Public Business. - Finance Bill, 1935—Committee (Resumed).

Wednesday, 3 July 1935

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 57 No. 11

First Page Previous Page Page of 10 Next Page Last Page

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  The question is: “That Section 18 stand part of the Bill.”

Agreed.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  No.

[1598]Minister for Finance (Mr. MacEntee): Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Yes.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Was there not somebody in possession when this matter was adjourned last night?

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  I moved the adjournment of the debate, Sir, and I expected to be called on to resume.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  I put the question, and if the Deputy does not speak when the question is put, the Chair has no opportunity of knowing whether the Deputy intends to speak.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  May I point out to the Chair that two Deputies were engaged in a private conversation while the public business of the House was going on.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  The Chair has no knowledge whether or not Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney wanted to resume his speech. The Deputy simply moved to report progress, but the Chair had no knowledge of whether he wanted to speak afterwards or not.

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  Surely, Sir, it has been the practice that the Deputy who moves to report progress is called upon by the Chair to resume?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  It has not been the practice. If he does not offer himself to the Chair, the Chair has no means of knowing whether the particular Deputy who moved to report progress intends to continue his speech. Twice I put the question that Section 18 stand part of the Bill, but no Deputy offered himself. However, I am allowing Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney to speak if he wishes to do so.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  In the course of my remarks last night I pointed out to the Minister that the fact that they had endeavoured to meet their ordinary obligations reasonably and honestly as far as they could was far from being a cause why this tax should be imposed upon them. I want to emphasise that point. I want to emphasise the point that when a [1599] country and the inhabitants of a country, and especially the poorer inhabitants of a country, have been impoverished by the actions of the Government and by the general policy of the Government, the fact that they have stinted themselves in order to meet public obligations, such as rates and taxes is no reason on earth for imposing further taxes, as the Minister suggests, but is a good reason to the contrary why the Government should not impose further obligations upon them. I go further than that and I say that, if the condition of affairs in this country is this—and it seems to be so—that the Ministry has so impoverished this State; has brought this State into such a condition as the Minister for Finance in his opening Budget statement admitted; has brought this country into such a condition that other sources of revenue are dried up and cannot be taxed any further; then, rather than put these taxes upon the necessaries of life; rather than put these extra burdens upon the poverty-stricken people of this country; rather than make, as these extra taxes will make, people go without the necessities of life; it would be better, much as I hate borrowing, much as I hate the idea of a Government balancing its Budget by means of borrowing, to openly borrow. I say that it would be better and I say it would be fairer, rather than to deprive the poorer sections of this community of things which were absolutely necessary for them in order to preserve life, to make up the Budget deficit by openly borrowing, I say that it would be far better to do that than to impose this 4d. duty upon tea. We are being challenged as to what alternatives there are. The Minister has been regularly appealing to us and going down on his knees to us and to the whole House to tell him, for goodness sake, what he can do to avoid imposing this tax on tea, this tax on sugar, this tax on flour, and the taxes on the other necessities of life. What is the use of the Minister now objecting; what is the sense of his objecting when I say to him that, if he has so mismanaged, as he has [1600] mismanaged, the finances of this State that he is driven to putting these taxes on the very necessities of life, it would be better for him to openly admit his mismanagement and, rather than crush down these unfortunate people by these taxes which he is putting on the very necessities of life, that it would be better for him to openly admit his faults and balance his Budget by borrowing?

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  We get back to the early hopes of the Minister for Finance in all this. In 1932, the Minister decided that, as between sugar and tea, sugar was an absolute necessity of life and was of very high food value, and that a tax on sugar was what he described as “hard” tax, and one that imposed an undue increase on the cost of living. On the other hand, tea, in his opinion, had very little value as food, was not a necessity of life, and that a tax on it was what might be described as a “soft” tax, as a tax which need not necessarily involve a diminution in consumption or an increase in the amount spent upon the commodity. He went to to say:

“The poor can adjust themselves to it more easily than through a tax upon sugar. They will not have to pay more for tea, and I have no doubt that with a tax on tea we shall have enterprising grocers proclaiming to the public that their ‘2/8 tea is still 2/8.’”

One might make the comment on that that although they were still charging 2/8 for tea, whether or not it was the old tea is a matter that we will leave to be found out by trial or a little bit of error. Last year there was a reduction of 4d. in the lb. in the duty on tea, and the Minister prided himself on the fact that that was possible. Now, this year, we are up against a new situation: the “hard” tax has got to go on, and with it the “soft” tax. Again, this has all got to be considered in the context of the taxes generally on the necessities of life. One might not have quarrelled with the Minister if, driven and harassed by circumstances, he should have had to resort to a tax on [1601] tea; but that he should have also to impose this tax once more—the tax which he prided himself on taking off —in the same year in which he is putting additional taxation on the people for sugar, bread, flour, and so on, is a thing that the Minister will find it hard to explain. Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney said that it would be better, in these circumstances, to borrow openly, and to admit that the Budget cannot balance.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  This, Sir, has all been decided upon on the Second Reading of the Bill.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I am saying, as a criticism of a tax on tea specially, that it would be much better to admit failure openly rather than to say: “We will cloak failure by putting on again what we have previously described as a ‘soft’ tax.” It is quite clear what the situation is when, in the year in which the Minister has found himself driven to taxation of the necessities of life and having wrung a huge amount from what he described as the “hard” tax and from other taxes on the wants of the people, he should then have to load up the burdens by retaxing the people in this matter of tea. That not merely argues, but proves in a most conclusive way— and it will be brought home strikingly to the people of the country, and to the poor first—what the present financial situation is. I do not agree with him that the tea tax is a soft tax. I would say this, that as between the tea and sugar taxation the scope of the sugar tax is rather ill-defined, because it comes into so many other things, molasses, syrups, jams and so on; whereas, at any rate, you can get the impact of the tea tax in a very clear way. You can get the incidence of the tax in a very clear and precise way, but it cannot be said to be a soft tax when one is thinking in terms of those who can bear taxation less than others can. From that angle, it is a tax which is definitely going to mean great hardship on certain people in the country.

