the 30th June, 1932—that is, four months before the lease was issued to Senator Comyn and to Deputy Briscoe. With regard to the statement that most of the Wicklow lode “is controlled by the licence granted by the Minister for Industry and Commerce to Senator Michael Comyn, K.C., and Mr. Robert Briscoe, T.D.,” that statement is entirely incorrect. The licence granted to Senator Michael Comyn and Mr. Robert Briscoe covers three townlands in the vicinity of Woodenbridge in the County of Wicklow. The licence granted to Captain Packenham Mahon covers eight townlands and part of 19 townlands in the County of Wexford, and part of one townland in the County of Wicklow, an area of about ten times the size of the area covered by the lease given to Senator Comyn and Deputy Briscoe.
The allegations which are stated in this motion which appears in my name as having been made by Deputy McGilligan were not, of course, made in so many words. Deputy McGilligan did not, in fact, make any specific allegation, but merely implied that charges of this nature could be laid against the Department of Industry and Commerce. Now, I gather from the terms of his motion, in which he repeats, not his allegations but his insinuations, that he is disposed to deny that he made these charges at all. I am afraid, however, that I cannot be satisfied with a denial expressed in that form. In the interests of the country, in the interests of the Government and in my own interest it is desirable that the implications of his speech should be definitely cleared up. Deputy McGilligan's speech definitely implied, (1) that I gave this licence to Senator Comyn and Deputy Briscoe because they were political associates of mine; (2) that I gave it under conditions of secrecy; and (3) that I gave it when I  knew that other parties might have taken a lease of the same property on conditions more advantageous to the State.
The only circumstances under which I would agree to the Committee not being set up for the purpose of considering these allegations would be a very explicit statement made here by Deputy McGilligan that not merely did he not make these charges but that nothing which he said is to be taken as implying these charges. Unless we get a clear and explicit withdrawal of these charges, or of these implications, by Deputy McGilligan I must insist that the Committee be set up to investigate the allegations.
It is true that when I first circulated my motion it contained only a reference to these allegations. My intention at the time was to confine this inquiry to the allegations made by Deputy McGilligan, but as we have had here in the past a number of allegations of that description unsupported by evidence made against different members of the Government, I felt the time had come when the baselessness of these allegations should be definitely exposed. I felt that Deputy McGilligan had gone one too far, and that it was desirable that he should be given the opportunity of proving his allegations or withdrawing them. Since then, however, I have been approached by Deputy Briscoe and Senator Comyn, who urged me strongly that I should agree that the investigation should cover not merely the actions of the Department of Industry and Commerce in relation to this lease but also matters with which I as Minister am not concerned, namely, the circumstances surrounding the agreement made by them with another party for the demise of the rights and obligations under their lease. I felt it was fair to these parties that no implication should be given by confining the inquiry that they had anything to conceal. I felt, as they had urged, that it was in their interest that all the facts surrounding this matter should be made public so that the members of the Dáil and the public would have a full opportunity of judging for themselves  whether there were any circumstances in relation to this that either they or myself or the officers of the Department of Industry and Commerce dealing with this matter had reason to be ashamed of. I am quite satisfied that the investigation will show that their conduct throughout was most honourable, and I, therefore, decided to amend the terms of my motion, and on their representations to widen the scope of the inquiry to cover these other matters: that is, the circumstances connected with and surrounding the application for the lease and the granting of the lease, and also the circumstances surrounding the agreement which they inform me that they had made with other parties for the assignment of their rights and obligations.
I am rather disappointed that Deputy McGilligan did not avail of the opportunity which that motion afforded to him, either to state his charges in specific terms or to withdraw them. He has done neither one nor the other. Instead of doing that, he has put down a motion purporting to contain extracts from his speech here on Wednesday last, and by doing so makes it clear that he is insinuating certain things and not alleging them. It is, I think, the most disgusting motion that has ever appeared on the Order Paper in the House. It is possible, of course, for anybody to make insinuations, but it takes somebody with a little more courage to make allegations and to offer to prove those allegations to be correct. Deputy McGilligan did not do that. Insinuations, however, can be made in a manner in which they can be met, but there is one method of making insinuations which it is almost impossible to meet, and that is by making them in the form of a question. That is what Deputy McGilligan is doing in his motion. It is the old example that has so often been quoted in this House. If you ask somebody “has he stopped beating his wife?” he obviously cannot give a “yes” or “no” answer without admitting the implication contained in the question. These are precisely the tactics which Deputy McGilligan has resorted to: of making allegations in the form of a  question to me. In doing so, he shows conclusively that he does not wish to be put in the position of having to produce any proof in support of his charges.
There is just one matter that I want to deal with in connection with this question here and now. One of the allegations made was this: that a lease was issued by me under conditions of secrecy. Now, that allegation caused me a certain amount of amusement, because this is not the first occasion on which we had a debate here as to the amount of publicity that should be given in connection with leases made under the Mines and Minerals Act. When the Mines and Minerals Act was before the Dáil in the form of a Bill in 1931, Deputy McGilligan was Minister for Industry and Commerce and I was a Deputy in Opposition. On the 19th November in that year, according to the Dáil debates—Volume 40, No. 5, Column 1893—I proposed an amendment to that Bill, which afterwards became an Act. The amendment read: “That no lease should be made until each House of the Oireachtas had, by resolution, authorised the making of such lease.” That amendment, which I moved in 1931, was vigorously opposed by Deputy McGilligan. In the course of his speech in opposition to it, he contended that, in the case of a prospecting lease, secrecy was essential. He said:
Trading of any kind by the method of a lease being laid before this House, not to be passed unless there is a vote of acceptance—trading in respect of anything under that method would be impossible. When you come to a matter which must be secret, such as mines and minerals— a lot of matters material to such a discussion must be concerned with a discovery somebody has made and is trying to keep the fruits of—trading under these circumstances would obviously be impossible.
I did not fully agree then with the arguments advanced by Deputy McGilligan. I do not agree with them now, but it is obviously ridiculous that Deputy McGilligan should be making allegations against me—allegations of  corruption—because I am doing in 1935 precisely what he said must be done in 1931. The lease in question was issued in strict accordance with the provisions of the Mines and Minerals Act. That Act was not proposed by me. It was proposed by Deputy McGilligan, and whatever safeguards he, in 1931, considered necessary in the public interest were presumably inserted in that Act. It was in accordance with that Act that the lease was granted. The Act does not provide for publication of the terms of a prospecting lease. Deputy McGilligan stated, on Wednesday, that if I had made the lease for two years and one day, instead of for two years, I would have had to publish it——
An Ceann Comhairle: If the merits of this question were to be gone into, the debate would, in the first place, be out of order, and, in the second place, of long duration. The matter for decision is whether a Select Committee should be set up and which of the proposals on the Order Paper should constitute the terms of reference. It is not permissible to enter into the merits of the question which the Committee is being set up to investigate.
Mr. Lemass: I bow to your ruling. In these circumstances, I have not much more to say. It is obvious that this Committee must be asked to investigate the charges made by Deputy McGilligan, even though those charges were made by way of insinuation rather than by way of allegation. The impression left upon the minds of members of the public and members of the Dáil was that these charges lay against a Department and that impression must be removed in one of two ways—either by their complete withdrawal by Deputy McGilligan or by this method of investigation by a Select Committee. Furthermore, at the request of the lessees in this case and certain other parties who have been interested in the matter, I have agreed to extend the scope of that inquiry to cover all the facts and circumstances  surrounding the making of the lease and the making of the agreement under the lease. I think that that inquiry should take place as quickly as possible. It is obviously not in the interest of any Party in this House, and much less in the interest of the country, that there should be any general impression that charges of this kind can be made, with any foundation, against a Department of State. Therefore, I would urge on all the Parties in the House who will be associated with the setting up of the Select Committee that it should be established as quickly as possible and that the members of it should be asked to carry out their investigations and report at the earliest date, so that the full facts will be available and the foundation for the allegations made clear.
Mr. Cosgrave: The Minister had before him a motion in my name on which he might have given his views. Taking his own statement and his own conduct in connection with this motion, it would appear that he drafted a motion last week and circulated it to members of the House. He has since amended that motion on, as he has just told us, the representations of the lessees. If I interpret his speech correctly, his original intention was to have an examination into the implications of certain statements or insinuations made in this House by Deputy McGilligan. Is the Minister the best judge of what was insinuated or implied in that connection? He belongs to a Party that has not been free from the making of insinuations or implications in respect of other people. It has battened upon them for a number of years and now it is developing a very thin skin. It is not creditable to the Minister or to the members of his Party, who have been so glib in that respect in the past, that they should feel so much upset when there is a case made against them in this House. What answer does the Minister make in reply to the implications or insinuations or allegations? Where in the course of the various allegations that have been  made is the statement that this lease was given to Senator Comyn and Deputy Briscoe because they were political associates of the Minister? I am at a disadvantage in this case. Most of my information has come from the Press. The Official Report will not be published until to-morrow. I happened to see an early issue of the Report, but I could not read that in the space of a few minutes. If the statement to which the Minister alluded is contained in the Report, it escaped my notice.
The Ministry take a rather serious view of this question. On the first day the Minister for Finance said that it was a matter the seriousness of which was evident. Obviously, it is regarded as serious by the Ministry, If it be regarded as serious, what is the proper method of dealing with it? The Minister's first proposal was to have an inquiry into the insinuations or implications and not into the allegations. At the behest of the lessees, he enlarged his proposal. May I suggest that the Minister, in his handling of this business, has been signally unfortunate. The Press report contained the statement by the Minister that some of the people who were, in the first instance, interested in this mining question got into temporary financial difficulties. It would appear that, at least, one of them subsequently appeared in connection with the sub-lease, if I am not mistaken. It is a very serious thing to make statements of this sort in the House regarding anybody's financial position. Then a certain qualification must be made in respect of a statement affecting a former Minister of State and a very reputable gentleman. The correction of these statements never reaches all the people whom the first statement reached. I suggest to the Minister that, in these cases, he should address himself impartially to the subject of his Department and see what is the best method of settling this question.
Can the Minister say for what reason the motion tabled in my name is objectionable, and if in the answers that would come from this committee there is not all that might be expected from  examination in his particular case? In his motion as it stands we have certain items set down, (a), (b) and (c). I will admit that the Minister has added on other things at the behest of the lessees. It so happens they were added on also after my motion was handed in. Was this motion handed in in time at all? There is extraordinary haste and amendment in connection with the whole business, which does not reflect well on the Ministry in this case. It will have to learn that with the responsibility of office it should not be excited; it should do its business without excitement and haste. If there are allegations and insinuations and so on, they were pretty slick themselves, when they were not in a responsible position, about making allegations and insinuations. The Minister might have given the House his views on the amendment. The case he has made in respect of (a), to my mind, is not clear; it is not convincing. It is a sort of case in which he wants to have something dealt with which was not raised here. Naturally, in any case of this kind, public confidence and the public mind must be set at ease with regard to the lettings. If lettings are made to members of the House more than usual care should be exercised. It is a principle of local administration that contractors are not allowed to be members of local authorities. That has been dispensed with in connection with this House. Ministers and the Administration generally should be extra careful in these matters if a situation should arise in which a member of the House gets either a contract or a lease or anything of that sort. In order to get the Minister's explanation of what his objection is to my motion, I formally move the amendment:
To delete all after the words “Select Committee” to the end of the motion and substitute therefor the following:—
“consisting of eleven Deputies, to be nominated by the Committee of Selection and with power to send for persons, papers, and documents, be established publicly to investigate and to report to the Dáil upon the  facts and circumstances generally connected with and surrounding the application made by Senator Michael Comyn, K.C., and Deputy R. Briscoe to the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the grant to the Senator and Deputy aforesaid by the said Minister in respect of the exclusive rights of mining vested in the State in or under certain lands in County Wicklow, and, in particular, so to investigate and report upon the following:—
(a) the area in County Wicklow covered by such applications and/ or grant;
(b) the evidence produced to the Minister as to the mining experience, technical equipment, and financial resources of the Senator and Deputy aforesaid:
(c) the other applicants, if any, for such or similar mining rights in or about the same area;
(d) the procedure adopted in considering and granting the concession;
(e) the terms and conditions on which the concession was granted;
(f) the subsequent developments as to the agreement by the Senator and Deputy aforesaid for assigning their rights and obligations under the said grant;
(g) the consideration to be received by the Senator and Deputy aforesaid and the consideration to be given by them;
(h) the necessity for ‘middlemen profits’ in relation to this concession and the number of members of the Oireachtas found to be placed as such ‘middlemen’ in this transaction.”
The following amendment stood in the name of Deputy McGilligan:—
To delete all after the words “Select Committee” to the end of the motion and substitute therefor the following:—
“consisting of eleven Deputies, to be nominated by the Committee of Selection and with power to send for persons, papers and documents, be established for the purpose of investigating  and reporting to the Dáil on allegations made by Deputy P. McGilligan in regard to the granting by the Minister for Industry and Commerce to Senator Michael Comyn, K.C., and Deputy R. Briscoe of the exclusive rights of mining in respect of certain lands in County Wicklow in the following words:—
(a) ‘That under conditions of secrecy a valuable piece of State property was parted with to members of the Oireachtas 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 the Minister knows of it; that he knows it is intended to be done; and that he will not tell these people that he will not allow it.’
(b) ‘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 shall 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.
Mr. McGilligan: What is the procedure?
An Ceann Comhairle: The procedure is to put the question “that the words stand.” If that is defeated the House will have an option between the two amendments.
Mr. McGilligan: What has been covered?
An Ceann Comhairle: The Minister's proposals.
Mr. McGilligan: The Minister's proposals  are not the ones set up under ordinary rules. Which one is to be put?
An Ceann Comhairle: The motion on the Order Paper.
Mr. McGilligan: May I ask if it was received in time?
An Ceann Comhairle: If the Deputy had put that question before the motion, and one amendment had been moved, the Chair might have had something to say on the point raised. It is too late now.
Mr. McGilligan: On the point that it was not raised by anybody, then the motion can be discussed and put as a substantive motion to the House. Is that the situation?
An Ceann Comhairle: The situation is exactly as stated. If the Deputy had put a question earlier the Chair might have expressed some doubt as to whether this motion had been handed in in time. The motion and one amendment having been under consideration, no answer can now be given.
Mr. McGilligan: Apart from the question of order——
Mr. Cosgrave: On a point of order, I want to say that I was interested to hear the Minister's statement. The Minister went on to explain that he had a notice of motion and he described the reason for it. At the earliest opportunity it occurred to me I made it.
An Ceann Comhairle: No point of order was put to the Chair.
Mr. Cosgrave: I did not want to interrupt the Minister when he was speaking.
Mr. McGilligan: Then the whole matter is in order? If it is in order, the motion is grossly unfair, and has been drawn to be unfair—deliberately. I suggest that if we are going to discuss a motion framed in terms of reporting on allegations made by a Deputy we should see whether these are the allegations made. I have been able to survey part of the debate. The only part of that debate in which I can find these words occurring is when the Minister  was speaking—not when I was speaking. The Minister, very near the concluding portion, said:—
“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.”
That is his summing up. Will the Minister attend to what follows:—
“Nor did Deputy McGilligan say that in so many words. He left it to be inferred.”
I gather the statement was that I simply implied this. Why take the Minister's views when what I implied in my direct statement is now proved? The chairman of Kerry County Council is conversant with the Minister and his capacity for twisting statements. I am appealing to him as a political associate of the Minister, who has found him out. That is a good thing. As one dissociated, I found him out often. Here is an opportunity of finding him out and I asked for a committee to go into the allegations made. I was asked at one time would I state my allegations. “What is the allegation against the Department?” said the Minister. Later in the debate he said: “I do not know it yet.” I retorted: “I shall 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.”
“House” is wrong. It should be “Oireachtas.”
“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.”
The Minister retorted: “What is the charge?” and I continued:
“That the Minister knows of it; that he knows it is intended to be  done; and that he will not tell these people that he will not allow it.”
That is my charge. The Minister asked for it and got it. He got it in the words I quoted which are taken from my motion. Why must the Minister hide remarks in the debate said to be mere inferences and which to-day he said were simply left to be implied? I will give another quotation. This was earlier, when I was challenged. I put it later in my reference because it includes an important point:—
“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.”
That was a very definite charge. The whole gravamen of my charge is in that.
“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 shall 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 wound up that phrase by saying—I think these were the words I used— that these simple facts indicated a scandal. There is the allegation. The Minister does not want to face that one point. That is the one point, however, from which he must get away. The Minister even goes so far to-day, in answer to a question which was addressed to him as to whether or not a lease was granted, as to say, I believe, that the answer was in the  affirmative. I asked him again whether or not he was aware of that, and again he said he was not. The Minister was asked was he aware of it. What has been his answer? The gravamen of the whole charge is that, being aware of the trafficking in property of the State, the Minister handed over to two members of the Oireachtas the power to deal with such property: that the Minister, knowing that that was the case, did not stop it, although he has the power to stop it: and that he did not indicate to these two people that they would not be allowed to go on with it.
The special point that I want to make is that the Minister knows that this thing is intended to be done and he will not tell these people that he will not allow it. The extra point I have added—and I think it should be added—is as to whether or not the value of the State property concerned has been enhanced to any degree by the activities of these people. Now, the Minister's challenge to me was that he wanted this whole matter inquired into. Of course, I am quite prepared to believe the Minister is not ready to stand up to that challenge, any more than he was prepared to stand up to the other challenge where the Minister said that his Department was open to investigation by anybody in this House. It is easy to see that you can issue a challenge if you know it is not going to be accepted; particularly, when, even if the challenge were accepted, you are prepared to run away from it. The proposal of the Minister was, that, with the consent of the House, a Committee should be appointed to consider this whole matter. It must be borne in mind that that is not a question of considering whether or not the Minister had at any time granted this lease, or whether it was made at a time that the Minister was aware that another party or other parties were proposing to seek a demise of the same rights, on terms more advantageous to the State. I do not believe that I ever said that other people were interested in getting the demise of this property. It is possible, however, that I said that these people finally appeared on the scene. At any  rate, they have not disappeared afterwards.
Mr. MacEntee: Let the Deputy make a charge. He is not serious in what he is saying.
Mr. McGilligan: I think my allegations are serious enough. Why not check them?
Mr. MacEntee: They are not so serious.
Mr. McGilligan: I object to the Minister's refractory mind playing on suggestions of mine and putting down what he thinks are to be inferred from my remarks.
Mr. Lemass: Does Deputy McGilligan now wish that these are not to be inferred from his remarks?
Mr. McGilligan: I say that two members of the Minister's Party got this lease. That is not denied. If anybody asks whether or not it was because they were members of the Minister's Party, I shall not ask the House to decide the matter; I shall ask public opinion.
Mr. Donnelly: That is a horse of another colour.
Mr. McGilligan: I did not say that it was because they were members of the Minister's Party that they were granted the lease. I did say that they were members of the Party and that I would be prepared to ask public opinion to decide whether or not it was because they were members of the Party that they were granted the lease. I will go further now and say that I believe it was because they were members of the Minister's Party, and I will ask public opinion to decide upon that. However, as I said previously, what I want the proposed Committee to agree upon is as to whether or not the Minister was aware of what was being done. It is not denied. Deputy Cosgrave's amendment asks whether there is any necessity for “middlemen profits” in relation to this concession and the number of members of the Oireachtas found to be placed as such “middlemen” in this transaction.
An Ceann Comhairle: That question does not arise.
Mr. McGilligan: I submit, Sir, that it does arise.
Mr. Lemass: You ruled; Sir, I think, that only the terms of reference, and not the substance of the charges, should be dealt with.
Mr. McGilligan: One of the motions before the House is to demand the production of all documents, papers, etc., in relation to this concession.
Mr. Lemass: I submit to the Deputy that the number concerned is a matter to be investigated by the Committee, and that it is not a question of a number alleged in this House.
Mr. McGilligan: Very good—so long as the number is fixed. The Minister can be very happy. The Minister can laugh, just as he could laugh in the same way when he said that he challenged investigation of his Department, but when the challenge was taken up, we had a sickly smile from the Minister, and we would have the same sickly smile to-day if we asked the Minister to make good his boast.
Mr. Lemass: There is no smile there.
Mr. McGilligan: The Minister's smile is rather sickly at the moment. Just hold that please! At any rate, we have these motions. I want this to be clear: that there is going to be no question as to the people additional to the folk mentioned here who are in on this thing. I gather that we have had an apology from the Minister here to-day as to some person who, according to the Press, was engaged previously. The Minister told me that that was wrong. There is not much question of responsibility in that. I am told now, that so far from there being anything considered in that way, there has been no such application. Evidently, these applications are like many other myths of the Minister. None the less, it was pushed out as a statement over the week-end, with some attempt to do good for the Minister and his Party during the week-end. Then, this is only thrown  off afterwards in a debate in a statement issued by the Department for which the Minister takes responsibility. On this matter, Sir, I should like to know just what has been attempted and what does this Committee start with. The question that I put in last week, in order to give the Minister the earliest possible opportunity of answering it, has been put off until to-day. I asked the Minister was he aware of the sub-lease, and the Minister does not answer that question. That is definitely the fact. The Minister evades the question by saying that he did not sanction it, but the real question is whether or not he was aware of such a sub-lease.
Mr. MacEntee: On a point of order, Sir, I suggest that we are discussing a motion and not the answers to a Parliamentary Question.
Mr. McGilligan: What I am referring to deals with the motion. In a question put to the Minister to-day, the 25th June, the Minister was asked if he was aware of this sub-lease, and his answer was that the part of the question concerned described, in general, the terms of an agreement for certain sub-leases between the lessees of the lease and the Chairman of a certain syndicate. Last week the Minister said: “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.” Is that this lease? Evidently, the Minister does not know even yet whether it is or not.
Mr. MacEntee: I shall reply to the Deputy later on.
Mr. McGilligan: The Minister said that no application had been put before him. Later on, the Minister said: “An application in respect of a mining unit in the area was submitted to the Minister but it was not considered necessary to require his approval under the original lease.” That was not before him on the Friday on which he issued the statement——
Mr. Lemass: On a point of order, Sir, I think that, if Deputy McGilligan is to be allowed to follow this line, I should also be allowed to follow it.
An Ceann Comhairle: The merits of the case may not be discussed now, nor the existence, or otherwise, of a sub-lease. That would anticipate the matters which this Committee is being selected to investigate.
Mr. McGilligan: I want to find out if the Committee are, in fact, being asked to investigate whether such a sub-lease exists, because I cannot see it.
Mr. Lemass: Read it again.
Mr. McGilligan: “To investigate and report to the Dáil on all the facts and circumstances connected with and surrounding the application for and the grant of the said lease, and all the facts and circumstances connected with and surrounding the agreement made by the lessees for the assignment of their rights and obligations under the said lease.” I am asking the Chair if, under that term, it is possible for anybody to doubt the existence of the sub-lease.
Mr. Lemass: There is no sub-lease.
Mr. McGilligan: An agreement for a sub-lease. What is the good of quibbling about this? There is no sub-lease; there is only an agreement for one. There is a sub-lease subject to a condition. Do not make any mistake about it.
Mr. Lemass: There is no sub-lease.
Mr. McGilligan: There is a sub-lease subject to a condition, so far as two members of the Oireachtas——
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy may not go into the merits of this case. He is entitled to ask the Minister whether certain things come within the scope of the motion submitted by him, but not to debate the question. Something might be left for the Committee to investigate.
Mr. McGilligan: What we are trying  to get at the moment is the submission to the Committee. The matter has been discussed already, and, arising out of the discussion, terms of reference have been framed. They are framed supposedly on allegations made by me. They are not my allegations. I did make allegations and I have set them out in writing, and I am asking the House to substitute these, and I am asking further to have it made clear whether, in fact, this Committee is going to be free to discuss everything in connection with this, which was the Minister's first challenge, or whether it is going to be hidebound. I object to any Committee which is going to report with the pivot of its report a statement that I never made—Item (c) of these terms of reference. I never made that.
Mr. Lemass: Is it withdrawn?
Mr. McGilligan: I cannot withdraw what I never made. If the Minister will point out to me where I did make that statement, I will consider the withdrawal of it.
Mr. Lemass: If the Deputy will say that nothing he said here is to be taken as implying that allegation, I will take it out of the motion.
Mr. McGilligan: Would the Minister also say that nothing he said is to be taken as implying that the Deputies were not guilty of mishandling public funds or public property? It is the same sort of absurd hypothesis. Why throw out challenges on matters that are not alleged against me? Can I be shown the phrase of mine which is the foundation of this? I have said this and I repeat it, that these people had previously registered themselves as folk who were interested and these people subsequently came on the scene. The Minister can join the earlier and subsequent matters, but I have nowhere said, because I am not aware that it is a fact, that at the moment the lease was given, other parties were proposing to seek a demise of the same rights.
Mr. Lemass: Or at any time?
Mr. McGilligan: I think they were.
Mr. Lemass: In respect of the same area?
Mr. McGilligan: It is admitted that they were, of course, earlier, is it not?
Mr. Lemass: In respect of the same area?
Mr. McGilligan: I understand it is in respect of that area.
Mr. Lemass: It is true that that party earlier proposed to seek a lease of the whole country.
Mr. McGilligan: Of the County Wicklow. Let us say the County Wicklow.
Mr. Lemass: Of the whole country.
Mr. McGilligan: That, of course, is fantastic. Will the Minister put that in the terms of reference now so that we can get one falsehood nailed? That is not right; it is not the truth. The Minister will not say that it is the truth now that he is challenged.
Mr. Lemass: The whole country.
Mr. McGilligan: The whole country?
Mr. Lemass: Yes.
Mr. McGilligan: The whole matter, I think, refers to State rights and that, of course, is a considerable lopping off from the whole country. This throwing in of fatuous interjections does not help us to get the terms of reference clear. I do not make that allegation and I never did. I do say that they were on the spot first and that they came in afterwards.
Mr. Lemass: You merely imply it.
Mr. McGilligan: Does the Minister not recognise the difference between saying that people were there first and that Deputy Briscoe and Senator Comyn were able to get that and saying definitely that they were ready to apply at that moment? Is there no difference?
Mr. Lemass: The Deputy has implied that these people were there to take the lease.
Mr. McGilligan: I make no such implication. I say that they were  there previously and came along later. Join those two things any way you like. I might say that the Minister for Finance was a sound financial critic before he came into office or that he might become one afterwards but that does not imply that he is one now. We can easily make analogies.
An Ceann Comhairle: Nor is that to be investigated by the Committee.
Mr. McGilligan: Debate can only proceed in a picturesque way by analogies and that, I consider, is a fairly good one on the Minister. He is smiling in a grim fashion which shows exactly what he thinks about it. I put it again that I do not want terms of reference framed on allegations of mine unless in my words. If the Minister wants to get these allegations in, let him put them in. I will accept them as such but not in my words.
Mr. Lemass: Am I to take it that Deputy McGilligan is saying that he never made the allegation that I could have made a more advantageous letting?
Mr. McGilligan: That is not what is here. I will allege that now if you like.
Mr. Lemass: That I could have?
Mr. McGilligan: That you could have. At the same time, the words clearly are “made at a time when he was aware that they were proposing to seek.” It does not require an awful lot of analysis of the English language to see that there is a big difference there. My proof is, and I gave it, that a better bargain was possible as Deputy Briscoe and Senator Comyn made a better bargain.
