Finance Bill, 1935—Committee.

Tuesday, 2 July 1935

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 57 No. 10

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SECTION 1.

Mr. Keyes: Information on Michael J. Keyes  Zoom on Michael J. Keyes  I move amendment 1A:—

To add a new sub-section as follows:—

(4) Sub-section (1) of Section 21 of the Finance Act, 1920, as amended by subsequent legislation shall be construed and have effect as if the words “or serving a term of apprenticeship under indenture” were inserted therein after the word “establishment” where it now occurs in that sub-section.

At the present time parents who are in the fortunate position of being able to send their children to the university are granted exemptions. The object of this amendment is to secure that the same privilege should be extended [1418] to parents who are not so fortunately circumstanced and who have their children apprenticed in a profession of one kind or another. High fees have to be paid in respect of those children, and in many instances technical equipment for them is very expensive. The cost of their maintenance, during their apprenticeship period, falls as heavily on their parents as the cost of maintenance on parents who are able to send their children to the university. It is only fair, I think, that when an exemption is given in one case it should be given in the other. It is particularly desirable that the exemption that I am seeking should be conceded in view of the fact that our hope is to equip our young people to take up technical positions in many of the new industries recently established. A number of the positions in those new industries are at present filled by foreigners. Our hope ought to be to have them filled by our own people. I urge that as a strong reason on the Minister for Finance why he should grant the exemption that I am seeking for the parents of children serving a term of apprenticeship under indenture.

Minister for Finance (Mr. MacEntee): Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I regret that at such short notice for which the Deputy, possibly, is not responsible, I am unable to give any hope that the amendment can be accepted. The matter is not quite so simple as it would appear. If we were to accept the principle involved then, no doubt, we would be driven to give further concessions. The amount that the Exchequer might lose in respect of this particular amendment might not be very large but, nevertheless, the repercussions of it might be extensive and might involve us in considerable loss. In any event, it seems to me that the position is this: that either those people who do send their children to be apprenticed to one occupation or another are in a position to pay income tax and are, therefore, assessed for income tax, or else they are not assessable for it. I do not know that, from the point of view of the wage-earning classes generally, the exemption would be very effective, because there are comparatively few of them [1419] who, I think, would come within the limits of income tax assessment. The main objection to the proposal at this stage is that we have not had time to consider it and, therefore, I could not undertake to do anything in regard to it in this year's Finance Bill. I will, however, have the matter looked into to see what exactly it would involve, and come to a decision when I have ascertained what the facts are.

Professor Alton: Information on Ernest H. Alton  Zoom on Ernest H. Alton  I hope that the Minister, when considering the principle involved in the amendment, will take a wide view of it, and see if he can extend it so as to cover all parents who have taken on themselves the burden of spending large sums of money in educating their children for the professions. They are a most deserving class of citizen. They spend large sums of money in educating their children for professions—doctors, engineers and even lawyers. They do that at great cost to themselves. In most cases they get no help, direct or indirect, from the State.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Perhaps the Minister would give some indication of what his fears are if he accepts the amendment. If he were to grant the exemption, would he not be in quite as strong a position as he is at present? I do not think there is much point in what he says, that if he were to grant this concession he might then be asked to grant further concessions. I think the Minister will admit that he was extremely vague in what he said. He did not tell the House what other classes he had in mind which, he feared, might seek concessions if he were to grant this particular one.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I think Deputy Alton's speech is a pointer as to what my fears are: that the granting of an exemption of this kind would not be confined to the wage-earning classes who apprentice their children in some particular occupation, and that an attempt would be made to extend the principle to those whose children are preparing for the learned professions. It might be urged then that the exemption now proposed was not based on the inability of the [1420] parent to earn such a sufficient income as would allow him to pay income tax during the period he was maintaining his children but on the hypothesis that during the period of apprenticeship they were being educated. As I have said, I am not able to do anything about it this year. I will have the matter looked into to see what are the possible extensions of this concession, and what the probable cost to the Exchequer would be.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Sections 1 and 2 agreed to.

Amendment No. 1 (Deputy Mrs. Redmond and Deputy Wall) not moved.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  This amendment will be put down for Report Stage.

Amendment No. 2 not moved—to be taken on Report Stage.

Amendment No. 3 not moved.

Mr. Fagan: Information on Charles Fagan  Zoom on Charles Fagan  I move amendment No. 4:—

Before sub-section (2) to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

For the purposes of the foregoing sub-section and of sub-section (1) of Section 2 of the Finance Act, 1934, any house or buildings used or occupied by a person for the purpose of farming or working lands shall be deemed to be a farm house or a farm building.

The object of this amendment is to relieve a number of people from a hardship under which they suffer at present. There are a number of farmers in the country who have very big houses. In most cases they are old houses and costly to maintain. No one seems to be able to give a definition of what a farmer's house is, and as a result there is a good deal of trouble so far as the payment of income tax is concerned. Some of those old houses, which are used solely by farmers, are not assessed as farmers' houses at all. I suggest to the Minister that he should accept the amendment. The law, as it stands, is causing great hardship to a number of people who are in occupation of those old [1421] houses which are used as farmers' houses. The valuations put on them in old times were very high. The trouble is that they are not assessed as farmers' houses.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I cannot accept the amendment.

Mr. Fagan: Information on Charles Fagan  Zoom on Charles Fagan  Would the Minister tell me what is a farmer's house?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  The interpretation put on a farmhouse by the Revenue Commissioners is a house constructed for, and used by, a farmer, a farmer being a person who makes his living by farming. There is no difficulty as to what a farmhouse is understood to mean. There are a number of cases where houses are used not merely for the purpose of providing a residence for a farmer but of providing a residence for, say, a country shopkeeper, a country doctor or a country gentleman. These, of course, are not regarded by the Department as farmhouses. If there were any attempt to define a “farmhouse,” the definition would have to be so very strictly drawn that a number of border-line cases which, at the present time, get the benefit of the concession would possibly be ruled out. If it is the desire of the Deputy to safeguard cases of that kind, I think he is going on the wrong lines when he asks me to define “farmhouse.”

Mr. Fagan: Information on Charles Fagan  Zoom on Charles Fagan  I know two or three cases in which houses are actually used as farmhouses, but the inspector of taxes will not accept them as such.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  I am not clear as to the Minister's objection. A number of houses were brought to my notice which were, undoubtedly, used as farmhouses but which were not regarded as such for the purpose of this provision. There was a time when these houses were used merely as residences. I do not know whether or not glebe houses would come under that head. There is really no difference between A., who lives in a farmhouse and B., who lives in a house which 50 years ago was of a different type but which is now used for the purposes of a farm. That is quite as much a farmer's house as is the house of A. [1422] The Minister says that he cannot do what we ask.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I can do it. It would not be impossible to define “farmhouse,” but that it would be beneficial to the people whom Deputy Fagan has in mind is another question. At the moment the word “farmhouse” connotes a certain type of dwelling. That word has been used since 1894, and the Special Commissioners are the people who determine what a farmhouse is, having regard to the facts before them. As, in general, they are liberal to the view of the taxpayer, they interpret that provision with a certain amount of generosity. If the word is to be defined, the definition will have to be such as will protect the revenue against all possible doubt, and these border-line cases, which at present get the benefit of the concession, will, undoubtedly be ruled out.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Would the Minister take the amendment on the paper?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I could not possibly take the amendment.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Would the Minister deal with it?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  The word “farmhouse” has been used up to the present and has been interpreted in favour of the taxpayer. I do not think there is any greater safeguard than that. The Special Commissioners are entitled to find whether the residence is occupied merely for the purpose of farming or whether the farm is an amenity attached to the residence.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  If the Minister accepts this amendment, then, on his own explanation he will be in no worse position. I suppose it would be some judicial authority who would determine the application of the definition. It is not a question of defining in any new way what a farmhouse is. This amendment merely asks that a house used for the purposes of farming should be so regarded. It is a direction to the Commissioners in that respect.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  A direction which is unnecessary. It is a sound principle [1423] in drafting not to err on the side of tautology.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  What strikes me about the Minister's refusal to accept this amendment is that this increased taxation is going to fall on people who are actually engaged in farming—the people who, under another Act of this year, are being deprived of £100,000, given last year in relief of rates on agricultural land. I suggested to the Minister, when this fact disclosed itself, that the reduction of this £100,000 would bring to the farming population the particular kind of tax that has been brought to townspeople. There was a suggestion that the farmers were going to escape this particular type of increased taxation, but I urged that they were not, as the agricultural grant was being reduced. The Minister indicates by his refusal to accept a definition along the lines of Deputy Fagan's amendment that there are farms on which this particular taxation is likely to fall in its total weight.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Not on people who make their living by farming.

Mr. Cosgrave: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Deputy Fagan is not interested in people who do not make their living by farming. He is interested only in the farming community. If the amendment is so drawn that it brings in a class for which Deputy Fagan does not pretend to speak, he will have no objection to the Minister amending it on Report Stage so as to omit that particular class. There was a point in dispute, so far as the people for whom Deputy Fagan speaks are concerned, as to whether, by reason of the so-called reduction in land annuities, they were to be allowed the whole of the eleven-thirteenths of the former rents in respect of income tax. If that case is decided against them, they will have an addition to meet. So far as line-ball cases are concerned, it is for this House to lay down the law and not for the Special Commissioners. If the House says that the Special Commissioners are to discover what we meant by the use of the word “farmhouse,”[1424] we are losing any control we had over legislation. The Minister is not in a position to define “farmhouse.” He falls back on the interpretation of the Special Commissioners. That is a ridiculous position for the Minister to occupy.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  That is not so.

Mr. Cosgrave: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  The Minister is not, of himself, able to say what our legislation lays down precisely. Let us assume that a farmer has a house which is not habitable. There is a big house for sale in the neighbourhood. If a farmer buys that house, to be utilised by him as a farmhouse instead of his former tumbledown house, he has to undergo trial by the Special Commissioners as to whether or not he is to get this concession. According to the Minister, he will not get it, although the house occupied by him is used exclusively for farming purposes. The position with regard to that is that there is waste and a loss. At the present time the farming community is not in the position to bear any of the extra cost. If the intention is to exclude houses occupied by farmers, used exclusively in connection with their business, then it should not be for the Special Commissioners to decide what this House should decide to exclude by an Act. If the amendment of Deputy Fagan is too elaborate, then the Minister can amend it.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I have already pointed out that, as far as the law is concerned, it is quite clear that farmhouses are exempt, and that it is not necessary to define “farmhouses” further than that. If the Deputy wants to put in this amendment, in order to get the ideal position he seeks, we should have to define every word in it. “Farmhouse” is a well understood entity, and conveys the real idea to the minds of the Special Commissioners and the Revenue Commissioners. As always in the case of a definition, a question of fact will have to be determined, whether a certain hereditament does or does not fit inside that definition. The definition is there already. The only thing for the [1425] Special Commissioners to determine is the question of excluding property from the limits of the definition, having determined whether it does or does not fit in the connotation of the word “farmhouse”. There is nothing more than that. The law has been there for 41 years. The only question is that Deputy Fagan wants it to include something else, a residence which happens to have a farm attached, the same as park land or something like that.

Mr. Cosgrave: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  It is not necessary in that case at all. Take the case of a farm put up for sale to which Deputy Fagan's amendment would apply. The question will be asked: “What are the Special Commissioners' charges in respect of this farm?” Do they regard the house as a farmhouse, or a house upon which income tax imposed by this Bill will apply?

Mr. Fagan: Information on Charles Fagan  Zoom on Charles Fagan  That is my view. I know some cases in the county in which I live where gentlemen's residences have been bought by farmers. There are two such cases in my neighbourhood. A Mr. Taylor bought a big house which he is using for farming purposes.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  I am not clear about the Minister's objection to the amendment. A big house that was a residence 50 years ago was not regarded as a farmhouse. The economic conditions of the country have so changed that that house is now used by a farmer for farming purposes exclusively. Has it ceased to be regarded as a residence, or is it treated as a farmhouse? It is quite possible, even if it is used exclusively for farming, that a person with the Finance Acts before him might feel compelled to interpret them as referring to a residence. Leaving aside the question of residence, I know of glebe houses that are now farmhouses, but that are treated for purposes of valuation, as glebe houses. The Revenue Commissioners might feel bound to treat such places as residences, even though they are used exclusively for farming purposes. I do not think there is any difference between us on this question, and that [1426] the Minister does not wish that any houses exclusively used for farming should be taxed in any other way. The amendment is merely intended to make that intention clear. If a few words could be added to the amendment, to safeguard the Minister from any dangers that he fears, I suggest that he should put them in now or on the Report Stage. This is not a question of getting a new definition of farming, but one of taking the precautions that the Legislature is bound to take, if it believes that there is any danger of injustice being done. The Legislature should take precautions that residences or glebe houses now used for ordinary farm purposes shall be so regarded by those whose business it is to interpret these Acts. We must make our position in the matter clear.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  The Deputy says that he knows of instances where glebe houses are now occupied by farmers for the purposes of farming. I have not been furnished with any instances of the kind, and if the Deputy will send me an example between now and the Report Stage, of the conditions he referred to, I will consider the matter afresh. Up to the present I have not had any such cases before me.

Mr. Fagan: Information on Charles Fagan  Zoom on Charles Fagan  I will do that.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I move amendment No. 5:—

Before sub-section (5), page 4, to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

Where an inspector of taxes or such other officer as the Revenue Commissioners may appoint in that behalf is of opinion that the annual value with reference to which an assessment of tax is made on any tenement or rateable heriditament in pursuance of sub-section (1) of this section exceeds the annual rent at which such tenement or rateable heriditament is worth to be let from year to year, he may, notwithstanding that there has been no appeal under Section 5 of the Finance Act, 1929 (No. 32 of 1929), against such [1427] assessment and notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (6) of the said Section 5, at any time before the end of the year of assessment grant relief by reducing such assessment and charging the tax on the amount on which it would in his opinion, have been charged if it had been assessed with reference to the said annual rent instead of the said annual value, and the said assessment as so reduced shall be final and conclusive for all purposes.

The purpose of the amendment is to enable inspectors of taxes to give relief, where the increased assessment exceeds the annual rent at which the property is let from year to year. Hitherto that relief could only be given if it was proved to the satisfaction of the Special Commissioners or the Circuit Judge on appeal. The purpose of the amendment is to ensure that taxpayers can secure relief.

Professor Thrift: Information on Prof. William E. Thrift  Zoom on Prof. William E. Thrift  What does the Minister mean by the term “annual rent”? Is it the rent the tenant would pay?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  The rent which the tenant would pay if he were paying the rates and repairs.

Question put and agreed to.

Question proposed: “That the Section, as amended, stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. Dockrell: Information on Henry Morgan Dockrell  Zoom on Henry Morgan Dockrell  I should like to call the Minister's attention to the increase in the valuation to five-fourths. That is a most undesirable form of tax. Even if it stands this way for this year it will probably lead local authorities to make representations that the balance between the Central Government and themselves has been upset. There is another aspect of that to which the Minister did not give sufficient attention. If there is one problem that requires attention it is housing. Housing for the working classes is proceeding as fast as the resources at the command of the country permit. That class of [1428] investors who purchase their own houses, and who are hit under this section, are the very class that the Government should be most anxious to encourage.

A return was issued a few days ago giving the housing work in each of the counties in the Free State, and in a table issued by the Department of Local Government and Public Health there is given the number of houses constructed by persons under the Housing (Financial and Miscellaneous) Provisions Act, 1932-34. Under the heading, “New Houses Completed,” 12,000 is the figure given, and for houses erected by private persons and public utility services, the figure given is 9,000. That shows the enormous proportion of houses that are being built for the small class of persons who are especially hardly hit under this section. I suggest to the Minister that on every house put up for the working classes there is a loss which has to be paid off in one form or another. Now, where a house is put up for a private individual, no such loss is entailed. Even here in the City of Dublin, where there is a Corporation Small Dwellings Acquisition Act, there are really only financial provisions to assist those persons to own their own houses. If those houses were not put up, a great many more houses would be required to be put up by the local authorities, and I suggest that it is penalising the small and thrifty class of investor whom the Government should be most anxious to encourage.