I do not think the Minister would need the help of many of those who are not just so accustomed to town life as [1602] himself to find out that there are great stretches of the countryside, particularly in the west, in which the main article, the article that is, at any rate, used most in the way of liquid, is tea. It is a well-known fact, although it sometimes strikes economists as being a peculiar fact, that there are certain very poor areas in the West of Ireland where of all the items that form the family budget most money is spent on tea, and that, relative to the circumstances of the people, teas of exceptionally good quality are purchased for consumption in those areas. Although that is commented on by economists as being a peculiar thing, simply judging from the angle of the amount paid for it, the truth of the answer has been spoken to by very many people who know those areas—that in those areas the people do spend a very big amount of money on tea because they regard it as the main foodstuff; they have got used to it. I do not say that its food value in itself can be regarded as very high, but the people have got used to it, and it enters more into their ordinary budget and into their ordinary daily routine of life than any other article. They are inclined to pay more in order to satiate that particular choice of theirs. Many persons, travellers, clergymen and inspectors of different types who travel around the west of this country, will tell you that the people there set as much store by tea as, judging by the advertisements, certain workers in industrial capacities set store by beer in other countries. It is essentially a tax that is going to weigh with great severity upon those who live in the poor parts of the western side of this country.

It is unfair to describe it as a soft tax. Of course the Minister did not believe in that phrase, but it was a phrase that attracted him just because of the jingle, and because he thought at the time that he could make some case in regard to the change-over. He was not saving any money by the change-over nor was he losing any by the change when he made it in 1932, but there was an attractive jingle about the phrase “soft tax,” and now he arrives back again at a position that [1603] was not here since the clearing up period just after the British left, in which we were going to have both the heavy tax on sugar and the old tax back again on tea. I suppose in these days we have what never was there, either in the British times or in the clearing-up period when all the promotion expenses of the State had to be met; in addition to those two taxes we have an extra tax on bread and butter. The Minister may balance his Budget by those means, but, of course, the tendency towards unbalancing is there the whole time, marked by this tax. As Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenny has said, the ordinary sources of revenue have dried up. We are getting now, in the words of Deputy Corry, to taxing necessities which the people must eat and drink. Therefore, they cannot get away from this kind of indirect taxation. The Minister simply must slam the taxes on whatever it is that people sustain their lives by, because then they cannot avoid them. At any rate, he may get his taxes in this year, but he will by degrees weaken even this source of taxation by pressing too heavily on the people who use this commodity. Even if the Minister could escape with some sort of fantastic borrowing this year he must see that the end is in sight, and that even taxes on necessities will defeat their own purpose.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Speaking in the House and outside the House in defence of this tea tax, the Minister says to those who want to maintain the social services provided last year, and to provide an additional £250,000 for widows' and orphans' pensions, that we must swallow this tea and sugar tax for the purpose of making up the money for widows' and orphans' pensions. We have the Minister and his colleagues speaking in different voices regarding the manner in which money is to be raised for the maintenance of social services. We have them taxing coal to raise £600,000, and taxing the consumers of butter to subsidise the dairying industry, and here we find them putting a direct tax on the necessaries of life, tea and sugar—those are absolute necessaries of life to people in [1604] the rural areas—in order, as he thinks, to provide for widows' and orphans' pensions. When we raised the question of the proposed reduction of £200,000 in the amount of money for the administration of the Unemployment Assistance Act, and the question of the £100,000 proposed to be saved in the administration of the old age pensions, we were told, again in another voice from the same person, that this is money that must be found, and must be found in this way, in order to provide pensions for widows and orphans.

It is very hard to follow the Minister and his colleagues when they speak in different voices in defining this particular tax, and also in defining the economies in the existing social services. I cannot understand the mentality of the Minister who says: “We must tax the widows and orphans”— who ordinarily must use, and always will use tea and sugar as long as they have money to get it—“in order to provide pensions for themselves.” They apply the same policy to the people who are entitled to receive the old age pensions. The President, speaking on the Second Reading debate of the Finance Bill, admitted quite definitely that a very big percentage of the large sum—between £500,000 and £600,000— raised for the payment of cattle bounties has not been finding its way to the people for whom it was intended. Supposing 30 per cent. or 40 per cent. of the £500,000 or £600,000 is going in the wrong direction, and is subsidising people for whom it was never intended, I suggest to the Minister that he would be quite justified, in view of the admission made by the President, in cutting the bounties by the amount which he believes is not finding its way to the livestock producers in this country, and thereby find the money which he is now trying to find by penalising the poorest of the poor through a tax on tea and sugar. That is a definite suggestion which I am now putting to the Minister, and to which I should like to hear an answer, especially in view of the President's admission. Why should the taxpayers of this country find increasing sums, as they will be [1605] expected to find in the coming year, in view of the meaning of the coal-cattle pact, for additional cattle bounties which the President admits are not going to the people for whom those bounties are intended, while at the same time the Minister stands up here in this House to defend a tea and sugar tax which is penalising the poorest of the poor? The members of this Party will vote against this section of the Bill.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Deputy Davin is quite right when he draws attention to the fact that you do not tax the very poor, and the widows, in order to provide pensions for widows. This is not a social services tax; it is a war tax, and nothing else but a war tax. That part of the last ten years that preceded the coming into office of the Fianna Fáil Government showed the tradition that would be natural in this country in respect of taxation. About £1,500,000 in taxation that was on sugar when the last Administration took over office was removed during that period and the tax on tea was completely wiped out. That shows the tradition that would be natural, the procedure that would be natural in this country in the matter of taxation if there was not a war on.

The Minister walked into a war situation in 1932 and the tea tax was imposed. That war has been carried on for a couple of years and it induced the Minister, when he was framing his Budget for this year, to enter the houses of the poorer persons ——to enter, for example, the house of the average civil servant whose wages he quoted to the Dáil the other day. It induced him to look around that house to see what could be taxed. He had already taxed to some extent the sugar that was being used; he had raised the price of bacon by his Excise duty on bacon; he was raising the price of all the food commodities he could lay hands upon, and he had to go to the house to look around and to see what further articles he could tax. When he had sized up what he could get out of linoleum, wallpapers, window glass, and even the mugs on the dresser, he [1606] had to look into the tea-caddy and he said “I can get £400,000 out of this.” Then he started to pinch the £400,000, and the Ministerial Party is so much aware of what it really means that members of it have been stumping County Dublin telling untruths about the tea tax. The Ministerial propaganda with regard to the tea tax is: “We took it off last year; how could we take it off if our predecessors had not put it on?” A word of truth on the subject was almost sufficient to break up a Fianna Fáil meeting. The Minister for Finance was able to take off the tea tax because it had been put on the year before. It goes on now simply to carry on a war situation.

The moneys raised in this way are simply going down the sewer and neither social services nor Government institutions nor any aspect of the everyday life of the people will be bettered by the way in which the money raised through this tea tax is to be spent. All that will happen is that the people are going to be poorer by reason of a tax that is taken, I will not say in a flat rate from the whole population, but in a rate which, if it varies at all, varies in heaviness on the poorer side. I am sure there is more tea on the average consumed in some of the poorer houses throughout the country and in the cities and towns than in the richer homes, so that the main incidence of the tax on tea falls on the poor. Therefore, the Minister has to concoct untruths for his Party to spread through the country in order to hide what the situation really is.