Mr. Lemass: After they had proved the existence of minerals in the area
Mr. McGilligan: After, certainly, and that is what I said, but why, when I said that and related it to the subsequent period, put it down in this motion as “made at a time when he was aware that they were proposing to seek”? Does the Attorney-General want to say anything? I thought I was  going to be questioned. Why say that when I did not say it? Who is going to prove that the Minister was aware at that time that they were so proposing? What the Committee can easily decide on is did they make application previously and did they come along afterwards or were they invited to come along at the time and what happened and was an invitation sent? There are four people named. One was within a stone's throw of Government Buildings, but the letter was sent to a firm of London solicitors.
Mr. Lemass: It was sent to him, too.
Mr. McGilligan: I should like to query the form of it.
Mr. MacEntee: That is all for the Committee.
Mr. McGilligan: It will not be before the Committee.
Mr. MacEntee: Because the Deputy will not be there.
Mr. McGilligan: It will not be before the Committee because that term of reference does not allow it; because it ties it down to the time the Minister made the lease.
Mr. Lemass: All the facts and circumstances surrounding it.
Mr. McGilligan: You have a special thing. We know very well that particular words can have a very narrowing effect on more general words that follow. The particular words are here in the first place and refer to certain dates. Cut out the date. Let the Minister put it in the terms of reference if he likes, but do not attempt to put against me allegations which I say I never made. Let him say “the following allegations”; let him say “the following inferences”; let him say anything he likes, but he is not going to put against me allegations I never made.
Minister for Defence (Mr. Aiken): Allegations which you led the country to believe you did make and which you had not got the guts to make. Is that not it?
Mr. McGilligan: Even the peat-besodden mind of the Minister for Defence can take this in, that I did make allegations. Here they are. I was challenged: “What is the allegation?”“I will tell you,” I said.
“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; that these 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 for Industry and Commerce I make it.”
Query by the Minister: “What is the charge?” My reply was that he knows of it; that he knows it is intended to be done, and that he will not tell the people he will not allow it. Is that a serious enough charge for the Minister for Defence?
Mr. Aiken: Those charges are covered by the motion of the Minister for Industry and Commerce.
Mr. McGilligan: Where is the phrase in the Minister's motion as to the Minister knowing about this and not stopping it? Point that out to me, and I will argue on it.
Mr. Lemass: Is that a surrounding circumstance?
Mr. McGilligan: Why not pick it out, rather than something which was not said? Why not get down to bedrock? Why put in the precise term I did not use, and object to putting in the precise term which I used?
Mr. Lemass: And the accusation against me is that I did not answer a question which I was never asked.
Mr. McGilligan: If that is the Minister's answer, the Minister can find it in my terms of reference.
Mr. Lemass: I was never asked the question.
Mr. McGilligan: I am not saying you were. I have never said that. That is a very serious thing—to say that he knows of it; that he knows it is  intended to be done; and that he would not tell those people he would not allow it.
Mr. Lemass: I was never asked my opinion on it.
Mr. McGilligan: And the Minister will not say until he is asked? I am going to suggest that the only thing the public are concerned about is that the Minister knew of this mishandling of State property by two members of his Party, and he did not stop it. That is the only thing which the public are interested in. The concession that these men got, which is a fact, is not surprising. The conditions under which it was given really are not surprising; I mean they should surprise and shock but they do not; but the big outstanding fact is that the Minister found that State property, not enhanced in value by the efforts of those men, was being traded for their personal benefit, and he did not stop it.
Mr. MacEntee: Is not this a matter for the Committee?
Mr. McGilligan: I am suggesting that my terms of reference, which contain that, should be put before them. The Minister for Defence asked me is not that in the Minister's terms of reference, and I say it is not.
Mr. Aiken: Your charges are covered by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. You have not the guts to say——
Mr. McGilligan: Let us leave those entrails which the Minister is so fond of dabbling in. Would the Minister put the clear light of his intelligence on the official report, and tell me where did I say what is alleged here?
Mr. Aiken: You have not got the guts to say it.
Mr. McGilligan: That is a nasty Anglo-Saxon word which the Minister ought to abhor.
Mr. Aiken: It is the only phrase I can think of to describe your actions.
Mr. McGilligan: The Minister, so to speak, is Shakespearian in his remarks,  but what about a little intelligence? Give me the time I said that, or anything like it? There is a request from the right that the Minister should shut up. Would he attend to it? Apparently his intervention is not wanted in this debate. The Minister for Industry and Commerce wants him to stop.
Mr. Lemass: The Deputy overheard me incorrectly. I said I hoped that if he did not interrupt, in due course you would stop.
Mr. McGilligan: We will take that as the Chairman of the Kerry County Council took it, when he said “it was ‘shut up’ to you.” There is a very narrow point at issue. I made certain allegations. I am charged to state precisely what they are. I retort in the middle of the debate. I have not to wait and fumble for a phrase. I give exact allegations.
Mr. Smith: Clever!
Mr. McGilligan: Absolutely! They bear scrutiny, which some of the Deputy's words might not. I do not seek, as the Deputy does, for wild words. I say those things in the middle of the debate. They are on record. If the terms of reference are to be phrased in my allegations—I do not know why they should be, but if you want them phrased in my allegations—phrase them accurately. They are quite serious. Why not have them? I do not see why the Minister wants to run away to a phrase that was not used. I have given two fairly lengthy quotations made in answer to the query “what is the charge?” The (a) matter is shut out. Supposing it is intended not to take this form, then what is wrong with the details of the amendment to this motion suggested by Deputy Cosgrave? We want to know the area covered. We want to know the evidence that was produced to the Minister as to the mining experience, technical equipment and financial resources of the Senator and the Deputy. The Deputy told me that he had four years' digging. I want to get evidence of it. We want to know the applications, if any, for said or similar mining rights in or  about the same area. The Minister can get all the information put before the Committee on that. We want to know the procedure adopted in considering and granting the concession. Were there alternative ways of doing it, and why was this one chosen? We want to know the conditions and terms on which the concession was granted. Were there limitations? Did the subsequent conditions appeal to the Minister at that moment, or were they before him, and why did he not choose them? What were the subsequent developments as to the agreement by the Senator and the Deputy for assigning their rights and obligations under the grant? We want to know the consideration to be received by the Senator and the Deputy, and that given by them. My statement is simply that they operated with valuable State property, added nothing to it of their own, and in addition, got shares, 2¼ per cent., and so on. Finally, we want to know the necessity for middlemen or middlemen's profit, and the number of Members of the Oireachtas now established as such middlemen. I suggest, as Deputy Cosgrave suggests, that the big principle which all this has got to lead up to is whether members of this House or of the other House, put into a peculiar position because of their representative capacity here, should be allowed to trade on that position.
Mr. Donnelly: On behalf of anybody or their friends.
Mr. McGilligan: Except under conditions. Let me go on. Deputy Cosgrave referred to legislation still operating with regard to local authorities. I am not to be taken as phrasing the law accurately or comprehensively at this moment, but the late Chief Baron Pallas delivered many a lecture from the Bench on what he called “the public mischief” of those Acts. If any member of a local authority is discovered to be making a profit out of any transaction found to be connected with his position as such public representative, he is disqualified, and stands disqualified from standing for  election for seven years. I think on one occasion when the County Council in Clare——
Mr. MacEntee: Is this dealing with the motion?
An Ceann Comhairle: It is not.
Mr. McGilligan: I am referring to what is at the back of this. What is the use of having a discussion——
Mr. Lemass: I am quite willing to have it on those lines, but I must be allowed to do it too.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Minister was precluded from doing so, and the Deputy must confine himself to the motion before the House.
Mr. McGilligan: The Minister has leave to answer me.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Minister would not be allowed to answer the Deputy, nor may the Deputy continue on that line of argument.
Mr. McGilligan: There is a principle behind this debate; I am not going to argue the principle. I have already stated two examples and I am going to give one other. The other has reference to Deputy Donnelly's point. It is a definite matter of company law that if a director of a company makes profit when he is a director of that company in his dealings with another company he is disqualified unless— sometimes Articles of Association put this in—before making that profit he gives public notice to the Board that he is interested and is likely to make a profit. That ought to be applied to members of the Oireachtas. It should be made apply to a Deputy who is going to make a profit. We can meet that. I suggest that what the country is agitated about, arising out of this whole matter, is: Have men made use of their representative positions to get concessions which they otherwise would not get, and are they being allowed to make profits which the ordinary man would not be allowed to make?
 That is getting to my point, that the gravamen of all this is, when the Minister found property, not enhanced by the activity of these people, being traded by them for benefit to themselves, he had the right to come down at the first opportunity he had and say “I will not permit this; cut that sub-lease out; you will have to apply to me for sanction and I warn you it will not be given.” That is the whole gravamen of this charge and if you crush this out from the consideration of the Committee, the Committee will not be worth while setting up. If you cut it out of the terms of reference it will simply obfuscate the issue. Without it, the terms of reference are not much good and your Committee will be scarcely worth while.
This appears in the Minister's proposal: “... all the facts and circumstances connected with and surrounding the agreement made by the lessees...” So far as the terms of reference are concerned, they only talk about the facts and circumstances surrounding the application for the lease and the facts and circumstances surrounding the agreement made by the lessees. What about the previous history of the lessees? What about their digging? Will that be investigated? What about the experience they have had? The Minister told us, somebody told us, that there were three names in the application for the lease. The lease is given to two people only. The third person has disappeared. The third person is the only one who is not a member of the Oireachtas. Will we be told why he disappeared? Will the Committee be able to investigate the circumstances under which he was bought off? Does the Minister know he was bought off, that he assigned all his rights in this lease that might be coming to him for £25?
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy should not, in the guise of a question, prolong the debate, which has already extended over two days.
Mr. McGilligan: I suggest that is an important matter for the consideration of the Committee.
Mr. MacEntee: The Deputy can raise it before the Committee.
Mr. Lemass: The Deputy's tactics would turn a dog sick.
Mr. McGilligan: I know the Minister is sick. If I were in the mess he is in, I would be sick, too, so sick that I would be almost thinking of sending in my resignation.
Mr. Lemass: I want to get after you. There are a few things that I have to say that will make you sick.
Mr. McGilligan: There are a few general phrases used here: “to investigate and to report to the Dáil on all the facts and circumstances connected with and surrounding the application for and the grant of the said lease” and “all the facts and circumstances connected with and surrounding the agreement.” Where does there come in in that the previous history of the applicants? Will it be in the circumstances surrounding the application for the lease? Is it intended to bring these things in, or does the Minister want to crush these things out? I certainly think that a £25 consideration for putting out this young fellow is a matter that ought to be inquired into, as well as the fact that it had to take a solicitor's letter even to get the £25 from them—a still more important matter.
Mr. MacEntee: Is this in order?
Mr. McGilligan: You are only prolonging things by these interjections.
Mr. MacEntee: If I am, it is one of the penalties we have to suffer here.
Mr. McGilligan: We have three resolutions for consideration. One is a limited one, enlarged at the request of the people who are, in my mind, accused in this matter. It will not be enlarged at the request of myself, who raised this matter first. It is alleged to be framed in the terms of the allegations made by me, and I deny that it is so. I have quoted what the Minister said, that these are only inferences  from my speech. In return I give the statements I made, and I ask that they be substituted.
Mr. MacEntee: Where are they?
Mr. Lemass: One is a question, is it not?
Mr. McGilligan: They are set out in my proposal—(a) and (b). If the Minister likes I will put them in the form of a sentence.
Mr. Lemass: The Deputy will have some difficulty.
Mr. McGilligan: This is how I propose to do it. I suggest that those simple facts indicate a scandal, 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 shall 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. A good, sound sentence! Will the Minister accept it? I do offer the two statements made by me, and if the Minister does not think they contain all the charges, let him add any he likes. Let him not, however, put down charges that are not mine.
The other alternative is, do not take these phrases; do not put them in the terms of allegations, but just take what was said. Is there anything important left out in what Deputy Cosgrave's amendment proposes? There are in that amendment eight sub-paragraphs as well as a generality. Let the generality come first so that it will not be limited by the eight paragraphs. Is the Minister not going to accept one or other of the two alternatives that are suggested, one framed in the exact terms of the allegation and the other giving the gist of everything raised in the debate, whether by way of allegation or debate or otherwise?
I suggest that the Minister ought not to hamper the members of the Committee  by limiting the terms of reference. I protest against any matter being sent for consideration to a Committee framed as if it were an allegation of mine when I say it does not represent any such thing. It is not even declared to be; it is not in inverted commas and I am not going to be subjected to the Minister's version of statements of mine. I suggest that the allegations I have made are serious enough and they will give the Committee plenty of opportunity to investigate this scandal. I suggest that the Committee should be authorised to report finally on the settlement of all this type of business in the future on the lines of the public authority legislation.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Minister to conclude.
Mr. Cosgrave: The Minister is not to conclude this debate. This is my motion.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Minister will conclude the debate.
Mr. Costello: I want to make one or two observations with a view to bringing before the House what I conceive to be the real and vital issue in the present case. It is not a question of whether the Minister for Industry and Commerce scores over his predecessor, Deputy McGilligan, or whether Deputy McGilligan scores over the Minister for Industry and Commerce. The country is not interested as to whether or not the Minister for Industry and Commerce sits here to-day as he has sat looking like a snarling dog at Deputy McGilligan and anxious to get after him. The public are anxious to know— using the words of Article 11 of the Constitution—whether the “public interest” has been preserved or whether the country has been prejudicially affected by the transactions that have taken place in connection with this lease. The public opinion on this point and the public view on the Minister's conduct will not be determined by the consideration as to whether or not the Minister has scored a debating point by means of his majority, or by getting that majority  to pass through this House limited terms of reference in the setting up of this Committee. The Minister can set up this Committee by that majority that he has and he can set it up with the limited terms of reference that he proposes. The only inference that would be drawn from this by outside opinion is that the Minister is trying to side-track the real issue and that instead of letting the public know whether the public interest has been prejudicially affected by this lease, he is endeavouring to score some sort of point over his predecessor, Deputy McGilligan. What the Minister's proposal is endeavouring to do is to set up a Committee with very limited terms of reference. If the Minister were desirous of having the fullest investigation into all the circumstances surrounding this, as he pretends to have, he should ask the House for suggestions as to how the terms of reference should be enlarged in their scope so as to bring in every consideration.
Mr. Lemass: My motion reads: “To report to the Dáil on all the facts and circumstances connected with and surrounding the application for... said lease.”
Mr. Costello: Why does the Minister refuse to accept the terms that are offered in the amendments?
Mr. Lemass: Because they are much narrower.
Mr. Costello: Why not put them in? Why does the Minister insist on his own terms of reference as distinct from anything else? It is clear to anybody reading the terms of reference proposed by the Minister that this is put forward as a restricted terms of reference and that the object is to enable the Minister to score over Deputy McGilligan, to come to the House afterwards and to say: “I told you so.” We are not interested in knowing whether the Minister for Industry and Commerce scores over anybody in the House or not. What we are interested in is whether Article 11 of the Constitution under which the Minister was proposing to exercise his powers in the granting of leases has been departed from or whether the public interest  has in any way been prejudicially affected. Article 11 of the Constitution is the foundation of the whole business. That Article lays down that all mines and minerals in this country belong to the State, “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... Oireachtas.” The governing words in that Article are the words “public interest.” The issue is whether in the circumstances surrounding this lease or sub-lease—the whole transaction which has been adumbrated in this House by Deputy McGilligan—the public interest has been safeguarded by the Minister. The Minister is on his trial as regards this case. That is the real issue. The Minister, instead of limiting the terms of reference, should be asking the House to suggest the widest possible terms of reference and to have everything done in the widest and the fullest possible way. But it is not alone the Minister for Industry and Commerce who is on his trial. It is not alone the Department of the Minister for Industry and Commerce that is on its trial. It is the whole question of whether the public interest has been in any way prejudicially affected. The personality of the Minister is of little interest in the whole of that. Deputy McGilligan has given prima facie evidence of a gross public scandal. If there is an answer to that it ought to be given in a public way and in circumstances that will enable every fact to be brought before this Committee. I submit that the terms of reference are not drawn in such a way as to bring in certain evidence that should be available to the Committee. Certain evidence that will be tendered to the Committee will evoke a discussion as to whether or not that particular piece of evidence will be allowed because it is or it is not within the scope of the terms of reference. These terms of reference should be of the widest possible scope and there should be no loop-hole as to whether or not a particular piece of evidence that is tendered is or is not within the scope of the terms of reference. Having regard to the importance of this case, from the point of view of the public interest,  there should be no room for discussion. The Minister's proposal in this case, put by way of after-thought, is merely an effort to score off Deputy McGilligan. The public wants the fullest and the freest discussion of what prima facie appears to be a gross public scandal.
Mr. Kent: On reading the reports of the debates in the Dáil here last week, the ordinary country reader would come to no other conclusion but that a very valuable gold mine had been discovered in the County Wicklow, and that certain Deputies in this House got concessions from the Minister for Industry and Commerce by very fraudulent and sharp practice. Such is the belief of the people at the present moment. I was very strongly under the impression myself when I rushed up here that some very hefty nuggets, discovered in the gold mine, would be flung across the House and that there was a bare chance that some would drop into the seats of the Centre Party. On the contrary, I find that there is not a particle of gold around the House to-day. As regards this Commission, I, for one, would be glad to see it set up so as to satisfy the minds of the people of the country that there is no such practice as suggested carried on in the Department of Industry and Commerce. I do not believe for one moment that there is such a thing at all as a valuable gold mine in the County Wicklow. I have had certainly too much experience of gold and diamond rushes in my time to believe anybody who stands up and says there is a valuable gold mine in Wicklow and that if it is worked properly we would be all millionaires.
Mr. T. Kelly: They are looking for it long enough, anyway.
Mr. Kent: And so am I all my life. Deputy Cosgrave suggested that we had some other ways or means of settling this dispute. Perhaps I would be allowed to make a suggestion that would be agreed to by Deputy McGilligan and by all Parties to the dispute and that is that he should go on a pilgrimage to Lough Derg and  purge his mind. He may then come back to this House with a yearning and a heart's yearning to bring peace to all the people of the country.
Mr. O'Leary: And to the Cork farmers.
Mr. Kent: Yes, the Cork farmers are working out their own salvation in the best way they can. It would be well if the Cork farmers were left to themselves to do their own business without any outside interference. It is rather painful to have to listen to the disputes that go on here from time to time. A very valuable lot of time is wasted in abuse flung across the floor of the House occasionally. It is about time that a proper understanding was arrived at between all parties for a settlement of such disputes rather than discussing a motion for the setting up of a Committee to investigate these matters. I think such questions ought to be settled inside the House by the leading Deputies and Members of the Government, and indeed, the leading men of all Parties. I think that would be a more practical way of doing the business than, week after week, having a sort of “Biddy Moriarty” contest as to the existence of a gold mine and as to the presence of certain minerals. I sympathise with Deputy Briscoe and Senator Comyn in having thrown away their money on this matter whoever tempted them to do so.
Mr. MacDermot: I should like to say a few words on this question. It is a matter, to my mind, that does not involve any party principle. I do not think it is at all desirable that it should be approached in a party spirit or discussed on party lines. Deputy Costello said just now that the real matter at issue was as to whether the interests of the State had suffered, or were going to suffer by the transaction that the Committee is to inquire into. He was referring, I think, to the financial interests of the State. But there is, after all, a second matter of great importance; that is the honour of Deputies. I think both the question of the financial interests of the  State and the honour of Deputies are things that can be approached, and ought to be approached, without party spirit.
I confess I am not familiar with this matter at all. I heard part of Deputy McGilligan's speech upon it the other day and that is all I know about it. I preserve an open mind as to whether or not there was impropriety. But my own feeling is, reading through these three proposals for the settling of the terms of reference of the Committee, that none of them is entirely satisfactory. I think the Minister is right in proposing that the investigation should cover all surrounding facts and circumstances, but I think he is wrong, on the other hand, in setting forth as allegations of Deputy McGilligan things which Deputy McGilligan denies having alleged. I do not think anything is to be gained, from a public point of view, in taking that course, even if the Minister chooses to consider that these allegations were implied. To put up a motion in that form can only serve to darken counsel. I suggest that a new motion should be framed in as wide a form as the latter part of the Minister's motion and that it should give the Committee some guidance by indicating the main points:—for example, the points as to whether the original lease was improper in any way; whether it was improper in the amount the State was to be paid, or improper because of the personality of the lessees or their solidity or anything of that kind. Then the question of secrecy is also being raised. I presume that that would arise with regard to the original lease. Secondly, there is the question with regard to the agreement for a sub-lease, and whether or not there was impropriety in Deputies proposing to enter into such an agreement as that. As I say, we ought not to be dealing with these matters in a party spirit. We ought to approach them with the desire to do our best for the public interest and the honour of this House.
There is one thing I would like to state, though I do not think it would ever become public property if I did  not tell it. A reference was made to another lease, a lease made by the Minister to Major Pakenham Mahon, a constituent of mine in the County Roscommon. I think that that lease was made in the early part of last year.
Mr. Lemass: The 30th June, last year.
Mr. MacDermot: After that lease was made, a syndicate was formed for the purpose of financing the prospecting operations, and I, personally, took a share in that syndicate. Now gold-mining is about the most speculative operation one could engage in, and, in Ireland, it is very speculative indeed. I put £50 into that venture. I do not expect to see a penny of it again. But I think when the honour of Deputies is impugned—whether rightly or wrongly—it is fair that I should make that confession to the House, if confession it is to be regarded. I would like to stress the point, that I have never seen the lease made to Major Pakenham Mahon, and I believe the lease was granted before I became connected with the syndicate.
I think the whole matter should be approached in a judicial spirit by all parties and without unnecessary bitterness. Obviously, people who prospect in what is regarded as a wild-cat proposition, if they put money and energy into it, and if they pull off a long-shot by actually finding gold, may expect to make a considerably bigger profit than would be usual in normal commercial transactions, where the chances of success were greater. To summarise again what I set out to say: I would suggest that the Minister should try to frame a motion which would be acceptable to all parties in this House; that he should withdraw the present motion and take twenty-four hours to think over another. There is no advantage to be got from framing a motion in terms that impute to a Deputy allegations that he denies having made. An enquiry on that basis can only lead to heat and futility. I think he could have an absolutely comprehensive motion,  and, at the same time, one which would indicate with sufficient clearness to the Committee the main points requiring decision.
Mr. Belton: I do not think this is as big a matter as it seems to be on the surface. Certainly it brought forth a lot of information about new investors. I may say, at the start, I invested no money in this project. I had no loose money to invest, and if I did invest, if I had money to invest, I would expect some return for it. What I would like to know at this stage is: was there an obligation on the Minister before granting this lease?
An Ceann Comhairle: That is a matter for the Committee to investigate.
Mr. Belton: If there is a division on this motion and if the motion was lost there would be no Committee and there would be no chance of asking this question.
An Ceann Comhairle: There was a debate on that matter and the Deputy missed his opportunity.
Mr. Belton: I did not miss much.
Mr. McGilligan: The debate is still going on.
Mr. Belton: Paragraph (b) of Deputy Cosgrave's amendment reads: “the evidence produced to the Minister as to the mining experience, technical equipment and financial resources of the Senator and Deputy aforesaid.” I should like the Minister when replying to state whether there was an obligation on the Minister to make such inquiries. I certainly did not follow all the arguments very closely but I do think that one point made by Deputy McGilligan should be considered by the Minister, otherwise I do not see much use in having these investigations by the Committee. That is the statement, the accusation, allegation or whatever you may call it, that Deputy McGilligan says he made and stands up to. If you do not get that basis of agreement for the investigation,  I do not see what object there is in investigating the matter at all because the Committee cannot be asked to carry out an investigation into a charge when the accuser, so to speak, says he never made such a charge. The charge that he acknowledges that he made, and which the Minister says is, in effect, a reflection on him and on his Department, he wants to have investigated. I think that should be cleared up before anything is referred to a Special Committee, otherwise I do not see what the Special Committee would inquire into.
The O'Mahony: Having listened to this debate there is only one point I should like to place before the Minister. I accept that he is only too anxious to have a full inquiry into this matter and to have it cleared up. There is no question that the public mind is worried over the whole matter and the point I want to put to the Minister is this. If he does not set up a Committee of Inquiry that is going to satisfy the public, no matter what verdict it brings in, it is not going to satisfy the public. He must feel assured that the Committee of Inquiry which he sets up is going to satisfy the public as a whole. If that is done, whatever decision the Committee arrives at will satisfy the public. After listening to the debate I am not satisfied that the mere acceptance of the motion as proposed by the Minister, and the ignoring of the amendments, will satisfy the public that the Committee is going to have the full scope it should have to inquire into a matter of this kind.
Mr. Lemass: Deputy Costello said that this Committee is not going to be set up to try the Minister for Industry and Commerce or his Department. That is quite correct. It is set up in the first instance to try Deputy McGilligan. Deputy McGilligan made a number of serious allegations here and the Committee is being set up to find out if he had any foundation for these allegations.
Mr. McGilligan: That is clearly running away from the original thing.
Mr. Lemass: This Select Committee is going to be set up to find out if there is, in fact, any foundation for Deputy McGilligan's charges or if he is able to produce the slightest evidence to justify his making them.
Mr. Cosgrave: Why not put them in?
Mr. Lemass: They are in.
Mr. Cosgrave: No.
Mr. Lemass: Deputy MacDermot said that this is not a political matter and he wants it considered apart from Party rivalries and without any partisan spirit. I never heard such nonsense in all my life. Deputy McGilligan came in here on Friday week, two days before the County Dublin by-election and four days before the Galway by-election, and he threw out a number of charges against the Department of Industry and Commerce, wild charges, charges that he is now running away from, charges that he now states he never made, charges that he made in the most vindictive and malicious manner. He was not afraid, knowing that the Dáil was going to adjourn at 2.30, knowing that no member of the Executive Council was going to get an opportunity of replying to him and knowing that the by-election was going to take place in two days' time before his lies could be overtaken. This Committee is being set up to ascertain if there is the slightest shadow of foundation for these allegations.
What are the allegations which Deputy McGilligan made on Friday, June the 15th, and which were made again to-day in the form of a question? Deputy McGilligan thinks that he avoids making an allegation because he puts it in the form of a question. He is a lawyer and he ought to know that a libel can be expressed in the form of a question. Many a successful libel action was taken by parties who felt that they were injured by questions such as Deputy McGilligan is fond of asking. The Deputy's charge was that a Deputy of the Dáil and the Vice-Chairman of the Seanad were given a concession in regard to a certain gold mine in Wicklow, “merely to hawk it round London.” What is the implication there? That this concession was given to these people because they were members of the Fianna Fáil Party in the Dáil and the Seanad. Deputy McGilligan says that he did not say that. He did not say it in so many words but certainly that is what he implied. When I asked him to-day if he would now say that these words were not to be taken as implying that allegation, what was his answer? His answer was: “I believe that allegation is correct.” We shall give him an opportunity of supplying the foundation for the allegation or justifying his professed belief that the allegation is correct. Deputy McGilligan will not be able to run away. I take it he sticks to his allegation that it was made under conditions of secrecy.
Mr. McGilligan: It was a matter of secrecy.
Mr. Lemass: That is not an allegation against me but against Deputy McGilligan, who framed the legislation under which this lease was issued and who resisted in this Dáil an amendment proposed by me that no lease should be made under that Act except with the prior concurrence of each House of the Oireachtas.
Mr. McGilligan: You are operating the secrecy end of it.
Mr. Lemass: In accordance with its provisions.
Mr. McGilligan: In accordance with one of its provisions.