I think that it was last year that the allowance of one-sixth towards repairs was done away with, and now you have the Schedule A raised to five-fourths. This is a most undesirable form of discrimination against an investor who has come to the assistance of the State in order to help them to solve the housing problem. I should like to suggest to the Minister that this form of special legislation against the owners of their own houses is most undesirable and that it will lead, probably, to a certain amount of curtailment of this class of purchasing power by private individuals in the [1429] future. I believe that, in the long run, it will defeat the object which the Government had in view, namely, the encouragement of the building of as many houses as possible. I ask the Minister to reconsider this tax which it is proposed to put on under this section.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  On this section, Sir, an amendment, standing in my name, was withdrawn for redrafting because, I understand, permission was given to reintroduce it on Report Stage. The object of my amendment was to avoid a flat increase of the valuation by 20 per cent. because of the obvious absence of equity in such a proposal. If it is fair to increase the valuation of a house, which was valued 30 years ago, before the war, by 20 per cent., it is obviously unfair to increase in the same way the value of a house that was valued 12 months ago. My suggestion to the Minister is that he ought to try to arrive at some scheme which would be analogous to the proposals contained in the Rent Restrictions Act, where it was laid down that the rent payable in respect of any tenement or heriditament on a certain day should not be increased except by a statutory percentage. The critical date was a date prior to the beginning of the great war. I think it was the 4th August, 1914, but I am not certain as to the date and, for that reason, I should prefer to leave it over till the Report Stage in order to establish an exact analogy between my proposal and the rent restrictions legislation. Some workable case may be made for the increase of valuations which have become out-of-date, but, in my submission, no case can be made for the equity of increasing the valuation of all houses by the same percentage without any regard to the time when the valuation was made. I suggest that the Minister ought to withdraw this or, at least, that he should indicate his intention of accepting the principle contained in that amendment and introducing an amendment of his own on those lines on the Report Stage.

Professor Thrift: Information on Prof. William E. Thrift  Zoom on Prof. William E. Thrift  I agree with the Deputies who have spoken. I think [1430] that this proposal is most unfair to those who happen to own property. In my opinion, it is most undesirable and it is very short-sighted on the part of the Government. This is a proposal which, not alone proposes to tax the income of a property owner, but strikes a direct blow at the capital of the house owner. Everyone who has bought a house up to the present has paid a certain sum for it, estimated upon what the cost of the house is going to be to him in upkeep and in the payment of rates and taxes; and, to give an example, for every house on which you put, by this means, an extra £5 a year, it will mean that that house will become to its owner worth the capitalised value of that £5 a year less when he comes to sell the house, because the new purchaser will only be prepared to give such a price as he thinks value under the new conditions. I think it is inequitable to follow such a course and to impose this additional cost on the property owner at present.

I think that the proposal of the Government is based, as the Minister himself said, on a fear that property requires a fresh valuation, and the only reason that can be put forward for that is that property, on the whole, is unequally valued: that some houses are valued at an unduly low figure as compared with others. If that is the case: if that is the foundation of the Government's proposal, I think it is manifestly only making things worse to propose putting a proportionate increase in the tax to which each property owner is liable. As Deputy Dockrell has pointed out, the ideas of the Government ought to be based on entirely different lines of thought. They ought to be trying to secure that the individual will become the owner of his house; but every move of this kind that they make, tending to make the burden of being a house owner greater, will tend to act against the wish of a person to become the owner of his own house. Furthermore, those people in this country who happen to have money to invest are in a difficulty owing to such investments not being safe or suitable up to the present, or not being what we might call trustee securities sufficient in magnitude to take the money which is in the country [1431] ready for investment. Therefore, those who, as trustees, are looking for proper investments, are very largely obliged in the nature of things to go outside the country for that purpose, and that class includes many private owners of funds. The Government, in my opinion, ought to adapt their policy so as to make it more desirable for such people to keep their money in the country, rather than to invest it outside. Every action of this kind which is a direct blow at the owner of property or land in the country tends exactly in the opposite direction. Therefore, I agree very strongly with Deputy Dockrell in saying that this proposal is an undesirable one. I think, as Deputy Dillon said, it is a manifestly unfair one, and in view of the Government's professed intention of bringing in at a later date some revaluation scheme, I think it is one that certainly ought to be postponed until they have had time to carry through that revaluation in a proper way.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  It is obvious, Sir, that the Government was in a hurry; it could not wait; and, therefore, it determined to take a step that must undoubtedly work out unsatisfactorily in a number of cases. We gathered from the Minister, and from pronouncements of various others on behalf of the Government, that there is going to be a revaluation of the property in the Irish Free State. That might have two grounds; first, that the property is too lowly valued at present; secondly, that it is unequally valued. Supposing it is merely too lowly valued, what is the inconvenience? That could be got over by increasing the rates or the taxes. The mere lowness of the valuation does not justify the expense of a revaluation. We must assume that if the Government is going to undertake such a serious and costly operation as the revaluation of property in this country it has reasonable grounds for doing so.

I think such conduct on the part of the Government can be fully justified only by the second reason, namely that, owing to the length of time which has elapsed since there has been any systematic and complete valuation [1432] of the country, all sorts of anomalies and inequalities have crept in. It seems to me that that is the only real justification if the Government is determined to press forward this scheme of revaluation. The idea of inequality or inequity in the present values attributed to property is the real basis of a revaluation. It may be —and it probably is—that there are all sorts of inequalities. It may be that, owing to the fact that the valuation of property has extended over a number of years, even though an attempt is made to keep the basis or the standards the same, it cannot be done, with the result that you may have two properties, both of equal value in the ordinary sense of the term, but one rated much more highly than the other. If there are in existence many abuses of that kind which have grown up in the course of years, that may be a good reason for the idea of revaluation.

What are you doing under this particular section? As Professor Thrift rightly pointed out, you are increasing the injustices as between man and man. In the case of two people whose property is of the same value, but one being rated more highly than the other, what you propose in this particular instance is to increase the injustice by making the difference all the greater. If I did not feel, as I do, that the real ground for revaluation is the existence of those anomalies, there might be some case to be made for this idea of revaluation before there is any valuation, because that is what it comes to; we are told that there is to be a revaluation of the country, but the Minister cannot wait for that. The Government is too hard up for money and it is determined to increase the injustices that already exist. That is what it is going to do. If there are grounds for complaint at present owing to the unfair way in which different properties are valued, those grounds for complaint are going to be increased. The injustices, instead of being diminished, will be increased. Again we have much the same example of the method of looking at things which was displayed [1433] when we were discussing Deputy Fagan's amendment—leaving the idea of equal handed justice between man and man out of account. That seems to me one of the principal arguments which can be brought against this section. Another has been mentioned during the Budget debate, on previous stages of this Bill, and by Deputy Dockrell and Professor Thrift to-day. Again, it is only an example of what the Government is continually doing. One Minister is marching one way while another is marching the other way. The Minister for Local Government is strongly advocating a policy of housing, but the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Industry and Commerce come down to this House and try to throw every possible obstacle, by means of taxation of various kinds, in the path of the Minister for Local Government in regard to his housing policy. There is no doubt that the tendency of a section of this kind would be to discourage housing. Whether a person has money to buy a house or whether he has to pay somebody else for it, it is the person living in the house who must ultimately pay. Therefore, it will hit everybody, and is bound to influence people in precisely the opposite direction in that to which the Government professes to be so eager to travel, namely in the direction of housing.

We have these two reasons then. The fact is that it increases the existing injustice whereas the aim or the idea of revaluation should be to do away with injustice. The Minister, in his Finance Bill and, more or less in his Budget speech, indicated that he could not wait until that was done. But he should have waited. If he had any purpose in mind other than the raising of money and the raising of money independent of any consideration of the justice of the method by which it was raised, he should have waited. It is not forestalling, as the Minister, if my memory serves me correctly, tried to imply. The scheme of revaluation does make the present conditions worse. Any decent scheme of revaluation should be a remedy, but in [1434] this connection this is not so. It is the very opposite. It increases the abuse.

As I am on my feet I think I am right in suggesting, in this particular direction, that the Minister estimated at £60,000 the amount that he was going to get out of this revaluation. Perhaps he would tell us the basis on which he arrived at that estimate. It is a matter, as properties now stand, that ought to be susceptible of being estimated. It ought to be susceptible of fairly exact computation. Possibly the Minister would be good enough to put the grounds on which the estimate was arrived at before the House. It is mainly because of the two reasons I have given that I am opposed to the section as it stands.

Mr. Cosgrave: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  The Minister is one of those who, along with a number of his supporters, occasionally referred to the former over-taxation of this country. I wonder if he is aware of the fact that the income tax and the excise duty on whiskey were the two principal items in that connection. The position the Minister has taken up now has justified that over-taxation. Because he is increasing the income tax on the basis of the assessment in operation during the British period. It is said that one of the causes for this new imposition this year—which really means to increase the charge which was in operation two years ago by 50 per cent.—is that it is so long since a revaluation took place in this country that most of the property in the State is undervalued. The old City of Dublin was revalued in 1914, only 20 years ago. Even the British Government did not then charge the income tax on the new valuation at once—if my recollection is correct. I venture to say that the old City of Dublin, as it then was, comprised possibly a quarter of the entire country as far as house property was concerned. The city was revalued in 1914, and any new buildings added since have been valued up to date. I do not know that the Minister is aware that in those revaluations there is practically no comparison between the new valuation and the old. I can give at least one particular case in which a house having been [1435] rebuilt somewhere early in the century was revalued about 1903 or 1904. The old valuation was put at £50 and on appeal it was reduced to £40. Subsequently, when the revaluation took place it was again put up to £50. That £50 under the one-sixth arrangement would have been liable for income tax at a shade under £42. Under the Minister's present proposal it will be taxed up to £62 10s. because there is added a fourth on to the valuation. So that in that particular instance, at any rate, the idea of revaluation does not hold. The house was valued at £40 in 1903. Under the revaluation of the City of Dublin it was increased to £50. That £50 was its full value. If revaluation took place to-morrow there would not be any increase in its valuation. On the basis of the Minister's equity plea the income tax charge in respect of that house is £62 10s. now.

From the point of view of equity we have to examine this measure in the light of circumstances. The Minister wanted £60,000 and he taxes tea, sugar, tobacco, everything that was available. On the last official Estimate of the Revenue Commissioners he said: “How can you give me £60,000 more?” The answer was “You took off that one-sixth some time ago; if you increase that by one-fourth it will give you the exact sum you require.” I want to say that if that system of legislation is going to be pursued you are going to stop any enterprise in this country. There has been scarcely any more useful citizen in this State for a long period of years than the person who built houses. It is quite true that on many occasions he has been held up to public odium. House building was up to the time of the war a profitable and safe investment. There were companies which were interested in it. Since then, they have practically ceased operations and the result is that the bulk of the cost and the bulk of the need for providing the money has fallen upon the State and upon the local authorities. There are limitations to the borrowing of either the State or the local authorities. It [1436] was certainly satisfactory to know that those persons who put their money into house property continued in their operations and that it was regarded as a safe investment and so on. Directly this Bill passes it will become clear to those people that they will not know from day to day in what respect the taxation Acts are going to fall upon them. Then that source for the provision of houses is going to dry up.

Apart from that, there is the thrifty class who will be mulcted in connection with this particular tax. These are people who had balanced their accounts very carefully before they purchased a house. They are now faced with this extra imposition. With no other plea than that revaluation of the property of the State must take place within the next couple of years, they are being faced with this. Is it the Minister's intention that he is still responsible, after the valuation has taken place for reducing these charges or alternately, is he aware that the revaluation of the City of Dublin amounted to very little more than an addition of £200,000, if so much, on a valuation of £1,000,000? That is one-sixth. The Minister has taken away one-sixth from the allowances and added a quarter. The Minister has been estimating during the last couple of years that house property was not sufficiently assessed for income tax and that he ought to add on 50 per cent. to it.

Then there is the other anomaly and that is that you have old houses. A great extension of building has taken place within the last 12 years; that extension has been accompanied by an increased valuation on the houses. I know it myself. I was a member of the Dublin Corporation. Up to 1914, the Corporation had scarcely a single house constructed with a valuation of over £8. The houses that were constructed in 1918, 1919 and 1920 had a valuation of £11 10s. put upon them. That was not because of the increased accommodation but because of the increased cost of building. All these new houses had their valuations [1437] increased. The Minister will tell us that he has got to get this £60,000 and that if he is not to get it from house property he must get it somewhere else. In considering how taxation should be imposed and upon whom it should fall, particular advertence ought plainly to be made to the dangers that will arise from the new impositions.

I would say that the principal danger in this connection is that people will no longer have an interest in house property. Alternatively if they do, it is a new class of house-property owner that one will get—one that will pay for the property that is going to be acquired a lower sum than they would pay if it were not for this particular imposition. It falls unevenly and unfairly. It is practically a headline to other people in the country that they are going to be saddled according as the Minister requires money.

No social services would be hurt if this tax were not put on. If the Minister wants to know where to save money, he has two services in the State on which it is proposed to spend this year as compared with the estimates prepared for 1932, £500,000 extra, and these are the Army and the Guards. No interruption whatever of any social service will be necessary in order to do this. It may be—I hope it will not—that this particular imposition will cost the State far more than what is going to be levied upon the people in question.

Professor Alton: Information on Ernest H. Alton  Zoom on Ernest H. Alton  I wish a miracle could occur but I do not think it will. I wish the Minister would see the light as he did in 1929 when he expressed sympathy for the ordinary citizen and for the struggling taxpayer. I am afraid he is in the clutch of circumstance, or rather his Department is. For a long time I have known that a tax of this kind was one of the dearest ideas they had—one of the contributions that they would like to make to the happiness of the ordinary citizen. It came up before several times. Of course the tax this year is only a sequel to what occurred last year. Last year the small concession of one-sixth which [1438] was made to the owner-occupier was withdrawn. Reasons were given. It contributed very much to facilitate administration. It was very hard to make this little subtraction. That was one of the reasons given to us. This year the account is going to be very difficult. It will be very hard to add this one-fourth, but they are not afraid of that. They are simply going to cut a little nearer the bone in shearing the unfortunate tax sheep. I know it is useless to protest.

The social and legal undesirability of imposing a tax of this sort has been pointed out clearly and eloquently by previous speakers. If there is one idea which we should encourage in this country, it is that every man should own his house. Thrift ought to be encouraged in every way. But this is a penalty on thrift. Indirectly, I can see many undesirable and serious consequences arising from this particular tax. The Department of Finance is taking upon itself another function— the function of a valuation officer—and is proceeding to put on a valuation which, as has been pointed out, is obviously unjust—a valuation on a flat-rate upon houses which have been valued at different times and from different standpoints. One of the consequences that arose from the action of the Minister last year is going to appear in an aggravated form this year. The ordinary humble occupier-owner has still to think of keeping his house in some kind of repair. He will find it very difficult to do that. This increase, which I am sure the Minister will point out is a trifling increase, will certainly interfere with the question of repairs and upkeep and directly lead to unemployment. I know of two instances in which the action of the Minister last year in withdrawing the one-sixth allowance made occupier-owners postpone their repairs. Repairs should be carried out every three years or every five years, if it is possible to carry them out. I ask the Minister to look at that aspect of that matter.

There is one reason why the allowance of one-sixth, so far from being withdrawn, ought to have been increased—the cost of repairs and upkeep under modern conditions has [1439] materially increased. I do not think the Minister has considered that, but it is a point that should be considered. However, I think it is useless to speak on this matter. The Minister, who saw the light in 1929, has lost it. I am afraid he is proceeding to salt the seeming rich in this country—the unfortunate man who happens to have saved enough money to own his own house or who, perhaps, in many cases, has not paid for it.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  The Minister was always something of a house-wrecker. In his first Budget, I remember, he started with an attack upon house property. I do not know if the House remembers the picturesque phrase he used. The first little attempt upon the Schedule with regard to house property was going to bring in a very small amount of money but, like the mustard seed, it was going to grow into a great tree, until some other Minister, more fortunate than he, could catch the glittering prizes as they fall. We do not know what that little seed grew to. We do know that there has been a fair amount of digging at the roots since, a fair amount to prune and transplant from it. Last year we got a further addition to what the Minister did the first year. Now we have the third step.

The Minister cannot get away from the calculation made, mathematically accurate, that as a result of his operations, the amount that a person will pay in respect of house property in the coming year will represent an increase of 50 per cent. on what he was paying two years ago. That is done against house property. The phrase was used about soaking the rich who have come across from other countries. We have been given to understand that this is a Christian community which was going to be better christianised under Fianna Fáil auspices by the better distribution of property, and, particularly, that the settling of people into the possession of their own houses was a laudable object. And the way these people are [1440] being rewarded for getting their stake in that way in the country and for getting possession of a house, is that they will have to pay on a valuation which has been increased by what, in fact, amounts to 50 per cent. Further, the point is to be noticed which has been made previously, but which I want to stress, namely, that this, although introduced in context in regard to anomalies in valuation, really does nothing except to magnify the anomalies. There are anomalies in regard to valuation of property, and different types of houses, in any one of the towns in the country. The houses that will be hit the hardest are those recently built and subject to modern ideas of valuation, charged in a better way from the angle of the Finance Department, and for these we are to have this added percentage figure.

The whole Budget shows that the Ministry are definitely upon their uppers, as far as money is concerned. They are taxing every kind of article relating to the necessaries of life, and this matter of house property is being taxed in that category. Housing has been segregated from every other matter, mostly since the war, in two ways. Firstly, it is a particular type of work from which, in the main, or certainly more than any other matter, private enterprise has been ousted. That occurred because of the fact that during the war period people were taken away from building houses and put to other things more urgent and necessary at the time; and, by reason of that, there had to be legislation for the restriction of rents and again, by reason of that, private enterprise was given its marching orders. The State stepped in and in most countries since that period has been engaged in building houses. Now that this taxing process is going on it will bring an increase in house building to an end. This particular stoppage will hit the working classes in this country, because the figures show that the only real increase in employment has been in house building. We had a statement that 21,000 persons were put in permanent employment in 1934, and the figures show that only 2,000 of these [1441] were put into industrial employment since 1931.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Are we entitled to discuss this matter on the Finance Bill?