Taxation of this type, linked to the kind of taxation put on food and on the petty articles in the home, should show Deputies here the extremities to which the Minister is driven in order to keep some kind of appearance on the finances of the State and the extremities to which he is prepared to go, no matter how much at the cost of the poorer classes, to keep up a pretence. What is he keeping it up for? The Minister cannot tell the House that he sees where he is going; he cannot tell the ordinary rank and file, [1607] the poorer classes where he is leading them. Yet he continues taking money out of their pockets. It has been mentioned here that in some parts of the country tea is very much used and that until the Fianna Fáil Party put the tax on tea in 1932 a very high standard of tea used to be used. If the Minister has any connection with the tea trade he will know that after the Fianna Fáil tax was put on, when the tax was re-imposed after seven or eight years, following the time it was made free of duty, there was a tremendous fall in the standard of tea that was used in the West of Ireland. People who were accustomed to buy tea at 3/- and 3/4 a lb. fell within a couple of months to tea at 1/6 a lb. To that extent the standard of living in the West of Ireland was reduced in 1932 and 1933. Now, that position is being worked back to, simply because the Minister is forced to look in every direction in order to get money to carry on his war.

We oppose this tax, in the first place, because it is absolutely wrong and unsound and because it is taxation, the greater part of which falls on the poor; and we oppose it in the second place because it is indicative of the whole line of policy of the Minister, that it does not tend to develop social services, that it does not make in any way the national or the economic life of the people stable, and because it is leading to the very definitely unstable future that a war situation usually brings.

Mr. Minch: Information on Capt. Sydney B. Minch  Zoom on Capt. Sydney B. Minch  The tax on tea has brought home to the ordinary people in the rural districts what this economic war means. The poorest in the land now have a realisation of how high the cost of government can be. In Dublin, for some reason or other, whether it is because of the artificial prosperity or for other reasons, the attack on the breakfast table, particularly the tea tax, does not seem to have caused as much antagonism to the Government's policy as there exists in the country. As regards the people in the country, if there is one [1608] thing that has made them take an interest in Government it is the tea tax. I have heard it said that the late Kevin O'Higgins declared that until there was a change of Government the ordinary country people would not think politically. They are going to think politically in future because this tea tax, accompanied by many other taxes, has made the poor in the community, the ordinary plain people, realise that they are now brought into a war which is not a decent war nor an honest war. That is a fight in which the people mulcted by a tax on tea, and it is for the purpose of carrying on what they are beginning to realise now is all humbug and claptrap.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The question is——

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Has not the Minister anything to say?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I have listened to the Deputy making the same speech four times during the debate on the Bill and I do not think it is worth while replying.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I think then I will have another slap at it.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Is the Deputy entitled to rise now?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  Yes, since the House is in Committee.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Would you be prepared, Sir, to take a closure motion? The Minister has not moved it, but he asked a question. I suggest, Sir, that the question is disorderly.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  It is disrespectful to the House.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  So far as the conduct of this House is concerned, we are discussing the most important Bill of the year——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  Just one section at the moment.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  I wish, Sir, to call attention to one fact. We are [1609] discussing the most important Bill of the year, and we are in Committee on that Bill——

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  We are discussing Section 18. Is the Deputy in order?

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  I am perfectly in order.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  The question was addressed to the Chair, not to the Deputy.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  I am calling attention to the fact that this is the second time in the course of this debate on a most important tax in which the Minister has treated the House with gross disrespect. He has not even attempted to put before the House the Government case for this tax. That may be technically correct, but it is grossly and entirely wrong. The Minister has shown a complete contempt for the Parliamentary institutions, and it is on these grounds that I protest against his action.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I just want to supplement what I previously said. When speaking on the previous stages on this Budget, I did indicate a curiosity as to what tax would be of the most clastic nature; what, for instance, were the taxes that could be enlarged and the yield from which could be increased by administrative action. We know that under administrative action, in the case of the Unemployment Assistance Act and the Old Age Pensions Act, the Government are going to save some money. Clearly, this tea tax has been introduced for a second purpose. We know that the Minister thinks that the tea tax is a soft tax. We know also that, notwithstanding the Minister's more or less subdued mood in his Budget speech, the Revenue returns have been shockingly disappointing.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  How does the question of this year's revenue arise? Is the Deputy dealing with this year's revenue?

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Yes.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  No.

[1610]Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  The question of this tax is in order. The Minister said it was a soft tax, a tax that would not hurt very much if he increased it. I suggest that the reason it has been introduced is not for the immediate amount it is going to bring in but with an eye on the future. If there had been no tea tax in this year's Budget there would have to be the bringing in of a half-yearly supplement. And merely to increase something that is there already will appear to the Minister not to be so bad. The Minister has the view that this tea tax does not matter. The 2/8 tea will still be 2/8, regardless of what the consumer will get for the 2/8. That is another matter. I want to put this to the Minister that his scheme in introducing this tax goes far beyond merely the amount that he was to get in and that there is clearly going to be an autumn Budget in which this tax will be definitely increased.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Whatever may be the Minister's views about the quality of the tax, it is quite clear from this year's Budget, from this Resolution, from this particular section, and from what we discussed last night, that the country is going to get hit hard and soft. As far as the Minister is concerned, he is not going to let the people escape. He is going to skin them alive in every fashion. One thing, so far as this tax is concerned, is that it may be that it does appeal to the Minister that the quality of the tea can be degraded. I have no doubt that that is the point, and if the people are fooled the Minister will be satisfied that once more the people will have to be deceived. The people will have to pay and pay. But I would remind the Minister that once more the Government will have taken a very definite step and a deciding step towards lowering the standard of living. I admit that that is their proclaimed aim. It is the old policy of hair-shirts for all. You are advancing to it, and advancing to it with remarkable rapidity. You have listened here and you have been told that this is a tax which can be avoided. It can to this extent: The people can more or less adjust the balance where they are concerned by a lowering of the standard of living and by getting a [1611] poorer quality of tea. It is easy to understand why taxes of this kind should appeal to city men, to men who have no knowledge whatsoever of the country. I notice that three-fourths of the Deputies of the Fianna Fáil Party in the House at present are city men. I cannot speak for the remaining backward quarter. There are four in the House listening to the discussion on this tax. Three of them are city men. Naturally our arguments pointing out the importance of tea in the life of the country will not appeal to them any more than to the Minister.