Mr. Lemass: Very well, the Deputy can endeavour to produce whatever proof he has to support that insinuation also. Deputy McGilligan also denies that he made the charge that I could have made a demise of the same rights on terms more advantageous to the State. Is he making that charge now or is he not? If he is not this whole thing falls to the ground. What is the basis of these allegations——
Mr. McGilligan: Shall I read it to you?
Mr. Lemass: I shall read it myself— except that I have given these  people the concession on terms less favourable to the State than could be got from somebody else? If it is admitted that these concessions were given on terms more favourable to the State than could be obtained from somebody else, then there is no substance in Deputy McGilligan's allegation. The implication which I have read into his allegation must be inferred from it even though he says it must not.
Mr. McGilligan: Have you any phrase to quote about it?
Mr. Lemass: I shall deal with the Deputy's phrases later. I am sorry that Deputy MacDermot made the plea that it should be considered in a non-Party spirit, because it destroys my belief in his sincerity. The allegations were made from despicable Party motives, and they are going to be refuted and all the odium that is going to result from their refutation will fall on the Party opposite. Deputy MacDermot stated that he had himself subscribed £50 to another gold prospecting venture in County Wicklow. It is a good job the Deputy is not on this side of the House or a member of the Fianna Fáil Party.
Mr. McGilligan: He would not have subscribed the £50 then. There would be no necessity.
Mr. Lemass: If he were on this side of the House he would have to meet the same kind of attack.
Mr. McGilligan: It would not be necessary if he subscribed the £50.
Mr. Lemass: I shall deal with Deputy McGilligan in a minute. Deputy Cosgrave thinks that I am a bit thin-skinned because I resented these allegations. I resent them, and resent them very much. I have one asset in life, and only one, and that is my reputation for honesty. When Deputy McGilligan is trying to take that asset away, Deputy Cosgrave is surprised that I resent it. Deputy Cosgrave was thick-skinned himself apparently.  Because he was associated with Deputy McGilligan for so long he developed a crocodile hide. Fortunately or unfortunately I resent allegations of that kind. When allegations of that kind are made against me, by Deputy McGilligan or anybody, they are going to be afforded an opportunity of proving them or withdrawing them.
Mr. Cosgrave: Why not inquire into that and not into other things?
Mr. Lemass: I will deal with the terms of reference in a moment. Deputy Cosgrave also spoke about my extreme haste. I am in a great hurry to give Deputy McGilligan an opportunity of proving his allegations. I am in a great hurry to have this whole matter investigated and all the facts made available to this House and the public. Deputy Cosgrave also wants to know what objection I have to his terms of reference. My objection to Deputy Cosgrave's terms of reference is that they are deliberately framed to exclude from the scope of the inquiry the people who briefed Deputy McGilligan to raise this matter here.
Mr. Cosgrave: Add them.
Mr. Lemass: They are added. Deputy McGilligan talked last week about Deputy Briscoe crossing to London. He was wrong. But there were people who went to London and represented themselves as the owners of a sub-lease and entered into an arrangement for the sale of that sub-lease on terms which secured for them £10,000 in cash and 50,000 in shares in a company to be formed, and who came back and found that Deputy Briscoe and Senator Comyn would have nothing to do with their deal, and then threatened Deputy Briscoe and Senator Comyn that the matter was to be raised in the Dáil; and it has been raised in the Dáil. They are coming in here before this inquiry, and all the facts concerning their association with this agreement are going to be made public.
Mr. Donnelly: It is a pity it was not retrospective.
Mr. Lemass: The reason I object to Deputy Cosgrave's terms of reference is because they are deliberately framed to keep these people out of the picture. They are coming into the picture.
Mr. Cosgrave: Add them.
Mr. Lemass: I have drafted the widest possible terms of reference. I listened with astonishment to Deputy Costello stating that my terms of reference were narrow and restricted. The speech which we heard from him must have astonished anyone who had heard something of his reputation as a lawyer. It was an appalling and painful exhibition. Listen to the terms of reference which he says are too restricted and too narrow for him:—
“to investigate and to report to the Dáil on all the facts and circumstances connected with and surrounding the application for and the grant of the said lease, and all the facts and circumstances connected with and surrounding the agreement made by the lessees for the assignment of their rights and obligations under the said lease.”
Mr. Cosgrave: Is that your first motion?
Mr. Lemass: That is what I am proposing now. My first motion dealt only with Deputy McGilligan's allegations. I thought Deputy McGilligan would take the excuse of running away from these allegations by saying that the Committee was not given wide enough terms of reference, and, therefore, when the lessees came to me and urged that in their interests the terms of reference should be widened, I agreed in my own interest also, because I am not going to let Deputy McGilligan get away with it. I am going to hang all these allegations round his neck for the rest of his life so that they will rattle in his ears on every occasion that he stands here to slander somebody else.
Deputy McGilligan tried to make a point arising out of his motion here— the point that I know an agreement has been made of a particular kind and that I will not tell the people who  made that agreement that I am not going to allow it. That is the only allegation he stuck to to-day and what does that consist of? On 25th April this year the lessees sent me a copy of an agreement which they had made. They furnished a copy of that agreement, not for the purpose of asking my approval of it, but in a different connection altogether, which will become apparent to the Committee. They did not ask me to approve of it, and I gave them no reply concerning it. I have expressed no opinion on it one way or another. I was not asked to express an opinion. That is the allegation. But Deputy McGilligan's friends wrote to me and asked me for an assurance that if such an application for a sub-lease were made I would not withhold my consent, and I refused to give that assurance. That is why this matter is before the Dáil to-day.
Mr. Esmonde: Is that an allegation?
Mr. Lemass: It is a statement of fact. Deputy McGilligan's point No. 2 is this: Do I consider it a proper thing that men should be allowed to traffic in property that is not their own? That is obviously a type of question to which you cannot give a yes or no answer, because if you give a yes or no answer you imply that somebody is in fact trafficking in property which is not their own; and there is nobody doing that, that I am aware of, or doing any of the other things to which Deputy McGilligan referred here. I am saying here, although my knowledge of this agreement and the surrounding circumstances is perhaps only a limited knowledge, that such as it is, it convinced me that not merely are Deputy Briscoe and Senator Comyn going to come out of this inquiry clear of Deputy McGilligan's charges, but they are going to come out of it honourably; and that it will be revealed there that they, in fact, refused to take for their interests in this matter what was offered to them by the people who briefed Deputy McGilligan.
Deputy McGilligan made reference  to the fact that I had to apologise to Mr. Joseph McGrath for having said something here on Wednesday last which conveyed the impression that he was associated with Irish Prospectors Limited. I did apologise to Mr. McGrath for having made that suggestion about him, and I think it is well to be clear that he has had no association with this particular development at all. He had association with an earlier gold project in 1930, but, as I stated already, as action taken by Irish Prospectors Limited created the impression in certain minds that he was associated with them, he took very definite action to have that impression removed.
Deputy McGilligan stated as a sort of additional charge that we had not sent notification of our willingness to accept applications for a mining lease of this property to a person who was within a stone's throw of Government Buildings, but that we sent it to a firm of solicitors in London and that is why we got no reply. On the same date that notification was sent to the firm of solicitors in London, a copy of the same letter with a covering note was sent to the individual in question —Mr. Summerfield.
Mr. MacDermot: Surely we have got back to the question of substance and away from the motion?
Mr. Lemass: I thought Deputy McGilligan was making another charge which was not covered by the terms of reference here. However, I think it is.
Mr. McGilligan: I did make one, which you neglected, about the £25.
Mr. Lemass: That is a circumstance surrounding the application for a lease.
Mr. McGilligan: It will not be ruled out?
Mr. Lemass: I am not sure whether it will or not. I am not clear as to its relevancy; but the Committee will be the judges of that.
Mr. McGilligan: I will explain if you like.
Mr. Lemass: The Deputy need not bother. I do not know that there was anything else said that I need refer to now. Deputy McGilligan made statements here which, even though they did not state in so many words the charges set out in the motion, nevertheless conveyed that impression to the minds of Deputies outside his Party and the members of the general public, as the statements by Deputy The O'Mahony and Deputy Kent have in fact indicated. When I challenged him to-day to say that his words were not intended to convey that impression, he refused to do it. On the contrary, he repeated the insinuation in each case and, consequently, I must insist that these charges are going to be investigated by the Committee. They can bring Deputy McGilligan there and they can ask him to produce whatever evidence he has, if he has any evidence, to support his allegations. When they have got rid of that, they can turn to investigate these alleged charges, having at their disposal all the information available in the Department of Industry and Commerce, all the departmental records, all the officials of the Department, and any members of the public whom they may think fit to bring before them.
Mr. MacDermot: This has only occurred to my mind now; it is not the result of any conference: has the Minister faced this possibility, that if he insists on framing the terms of reference, as they are framed here, on the basis of saying that Deputy McGilligan alleged certain things which he says he did not allege, the result may be that Deputy McGilligan and others in this Party may refuse to have anything to do with the Committee?
Mr. Lemass: I am prepared to withdraw that part of the resolution now on this condition and this condition only: that Deputy McGilligan stands up here and says that not merely did he not make those charges but that  nothing that is contained in his speech is to be taken as implying them. Only when he says that will I withdraw it.
Mr. McGilligan: Is there anything else which I did not say that the Minister would like me to withdraw?
Mr. Lemass: If the Deputy is not prepared to withdraw that, then those charges go for investigation.
Mr. McGilligan: Whether I said them or not.
Mr. Lemass: The Deputy's phrases are open to the interpretation that I have put upon them.
Mr. McGilligan: I asked the Minister to give me a phrase. He said he would give me one. Get me one now.
Mr. Lemass: The Deputy said that to-day. He said in relation to the first charge that these people were members of the Government Party— the people who got the lease. He said “I believe they got the lease because they were members of the Government Party.” The Deputy said that to-day. That is charge No. 1. I take it that No. 2 stands.
Deputy McGilligan: Which I had not made previously to-day.
Mr. Lemass: It is made now.
Mr. McGilligan: I have made other charges here. Why were they not put in?
Mr. Lemass: Charge No. 2 was made. Charge No. 3 was that other parties were interested in these deposits before, and that they subsequently became interested in them after the lease was issued.
Mr. McGilligan: Which Deputy Briscoe says.
Mr. Lemass: The Deputy left that to be implied. That allegation has got to be investigated. The three charges are going to the Committee and let them report if they will. Deputy McGilligan made no effort to substantiate those charges.
Mr. McGilligan: Because he did not say them.
Mr. Lemass: I am prepared to do a much more difficult thing. As Deputy McGilligan, who is a lawyer, well knows it is easy to refute charges: to prove that particular charges are not true, but I am prepared, in relation to these or any similar charges, to prove a negative: to prove that they could not possibly be true.
Mr. McGilligan: What is the Minister going to prove could not be true?
Mr. Lemass: Any charge made by the Deputy.
Mr. McGilligan: But where are they? That is not one of them.
Mr. Lemass: There was no specific charge made at any time in the allegations.
Mr. McGilligan: Look at (a) and (b). They are specifically phrased.
Mr. Lemass: They are in the form of questions.
Mr. McGilligan: Take (a). Is that a question?
Mr. Lemass: The allegation there is that I did not answer a question I was never asked.
Mr. McGilligan: Let the Committee report on that. Will you put that in?
Mr. Lemass: Certainly, it is in.
Mr. McGilligan: No.
Mr. Lemass: It is in full in the terms of reference which I have prepared for the Committee. They can investigate anything and everything that is associated or connected with or surrounding the lease or agreement. Deputy McGilligan is not going to get from me an excuse for running away from his charges.
Mr. McGilligan: The dust is so thick about this that the Minister is running away.
Mr. Lemass: I will drag the Deputy before that Committee, and if he does not turn up, then we will have to consider whether we will not set up a judicial inquiry before which he can be brought on warrant either to sustain his charges or withdraw them.
Mr. McGilligan: You will find it difficult to drag me before a Committee to sustain charges I did not make.
Mr. Lemass: I will cure the Deputy of his habit of making wild charges here and then running away from them.
Mr. McGilligan: I asked the Minister to give me a phrase which would cover (c). When I called attention to the terms of the motion, the Minister said that he would give me a phrase to cover (c), but we have not got it yet.
Mr. Lemass: “All the facts and circumstances connected with and surrounding the application.”
Mr. McGilligan: I mean paragraph (c) of your own motion. I was told that a phrase would be got for me to substantiate (c), which is an allegation of mine, and I am pointing out to the Minister that he has omitted to do that.
Mr. Lemass: The implication in the Deputy's speech was that these people were interested before the lease was given.
Mr. Cosgrave: The Minister said that my motion was deliberately framed to exclude certain people from this investigation. I know nothing about these people except what I gathered from the Minister in the course of his observations. I am not aware of anything in connection with this except what appeared in the Press. Does the Minister accept that?
Mr. Lemass: I accept what the Deputy says, that the motion was not deliberately framed to exclude them, but, accidentally, it has that effect.
Mr. MacDermot: I am surprised at the Minister refusing to accept my suggestion. It surely would be possible to  frame terms of reference that we could all agree to. I am genuinely anxious to have all this explored in a temperate and judicial spirit. I do not believe that we should have a party fight. It would be futile, I think, if the inquiry were to proceed on the lines laid down.
Mr. Lemass: The Deputy is only trying to find a way out for Deputy McGilligan.
Mr. McGilligan: Do not be foolish.
Mr. MacDermot: Have an inquiry to investigate all the facts and circumstances connected with and surrounding the transaction. That would include the propriety of the original lease and the propriety of the sub-lease which these people were proposing to enter into. Have that, and add anything else you like to it, but why bring in this controversial matter?
Mr. Lemass: The main purpose of the inquiry is to ascertain what justification Deputy McGilligan had for making these charges.
Mr. McGilligan: And which he says he did not make. Before the motion is put, may I refer to a statement I made with regard to a particular sum of money that was collected? Deputy Briscoe said it was not true. May I be permitted to read a paragraph from the letter of the solicitor who collected the £25?
Mr. Briscoe: Leave it to the Committee.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: No. I am sure that that can be done at the inquiry.
Question put: “That the words proposed to be deleted stand.”
The Dáil divided: Tá, 54; Níl, 31.
Carty, Frank. Doherty, Hugh.
Kelly, James Patrick.
Kent, William Rice.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick John.
Lynch, James B.
Maguire, Conor Alexander.
De Valera, Eamon. Moore, Séamus.
Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
Pattison, James P.
Pearse, Margaret Mary.
Ruttledge, Patrick Joseph.
Ward, Francis C.
|Bennett, George Cecil.
Burke, James Michael.
Cosgrave, William T.
Costello, John Aloysius.
Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
Esmonde, Osmond Grattan.
Minch, Sydney B.
O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Redmond, Bridget Mary.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Little and Smith; Níl: Deputies Bennett and O'Leary.
Question declared carried.
The Dáil, according to order, went into Committee on Finance and resumed consideration of the Estimates for Public Services.
Debate resumed on the motion:—
That the Estimate be referred back for reconsideration.—(Deputy Mulcahy.)
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lemass): The discussion on this Estimate was very largely concerned with the matter which we have just debated on the resolution. The only other references made by Deputies to the work of the Department were of a very general nature and do not call for specific reply by me at this stage. Some questions were asked by Deputies relating to individual industries and matters of that kind. I suggest to those Deputies that if they table Parliamentary questions I shall endeavour to give them the information they desire. It would be very difficult to get all the information in the short time available. These are matters which can be more properly dealt with by way of Parliamentary question.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I propose to put the question: “That the Estimate be referred back for reconsideration.”
Mr. Morrissey: Is the Minister going to reply to the debate?
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Minister has concluded.
Mr. Morrissey: It was not possible  on this side of the House to hear what the Minister was saying.
The Committee divided: Tá, 32; Níl, 53.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Burke, James Michael.
Cosgrave, William T.
Costello, John Aloysius.
Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
Minch, Sydney B.
O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Redmond, Bridget Mary.
Thrift, William Edward.
De Valera, Eamon.
Kelly, James Patrick.
|Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick John.
Lynch, James B.
Maguire, Conor Alexander.
Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
Pattison, James F.
Pearse, Margaret Mary.
Ruttledge, Patrick Joseph.
Ward, Francis C.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Bennett and O'Leary; Níl: Deputies Little and Smith.
Question declared lost.
Main Question put.
Mr. Morrissey: I asked the Minister if he would be good enough to repeat what he said when the amendment was put, because it was not possible to catch his statement owing to noise. Could the Minister indicate when he proposes to reply to the debate on his Estimate?
Mr. Lemass: To some extent I said that the debate on the Estimate was dealt with on the question that we discussed already to-day. Apart from that, a number of general statements were made which do not appear to call for a reply, and queries were made by Deputies relating to particular points and the interpretation of particular duties which could, in my opinion, be best dealt with by Parliamentary  Question. I said that in that way I would endeavour to get the information requested by the Deputy or other Deputies similarly interested.
Mr. Morrissey: May I take it that the part dealing with the whole question of unemployment can be dealt with on the question of unemployment assistance?
Mr. Lemass: I do not think so. I think that is a matter for the Chair to decide.
Mr. Morrissey: I think that the Minister will find that it can be dealt with under that head.
Vote put and agreed to.
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lemass): I move:—
Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £1,148 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1936, chun íocaíochtaí bhaineann le Seirbhísí Iompair in Eirinn.
That a sum not exceeding £1,148 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 payments connected with Irish Transport Services.
There are, in this year, only two sub-heads in this Estimate. The first sub-head provides for payments in respect of steamer services. It will be remembered that, as explained last year, payment was fixed at £300 a year in respect of the Galway-Arran steamer service. The other items represent a payment of £1,500 which we propose to make for each of three years, commencing this year, to the Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway, in order to assist them in the reorganisation of their transport services. As Deputies are aware, this company has had to be subsidised by the State, both by the Government of the Saorstát and by the Government  of Northern Ireland, for a number of years. However, we have got them to the position where they have got a scheme of reorganisation which will take three years to complete, and we are undertaking to make this payment for that period, the Government of Northern Ireland undertaking to make payment for a corresponding period. At the end of that time, we hope that the line will be established on an economic basis and that the subsidies will cease. The whole circumstances were explained to the Dáil last year in connection with this Vote.
Mr. Cosgrave: Will the Minister state the reason for the reduction from £600 to £300 in the payment in respect of the Galway-Arran steamer service?
Mr. Lemass: That is explained by the fact that, in the meantime, an agreement was made with the Company by which a certain liability of theirs to the State was wiped out and an arrangement made under which the subsidy was fixed at £300 a year.
Mr. Cosgrave: The Minister is probably aware of the fact that the prices for cattle and sheep and other agricultural produce have diminished very considerably and that, in consequence, the incidence of the charge in respect of journeyings to and fro is of much greater weight on the people than in former years. I understand that a proposal was put before the Ministry that, until prices for these products are improved, some reduction should take place in the fares of passengers to and fro, but that the Department refused to do so. I do not know if the Minister is personally aware of anything of that sort having taken place, but perhaps he would look into it. There is one other matter to which I would like to refer. I am not sure whether it is in order to discuss it here. I notice that in page 264 of the Estimates for Public Services, there is mention of repayments by the Cork Borough Corporation and the Electricity Supply Board under Section 15 of the Cork Tramways (Employees' Compensation) Act, 1933. As far as I know, that Act has worked satisfactorily  except in one particular case. The particular case to which I refer is that of a man who was the first man to drive a tram on the streets of Cork, some forty years ago, and the last man to bring in his tram to the shed on the night that the Cork Tramways ceased operation. He died, however, before the time came when it was possible for him to make application for compensation. He had given all that service. I have had a good deal of correspondence with the Minister on this matter, as I think he will remember, and it is the only case I know of, of a man who had that number of years' service, and who died before it was possible for him to make application for compensation, where his family have got nothing at all. That man left a widow and some children. In so far as he had earned the right to the compensation, he had a greater claim to it than anybody else. Had the Act been passed a month or two earlier, he would have been able to make a claim and his family would have had the benefit of it.
It is probable the Minister will take the view that once you expand a case of that sort, the door gets wider and wider. In this case, however, I think that what might be called a generous interpretation of the Act might be given. As a matter of fact, I think I supplied the Minister with what amounts to a legal opinion on this case, and pointed out that a similar case was not likely to arise. However, to think that a man, who gave all those years of service, should be debarred from compensation simply because he did not live a month or two longer, seems to me undoubtedly to be a case for investigation. I think that the fact that that man's family is deprived of any compensation is deplorable. It may be said, of course, that, by reason of his death, his expenses and so on ceased to exist and that it did not cost anything to keep him. This, however, is an exceptional case. I may say that the other cases, broadly speaking, were generously dealt with, and at one time it was intended to give compensation only to men who had had a certain number of  years' service. This man, however, had the largest number of years' service, and I think that the Minister would be well advised, in a case of that sort, to have the case reopened and reconsidered. No cost will devolve upon the State. The Electricity Supply Board will not be affected in their finances by any case of this kind, and I understand that the Cork Corporation are willing to bear the cost.
Mr. Lemass: I am aware of the case to which Deputy Cosgrave has referred. The fact is, however, that the Bill does not give us power to pay compensation in such a case and, in order to pay compensation in such a case, it would be necessary to introduce another and special Act. In any case, we decided, when the Bill was originally brought before the House, that we were only called upon to provide compensation for people who were unemployed in consequence of the cessation of the tramways and that no other class should be included. Employment with the Tramways Company, if I remember correctly, was not in any sense pensionable; nor was there any provision made for the granting of pension or gratuity to the widows or dependents of the employees of the Tramways Company. The widow is no worse off than she would have been if the tramways had continued running until her husband died. However, I agree that it is a hard case, but there is an old saying that hard cases make bad law, and the fact is that the law which the Dáil decided to enact to deal with the particular problem created by the cessation of the Cork tramways did not provide for cases of that kind. The persons who became entitled to make claims for compensation under that Act were the persons still living on the date fixed and unemployed on that date. No power was given to the successors of deceased persons to make a claim.
Mr. Cosgrave: While there may not be a law for it, there is no prohibition against it. It simply amounts to a generous interpretation. Had the man lived until 1st October—and that  would mean, I think, about a month, or possibly five weeks, longer than he did live—and had he signed his form and died the moment after he had signed it, compensation would be payable. I think it is unreasonable to his family in this case. I have not got the particulars of the case I am speaking of; I am speaking only from recollection and I should not have remembered it except for this appropriation here. This is a case in respect of which there will not be a parallel under the Act, and it is all the harder by reason of the fact that the man was the first driver and the last to bring in his vehicle on that particular night. It is that particular man's case which made the strength of the compensation case here. In my view, there is no prohibition.
Mr. Lemass: There is, very definitely.
Mr. Cosgrave: What is the prohibition? The Comptroller and Auditor-General does not come into this; the Electricity Supply Board and the Cork Corporation are the bodies concerned. There is absolutely no prohibition. The Minister may have some knowledge of normal law but he has no knowledge whatever of theology.
Mr. Lemass: Does the Deputy propose that I should exceed the limits of the statute?
Mr. Cosgrave: I say that the Minister often gave a more liberal interpretation in other directions.
Mr. Lemass: I always endeavour to give the most liberal interpretation.
Mr. Cosgrave: The Minister has often given a far more liberal interpretation. I have done it myself, and I would be justified in doing so in a case of this sort. The particular hardship imposed on the family is that the man was awarded a pension, not to live from the date of the passing of the Act until 1st October—that was not what he got it for—but for his length of service. It is quite possible that the circumstances of the case arose  from the fact that he had such long service and was disturbed when it ceased. Had he lived for five weeks, signed, and then dropped dead immediately after, there would be a case for the widow. Had it been that under the Act application could be made at an earlier date, he would have got it. But in so far as any service of his went towards qualifying him for a pension—and it was a service of 40 years, although I may be five or ten years out—he gave all that, and I was astonished and aghast at the Minister when I heard of the case, because I know he is not finicky about certain things. One has only to read his speeches to see how generous he is in other matters—abuse and that sort of thing—and a man so disposed would normally exculpate himself for the larger offences if he were to be more generous in a matter of this kind in which the State is not affected by one penny. It will not affect the representatives of the Cork Corporation, and certainly will not diminish the profits of the Electricity Supply Board.
Mr. Lemass: If there is such a thing as a soft-hearted lawyer in the service of the Government, all the soft-hearted lawyers whom we have in our service were consulted and asked if it were possible to put upon that Act an interpretation which would make legal the payment which Deputy Cosgrave desires in this case and the softest-hearted of them could not make the payment legal. The Act was quite specific——
Mr. Cosgrave: Who was he?
Mr. Lemass: ——and deprives us of power to make the payment.
Mr. Cosgrave: We have the hardhearted ones on this side and I consulted them, and I will accept their information anywhere. Under no conceivable set of circumstances could they interpret the Act in the way in which the Minister and his soft-hearted lawyers interpreted it.
Mr. Lemass: They must be bad lawyers.
Mr. Cosgrave: In any case, I will give the Minister an amending Bill which I have drawn up and there will be no question of it passing through the House. It is not a question of an interpretation of the law. If the Minister agrees with me that the man's service qualified him, the mere phraseology and technicology of the draftsman ought not to interfere with him. He gave the service. It was his case which could be made the case for the introduction of the measure.
Mr. Lemass: Oh, no.
Mr. Cosgrave: Yes.
Mr. Lemass: Suppose he had died a week before the service was stopped——
Mr. Cosgrave: That is another matter.
Mr. Lemass: ——what different position would the widow be in?
Mr. Cosgrave: My case is that he completed the service. Had this Act gone through the House as originally framed and not extended to bring in persons who had shorter service, it might have been law in time to allow that man to make his application. Deputy Anthony, who was the representative in Cork, made a very good case, which I supported, in relation to enlarging the scope and including a greater number of men. The Minister, at first, objected, but subsequently agreed to it. Here is the man above all others who is entitled to this compensation, but because of a technicality, because of his not being alive on a particular date to put his name to a document, his family are penalised. I can give the Minister a copy of the Bill I have drawn up to validate the whole business. If he cannot get these soft-headed lawyers to reverse their opinion, I can tell him that the hardest-headed lawyer in this country has given me the contrary opinion. It is only postponing it because it will be done later on.
Vote put and agreed to.
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lemass): I move:—
Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £1,859 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1936, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí eile an Bhínse Bhóthair Iarainn (Uimh. 29 de 1924 agus Uimh. 9 de 1933).
That a sum not exceeding £1,859 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 other Expenses of the Railway Tribunal (No. 29 of 1924 and No. 9 of 1933).
This is a purely formal Vote. There is no change except a slight decrease in the salaries, wages and allowances estimated. I do not know that it is necessary to say anything about it. It is a statutory obligation for which the Department makes provision.
Mr. Cosgrave: Is the Railway Tribunal doing any work?
Mr. Lemass: It is carrying out all the functions which devolve upon it by statute and doing them well.
Mr. Cosgrave: How many times did the court sit in the year?
Mr. Lemass: The report of the Railway Tribunal is published and left in the Library for the information of Deputies.
Mr. Cosgrave: Yes, like that of the Revenue Commissioners and the Department of Agriculture, the Minister's statistics and the rest of them, at least 18 months after the event.
Mr. Lemass: When I was in opposition I used to read them.
Mr. Cosgrave: The Minister, with great respect to the Chair, has scamped all his work as Minister here from the beginning of this sitting. He has given  us no information. He has grabbed every penny he can get. He tells us about soft-headed lawyers and so on, and when we ask a simple question as to how often this court sat he does not know.
Mr. Lemass: As often as is necessary.