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  It is not very pleasant to the Minister, but it is incidental to this whole matter of taxation. This tax is going to shut down the only real avenue open to other employment in the country for the last three years. The figures submitted as to the increase in employment show that only about 2,000 could be accounted for in industrial occupations. Despite the fact that the only real increase has occurred in the building industry, the Minister has now decided to tax a particular type of construction which is giving most employment. The Minister will wind up by telling us he must get money. But the Minister will remember that the Fianna Fáil Party before they came into power, in their famous plan, promised £2,000,000 economies which they declared to be easily available after an examination of the Estimates, and that only in regard to a particular number of items; and [1442] these economies were to be effected with a promise that no hardship was to be caused to any person. Supposing we were given these £2,000,000 in economies which we were assured would be given, it would far more than pay for those taxes on house property, in addition to the other taxes that have been put on food-stuffs. I gather that the actual amount to be got from this tax is only £60,000. Five good mineral concessions, properly worked, would bring the Minister in all he wants.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Minister to conclude.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  No. We are in Committee.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  As no Deputy has risen——

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  If no one else rises, at the moment, we are entitled to know what the Minister has to say and to reply.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  That is so.

Question put.

Aiken, Frank.
Bartley, Gerald.
Beegan, Patrick.
Boland, Gerald.
Bourke, Daniel.
Brady, Brian.
Breen, Daniel.
Briscoe, Robert.
Cleary, Mícheál.
Concannon, Helena.
Cooney, Eamonn.
Corbett, Edmond.
Corry, Martin John.
Crowley, Timothy.
Daly, Denis.
Derrig, Thomas.
Dowdall, Thomas P.
Flinn, Hugo V.
Flynn, Stephen.
Gibbons, Seán.
Goulding, John.
Hayes, Seán.
Keely, Séamus P.
Kehoe, Patrick.
Kelly, James Patrick.
Kelly, Thomas.
Killilea, Mark.
Kissane, Eamonn.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick John.
Lynch, James B.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
MacEntee, Seán.
Maguire, Conor Alexander.
Moane, Edward.
Moore, Séamus.
Moylan, Seán.
Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
O'Dowd, Patrick.
O'Grady, Seán.
O'Reilly, Matthew.
Pearse, Margaret Mary.
Rice, Edward.
Ruttledge, Patrick Joseph.
Ryan, James.
Ryan, Martin.
Ryan, Robert.
Sheridan, Michael.
Smith, Patrick.
Victory, James.

Alton, Ernest Henry.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Broderick, William Joseph.
Burke, James Michael. [1443]Davin, William.
Desmond, William.
Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
Doyle, Peadar S.
Esmonde, Osmond Grattan.
Fagan, Charles.
Fitzgerald, Desmond.
Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
Keating, John.
Keyes, Michael.
Lavery, Cecil.
MacDermot, Frank.
McGilligan, Patrick.
Coburn, James.
Corish, Richard.
Cosgrave, William T.
Costello, John Aloysius. [1444]Morrisroe, James.
Morrissey, Daniel.
Mulcahy, Richard.
Murphy, James Edward.
Nally, Martin.
Norton, William.
O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
O'Leary, Daniel.
O'Mahony, The.
O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Rowlette, Robert James.
Thrift, William Edward.
Wall, Nicholas.

Sections 4 to 9 inclusive ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Question proposed: “That Section 10 stand part of the Bill.”

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I presume that we shall discuss the schedules when we come to them?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  Yes.

Question put and agreed to.

Section 11 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

(2) In lieu of the present excise duties, drawbacks, and allowance in respect of sugar, molasses, glucose, and saccharin, there shall, as on and from the 16th day of May, 1935, be charged, levied, and paid in respect of all sugar, molasses, glucose, and saccharin made in Saorstát Eireann the excise duties specified in the third and fourth columns of Part I of the Third Schedule to this Act and be allowed and paid in respect of all sugar, molasses, glucose, and saccharin so made the drawbacks and allowance set out in Part II of the said Schedule.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  I move amendment No. 6:

To delete sub-section 2.

The object of the amendment is to provide that taxation will not be imposed upon sugar under the provisions of this Bill. I think it is hardly necessary to state at length the case which can be made against the imposition of taxation upon sugar. The matter has already been exhaustively discussed on the Financial Resolutions and on the Second Reading of this Bill. I think I could crystallise the case by saying that the object of the amendment is to ensure that the community generally, and particularly the poorer sections of it, will not be muleted by the taxation which is imposed under this section of the Bill. A tax upon food-stuffs has always been regarded as an objectionable form of taxation because it is a form of taxation calculated to press most heavily on the poorer sections of the community. It has rightly been the object of democratic Governments in all countries to exempt the people's food-stuffs from the burden of taxation imposed for the purpose of balancing State Budgets. I think the Minister for Finance, in other days and at other times, appreciated that the imposition of a tax upon food-stuffs was objectionable. I think that he will be found on record as one who, at one time at all events, expressed the same view that I am expressing on this amendment. Last year we had the Minister recognising the undesirability of taxing food-stuffs by abolishing the tax upon tea. But this year we find him in this Finance Bill going back not merely to tax tea, but to tax sugar as well. I say to the Minister that the imposition of this tax will press heaviest on the poorest section of the community. Per head of the population, they use sugar to a greater extent than the wealthier [1445] classes. The tax on sugar will also have the effect of making still dearer the price of jam and other forms of sweet confectionery which are sometimes the occasionally procured luxuries of poor people. The amount which will be raised by the Minister under this form of taxation will not be very considerable in the Budget of the State, but it will represent a considerable exaction from the poor. In existing circumstances, with so much unemployment and with wage standards in many cases being reduced, particularly in the agricultural industry, I think this is a most unfavourable time to contemplate the imposition of taxes on the foodstuffs of the poor.

The Minister ought to have been able to find his revenue elsewhere. I still believe that the Minister could find the revenue elsewhere and that there was no need to have resort to this objectionable and, in my view, undesirable taxation on such a staple article of diet as sugar. I do not know whether it is too much to expect the Minister, at this stage, to recast that portion of his Budget. In any case, in asking him to do so I am only asking him to do what, in other days, he himself asked other Ministers for Finance to do. To that extent my plea to-day has the well-merited theoretical support of the Minister. I think that the imposition of this tax is quite unjustified and unnecessary. It is completely out of harmony with the whole philosophy of the Minister's argument on the 1934 Budget. We had, in 1932, a declaration from the President of the Executive Council that if he had to impose burdens they would be heaviest on the backs most capable of bearing them, and lightest on the backs least capable of bearing them. But, in this Budget and in this particular section, in the main it is the backs of the poor people which have been selected to bear these taxes. That is an obviously unfair form of taxation because it presses heaviest on the most needy section of the community and lightest on the section most capable of bearing a burden of this kind.

[1446]General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  We are also opposing his tax very strongly, in the first place, because it is a tax, and in the second place because nothing seems to be done with the money paid by the people. In this particular way money is paid in additional taxation by the people, but so far as one can find out it does not produce any good to the country. In February, 1934, there was a Customs duty of 11/8 per cwt. on sugar. There is going to be a Customs duty of 21/- per cwt. on sugar if the Minister succeeds in getting his proposals in the Finance Bill through the House. In February, 1934, the Minister put on an additional Customs duty of 4/8, bringing the Customs duty up to 16/4. But he was not satisfied with that because before the year was out—in October, 1934—he put on an additional Customs duty of 2/4 and an Excise duty of 2/4. On the 16th May this year he put on a Customs duty and an Excise duty of another 2/4, so that he is raising by means of additional taxation on sugar—in what the people of the country are going to have to pay over shop counters—the sum of £980,000. The consumption of sugar is in or about 105,000 tons. The Minister has added 9/4 by way of additional taxation since February, 1934. That means that the additional sum which people are forced to pay over the shop counter for sugar, by reason of taxation alone, is £980,000. We ought to know where that money is going. The President addressed himself to the position with regard to sugar when speaking in Galway on the 17th June. He is reported in the daily Press to have said:

“The position of the sugar industry at the time was that they were importing 100,000 tons a year. Thanks to the establishment of the sugar beet factories they now were in a position to produce, if not the whole of their supplies, at least four-fifths of them. This year there were 30,000 growers of beet in the country sowing between them 50,000 and 60,000 acres, and the farmers had a guaranteed price for [1447] the product. He hoped that they would need another beet factory soon, and he thought they would. The benefit of this to the country would be realised when they remembered that £1,000,000 was paid to the farmers for beet this year.”

The Minister has imposed on the purchasers of sugar since February, 1934, an additional £980,000. The President says that at least £1,000,000 was paid to the farmers for beet this year. In the case of a subsidised crop, where moneys are said to be paid to the farmers, we surely ought to see an increase in the amount of agricultural labour employed. The amount of the subsidy in respect of beet is paid largely by those who purchase sugar over the shop counter. Up to the present the Minister has been subsidising wheat directly. If there was never a subsidy for wheat, there is at all events an enormous subsidy in respect of beet, and surely, in return for that subsidy, we ought to see greatly increased permanent employment for agricultural labourers. The President says that the farmers are being subsidised to the extent of £1,000,000, but that does not show itself in increased employment for agricultural labourers on the land. The acreage for beet between 1931 and 1934 in the Province of Leinster increased by 25,813 acres, the total of the subsidised crop for the whole country being 40,569 acres. Therefore more than 50 per cent. of the total of the subsidised crop was grown in the Province of Leinster.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  It seems to me that the Deputy's remarks are addressed to the unwisdom of subsidising beet growing in this country. The country and the House have already taken a decision on that. That decision is recorded in the Statute Book. The question before the House, I submit, is the merits of this particular tax.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The question before the House is the tax set out in this particular section of the Finance Bill, and not the amount of agricultural labour given by a subsidy [1448] for beet which does not arise on this Bill.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  This particular tax is going to extract out of the pockets of the people of this country money which is going to go to farmers in one direction. The Minister for Finance will surely not deny that this is extracting money out of the pockets of people who pay for sugar across the counter, and that it bears upon the subsidising of the sugar beet industry.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  This is money for purposes already approved by this House on the Vote on Account and the Central Fund Bill.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I submit that it is in order to argue that this Customs duty is for the purpose of protecting the sugar beet industry, which is being assisted by taxation, drawn out of the people's pockets in this way.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Is the Deputy speaking on the section or on the amendment?

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I take it that the whole subject is being dealt with on the amendment. The Minister, I imagine, would be perfectly satisfied to see this amendment carried if he could be left the rest of the section, with the Customs duty machinery intact. I take it that the beet company would be perfectly satisfied too.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  The House is entitled to know whether the Deputy is supporting the amendment or opposing the section.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The question immediately before the House is an amendment moved by Deputy Norton.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I do not think that the amendment is important. The Minister would, I think, be quite happy to have the amendment passed, and to be left with full power over the Customs duty, so far as the beet industry is concerned. However, I support the amendment. I do not know whether the whole subject can be discussed on the amendment.

[1449]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  It would be better to discuss that on the section.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Then I shall make my further remarks on the section.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I do not think that the effect of the amendment is clearly appreciated. As Deputy Mulcahy seemed to grasp in the concluding portion of his remarks, it would have the effect of relieving Irish manufactured sugar of Excise duty, but I do not think it would have the effect—which is probably what Deputy Norton is seeking—of reducing the price of sugar to the consumer. If what the Opposition tell us be true, that would probably be determined by the price at which imported sugar was being sold. This amendment would not have the [1450] effect of increasing the amount the beet grower would get for his product, or in redistributing the increased profits amongst those immediately concerned in the industry—the growers and the factory operatives. The effect would be to increase the possible profits of the Beet Sugar Company and, in that way, allow the Minister for Finance to get indirectly a greatly increased dividend from his shares in the company. From the point of view of reducing the price of sugar, the amendment would not be desirable. We have it on record that the Opposition, through Deputy Mulcahy, are prepared to support this proposition. We, on the contrary, are not accepting it.

Question put: “That the sub-section proposed to be deleted stand.”

Aiken, Frank.
Bartley, Gerald.
Beegan, Patrick.
Boland, Gerald.
Bourke, Daniel.
Brady, Brian.
Breathnach, Cormac.
Breen, Daniel.
Briscoe, Robert.
Cleary, Mícheál.
Concannon, Helena.
Cooney, Eamonn.
Corbett, Edmond.
Corry, Martin John.
Crowley, Timothy.
Daly, Denis.
Derrig, Thomas.
De Valera, Eamon.
Doherty, Hugh.
Dowdall, Thomas P.
Flinn, Hugo V.
Flynn, Stephen.
Gibbons, Seán.
Goulding, John.
Hayes, Seán.
Keely, Séamus P.
Kehoe, Patrick.
Kelly, James Patrick.
Kelly, Thomas.
Killilea, Mark.
Kissane, Eamonn.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick John.
Lynch, James B.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
MacEntee, Seán.
Maguire, Conor Alexander.
Moane, Edward.
Moore, Séamus.
Moylan, Seán.
Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
O'Briain, Donnchadh.
O'Dowd, Patrick.
O'Grady, Seán.
O'Reilly, Matthew.
Pearse, Margaret Mary.
Rice, Edward.
Ruttledge, Patrick Joseph.
Ryan, James.
Ryan, Martin.
Ryan, Robert.
Sheridan, Michael.
Smith, Patrick.
Victory, James.

Bennett, George Cecil.
Broderick, William Joseph.
Burke, James Michael.
Coburn, James.
Corish, Richard.
Costello, John Aloysius.
Davin, William.
Desmond, William.
Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
Doyle, Peadar S.
Fagan, Charles.
Fitzgerald, Desmond.
Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
Keating, John.
Keyes, Michael.
Lavery, Cecil.
MacDermot, Frank.
McFadden, Michael Og.
McGilligan, Patrick.
Morrisroe, James.
Morrissey, Daniel.
Mulcahy, Richard.
Murphy, James Edward.
Nally, Martin.
Norton, William.
O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
O'Leary, Daniel.
O'Mahony, The.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Wall, Nicholas.

[1451] Question declared carried.

Question proposed: “That Section 12 stand part of the Bill.”

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  The remarks made by the mover of the amendment have application really to the section. We are supporting the amendment because we believe if it was carried it would be impossible to stand by the section as a whole. We strongly object to a section of the Finance Bill that proposes to increase the tax on sugar. Deputy Norton's real purpose in moving his amendment was to defeat the section. He professed to find some back-sliding on the part of the Minister and the President. Although not within the last couple of years, I am afraid, there were profuse professions when the President and the Minister first came into office. But their professions soon went by the board. If we are still to believe the things that were said at that time, Deputy Norton must realise that within the past couple of years they have completely abandoned most of these professions. There was a time—I am not referring to pre-Ministerial days—when the present Minister for Finance looked upon this particular tax on sugar as being particularly harsh. It was, I believe, a “hard” tax and, at the time the softhearted Minister—I am now referring to the heart of the Minister for Finance —could not impose this hard tax on the people. Since then he has developed. Within the last couple of years we have seen not one but a couple of increases in the tax, with corresponding increases in the price of sugar. Unlike Deputy Norton I did not look upon that as something not completely in keeping with the whole development of Government policy, or with the carrying out of their professions, but the actual way in which they have developed their policy.

There is nothing strange in the fact that they should come to this House one year after another to ask for increased taxation on such a necessary article of food, especially to the younger portion of the population, as sugar. The professions that they made [1452] at the beginning are now scattered to the winds. Deputy Norton and the House must know that they now proceed to tax the people's food with as much joy as the Minister, in his first Budget showed in robbing what he at that time called hen roosts. He has robbed these sufficiently, according to himself, and there is nothing left now. Therefore, in comes a harsher tax. Within the last couple of months we have seen this House, under the inspiration of the Minister and his colleagues, taxing all the necessaries of life. We have just passed an increased tax on building. We are now in the process of putting a permanent and an increasing tax year after year on the bread of the people. Is it strange, therefore, that sugar should not escape? The Deputy was quite right in pointing out the incidence of this tax. Everyone knows that certain articles, sugar, bread and tea are only part of the general policy. This tax is to raise money, but it does not at all mean that the effects are going to fall fairly over the bulk of the population immediately.

There was a time when that was axiomatic with the Minister. Now, he has certainly gone away from that particular standpoint, and he proposes to raise immense sums now by taxing the food of the people—by the bread tax and now by the sugar tax. You cannot consider one of this things without bearing in mind, when we are asked to consent to an increase of the tax on sugar—an article so necessary for the people and especially for the younger portion of the population and the poorer sections of the community—that the House is engaged in passing a Bill at the present moment that proposes to put a very considerable tax on the people's bread and a tax that will increase year by year.