Mr. T. Kelly: Information on Thomas Kelly  Zoom on Thomas Kelly  I think the Deputy is wasting time.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  We could have wasted more time by calling a count, but we do not want to waste it. We want to put arguments before the House. The easiest way to waste time would be to call a count every time the Deputy's Party refuse to make a House. Is not tea a luxury for the people of the country? That is what is asked here. Tea is not a luxury; it is a necessity for them, as anybody who has lived in the country knows. Furthermore, I suggest that the quality of the tea is only wrongly described as a luxury. The attempt indirectly to change the quality of the tea so that the Exchequer may be able to screw more money out of the people is unjustifiable.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  There is nothing in this Bill about the quality of the tea.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  A change in the price.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Has a point of order been raised?

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  The Minister never does raise a point of order.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I presume that it is disorderly to address the Chair except on a point of order when another Deputy is speaking.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  On a point of order, I submit that it is most disorderly for the Deputy to raise a point of order when he is seated.

[1612]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  That applies all around, and hence no point of order can be raised by a Minister or Deputy unless he rises in his seat.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I submit, Sir, that when I put my point of order, I rose in my place.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Apparently, it is necessary once more to try to get into the heads of the Minister and his followers that one of the inevitable results of this tax on tea will be a lowering of the quality of the tea. Apparently, the Minister has made up his mind not merely not to participate in the debate but not to listen to the debate for that point has been made and driven home but apparently the Minister has not grasped it. That being so, what chance is there of getting from the Minister any sort of reply to the charge we are making? I should like to emphasise the fact that it is not this one tax alone; that every tax of this kind that is put on a necessity of life must be considered with reference to the whole burden of taxes which the Minister has put on.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Chair disagrees with the Deputy. If that were the case, the whole Budget and financial position could be debated on every one of these amendments or sections. In discussing the section, the Deputy is confined to what is contained in the section. He may, of course, as has been done, refer to any tax as indicating the general tendency; but no section can be taken as a peg on which to hang a debate on the general financial position.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  It was not my intention to do anything of the kind. I was only saying that in considering this tax we should refer to the amount of taxes already on. That is all the reference that I intended to make, and all that I ever intended to make on a section of this kind. I suggest that to put a tax of this kind on one of the prime necessities of life of people already overburdened with taxation is not merely unjustifiable but [1613] inhuman. Is there any indication where taxation of this kind, as exemplified by this particular tax, is going to stop? Where is there any indication of it? I take it for granted that the Minister is rather juggling with this tax from year to year. I do not know any other phrase to describe the action of the Minister in this particular matter than juggling with this tax. It is now on and it is now off. But it is quite obvious that the Minister is now driven to the pin of his collar by the absurd increase of expenditure against which we have vainly protested. He is now driven in this and other taxes to go beyond the limits even of what we thought a Fianna Fáil Government could do. In all these taxes, indirect as well as direct, this as well as other taxes, we must realise that taken as a whole, there must be a saturation point for them, as the Minister has found out in connection with other things. The House should not allow the Government to impose this additional burden on the people in addition to those they have put on them in previous Budgets.

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  I am afraid Deputy O'Sullivan has rather fallen into error in this matter.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Will you, Sir, take a closure motion from me?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  Not at this stage.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I only want to warn the House that it may be necessary to sit all night in order to get this Bill through this week.

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  Is this a sort of threat? I want to point out to Deputy O'Sullivan and the Minister what I said last night. The Minister, as a sort of excuse or justification for the imposition of this tea tax said that people could adjust themselves to it. He meant by that that the people could buy a cheaper kind of tea. But that is not so, so far as the poor people are concerned, the people who are most heavily hit by this, because as I pointed out before, and as the Minister knows [1614] quite well, owing to the restriction on the output of the cheaper teas by over 25 per cent., the prices of the cheaper teas have been increased by as much as 60 per cent. within the last two years. Poor people who could buy tea two years ago, when the Minister first imposed this duty, for 1/2 per lb., cannot buy the same tea now less than 1/7 and 1/8. These people will have to bear this impost of 4d. in full.

I suggest that this is a matter that ought to concern particularly the three city Deputies here, because we know very well that the cheaper teas are used very largely by the poor of the cities and towns, and it is going to hit them particularly hard. They are not in the same position as the person who can afford to buy a better quality of tea. The person who has been in the habit of paying 3/- a lb. for tea can now purchase tea at 2/8 per lb., but the person who has been paying 1/7 or 1/8 cannot escape this tax, because the tea for which they were paying 1/7 and 1/8 will be now 1/11 or 2/-. The Minister, when talking about the people being able to adjust themselves to meet this tax, ought to keep that in mind—that the people who are going to be hit particularly hard by this cannot adjust themselves to it.

I want to protest, on a very important Bill like this, and particularly on a very important section, and upon a tax which is imposing roughly £400,000 on the people of this State, against the Minister's thinking so lightly of his duty as Minister as to refuse to answer on a debate in this House upon that particular section. I say the Minister is failing in his duty as Minister. He is here as a Minister appointed by the House and paid by the people of this State to answer debates in this House and justify any tax which he proposes to impose upon the people. The Minister, of course, gets a fit of bad temper. It very often happens with the same Minister—he gets into a bad temper when he feels something is going against him.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  This has nothing to do with the tea tax.

[1615]Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  If the Minister is not able to reply, he ought at least to listen.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  The Deputy is merely wasting the time of the House.

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  There is no question of wasting the time of the House. When I am out of order, I will be told so very promptly by the Ceann Comhairle. The Minister ought to stop this continual nagging and trying to lead the Chair: trying to put the Chair in a false position. That has been his attitude right through, since he came to sit on the Front Bench.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  On a point of order. Is it the function of a Deputy or of the Chair to correct a Minister?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  It is a function of the Chair.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  It is the function of a Deputy to criticise.

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  The Minister knows quite well that what I am saying is quite true, and it is known to every member of the House. The Minister is not going to prevent me, within the rules of this House, from criticising himself or any other member of the Front Bench opposite. I do say that the members of this House and the people outside who will have to pay this tax, particularly the poor people who will have to meet the tax in full, are entitled to hear from the Minister the reason why it is necessary to impose this tax on them. If the Minister refuses to answer in this debate, then I say that he is not doing his duty and is not treating the House properly.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I move that the question be now put.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  I am not prepared to accept that motion.

Mr. T. Kelly: Information on Thomas Kelly  Zoom on Thomas Kelly  They are only wasting time.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I do not think that Deputy Kelly understands the importance of the subject that is being discussed, or he would not have suggested [1616] that members of the House were wasting time.