Vote put and agreed to.
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lemass): I move:—
Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £5,256 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1936, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí na Muir - Sheirbhíse (Achtanna Loingis Cheannaíochta, 1894 go 1933, agus an tAcht Imeall Trágha, 1933 (Uimh. 12 de 1933)).
That a sum not exceeding £5,256 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 Marine Service (Merchant Shipping Acts, 1894-1933, and the Foreshore Act, 1933 (No. 12 of 1933)).
There is practically no change in this Vote, which provides for routine services undertaken by the Department. The various slight changes in the provision under the different sub-heads are explained in the notes attached to the Estimate.
Mr. Cosgrave: I suppose there is no report about the Marine Service?
Mr. Lemass: No. It was carried on with the usual efficiency during the year.
Mr. Esmonde: Will the Minister say what is the position with regard to the Irish Lights Service? Has the question of the taking over of that service been indefinitely postponed?
Mr. Lemass: I am afraid that question must be addressed to the President  as the Minister for External Affairs; it does not directly concern the Department of Industry and Commerce.
Vote agreed to.
Mr. Lemass: I move:—
Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £1,005,987 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31 adh lá de Mhárta, 1936, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí i dtaobh Arachais Díomhaointis agus Malartán Fostuíoctha (maraon le síntiúisí do Chiste an Díomhaointis) agus i dtaobh Conganta Díomhaointis (9 Edw. 7, c. 7; 10 agus 11 Geo. 5, c. 30; 11 Geo. 5, c. 1; 11 agus 12 Geo. 5, c. 15; 12 Geo. 5, c. 7; Uimh. 17 de 1923; Uimh. 26 agus Uimh. 59 de 1924; Uimh. 21 de 1926; Uimh. 33 de 1930; agus Uimh. 44 agus Uimh. 46 de 1933) agus i dtaobh seirbhísí áirithe fén Acht um Beithigh agus Caoire do Mharbhadh, 1934 (Uimh. 42 de 1934).
That a sum not exceeding £1,005,987 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 in connection with Unemployment Insurance and Employment Exchanges (including contributions to the Unemployment Fund) and Unemployment Assistance (9 Edw. 7, c. 7; 10 and 11 Geo. 5, c. 30; 11 Geo. 5, c. 1; 11 and 12 Geo. 5, c. 15; 12 Geo. 5, c. 7; No. 17 of 1923; Nos. 26 and 59 of 1924; No. 21 of 1926; No. 33 of 1930; and Nos. 44 and 46 of 1933) and certain services under the Slaughter of Cattle and Sheep Act, 1934 (No. 42 of 1934).
The particulars of the Estimate are set out in the Book of Estimates. It will be noted there is quite a substantial increase in the provisions under sub-heads A, B and C for salaries, wages and allowances, and  travelling and incidental expenses. That increase arises entirely out of the fact that the Unemployment Assistance Act is being brought into operation and it is necessary to increase considerably the number of employment staff clerks and employment clerks and also the number of temporary clerks engaged in the outside offices of the Department. In fact, the whole of the increase in salaries and wages arises practically in that connection. The increase in the staffs of these outstations and branch offices is necessary because of the additional work which has fallen upon them and in order to enable that work to be disposed of expeditiously.
There is an increase of £150 in the fee of the umpire, consequential upon the increased work which is falling upon him under the Unemployment Assistance Act. The original fee was based upon the work to be done under the Unemployment Insurance Act only. There is an increase of £10,000 in the contribution to the Unemployment Fund. The amount of that is fixed by statute. It constitutes a definite percentage of the total revenue of the Fund from the payment of contributions by employers. As the number of people in employment increases and the revenue to the Fund from the sale of stamps increases, the State contribution must also increase. In view of the increase in employment in recent years, which is likely to continue for the coming year, we are providing an extra £10,000 under that sub-head.
The Estimate for unemployment assistance is up by £100,000. The Act was not in full operation last year. The first payments of assistance were made after the beginning of the financial year and it was only towards the end of the year that anything like a full number of applicants was being dealt with each week. As Deputies are aware, there are substantial numbers of persons who have applied for qualification certificates and whose applications were rejected by the unemployment assistance officers. They have appealed against that and they have yet to have their appeals disposed of.  The number is in excess of 30,000 and, assuming that some proportion of them will prove their claims to have qualification certificates, then these people, if unemployed, will be in a position to claim unemployment assistance. The Estimate, therefore, for this year exceeds the Estimate for last year by £100,000, which we hope will prove to be adequate.
There is very little change in respect of the Appropriations-in-Aid. These arise mainly out of the Unemployment Assistance Act, with the exception of No. 1—sub-head K (1)—which is a statutory appropriation from the Unemployment Fund to meet the cost of administration of the Unemployment Insurance Acts. The others arise under the Unemployment Assistance Act and are taken into account in this Vote as a set-off against the cost of administration of the Unemployment Assistance Act.
I am not quite clear that there are any points that Deputies want to raise concerning these services. I have not received from any Deputy an intimation that he desires to raise any particular matter, with one exception, and that is in reference to the decision given by me that certain workers employed upon relief works of a particular description were not insurable under the Unemployment Insurance Acts. These workers were employed on the Fergus in Co. Clare. I arranged to have the matter brought forward for a decision by me in the ordinary way as to whether or not they were insurable, the main question in that connection being whether the employment was employment in agriculture or of another description. I decided that the work was not insurable, but that decision was contested by representatives of the workers concerned. I agreed that we would arrange to have the matter decided in the courts. There has been some delay in implementing that undertaking on my part, but I think that delay need not be prolonged any more. The Minister for Finance has consented to the proposal and the matter is being discussed with the Board of Works who, as the employers, will be required to give a lot of information upon which the arguments pro and con the insurability of these workers can be based. There is an appeal from the Minister's decision to the courts.
Deputies will appreciate, in this case, that the particular workers could not meet the legal costs involved in taking that appeal and we are getting over that by having the costs of both sides defrayed by the State in order to have the case finally determined. We regard it as a typical case of persons employed in connection with drainage and relief works and the decision of the court upon the appeal from my decision will be regarded as binding on Departments of State employing such labour in future. That was the only matter which any Deputy intimated to me would be raised on this discussion.
I do not know that it is necessary to say more. I am sure Deputies will have other points to raise. I see Deputy Morrissey ready to spring and I hope when I am concluding to be able to answer any points he will raise or give him any information which he desires to procure. The administration of the Unemployment Assistance Act has been in a sense experimental up to this. That will be the main point on which Deputies are likely to be concerned. When that measure was before us I anticipated that we would have, not once but on a number of occasions, to amend it.
It was a Bill to bring into operation a certain social service which in its dimensions in respect of the number of people to be covered, and the cost of it is considerably larger than the Unemployment Insurance scheme. Since the Unemployment Act was first passed it has been amended almost once a year since the establishment of the Free State. Some years it was amended more than once. I do not expect in respect of this Bill any other consequences than those that arose in the case of the previous Bill. That Bill is intended to cover the anomalies that have arisen to date. Others will arise in future and they will call for further amendment. The main difficulty that has arisen is in connection with the consideration of appeals. The provisions in connection  with the matter of appeals under the Unemployment Assistance Act prove totally inadequate. Everybody whose application for a certificate was rejected exercised his right of appeal, and some 35,000 appeals altogether were made. Of these only a very small proportion have been dealt with. We coped to some extent with that by providing for a revision of the decisions by the unemployment officers. In some 7,000 or 8,000 cases new awards favourable to the applicants have been made. Though these cases are still listed for decision by the Appeals Committee, nevertheless the applicants have got what they desired. The main problem that arose there was that an alternative system of deciding appeals should be established. Proposals in that connection are embodied in the Unemployment Assistance Bill now awaiting a Second Reading by the Dáil.
We have had some complaints concerning delays in making payments to persons who got certificates and who have proved eligible for receiving assistance. These delays were possibly justified in some offices owing to lack of staff or to a temporary rush of work which may have disorganised the consideration of these matters. But wherever these difficulties arose they have been removed either by the allocation of new staff or in some other way. A number of new branch offices have been established, and some of the old offices have been converted into exchanges. This year we contemplate that the cost of the staff will be increased to over £40,000, so that there need be no such delay in dealing with these matters in the future. In any event the provisions of the amending Bill which is now before the Dáil will, in many respects, remove some of the difficulties which in the past prevented some applicants having their claims disposed of rapidly. I have to ask the Deputies, in dealing with the Act, to bear in mind the magnitude of the task which the Department undertook. We received 257,000 applications for certificates during the course of the 12 months. All of these had to be considered, decisions come to, and these had to be checked.  In addition, the issuing of certificates to the applicants following the assessment of means involved a huge volume of work, apart altogether from the work that arose in connection with the giving of assistance to those who received the certificates.
In the short time after the Act has been brought into operation almost 100,000 are receiving weekly payments under it. The number of cases where complaints can legitimately be raised constitute a very small proportion of the number where no difficulties are experienced. The average payment per week is about 7/-. That arises from the fact that the great majority of those receiving assistance are not unemployed persons in the sense formerly used to describe them. They are not persons depending solely upon their earnings for their livelihood. A great many of them are landowners whose means are sufficiently low to qualify them for a certificate. Consequently they came on the register and were able to claim assistance. The amount they were entitled to receive was comparatively small and this brought down the average payment far below the schedule rates provided for in the Act. The cost of the Act has worked out roughly at about £30,000 a week. That varies from one time of the year to the other. As yet it is impossible to say what the average cost for the year will be, because we have not as yet experience of a summer when the great bulk of the applicants had their claims considered. Further, the summer employment period which will operate in respect of single men for ten weeks until the middle of July, will account for a good many and will have an effect upon the total cost of the measure. Deputies will be inclined to argue in favour of various alternatives in our practice and these will increase the cost of the scheme. I see no way in which we can increase the amount to be distributed under this Act without imposing a charge upon the Exchequer in respect of what can be met under the present circumstances, particularly having regard to the opposition that  has been offered from certain quarters. Any Deputy who suggests an increase in the grants under the Act should at the same time indicate the source from which the revenue can be secured.
Mr. Morrissey: Last week the Minister when introducing the Estimate for the Department of Industry and Commerce spoke for a considerable time and he treated the House to a great mass of figures which he had got at his command. He gave us the benefit of what he had deduced from these figures. The net result of the Minister's examination of the figures was that he was satisfied that not only was there a considerable increase in the number of persons employed but that there was a very substantial decrease in the number of persons unemployed. The Minister on a few occasions here warned certain Deputies of the dangers of using statistics. He said, recently, that statistics in the hands of a certain Deputy were like dynamite in the hands of a child. One has only to look at this Estimate itself and to look at the enormous sum which the Minister is asking the House to vote to realise that the Minister in dealing with those figures was absolutely confused; that he did not know what they meant and that he drew absolutely wrong conclusions from them. The Minister told us that he was satisfied from an examination of these figures that such and such was the position. The Minister did not believe for a moment that that was the position, or, else if he did, he must be absolutely ignorant of the position. He said there were fewer people unemployed to-day than three or four years ago and that there is a substantial decrease in unemployment. Is there any Deputy in actual touch with the conditions in town and country who believes for one moment that that is so? The Minister does not believe it. If that were so, there would be no necessity for the Minister to come here and ask the House for a gross sum of £2,000,000 for the purpose of dealing with unemployment and unemployment insurance assistance.
The Minister is now roughly three-and-a-half  years in charge of the Department of Industry and Commerce. He is the person primarily responsible for finding work for unemployed persons in this country. The sum he is asking for to-day is a very strange answer to the promises he made three-and-a-half years ago, and is a very strange commentary upon the statement made by the President three-and-a-half years ago that it was comparatively easy to solve the unemployment problem in this country. Does the Minister or any member of this House believe, leaving aside altogether the number of persons unemployed in 1931, that the figures put forward by the Department of Industry and Commerce to-day represent the total number of persons unemployed? I am not at all satisfied that the number of persons given as unemployed in 1931—31,000, or whatever it was—represented the number of unemployed in 1931. Neither am I satisfied that the figures given by the Minister as representing the unemployed to-day is the actual number. Is there any person in touch with the conditions this year who is not convinced that there are a class of people unemployed to-day that were not unemployed in 1931. The Minister made the astounding statement that there are more people employed in agriculture to-day than four years ago. Is there a single Deputy in this House who believes that? Out of his own mouth, five or six months ago, he contradicted that statement, because he told them that the reason we have 141,000 or 145,000 or 130,000 people signing on is because there are people signing on to-day who never signed on before? Of course there are. As I stated, there are farmers and farmers' sons signing on to-day and competing with workers in cities and towns, but who, up to the advent of the present Government, were able to get a living on their farm.
Mr. Lemass: Were there no uneconomic holdings in previous years?
Mr. Morrissey: There were, but there was this important difference, that in the past, even off these uneconomic holdings, they were able to sell a  beast for £10 or £12, and that made a very big difference. The Minister knows, and if he does not know let him consult the members of his own Party and he will be quickly informed, that what I state is a fact. I know from my own experience that agricultural workers are now competing with town workers, and that people are flocking into the cities and towns competing with the urban workers and offering to accept jobs at much lower rates than the existing rates. That is well known to every Trade Union leader and Secretary in the country. We have the President's definite statement that it was comparatively easy to solve the unemployment problem in this country. We have the Minister's definite statement, set down in writing, that they had a plan that in the case of a few selected industries they were going to absorb 84,605, or something like that, workers in employment. The only thing troubling the Minister then was the fact that he would not have a sufficient number of persons in this country available to take up the jobs that were going, and that he would have to call back those persons who had emigrated abroad. Now after three-and-a-half years, he has had to admit that he has only placed 25,000 persons in industrial employment.
Mr. Lemass: 97,000.
Mr. Morrissey: In industrial employment?
Mr. Lemass: In insurable employment.
Mr. Morrissey: I am talking of the 84,000 he was to put into industrial employment.
Mr. Lemass: We have passed that long ago.
Mr. Morrissey: That is another of the Minister's promises. I would like to ask the Minister a further question with regard to the deduction he has drawn from the number of books and claims current, and the number of persons in respect of whom unemployment insurance is paid. Can he tell us to what extent greater compliance  with the Act has ensured that? Has the administration been tightened up, and have the Inspectors ensured better compliance? The Minister said that 32,000 claims were held up in the past, and that Deputies should appreciate the magnitude of the task placed on the shoulders of officials. I appreciate that fact; it was a huge task to place upon the officials. But my quarrel is with the Minister. He had plenty of notice of this particular Act, and he did not take steps in time to ensure that when the Act came into operation there would be machinery capable of working it. The position we are in is that there were roughly 30,000 or 32,000 claims for unemployment assistance and that these claims were turned down. Appeals were made, some of them as far back as March 12 months ago, and these people do not know to-day whether they are to get that money or not. Further, I say I realise the difficult and almost impossible task it would be for the Minister to meet and answer every individual question. But these people are in this position: They write to their representatives and their representatives are not in a position to obtain information as to the position of these claims and whether they will be heard in three or 12 months' time. The Minister has given no indication as to when he hopes to have these 30,000 odd claims disposed of. Can he say whether they will be cleared in three months, in six months or in 12 months? Is he going to arrange for extra staffs to dispose of these claims in a reasonable time? I suggest the present position is grossly unfair to those people. We know quite well that many of these people were getting outdoor relief or home assistance and now, because of the coming into operation of this Unemployment Assistance Act, they are not getting either one or the other. I do not know whether those cases have been brought to the Minister's notice, but a number of them have been brought to my notice.
It seems rather extraordinary that  the Minister should calmly tell us that there are more persons in employment to-day than ever before in this country and that there has been a great decrease in the number of unemployed, in face of the figures issued by his own Department. I suggest to the Minister that it is a positive danger to himself and to the unemployed to handle figures in this way. If he draws these conclusions from the figures placed before him, and believes his figures are right, the sooner the Statistical Department is scrapped the better, both for himself and the unemployed. There is very little hope for the tens of thousands of unemployed if he tries to convince himself by eating into it from both ends—that there are fewer unemployed and that there are more employed. If the Minister believes that, he is ignorant of the actual conditions in the country. I am satisfied from my knowledge, anyway—and I give it for what it is worth—that there are at least double the number of unemployed there were three years ago. The Minister's statement that there are more employed in agriculture than three years ago is too absurd, even to call for an answer from anybody in this House. The Minister must know it is absurd and if he does not, I am quite certain that if he took the trouble to ask any member of his own Party who lives in a rural area what the actual conditions there are, he would be told, very quickly, that so far from there being extra employment, there is much less employment than formerly. In fact, there is not sufficient employment for even the members of farmers' families. So much is that the case that they have to go out to compete with the ordinary worker for whatever work is offering outside their farms.
Mr. Norton: Speaking on the Estimate for his Department proper, the Minister told us that he had now been able to obtain information to the effect that the average weekly contributions paid by insured persons under the Unemployment Insurance Act was 17. 6d. per week in respect of contributions for stamps. If we look  at that figure and relate it to 12 months' continuous employment, we find that a person continuously employed for a period of 12 months should contribute to the Unemployment Insurance Fund a sum of £3 18/- a year. Let us, for argument's sake, assume that the contribution is £4 a year. That is an over-estimate by 2½ per cent. We can deduct, or add, that 2½ per cent. in order to get at a figure which is approximately accurate. Assuming, therefore, that every £4 contribution to the Unemployment Insurance Fund represents one person employed for a period of 52 weeks, we get somewhat startling information which does not at all seem to square with the information which has previously been conveyed by the Minister to the House, which is conveyed by the Minister to the public on the hustings outside and which the Deputies of his own Party have an unfortunate habit of repeating, believing that everything that comes from the Minister is just as if it came from the Books of Truth and Revelation. I suggest to the Minister that he should try to cure his supporters of repeating statements which he makes and especially try to cure them of the habit of repeating these statements without even the qualifications which the Minister attaches to the statements himself.
If we look at the adjusted income to the Unemployment Insurance Fund in respect of the sale of unemployment insurance stamps for the year 1931 and compare it with the figures for 1934, the last year in respect of which figures are available, we find that the income in 1931 was £553,000 in respect of men and in the year 1934 the contributions income was £607,000, an increase of £54,000 in 1934 as compared with 1931. When we pass to the income contribution in respect of women, we find that the income in respect of the sale of stamps, adjusted to the new rates, in 1931, was £155,000 and in 1934 £176,000, an increase of £21,000 in 1934 as compared with 1931. In respect to men, therefore, we have an increased income represented by the sale of stamps of  £54,000 from 1931 to 1934. In respect of the same years we have an increase of £21,000 in respect of the sale of stamps to women. As the Minister knows, this method of applying the test of additional persons in constant employment over the 52 weeks of the year is the most reliable test that can be applied, to find out the extent of the increased employment in industries covered by the Unemployment Insurance Acts, and in respect of full-time or regular employment for 52 weeks.
Mr. Lemass: That is the weekly average employed.
Mr. Norton: Quite, the weekly average employed. A check on those figures which I may mention were supplied recently in the House, can be applied by reference to the contribution income in respect of national health insurance stamps. Of course, the National Health Insurance Acts cover much wider categories of workers and, to that extent, any analysis of figures representing those in employment in industries or services covered by the National Health Insurance Acts, will not be a reliable industrial guide, because the National Health Insurance Acts apply not merely to industries but to domestic service and to agricultural employment. The income derived from contributions under these Acts does not afford a reliable comparison with the income derived from the sale of stamps to persons insured under the Unemployment Insurance Acts. The figures, nevertheless, provide a picture of what the position really is. If we take the national health insurance contributions in respect of men, we find that the income for 1932 was £412,000 as against £436,000 in 1934, an increase of £24,000. In respect of women, in 1932 the income was £177,000 and in 1934 £190,000, an increase of £13,000.
Applying the test of dividing the increase in the contribution income in respect of the sale of unemployment insurance stamps by four, representing £4 for each 52 weeks' continuous employment, we find that the additional number of men who secured regular employment for 52 weeks of the year  in 1934, as compared with 1931, was 13,500, and in respect of women 5,200. These figures give a much more reliable indication of the amount of regular employment provided during each of these years than any mere reference to the income in respect of the sale of national health insurance stamps. We might, of course, in normal circumstances, congratulate ourselves on the fact that even close on 19,000 additional persons found employment in industry over a period of 52 weeks in 1934 as compared with the position in 1931. But we have to remember that during the same period, according to the Registrar General's Return, the population of the country has increased by approximately 52,000.
If this test of ascertaining the number of persons who get regular employment in industry is reliable, and it is generally accepted as the most reliable kind of test to be applied, it will be found by a comparison of these figures with the increase in population reported by the Registrar-General that we are not to-day absorbing into regular employment even half the number of persons remaining in the country now as an increased population. So far, therefore, from being able to relieve the dead-weight of unemployment, that problem seems to me to be calculated to become still more grave by reason of the fact that we are not absorbing half the increased population into industry; unless, of course, anybody can find consolation in the fact that it is part of the destiny of workers to be content with one, two or three months' employment in every year, and to depend on such miserable income as they can derive from unemployment assistance for the remaining three, six, or nine months of each year.
Mr. Lemass: I do not want to interrupt Deputy Norton, but I should like the Chair to give a ruling as to the scope of this debate. Ordinarily, I think the discussion upon this Estimate is confined to the administration of the Unemployment Insurance and Unemployment Assistance Acts. I think it has been ruled before that a general  discussion on unemployment cannot arise on this. I am not anxious to avoid a discussion, but I think that at this stage we should know whether it is going to be permitted by the Chair.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Minister is right in stating that, except on the main vote for the Department, and particularly if there is a motion to refer back, the discussion on any Estimate is confined to administration and does not extend to general policy.
General Mulcahy: Are you ruling, Sir, that in discussing the general Vote here for unemployment assistance we cannot go into the question of the abnormal increase in unemployment?
Mr. Norton: In the circumstances which make it necessary to refer to this.
Mr. Lemass: I am anxious to ensure that we do not establish a precedent for the future. In the past, we have been confined in the discussion on this Estimate to the narrow question of administration. The general question of policy is deemed to arise properly only on the main Estimate. I am anxious that that should not be departed from without advertence to it.
Mr. Morrissey: This is the principal Estimate.
An Ceann Comhairle: The whole administration of the Minister's Department and the various sub-heads may be discussed, and usually are, when there is a motion to refer back the Vote of the Minister himself. The Deputy is aware of that.
Mr. Morrissey: I submit that the whole question of unemployment and the necessity for this provision of £1,500,000 for unemployment assistance can be discussed on the Estimate, as well as the continuance of unemployment and the policy which has led to it.
An Ceann Comhairle: I am not for a moment stating that Deputies are prevented from referring to the extent of unemployment, but a discussion  which might range over the economic war and industrial development would not be in order. I am not, however, preventing Deputies from adverting to the extent of unemployment.
Mr. Lemass: I raised it because Deputy Norton was proceeding to refer to the effect which the industrial policy had on unemployment and employment. That is a matter which I dealt with in my speech on the main Estimate; and I do not know that it should arise here on this Estimate, which is concerned only with the administration of these two Acts.
Mr. Morrissey: That was the Minister's opening speech and he made no speech in reply.
Mr. Norton: Deputy Belton was not here to resume the discussion on that Vote. Everybody assumed that Deputy Belton was going to exercise his right. However, I will give a guarantee not to introduce the economic war on this Estimate. I submit that in considering these Estimates we are entitled to advert to the magnitude of the unemployment problem. I suggest also that we are entitled to remind the Minister that there is no reason, in view of the figures which he has supplied officially in answer to a question in this House on the subject of unemployment, to be as complacent as he appears to be on that very grave problem.
We are asked in this Estimate to make provision for the payment of unemployment assistance and unemployment insurance benefit to approximately 100,000 persons who are registered as unemployed at employment exchanges throughout the country. In the course of the information issued each week by his Department, the Minister states that approximately 73,000 of these persons have means. I suggest to the Minister, however, that the means debited against these persons are of a kind only arrived at by these strained mathematical calculations performed by persons whose duty it is to ascertain the means in the peculiar manner provided by the Minister in the Act, and that, in fact, there are no real means possessed by many of these persons. Cases have  come to my notice where, for instance, the occupant of a labourer's cottage is assumed to have an income out of the small plot of land attached to the cottage, and income of that kind has in the past been taken into consideration in ascertaining the means of persons. To most normal citizens, means of that kind, however, are not really means within the normal definition which one attaches to means. It is not, for instance, the kind of income which is dealt with under the income tax regulations, and they are pretty stringent without any further intention of intensifying the definition of what are means for the purpose of the Unemployment Assistance Act.
I say to the Minister that he is now presented with the problem of providing work or unemployment assistance or unemployment insurance benefit for 130,000 persons. If you assume, for instance, that these persons have three dependents each, you get an unemployment problem measured by reference to the fact that there are about 400,000 persons, counting the dependents, actually in need of work or sustenance to-day. That is the very serious unemployment problem with which the Minister and his Department and the whole Executive Council are presented.
In 1932, commenting on the seriousness of the unemployment problem, which was then reputed to be 91,000 persons registered as unemployed, the Minister's own Party organ, the Irish Press, stated:
“It is a tremendous figure, a frightening one. It is a call to every section of the community to face this problem tirelessly and unremittingly. It is a challenge to the Government —one it must take up, no matter at what cost. It must reduce that 91,000; it must reduce it quickly. All its resources and power of organisation must be devoted to reducing it. That is its first task. That is the task which it must solve if it is to keep public sympathy and to survive.”
These were very wise words and very commendable advice to the Minister when we had 91,000 persons unemployed.  Now we have 130,000 unemployed persons. When we ask what provision is being made in this Estimate for relieving that gigantic army of unemployed, we are simply endeavouring to ascertain from the Minister what are his proposals for providing employment for those persons in lieu of the unemployment assistance benefit on which they are at present expected to exist. The Minister knows perfectly well that the rates of unemployment assistance benefit were grossly inadequate to maintain an unemployed man, woman and their dependents. The rates of benefit under the Unemployment Assistance Act are much less than the sum allowed to maintain a person, legally described as a “pauper”, in a public institution.
Mr. Morrissey: And they are going to be much less.
Mr. Norton: And these rates of benefit are much less than what it costs to keep a criminal in a criminal asylum. Yet, these are the rates of benefit upon which upright, honest, respectable citizens are expected to eke out a decent means of livelihood. We have now a problem of 130,000 unemployed persons without taking into account their dependents at all. That is a gigantic army of unemployed persons. It is almost an unemployed State within a State. On an Estimate of this kind, surely the Minister for Industry and Commerce should give some indication as to what the Government's proposals are for dealing with that very great problem. The Irish Press rightly said: “it is a call to every section of the community to face this problem tirelessly and unremittingly, and that all the resources and powers of the Government must be devoted to reducing it.” Following the very wise advice that has been given to him by the Irish Press, can we have any indication from the Minister for Industry and Commerce that all the resources and powers of the State are being mobilised to deal with this very grave problem? Can we be assured that everything possible has been done to deal with it, and that no  further opportunities offer for making inroads on the problem? Must we face the situation that the State will have to recognise that it has got to maintain 130,000 persons either in permanent unemployment or in some kind of endemic poverty. If that is the position that we must face as a permanent feature of our existence, then I submit that we, as a community, ought to face it in a much more Christian way than we are doing under the Unemployment Assistance Act. We ought to make sure, at all events, that being charged by the community with the responsibility of dealing with a problem of that kind, we do so in a much more humane and Christian way than is available under the Unemployment Assistance Act.