Now, Sir, what social services has the Minister offered this year that can compensate, or that can attempt even to pretend to compensate, for what he is doing in the way of the burdens he is putting, not on the poor alone, but on the destitute? They must pay as [1453] well as everybody else. They must pay this tax on sugar and on food of all kinds. It is up against that situation that the Minister has brought us. According to his own confession, he has exhausted other sources of revenue. The employing portion of the population might be expected to pay in the first instance at least, but now he is down to taxing the very necessities of life. I should say that we have an excellent opportunity in this particular section of telling the Minister that the House does not want a continuation of that particular policy. If the Minister thinks that the arguments against this tax were like those against the tax on housing, and that he will not reply, then there is no use in asking him questions; but if he does think that, for the moment, it is good tactics to reply, and not to adopt the extraordinary attitude he took up on a previous amendment, I should like him to tell us what he expects to raise both by the Customs duty and by the Excise duty; what increased amount he expects to raise, first, by the full duty and, secondly, what is the increased amount he expects to raise. The latest estimate is what I want. The Government Estimates on most of these things vary considerably. I am sorry I did not get the estimate on housing, because, on that, there was a certain difficulty in accepting the Minister's figure. Perhaps, however, he may be on more solid ground here and may reply. However, the real gravamen of the charge that we have to make against the proposal is that the Minister and his colleagues have now taken the most necessary articles in life and taxed them, and that it is not £100,000 or £200,000 that he expects to get out of these taxes altogether, but that ultimately he expects to get some millions out of these taxes on sugar, tea, bread, and so on. It is a far cry indeed from those days to which Deputy Norton referred when they were still enunciating principles as to who should bear the burden of taxation, and when they were talking of suiting taxation to the backs of those who were able to bear it. I admit that it is a far cry from now to then.

[1454]Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  Two years.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Yes, but the Fianna Fáil Party can do a lot of damage to the poor in two years. Everybody has found out that by now, or at least they are in the process of finding it out. You now have the extraordinary spectacle of taxation being imposed on the most necessary articles of food. It would be hard to find out what article of food is not being taxed. I shall make one exception, and that is potatoes. I am not sure if potatoes are taxed yet.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Or salt.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Yes, salt. Well, there are reasons for that.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  There are reasons for it?

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Yes, there might be international complications and it might mean that the President would have to behave like Mr. Ghandi.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  It would be very edifying to see the Deputy in Mr. Ghandi's garb.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  The Minister is now doing what I doubt even the British Government would attempt to do. He is taxing bread, and it should be borne in mind that he is proposing now to tax sugar. If you are going to put this extra tax on what are the necessary articles of food in this country, such as bread, sugar, tea, potatoes, and so on——

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I think there is a rule about the number of times a Deputy may use a phrase, and the Deputy has used that phrase six times.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  I am sorry, but I cannot hear what the Minister is saying. I do not know if it is a point of order.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  No point of order has been raised.

[1455]Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  I see; it was merely a slight attempt at conversation with the Chair. We object to this tax, and we particularly object to this tax when taken in conjunction with the other burdens that the Minister, even in the present year, has put on the people of this country, especially on the poorest class of people in this country.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I understood that the Minister wanted to shut me up in regard to the position in the beet industry.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  No; merely to prevent the Deputy from showing how foolish he is.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I understood that the Minister's point was that this is a purely taxation matter, and that he wanted to stop me merely because I raised, as briefly as I could, the position with regard to employment arising out of the beet industry. My point in referring to that is that the case that the Government and their followers throughout the country make, in order to induce the people to accept this terrible burden of taxation, is that it is all providing employment, and that such taxation would not be necessary but for the tremendous employment that is being provided by the policy that the Government is pursuing. They apply that argument particularly to the position in regard to sugar, and say that the necessity for imposing the Customs duty on sugar is to protect the greatly increased employment that is being given throughout the country, particularly in the agricultural districts, where the sugar beet industry is being developed. I simply point out that in Leinster, where more than 50 per cent. of the total increase in beet between 1931 and 1934 has taken place, that is an increase to the extent of 28,813 acres where only 4,606 were grown in 1931— and in provinces in which 50 per cent. of the subsidised wheat is also grown— there has been a fall in the province of Leinster in the total number of agricultural labourers under 18 years of age permanently employed.

[1456]Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  And an increase over 18.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  There is a decrease of 158 in the number of agricultural labourers over 18 years of age. There has been an increase in the number temporarily employed, as figured out in June this year, of 2,786. But here we have the people burdened by taxation imposed on them since February, 1934, to the extent of £980,000. They have been induced to struggle along under that on the grounds that very greatly increased employment is being given throughout the country as a result, and that if they only wait the increased population which is growing up in the country in this happy way, with satisfactory incomes, is going to so firmly establish them in the work that they are in, if they are in work, that it will be quite easy for them to continue to pay this taxation; whereas the fact is that wages are less in the province of Leinster by 3/- per week for permanently employed agricultural labourers.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  By an Act of the Oireachtas the policy of beet growing was approved. There is an annual Vote for beet growing in the Estimates. The matters now raised might be discussed on that Vote. The number of people employed in agriculture, would more properly arise on the Vote for the Department of Agriculture, or on the Vote for the Department of Industry and Commerce; certainly not on a section of the Finance Bill which proposes an alteration in the duty on sugar.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Well, Sir, as I said, the case that is made for this great increase in the taxation on sugar is that it is safeguarding an industry in this country which is greatly increasing the amount of employment in it. Let the Minister shake his head here, and I will accept his shaking of the head here, but let him give the same shake of the head when he goes and talks to the unfortunate people in the country who are concerned for their agricultural industry, and concerned with the tax-paying capacity of the [1457] people. When he talks to his constituents let him say: “This is purely a matter of taxation. I am asking you to take this burden on your shoulders because we want money to carry on.” If the Minister has a case to make that would cut out discussion of the position of the beet industry in this country, and the employment given, I should like to hear that case.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I think the Ceann Comhairle has already ruled in that regard.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Sir, you have not already ruled that the Minister for Finance is prevented from giving us the real case for imposing this taxation.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  That has been discussed on the Second Stage of the Bill.

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  There is an aspect of this section to which I should like to draw the Minister's attention. I had a letter last week from a constituent of mine, asking me to put a question to the Minister as to where she was to get the requisite number of farthings to meet this increase of ¼d. per lb. on sugar. The Minister is looking at the Ceann Comhairle as if that should be out of order also. I want the Minister to consider that as a result of the increase imposed under this section, leaving out the other increases which have been imposed on sugar, the price per lb. charged in many towns—as far as I know in most towns and villages throughout the country—is now 4d. per lb.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Would the Deputy send us some examples of that?

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  I will undertake to get them. A number of people have written to me to that effect, and I understand that that is so. I should like if the Minister would give some declaration on that matter which would safeguard the consumers, because it is sufficient that they should be compelled to pay an increased price without having to pay over and above that increased price. There is another aspect of the matter to which I want to draw the attention of the House. [1458] This increase, like the increase on tea, leans particularly heavily upon those who are compelled to buy in very small quantities. It is all right for the person who can buy a half stone or a stone at the one time; it perhaps does not lean so heavily upon them, but people are being made to pay over and above the additional tax which the Minister is imposing this year. I do not know whether the Minister is aware of it, but there are thousands of people in this country who are compelled to buy in such small quantities that this additional tax is far greater on them than what is set out in the Bill. It seems to me that the Minister has a duty to see that the price of sugar—a commodity which, on the Minister's own admission, is a necessary—is not made prohibitive. The Minister seems to be getting terribly uneasy. Is there anything which the Minister would consider we are at liberty to discuss on this particular section? In my opinion, the people are being charged over and above the imposition, and that is a point on which I should like the Minister to say something for the protection of the public. Secondly, would the Minister tell us whether the necessary farthings are available.

Mr. Coburn: Information on James Coburn  Zoom on James Coburn  On this section, I should like to say that I am opposing it because of its effects on the business community who have to make their living along the border. Coming from Northern Ireland himself, the Minister knows that the price of sugar at the moment is very much lower in Northern Ireland than in the Free State. Whilst there is only a ¼d. increase under the Finance Bill, the actual difference between the prices prevailing in Northern Ireland and here is a matter of from 3d. to 2d. The best sugar can be bought in Northern Ireland at 2d. per lb., while you are charged from 7½d. to 8d. in the Free State for 2lb. of very inferior quality sugar. I have here a sample of sugar delivered to large wholesalers in Dundalk. They cannot return that sugar, but because it is not up to standard it is being returned to them by the people to whom they sold it. The unfortunate wholesaler [1459] has to take it back, and he is at that loss. It is not of a proper grade at all. I do not wish to belittle any home industry, but, at the same time, considering the price that has got to be paid, the people should at least get an article that they can sell. The inferior quality has a very injurious effect on business in the towns along the Border. The increased price of sugar has a very injurious effect upon business in general done in these towns. The people down in the South of Ireland do not seem to realise that. I think it should be the duty of the Minister and his Government to see to it that before they put on any taxes on any commodity, which would have the effect of making that particular commodity dearer than the price paid for the same commodity in Northern Ireland, they should take particular care and pay particular attention to all the facts before they impose such a taxation. People in the South of Ireland have little idea that the effect of this tax could be so bad as it has been upon towns in the Free State along the Border. The Minister knows that the Border is there. It is only by crossing a little drain or ditch that thousands of people can go across the Border into Northern Ireland and get their supply of sugar at 11/- per cwt. less than the price at which the home-produced sugar is sold in the Free State. Apart from everything else, that particular aspect of the situation should receive very careful consideration. So much has already been said on this sugar tax that I am not going to delay the House much longer, but I do seriously suggest that the time has come when some limit should be imposed on taxation. Everybody knows that when the price of foodstuffs is raised there automatically follows that you will have a demand for increased wages from the workers who are organised in their trade unions.

The organised workers can command an increased wage. But there are thousands of others who are not organised; there are thousands of people who do not belong to any trade union, and the means and income of these people are being depleted every [1460] day. They cannot get any increase. That is another aspect of the situation which should press for attention, not alone on the Government, but on all people of this country. I do not see how this country can go on piling up taxation and raising the cost of living and expect, at the same time, that there will be employment for the people. I would be glad to see the members of the Government, the Fianna Fáil Deputies and the Labour Party beginning to realise that aspect of the situation. I wish they would realise facts that they seem incapable of realising to-day. The mere act of having imposed this additional tax on sugar should be a warning to the Government as to what is going to happen as the years go on. Then the Government and the people will, ultimately, have to do what they are unable to do at the present moment, and that is, to face facts. As a representative of a constituency the principal town of which is situated near the Border, and which depends to a large extent upon Border trade, I say without hesitation that this increased tax on sugar is going to militate very much against the business people of that town and, of course, against the business people of every town along the Border.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  We would like to hear what the Minister has to say on this.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Deputy Mulcahy always talks like the ghost in Hamlet, prophesying war and woe. His words have as much substance in them as the ghost's words. The Deputy says this was a terrible burden to impose on the people. His colleague, Deputy O'Sullivan, said a while ago that we are now taxing the very necessaries of life. It is not the first time that sugar has been taxed in this State, and it is not the first time that other necessaries of life have been taxed either. There have been taxes on tea, sugar, clothes, boots and so on, and these had to be paid formerly by everyone except possibly the people who had to run around nude as well as hungry, in the days when Deputy Mulcahy was in office. Of course, we remember Deputy Cosgrave's classical farmer [1461] who, if he did not drink or smoke or wear boots or clothes, was free from taxes. Like Tarzan, he could have gone among the branches of the trees in the Phoenix Park and, of course, he need not pay any taxes on the necessaries of life. The only difference between the taxes that we are imposing on sugar and the tax that was imposed in Deputy Mulcahy's time was this, that whereas even with this extra farthing we are only to get something like £820,000 from the tax on sugar, in the halcyon days when Deputy Mulcahy was in office the Government was collecting £1,465,000 through the sugar tax, and sugar was as much a necessity of life then as to-day.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  What year was that?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  1932. The Deputy was taking £645,000 more then than we are taking now.

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  The people were better off then and were better able to pay.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  That remains to be seen. At any rate, we know that the people have more money now. Judging from the returns, they are spending more now and they are getting more value than they did in those days. There is nothing new or novel in this tax or in putting a tax on the necessaries of life now. Deputy O'Sullivan was very vocal about this tax as a tax on the necessaries of life. When the Opposition were in power they were collecting actually £2,500,000 from such necessaries as against the £1,300,000 that we are collecting.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  On what taxes?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  On the necessaries of life.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Would the Minister stick to sugar? We will get on to the others later on.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  The yield from sugar taxation in the time of the late Government was £1,465,000 as against this £820,000. Deputy Morrissey intervened in this debate to talk about the price of sugar across the counter, and he stated that in some places the sugar was being sold at 4d. per lb. I [1462] ask the Deputy to show me one such place.

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  I certainly will. I have a letter here and I will pass it across to the Minister.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I have no function in that matter but the Deputy is a representative of the people and there is on the Statute Book an Act which he helped to pass to regulate and control the price of food-stuffs. Why did he not take action on that matter himself?

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  The Minister has no functions in the matter? Is not the Minister a representative of the people of this State?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  The Deputy raised the complaint and the Deputy could have passed that letter on to the Food Prices Commission; he could have asked them to investigate it. But the Deputy was not at all interested. It just happened to afford him an opportunity of making a little propaganda on the matter. He was more concerned about making that propaganda than in having the price of sugar inquired into.

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  I received the letter this morning.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Between then and now he had time to bring it under the notice of the Commission but he wanted to make a hit with it here. That is what he was concerned about.

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  That sort of talk would do all right at the cross-roads but it is no use here.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Before the imposition of this duty the price of sugar throughout the Free State was virtually the same as it was on the 2nd February, 1932. The average price then was 3.37d. per lb. and the average price before the imposition of this duty was 3.43d. There was a difference of .06d. per lb.

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  Compare it with the price in Northern Ireland.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Another thing is that it will be found that in many towns in the Twenty-Six Counties, the price of [1463] sugar, even with the additional farthing, is probably not greater than it was in February, 1932, because, for the first time, sugar is being distributed at a flat-rate all over the 30 distributing centres in the Saorstát. People along the sea coasts formerly had a great advantage over people in the remote districts but now there is a flat-rate and that is because the price has been fixed by the company at a flat-rate in 30 distributing centres. The price all-round has been levelled up.

Deputy Coburn had of course to get up here to disparage and decry the quality of the product which has been produced in the Irish factories. The Deputy could have brought that to the attention of the Sugar Company. If he wanted to raise it at all he could have raised it on the Vote for the Department of Industry and Commerce and not on this Bill. Or the Deputy could do what would be the most reasonable thing to do if he really wanted to ensure that a uniform product of good quality would be turned out by the sugar factories. The Deputy could either have brought it to the attention of the company or to my attention or to the attention of the Minister for Industry and Commerce who is equally interested in seeing that the product of this Irish enterprise will be worthy of the sacrifices that we are making in order to produce our own sugar requirements.

Mr. Coburn: Information on James Coburn  Zoom on James Coburn  It has been brought by traders.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  The real point about the matter is that the sugar, particularly the icing sugar, turned out by the Sugar Company is of such a good quality that they have been asked to enter into contracts for its exportation by people who are concerned to get the best quality icing sugar possible. I think it would be more creditable to the Deputy if he had praised the efforts of the company in that regard rather than, as I have said before, try to cry down its quality.

Mr. Coburn: Information on James Coburn  Zoom on James Coburn  Do I understand the Minister doubts my word? Does the [1464] Minister not believe me when I tell him that very big traders in the town reported to me as to the quality of the sugar delivered? I am only telling the Minister what they reported to me.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  One swallow does not make a summer and the Deputy, if he has any experience of business, must know that very often people who import sugar from abroad will have consigned to them sugar of inferior quality and they very often have to send it back. Instead of advertising the fact in this House that he knew of one instance in which inferior sugar had been found, and instead of trying to give Irish sugar the general reputation of being of poor quality, he might have taken the trouble to have brought that to the attention of some responsible person elsewhere and given the company an opportunity to remedy that condition of affairs. Instead of that, he has to advertise in this House, on the strength of one instance, the fact that he believes that Irish sugar is turned out of inferior quality.

Mr. Coburn: Information on James Coburn  Zoom on James Coburn  Several instances.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I understand that is not the general belief and that, in fact, it does not hold true of the greater portion of the output of the factory.

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  The Minister once described it as a white elephant. Was that not advertising it?

Mr. Coburn: Information on James Coburn  Zoom on James Coburn  I thought I made it clear that I did not intend to attack an Irish industry, but the facts are there.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Who is the merchant?