Mr. T. Kelly: Information on Thomas Kelly  Zoom on Thomas Kelly  Of course, you are.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  What is to be said upon this tea tax is a simple thing and can be said within the limits of Committee discussion. I ask Deputy Kelly if he does not appreciate the points made here, namely, that this is a tax which bears inequitably upon the poorest classes of the people.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Deputy must not repeat what he said 20 minutes ago.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I am striving to point out to Deputy Kelly the importance of this tax.

Mr. T. Kelly: Information on Thomas Kelly  Zoom on Thomas Kelly  You may save yourself the time; I am not going to make a speech.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  We are discussing here, in an Irish Parliament, for which generations of Irish people struggled, Irish business. We have sat late at night over these matters, and, as the Minister has threatened, we may have to do so again. We would be turning our backs and spurning the virtues of Irish gentlemen if we did not——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  Deal with the tea tax——

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  ——deal with the tea tax. Our only object in speaking here is to get the Fianna Fáil Deputies to discuss the points put before them. There is a second point that I would put before Deputy Kelly despite his protest, and that is the type of tax this is——

Mr. Kelly:  I do not want to take tea with you at all.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Tea is a necessary of life that brings sociability and happiness into the lives of the people.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Deputy must not repeat himself.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I mention these points for the purpose of affording Deputy Kelly, or any other member of [1617] the Fianna Fáil Party sitting in an Irish Parliament the opportunity of doing his duty if the Minister will not do his.

Mr. Minch: Information on Capt. Sydney B. Minch  Zoom on Capt. Sydney B. Minch  Surely the Minister ought to give some reason as to why he is imposing this tax upon tea. It is one of the most important matters that could come up before the House. Deputies on these benches have asked repeatedly for an explanation of this tax, and all they got from the Minister is curt interruptions. Surely the Minister should now state his reasons for imposing this tax.

Mr. O'Leary: Information on Daniel O'Leary  Zoom on Daniel O'Leary  I am surprised at Deputy Minch. Did not the Minister tell us some time ago that tea was a luxury?

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Deputy Kelly is afraid, apparently, that he would be reprimanded by his Front Bench if he was to get up and say what he thinks about this tea tax.

Mr. T. Kelly: Information on Thomas Kelly  Zoom on Thomas Kelly  I would be confined to barracks if I said anything.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  You probably would. There is a feature of this debate on which I would like to touch.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  This is the third time that Deputy McGilligan has spoken in this debate.

[1618]Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Am I not in order in doing so?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  Quite in order.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Will you, a Chinn Comhairle, on this, the third time I make the request, take a motion from me: That the Question be now put? If not, I will have to consider my position —whether I can sit here and listen to these repeated speeches.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Chair cannot accept that motion.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Send for the Military Tribunal.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  We want to draw attention to a feature of this debate. A tax is being discussed. No reason has been given as to why this tax is being imposed. It has been asserted, in a variety of statements, that no other tax will yield any result and that everything else has been dried up. There is a further feature of this debate and that is the conduct of the Minister, who, by interruption, by discourtesy to everybody, by threats to sit late, and by appeals to the Chair to rule speakers out of order, is attempting to close down this discussion.

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

Aiken, Frank.
Bartley, Gerald.
Boland, Gerald.
Boland, Patrick.
Bourke, Daniel.
Brady, Brian.
Breen, Daniel.
Briscoe, Robert.
Concannon, Helena.
Cooney, Eamonn.
Corkery, Daniel.
Corry, Martin John.
Crowley, Timothy.
Daly, Denis.
Derrig, Thomas.
De Valera, Eamon.
Dowdall, Thomas P.
Flynn, Stephen.
Fogarty, Andrew.
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.
Moane, Edward.
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.
Traynor, Oscar.
Victory, James.

[1619]Anthony, Richard.
Belton, Patrick.
Brennan, Michael.
Broderick, William Joseph.
Burke, James Michael.
Burke, Patrick.
Coburn, James.
Corish, Richard.
Cosgrave, William T.
Costello, John Aloysius.
Davin, William.
Desmond, William.
Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
Doyle, Peadar S.
Everett, James.
Fagan, Charles.
Finlay, John.
Fitzgerald, Desmond.
Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
Haslett, Alexander.
Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
Holohan, Richard.
[1620]Keating, John.
Keyes, Michael.
Lynch, Finian.
McFadden, Michael Og.
McGilligan, Patrick.
McMenamin, Daniel.
Minch, Sydney B.
Morrisroe, James.
Morrissey, Daniel.
Mulcahy, Richard.
Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
Nally, Martin.
Norton, William.
O'Leary, Daniel.
O'Mahony, The.
O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Pattison, James P.
Reidy, James.
Rice, Vincent.
Wall, Nicholas.

Question declared carried.

Question proposed: “That Section 19 stand part of the Bill.”

General Mulcahy rose.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I thought we were going to have a motion to sit late?

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  This again is another tax which is inexcusable at the present time. Evidence has already been given before the Prices Commission that this tax has resulted in an increase in the price of bread and, not only that, but the increase which has already taken place has not brought the price of bread, as far as bakers are concerned, to a remunerative figure and a further increase may be expected in the price of flour arising out of this tax. This tax has been put on at the beginning of a year in which an unknown increase in the price of flour is going to be brought about by the operation of a Bill at present before the House. The Minister for Finance has provided in the Agriculture Estimate this year £300,000 as the bounty on wheat—last year's wheat. The cost of subsidising home-grown wheat is rising to such a figure that the Minister for Agriculture and the Minister for Finance are co-operating with each other to hide the cost to the public, and so the cost has to be hidden by means of legislation which is at present being dealt with.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  And may not be discussed now.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  But which makes us absolutely certain, Sir, that there will be a further increase, before the present calendar year is over, in the price of flour and in the price of bread. It is a tax that hits the poorer section of the people in the same heavy way that the tax on tea hits them. It is a tax which is nothing but a war tax and which can do nothing towards improving the general social stability of the people, while, at the same time, it takes increasing amounts out of the people's pockets and takes them in a hidden kind of way.

The taking of that money out of the people's pockets has been even bigger up to the present than would normally be necessary. In imposing this tax, the Minister took no steps at all to protect the people against an unjust rise in the price of flour on which this tax never fell. The various merchants throughout the country have been complaining to the Minister for Industry and Commerce and to Deputies of this House that an entirely unprecedented step was taken by millers with regard to large quantities of flour, the purchase of which was already contracted for. A situation has been created in which merchants, who had purchased flour from millers on a contract, the normal terms of which were that they were [1621] given three months to take delivery, have been charged this tax on that part of their contract which had not been taken over at all. I should like to ask the Minister how it comes that no consideration is given to the public when putting on a harsh tax of this kind in the way of relieving them of the incidence of a certain amount of the tax from which they should reasonably be relieved.