An Ceann Comhairle: The question before the House is the administration of two Acts, and it seems to the Chair that the Deputy is trying to make on this Vote a speech which would be more relevant on the main Vote.
Mr. Norton: I submit, Sir, that I have discussed nothing on this Estimate except unemployment: the magnitude of the problem, the inadequate State provision made and the seriousness of the problem which the whole community is faced with. I do not propose to travel outside that extremely narrow limit, and much as I might like to make a speech on the general work of the Minister's Department, I refrain from being tempted to do so on this Vote.
An Ceann Comhairle: The industrial policy of the Government and the method of facing up to its problems, apart from these two Acts and the provisions made under them, may not be debated at length on this Vote.
Mr. Morrissey: Surely the Deputy is in order in submitting to the Minister and to the House reasons as to why steps should be taken by the Department to reduce the numbers of unemployed in the country, and, thereby, the amount of this Estimate. The reason why the Deputy and other Deputies refrain from dealing with the question of unemployment on the main  Estimate is because we would simply have to repeat our statements on this Estimate.
Mr. Lemass: No steps the Department might take to reduce unemployment in any way, either by works or by industry, could be taken under any sub-head of this Estimate.
Mr. Morrissey: I submit that if the Minister carried out the promises he made to this House and the country we would not have this great army of unemployed to deal with. Therefore, the sum that would have to be asked from the House would be much less than what it is.
Mr. Lemass: I have no disinclination to discuss that problem at any time, but it cannot be discussed on this Estimate. The Estimate now before the House does not provide the proper means for such a discussion. I am sure that the House will not depart from what has been the practice up to the present, and that is to confine the discussion to the Estimate before it.
Mr. Morrissey: The Minister is trying to get away from the practice.
Mr. Lemass: No.
Mr. Norton: On the question of the administration of these Acts by the Minister's Department——
An Ceann Comhairle: Which is quite relevant.
Mr. Norton: That is the first commendation I got in this debate.
Mr. T. Kelly: The Deputy does not deserve anything.
Mr. Norton: The commendation has now been cancelled out by what Deputy T. Kelly says. Early this month, in reply to a Parliamentary Question, the Minister for Industry and Commerce stated that the total number of appeals awaiting decision by the Unemployment Appeals Committee was 31,645, of which 23,250 were lodged before the 1st January this  year. Therefore, the position is, that 23,000 odd appeals are now in the Department of Industry and Commerce awaiting consideration by the Unemployment Appeals Committee, and that these were lodged before the 1st January this year. In other words, 23,000 odd cases have been jammed there for the past six months, and, judging by the present rate of progress, unless something is done in a substantial way to expedite their consideration, many of these 23,000 odd cases will, as the Minister said, not be out of that Department with decisions for nearly two years. That is not a very creditable piece of administration. I do not attach any blame whatever to the officials in the Minister's Department. Anyone who is in touch with them must admit that they are sympathetic and courteous officials: that they have done everything possible to try and administer as sympathetically and as humanely as possible an Act which has many blemishes, and for which they, as civil servants, have no responsibility. The Minister was responsible for the introduction and the passing of that Act. Under it he set up a single Unemployment Appeals Committee.
The Act is functioning to-day on the basis of a single Unemployment Appeals Committee which, I understand, consists of three civil servants who are already very busy with the important details of the work in their own departments. These three civil servants represent the only piece of machinery for dealing with these 23,000 odd appeals which have been in the Department of Industry and Commerce for at least six months. Many of them have been there for more than 12 months. The Minister, of course, has responsibility for providing only a single committee of that kind to deal with the thousands and thousands of applications which have filtered through to it, in the main, because of the grotesque definition of “means” given to any small piece of chattel property that an applicant for unemployment assistance might have when lodging a claim to such assistance.
I should like to know from the  Minister how many more months or how many more years he expects these 23,000 appeals to be in his Department. When are the 23,000 persons who are awaiting decisions on their appeals likely to receive these decisions? It is bad enough that there should be such delay in issuing decisions on these appeals but, when we know that payment of benefit in such cases is not retrospective to the date on which the appeal was lodged, there is, obviously, an outstanding case for complaint on behalf of those persons. There was a complaint by the Minister for Finance on the Budget, echoed to-day by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, as to the high cost of unemployment assistance benefit. He said that it was now costing £1,600,000, less what would be saved by the employment period orders. Any effort to expedite decisions on these 23,000 appeals—or 31,000, which represents the aggregate number of appeals in the Department —will mean that unemployment assistance benefit will cost more. Is that any explanation of the delay in dealing with these appeals? The more the Minister expedites the machine for dealing with these appeals, the greater the cost of unemployment assistance, and we know from the speech of the Minister for Finance that he does not want the cost of unemployment assistance to go up. Somebody ought to remember the plight of those 23,000 persons who have been waiting for six months for decisions on their appeals and who are denied the opportunity of obtaining benefit until such time as they get decisions on their appeals. Until then, they are compelled to eke out an existence on a substantially reduced amount. We ought to know from the Government what their proposals are for dealing with these 31,000 cases and when it is expected that these appeals will be disposed of. In view of the abnormal delay which has taken place in considering these appeals—a delay not, apparently, foreseen when the Act was introduced and a delay which has already cost the unemployed claimants a considerable  sum in the form of forfeiture of their right to benefit—the Minister should introduce, in his proposed amending Bill, provision to enable such decisions to be made retrospective in their application. In that way, some atonement would be made to unemployed claimants in respect of the long delay which their claims to benefit have sustained.
The big question confronting the country is what are Minister's proposals for reducing the necessity for estimates for unemployment assistance. We are entitled even to wonder why we have an unemployment assistance Estimate at all. Speaking in the House on the 2nd December, 1931, the present President of the Executive Council said:
“The solution of unemployment is easier to find in this country at the present moment than it is in any other country facing that problem.”
The present Minister for Industry and Commerce—he was subsequently selected to fill that important office because of his knowledge of this problem—said, on the same day, “Employment need not exist here.”
Mr. Morrissey: Hear, hear!
Mr. Norton: Taking these two statements as an indication of what, with courage and determination and the organisation of the nation's resources, could be done by the present Minister in conjunction with the present President of the Executive Council, we are entitled to take stock of the real position. Notwithstanding these two declarations—that it was easy to find a solution of the unemployment problem and that unemployment need not exist here at all—we find that there are 130,000 persons registered as unemployed at the employment exchanges. I have no doubt that the Minister had some plans in mind when he made that statement. I have no doubt that the President had some plans in mind when he made his statement. In actual working out, the only plans I can discover are the plans for the imposition of tariffs and the imposition of quotas. I do not want on this Estimate to enlarge on the inadequacy  of these plans. We are entitled to assume that there were in the mind of the Minister some plans when he made a declaration of that kind. I should like if the Minister would indicate on this Estimate what his proposals are for reducing the necessity for these unemployment assistance Estimates. Rising figures of unemployment provide no consolation to anybody seriously concerned with the solution of the problem. Low rates of benefit provide no consolation as showing that we are doing our duty for the unemployed in a Christian way. Faced, therefore, with the necessity for making adequate provision for the unemployed in the form of maintenance during unemployment, we are entitled to know what the Government's proposals are for eradicating the problem of unemployment or what plans members of the Government had in mind when speaking in this House in 1931.
I know that the Minister is faced with a big task, a gigantic task, a task which, in 1931, I did not believe would yield to the simple treatment to which the Minister then, apparently, believed it would yield. The problem of unemployment is a serious problem. In this country, its proportions are alarming. At the same time, we do not seem to be taking, in our efforts to find a solution to that problem, the steps which are readily available to us in a relatively undeveloped country, such as this. While I have criticised this Estimate, I realise that the problem is a serious one, that it is a problem which will try the best statesmanship which this country or the world in general can produce. It is not a problem capable of solution over-night. The Minister, I think, realises that now with greater clarity than he did in 1931. In view of the fact that the unemployment problem has lingered with us so long, that it is a growing and not a contracting problem, I hope the Minister will indicate that the Government propose to take courageous and radical steps to deal with it instead of the simple method of imposing tariffs and quotas. Even though these remedies may make some contribution, however slight, to the problem of relieving unemployment,  I think the Minister can be assured of the goodwill of all Parties in any effort to face up to the State's responsibility to relieve the problem. If he does that, he may be assured of the support and goodwill of Deputies in every Party.
General Mulcahy: Deputy Norton suggested that the Minister has obscured the position by persuading himself, because he makes statements and assembles figures with regard to the numbers employed, and because he makes litanies of the new industries set up, that things are all right. I agree with Deputy Norton that the Minister is either doing that or, is doing a thing which is, perhaps, more likely, running away completely from any discussion of the unemployment problem and scattering amongst Deputies, and particularly amongst people in the country, a smoke screen behind him. The Minister went very elaborately into the figures showing the state of employment.
Mr. Lemass: Not on this Estimate.
General Mulcahy: On the Estimate on which he declined to reply to any criticisms that were raised. When introducing the Estimate, the Minister stated that he had added 27,000 people to industrial employment. But a new set of figures was produced, and accepting for the moment that he added 27,000 persons to industrial employment, we have to take building out, leaving 23,000.
An Ceann Comhairle: I find on reference to the report of last week's debate, that the Minister devoted 12 columns to employment and unemployment. The Deputy, and at least two other Deputies, participated in the debate, and referred to these figures. The Deputy is aware that a matter raised on the main Vote, to the extent of some 18 columns at least, should not be raised again on another Vote for the same Department.
General Mulcahy: I was pointing out that we have an Estimate introduced for £1,500,000 for the considerable  numbers of people who are unemployed. The figures in certain areas have increased enormously during the last 12 months, yet the Minister has told us that 27,000 people have been put into industrial employment. He endeavours to create the impression that there is going on in the country a development which is going to absorb these people now scheduled amongst the unemployed. I want, in passing, to refer to the 27,000 and to show that the figure is fictitious from the point of view of indicating that there is development going on to absorb people who are in the unemployed lists to-day. When giving figures the Minister for Local Government said that 22,000 houses had been completed in three years; approximately 7,000 houses a year. It is generally agreed that the building of a house will give employment to one and a half men for 12 months. On the figures of the Minister for Local Government the number of persons employed annually on house building is, at least, 11,000. These, with 2,300 persons on relief, leave 13,000 that the Minister in three years has put into industrial employment, or something over 4,000 additional persons yearly compared to what was admitted in the Debate had been going on under the administration of the previous Government, where, even on the Minister's reduced figures, there were at least 5,000 persons going into industrial employment every year. With the quotas and tariffs and all that Deputy Norton speaks about, the Minister, on his best showing, on the third and fourth run of the Government, cannot show that there is any development going on now that was not going on before Fianna Fáil came on.
What we are faced with is some understanding from the Minister as to what is going to happen persons on the unemployment lists to-day, and that are there in increasing numbers. I am sorry the Minister is absent because there is a question I should particularly like to put to him. Deputies who require it are at present getting weekly a certain amount of information  with regard to the number of registered unemployed in certain areas, and are able to examine the situation in different parts to see where the incidence of employment is. I want the Minister to say whether the provision of these figures is going to continue in the future. It has been suggested that the numbers on the weekly live register and in receipt of Unemployment Assistance and benefit under the Unemployment Insurance Act should cease. If that is so, then the Minister is taking up an astounding attitude towards the question of unemployment. On his own estimate of the statistics, he is not in any way examining the root cause of the problem. On this Vote he does everything possible to hide behind the work of his administration in order to avoid a discussion of the unemployment problem. I suggest to the Minister that it is part of his ordinary administrative work, to explain to the House, on an Estimate like this, the figures that he accumulates from time to time, and to supplement the statements that appear from time to time in the Press and elsewhere, with regard to the unemployment problem and the figures of the unemployed. The most recent figures we have are not, of course, to be called unemployment figures now. They are the total number on the live register for the beginning of May. Nevertheless, 72 per cent. of the people on that register are in receipt of payments under the Unemployment Assistance Act, and an additional percentage is in receipt of payments under the Unemployment Insurance scheme.
It is a rather interesting thing that in carrying out the work of administering to unemployment, the Minister has issued a circular to the Press, saying that the list he issues weekly is not to be regarded as an unemployment register, although 72 per cent. of the total number on it have to be provided for directly by State assistance and Unemployment Assistance. In addition, the list contains all the people who have been out of employment, and who are in receipt of benefit under the Unemployment Insurance Act. It is a rather interesting commentary on the Minister's attitude towards unemployment.  We want to know from the Minister what is happening. Certain facts come to his knowledge in the administration of the Department. The actual percentage of people in receipt of Unemployment Assistance is fairly general over the whole country, although it increases in counties in the west of Ireland. The percentage on the live register in receipt of Unemployment Assistance in Donegal on May 4th was 83 per cent.; in Sligo, where Sligo and part of Leitrim meet, it was 84 per cent.; in Mayo, 81 per cent.; in Galway, 75 per cent.; in Clare, 76 per cent.; in Kerry, 84 per cent., and in the Bantry area of Cork, 83 per cent. So that, in that area, you have, substantially, over 80 per cent. of the persons on the register in receipt of Unemployment Assistance where the figure for the country as a whole is 72 per cent. But the west of Ireland has another phenomenon to show, and it is that, in the 12 months ending, say, the 1st May last, the total number of persons registered has increased enormously, compared with the rest of the country. The total number of persons that are registered has risen by 96.8 per cent. in Mayo—that is, in the Ballina centre; by 64.3 per cent. in Galway; by 74 per cent. in Sligo; by 106.5 per cent. in Kerry; by 160 per cent. in Bantry. So that, here we have a very huge percentage increase, as well as a huge increase in the actual number of persons, because the addition in Sligo is 3,645; in Mayo, 4,158; in Galway, 2,753; in Kerry, 5,237. We also have a very substantial increase in percentage in the number of persons added to the unemployment list during the last 12 months in the west of Ireland.
We would like to know from the Minister if he sees any hope in the present circumstances of any reduction in these figures in the West of Ireland that will enable him to present to the House next year a smaller percentage in the number of people claiming assistance under the Unemployment Assistance Act than at present. Surely, we are entitled to know what is operating in the West of Ireland to cause these huge figures.  Particularly, where we have an area like the Athlone-Roscommon area, where there has been a reduction, I think that we are entitled to know what is happening there and what is the cause of the reduction in the number of persons that have registered there. If we knew what was happening there, we would be very anxious, naturally, to look around to other parts of the country so as to see in what other parts of the country that phenomenon is occurring. In the Athlone area, the reduction amounts to about 33 per cent., but we would like to know, in view of that, how it is that there is such an enormous increase in the west of Ireland generally; and we should also like to know what hope the Minister has of making any reduction in the numbers.
Again, as the Minister is there, I should like to say that I understood the Minister, perhaps in an incompleted reference, to say that he proposed to discontinue the weekly issue of information with regard to the number of persons on the live register and the number of persons in receipt of Unemployment Assistance. I ask the Minister now to tell the House that that is not so and that he does not propose to discontinue the publication of these figures. My reason for saying that is, that if the Minister does discontinue the publication of that information, it will create—if it were possible to add to the uneasiness of Deputies of the House and the uneasiness of members of the general public with regard to the statistical aspect of the unemployment position in the country—additional uneasiness and anxiety by reason of the Minister's attitude that he is going to refuse to publish these figures in future. Again, I sincerely hope that that is not the way in which the unemployment situation is going to be discussed, or the way in which it is going to be regarded by the Minister in future, because I think that there is nothing that requires a more detailed exposition, or a more careful examination on the part of the Minister, and a frank talk to the House, than this question of the unemployment position. To fob it off by a kind of statistical  abstract, such as the Minister dictated to the House to-day on his own Estimate, is merely evading the issue. It only means fobbing the whole question off and leaving the House and the public in the position of feeling that the unemployment problem is so great that the Minister has to run away from it, and, in fact, it gives the impression that he is running away from it.
Mr. Keyes: I do not propose to make a long contribution to the debate on this Estimate on this occasion. Speaking on it last year, I found it necessary, at the then inception of the Unemployment Assistance Act to pass some strictures on its maladministration, although it had only been working a short time then. I pointed out to the Minister the cases of the early victims of the maladministration of the Act and I tried to point out to him what I felt sure would eventually occur, and what had already occurred in certain cases, so that he might be able to prevent that scandal becoming worse. The Minister was inclined, when concluding, to think that my contribution had been made in a spirit of levity. I certainly was not speaking in any spirit of levity in drawing the Minister's attention to the very great hardship that might accrue to the people who were supposed to benefit by the Unemployment Assistance Act but who, in the meantime, were debarred from the ordinary assistance that they would otherwise have received. The Minister was quite confident then that the Act would work correctly, but he states to-day that it was purely experimental. I think that last year the Minister said the Act was quite adequate to meet all such cases. Now we hear that the Act was forced at too great a pace and that a sufficient time was not given to carry it out in all its implications, as far as our people were concerned. Undoubtedly, the administration of the Act was piled on top of officials of a Department already over-taxed. I agree with the Deputies from all sides of the House who have said that the officials of the Department should be  excused from any blame in that connection, but I hold that those who planned the Act, without having regard to the magnitude of the Act, at least should have had regard to the magnitude of their responsibility for the Act, because, not alone were they depriving the people of home assistance and the other help that they would ordinarily be entitled to, but they were subjecting them to all this system of appeals, and delays, and so on. It will not be necessary for me to speak of the hopeless condition of the Appeals Committee. It is common knowledge that there are about 21,000 cases held up here in Dublin. That is a fact that has not been sufficiently noted by Deputies in this House. I know of cases—some of them going back as far as 12, 13 and 14 months ago —where they are still waiting for a decision. One would think that some of these cases would have been reached by this time. If these people knew that, whether through the application of the means test or other qualifications, they would not be entitled to unemployment assistance and would be turned down, they could seek help from their own local authorities, but, as things are at the moment, they are between the devil and the deep sea. They have been suffering hardships, and very severe hardships, and, up to October last, when decisions were taken their claims were paid retrospectively when the applicant was proven to have a right case. Since the month of October, some new regulations have been sent down from headquarters and since that date, a man is paid only from the date on which his appeal is decided. I wonder if that is justice or equity. If, owing to the failure of the machine to deal with a case, which is proven on inquiry to be a sound one, a man is as much entitled to the increased award on the day on which he made the appeal as he was on the day on which the machinery dealt with it. We have many cases of that kind in which, owing to the peculiar method of valuation that was devised, people have been suffering all that time. We spoke here last year of the fictitious values placed on hens and goats. They are still operating to the detriment of  these unfortunate recipients and, when the tribunal comes to deal with these matters and make an award, it is paid only as from the date on which the decision is taken.
There are other little practices being carried out to which I should like to draw the Minister's attention. I hope the new machinery to be provided in the Bill promised to us will remedy a glaring defect and have the congestion of appeals dealt with in a speedy fashion. There is no hope in the present machinery and in view of its complete collapse and failure, I hope that sane thought will be put into the new machinery to ensure that it will be effective to do its job. In doing that, I suggest that much wider powers should be invested in local authorities, courts of referees and local exchange officials, who are conversant with local circumstances and are in a better position to deal with the cases with responsibility decentralised, than they would be in waiting to have everything sent to Dublin, in this old round-robin fashion, which we complained of last year. It has not been improved and until it is removed and until more responsibility is vested in the local exchanges we can hope for no improvement.
I suggest to the Minister also that he might consider the wisdom of allowing some of the officials from the provincial exchanges—the manager or sub-manager, or some responsible representative —to go on appointed days to the various important towns in a county, notifying the particular date of their sittings, to hear grievances and complaints and in that way bring Mahomet to the mountain rather than have the mountain coming to Mahomet. We have cases of unfortunate people in a very parlous state who have to come long distances to make claims and present grievances. Deputies and public officials are being used as intermediaries and I suggest that it would be much better for the administration itself and for the applicants if it were possible to devise a system whereby a member of the staff would go on a kind of circuit periodically—say, once a month—to various towns and receive complaints and get firsthand information  as to the grievances. They would be more in contact with the people and would have a readier understanding of the complaints and their causes.
There is another matter in respect of which I have very serious cause for complaint. It is the practice of acting upon reports made against applicants for unemployment assistance, whether anonymously or otherwise. If anybody thinks well—or thinks ill—of writing to the local labour exchange and stating that one of his neighbours is in receipt of unemployment assistance and that, in his opinion and in his knowledge, that person is not entitled to it and is fraudulently receiving it, whether that statement is well or ill-founded the officials automatically act upon it and the recipient is struck off as from that moment. The machinery for investigation in these cases is not by any means as alert as the Minister is inclined to indicate, or perhaps to believe, it is, and we know of cases—I have one in mind now which is three months under consideration— under consideration for long periods. In that case there has been no decision yet and I am perfectly certain that when the decision comes to be made the man will be found to be quite innocent and will be entitled to back payment, unlike the case of means appeals. He will be entitled to have his money paid as from the date of his being struck off. In the meantime, that man who has a wife and five children, and who is unemployed, unless he has happened to be lucky enough to get a few days' work, has no means whatever of subsistence. He was not entitled to get home help because the officers said that as long as he was attached to the labour exchange they had no right to give him money from the local rates.
That is one thing for which the Department ought not to stand—the encouragement of anonymous or unknown informers writing in about their neighbours from reasons of spite or malice perhaps. If a criminal is being tried he is held to be innocent until proven guilty, and what the Department ought to do is to continue paying benefit while making the necessary inquiries, and if the man is found guilty, inflict  the necessary punishment upon him. There is hardly any justification for punishing a man first on any kind of testimony and investigating the complaint after a lapse of, perhaps, two, three or four months. In either case, the victim and his wife and children are bound to suffer hardship because of the institution of this practice.
I hope that the Minister in his new measure will take steps to prevent one of the greatest annoyances caused by the arrangement by which one stamp breaks a man's claim. This has been the cause of more friction than any other matter in the operation of the Unemployment Assistance Act. It is asking people not to take a day's work. We have cases of men drawing unemployment assistance, after considerable difficulty in getting to the state of being able to draw it, who are offered a day's or two day's work. If they take that work, their claim is immediately broken and they have to start again as if they had never been on unemployment assistance. I suggest that it would be wise on the part of the Minister and the Department to give the people more confidence in the friendly administration of the Act and withdraw that one stamp clause. Let it be an average of 12 stamps, for instance, so that people would not be intimidated from doing a day's work or a week's work, and would not have the fear of losing more than they would gain by going to work. That will be found very beneficial, and it will be a great easement to the Department's officials throughout the country, if acted upon.
I referred already to the fact that there was not sufficient confidence reposed in the local people—local courts of referees—and I should like to refer to a case which I knew and which I was interested in fighting myself. After several months the case came to be tried by the local court of referees, and a decision was given in favour of the applicant. That decision was notified by the local exchange manager, and I was notified that the man was about to be paid the money in pursuance of the court's decision. We next discovered that some local gárda  had been told by somebody else that this man was not sufficiently strong or healthy to do any work, and the referees' decision was overruled by the local gárda. It took us ten more weeks to get that man his payment. I do think that it is necessary that very much more confidence should be reposed in the local court of referees and its chairman and in the local authorities generally, and that it should not be the job of every Tom, Dick and Harry in the country to help to maladminister this Act to the detriment of the people to whom it should be beneficial.
Before I sit down I should like to ask the Minister to look into the question of the remuneration of the temporary clerks in the Department. Some of those men have fairly long service. All are men of good education and fairly useful training in other walks of life. They are called on to perform very important, very useful and very onerous services. Notwithstanding all the complaints we are making, I have never found reason to complain against any employee of the Department, because, as Deputy Norton has said, they are always courteous to the public and to public representatives and willing to do the best they possibly can in trying to administer what was obviously an impossible machine. I think the Minister ought reasonably to consider that £2 5s. per week is not a fair remuneration for men with family responsibilities and charged with carrying out onerous duties, calling for the interpretation of sections of the Act. I suggest that the temporary clerks in the unemployment assistance and insurance exchanges are worthy of sympathetic consideration by the Minister. I trust he will see his way in the near future to remove the reproach which it is to his Department to have men doing this work at such a scandalously low rate of wages.
Mr. Dockrell: I should like to mention one aspect of this matter which I do not suppose comes very prominently under the Minister's notice. I stated before in this House that the more easily taxes are collected, and the  more easily any services which have to be performed by the community can be carried out, the easier and simpler it will be for every Party. With regard to employees, as the Minister is aware, a stamp has to be put on a card every week; an addition is made to the wages and a deduction from them. In other words, it practically trebles the labour in connection with the making up of a wages book, in comparison to what used to be performed in the old days. That service has also to be carried out in connection with the national health —two additions, two subtractions, two stamps to lick, two cards to find, and two cancellations to make. I wish to make another request to the Minister, but I do not know whether it is strictly in order under this Vote. In connection with the Widows' and Orphans' Pensions Bill, I wish to ask the Minister if that fund is going to be raised by a stamp which will be put on a card every week. I do not want to labour the point, except to say that if there is to be a third addition, a third subtraction, and a third stamp to lick, as far as the commercial community is concerned I will omit, in deference to you, a Chinn Comhairle, the sanguinary and blasphemous adjectives with which the news will be received.
Mr. Hogan: (Clare): I presume that what I am about to say has already been mentioned, but that is not going to deter me from saying it again, because I know that the grievance is very genuine. The fact that there are between 30,000 and 40,000 people seeking to get decisions on their appeals is sufficient reason to induce every Deputy to say it as often as he can, in order to induce the Minister to take some action in the matter. In my own county there are between 1,500 and 2,000 appeals awaiting decision. I am not going to put the blame for the delay on the people who are immediately responsible for giving a decision on those appeals, because it would be impossible for them to deal with the large amount of appeals outstanding. The fault is primarily the fault of the Minister in the matter of policy. He  should have taken steps to see that those appeals would be dealt with expeditiously. For the past 12 months and more, people have been coming to me and asking me to make representations to the Minister. I have done so. I have sheafs of stock letters telling me that so-and-so is being attended to. I have sheafs of acknowledgments. We had a request from the Minister asking us to postpone our questions. We have studiously kept the Minister's request in mind, and have not put down questions; but the amount of appeals is accumulating. The Minister told us about six weeks ago that the number of appeals outstanding was 30,000, and I think to-day or yesterday he told us that the number was 31,000 or 32,000. The appeals are accumulating rather than diminishing.
I pass from that to point out that there are several cases in which there is a good deal of hardship owing to qualification certificates being withdrawn for some reason unknown to the holders. In many of those cases the people have come to me in regard to the matter, and I know that they are in dire want. They will not get unemployment assistance, and they will not get home assistance. Those people are in absolute necessity on account of not having their cases looked after. There is no redress whatever, and no opportunity of having the unemployment assistance restored to them. Those cases are numerous. I have between 100 and 200 of those cases outstanding, and still there is no indication from the Minister that there are going to be any redressive measures. I am not now referring to appeal cases; I am speaking about cases where the qualification certificates have been withdrawn on the representation of some body unknown—unknown, at least, to the person entitled to the unemployment assistance.