Mr. Coburn: Information on James Coburn  Zoom on James Coburn  A merchant who pays 20/- in the £.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  The Minister talked of the taxation on sugar and said that this was not the first time that a tax was put on sugar. It is the first time that there was ever anything like £980,000 additional taxation put on sugar in the space of about 12 months. The only thing that could be compared with the change in taxation was the change that was brought about [1465] in the year ended March, 1926, when the taxation on sugar was reduced by the then Government from £1,881,000 to £849,000. The taxation on sugar was then reduced by, approximately, £1,040,000. That was a shift down in the amount of money that the people had to pay for sugar. What we are dealing with here is the fact of a shift up of something almost the same because the taxation on sugar was reduced from a figure of £1,800,000 odd to an average of £893,000 for the five or six years before the present Government came into office. I suggest to the Minister that it was not £1,465,000 in the year 1931-32, but it was £1,371,000 between Excise and Customs. The Minister should be a little more accurate. The additional taxation was then put on in order to give special assistance to the farmers during that last year and to meet a definite budgetary situation. Nevertheless, the taxation on sugar was more than £500,000 lower than the Government had been raising in, say, the year ended March, 1924, or the year ended March, 1925. They had been able to reduce the taxation by that amount.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Why not go back prewar?

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  It might not serve the Minister's purpose to go back prewar. It was possible during the previous Government's administration to reduce the tax on sugar by that amount, as well as the tax on tea by £400,000. They had to increase it in the last year when special provision was required for the agricultural industry. The Minister is now raising it this year to a figure that he says is £820,000 at the same time as he is putting back the £400,000 on tea. The agricultural community are not getting much out of it. They are getting less in relief of their rates than in the year the Minister speaks about.

The Minister shakes his head when Deputies quote the price of sugar. Will the Minister for Industry and Commerce tell us what should be the price for sugar? I understand that sugar can be delivered at the port here at less than nine-tenths of a penny per [1466] lb. Beyond the charge for handling it by the traders, the increase as between that and what the public pay for it is entirely due to taxation on the Minister's part. If the Minister is saddling the people with such a heavy burden of taxation on this article, we certainly might hear from the Minister for Industry and Commerce what ought to be the price to the people.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  What does the Deputy regard as the price it ought to be?

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I am asking the Minister who has the Prices Commission under his control.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  Does the Deputy regard the price at the port as an economic price for sugar anywhere?

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  If the Minister for Industry and Commerce accepts it that sugar is being sold at 4d. per lb., as Deputy Morrissey says, what are we to understand from the shake of the head of the Minister for Finance when he considers that silence is golden? The thing we are concerned with here is the price that the people should pay for the sugar. As we understand it, the Ministerial head has been shaken in disapproval or disbelief of the figure quoted for sugar. I understand it can be landed at the port at less than nine-tenths of a penny per lb.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  That is the subsidised price.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Will the Minister, in fairness to himself, tell us what the price should be, and why it is necessary to put this very great burden on the people?

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  The price it should be is the price which will yield an economic price to the farmers for their beet.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Does the Minister for Industry and Commerce say that putting this taxation down on the people has created a situation in which farmers are getting a fair price for their beet and are able to give employment on the land? Will the Minister explain to us why, if he wants to make [1467] that case, there are less full-time permanent agricultural workers in Leinster than in 1933?

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  Because there are three new beet factories, two in Munster and one in Connaught.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Minister may not discuss the employment aspect of the beet factories now.

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  The Minister for Industry and Commerce has one view about the price of sugar and the Minister for Finance has another. The Minister for Finance went so far as to justify the price to-day by saying it was not much greater than in 1932. Because the price was so much in 1932, it does not follow that but for the activities of the Government here the price would be much lower to-day. Of course it would. The Minister did not attempt to justify this new imposition at all. He lectured Deputy Coburn and myself as to how we ought to do our duty. The Minister was very concerned about the qualities of the goods produced here, and he thought that Deputy Coburn should be ashamed to mention anything that might be detrimental to the sugar industry in this country. I can stand lectures from many people, but when the Minister for Finance seeks to lecture people as to how they should perform their duties in this country, in order to help the sugar industry, we cannot forget that at one time he described the sugar industry as one of the white elephants. The Minister did his damnedest to bedevil not only the sugar industry, but other industries in this country. The Minister has just made an observation that I did not catch. I wish he would speak out whatever he has to say. Is he addressing the Chair on a point of order, or making remarks about anything I am saying?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  No point of order has been put to the Chair.

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  No. That is the trouble. He tries to suggest to the Chair that every Deputy who puts forward an argument is out of order. [1468] That is an old trick coming from the most disorderly member of this House. When I tell the Minister that I was informed by a constituent of mine that 4d. a lb. was charged and this was the place to raise that matter he objects——

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I have already pointed out that there is machinery provided under the Control of Food Prices Act, for dealing with the prices charged for various commodities. I am not responsible for the administration of that Act. Apart from that, if this point is to be raised, there is the Vote for the Minister concerned.

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  I am at liberty to choose my own ground, subject to the ruling of the Ceann Comhairle, and I say that the various activities of the Minister, with regard to sugar, have had a great deal to do with the price, and it is because of these activities that people are being charged more for their sugar to-day.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  The Deputy bases that allegation on the strength of one letter.

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  I am making that allegation and the Minister can repudiate it if he is in a position to do so. The Minister says he is not responsible for the price of sugar, but I say that in this very section he is increasing the price of sugar.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  But not overcharging——

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  The Minister does not feel at all happy over this section. We had the Minister's criticism of what Deputy Mulcahy said about the hardships of the poor. I remember the Minister, when he was in Opposition, using very much stronger language in regard to the taxation on sugar than was used by Deputy Mulcahy or Deputy O'Sullivan. When it suits him the Minister has great command of language. I must say that the language used by Deputy Mulcahy and Deputy O'Sullivan was mild compared with some of the statements we had on former occasions from the Minister [1469] when he was on this side of the House. But whether he liked it or not, I say because of the activities of his Department, and the Minister for Industry and Commerce——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  In this section?

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  Yes, in this section. Sugar is 1d. per lb. higher in the Free State than it is in the North of Ireland. We must get that into our minds. I would like Deputy Corry, who is an active member of the Beet Growers' Association, to keep that in mind. The Minister gave the warning that because of the drop in the Customs revenue from sugar the beet growers and those engaged in the industry would have to look out, and unless they were going to make a contribution there would be still lower prices.

Mr. Coburn: Information on James Coburn  Zoom on James Coburn  On this question of sugar, it seems to be fashionable nowadays to characterise a Deputy who criticises any commodity as an enemy, and indeed as a national traitor. I thought I made it quite clear, in my opening statement, that I was not inclined to make little of any Irish industry. I resent the taunt of the Minister that I took advantage of my position here to make little of Irish sugar. I have gone out of my way to help the Minister for Industry and Commerce in starting industries that would give employment. But, even though we have Irish industries, they are not above criticism. If the Minister was in the position of the wholesalers to whom I have referred and he found that large numbers of bags were returned, and that he had to put up with the loss, he might have something to say. The sugar factory people will not give them any relief, and I think it would be expecting too much patience to suggest that they should not be critical of such action. With the increased price of sugar, that these merchants have to pay, when we consider the price and the profits made by the sugar manufacturing people, I think in common decency, they ought to put up with a certain amount of loss occasioned by inferior sugar sent out by them.

[1470]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  That does not arise on the question of the alteration of the duties.

Mr. Coburn: Information on James Coburn  Zoom on James Coburn  It does, I think, because when the increased price and quality are not up to the mark, the Minister should look into it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Chair differs with the Deputy's view.

Mr. Coburn: Information on James Coburn  Zoom on James Coburn  With regard to the other question I raised—the increased price—the Minister has not answered about the difference that prevails between the price in Northern Ireland and the price in the Free State. The difference is from 1d. to 1½d. per lb. Does the Minister deny that you can buy sugar in Northern Ireland for 2d. per lb., 4d. for 2 lb., while it is a well-known fact that in the Free State 8d. has been charged for 2 lb. of sugar. Has it ever occurred to the Minister what that means to the people and the trading community who have the fortune or the misfortune to live in towns adjoining the Border. These facts can be ascertained from people living in Louth, Monaghan, Cavan, Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal. This is a very big and serious difference to merchants and business people living in these towns. In view of the present state of affairs, it is up to the Government to safeguard the interests of those people living along the Border, the same as they are safeguarding the interests of people living in Cork and Kerry districts with regard to butter.

Whilst I would not object to increased taxes in order to keep industry going, and thereby give employment, at the same time I am not prepared to pay an exorbitant price for any particular commodity. I do seriously suggest that this tax on sugar is one which affects very adversely the business community along the border towns. It also affects the poorest section of the community. It is unnecessary to go into that, as it has been referred to before by Deputy O'Sullivan and others in this House. I suggest, as I have often suggested before, that the sooner members of Fianna Fáil realise that there will [1471] come an end to what the people of this country can pay by way of taxation— and it is only a matter of time—the better. There is no use, as I have stated, in increasing wages if you are going to reduce them indirectly by increasing the cost of the necessities of life. That is what it really amounts to. The Government have at the back of their minds the idea that wages are too high in this country, but they have not the moral courage to say so. They think that they can reduce them indirectly and in a dishonest way by increasing the cost of the necessities of life. This is not the best occasion, perhaps, to discuss that question, but I should like to have the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Industry and Commerce at a round table conference to discuss the question. There is really at the back of the minds of the Fianna Fáil Party the idea that wages are too high, that we cannot afford them, that we cannot reduce them openly, and we must therefore reduce them indirectly.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  That is not relevant to this Section. The Deputy is now making a Second Reading speech.

Mr. Coburn: Information on James Coburn  Zoom on James Coburn  This increase in the price of sugar will naturally increase the cost of living.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  That argument would be applicable to every concession sought on this or any other Section.

Mr. Coburn: Information on James Coburn  Zoom on James Coburn  At the same time it is a well-known fact that if the cost of living is increased, it is generally followed by a demand for increased wages. There is no one in this House knows that better than members of the Executive Council. However, An Ceann Comhairle says that I am out of order in discussing the matter. These are really the facts of the situation as they exist at the moment. I want to impress on the Minister the fact that the business section of the community living in towns along the Border are already sufficiently adversely affected as a result of the setting up of the Border without having their position [1472] worsened by taxation of this nature. There is no denying the fact—and the Minister has not answered my question in regard to it—that there is a vast difference prevailing between the price of sugar in the Free State and the price of the same commodity in Northern Ireland.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I propose to refer very briefly to the Minister's attitude towards this tax previously. Speaking in this House on the 11th May, 1932, as reported in column 1506 of the Official Debates, the Minister told us that:

“Sugar has a very high food value and it is an absolute necessary of life. A tax on sugar is a ‘hard’ tax. It cannot be imposed without a corresponding increase in the cost of living. It therefore falls heavily on the very poor.”

These words were, I am sure, very well weighed, because they appear in very nicely poised sentences. Sugar has a very high food value; it is an absolute necessity of life; a tax on sugar is a “hard” tax, it cannot be imposed without increasing the cost of living. These phrases, to my mind, make relevant, as a passing remark, the point which Deputy Coburn was attempting to stress, that by increasing the cost of living you are indirectly reducing wages.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Deputy surely realises the implication of his remark. That point was already ruled out of order.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  In discussing a certain point?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Deputy now proceeds to maintain that it was in order.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I say it makes relevant the particular remark, as a passing reference, that it increases the cost of living. The tax on sugar increases the cost of living. Everybody can understand what that means. The Minister himself has stated that a tax on sugar increases the cost of living, it is a “hard” tax, and that sugar is an absolute necessary of life. The Minister in that year decided to remit [1473] the tax, or rather to reduce it by a certain amount. He got the same amount by a tax on tea. What were his gyrations afterwards? He got more from tea than he had taken off from sugar the year after. Then the next year the tax was taken off tea and this year it is put on. We are faced now with the position in which both the “hard” and the “soft” tax, with their effects on the cost of living, are being re-enacted. We are in the position in which, according to the Minister's statement, a sum of about £900,000 has been put upon the people in relation to the sugar tax since February 1934. That is introduced into an economic situation in which taxes are also being put on other necessaries of life—bread, butter, tea and when, at the same time, other semi-luxuries, tobacco, picture houses and house property, are also being taxed. That is the context in which it has got to be discussed. The tax on sugar would, perhaps, not be such a serious matter if there were reductions in the tax on these other things, or if we had not to face the increase in the price of sugar, a necessary of life, at a time when the cost of living is also being increased by taxes on tea, bread and butter and by other taxes of the tobacco, picture house and house-ownership type. All these things impose a very heavy burden.

Two further points have been introduced into this matter. A question has been raised here by Deputy Morrissey as to the price charged for sugar by particular sugar beet factories in the country and he was asked whether he endeavoured to get that referred to the Prices Commission.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  No, the Deputy is entirely wrong.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  We are asked to get a complaint made by Deputy Morrissey in regard to quality referred to the Prices Commission.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Deputy Morrissey stated that he had received a complaint about the price charged by a certain person in a certain town. That has nothing to do with the Sugar Company.

[1474]Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  He was asked if he had referred that to the Prices Commission. Would anybody refer anything to the Prices Commission? I asked a series of questions at one time to find out how many complaints had been referred to the Prices Commission, how many of them referred to food-stuffs, and what results had followed. I think that the answer I obtained showed that in one matter only, profiteering in small parcels of coal——

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  Is it in order to discuss the Prices Commission at this stage?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  It is not.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  We were asked why Deputy Morrissey had not sent forward a complaint to the Prices Commission and I am answering that.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  The Deputy was asked if he had referred the complaint to the Prices Commission. It has nothing to do with this tax.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  That is the Minister's reply to the point. Nobody with a grain of sense in his head would refer a complaint of that kind to the Prices Commission, and if anybody has responsibility for doing so, it is not primarily the Deputy's. The Minister for Industry and Commerce was brazen enough on one occasion to deny the assertion that there was smuggling of cattle across the Border. Will he now have the effrontery to say that the figures quoted with regard to the price of sugar on the other side of the Border are incorrect? Sugar can be got at nearly 1/6 a stone cheaper in the Six County area than it can be got here. The same holds good with regard to butter and the other things that form the context of this tax. Why is there a tax being put upon a commodity which the Minister previously described as a hard tax, which the President in 1931 described in most ferocious language, and about which the present Minister for Agriculture purported to give figures to prove that the increase in the cost of living through sugar alone was going to be [1475] doubled, so that there would be no advantage got from derating in that year. In view of all that, why is this being done? Simply because the Government are at their wits' end for taxation. The ordinary sources of revenue are drying up. The main sources of revenue are drying up. Why have the Government to go back and tax these things? Deputy Corry gave me the reason some time ago. He said the reason for these taxes was because they were on the necessaries of life which people had to buy. They might evade the payment of other taxes of the indirect type, but Deputy Corry was quite flamboyant about sugar. In the case of a tax on sugar you could nail people. People could not avoid consuming it, and that is what the Government have got to fall back upon—to tax the articles that cannot be evaded. The position to-day is, as Deputy Corry phrased it, that the Government have to tax the things that the people have got to consume in order to sustain life. All that throws a glaring searchlight on the rosy pictures painted here during the last one and a half years by the Government about the great productivity, prosperity, increased wealth, and all the rest. In the end they are driven to the confession that they have now got to get down to the things that people must eat and to put taxes on them.

Mr. Cosgrave: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  This tax will press very heavily on people this year because of the fact that sugar was never dearer in this country than it is at the moment. In the period dealt with by Deputy McGilligan, sugar was at a comparatively low price compared to what it is now. As has been pointed out, sugar is dearer here by 1¼d. or 1½d. per lb. than it is in the Six County area. The Minister made the futile excuse that the Government are getting less out of this tax than they were getting two or three years ago. Why? Because, compared to the price at which sugar can be landed on the quays in Dublin, it is costing about £15 a ton more to manufacture sugar in the three factories [1476] here. We have been told that 50,000 acres are laid down under beet. That is the great new orientation in our agricultural development: one-eighth of an acre for every farmer in the country or one acre divided amongst eight farmers. If you line up eight farmers and give one of them a single acre of beet, the other seven are taxed for the production of that as well as the people in the cities and towns. It is all very well to have experiments in the growing of beet and the manufacture of sugar, but surely this is not the time, when the price of sugar is at its highest, to put on this extra burden. The Minister for Industry and Commerce said that £6 a ton was the economic price of sugar at the quays. The position, therefore, is that the farmers are to pay an economic price for everything they have to purchase and are to receive an uneconomic price for what they have to sell. The seven farmers I have referred to, who have not got even one acre of beet, must pay not merely an economic price, but above an economic price, for sugar, and they are to sell their cattle at an uneconomic price. That is the position.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Deputy Cosgrave seems to have some very peculiar ideas. I wonder what was his line of thought when he was President of this State, and when, from 1925 to 1932, he had the farmers of 25 counties sweetening the County Carlow constituency for him. He talked about eight farmers, and said that only one out of the eight was able to get one acre of beet to grow, but what about all the farmers in the 25 counties, in the period I have referred to, who were sweetening the Carlow constituency for him? The extra acreage under beet this year is something like 42,000 acres. That figure relates to the three factories. A large amount of extra employment is going to be given because of that increased acreage. It will provide, roughly, £1,000,000 extra for the farmers as well as extra employment for those on the land. The Deputy laughs at that. Frankly, I confess that I did not understand [1477] what Deputy McGilligan said a moment ago.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I was quoting the Deputy, but what he said was not quite clear to me.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I will be glad if, in future, Deputy McGilligan will tell us what he is quoting from and read the quotations. The Deputy leaves out words out of alleged statements Deputies make here, and puts in things that they do not say at all.