It seems to me that this is a policy of giving a certain amount of largesse to millers and people like that, so that there may be more people, standing for business ability and business credit, who can be bought in this particular way to help the Government to put a kind of face on their policy. It can be the only explanation of it. We protest against these taxes which raise the price of bread and the price of flour, prices which Government policy is going to raise still further. As I say, evidence has been given before the Prices Tribunal already that the price of bread is not remunerative for bakers by reason of the great increase brought about in the price of flour owing to Ministerial policy.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I often wondered how one section of the Budget was raised, and until Deputy Corry spoke last night I had no hint. Taking Deputy Corry's phrase about taxing the things that people must get, it is quite clear that the Ministry came to the point at which they simply said: “Let us find out the one thing from which there is no escape.” They got Deputy Corry or perhaps one of his constituents, put him on a sort of compulsory hunger strike, and found what he cried loudest for when that was over. So they arrived, by that process at bread, butter, tea and sugar as the necessary items and they decided to tax these commodities. I do not know if history shows anywhere, except as the prelude to a revolution, an instance of a tax such as the tax on bread or bread-stuffs. In fact, the reverse used to be the position. Even the Minister must have heard of the old system of holding off the multitude by giving them free bread and free games. At the moment, the only [1622] thing we have as big game in this country is the economic war and it is not free. It, or part of it at any rate, is going to be paid for by the tax on bread. We have reversed the old procedure. This free bread, and the free circuses or the free games were given as the prelude to the break up of a very big empire. We have now gone down hill so much more than that, that we have decided the time has come when bread-stuffs or to take the old cliché, the staff of life, has got to have something put on it in order to satisfy Ministerial greed.

Again, there should be some explanation of what other methods of taxation were considered and rejected, and why they were rejected, before the Ministry decided that the tax should go on such a definite, universally recognised necessity as bread. The very word “bread” has an association with life itself—with life of a primitive type, with the source and the beginnings of life——of a nature that is brought home to everybody who reads, who says his prayers, or who does anything that shows any touch with life at all. Yet the Ministry decided that the raw material of bread has got to be taxed. Then, as Deputy Mulcahy has pointed out, because of certain activities of the Ministry, the price that has to be paid for flour shows a difference against us of 4d. per stone as compared with the prices charged in the City of Belfast at normal prices. Even so, those who manufacture flour, appearing before the Prices Commission gave evidence that the price, even though 4d. per stone higher than what is paid in Belfast, is not remunerative and they warned the community that so far from expecting any downward trend in prices, the price of bread must rise still further. On top of that situation we get this tax on wheat.

Again, let there be no running away from this—there is no question of protection involved. There is already control and there is already machinery for that at the disposal of the Government. If it were a question of getting more home grown wheat used, [1623] there is machinery for doing that. This is intended simply to make the people pay more for what is going into bread. Even the highest point to which the Ministry could rise in their optimism is that they are going to have a 20 per cent. admixture so that as far as 80 per cent. of our wheat requirements is concerned, it is going to be taxed in the way proposed here. Surely that does call for some explanation. One can see the answer that almost any tax—a tax on incomes, for instance—would be the obvious resort before the bread of the people would be touched. We may be told then that if you touch income tax, to a certain extent you touch the source of production and you may drive people out of employment. You may not allow people to get the wherewithal to buy even their bread. The necessaries of life have got to be weighed one against the other in order that you may get the virtues of various taxes seen in relationship one with another. But we have this tax put on without any definite reason being given for it.

I think it is, as I say, historically unique that you should have in the same Budget year, a Government which has decided to put a tax upon such ordinary things as tea, sugar and butter, and add to them, as if they were not sufficiently final, this tax on bread. There is no answer given as to why anything else should not be chosen except bread. I do not know if we can even get an idea of the amount that is to be brought in by this tax. We have got to get what is going to be the inter-action of this tax on the growth and the use of Irish wheat. One thing that is clear is that the only justification for the tax is that if you must get money, and you want to get it with certainty, you want to get it without any fear of a breakdown, any spectacular breakdown in Government, all you have got to do is to watch for something that the vast majority of the people, if not the whole people use, and put a tax on it. A small tax on such a commodity will bring you in more than a heavy tax which would affect [1624] only a small portion of the people. It is an ideal thing from the angle of the man who must get money, who has his eyes closed to the sources from which that money is taken, who has no idea of humanity with regard to where the money comes from, who is blind to, or ignorant of, the misery attached to the taxation of foodstuffs. I think there is no example in history of a tax being put on bread except in a period which was simply the prelude to a revolution, when things had got to the worst point, and those who constituted the Government were so blind and so reckless, so conscious of the fact that their existence as a Government was drawing to a close, that they put burden after burden on the community and, as the final straw, put a tax on foodstuffs, a tax on bread. I do not know if the Ministry believe that we have come to that situation here now. Their conduct indicates an appreciation of the fact that we are very close to it. Their only excuse is that of sheer necessity. As I said before, they are on their uppers and there never was such proof of it as this.

Mr. O'Leary: Information on Daniel O'Leary  Zoom on Daniel O'Leary  I desire to protest against this tax. When I was young I used to hear people singing a song called “Rowdlam Randy,” in which a cake called stampaí císte was mentioned. The policy of the present Government is rapidly driving the unfortunate people of the country back to that position. I would like to bear out the statement made by Deputy Mulcahy with regard to this tax being shoved on to people before the millers had paid it. My attention was drawn to that by two merchants, one in Macroom and the other in Ballyvourney. They were compelled to pay the tax, or else the contracts they had made would be cancelled. The Minister suggested last night that complaints of this kind should be sent forward to the Prices Commission for investigation. I hope that he will take steps to send this complaint forward. If he wishes I can give him the names of the two merchants. I may say that up to recently one of them was a supporter of the Minister and his Party.

Mr. Anthony: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  I have consistently [1625] opposed any tax on the food of the people, and on many occasions I have given my reasons for my opposition to that form of taxation. It has been pointed out by other speakers that every penny imposed by way of taxation on bread and on other commodities in general use, particularly by the working class people of the country, means, in effect, a reduction in their wages. There would be a terrible outcry amongst the organised working classes if, at any time, a body of employers sought to reduce their wages by a sum of at least 5/- per week. It has been proved conclusively by Deputy Morrissey, amongst others, that the various taxes to be imposed under this Bill will mean a reduction of at least 5/- per week in the case of the average working-class family. Some people who can claim to speak with authority place the figure somewhat higher than 5/-. I took a rather prominent part on one occasion in this House in seeking to get a protective tariff for the flour-milling industry, but I then recognised, and still recognise, that most of these tariffs have at least one certain effect: the tendency to make the rich man richer and the poor man poorer. I think it is agreed that all these taxes or tariffs are, in the long run, passed on to the consumer, and the consumer in whom I am most interested is the poor person. The poor are hit more severely by these taxes than the rich, for the reason that the rich have more money to spend. With regard to the whole wheat policy of the Government——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The whole wheat policy of the Government may not be discussed on this section.