There is another matter which I wish to mention—I do not know whether it has already been referred to—and that is the giving of employment to people who are holders of qualification certificates. I want to know if the Minister has a function to discharge in that connection, because I do know of cases  where people who are holders of qualification certificates are not given preference for employment under public works schemes. Not alone in work immediately under the Government, but under relief schemes and work under the county councils, there are cases where holders of qualification certificates are left idle, while people who are not in possession of qualification certificates are employed. I suggest that the Minister should let two or three men loose on the country to make investigations. They should make unexpected visits to the various gangs employed, and discover whether all those people have qualification certificates. They should then make a visit to the local employment exchange, and see how many people who have qualification certificates are available for that particular work. I should also like to call attention to the delay in dealing with complaints as to noncompliance. There are a good many cases where people have their benefits withheld because of complaints in regard to failure to comply with the Act. The redress in those cases is very slow, and I suggest to the Minister that he ought to speed up that side of his Department. There is one matter on which I want to congratulate him, although the action on his part was rather belated. I refer to his stating a case in relation to the Fergus works, as to whether or not the employees are entitled to unemployment insurance stamps. I am not going to prejudice the case by saying anything further about it now, but I do want to express the hope that the Board of Works and the Department of Finance will not take into account the precedent set by the Department of Industry and Commerce in delaying consideration of the matter for two or three years. I hope they will deal with the matter more expeditiously than the Minister for Industry and Commerce did. He has saved his reputation a little by having a case stated, but it certainly is unfair that it should have been held up for two or three years.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Minister to conclude.
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lemass): A number of Deputies addressed themselves to the actual position in respect of employment and unemployment. I dealt with that at considerable length in introducing the main Estimate for the Department of Industry and Commerce, and I do not think it is necessary to deal further with it now. No matter how Deputies may argue, or what statistics they may try to produce in support of their contentions, they cannot get away from the essential fact that there are more people in employment in the Irish Free State now than ever before. All the arguments of Deputies cannot controvert that one fact, which is demonstrable from every known index of employment. I say that there are fewer people unemployed now than there were before. I agree, as I pointed out here in the earlier discussions, that it is not possible to produce conclusive proof of that fact because there is no information as to what was the volume of employment before this Government came into office.
General Mulcahy: And the Minister says there are fewer people unemployed?
Mr. Lemass: There are only two possible indices of unemployment and one is the number of persons claiming unemployment insurance benefit. I pointed out that they are a lower proportion of the total insured population in the present year than in 1931 or 1930 and that the proportion has been diminishing for each of the years in which this Government has been in office. The only other information on unemployment you have is the Census of 1926. Comparing the position revealed then with the corresponding date in 1934, as revealed by the live register, and making all due allowance for the difference between the methods of compilation of the figures and the possibilities of error that undoubtedly exist, there were fewer people unemployed in April, 1934, than there were in April, 1926.
 Deputy Morrissey disputes my contention that there were more people employed in agriculture on the 1st June this year than on the 1st June in 1931. 1929 or 1928. Deputy Morrissey cannot contest that figure. We have counted them; enumerators went around and counted the number of people employed in agriculture on the 1st June this year, just as they did last year and in previous years.
General Mulcahy: There are 1,630 agricultural labourers over 18 years of age.
Mr. Lemass: There were 16,836 more people employed in agriculture on the 1st June this year than in 1931. For the first time in 100 years the area under tillage has increased. It will continue to increase and more people will be employed in agriculture. Deputy Mulcahy asks for an explanation of the increase in the number of persons registered in the western counties. The Unemployment Assistance Act is in operation and there is a free beef scheme in operation. Numbers of people have come on to the register who were never before regarded as unemployed and who were not employed in accordance with the usual definition, that is, people normally employed for wages who, through no fault of their own, are now unable to obtain employment. Those people are not normally employed as labourers; they are employed usually as farmers.
General Mulcahy: The Minister argues that the number of people in receipt of unemployment assistance is not an index as to unemployment?
Mr. Lemass: No. The total figure includes persons on uneconomic farms, persons passing from one employment to another such as housebuilders and constructional workers generally, persons who have got small businesses or are engaged in fishing or other occupations which do not bring them in a total annual income in excess of the maximum permitted under the Act. They are all included in that figure. The  number of people included who have no other means of livelihood except the wages they earn is much less than 40 per cent.
General Mulcahy: You will have to change the name of the Act.
Mr. Lemass: That is a suggestion and I will consider it.
Mr. Norton: Change the rates of benefit and do not mind the Title of the Act.
Mr. Lemass: I do not think we will do that for the present. Deputy Morrissey raised the old question whether the increase in the revenue fund was not due to better compliance with the Act. The whole administration of the Department since I became Minister is much better than ever it was, but I do not think there is any greater or any lesser compliance with the provisions of the Unemployment Insurance Act now than in the past. There might be some reason to expect that the same attention was not given in 1934 to that matter as in other years, because the officers of the Department were very busy bringing the Unemployment Assistance Act into operation.
There has been a question raised about the arrears of appeals. The arrears are very heavy. I have already admitted that the machinery provided in the Unemployment Assistance Act was inadequate for the preliminary period. It will, however, be quite adequate in a year or two, once the arrears are cleared off. By way of extenuation of my failure to realise in time that that would be the position, I may say nobody else realised it would be the position and nobody suggested that that particular method of dealing with appeals would prove to be inadequate. Since we realised that fact——
Mr. Norton: Did the Minister consult the Official Reports before he decided to make that statement?
Mr. Lemass: I am relying on my memory.
Mr. Norton: The Minister's memory is very bad. He already accused a Deputy of having opposed a certain motion when, in fact, he voted for it.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Minister is in possession.
Mr. Norton: He is misrepresenting people.
An Ceann Comhairle: Those misrepresented might defend themselves.
Mr. Norton: He is misrepresenting persons who are not present.
Mr. Lemass: There is a Bill before the Dáil now designed to set up a new method of determining these appeals and we will discuss the adequacy of that when the Bill is before us. Our aim is to secure that the appeals will be disposed of at the rate of 2,000 a week, so that the whole lot can be cleared away within six months.
Mr. Norton: Commencing when?
Mr. Hogan: Will the payments be made retrospective?
Mr. Lemass: There is no power to do that. The assistance officer has already determined that the applicants are not entitled to qualification certificates or to the rate of means they claimed.
Mr. Keyes: Does that apply to means appeals?
Mr. Lemass: These appeals are only appeals against the refusal of qualification certificates or against the rate of means stated in the certificate. There are other classes of appeals, such as appeals by persons who have certificates, against the refusal of assistance and these are determined by the local court of referees.
Mr. Keyes: Were payments made retrospectively up to October last?
Mr. Lemass: There is no power to do so, and it has not been done. The Department is entitled to pay out to each claimant for unemployment assistance the amount specified in the Schedule of the Act, less the means stated in the certificate. If the means  are changed either on appeal or because the means have altered, the payment of the new rate becomes operative from the date on which the change was effected.
Mr. Norton: What about the arrears in the delayed appeals?
Mr. Lemass: If the appeal is against the payment of assistance and is made by a person holding a qualification certificate and is determined by the local court of referees, then arrears are paid, but not in the case of an appeal against the refusal of a qualification certificate. The Department becomes liable for payment from the date on which the qualification certificate is issued or the date when the change of means is stated.
Mr. Norton: Is that not unfair where appeals are being held up?
Mr. Lemass: I do not think so.
Mr. Keyes: I have in mind a means appeal directly, not an appeal over a qualification certificate. In cases where they were declared entitled to only 2/- or 3/-, on appeal it was decided that they were entitled to 9/-, as the case might be. I maintain that they have been paid retrospectively up to last October and retrospective payments have only been stopped since then.
Mr. Lemass: I think the Deputy is misinformed. The Department would not be entitled to pay retrospectively any difference that might have been held to be due, because a change in the amounts stated in the certificate was effected. Perhaps the Deputy had better not bring any such cases to my notice, because I would be compelled to recoup to the Fund all that the applicant had been paid. A number of Deputies referred to the fact that the Department acts upon information supplied to it by other parties that a particular person receiving unemployment assistance is not entitled to it, or that he is in employment, or that in some way he is getting assistance contrary to the provisions of the Act. We must act on that information. I say here, deliberately, that this whole  unemployment assistance scheme will break down unless the members of the public co-operate with the Department in ensuring that only those persons who are entitled to assistance will get it. I have appealed, time and again, to the public, to members of labour organisations and members of public bodies of one kind or another to bring to the notice of the Department any case in which a person who is not entitled to it is getting unemployment assistance. It is only when we have eliminated all such cases that the continuity of this Act will be guaranteed. If there is large-scale evasion of the Act it is quite possible that the cost of its administration will be such that we will have either to abandon the Act altogether or very materially to reduce the payments made under it. In all cases of evasion we are entitled to ascertain the facts as quickly as possible. The amount payable when the case is finally adjusted is payable retrospectively from the date on which payment was stopped—that is, if the decision on appeal is favourable to the applicant.
Deputy Mulcahy referred to the statistical tables which were supplied to certain Deputies, and he wanted to know if they were to be continued. The position is that the compilation was suspended on the grounds of economy, and these statistics are not now available.
General Mulcahy: Does the Minister tell us that in future we are not to get the figures showing the number of people on the live register?
Mr. Lemass: The compilation of these returns weekly is being discontinued.
General Mulcahy: Are these made out monthly?
Mr. Lemass: They may be, but I am not quite certain.
General Mulcahy: What figures are to be supplied in future in respect of persons on the live register in the various offices throughout the country?
Mr. Lemass: The usual weekly figures that have been furnished to the  newspapers will still be furnished, perhaps not weekly in future, but they will be furnished fortnightly or monthly. We have had to abandon a number of statistical luxuries because of a shortage of staff.
General Mulcahy: Will the Minister tell us how he can get the figures to give to the Press fortnightly or monthly, if he does not add Carlow to Athy and Athy to Kildare and so on?
Mr. Lemass: That is a different matter. Preparing a report and having copies available for circulation is a different matter. I have no desire at all to withhold from the public information about these matters. The Deputy is aware that these figures were not published until this Government came into office. It was this Government initiated the practice.
General Mulcahy: They were published for 39 different centres, but we are dealing with a very different problem now.
Mr. Lemass: Deputy Dockrell asked about the widows' and orphans' pensions. I am afraid he will have to ask the Minister for Local Government and Public Health about that. Deputy Keyes raised the question of remuneration of temporary clerks. That is a matter that is fixed by the Department of Finance, and no Department can by itself deal with this question.
Mr. Norton: Did not the Minister make an offer recently to regulate the wages?
Mr. Lemass: I made an offer to regulate the wages if it were left to me. I think these were the only points raised by Deputies that affected the administration of the Act. The whole question will arise again in the course of a few days on the Unemployment Assistance Bill. I did mention to Deputy Keyes that the Unemployment Assistance Bill does propose to abolish that system by which a person is deprived of unemployment assistance because he has one stamp to his credit. We are proposing that a person can be entitled to claim  assistance on his own, irrespective of the number of stamps he has to his credit.
Mr. Hogan: (Clare): Will the Minister say what are the present regulations with regard to the giving of employment on Government relief works?
Mr. Lemass: The practice some time ago was that persons employed on works financed in whole or in part out of State funds were recruited through the employment exchange. Their selection fell upon the officers of the employment exchange, who had instructions as to the order of preference. On the inauguration of the unemployment assistance scheme we abandoned that method and gave power to the employing authority, whoever the employing authority might be in a particular case, whether the local county surveyor, the officer of the Board of Works, or the officer of the Forestry Department, to recruit for this work—subject only to this condition, that the persons employed should be persons with qualification certificates and in receipt of unemployment assistance. We could only enforce that rule in cases where there is State contribution in respect of the works. We have no power to enforce conditions of that kind upon local authorities, who are themselves paying the cost of the work. Where there is a State contribution, however, that is the rule. I would be glad to get particulars of where that has been departed from with a view to having the cases investigated. It was with some hesitation I agreed to the change. I would take it up with any Department that was not adhering to the decision made then with a view to ensuring that where there is only a limited amount of work in any one area the first preference will be given to people who, by some rough and ready method, can be determined to be most in need of employment.
Mr. Minch: I just want to ask the Minister one question on the matter of umpires. Is it reasonable to expect an unemployed man in Athy to be penalised by being forced to go to  Carlow to present his case to the umpire?
Mr. Lemass: It is not the umpire who sits in Carlow. It is the Court of Referees. If the Court of Referees ask an applicant to attend at a particular place they will pay his travelling expenses, but in the majority of cases there is no need for the applicant to be present. There are representatives of the workers on the Court of Referees, and they are familiar with the case to be made. Should they consider the attendance of the applicant necessary, they will pay his expenses.
Vote put and agreed to.
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lemass): I move:—
Go ndeontar suim na raghaidh thar £9,424 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1936, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí na hOifige Clárathachta Maoine Tionnscail agus Tráchtála. (Uimh. 16 de 1927 agus Uimh. 13 de 1929.)
That a sum not exceeding £9,424 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 Industrial and Commercial Property Registration Office (No. 16 of 1927 and No. 13 of 1929.)
This is a formal Vote. It is for the purpose of administering the Industrial and Commercial Property Act. There is no change in the position this year as compared with other years.
Mr. Dillon: Has the Minister ever looked into the cost of registering trade marks, or patent names at that office? If he has not, I would esteem it a favour if he would look into the whole question of costs with a view to revising them.
Mr. Lemass: I am proposing to establish a commission, to consider  and report upon what changes, if any, in the law relating to patents, trade marks and designs are desirable. That commission will be appointed in the course of a week or so, and, possibly, arising out of the report, amending legislation covering the whole field of patents, trade marks and designs will be introduced.
Mr. Dillon: And you include the cost of registration?
Mr. Lemass: I shall endeavour to make the terms as wide as possible.
Mr. Dillon: Very prudent.
Question put and agreed to.
Minister for Agriculture (Dr. Ryan): I move: That it is expedient to authorise the payment out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas of any expenses incurred by the Minister for Agriculture or the Minister for Industry and Commerce, under any Act of the present Session, to amend the Agricultural Produce (Cereals) Acts, 1933 and 1934, to regulate the sale and use of wheat grown in Saorstát Eireann, and to provide for other matters ancillary to, consequential upon or connected with the matters aforesaid.
Mr. Dillon: On this Money Resolution I just want to make my position clear in regard to this cereals legislation. Unfortunately I was absent from the House, on the occasion of the Second Reading, engaged in an election contest in Galway, the result of which was very satisfactory. Therefore, I take this opportunity of recording my view that the wheat policy of the Fianna Fáil Government is pure, undiluted fraud, calculated to do nothing but harm to the agricultural interests of the country, and calculated, eventually, to place a burden upon the backs of the poorest section of the community which it is impossible at the present time fully to estimate. This legislation, in respect of which this  Financial Resolution is moved, is designed to transfer the subsidy on wheat from off the Central Exchequer on to the consumer. An exactly similar operation was carried out in France several years ago. The net result was that such pressure was brought to bear on succeeding Ministers for Agriculture that the subsidy on home-grown wheat rose steadily and with it the prices of bread. Eventually political pressure having compelled Ministers so far to subsidise wheat, which at the beginning looked an attractive albeit a hopelessly uneconomic one, that you had the preposterous situation in which the central Government was paying three times the economic value of the wheat grown at home, and that was levied on the taxpayer to provide a bounty in the export of wheat to London, where they sold it for one-third of what they paid the French farmer; and the poorest section of the community were paying an altogether outrageous price for their bread.
Bread is the staple foodstuff of the poor. The richer the household, the less bread you see on the table. The poorer the household, the larger bread bulks in the weekly budget. So that of all the obnoxious taxes that can be imposed a tax on bread is the worst. This legislation is going to place a heavy tax on bread, and the worst of it is that while it does that it is foredoomed to failure—(1) because the land of this country can be used far more providently by the owners producing other agricultural crops than wheat; (2) because the quality of wheat we can produce can never compare with the quality of the wheat produced in Canada and other countries climatically suited to the cultivation of wheat, and (3) because inevitably we will reach a stage in which the Government will be compelled to increase the subsidy on the production of wheat, and the more successful the Minister's scheme for the promotion of wheat growing, the more certain it is that he will be travelling further and further along the field of subsidy until eventually anyone who wants cheap money will go into the cultivation of wheat. The ridiculous conclusion will then be  reached that we will have a surplus of home-grown wheat which the Minister will have to dispose of in one way or another. We will have thousands of acres of land uneconomically used and we will have a burden placed upon the Exchequer of financing the disposal of unwanted wheat and yet we will have a dearer loaf.
Mrs. Concannon: And free bread!
Mr. Dillon: I have such a high regard for Deputy Mrs. Concannon that I do not want to make a sharp reply. I only say that if Deputy Smith made that interjection I might be tempted to answer him.
Mr. Smith: I was too busy smiling to say anything.
Mr. Dillon: May humour be preserved. Returning from the hustings I will not say anything in retaliation. Last year due certainly to the consequences I ventured to prophesy in connection with this legislation. Let me draw Deputy Mrs. Concannon's attention to what happened under an analogous scheme which was first adumbrated in the original Agricultural Produce (Cereals) Act, 1932-33. There we made provision for maize meal mixture, and it was prophesied at the time that any difference in price would be trivial. What are the facts to-day? The price of maize meal in Derry is £4 17s. 6d. per ton ex-mill. The price of maize meal mixture in Sligo is £7 1s. 6d. per ton ex-mill. And the Minister for Agriculture is, at this moment, contemplating an increase in the home-grown cereal content of that mixture which will increase the price even more. It has had the natural result of making the position of our livestock producers and agricultural feeders in this country very much weaker in competition with those who are producing similar commodities in the markets in which we habitually sell. The increase of price, which is going to be created by the Bill at present under consideration, is not going to be a question of increasing production costs. It is not going to be a question of making it more difficult to  trade in foreign markets; it is going to be a question of putting a tax on every loaf of bread going into the houses of the poor in this country. Deputy Mrs. Concannon knows that what I say is true that the better off the household the less bread there is on the table, and that the poorer the household the more bread there is on the table. This is a tax upon the poor. I have said in this House that nothing would induce me to change one rood or acre of my land either to grow wheat or beet. I am not now dealing with the economics of beet in this connection. But, I will not grow one rood of wheat when I know that in order to do it I am actually taking money out of the pockets of the labouring man who is working for me. Every rood of wheat I grow means that I am making a deduction from the already inadequate wage that I am paying to the agricultural labourers who are working for me. Every penny profit that any farmer in this country gets out of the growing of wheat under this legislation is coming out of the pockets of the poorest of the poor. Every penny profit he gets is taken out of the pockets of the agricultural labourer to whom he is already paying an inadequate wage. Rather than make a profit at their cost, I would prefer to let my land go waste. I am glad to think, the present Minister for Agriculture notwithstanding, that I am able to keep going with a very small loss every year and still pay a wage that I am not ashamed of.
Mr. Smith: On whom do you make your profits, so?
Mr. Dillon: John Bull. Again I have to plead that I have come back from the hustings and I am liable to be a little tart, but I do not wish to start on that note. All I ask the House to remember is that every penny that goes to finance this legislation is going to come out of the pockets of that section of the community to which we should not turn unless the whole existence of the State is at stake. We are going to turn to them in a way that will make it impossible for Deputies of this House to keep track of the extent of  the burden which you are going to put upon them. So long as we had it coming before us, year after year, in the Vote for the necessary subsidy we knew what we were doing. Now it is going on to the loaf and Deputies know how frightfully difficult it is to arrive at a true figure when you start trying to discover costs of production. Deputies know how unsatisfactory are the reports of the Prices Commission. Producers, millers and shopkeepers can so confuse facts that the layman can extract little or no truth from them. I detest this legislation for the reasons I have set out and in order to take this opportunity to record my conviction that it is going to do an inestimable injury to the country, that it is going to do an inestimable injury to the entire agricultural community inasmuch as it is going to turn them, on growing this crop, into dole-gatherers, dependents on Government charity, applicants for increased bounties and subsidies—inasmuch as it is going to put a tax for a most unworthy purpose, on the poor, almost exclusively —because the well-to-do if they do not wish to contribute to this tax can buy other food—I am going to divide the House on this resolution. I only wish that some of the more intelligent Deputies of the Fianna Fáil Party had their freedom to do what I have no doubt they would wish to do, vote against this tax. I look with confidence to the Labour Party for their support against something which they always professed to abhor, a tax on bread.
Mr. O'Leary: I rise to offer my protest against the money being provided for this purpose. I shall take the word of the Minister given here in the last fortnight when he made the boast that this year the Government intend to secure the growing of 200,000 acres. I put him a question at the time to ascertain how much per acre it cost for the past year to subsidise wheat. He said that they had paid a subsidy of 6/6 per barrel. I asked him how many barrels he allowed to the acre and he said seven. I pointed out to him that the published figures were eight barrels per acre. Taking these figures, it  would mean that the subsidy per acre was £2 12s. Calculating it at £2 10s. per acre, the 200,000 acres which the Government propose growing this year would mean a subsidy of £500,000. To supply our full requirements we are told that it will be necessary to grow 850,000 acres. Working that out at a subsidy of £2 10s. per acre, it means that the total subsidy required for the acreage necessary to supply our full requirements would be £2,150,000. I support Deputy Dillon in opposing this Vote. I believe that it takes about 2,600,000 sacks of flour to supply the wants of the Irish people. When the position at which the Government are aiming is reached, and when we are growing 850,000 acres of wheat and producing 2,600,000 sacks of flour, the subsidy alone on that acreage will amount to £2,150,000. But we are told that the taxpayers will have to pay 16/6 per sack. I put a question to the Minister for Agriculture on that occasion. I asked him who was going to pay the subsidy. “Well,” he said “in the past the taxpayers did it but under this Bill we are going to put it on the consumer.” I asked the Minister: “Who is the consumer?” Does not everybody know that the consumer and the taxpayer are one and the same person? I am repeating this argument again in order to show the bluff that the Government Party employ with regard to this question.
Deputy Dillon has put before you the position with regard to the price of fine meal. The constituency which I represent is a rather poor constituency but the people there are industrious and in the past they bought thousands of tons of feeding stuffs. On every occasion on which the opportunity arises I must stress the fact that you are putting a burden of £2 or £2 10s. per ton on these people. The argument might be used that there are Deputies on these benches who stand for a policy of wheat growing. That is none of my business. As long, as I am here I am going to do my duty to the people I represent and I am not going to be carried away by an argument of that sort. Many of the people in my constituency have not a market at any price——
An Ceann Comhairle: That surely does not arise on this Bill.
Mr. O'Leary: I am just referring to it in passing because it is the policy of the Government that has brought it about. I should like to know if the Minister has gone sufficiently into the question of the cost of production. I believe the price of wheat is going to work out at something like 25/- per barrel. With the yield at eight barrels per acre, £10 would be the average return from each acre of wheat. I would like if the Minister in supporting the motion gave some figures on this question. I am sure the Department has gone into the question of the cost of production.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy will have an opportunity of raising that on a section of the Bill.
Mr. O'Leary: I might as well get rid of it now as I have nearly finished.
An Ceann Comhairle: It would be quite in order on that occasion, but it is very doubtful on this.
Mr. O'Leary: A thing you will never get tired of is telling the truth.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Chair might get tired, not of hearing the Deputy telling the truth, but of hearing the truth repeated too often.
Mr. O'Leary: I think the Minister ought to give us an idea of the cost of production, because even in to-day's paper there is a letter from somebody who suggests that it costs over £10 per acre. Looking at the matter from my own point of view I certainly think it would, when you take into account the cost of the seed and the fact that the State has to pay a subsidy of £2 12s. per acre. I should like the Minister in concluding to give us some idea of the cost of production of wheat in this country.
Mr. Minch: Deputy Dillon has undoubtedly made a tremendous case against the Cereals Bill by reason of the increase which it will cause in the price of bread. Undoubtedly, the way  in which he presented the case to the House makes it very difficult indeed to reply adequately to that argument against the Cereals Bill. But the extraordinary thing is that, whereas certain Governments are paying premiums to people to destroy wheat, other Governments are paying subsidies for the growing of wheat. As long as certain Governments continue that method of interfering with certain commodities, then other Governments will have to take means of protection. In this country a position arose in which the grain-growing industry was undoubtedly suffering from intensive competition, with the result that something had to be done as far as the actual producers were concerned in the grain-growing counties. It is purely on behalf of the grain growers that I am now speaking. I quite understand that in the Free State there are certain counties where grain growing hardly exists. I quite understand that if I went down there I would certainly be violently opposed on any argument that I might put up on behalf of the counties where grain growing is one of the chief sources of revenue. The result is that until we come to the stage, to which Deputy Dillon believes we will come, that 700,000 or 800,000 acres of wheat will be grown and wheat growing will become general, I can understand that there will be opposition to it in many parts of the country.
Deputy Dillon has stated that it is his intention to divide the House on this money resolution. I quite agree with everything he said as far as the price of bread is concerned. He dealt with it from the two extremes of the rich and the poor. But there is another class of people in this country, the middle class, who, in my view, receive very little consideration on many matters that come before the House. As I would probably not be allowed to develop that matter I am going to refrain from making any reference to the ordinary middle class people. In conclusion, I may say that I regret very much that I cannot follow my respected leaders on this side of the House into the Division Lobby. I  will be compelled, on account of my constituents, to vote in favour of this money resolution.
Mr. Smith: It is very interesting sometimes to watch the antics of the Opposition when discussing matters of this kind in the House. We have heard Deputy Minch explaining his position with regard to this money resolution. He explained that he was a representative of a constituency that went in largely for grain growing and proceeded to say that if he were in the position of other Deputies of his Party, who represent other constituencies in which grain growing is not so popular, he might have taken a different view. He concluded by saying that because of his position he did not propose to follow his leaders into the Division Lobby on this question. That is all very interesting indeed, especially when you come to compare that attitude of his with the attitude of other members of his Party when we were discussing other measures in relation to agriculture. We had here some time ago——
An Ceann Comhairle: That does not arise.
Mr. Smith: I think for the purposes of analysis I should be allowed to explain.
Mr. Dillon: Order, order.
Mr. Smith: I suggest I am entitled——
An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Dillon was not here when, on the Second Reading of this Bill, two members of this House, who are very near him at the moment, were precluded from discussing the original Act as quite irrelevant. When amending legislation is before the House, the main Act to be amended may only be discussed in so far as it is affected by the amending legislation. If I might say so, two or three speeches, which were brief and which I did not therefore interrupt this afternoon, were not in order.
Mr. Smith: Of course it could be truthfully said that I, too, was absent from the House when this matter was  being discussed. I take it, therefore, that you, Sir, would be prepared to concede to me the same facilities.
An Ceann Comhairle: I am not prepared to listen to references to the conduct of Opposition Deputies on matters not relevant to this Bill.
Mr. Smith: I do not think I am going very much out of order.
Mr. Minch: You attacked me about things that I never said at all.
Mr. Smith: Deputy Dillon has suggested that he, as a member of this House, and in so far as he can be described as a farmer, would not indulge in the growing of wheat. He went to great lengths to explain his reasons for that. As far as Deputy Dillon's assurances in such matters are concerned we cannot, looking back on his past record in this House, pay much heed to these assurances and promises. I remember the same Deputy saying in this House that he would not take off his hat for the National Anthem, and a month following that assurance I saw him on a political platform, with the late leader of his Party, General O'Duffy, actually contributing, in so far as he could, to the singing of the National Anthem.
Mr. Dillon: I am beginning to regret my mildness.
Mr. Smith: So that, in so far as Deputy Dillon's assurances are concerned on matters of that kind, we are not, I think, to take them very seriously. He went on to deal with this matter of the production of wheat and drew a comparison between this country and France and referred to the surplus which the French people had to dispose of as a result of the policy operated in that country. Surely Deputy Dillon knows that, so far as the production of wheat is concerned, we are very far from having a surplus —that it is estimated that it would take at least the product of some 800,000 acres to give us sufficient wheat to meet our requirements.
Mr. Dillon: If you pay enough you will get 800,000 acres of pine-apples.