Mr. Cosgrave: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Deputy McGilligan was helping the Deputy. He was explaining that the 42,000 acres and the £1,000,000 will give £25 to every farmer.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Deputy McGilligan knows nothing at all about it, and I can assure him that I want no assistance from him.

Mr. Cosgrave: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  He will give the Deputy all the assistance that he wants.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I do not want any assistance from him. I have indicated what the farmers are getting out of the Government's scheme for beet growing and out of the increased acreage that we have now. I noticed last week, and again to-day, that when an attempt is being made to provide an alternative market for our farmers, immediately a definite objection is raised by the Deputies opposite on the grounds of an increase in the cost of living. We, as farmers' representatives, do not complain when proposals are brought forward to raise money in order to set up new industries and to give employment, and hence, we see no reason why the Deputies opposite should get so noisy in connection with this proposal. I can assure Deputy Morrissey, who is one of the representatives of a large beet-growing constituency—I do not know whether he grows any beet himself or not—that the representatives of the beet growers in that area are well able to look after their own business and need no assistance from him.

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  As they did last year.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Yes.

[1478]Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  When you were forced to accept an uneconomic price for the beet.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  The Deputy says, as we did last year.

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  When you were beaten.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  When we found that the gentlemen who had urged the people and advised them not to grow beet were chasing around the country in motor cars and offering to grow beet for the factories at 30/- a ton.

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  That is untrue.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I can produce letters to show that it is not untrue. I can prove it.

Mr. O'Leary: Information on Daniel O'Leary  Zoom on Daniel O'Leary  What are they getting now?

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Does the Deputy deny that E.J. Cussen made a public statement on it and that supporters of his Party hired motor cars to follow me around my constituency when I was arranging about the contracts?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  They were only breeding greyhounds.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  We have to listen to a lot of balderdash from Deputies opposite. It is like the £2 apiece they were paying for the cows.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  There is nothing about cows in this section.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Any time they look for it over there they are going to get it.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  We are on sugar now.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  The red flag now. That is the particular point I wanted to make—that Deputy Cosgrave now complains because some of the farmers, apparently, yielded to that advice, did not take contracts and did not grow beet. They are now coming along and saying: “My neighbour has got a market and has got a cheque in respect of so many acres of beet. I would have got the same cheque but you advised me not [1479] to grow it.” It is like all the other advice they took from that Party. Deputy Cosgrave sat idly by as a representative of a constituency for a number of years. Deputy Cosgrave, as a representative of a constituency which had been particularly sweetened, as he says, at the expense of the other 25 counties, should be the last man to make any complaint because a few more counties are getting the sweets he denied them.

Mr. O'Leary: Information on Daniel O'Leary  Zoom on Daniel O'Leary  I think there was talk at one time about a white elephant.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Deputy O'Leary has removed to Dublin.

Mr. O'Leary: Information on Daniel O'Leary  Zoom on Daniel O'Leary  I will never leave Cork until the last day. I love the county. They are very sane people down there.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I wish you had stopped with them a little longer. That is the reason for the complaint—that a market worth £1,000,000 a year has been found for the farmer. That is what all the noise is about here this evening. Last week, there was the same noise about the wheat question and the week before about the butter question. If anybody should have remained quietly silent to-night, it was Deputy Cosgrave.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  One remarkable feature about Deputy Corry's speech was that he never once touched on the sugar tax, although that was the reason he rose to speak. He did not tell us why it was necessary to put it on or what its economic effect is. The Deputy introduced instead this question of sugar beet. I remember reading, with a great deal of interest, the comments made by Deputy Corry when the price for sugar beet to the producer was being fixed. I think he said in very blustering fashion something about coolie wages and wound up by saying in a spectacular way that the producers were not going to accept a price which would leave them less than the price of a pint. Notwithstanding that declaration, the Deputy came up to Government Buildings and crawled out of that declaration, and he had not the price [1480] of a pint with him when he left. His reputation has gone lower. The Deputy talks now of the immense benefit of this crop to the farmers, but when he was discussing the matter as a member of a Beet Committee he talked of starvation wages and said there would be no profit to the producer. The “loud music of the distant drum” rings in his ears but, with all the tub-thumping, he did not carry out these promises to his friends. At that time, he talked of coolie wages and said there would be starvation for the producer of beet. He did not need anybody to go around in motor cars then. I do not know what means of locomotion he used, but he was going up and down the country agitating against the price that was being fixed for the growing of this crop. Now, many months afterwards, he is probably entirely discarded and derided by the people who were foolish enough to believe in him then. He talks now of the benefit brought to the farming community through the sugar beet scheme. Let him address himself to what we are discussing—the tax on sugar. On a recent occasion, he said that the taxes put on these things were imposed because they were substances which the people must eat.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  When the Deputy quotes me he should quote the actual words I used. He should produce the quotation. He is not going to father any kind of trash on me.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I shall try to get the quotation for the Deputy.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Go and get it.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I am not a member of the Government——

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  You are so notorious a twister of truth that nobody can believe you.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I am not a member of the Government to be barked at by a sugar-beet grower annoyed about the price. It is not fair. I shall endeavour to get this quotation for the Deputy, because he was called to order several times by the Ceann [1481] Comhairle for intervening in the debate in question—which was, I think, on the Second Stage of the Finance Bill. He did say—I am putting this in my own words and giving the sense of his remarks, if they had any——

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  You paid for the sense of remarks before.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I do not know if it is possible to read sense into the Deputy's remarks.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  You got into one hole already.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  The reason, he said, that we had got down to taxes on tea, sugar, bread and butter was that people had to eat these things and, therefore, the tax would be got off them. That was the remark he made.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  That was not what I said. I should like to reply to Deputy McGilligan's statement and say this——

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Talk about sugar, not sugar-beet.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  At the very period that Deputy McGilligan and those over there were telling us that the farmers were ruined and robbed by us——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  The Deputy must deal with this section, which has reference to the tax on sugar.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I want to straighten out this point.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  The point has been straightened. I allowed the Deputy to ramble from the subject and I allowed Deputy McGilligan to reply to him. That is all we are going to hear about the matter now.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I will be very brief. At that particular period, the farmers of Cork County whom Deputy McGilligan said we let down——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Deputy Corry must desist. I shall hear the [1482] Deputy on the tax on sugar imposed by this section but I shall hear him on nothing else just now.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Any vote on the beer question——

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Are you in favour of taxing sugar.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Let the question go to a division and see.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  The man is here to talk. That was what his constituents returned him for.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I said here before that anything that is necessary to provide for the people whom the Deputy said, on one famous occasion, it was not the duty of the Government to provide for, I am in favour of.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Including taxes?

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Including anything necessary.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Even on necessaries?

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Yes—even to slipping the breeches off Deputy McGilligan, if necessary.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  That was what you said before and you denied it.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Deputy Corry has gone back on the argument that this tax should be imposed because it brings a benefit of £1,000,000 to the farmers. If Deputy Corry wants to accept that argument, will he tell us why, in spite of the fact of the money going to farmers, agricultural labourers' wages in Munster are down by 4/-, compared with what they were in 1931?

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  By the orders of your organisation.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Will the Deputy tell us why?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  There is nothing about a tax on farmers, or about the wages of agricultural labourers in this section.

[1483]General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  In spite of the assistance given to farmers in Munster, in one-third of the wheat-growing districts, and 11,000 additional acres grown, there are only 903 additional labourers employed.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  That is going very wide of this section.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  That was the orders of your organisation.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Who is getting the money?

Mr. O'Leary: Information on Daniel O'Leary  Zoom on Daniel O'Leary  I want to protest once more against Deputy Corry saying that the farmers of Cork are benefiting. Possibly certain farmers are benefiting. It is very doubtful whether they are or not. Deputy Corry admits that 40,000 additional acres of beet are grown, and that it is going to cost £1,000,000 to grow [1484] that acreage. I wonder could the Minister tell the House how many farmers are growing the 40,000 acres?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I do not propose to do so now.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  The Minister for Finance is “fed up” with that and everything else.

Mr. O'Leary: Information on Daniel O'Leary  Zoom on Daniel O'Leary  There are 450,000 farmers in this country, and £1,000,000 is going to be distributed amongst those with the 40,000 acreage. All the others have to contribute towards that expenditure. That is what I am always protesting against. I protest against unfortunate small farmers having to pay the bounty, and having to maintain people like Deputy Corry and others who have good land up and down the country.

Question put.

Aiken, Frank.
Bartley, Gerald.
Beegan, Patrick.
Boland, Gerald.
Boland, Patrick.
Bourke, Daniel.
Brady, Brian.
Breathnach, Cormac.
Breen, Daniel.
Briscoe, Robert.
Cleary, Mícheál.
Concannon, Helena.
Cooney, Eamonn.
Corbett, Edmond.
Corry, Martin John.
Crowley, Timothy.
Daly, Denis.
Derrig, Thomas.
De Valera, Eamon.
Doherty, Hugh.
Dowdall, Thomas P.
Flynn, John.
Flynn, Stephen.
Geoghegan, James.
Gibbons, Seán.
Goulding, John.
Hayes, Seán.
Keely, Séamus P.
Kehoe, Patrick.
Kelly, James Patrick.
Kelly, Thomas.
Killilea, Mark.
Kissane, Eamonn.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick John.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
MacEntee, Seán.
Maguire, Ben.
Maguire, Conor Alexander.
Moane, Edward.
Moore, Séamus.
Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
O'Briain, Donnchadh.
O'Grady, Seán.
O'Reilly, Matthew.
Pearse, Margaret Mary.
Rice, Edward.
Ruttledge, Patrick Joseph.
Ryan, James.
Ryan, Martin.
Ryan, Robert.
Sheridan, Michael.
Smith, Patrick.
Victory, James.

Belton, Patrick.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Broderick, William Joseph.
Burke, James Michael.
Burke, Patrick.
Byrne, Alfred.
Coburn, James.
Corish, Richard.
Cosgrave, William T.
Costello, John Aloysius. [1485]Lavery, Cecil.
McFadden, Michael Og.
McGilligan, Patrick.
McMenamin, Daniel.
Morrisroe, James.
Morrissey, Daniel.
Mulcahy, Richard.
Murphy, James Edward.
Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
Nally, Martin.
Davin, William.
Desmond, William.
Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
Doyle, Peadar S.
Esmonde, Osmond Grattan.
Fagan, Charles.
Fitzgerald, Desmond.
Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
Keating, John.
Keyes, Michael. [1486]Norton, William.
O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
O'Leary, Daniel.
O'Mahony, The.
O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Reidy, James.
Rice, Vincent.
Wall, Nicholas.

Question declared carried; the section ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Section 13 put and agreed to.

Question proposed: “That Section 14 stand part of the Bill.”

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  On the section, Sir, I take it that the result of this section will be to increase the price of all fruit consumed by the people, so that those who use apples, plums, pears, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, currants or gooseberries, will pay more?

Question—“That Section 14 stand part of the Bill”—put and agreed to.

Section 15 put and agreed to.

(2) The duty imposed by the next preceding sub-section of this section shall be charged, levied, and paid at whichever of the following rates produces, in each particular case, the greater amount of duty, that is to say, at the rate of an amount equal to 75 per cent. of the value of the article or the rate of six pence on each article.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  On the section, Sir, I think it would be well if the Minister would tell the House, in the first place, what the effect of the section is and, in the second place, what is the intention. Sub-section (2) says that duty shall be imposed at the rate of any amount equal to 75 per cent. of the value of the article, but subsequent information, vouchsafed in some schedules circulated to the House, indicated that the duty, instead of being 75 per cent., is going to be 100 per cent. Now, a tax of 100 per cent. —or with some kind of preference thrown, a preferential tax of 75 per cent.—is being put on all cutlery that is being brought into the country. Would the Minister tell us clearly what exactly is the amount of the tariff that is being put on this cutlery, why it could not have been put plainly into this section, and what he has in mind when he proposes that a tariff of that particular size should be put on cutlery?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Is the Deputy moving amendment No. 7?

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I am sorry, Sir. I was talking on Section 16, but with these remarks I should like to move amendment No. 7. I now move amendment No. 7:

In sub-section (2), line 44, to delete the word “seventy-five” and substitute therefor the word “twenty”; and in lines 44 and 45, to delete the words “or the rate of six pence on each article.”

Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lemass): Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  There was a duty of 15 per cent. imposed in 1932 as a revenue duty. When the project of having a cutlery factory established in this country was first mooted, then, in order to discourage any tendency to undue importations that revenue duty was increased to 25 per cent. and cutlery was imported into the country subject to 25 per cent. duty which was paid. When the flotation of the company took place and the construction of the factory was begun, it was obvious that there was some danger of large quantities of cutlery being brought into the country in [1487] anticipation of an increase in the duty or of the making of a quota order under the Control of Imports Acts, and, in order to prevent that, this duty of 75 per cent., with a 50 per cent. preferential rate, is being imposed. However, the duty of 25 per cent. imposed under the Emergency (Imposition of Duties) Act has not been repealed and at the present time cutlery is being imported under licences which remit the duty imposed by the Finance Act; that is, the 75 per cent. with the 50 per cent. preferential rate, but the 25 per cent. imposed under the Emergency Act is still being collected. That emergency duty will disappear when the factory at Droichead Nua comes into production, and the permanent duty will be 75 per cent. with the 50 per cent. preferential rate.

The reason why the duty is being imposed at that height is because there is reason to anticipate that certain forms of cutlery could be imported at very low prices. In fact, it is known that Germany and other continental countries are subsidising the export of cutlery at the present time, and it was felt that a smaller rate of duty might prove ineffective and that dumping tactics might be resorted to in order to get cutlery products into this market. It must be remembered by Deputies that cutlery products are not perishable and that they could be brought in and stored here in any quantity. The industry is being established at Droichead Nua by a company which has been recently formed, and it is anticipated that there will be no difficulty experienced in producing cutlery there at practically the same prices as in Sheffield. No increase in prices is anticipated, but we could not take the risk of having a lower rate of duty which would interfere with the development of the industry even though the duty is not required because of any higher costs of production anticipated here. The industry is an important one and it is expected to give employment to about 200 persons in the town, of which the greater proportion will be men, but with some proportion of [1488] women. The market available is valued at about £60,000 per annum.

Mr. McMenamin: Information on Daniel McMenamin  Zoom on Daniel McMenamin  Will the Minister endeavour to see that there is no increase in the prices of the products as a result of this tariff?

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  Oh, quite. I agree that in respect of certain products manufactured here now there has been an increase in prices compared with the prices of the imported article, but we deliberately decided to establish these factories here knowing that that would be so because we expected that the results as a whole would be beneficial. In this case, having gone carefully into the matter with the promoters and other people interested in the project, we were satisfied that there was no reason of which we knew why prices should be higher here except, of course, in so far as there might be a higher standard of wages here than operates in Sheffield, or some factor of that kind.

Mr. McMenamin: Information on Daniel McMenamin  Zoom on Daniel McMenamin  I would not mind that.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  Subject to the conditions being the same, there is no reason why prices should be higher.

Mr. McMenamin: Information on Daniel McMenamin  Zoom on Daniel McMenamin  But the Minister is aware of certain articles for which there is an excessive price compared with that operating in England?

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  There are certain points which are not quite clear. Do I understand that the tax in 1932 was definitely put on without any reference to protection?

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  Yes. It was for revenue purposes, and was stated to be for revenue purposes.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  At the present moment the position, as I understand it, is that you have an effective tax of 25 per cent?

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  Yes.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  And there is restriction by licence?

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  Yes.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  That is, you fear that there might be a flooding of [1489] this country by the importation of a large amount of cutlery, partly owing to the cost of production abroad, and partly owing, possibly, to the question of subsidising, but by means of the prohibition—prohibition acting through licence—and the 25 per cent., the Minister is able to cope with that situation. Why could not the Minister cope with that situation once the factory is set up? What is the necessity for raising it to 75 per cent?

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  It is not being raised to 75 per cent.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Do I understand from the Minister that once the factory is in operation, in order to achieve the same purpose—that is to keep out dumped cutlery—he proposes to make permanent the 75 per cent. duty and possibly the 100 per cent. duty? Why will not the same machinery that is operating now with the 25 per cent. duty, be equally effective when the factory is in operation?