Mr. Anthony: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  But has not the proposed tax some relation to the price of the loaf?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The price of the loaf is not in question at all except in so far as it is affected by the 6d. a cwt. on imported flour.

Mr. Anthony: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  Am I not in order in suggesting that, as a result of that, we are engaging in an intensified wheat policy—to substitute our home-grown [1626] wheat for the imported wheat? I find that the acreage under that crop in 1932——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The acreage under wheat here has nothing to do with this section.

Mr. Anthony: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  I will leave that question aside, but perhaps another occasion will arise for dealing with it. I was very interested on one occasion in getting a particular tariff in order to help our own people, but, as I said, the tax was passed on to the consumer. As Deputy Mulcahy said, there is no certainty that this tax will not be still further increased. We may be told that this is a matter that may be brought before the Prices Commission, but if the bakers and others can produce satisfactory evidence to the effect that they are not overcharging, that they are only getting their ordinary profits, the Prices Commission cannot be effective in reducing the price of the loaf.

I join with the other Deputies who have protested against any policy that will result in increasing the price of food stuffs for the people, particularly for the poor, who, in the main, are the working classes. The tax will press more heavily on them than on the richer sections of the community. I think that the Minister might have looked about for some other source from which to get his revenue before embarking on a policy which, in effect, will mean reducing wages in working-class families. He has not given us any indication that the price of the loaf will not go still higher. I hope that when concluding he will give the House some indication that he will see to it that no profiteering takes place in the price charged for the loaf. I should like, too, to have an indication from him that if and when he is returned to power, which God forfend, he will not on any future occasion interfere with the price of a commodity that is in general use by the poor, the class most affected by any increase in the prices of flour.

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  This is a tax which, on the face of it, carries no pretensions. On many occasions we have had statements [1627] from the Government Benches to the effect that taxation was necessary in order to protect industry of one kind or another. That case cannot be made for this tax. There is no protection being afforded to home-grown wheat by this tax because the position appears to be that the percentage of home-grown wheat to foreign wheat controls the whole situation as far as the importation of foreign wheat is concerned. Consequently, this is a revenue tax pure and simple. It is not a happy matter for Deputies to have to contemplate that the Government have been driven to tax bread in the way they are doing in this Bill. It forces one to the belief that they are in financial straits when they must have recourse to putting a tax on bread which everyone, rich and poor, must use in order to sustain life. Deputy Anthony expressed the hope that, if the present Government continue in office, some assurance should be given by the Minister for Finance that this will be the last attempt made to increase the price of bread in this way. I would like to be able to share Deputy Anthony's hope, but as Deputy Mulcahy has pointed out, in view of another Bill that is coming along, I am afraid one can hardly entertain the hope that the price of flour can remain even at its present level, or anything like it.

The net effect of this is going to be not a protection of Irish industry but a raising of the cost of living, with a consequent reduction in the standard of living. From that point of view, it is certainly deplorable that the Minister has felt obliged to have recourse to this tax. At a time like this, when even the Ministerial Bench admits that it is hard to balance the Budget, and that the country is going through hard times, it is sad that, with our depleted resources, the price of bread must go up because the Government wants more money. On the whole, I maintain that there is no justification for this tax. There cannot be any pretence about it. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance said recently in [1628] this House that, because of the success of the activities of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, certain duties and revenues were being cut off from the Minister for Finance. Apparently, the Minister for Finance is going to see that they are brought in somehow. However, I do not think that the returns prove that the contention of the Parliamentary Secretary was correct. We have at present out of our depleted resources to carry very heavy charges and I maintain that the increase of the cost of bread is entirely unwarranted. In common with my colleagues on this side of the House, I protest very strongly against this tax.

Mr. Belton: Information on Patrick Belton  Zoom on Patrick Belton  As the last speaker has touched upon the principle of this tax, it is well to clear away any doubt that may exist in the mind of the so-called man-in-the-street. This is a tax for revenue purposes purely and simply, and it should be known as such. No cheap clap-trap from any soap-box orator anywhere should persuade anybody that this is an imposition on the general community for the benefit of the agricultural community. The Minister for Finance finds himself in straits and looks around to get something to tax. He hits on imported wheat. Badly informed people or credulous people may ask: “Is it not imported wheat?” That wheat is a necessity here. We are not producing at the outside more than 25 per cent. of our wheat requirements. In the current year, during which this tax will operate, we shall have to import 75 per cent of our wheat requirements, so that, to that extent, this is a direct tax on consumers of bread. That should be thoroughly understood. If we were near the point of production of our full requirements and a tax was put on imported wheat, it could be argued that it was an imposition on the general community to help the agricultural community. We are not near that point. It is also well to remember that this tax will mean 6d. per cwt. on the 500,000 or 600,000 tons of wheat that we have to import. If we import 500,000 tons, then this tax will mean an imposition of £250,000 on the bread-eating community, which [1629] is practically the entire community. The Exchequer will get that money. That discloses a very alarming situation. Out of the taxation of last year, the Exchequer provided a bounty on wheat amounting to £300,000. The Exchequer is saving that amount this year and transferring it to the community, to be paid indirectly in the market price of flour. Flour will go up to that extent. With that principle, I agree, but see what it discloses as regards the general financial and economic position of the country. Last year, the Government was able, out of general taxation, to provide this bounty on wheat. It cannot do that this year and it throws the burden on to the consumer, who will have to provide another £250,000 by reason of the 6d. per cwt. on imported wheat. No tax has been remitted this year and new taxes have to be imposed. That shows that the economic position of the country is sinking.

We shall probably have an increase in wheat production during the next few years. Next year, we may find ourselves with 100,000 more acres of wheat than we have this year, just as we have 100,000 more acres this year than we had last year. We may even have 200,000 additional acres because of other agricultural crops not giving any return. The people will naturally turn to the crops that give a return. Is this sixpence to be there to make a case for the Minister for Finance to point out as he pointed this year, that because of the operation of the import duties that were put on specifically to help home industry, and not for revenue purposes, and because of the success of the policy of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, there has been a diminution of revenue and that taxation in lieu of that must be imposed? Hence the new tax. We will be told next year, if there is an increase in the acreage of home grown wheat, that this tax will have to be increased to one shilling or two shillings. In case anyone might be misled on the question, I want to make it clear that this is a direct tax on imported wheat that does not compete with wheat produced here. Owing to an arrangement made by another [1630] Minister, if we produced 25 per cent. or 30 per cent. of our wheat requirements there will be a market for that quantity at a fixed price. We do not import any wheat except what is required to make up the difference between what we produce at home and our total requirements. There is every indication that while the present Government is in office that is the line they will take. With that line I am 100 per cent. in agreement. I only want to make the position clear. Let everyone then decide whether this is a just tax or not. It is a tax on imported wheat that is not competing with Irish produced wheat. It is a direct tax on bread. This tax is not intended to help agriculture but is intended for revenue purposes only.