Mr. Smith: It is estimated also that we will produce about 200,000 acres this year, or one-quarter of our requirements. Deputy Dillon also knows, when he talks of increasing the price of bread to the labouring man, that there are other agricultural products which we have had to subsidise and to stabilise and that we have been compelled to ask the consuming public to guarantee to the producers of these products a price that would keep them in production. I need only cite the matter of butter. Because we realised that the production of butter was essential to our economy, and that farmers would not stay in the production of butter if the price they were to receive was to be determined by the price in the world market, we had to ask the consumers here to keep the farmers in the production of what we regarded as an essential commodity. I say that we are just as much entitled to say to the consuming public that wheat is an essential of any well-balanced economy and that we are justified in asking the consuming public to guarantee to the farmers who produce it a reasonable price.
Mr. Dillon: The Deputy does not realise that there is no analogy between the two cases.
Mr. Smith: It is all very well for Deputies to talk about the price at which foreign wheat can be purchased this year or could be purchased last year. How are we to know the price at which foreign wheat will be purchased  next year and, in fact, whether we will get a sufficient supply of that wheat? I do not think that any reasonable, intelligent or patriotic man in this House will say that it is an unwise and bad policy to encourage and induce our farmers to grow what is, in Deputy Dillon's own words, such an essential commodity as wheat, which goes to make our daily bread. I cannot understand the mentality of Deputy Dillon in this matter. I appreciate very fully the attitude taken up on this question by his colleague, Deputy Minch. Deputy Minch represents a grain-growing area and Deputy Bennett a dairying district. I am sure that when both Deputies get talking this matter over they will see that it is only by cooperation between all the districts in the country that we can reach real solid conclusions on it. I submit that it is quite wrong to approach consideration of this question by saying: “Well, this does not suit my particular district, and I am going to vote against it.” This is a very big question that affects the whole community and we must look at it from that point of view. The growing of wheat has to be looked at from the point of view of the nation. Therefore, the Government are justified in their policy. They will continue that policy despite Deputy Dillon's opposition to it. They will push it forward so as to ensure that all our wheat requirements will be supplied by Irish farmers and by Irish labourers from Irish land.
The Committee divided: Tá, 54; Níl, 41.
Corry, Martin John.
Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
Crowley, Timothy. Keyes, Michael.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick John.
Maguire, Conor Alexander.
Pattison, James F.
De Valera, Eamon.
Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
Kelly, Thomas. Pearse, Margaret Mary.
Ruttledge, Patrick Joseph.
Ward, Francis C.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Broderick, William Joseph.
Burke, James Michael.
Cosgrave, William T.
Costello, John Aloysius.
Davitt, Robert Emmet.
Dillon, James M.
Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
|McFadden, Michael Og.
Murphy, James Edward.
O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Redmond, Bridget Mary.
Rogers, Patrick James.
Tellers: Tá: Deputies Little and Smith; Níl: Deputies Bennett and O'Leary.
Motion declared carried.
Resolution reported and agreed to.
Question proposed: “That Section 1 stand part of the Bill.”
Mr. Dillon: Certain amendments have occurred to some of my colleagues. As we did not anticipate that the Committee Stage of this Bill would be taken so soon after the Second Stage, I wonder if the Minister would consent to their being submitted on Report Stage. There are only two or three amendments, but they should have been down for the Committee Stage.
An Ceann Comhairle: That is a matter for the Chair. The Chair was asked in this case to make a concession and to allow amendments to be received up to 12 o'clock on Monday. That concession was made, but no amendments were received.
Mr. Dillon: I regret that I addressed my request to the wrong authority.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Chair gave a full week for the handing in of amendments.
Mr. Dillon: I quite admit, taking the arrangement of business as it was, that every facility was made available. Perhaps I shall be able to arrange the matter at another time with the Ceann Comhairle, so that the difficulty will be overcome.
Question put and agreed to.
Sections 2, 3 and 4 agreed to.
Minister for Agriculture (Dr. Ryan): I move amendment No. 1:—
Before Section 5 to insert a new section as follows:—
 (1) For the purposes of Sections 28 and 30 of the Principal Act, as amended by the Amending Act of 1934, and of Section 61 of the Amending Act of 1934, the amount of wheat milled at a particular licensed mill during the preliminary quota period or any quota year shall be taken to be the sum of the following amounts namely, the amount of wheat at such mill at the commencement of such period or year (as the case may be) and the amount of wheat delivered at such mill during such period or year (as the case may be), less the sum of the following amounts, namely, the amount of wheat at such mill immediately before the expiration of such period or year (as the case may be) and the amount of wheat consigned from such mill during such period or year (as the case may be).
(2) The provisions of this section shall not apply in respect of any period commencing before the 1st day of August, 1935.
It is not provided in the principal Act that wheat should be weighed at any particular stage from the time it is received by the miller until it is milled into flour. Difficulties have arisen, owing to this point having been overlooked, more or less, in the principal Act. Millers may take a certain amount of wheat under their quota. If it is imported wheat, it may be possible to add some water to it, and thereby make a greater quantity of wheat than they would be entitled to use under their quota. On the other hand, if they have taken wheat which has too much moisture, they may mill less than would be their quota in the ordinary way. The difficulty was to deal with that position. This amendment lays down the ruling on that particular point. The amount the wheat weighs at the time at which it is received will rule in all such cases in future, whether it has low moisture or high moisture. The amount received by the miller is taken as the amount for the particular quota allotted to that  miller. The other provisions of the amendment are simple.
Mr. Minch: What percentage of moisture is the amendment based on?
Dr. Ryan: That does not matter. Whatever the weight of the wheat is coming in is to rule.
Mr. Dillon: The case the Minister makes for this amendment is administrative difficulty?
Dr. Ryan: Yes.
Mr. Dillon: It is a rough and ready scheme. Supposing wheat is delivered to the miller with a very high moisture content, will that operate to increase the miller's cost of producing the flour? To make the matter clear, let us suppose that all the wheat came into the mill with an unduly high moisture content. It would be weighed with that moisture content, according to this amendment. The wheat would then be dried and a certain amount of moisture extracted. At the end of the year the miller's stock would be in the dried condition. The deduction at the end of the year to ascertain the amount of wheat used would, therefore, be a deduction of dried wheat from damp wheat. Does the Minister anticipate that assessing the miller all the time on the basis of damp wheat—I use that term for the want of a better one— will react unfavourably on the miller and make his cost of producing flour higher than it would be if a test were carried out and due allowance made for the condition in which the wheat reached him.
Dr. Ryan: I think that the Deputy does not grasp the point of the amendment. It has nothing to do with the cost; it has only to do with the quota. I can give an example of what cropped up. A miller had a quota of 10,000 barrels of wheat for a certain period. The home-grown percentage was ten. He got 9,000 barrels of imported wheat. to which he added certain moisture. He got 1,000 barrels of home-grown wheat from which he extracted certain moisture, and the general result was that he had more wheat than he was  entitled to under the quota. It is not my Department which administers this part of the Act and it is extremely difficult for the Department of Industry and Commerce to come to an understanding with the millers who lose so much moisture in one lot and gain so much in another lot. The simple thing for the purpose of the quota is to take the weight when delivered to the mill. The quota is calculated in that way. The amendment has nothing to do with the cost. Indirectly, of course, if a person has a certain quota and mills less than that, his overhead charges would probably be the same and, in that way, his costs might be affected. But that would be a very small item.
Mr. Minch: If the Minister fixed the moisture at 15 per cent. he would probably find that the difficulty would be overcome.
Dr. Ryan: If you take it all-round it will give the same thing in the end.
Mr. Dillon: There is a quota for the amount of wheat that may be milled?
Dr. Ryan: Yes.
Mr. Dillon: And for the amount of flour produced? Is there only a quota for the amount of wheat that may be milled? In the other legislation a miller is registered for the amount he will mill, and also for the amount of flour he may sell.
Dr. Ryan: No.
Mr. Dillon: Only on the amount of wheat he will mill?
Dr. Ryan: Yes.
Amendment agreed to.
Question proposed: “That Section 5, as amended, stand part of the Bill.”
Professor O'Sullivan: Perhaps the Minister would explain sub-section (4) (f). The Minister must admit that the section is a bit complicated. Why is there no relief in this particular case? On reading over the Bill it appeared to me that this section does not fit in with the rest of the structure. As far as I can gather, it is impossible for an  undertaking miller to transfer his obligation to a liable miller.
Dr. Ryan: Yes.
Professor O'Sullivan: Apparently he cannot transfer the storage or drying liability.
Dr. Ryan: Yes.
Professor O'Sullivan: I intended raising this matter on the Second Stage, but perhaps the Minister would explain it now. Take it in connection with Section 6 (2), where you are dealing with the provision of storage accommodation and drying accommodation. Though it is contemplated that a miller may transfer some liability, so far as actually dealing with wheat is concerned, there is no provision enabling him to do it for drying or storage. Why is that?
Dr. Ryan: The liable miller may get an undertaking miller to mill part of the home-grown wheat for him. That does not automatically get rid of the liability for storage and drying. When you come to the section dealing with storing and drying you will see that the liable miller is always liable——
Professor O'Sullivan: That is the point I am making.
Dr. Ryan: ——even though he gets someone to undertake it for him. There is a different procedure between the two.
Professor O'Sullivan: The Minister has made precisely the point I made, that there is a difference of procedure. I simply asked “why.” The Minister simply says “there is.” I know that. Why? A miller could get a liable miller to undertake certain of his obligations so far as milling is concerned, but it is not a question of automatically transferring his storage and drying liability to a liable miller.
Dr. Ryan: There is nothing to prevent the Minister for Agriculture allowing a miller to do part of the storage and drying in other premises. It could be done by another miller, but we would hold him liable all the time.
Professor O'Sullivan: There is provision for one thing, but not for the other, which suggests the difference.
Mr. Dillon: This point also arises. Is there any objection in principle in one miller getting another miller to do part of his work? Would there be any objection categorically in agreeing to the transfer of liability for storage and drying to the undertaking miller? Certain milling companies are in a position not only to store and to dry the wheat that they require for their own quota, but to store and to dry some more as well. Supposing a miller had an excess for storage accommodation and made an agreement with an undertaking miller, not only to mill his proportion of the wheat, or part of it, but also to store and to dry it, would the Government have any objection to the transfer of the liability for storage and drying of that part of the quota of the undertaking miller, and make him liable to the Department to carry out the terms of the Bill under the penalties not of the contract but of this Bill?
Dr. Ryan: There is a difference between the two, in this way, that we want to have storage and drying facilities provided in advance. That would be sufficient difference, to say nothing of the release of the liable miller from liability to store and to dry. There is nothing to prevent miller A doing a certain amount of storing for miller B, if the Department is satisfied. If the inspectors are satisfied that there is sufficient accommodation for wheat not only for B but that there is room to spare for the other miller, it will be allowed. We would still hold miller A liable for storage. He has to satisfy the Department that the accommodation is there.
Professor O'Sullivan: That is what I pointed out.
Dr. Ryan: The reason is that we want to have it before the crop comes in which we consider, perhaps, the more important point. In the other case the person takes in the wheat and there is not the same urgency about getting it milled. If a man comes along  and says that he got someone to undertake to mill home-grown wheat for him, we want to have time to look into it to see if it is all right. He is compelled to acquaint us of the agreement.
Professor O'Sullivan: I cannot follow the Minister in saying that he could agree so readily as that. I want to point out that the word “liable” is a rather misleading one to use. The miller is liable for the accommodation. That means that the accommodation must be actually in existence. It is not like being liable in other cases. If A does not do the thing B is caught, as the accommodation must be there. If B says: “You take half of my stock and store it for me,” he must have full accommodation for himself from the start. That is what “liable” means there. The Minister grasped that at the beginning of his last statement when he said the accommodation must be there.
Dr. Ryan: We hold them responsible.
Professor O'Sullivan: All you can say is: “You need not store it in your store. You can store in A's store, but you must have storage. It is not a question of ordinary liability. There must be storage.”
Dr. Ryan: Yes.
Professor O'Sullivan: Whether it is used or not, and even though another person could be got to do it.
Section 5, as amended, agreed to.
Question proposed: “That Section 6 stand part of the Bill.”
Professor O'Sullivan: I asked the Minister on the Second Reading of the Bill if he had any idea of the cost involved here. Although I do not know what type of apparatus will be necessary for drying, this is an increasing cost. Supposing a miller has to get this accommodation, or a certain amount of it, next year it will cost another 50 per cent. Year after year the miller will have to add to his storage and drying apparatus. Is not that so? Unless he wishes to take a jump and say I will look five years ahead.
Dr. Ryan: That is what we expect.
Professor O'Sullivan: There is a danger that he may not have the same belief in the automatic increase that the Minister has, and will doubt the wisdom of making a jump to deal with five years ahead. It seems to me that, if he does not, there will be considerable costs involved, added on to these things. Has the Minister any idea as to the costs that will be involved?
Dr. Ryan: I could not say definitely how many acres of wheat we would have to grow before there would be a big expenditure necessary for additional storage. It appears that there is sufficient storage available this year. Of course, there have been a few silos constructed by millers and dealers which, I think, would have been constructed in any case before this Bill was thought of. In that way, I think that there will be sufficient storage available. Of course, additional drying plant will be required, but it is difficult to forecast the requirements at the moment, because we do not know what the requirements of the millers will be. It is possible that a miller may be able to say that he will not need any drying plant at all for this year because he has been able to make arrangements with dealers or factors. I think I may say that we would be inclined to agree in such a case, because, although we had a meeting with the millers so far back as January last, and even though they had had warning so far back as that, still we would not feel inclined to be as hard on them as we would be, say, next year, in the matter of providing accommodation. In other words, if they provide alternative accommodation in a dealer's premises or anywhere else, I think we would be inclined to accept it.
Professor O'Sullivan: Has the Minister any idea as to the general costs?
Dr. Ryan: I could not say really.
Section 6 agreed to.
Section 7 and 8 agreed to.
(2) Where a purchase percentage  order has been made in relation to any cereal year, the Minister may, whenever and so often as he thinks fit, by order (in this section referred to as an amending order) amend such purchase percentage order, in respect of any month or months in such cereal year commencing after the date of such order, and references in this section to a purchase percentage order shall be construed, in the case of a purchase percentage order amended by an amending order, as references to such purchase percentage order as so amended.
Question proposed: “That section 9 stand part of the Bill.”
Dr. Ryan: I move amendment No. 2:—
In sub-section (2), line 20, to insert after the word “order” the words “by increasing or reducing the purchase percentage for such month or months or, in respect of any month in such cereal year current at the date of such order, by reducing the purchase percentage for such month.”
As this section stands, Sir, we would have no power to vary an order during the month referred to in the order. For example, suppose we asked the millers to take 30 per cent. of their quota in, say, the month of October, we might find, during the month of October, that we had gone a little bit too high. This amendment will enable the Minister for Agriculture to reduce the percentage during the particular month concerned, but it does not give the Minister power to increase the percentage. If the Minister wants to increase the percentage, the increase cannot come into operation until the end of the month during which that order is made. I think that that may be necessary because the first order is made before the 1st September giving the various months and the percentages. It would be difficult to forecast what the millers would be able to take in November and December because weather conditions and so on enter into it.
Mr. Minch: I would strongly advise  the Minister, with regard to the percentage which this section gives him power to fix by order, to insist that the percentage will be something over what would be required up to the present. I do not know whether the Minister is aware that those who were in the business up to this year had a wheat quota announced at a certain percentage—I think it was 8 per cent. —and that, after a while, it was put up to 10 per cent., and that then it was increased by ¾ per cent. The result of that was that, despite the best efforts and intentions of the officials concerned, there was absolute upset and confusion among the people in the milling trade and among those factors who were storing wheat in the ordinary harvest time. I trust that the Minister will arrange that the percentage will be a little more than what would be required up to the present. If that were done, it would be far more satisfactory than it has been up to the present.
Mr. Dillon: A case has been made to me that, under this section, an obligation devolves on millers to buy a certain amount of wheat, which amount shall be fixed from time to time by the Minister, and that, if they fail to buy that amount, a penalty, under paragraph (b) of sub-section (3) is imposed for their failure to buy it. I should like to know whether or not the Minister would consider the incorporation in that section of a provision that, if a miller were in the position of being able to demonstrate, in conditions such as might be prescribed by a High Court Judge, that he was unable to purchase the wheat at the price, that he would be exonerated from blame and not made subject to the penalty imposed under this section.
Dr. Ryan: Of course, this particular amendment is going to meet, partly, that case; that is, if there is not enough wheat in the aggregate to supply all the millers, then it will be possible to reduce the order. I think, however, that it would be very inadvisable to allow any particular miller to make a case, because we want to create a  situation that the miller must go out and look for his quota. It might be possible that a miller, in a part of the country where there was not much wheat growing, would make the case that he found it impossible, or almost impossible, to get the wheat, and I feel that unless we compel such a man to go out and get his wheat this section would become unworkable.
Amendment No. 2 agreed to.
Section 9, as amended, agreed to.
Section 10 agreed to.
Question proposed—“That Section 11 stand part of the Bill.”
Professor O'Sullivan: On Section 11, Sir. Obeying a him from the Ceann Comhairle, I did not take part in the discussion on the Money Resolution, because I felt that most of what I had to say on that matter could be said here. I shall endeavour to make it as brief as possible, because I do not want to reiterate what I have already said on the Second Reading. In some respects, this is really one of the operative clauses—in fact, the operative clause—for one particular purpose of the Bill. Practically, it is the clause that transfers the cost of the assistance for wheat-growing from the taxpayer to the consumer. It is proposed to tax bread. I do not think there can be any denial of it—call it political to say so, if you like, but the fact is plain that it is a proposal to tax bread. There is no doubt about it, and the only defence of that which I have heard to-day is the defence put up by Deputy Smith and it was: “As we have taxed people's butter, the people's bacon and the people's tea, why not tax their bread?” That seems to me the most extraordinary kind of argument but that is the argument he put up. To back that up, he indulged in the argument that bread is an essential thing to tax because it is essential. He took up the phrase used by Deputy Dillon, who pointed out that it was a staple article of food. It is essential and, therefore, it ought to be taxed.
That was the extraordinary argument put forward by Deputy Smith and it is well to realise that he is not alone  in doing that, because that is the purpose of the Bill. There is something very serious involved in this in two ways. On the one hand, as I have more than once pointed out, there is an effort to conceal the real purpose. It is no longer put on as a tax at the time of the ordinary Budget. It is not put on as an ordinary Budget tax, but it is a tax on bread. There can be no disputing that, and I do not think it has been disputed by any Party in the House. This particular Bill—and I am dealing with this Bill and this particular section—is a proposal to take the burden off the ordinary taxes and to put it on bread. You cannot get away from that by saying that the consumer and the taxpayer are the same. They are not. They are becoming that, I will admit, very quickly under the present regime, but that is not necessarily so. If the Minister for Agriculture, for some reason or other, made a commercial treaty with France, he might be anxious to help and to subsidise the drinking of champagne, for instance, in this country but I suggest in that case, as between the ordinary taxpayer and the consumer, there would be a very big difference.
It is the same in this case but in the opposite direction. What you are doing here is taxing an article that particularly hits everybody and, as Deputy Dillon pointed out, hits the poorer classes harder. You are deliberately taxing that. As to the amount of that tax, let us get the gross amount of it. It is £250,000 this year, according to the Minister for Finance. We took the liberty on the last occasion of questioning that figure and I do not think the Minister himself was particularly keen on standing by the figure of his colleague. I do not want to exaggerate, but it would certainly be anything from £350,000 to £450,000. Let me put this to the Deputies of the Labour Party, whom, through you, Sir, I am now addressing and who, I was interested to notice, voted for this particular thing in the Money Resolution. Supposing the Minister for Finance had come here and openly and plainly said: “This year I propose to raise £350,000 by means of a tax on  bread,” even the Labour Party might revolt, but there is no getting away from the fact that that is what is being done. There is also the promise that it is not going to stop there. Let that also be quite clear because the Minister has pointed out that he expects this to increase year by year.
Mr. Smith: Hear, hear.
Professor O'Sullivan: Therefore, the tax on bread, according to the Deputy who said “Hear, hear,” is to be increased year by year until, according to the Minister, it reaches £1,500,000.
Mr. Smith: Hear, hear.
Professor O'Sullivan: “Hear, hear,” says the Deputy again. He will not be satisfied until it has reached £1,500,000. If the Minister's figures can be relied on, it will reach more than that. In this particular section of the Bill you are therefore inaugurating the policy of putting a tax on bread. You say that it is preferable to getting it out of ordinary taxes, but no effort has been made to show why it is preferable. Why is it preferable? The Minister pointed out on the last day that one advantage of this Bill was that the farmer could get his money more quickly. I asked him could he not pay the farmers as quickly under the subsidy system as under this Bill, and was this change introduced here and in subordinate sections of this Bill necessary for the earlier payment of the farmers, and he answered me out straight: “No.” Therefore, so far as the main advantage of this Bill to the farmers is concerned, namely, their getting the full payment—it was a question as between full payment and partial payment—more quickly, it could be done as well under the bounty system as it can be done under this. As I say, there is the other matter not involved in the change from the taxpayer to the consumer, because when you tax, as a rule, except in the case of these indirect taxes such as tea, sugar, bread, butter and so on, you tax a man very often according to his wealth. Here you tax a person according to the kind of food he eats, the cheaper food and most necessary  article of food. That is what you are doing.
As I say, I can understand the Government's reason for doing this. It is an effort—I hope, not a successful effort—on their part to conceal the essential thing—that the Government, which did not hesitate openly to come into this House and put a tax on tea, sugar and tobacco, did hesitate openly to come in and propose a tax on bread in order to subsidise wheat-growing in this country. They hope by means of this procedure—they will meet with a certain amount of success, but only with a certain amount—to conceal the fact that that is what they are doing.
Mr. Belton: And why not?
Professor O'Sullivan: Because I object to that tax. I object to a tax on bread just as I object to taxes on tea and sugar.
Mr. Belton: Why object to having wheat grown?
Professor O'Sullivan: I am not objecting.
Mr. Belton: That is what the Deputy is doing.
Professor O'Sullivan: The Deputy has not followed my argument at all. The Minister agrees that you can help wheat-growing by bounty. Why then change from the system you have at present?
Mr. Belton: Because you are developing.
Professor O'Sullivan: Why not increase your bounty?
Mr. Belton: Then why not have all protective tariffs by bounty?
Professor O'Sullivan: That I have nothing to do with. I say that there is a tremendous difference as to the article you tax, and I think that one of the worst articles that could possibly be taxed is bread. I think there is no excuse for it.
Mr. Donnelly: Deputy O'Sullivan wants it both ways.
Mr. Belton: You must pay them the cost of production.
Professor O'Sullivan: Certainly. Let the taxpayer pay.
Mr. Dillon: 23/6 will not pay.
Mr. Belton: 27/- will.
Professor O'Sullivan: I am sorry for interrupting anybody. Is Deputy Belton finished?
Mr. Belton: He did not begin yet. He will when you are finished.
Professor O'Sullivan: What this Bill does is not to help wheat any more than it was helped in the old Act but to change the method of taxation. This is what this Bill does. That is the principal purpose of this Bill. Instead of taking it out of the ordinary taxation, as was done up to the present, it is putting a tax on bread, and on bread alone. That is what this Bill is doing, and that is the purpose of this Bill. You are doing it in this Bill in order to conceal that you are doing it. That is the second purpose of this Bill. I can see the advantage, from the Government point of view, that it will help—and apparently, judging from the way in which this Bill has been received by the House, it has already helped— to conceal the fact that you are taking it out of the ordinary taxes and putting it on to the most necessary article of food, bread. I do not think—I repeat this—that the Government would dare to come into this House and do that openly. I do not think any Deputy on the Labour benches, or on some of the other benches, would support them if they said: “We will put a tax on bread to the extent of £350,000 this year; to a greater extent next year and, finally, to the extent of £1,500,000.” I do not think that, if that proposition were fairly and squarely put before the House it would receive any support outside those who are bound by Party allegiance to support the Government. I am not discussing the wheat policy of the Government. That, I understand from the Ceann Comhairle, is completely outside the relevancy of this particular section, and even of this Bill. I have confined myself to what this Bill proposes to do,  and especially to what this particular section proposes to do. We have had references here this evening to what Governments elsewhere are doing— irrational Governments. There are some people subsidising the growing and some the destruction of wheat. The fact that Governments elsewhere have indulged in irrational policies of that kind is no reason why we should follow them. But there is one thing exceptionally rational from the purely Party point of view of the Government, namely, the question as to why the Minister for Finance wanted to get it off his Budget and on to a Bill of this kind.
Mr. Belton: Before I start on the section, I want to confess to a mistake which I made in going into the wrong Lobby in the division on the Financial Motion.
Mr. Smith: Force of habit!
Mr. Belton: I want to make that correction, because it was inconsistent with the speech which I made on the Second Reading of the Bill.
Mr. T. Kelly: I saw the Deputy smiling over there.
Mr. Belton: I saw the Deputy frowning, but he did not explain.
Mr. Dillon: The Deputy knows you to be a wild and turbulent spirit.
Mr. Donnelly: Deputy Dillon was very surprised when he saw you.
Mr. Belton: I entirely agree with the closing remarks of Deputy O'Sullivan, namely, that the Minister for Finance has got rid of a burden, but that is a purely budgetary or financial matter, and has, I think, nothing to do with this section of the Bill. Deputy O'Sullivan, in my opinion, argued against wheat growing in this country. The provision for a percentage of home-grown wheat in the flour to be milled here of course carries with it an obligation on the millers to put in that percentage, and that percentage is regulated roughly or substantially by the supply which is produced by the farmers. The millers will have to pay round about an economic price for that wheat. Now, surely Deputy O'Sullivan,  a Professor in the National University, does not want to work for slave wages in the National University. Does he want the farmers of this country to work for slave wages? What does he mean by saying that to get an economic price for home-grown wheat is putting a tax on bread? You might say that to pay any price for wheat is to tax bread, but we must be consistent. We should either say: “We will grow wheat in this country” or “We will not grow wheat here.” My view is that we should. To anybody who says that we should not I give a challenge here and now to contradict me when I say that there is not a wheat-growing country in the world getting wheat as cheaply as wheat is being sold, or rather dumped, on the world market at the present time. Every wheat-growing country is paying more than what we term the world price for wheat, that is about 13/- or 14/- a barrel at the present time. I challenge Deputy O'Sullivan to mention one wheat-growing country in the world that is getting wheat at that price at the present time. I follow the prices. I follow all the manipulations of the principal wheat-growing countries—there are about 20 of them—who have tried to restrict the growing of wheat and apportion the market for themselves. Outwardly, they all agree, but then behind the scenes they all disagree, and try to grow a little bit more. Then there is economic nationalism arising. Some people agree with it and some do not. Several of the countries that are not termed wheat-producing countries are continuing to grow more, and generally have a little surplus. That surplus is dumped on the world market. We here are endeavouring to lead up to the point when we will be self-supporting in the matter of wheat, and we want the consumer to pay an economic price for that wheat.
Mr. Dillon: Why do we want to be self-supporting in the matter of wheat?
Mr. Belton: It is good national policy.
Mr. Dillon: Why?
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: That is travelling far from the section.
Mr. Belton: I would recommend the Deputy to read my speech on the Second Reading, and if there is not enough information in that I will give him all the information at my disposal.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Not now.
Mr. Belton: Not now. I am only just indicating——
Professor O'Sullivan: He is only threatening it!