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  The Deputy does not understand. The 25 per cent. has been in operation for some time, and has been paid by importers, but it was not by itself sufficient to remove the danger of abnormal importations. Therefore, another duty of 75 per cent. was imposed. Both duties are now in operation, and a person trying to import cutlery without a licence would have to pay 100 per cent. but, in fact, on application such a person could get a licence which remits the 75 per cent. When production commences the position will be that the duty of 75 per cent., with a 50 per cent. preferential rate, will become payable, and there will be no licence. Anybody can import subject to that duty, but the emergency duty will be repealed, and the policy of issuing licences will be stopped.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  So far as stopping the issue of licences is concerned I have no objection to that, as the Minister knows. But if you have this particular system, why is not the Minister continuing the licences? He apparently has not the same objection to the system that I have, judging [1490] from the way it is being operated. Why this licence provision, plus 25 per cent. duty, cannot operate in the future as well as it is evidently operating now is not clear to me. I cannot see why, once a factory is established, if he has an effective 25 per cent., plus a licensing system, he cannot do what he wants with that 25 per cent. without running the risk of raising it to 50 per cent. It is inevitable that he will raise it to 50 per cent. if any of the foreign articles come in.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  This is not a quota order. It is a Customs duty which is remitted by licence. The intention would be to secure that when the factory is in production the situation will be that any person wishing to import can do so, subject to the payment of duty.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  But the Minisster has not explained why that system is preferable to the present one.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  It will obviously operate to discourage people from importing.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  There seems to me to be two very grave objections to the general proposal; first, I think it absurd that people should suffer at the present moment the imposition of a tariff as high as 100 per cent. on cutlery.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  But they are not.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I should like to hear the Minister get after that. The amendment suggests that the tariff should not in fact be higher than 45 per cent., but to raise the tariff to the point to which the Minister is now raising it is simply to drive people into the position that they have to pay a higher price for their cutlery now. Why it should be necessary to do that as a lead-up to a factory in connection with which we do not know when it will be established or in working order——

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  We expect it to be in production in August.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  ——and which the Minister tells us is going to produce as cheaply as a Sheffield factory, is more [1491] than I can understand. I do not understand the real intention of the licence provision in connection with this 75 per cent. As I understand the position, the 25 per cent. which has been imposed under the Emergency (Imposition of Duty) Order has been paid by everybody, and is going to continue to be paid.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  It will continue to be paid until it is repealed.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I understand that, although the Minister has power to give a licence to import the articles dealt with in the Emergency (Imposition of Duty) Order without a tariff, he is not exercising that provision, and that everybody who is importing cutlery at any rate has to pay 25 per cent. I do not understand the Minister's remarks when he suggests that people are not going to pay the additional 75 per cent. or the 50 per cent. preference, and I should like him to make clear in what circumstances that is going to be set aside. I take it that it is in operation at present?

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  But licences to import free of that duty are being issued.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  To everybody?

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  To everybody, except that in a case where there is an application to import an abnormal quantity it would be refused, but there is in fact no restriction upon anybody at the present time.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Then the mystery gets thicker and thicker. What is the intention of this section at all? It is actually being used as a quota arrangement, if I understand the Minister properly.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  Temporarily.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Why on earth should this House be asked to put an additional 75 per cent., with a preferential rate of 50 per cent., on this particular class of cutlery, when it is a quota arrangement the Minister is looking for? The proceedings are very absurd, and I think they are very unreasonable. I do not even think they are meant to be reasonable; there is a twist in the [1492] matter, and the twist can only mean that the people are going to pay more for their cutlery, and are in fact paying more at the present time.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  The Deputy will appreciate that when the company was formed, and the construction of the factory commenced, it was necessary to increase the duty. The Deputy will at least concede that from the Government's point of view it was necessary to increase the duty in order to prevent abnormal quantities of cutlery being imported in anticipation of a higher duty later, or of a Quota Order.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Is that the 25 per cent.?

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  No. The 25 per cent. was in operation from last year. The problem we were faced with at that time was that either we were to increase the 25 per cent. to 75 per cent. and then say to the importers: “You will pay 75 per cent.,” or “we will give you a licence to import free of that duty.” The first alternative would have been unfair to the importers. They would have to pay 75 per cent. for articles which were not available in this country. The second alternative would have meant that cutlery would come in for those three or four months cheaper than it had come in for the past year; in other words, the 25 per cent. would also have to be remitted as well as the increase in the duty. In order to avoid that situation arising, and maintain the 25 per cent. throughout the whole of the period until the factory would come into production, the emergency duty was left in operation, and this duty was imposed to discourage people from importing abnormal quantities. This duty is not now being paid by anybody, because any importer can get a licence to import free of that duty for the time being. That is, as the Deputy has properly described it, a quota arrangement. It is only a temporary arrangement, which will finish at the end of August, when this duty becomes effective and will be the only duty in operation. There will be no restriction on people importing except the duty.

It is considered preferable to have that arrangement in force rather than [1493] a quota and restriction in respect of quantity. There would be certain difficulties in operating a quota order in relation to cutlery. Up to the present, quota orders have restricted imports by quantities. A quota order permitted the importation of a certain quantity of goods, so many yards of cloth, so many tyres, or so many motor vehicles. It would be difficult to operate such a system in relation to cutlery. You might possibly have a quota in respect of the value. We have not done that, because there are difficulties in the way of doing it. We prefer to have protection of this industry, not by a quota order, but by the imposition of a Customs duty, which will still permit people desiring to import certain types of cutlery, perhaps cutlery which may have a sentimental value for them, subject to the payment of the duty.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  This amendment has been moved by Deputy Mulcahy. I would like to point out to him the wide door which he is opening if he persists with his amendment. The Deputy seeks to delete the protection of 75 per cent., which is afforded in the section to cutlery produced here, and he desires to substitute for the 75 per cent., protection to the extent of 20 per cent. He wants to delete completely the provision which establishes a minimum rate of 6d. on each article. It has been decided to establish a cutlery factory here. It will be located at Droichead Nua. At present premises are being adapted for use as a factory and the adaptation will be completed about the end of this month. The factory is likely to be in production about the end of August. While efforts were being made to establish a factory here, it was found there was a large number of English and Continental travellers endeavouring to book orders in this country in advance of the establishment of the factory.

If that position had been allowed to develop without restrictions being imposed by the Government, obviously it would be a long time before the Newbridge factory would be required to produce cutlery for the Irish [1494] market. It was therefore not only necessary to impose a duty of this kind, to forestal dumping from the British and Continental markets, but it was particularly necessary to do so in respect of the imports from non-European sources. A kind of cutlery has been dumped here from Japan and sold at a price that it is not possible for any Irish producer to compete against. Some of the articles of cutlery imported from Japan could not be made and sold here, even if the workers here were to work for nothing. It is obviously desirable that we should have some adequate protection against imports from Japan of a cheap type of cutlery made under diabolical labour conditions. I think Deputy Mulcahy will hardly object if we protect Irish made cutlery against importations of that description.

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  Will 75 per cent. be sufficient to stop that?

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  I think it is very difficult to stop it, even by means of 75 per cent.; but I think you will get a considerable distance towards stopping it by the imposition of a minimum rate of 6d. on each article. Knives have been imported from Japan and sold here at 2/9 a dozen. It is impossible for any Irish worker, no matter what type of machinery is being used, to produce knives here at 2/9 a dozen. It is with that type of competitor that this factory will be asked to compete. It has also to be borne in mind that the German Government, in order to try to maintain their non-German markets, have been giving bounties on their exports; not only have they been giving these bounties, but they have been paying the complete import duty on German-exported goods. Again, one can hardly say that competition from Germany, having regard to the present rates of wages here, is fair competition in relation to articles produced in this country.

It is noteworthy that protection has been given in respect of commodities exported from countries where the rates of wages have been extremely low, notoriously low in the case of Japan, and where it was felt, because of these low rates, it would be impossible [1495] for an Irish factory, paying reasonable rates of wages, to compete with products from such countries. I think the intention is, as was explained by the Minister, that when the licensing provision ceases by reason of the fact that the Irish factory is in production, the normal rate will then be 75 per cent. for any cutlery imported, with the provision that there is a minimum rate of 6d. on each article. I suggest Deputy Mulcahy ought not to move for the deletion of the rate of 6d. on each article because the only country that will benefit by his action, if it is approved, will be Japan, and every Japanese cutlery worker will be very pleased with the Deputy. I do not know whether that would be any satisfaction to him. He ought not to persist with his amendment, because it would be calculated not to help Irish workers, but rather to help industries in other countries where people are compelled to work at extremely low rates of wages.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  If Irish industry and Irish workers are being prejudiced in either their present or future positions by circumstances such as Deputy Norton speaks of, they will want to get a less wry-necked weapon to defend their interests than the section we have in this Finance Bill. It is no use to talk about Japan and the terrible conditions there and the kind of damage that can be done to this industry by the importation of quantities of knives at 2/9 a dozen—they would be nearly as cheap as the shoes about which the Minister for Industry and Commerce boasts. This section, as it stands, is going to leave a 75 per cent. tariff on goods made in Sheffield. I do not know whether the conditions in Sheffield are a disgrace to civilisation, or anything like that; I take it that they are better than the Japanese conditions and I have to take it that we would probably be fairly satisfied to have a well-established cutlery industry here giving stable employment and as good conditions to start with as the cutlery workers in Sheffield [1496] have. I do not know, but I imagine if I was offered that I would accept right away. As the section stands, the Minister has power to charge a 75 per cent. tariff on goods coming from Sheffield and 100 per cent. on goods coming from any other place. If people are anxious to import cutlery he will say to them: “If you do you will have to pay 50 per cent.”; that is, that he is going to discriminate in the persons he will allow to import cutlery or parts of cutlery and is going to use the weapon of being able to say: “You will have to pay this extra tariff if you import.” I object to that as a scheme. The proposal down here does not deal with that as a scheme, but it does suggest an amendment which leaves the tariff against Sheffield cutlery at 45 per cent., and if the Minister weighed the question of the tariff imposed by this, the tariff would be 25 per cent. against any place in respect of which there was not a preference. I think it is quite sufficient at the moment to leave it that the 45 per cent. tariff can obtain as a whole or in particular circumstances where the Minister is operating his licences. I should like to know whether the Minister has the intention of operating the licence purely to facilitate people who are setting up industry.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  No, licences are being given to everybody who was engaged at any time in the business of importing cutlery.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  With the tariff left at these figures, I think no complaint can be raised. It is absurd to have 75 per cent. and 100 per cent. tariffs in our tariff legislation for whatever purpose. It is a bad habit and it does reflect in prices outside. The costs falling on people outside in every direction are sufficiently high to make it necessary to avoid anything that would tend to increase them and, therefore, I am very definitely opposed to allowing the figures to stand.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  It seems to me that so far as Deputy Norton's reference to the amendment is concerned, his argument deals only with one [1497] portion of the amendment. He does not at all deal with the increased cost of what I might call cutlery produced under ordinary conditions. To segregate the two portions of the section, one portion of the section is definitely aimed at the exclusion of extra cheap articles. We may argue whether cheap articles ought to be excluded because they are cheap and whether the suggestion that the consumer at the moment in this country can never have a word said for him, that he has no voice in the matter, that it is no advantage to him and to the tens of thousands of other consumers in this country, who buy knives, to get them cheap—you may object to getting them cheap, but it is an advantage and it cannot be brushed aside as if it did not exist. Suppose, however, that you have that insuperable objection. People seem to know a lot about labouring conditions in other countries, ever so much more than they know of labour conditions in their own country, but I often am doubtful when I hear pictures painted of labouring conditions in other countries, because I have heard pictures painted of labour conditions in other countries, and the people in those countries paint very much the same picture of labour conditions here. I have heard them do it, but leave that aside. That, at all events, can be covered by the sixpence per article tax. But there is what I gather from the Minister is going to be a permanent thing once the factory is set up. The [1498] 75 per cent. will be a permanent tax once the factory is set up. It is not a mere passing thing; it is to be permanent, and there is that increased price year after year and day after day of everything consumed in this country.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  We do not anticipate that prices will be increased at all.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  The Minister never did yet anticipate it.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I still press the amendment but I should like to ask the Minister, in view of his remarks, to say, in a loud voice, that there is nothing in this amendment that could in any way increase cutlery prices from what they were before 16th May.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  There is nothing whatever in this section which should operate to increase cutlery prices over and above what they were on 1st May, 1st March or 1st January.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Will the Minister draw the attention of the Prices Controller to that statement?

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  I have received no complaint whatever on that score from anybody.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  The 75 per cent. is not operating at present according to the Minister.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  And at that stage prices are going down.

Question put—“That the words proposed to be deleted stands.”

Aiken, Frank.
Bartley, Gerald.
Beegan, Patrick.
Boland, Gerald.
Boland, Patrick.
Bourke, Daniel.
Brady, Brian.
Breathnach, Cormac.
Breen, Daniel.
Briscoe, Robert.
Cleary, Mícheál.
Concannon, Helena.
Cooney, Eamonn.
Corbett, Edmond.
Corish, Richard.
Corkery, Daniel.
Corry, Martin John.
Crowley, Timothy. [1499]Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick John.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
MacEntee, Seán.
Maguire, Ben.
Maguire, Conor Alexander.
Moane, Edward.
Moore, Séamus.
Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
Norton, William.
O Briain, Donnchadh.
Daly, Denis.
Derrig, Thomas.
De Valera, Eamon.
Doherty, Hugh.
Dowdall, Thomas P.
Flynn, John.
Flynn, Stephen.
Geoghegan, James.
Gibbons, Seán.
Goulding, John.
Hayes, Seán.
Keely, Séamus P.
Kehoe, Patrick.
Kelly, James Patrick.
Kelly, Thomas.
Keyes, Michael.
Killilea, Mark.
Kissane, Eamonn. [1500]O'Grady, Seán.
O'Reilly, Matthew.
Pearse, Margaret Mary.
Rice, Edward.
Ruttledge, Patrick Joseph.
Ryan, James.
Ryan, Martin.
Ryan, Robert.
Sheridan, Michael.
Smith, Patrick.
Victory, James.

Alton, Ernest Henry.
Anthony, Richard.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Bourke, Séamus.
Broderick, William Joseph.
Burke, James Michael.
Burke, Patrick.
Coburn, James.
Cosgrave, William T.
Costello, John Aloysius.
Desmond, William.
Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
Doyle, Peadar S.
Fagan, Charles.
Fitzgerald, Desmond.
Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
Keating, John.
Lavery, Cecil.
McFadden, Michael Og.
McGilligan, Patrick.
McMenamin, Daniel.
Morrisroe, James.
Morrissey, Daniel.
Mulcahy, Richard.
Murphy, James Edward.
Nally, Martin.
O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
O'Leary, Daniel.
O'Mahony, The.
O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Reidy, James.
Rice, Vincent.
Rowlette, Robert James.
Wall, Nicholas.

Motion declared carried.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Before you put Section 16, there is one point that I gathered from the Minister in answer to some questions by Deputy Mulcahy and myself. The Minister said that there will be nothing in the section that will induce to an increase in price, and I gathered from the low remark made by the Deputy—I mean low in sound— that the prices were already going down. Is that so?

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  It was anticipated that it would be possible to have a factory producing cutlery at the same price as at Sheffield, and in so far as cutlery is sold here on a duty of 25 per cent., we may anticipate a decrease in the price of cutlery from the Irish factories.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Did I understand from the Minister that the prices at present are going down?

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  No. But we anticipate the prices will go down.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  The Minister always anticipates these things.

Section 16 put and agreed to.

(1) There shall be charged, levied, and paid on every of the following articles imported into Saorstát Eireann on or after the 16th day of May, 1935, a duty of customs at the rate hereinafter mentioned in respect of such article, that is to say:—

(a) clocks or clock movements which, in the opinion of the Revenue Commissioners, are completely or substantially assembled— whichever of the following rates produces in each particular case the greater amount of duty, that is to say a sum equal to seventy-five per cent. of the value of the article or two shillings on each article;

(b) articles which, in the opinion of the Revenue Commissioners, are assemblies of parts of clocks (excluding articles mentioned in the next preceding paragraph of this sub-section, and also excluding parts assembled by pressing and [1501] clock-cases and parts thereof)—a sum equal to seventy-five per cent. of the value of the article.

(c) clock-cases made wholly or mainly of wood—whichever of the following rates of duty produces in each particular case the greater amount of duty, that is to say, a sum equal to seventy-five per cent. of the value of the article or five shillings on each clock-case;

(d) component parts (made wholly or mainly of wood) of clock-cases— a sum equal to seventy-five per cent. of the value of the article.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I beg to move amendment No. 8:—

In sub-section (1), to delete the word “seventy-five,” where it occurs in each of the lines: 9, 17, 22 and 25.