Mr. Belton: Anyway we have 16,000,000 acres of land in this country, and we must make some use of it.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy is going into a question of general policy.
Mr. Belton: I suggest that that is one use for the land. I do object to the way Deputy O'Sullivan put it—that this is a tax on bread. I represent a city constituency, and I would be the last in this House to advocate or support a tax on bread. That is not what I am doing in supporting this section; I am supporting the getting of an economic price for an article produced in this country, and in that I am not advocating a principle which is not observed in every wheat producing country in the world. I did intend to put in amendments to this Bill, but pressing business since the Dáil adjourned kept me away from home, and I had not sufficient time.
Mr. Minch: He was down in Galway!
Mr. Belton: No. I was not in Galway.
Mr. Donnelly: That was a cake walk. There was no necessity!
Mr. Belton: I did not go so far away. I kept nearer to the Deputy's constituency. I had intended to table amendments to the section by way of an addition. I made certain remarks on the Second Reading about the culture of strong wheats, and the Minister in his reply spoke favourably of that. I did intend to put in  an amendment here, which would be in the nature of an experiment to offer, say, about 30/- a barrel for strong wheat—something like that, so as to see what effect that would have. The Minister would, perhaps, want to do that now or very soon if he intends to work on that for next year, because there is no use in offering that price now as an inducement for this year's crop, as the crop is in, and no matter what he offers he cannot induce any new types of wheat to be grown. Perhaps in the later Stages of the Bill he might add a new sub-section by way of experiment. The Department of Agriculture carried out experiments before and found them successful. It would help also the cultivation of Marcus wheat over wider areas. Perhaps if the Minister did it in this way, offered by way of experiment 30/- a barrel for acre plots such as was done with the Yeoman No. 2 in 1925-26 and in 1926-27, it would show the potentialities of various parts of the country for strong wheats and particularly for the Marcus wheat that has been introduced here lately. I would like the Minister to take that matter into consideration.
Deputy Dillon asked why should we grow wheat here. We have already decided on the principle of growing wheat. I want to emphasise that if it puts up the price of bread, which it will, from its present mark it will only be put up because the economic price must be paid for the wheat we have decided to grow. If we are not getting that this year, why should we object to a section in the Bill which provides for the maximum of 27/- a barrel? Every practical farmer knows that no one will become a millionaire growing wheat at 27/-, but surely he has less chance of becoming a millionaire if he accepts less? Having accepted the principle of this Bill, I think it is only just to seek a fair price for the article and I see nothing wrong with the section. It is a better method than spoon-feeding by bounties. Bounties are all right to a certain point for experimental purposes. I am in favour of bounties in many cases where we have protective tariffs. Bounties to  a certain point are acceptable, but there is only one way to produce and that is by machinery of this kind, on a percentage, guaranteeing what would be considered an economic price for the wheat.
If I had any substantial support I might feel inclined to oppose this section, but the angle from which I would oppose is that the price offered is not enough. I would like Deputies to develop an argument from that angle. I presume the Minister has in mind that 27/- must be for wheat that will be stacked and threshed late, not stored wheat. However, as nobody has indicated opposition to the section because of the inadequacy of the price, I am not going to make the lead in that direction. If there is anybody sufficiently courageous or just enough to oppose the section on the ground that a sufficient price is not offered, I will support him, but on no other ground will I oppose the section.
Mr. Dillon: Precisely the thing which I forecast on the Financial Resolutions has already begun to happen. Within one half hour Deputy Belton is pointing out that the price for wheat is too low, and if anyone will join with him he will insist on it being upped to 30/-. Can Deputy Belton imagine that Deputy Donnelly, the shrewdest electioneer in this country, if there is a by-election in Leix-Offaly to-morrow, will allow himself to be outbid by Deputy Belton in the price of wheat? If Deputy Belton says 30/-, Deputy Donnelly will say 35/- and if I say 37/6 you will not see Deputy Smith from the dust of the road going down to bid 40/-. What is going to happen is this, that the price will be upped and upped through the pressure of a variety of political influences until we will all grow wheat because, not only will we be able to pay the best agricultural wage owing to the inflated price of wheat, but we will be able to make the biggest profit out of the land, not by prosecuting normal agricultural industry, but by mining the land.
Mr. Smith: You will not grow it anyway.
Mr. Dillon: We will plant wheat and keep getting it until the land becomes valueless. We will take all the good cut of the land in the shape of wheat, grab as much as we can, and let the future take care of itself. In every other country that is precisely what happened. Deputy Belton has said 27/6 is not enough. Let us make it 30/-. Deputy Donnelly in Upper Mount Street says that the 30/- business will be as bad as the land annuities.
Mr. Belton: And then Deputy Dillon will come along.
Mr. Dillon: If I do, Deputy Smith will make it even money, and that is precisely where this legislation is tending. That is going to be the end of it, and the whole thing will collapse as it has collapsed in France, but not without great suffering, great loss and injury to the agricultural community.
Mr. Belton: When did it collapse in France?
Mr. Dillon: It collapsed because they reduced the price.
Mr. Belton: Yes; because they had a surplus.
Mr. Dillon: And when I bid 40/- in this country you will also have a surplus and the whole thing will collapse. What exquisite Fianna Fáil logic! The method of providing free bread for the people is to put a tax of 2d. on every loaf! If you keep it on long enough you start providing free bread for the people out of the tuppences you collect on the loaves you do not sell. That is Fianna Fáil economics, Fianna Fáil agricultural policy, and all that is comprised in Section 13. I quite agree with Deputy Concannon that in the dim and distant future the thing will turn out to be pure tripe and a fraud. Deputy Concannon has the perspicacity to foresee that. Its immediate repercussion is going to be that the present grossly inadequate price for wheat is going to raise the price of flour in this country by a considerable figure. It will raise it by a figure between 13/6 and 14/6 per sack as compared with the price of flour in Liverpool. An increase of 13/6 to 14/6 per  sack means, on the annual consumption of 3,000,000 sacks of flour in this country, about £2,000,000 sterling per annum. How many acres of wheat have we got this year?
Mr. Curran: One hundred and eighty thousand acres.
Mr. Dillon: Let Deputy Donnelly do a bit of arithmetic. Let him divide 180,000 into £2,000,000 and see what is the cost per acre for wheat. Mind you, there would be something to be said for it even still if Deputy Belton or Deputy Smith could get up and say: “In the wheat-growing counties we are paying a decent wage to agricultural labourers and acting as a kind of draw to the rest of the country—we are giving the rest of the country a lead.” What are the wages paid in the wheat-growing counties? Do I exaggerate if I say that the average is about 21/- a week without any perquisites? That is what the 23/6 wheat is producing for the farmer who is growing wheat and for the labourer who is working at it. I met spalpeens going to England to-day and they can get a wage of from 33/6 a week, a free house and overtime——
Mr. Belton: For harvest work.
Mr. Dillon: No; they are getting 33/6 per week, free house and overtime from now until December 20th.
Mr. Corry: What will they have after December?
Mr. Dillon: Let us compare that with what we are paying for the summer months for the same labour. We are paying 21/- a week and I defy anybody to grow wheat at the price adumbrated in the Schedule to this Bill and pay a labourer 1/- more per week than that and make a profit out of it. Make up your minds that 23/6 a sack is not going to be the standard price of wheat. If you subsidise wheat so as to pay a wage to the agricultural labourer, then, indirectly, the Government becomes the employer of the labourer. If that happens this Government will be forced to pay a living wage, and no person can stand over a  wage of less than 30/- a week for a labourer if he is a married man. God knows that wage is low enough. The consequence will be that you have to work the price of wheat up to a point which will give every farmer who is growing wheat an opportunity of paying his labourers a minimum wage of 30/- a week. If you do that you will have to pay £2 a barrel for wheat, and if you pay £2 a barrel for wheat and produce all the requirements of the country the 2-lb. loaf is going to cost the people of this country, not 4d. or 5d. but very much nearer to 10d. You have to make up your minds on that. I say that economics of that kind are pure moonshine, a fraud, and a swindle. I object to the powers conferred by this Bill. You know this thing cannot be done, and unless you are going to ask the people on the land to work at slave wages the production of home-grown bread cannot go on. It cannot be done.
Mr. Donnelly: It can be done.
Mr. Dillon: Deputy Belton asked: “What will we do with the land?” My answer is that every acre of our land can be used more profitably than any acre of agricultural land in the world.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Now, now.
Mr. Dillon: Very well. I will get away from that. I will have an opportunity of discussing it on the Estimate for the Department of Agriculture. Let us confine ourselves to the price of wheat. Wheat is going to cost the public of this country £2 a barrel. Deputies should face up to the inevitable consequence of what is enshrined in this Bill—that what actually is going to happen is that the price of wheat is going to be forced up and this will be followed by a terrible increase in the cost of bread. I warn Deputies that great evils will ensue for the most defenceless section of the community.
Mr. Belton: Who?
Mr. Dillon: The bread consumers— the people who are the poorest in the community.
Mr. Belton: Are not the farmers the poorest in the community?
Mr. Dillon: As they say in the theological thesis secundum quid. The people who will pay more are the people who depend most on bread for their food, and the Government having forced up the price of bread——
Mr. Belton: To an economic level.
Mr. Dillon: An economic level is the price that will have to be paid to enable the grower to make a profit after paying a decent wage.
Mr. Belton: It is going up to an economic level.
Mr. Dillon: Stop a minute. When that comes everybody in this country is going into growing wheat. When the Government gives an economic price the people of the country will all go into growing wheat, because they can get an economic price for nothing else. That is, a price that yields them a profit and that will enable them to pay wages. Everybody will go into wheat-growing then, and you will have an enormous surplus which the Government will have to dispose of, and the taxpayer will have to find the money for the loss. Then you will have the position Deputy Smith rejoices in now in the case of butter. We will be charging our own people 10d. for the 2lb. loaf in order to provide the English people with the same class of loaf at one penny. That is what is happening now in the case of butter. We are charging our own people 1/5 a lb. in order to supply the English people with butter at 10d. a lb.
Mr. Smith: Nonsense.
Mr. Dillon: Is it not true?
Mr. Smith: It is the height of nonsense.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: There is nothing about butter in this Bill.
Mr. Dillon: No, but you are going to do precisely the thing that is being done in the case of butter. You will charge the people of this country a big price for the loaf and you will be shipping the surplus to England to provide  a cheap loaf for the people of England. That is what you are going to do.
Mr. Belton: If we cannot grow wheat what can we do?
Mr. Dillon: There are means whereby we could make this country the richest country in the world. There are means whereby we could pay the labourers of this country at least as good a wage as they are paid in Worcester, Leicester and the English shires. Until we change our outlook altogether we will not be able to do that. Do not imagine that you can do to-day something that may be foolish but which will have a kind of feather-headed appeal to some silly prejudice that the people nurse in their minds. Do not imagine that you can do this sort of thing without later on reaping the whirlwind. We know that Fianna Fáil hopes to gather to itself some popularity in more ways than one. Those who will come after them will have to clean up the mess. I do not imagine I will move the Fianna Fáil Party by an appeal or exhortation not to make this mess too great. But I do say this: “Do not make such a mess that one day we will not be able to clear up.”
Mr. Donnelly: Why say “we”?
Mr. Dillon: Eleven thousand votes lost in Galway. That is why I say “we,” but I will not go into that matter now.
Mr. Smith: We were well able to afford 11,000 votes.
Mr. Corry: Some farmers in Galway were being ruined by Cumann na nGaedheal.
Mr. Dillon: I would like to see this measure considered on the merits. I would like Deputies would consider to where this is going to lead. I know there is very valuable work being done in the way of producing best grade seed for wheat, barley, oats and other crops in Glasnevin. Does the Minister now think that the time has come——
Dr. Ryan: On this section?
Mr. Dillon: Does not the Minister think that the time has come when his powers under this section might profitably be used to guide the people along  to the most profitable class of cereal to cultivate? I invite the Minister to consider that aspect of the matter.
Dr. Ryan rose.
Mr. Bennett: Is the Minister to conclude?
Dr. Ryan: No. Deputy Dillon has suggested that we will charge 10d. a loaf here to our own people and send the loaf across to John Bull for one penny. The Deputy is more optimistic about wheat growing in this country than I am. If I thought that we could produce enough wheat in this country to satisfy our own wants, I would be satisfied. I do not know whether we might exceed that. I think perhaps the position held out was that we should only grow wheat because it would pay its way, wages and so on.
Mr. Dillon: Why not grow pineapples?
Dr. Ryan: Yes. We could grow many things: “If we do,” says Deputy Dillon, “great evils will ensue for the poorer classes of the community.”“Great evils will ensue,” says Deputy Dillon, “if you grow wheat instead of going back to the bullock and the ranch and farm-yard manure.” Why does Deputy Dillon hold that wheat is an uneconomic crop grown in this country while, in other countries, farmers can grow it and get an economic price for it when they sell it? I never can understand from the Opposition what they mean by an uneconomic crop. I suppose they mean something that can be grown cheaper by another country. If that is the case we should grow nothing, because nothing that we can grow will be economic and give economic results according to Deputy Dillon's standard.
Mr. O'Leary: We are getting 12/6 for calf skins.
Dr. Ryan: Yes, and we could get them cheaper from other countries. We could get mutton, beef, cattle and so on cheaper from other countries.
Mr. Dillon: What brings the German buyers here then?
Dr. Ryan: We brought the German buyers here by a trade treaty we made with Germany. The Deputy knows, or should know—and I am sure he will claim he does know, because there is nothing that one could mention that he does not claim to know—that beef could be got for a penny a lb. from another country.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: There is not a word about beef or meat of any kind in this section.
Dr. Ryan: Let us get back to the section then. This section does not prevent the bounty being paid to the miller if the full price will be given to the farmer for what he supplies. I pointed out on the Second Reading of this Bill that there is nothing to prevent any Government, either the present or any other Government, from paying the bounty to the miller instead of to the farmer. I said in the debate on the Second Reading that we were not going to do that. Even so Deputy O'Sullivan says we are trying to conceal this tax. I am pointing out that we are going to make the consumer pay the full price of the bounty. Still we are told we are trying to conceal it, which seems to me a most extraordinary thing, and a very extraordinary position.
This Bill would have been brought in no matter what the Minister for Finance would have done with regard to the bounty being paid, because it was felt that when the farmer brought his wheat to the miller and got only two-thirds or three-fourths of the price of his wheat, and had to wait three or four months for his money, it was a hardship to the farmer. This Bill was brought in to ensure that the full price would be paid to the farmer when he sold his wheat. Apart from that, the Minister for Finance took the decision of having the bounty on wheat passed on to the consumer in the future. There is nothing to prevent this Government or any other Government from paying the bounty to the miller instead of having it paid as in the past.
Mr. Dillon: Would that be in addition to the fixed price?
Dr. Ryan: No. The miller would pay the fixed price. We could give the miller part of that by way of bounty if it was considered that the consumer should get bread from wheat grown at an uneconomic price as Deputy Dillon wants. Three or four years ago wheat was imported at 33/- a barrel. Now it could be imported at 13/- or 14/- a barrel according to quality. We feel our farmers cannot grow wheat at 13/- or 14/- a barrel and we have put down a minimum price that must be paid; whether that minimum price should be increased or not I do not know. So far as I am concerned it will have nothing to do with the elections such as the promises given by the Party opposite had four years ago. The people can see through that kind of thing as they have seen through Deputy Dillon.
Mr. Dillon: To the tune of 11,000 votes in Galway!
Mr. Donnelly: And to the tune of 78 Deputies here in this House, for Fianna Fáil.
Dr. Ryan: The position when this legislation was brought in first was that a bounty was offered for the growing of wheat more or less as an experiment, although I think we were convinced that the experiment would succeed. It was quite obvious that if a big amount of wheat was grown it would have to be financed in a different way. Surely no one can object to paying the Irish farmer what he is entitled to get for the wheat he grows, and no one can object to that being passed on to the price of flour and bread. If people object to that they must object to everything that occurs in that way—to the price of butter, bacon, beef, eggs, cabbage. You can get cabbage abroad cheaper than here, and potatoes too.
Mr. Belton: We could do with a potato subsidy now, and on cabbage too.
Dr. Ryan: If we were to follow the logic of Deputy Dillon and Deputy O'Sullivan, we should confine all these things to taxation. If we did so, then  eventually the figure would reach £1,500,000 if the present prices remained. I do not know what it would reach if all the things—vegetables and so on—were included, but it would be something like £4,000,000 or £5,000,000, maybe more, and that would have to be raised by taxation. That is suggested by a Party who object to the present taxation. They are going to give old age pensions at 65—at least during the Galway elections they said they were. They are going to derate agricultural land. They are going to bring down taxation and yet finance all this out of taxation instead of putting it on the consumer. It is no wonder they are getting on in the way they are, when they try to fool the people with that sort of stuff, because everybody knows it is the grossest nonsense.
Mr. Dillon: Eleven thousand people in Galway did not seem to think so.
Dr. Ryan: What is this 11,000 he is talking about?
Mr. Dillon: Ask Deputy Donnelly. He knows all about it.
Mr. Smith: We could afford to give you 20,000 and beat you. That is the important point.
Mr. O'Leary: People are learning.
Mr. Corry: They are getting to know you.
Dr. Ryan: The fixed price works out from 23/6 to 26/-. That is the average price. It is higher or lower according to the bushel weight. The highest possible price is 27/-.
Mr. O'Donovan: What was the average bushel weight last year?
Dr. Ryan: 60 lbs.
Mr. Belton: There were some 64 lb. weight.
Dr. Ryan: The average is something over 60.
Mr. Curran: Will the Minister say what is the weight of the wheat for which 23/6 will be paid?
Dr. Ryan: Has the Deputy got the Bill? 60 lb. per bushel. I was making the point when I was interrupted that we are fixing as the average price 23/6 to 26/-. That is not an exorbitant price as far as the consumer is concerned.
Mr. O'Donovan: What is the average bushel weight over the last ten years?
Dr. Ryan: We have not got that.
Mr. O'Donovan: It would not be 58 lbs.
Dr. Ryan: We have only got two years' experience under this scheme. If I might be allowed to proceed, I want to point out that 23/6 to 26/-, the average price, is not an exorbitant price for the consumer. Up to about two years ago we were importing wheat at a minimum of 33/- per barrel. As a matter of fact, a few years before that it was up to 50/- per barrel. At the time this question was considered by the Economic Committee it was held by some of the experts who came before the Committee that wheat was at the lowest level it could possibly reach at that time and that it was bound to go up again. Of course, the experts were wrong.
Mr. Bennett: How much was grown here then?
Dr. Ryan: Twenty-one thousand acres.
Mr. Bennett: At 30/-?
Dr. Ryan: Not at 30/-. What we held at the Economic Committee was that they should be guaranteed 30/- and that they should be given a guaranteed market. We wanted to get a guaranteed price and a guaranteed market in order to get wheat grown. There is no doubt that that is all that was required. I have said that this is not an exorbitant price to the consumer. On the other hand, Deputy Belton and other Deputies have raised the question as to how that price could be considered with regard to the grower. Costings were made out at that time and later on, and I think that the average yield of wheat per acre was made out at the time to be something like 14 cwt. of millable  wheat and that on that yield there would be a profit on the growing of wheat. I have not got the figures but I know that the average yield was returned at 14 cwt. of millable wheat at the price stated here. The experience during the last two years is that the average yield has been 20 cwt. of millable wheat to the acre. The profits therefore must be considerable because there is at least six cwt. representing a profit according to the calculations made at that time.
These theoretical figures, however, are not much use. The farmer, his labourers, his sons may be out ploughing, harrowing and working so many hours in producing the crop on one day and then a wet day comes and he cannot do anything. Yet he must be paid for that wet day if he is to live. Therefore, it is extremely difficult to give the costings for any particular crop because of the time that is lost—the long evenings in winter, the wet days and the free days that a man may take off to attend a ploughing match or something of that kind. All these things must be covered and they are not covered in the costings. The only real test of the price which should be paid for wheat is whether we can get the crop grown. If we do not get the crop grown, we will have to raise the price so that farmers may get more quickly into it. I think Deputies will agree that the only real test as to whether the growers are getting a sufficient price is the fact that they will or will not grow it. I hold that it is extremely difficult to get your costings in a theoretical way. If they grow it at this particular price, this price will be continued. If they do not grow it at this price, we may have to increase the price. Whatever Deputy Dillon may say about the pressure that is going to be brought to bear on them, these things are not going to count in the least. If we do not get our full requirements grown, the price will have to be increased.
Mr. O'Leary: The Minister says that the Government are going to pass the subsidy on to the consumer. Will the Minister deny that he said in this House in 1928 that the farmers of this  country produced 80 per cent. of its wealth and that, therefore, they paid 80 per cent. taxation?
Dr. Ryan: Yes.
Mr. O'Leary: Is it not a fact that the farmers are paying 80 per cent. of the subsidy now?
Dr. Ryan: We are taking it off taxation now. The Deputy must realise that.
Mr. O'Leary: That is all humbug. The people are actually paying it.
Dr. Ryan: The subsidy was taken out of taxation up to this year, but now it is not going to be paid out of taxation. I have met the Deputy's point on that.
Mr. O'Leary: You had the same argument with regard to the coal-cattle pact. How can you say in this House that it is England pays the tax?
Dr. Ryan: I never spoke on it.
Mr. O'Leary: The Minister for Industry and Commerce said the other day that it was a tax for the purpose of getting revenue.
Mr. Lemass: That does not affect the question of who is to pay it.
Mr. Belton: Will the Minister deal with the question of a small increase in price for stronger wheat?
Dr. Ryan: That can be postponed until next year.
Mr. Bennett: This section may be opposed on different grounds. One ground is that of the cost it entails and another is that it does not offer any additional advantage to the producer. The Minister thinks that the consumer cannot legitimately object to an increase in the price of flour. If there is any reason why anybody should not object, it certainly should not apply to the consumer. He has more reason to object than anybody because this additional impost is put upon him in regard to one commodity, when he is getting no relief to compensate for that from any direction. This is an additional impost on the most vital commodity which he consumes. One  might derive some little satisfaction from this section if it offered any pecuniary advantage to the producer, but there is none whatever. In fact, if anything there is going to be some little reduction in the price, because the bulk of the wheat is going to be taken before the Christmas period and there will be very little of it taken afterwards. The price will work out, as far as I can see, at an average of about 23/6 per barrel, the figure mentioned, and that certainly is not more than the producer got last year. Deputy Belton seemed to be under a misapprehension as to the objects of the Bill. He said that if the price of bread was put up it was because an economic price must be paid to the producer. That is not the reason it is being put up. It is not to pay an economic price, because the farmer is not getting anything nearer an economic price under this Bill than he was getting before.
Mr. Donnelly: What is the reason?
Mr. Bennett: The reason is definitely to change the system by putting on to the consumer what he was not bearing previously in order to relieve the Exchequer of the sum which it was contributing. In other words, it is to camouflage the fact that the people are paying in some way or another. The farmer is certainly not going to get any advantage out of this. Let us see what disadvantage it will be to the consumer. It is putting directly on to him something which he paid in part indirectly before. It is going to make him bear the full cost of the subsidy and also any extras outside the subsidy which the millers will have to bear and which the Exchequer bore last year.
Perhaps the Exchequer was very wise in getting out of it this year because there are additions to the burden which had not to be borne last year. The millers will bear the full burden now and they will pass it on to the consumer. Under Sections 6 and 9, and amendment No. 1 which the Minister introduced to-day, there will be additional costs put on the millers outside of the direct subsidy which they will have to bear and they will pass  these additional costs on to the consumer. We have, first, the provision of storage accommodation, drying plant, etc. Are the millers such philanthropists that they are going to bear the whole cost of these? Of course, they are not. They are going to make the consumer pay.
Mr. Belton: That is another matter.
Mr. Bennett: It will be included in the price to the consumer. Our objection to this is that the consumer will have to pay not only the minimum price, whatever it is, with the subsidy included, but the costs imposed by these other sections of the Bill. I did not speak on these other sections because I thought these matters could be more aptly discussed on this.
Mr. Belton: Even if you retain the subsidy system these costs will have to be borne by the miller.
Mr. Bennett: These costs might possibly have been borne by the miller, but the subsidy would not have to be borne by the miller if this Bill had not been introduced, but by the Government. They now enter into the question of what the extra cost to the consumer will be.
Mr. Belton: They are quite apart from Section 11.
Mr. Bennett: They are not. Our objection to this Bill is the additional cost imposed on the consumer. The Chair can rule me out of order if necessary. It is immaterial to me whether I raise this matter on this section or later on. There is an additional impost put on the millers in connection with the provision of additional storage. I think that will not be disputed by any Deputy. There will also be an additional cost put on the millers by reason of the fact that they will have to purchase the bulk of the wheat before December. In other words, they will have to pay for a certain amount of moisture. The wheat will be lighter when dried out, and the loss caused by the extraction of the moisture will again be put on to the consumer. Then there are the costs  incidental to the amendment introduced by the Minister to-day. I am not speaking as an advocate of the millers. Like all the rest of the manufacturing community they are well able to take care of themselves. It is because they are so well able to take care of themselves that I know they are going to pass on all these costs to the unfortunate consumer.
The Minister said that some Deputies on this side predicted that wheat could never be grown here—that there was no possibility of a surplus. When these proposals were first brought before the House I was the first to use the word surplus. I was vigorously attacked by several Deputies when I suggested that there might possibly be a surplus of wheat if the inducement offered was big enough. The inducement has not been big enough yet. In fact, the inducement would not have materially affected the amount of wheat grown but for other circumstances. There are two possible ways by which you might make people grow wheat. One is to make the subsidy big enough to induce people to give up something else and go into wheat. The other is to make the production of other agricultural products so uneconomic that people will grasp at wheat growing as the best way out of a desperate position. That is what has happened, and that accounts for the extra wheat grown. Everything else was so far away from being produced economically——
An Ceann Comhairle: It seems to be far away from the section under discussion.
Mr. Bennett: I was answering the Minister on that point. Certainly nobody can argue that 23/6 is an economic price to give to the producer for wheat.
Mr. Belton: Now you are getting to it.
Mr. Bennett: The Minister mentioned something about 30/-. We all know that the price of wheat reached 30/- in this country within the last ten years. That is a proof of what I have been saying, that we have grown  wheat now because it is more economic to grow it than other things. The farmers did not grow wheat then to sell at 30/- because they could grow other things which would pay them better than wheat at 30/-. Other things would pay them better now than wheat at 30/- if they were allowed to develop them as they should have been allowed. Deputy Belton said that this might perhaps lead up to bidding. I hope there will not be any general bidding amongst the different Parties —that the Parties will combine to see, if wheat is to be grown at all, that the farmers will get an economic price for it. I hope this section will be opposed and that Deputies of all Parties will oppose it. I hope the Labour Party will oppose it because of the additional cost which it will put on the unfortunate consumer, particularly the consumer who is least able to bear it.
Mr. Corry: What about butter?
Mr. Bennett: We will come to butter  next week. I hope it will be opposed by those people who are anxious to see wheat grown, so that the farmers will have an opportunity of growing it at an economic price, because 23/6 is not an economic price.
Mr. Belton: Who is going to pay the economic price?
Mr. Bennett: That is a matter for those who are advocating the system. It is a ground, if you like, for opposing the section. There are various grounds on which this section should be opposed and I hope other Deputies will speak on one side or another. So far no Deputy on the Government Benches has spoken.
I move to report progress.
Progress reported; Committee to sit again to-morrow.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 26th June.