I do not know whether the Minister is pursuing the same principle of this section as he was pursuing on Section 16. At any rate Section 17 purports to impose on clocks and on clock movements a tariff of 75 per cent. of the value of the article and not less than 2/-, and on clock cases 75 per cent. of the value of the article and not less than 5/-. Will the Minister tell us why our people should be required to pay 75 per cent. more than the prices they have been paying hitherto for clocks and other articles of that kind, and why, in certain cases, even that 75 per cent. is not enough? The minimum tariff of 2/- must be paid, and in certain other cases the minimum tariff of not less than 5/- must be paid. It seems an extraordinarily high tariff to impose, and it seems to be a tariff entirely for revenue purposes.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  There has been a revenue tariff on clocks and component parts of clocks since before the Free State was established. There were the McKenna duties of 33? per cent. in operation before this State was established. So far as this State is concerned, what is being done now is that a higher rate of duty is imposed upon complete clocks and the duty is being taken off component parts for the purpose of encouraging people to assemble clocks here. In fact, one firm has [1502] already made arrangements to do that. The net result will be that clocks assembled here will be available without any duty instead of paying a duty of 33? per cent. The industry of assembling clocks which it is hoped to establish and the later assembling of watches is not unimportant. I do not say it will be a major industry, but it will give employment of a particularly useful type. The net effect of the changes will be a reduction in revenue in comparison with the position when an independent duty operated, that is in previous years before this State was established.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  The Minister's argument is that the tariff is raised to this particular figure in order to protect an industry which is to develop here, but he can give us no information with regard to it.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  The change is only taking place and one firm has already made arrangements to go into this business.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  The position is that instead of paying 33? per cent. to come in as revenue, people are to pay a 75 per cent. tariff in future and there is to be no revenue.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  No. The position in future is that the component parts of clocks will be imported free of duty and assembled here.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  With a tariff of 75 per cent. to indicate the place line of these articles.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  I do not think that will be the result.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  The Minister, at any rate, cannot produce any argument to indicate that the cost of clocks is not going to be raised to the full margin of this tariff. It has already happened that the 2/- is being put on the smallest clock sold at present. So that where the Minister is charging these rates at present he cannot tell us in connection with this section that the difference does not operate as it operated in connection with No. 16, because I have come up against at least two cases in which persons purchasing small clocks have been told [1503] that there is an increased duty of 2/- on them.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  We are at the transition period at present, and if people postpone buying clocks until they get [1504] Irish-assembled clocks they will get them a lot cheaper.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Get them at 75 per cent. more than the import price.

Question put: “That the words proposed to be deleted stand.”

Aiken, Frank.
Bartley, Gerald.
Beegan, Patrick.
Boland, Gerald.
Boland, Patrick.
Bourke, Daniel.
Brady, Brian.
Breathnach, Cormac.
Breen, Daniel.
Briscoe, Robert.
Cleary, Mícheál.
Concannon, Helena.
Cooney, Eamonn.
Corbett, Edmond.
Corish, Richard.
Corkery, Daniel.
Corry, Martin John.
Crowley, Timothy.
Daly, Denis.
Derrig, Thomas.
De Valera, Eamon.
Doherty, Hugh.
Dowdall, Thomas P.
Flynn, John.
Flynn, Stephen.
Geoghegan, James.
Gibbons, Seán.
Goulding, John.
Hayes, Seán.
Keely, Seámus P.
Kehoe, Patrick.
Kelly, James Patrick.
Kelly, Thomas.
Keyes, Michael.
Killilea, Mark.
Kissane, Eamonn.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick John.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
MacEntee, Seán.
Maguire, Ben.
Maguire, Conor Alexander.
Moane, Edward.
Moore, Séamus.
Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
Norton, William.
O'Briain, Donnchadh.
O'Grady, Seán.
O'Reilly, Matthew.
Pearse, Margaret Mary.
Rice, Edward.
Ruttledge, Patrick Joseph.
Ryan, James.
Ryan, Martin.
Ryan, Robert.
Sheridan, Michael.
Smith, Patrick.
Victory, James.

Alton, Ernest Henry.
Anthony, Richard.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Bourke, Séamus.
Broderick, William Joseph.
Burke, James Michael.
Burke, Patrick.
Coburn, James.
Cosgrave, William T.
Costello, John Aloysius.
Desmond, William.
Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
Doyle, Peadar S.
Fagan, Charles.
Fitzgerald, Desmond.
Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
Keating, John.
Lavery, Cecil.
McFadden, Michael Og.
McGilligan, Patrick.
McMenamin, Daniel.
Morrisroe, James.
Morrissey, Daniel.
Mulcahy, Richard.
Murphy, James Edward.
Nally, Martin.
O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
O'Mahony, The.
O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Reidy, James.
Rice, Vincent.
Rowlette, Robert James.
Wall, Nicholas.

Question declared carried.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I move amendment No 9:—

In sub-section (1) (a), lines 10 and 11, to delete the words “or 2/- on each article”.

Sub-section (1) (a) provides that not only is here a 75 per cent. tax on the article, but that there shall be a tariff [1505] of not less than 2/- on each article. That 2/- is already operating. I would like to ask why that 2/- is operating or why it should be there at all if what the Minister for Industry and Commerce says is true: that clocks are being made here as cheaply as those imported?

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  The ad valorem duty would be of very little consequence on very cheap articles. It is, therefore, necessary to have a minimum duty as well as an ad valorem duty.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  That means that only the persons who can buy the cheaper article will be hit.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  People can buy them in the Free State.

Mr. Cosgrave: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Are these clocks being made here at the moment?

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  One manufacturer is making arrangements to assemble them and a number of other firms have indicated their intention of coming in.

Mr. Cosgrave: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  None are made now?

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  No.

Mr. Cosgrave: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Where does the Minister expect the firm to start?

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  In Dublin.

Mr. Cosgrave: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  When does he expect them to start? Does he expect a start to be made by September?

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  I think so.

Mr. Cosgrave: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  On the 1st or 30th of September?

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  In or about September.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I move amendment No. 10:—

In sub-section (1) (c), line 23, to delete the words “or five shillings on each clock case.”

Here the proposal is that there should be a tariff of 75 per cent. on the value of the article and not less than five shillings on clock cases made wholly or mainly of wood. I should like to ask what is the intention of the Minister in imposing such a heavy [1506] duty as five shillings on clock cases made of wood.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  It is considered necessary to impose a substantial minimum duty to prevent the importation of these cases. The manufacture of clock cases would be an important part of the industry and it is estimated that minimum duty without an ad valorem duty would be very largely defeated.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Would it not be more decent to prohibit the import of these entirely.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  Would the Deputy suggest it?

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I think it would be more reasonable to prohibit the import of these things entirely than to start with a system that definitely raises the price of these articles by a very substantial sum.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  There was a duty of 33? per cent. on clocks, and no duty, at all, on parts. The position will be that clocks will be assembled and clocks will be manufactured here at prices that will be no higher than the prices that prevailed heretofore and probably less.

Mr. Cosgrave: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Are the same people that are manufacturing clock cases also manufacturing clocks?

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  Yes.

Mr. Cosgrave: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Does not this tax amount to prohibiting them altogether?

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  We might do that at any moment. We have had plans definitely from one firm for the establishment of the industry. But a number of other firms also interested are completing their plans to establish factories for this purpose. If there is any tendency of the nature that Deputy Mulcahy indicated it will be eliminated by competition.

Mr. Cosgrave: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Has the Minister in mind any firm that is competent to do the work? Does he intend when they are at work to still keep the 5/- duty on clock cases, or whether it would [1507] be better to keep them out? Has he any idea of the prices to be charged for the home made articles, and whether the firms are competent to do the work?

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  We are satisfied that they are competent to do the work. There will be no increase in prices. The scale of duties was devised in consultation with these firms and, in their opinion, is sufficient to justify them in taking on the work.

Mr. Cosgrave: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Has the Minister any idea of the amount of capital involved?

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  No. The market for clocks over here is worth about £30,000 a year, and the capital, I presume, would be a few thousand pounds per concern.

Mr. Cosgrave: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  I do not know whether the Minister is wise in pressing this. We may reach a point at which we may have more factories than the trade here would justify, a point which they seemed to have already reached in America. It is just as bad to have Irish money invested in factories which can never yield a return as never to have started them at all, because that will limit expansion in other directions. In this case is the Minister satisfied that the firms are competent to deal with the work? This is new work, I presume. It is work to which they have not been accustomed and I think it would have been better if a bounty had been given, or some assistance of that sort, in the first instance. In that case it would be possible to avoid the dissatisfaction that will be created by the sale of goods that are unsatisfactory. After all, it must not be very difficult to make a clock that will keep some sort of time, but to make a clock that will keep proper time and that will have a presentable appearance is a different proposition. In this case the wastage that will arise from the hasty establishment of industries and the fact that sufficient attention has not been paid to technique, will some time or other provoke public opinion against [1508] tariffs. That is one result that I fear because of the hasty measures taken by the Minister. There is also the danger that people will get into this business, make a “corner” in it and then get out of it. The fact that we had clock manufacturers in this country at one time is indisputable. We have also had hat manufacturers and others. In a matter of this kind, it is vital that the production of these factories should be of a sufficiently high standard to hold the market.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  I am satisfied that the clocks will be excellent in every way.

Mr. Cosgrave: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  That is what the Minister thinks.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  If the Deputy would make inquiries from some of the people interested in the industry, he would discover that we have not been hasty in this matter.

Mr. Cosgrave: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Does the Minister hope to establish one of these factories in Galway, for example, or was that only for the election?

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  There was an election in Dublin, too.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Section 17 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

In lieu of the duty of customs imposed by Section 14 of the Finance Act, 1934 (No. 31 of 1934), there shall be charged, levied, and paid on all tea imported into Saorstát Eireann on or after the 16th day of May, 1935, a duty of customs at the rate of sixpence the pound.

The following amendment appeared in the name of Deputy Dillon:—

In sub-section (1), line 38, after the word “tea” to insert the following words:—“the invoiced price of which at the port of importation does not exceed one shilling and sixpence per pound.”

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  There is an obvious mistake in this amendment. I do not propose to move it, Sir, but I shall [1509] move amendments, with the object which was intended to be achieved by this amendment, on the Report Stage.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I do not think the Deputy could move it. It is not in his name.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  It is in the name of Deputy Dillon. Is the Deputy moving the amendment on behalf of Deputy Dillon?

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  I do not propose to move it, because there is an obvious error in the drafting of it, but I shall move a similar amendment on the Report Stage.

Amendment not moved.

Question proposed: “That Section 18 stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  The intention of the amendment was to confine the duty to the lower priced teas, but I shall not go into that now. This is the section which imposes a duty of 4d. per lb. on tea. Members of the Party opposite seem to be somewhat confused about this whole question of the tea duty, even some of the Ministers. Recently we had the Minister for Local Government and Public Health announcing that when the Fianna Fáil Party assumed office they found a duty on tea. Notwithstanding the fact that that was denied at the time the Minister for Local Government and Public Health made that speech, we had it repeated afterwards by another member of the Party. The fact, of course, is that there was no duty on tea when the present Government assumed office. The Minister himself, on one occasion, described tea as a luxury. I do not know whether he still holds that view, or whether he is going to give that reason this year for imposing this duty. Of course, it is known to most people in this country, probably to everyone except the Minister himself, that tea is not a luxury and that as far as poor people are concerned it is an absolute necessity. Unfortunately, it forms part of nearly every meal which is partaken of by the poor people. For [1510] that reason it hits them in an exceptionally hard way.

There is another aspect of the matter to which I would draw the attention of the House. Up to about two years ago if a duty of 4d. or 6d. per lb. were imposed on tea, the very poor people, those on the point of destitution, could, in a way, get over that by purchasing cheaper tea. About two years ago, however, the tea planters came to an agreement restricting the output of the cheaper teas by about 25 per cent. Prior to their reaching that agreement it was possible for retailers to purchase tea at prices as low as 10d. or 1/- per lb. That tea was retailed at 1/2 or 1/4 Therefore, if a person had been buying tea at 1/6 per lb., and if a duty of 4d. were imposed on that, he could adjust his expenditure by falling back on the cheaper quality of tea. That is not the position to-day.

I do not know what the wholesale prices are at the moment, but up to quite recently I think that the wholesale price of the cheapest tea on the market was about 1/4 per lb. In other words, it is about 6d. per lb. dearer than it had been. It will, therefore, be seen that, so far as those who are compelled to purchase the very low quality of teas are concerned, they will have to meet the full burden of this 4d. per lb. A person, however, who was able to pay 3/- per lb. for tea can meet the situation by buying tea at 2/8, or a person who was in the habit of buying tea at 2/8 can now buy tea sold at 2/4, but the poor people who are compelled by circumstances to purchase only the poorest quality of tea will have to bear the full duty of 4d. per lb. That is a heavy imposition. In the case of these very poor people to whom I am referring, it will mean much more than 4d. per lb. because, unfortunately very many of these people have to buy tea in very small quantities. It is not uncommon for poor people living in slums and tenements to buy tea in such small quantities as a couple of ounces at a time. Because of that they pay proportionately more for tea than people who are able to buy a pound or a half-pound at a time. Taken by itself, this tax on tea is a very serious imposition, but when taken in conjunction [1511] with all the other increases in the necessaries of life imposed by this Finance Bill then, as I said on a former occasion, it amounts to a substantial reduction in the wages of workers.

We had Deputy Hugo Flinn, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance, telling us on an earlier stage of the Bill that everyone in this country drank tea: that the drinking of tea was not confined to the poor. The Parliamentary Secretary overlooked the fact that persons in receipt of fairly decent wages or salary are able to enjoy a greater variety of food than the very poor. They do not use as much tea as the poor. It is because people are poor that they are compelled, so to speak, to drink so much tea. It is silly to suggest that an extra charge of 4d. in the lb. on tea will mean as much to a person in the position of the Parliamentary Secretary as it will to the unfortunate poor person trying to exist on home assistance or on unemployment assistance. Those who are in touch with poor people know that if they are able to have three meals a day, their principal diet at each consists of tea and bread. As people say in the country, the tea-pot is never off the hob. Therefore, they consume a great deal more tea than people more fortunately circumstanced, and this tax for that reason is going to press more heavily on them.

I hope Deputies in all parts of the House will make it clear to the Minister that they are opposed to this tax on tea. The country is opposed to it. It is an unpopular tax, and if the Minister does not already know that, he ought to know it. As I cannot move the amendment on this stage, I propose doing so on Report.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  We all know that the Minister for Finance has a very strong objection to tea drinking. He informed us in one of his Budget speeches that a tax on tea did not matter: that tea was not a necessity at all, and that it was a thing that people could do without. Tea, he said, was simply a beverage. The Minister endeavoured in that somewhat heavy jocose style of his to brush aside the [1512] whole question of the heavy impost which a tax on tea means to the poorest members of the community. Those of us who live in the country and know the habits of life of the people are well aware that a great number of people rely on tea as a great stimulant to keep them going. We all know that ordinary working girls, especially in the cities, take tea a great number of times each day. Tea and bread are really the main sources from which they derive support for their bodies, and the cost of tea and bread is being increased. The Minister is quite regardless of all that. He seems to think that a tax on tea, combined with the other taxes in the Budget all of which must of necessity hit the very poorest classes in the community, is one that can be lightly imposed. That is the attitude he seems to take up in respect of all these food taxes. Anyone who knows the conditions in rural Ireland, especially of the small farmers of the West—the conditions to which they have been reduced by the economic policy which the Government have put in force—is well aware of the privations they are suffering at the moment, and must be satisfied that these taxes on the necessaries of life are a cruel and an unjust imposition. After all, what is a just tax and what is an unjust tax? A just tax is a tax which places a burden upon backs that are able to bear it, as far as that object can possibly be achieved. An unjust tax is a tax which places a burden upon backs which are too weak to bear that burden. The Minister and his colleagues, by these food taxes, are placing a terrible burden on backs already weakened by the policy which the Government have adopted. The Government have taken away their means of livelihood, their sole source of income, from a very large number of persons in this country—from the small farmers and agricultural labourers and from the working class people in the towns. The case for the latter has already been put forward in the House. My object is to stress the burden which these food taxes will place on people whose condition I am familiar with, people living in my own [1513] constituency. A great number of them are finding it impossible to make ends meet at the present time.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  They are paying their rates and their annuities.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  They are, with money which comes to them from England. Here is an argument which I hope the Minister will take to heart because I submit it is a direct answer to his interjection. It is this: that the people who are paying their rates and their annuities, who are stinting themselves in order that they may do so, are the people upon whom the Minister's taxes are going to press with extra weight. People who could afford to pay their rates and their annuities, and who are not doing so, can laugh at the Minister's taxes. They have got the money in their pockets and can afford to pay the extra taxes imposed by the Minister upon the necessaries of life, but the people who stint themselves in order that they may be able to pay their rates and their annuities, are the people upon whom the Minister's extra imposts press with a double weight. The Minister should recognise that fact. He should consider the position of the people who have lost their sole means of getting ready money for what they have to sell, whose market for the sale of their livestock has been taken away, and whose market for eggs has been reduced to such an extent that it is now of very little value to them. They have been compelled to reduce the number of hens which they usually kept, a very important thing for the small holders in my constituency. I move to report progress.

Progress reported; the Committee to sit again to-morrow.


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