Mr. Bennett: Information on George Cecil Bennett  Zoom on George Cecil Bennett  If any further illustration was needed of the havoc that the present Government has played with the economic condition of the country we have it here, when it becomes necessary to have recourse to what has been described as this obnoxious course of raising money. I am sure it must be just as obnoxious to many Deputies on the Government side, and to the Minister, as it is to the Opposition. There is no justification whatever for what I might call this bread tax. Judging by the silence on the Government Benches there is apparently no defence of it. We have not heard one Minister or Deputy defending this tax. We have the curious anomaly of one Minister issuing bread tickets, as represented by the number of people to be seen parading before the labour exchanges, and others receiving the dole with which to provide ordinary sustenance, of which bread forms such a large part, and, on the other hand, we have the tax gatherers lined along the quays collecting the wherewithal so that the Minister can provide doles to keep the unfortunate workers and hard-up people alive. It is no satisfaction to some of these poor people that the money they receive has to be got from taxation on the necessaries of life, in the shape of bread, tea and sugar. This is a poverty tax. The Ministry [1631] have reduced themselves to the position that there is no way of finding money but to resort to the desperate expedient of taxing food. That represents more clearly than anything else the havoc that has been wrought and the deplorable condition of poverty to which the country has been reduced. There cannot even be the defence that there is any necessity for this tax. It will not have any effect in limiting imports. The tax is designed and framed purely as a revenue tax and not control or to limit imports of wheat. I have intervened mainly to see if I could induce some member of the Government Party to make some sort of plausible defence of this tax. That is due to the House. Deputies on this side are definitely opposed to this tax. We could like some Deputy on the Government Benches to make some defence, if any defence could be made for this tax.

Mr. Cosgrave: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  This tax appears small when mention is made of 6d. per cwt. on wheat. What the country is entitled to know is what it will represent in the cost of a sack of flour. I presume the tax will not fall upon by-products, such as bran, pollard and the “tails” but the incidence of it will fall exclusively on flour. If that is so it means 1/9½ per sack. Presumably [1632] there will be the cost of collecting the money, so that the actual cost will be 2/- on a sack of flour. Having regard to the various other impositions it is monstrous that that addition should be made to the cost of flour.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  It seems more like a joke that Deputies who opposed this and who spent the whole evening trotting into the Division Lobby, not to increase the loaf by one farthing or anything of that kind, should have increased the price of the loaf and every other necessity that the poor have to buy by 25 per cent., by reducing the hours of labour. These Deputies come along now and talk about increasing the price of bread, but they walked into the Lobby to support Deputy Norton's amendment reducing bakers' hours by six or seven hours. They did that coolly and deliberately, knowing what it meant. They are forgetting about that now, and are here with their tongues in their cheek talking about increasing the cost of flour by 2/- a sack. The age of humbugs has not yet passed. We have many of them on the opposite benches.

Question put: “That Section 19 stand part of the Bill.”

Aiken, Frank.
Bartley, Gerald.
Boland, Gerald.
Boland, Patrick.
Bourke, Daniel.
Brady, Brian.
Breen, Daniel.
Briscoe, Robert.
Concannon, Helena.
Corkery, Daniel.
Corry, Martin John.
Crowley, Timothy.
Daly, Denis.
Derrig, Thomas.
De Valera, Eamon.
Doherty, Hugh.
Dowdall, Thomas P.
Flynn, Stephen.
Fogarty, Andrew.
Geoghegan, James.
Gibbons, Seán.
Goulding, John.
Hales, Thomas.
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.
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.
Traynor, Oscar.
Victory, James.

[1633]Anthony, Richard.
Belton, Patrick.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Brennan, Michael.
Broderick, William Joseph.
Burke, James Michael.
Burke, Patrick.
Coburn, James.
Corish, Richard.
Cosgrave, William T.
Costello, John Aloysius.
Curran, Richard.
Davin, William.
Desmond, William.
Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
Doyle, Peadar S.
Everett, James.
Fagan, Charles.
Finlay, John.
Fitzgerald, Desmond.
Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
Haslett, Alexander.
Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
Holohan, Richard.
[1634]Keating, John.
Keyes, Michael.
Lavery, Cecil.
Lynch, Finian.
McFadden, Michael Og.
McGilligan, Patrick.
McMenamin, Daniel.
Minch, Sydney B.
Morrisroe, James.
Morrissey, Daniel.
Mulcahy, Richard.
Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
Nally, Martin.
Norton, William.
O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
O'Leary, Daniel.
O'Mahony, The.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Pattison, James P.
Reidy, James.
Rice, Vincent.
Rogers, Patrick James.
Wall, Nicholas.

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

Question proposed: “That Section 20 stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. Cosgrave: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  This tobacco tax increases the charge of Customs duty on tobacco, since the Government came into office, by 2/- in the lb. That tax falls very heavily on the working-classes. Tobacco is one of the few luxuries left to them and, in present circumstances, when other costs are as high as they are, it seems almost ridiculous to be adding to this particular item of tobacco, which is sometimes called a luxury, and which is more times called a necessity, an imposition of this sort. It is quite possible that increasing this tax will have the same result as the increased taxes upon other commodities which place them beyond the reach of the public. It is a very nice question as to whether we have not reached saturation point with regard to this tax. If the impression is that those who use tobacco can afford to pay any tax on it, then if the Minister is particularly short of money and requires money for certain purposes there may be a prima facie case made for introducing this particular tax at this moment. But if, on the other hand, what has been regarded as a fairly steady source of revenue is likely to be prejudiced, as has already happened in the case of beer and spirits, then when this tax fails to produce its money some lame or limpid Minister for Finance would come along later on and say: “I require money for social services; having failed to get it from the rates, and having failed to get it from those who use luxuries such as tobacco, I am driven to taxing the necessaries of life.” It is not perhaps as serious a tax upon the wage-earning class as the tax on tea, but nevertheless it falls heavily upon the class of people least able to bear it, and in consequence it is my intention to vote against this tax.

Mr. Belton: Information on Patrick Belton  Zoom on Patrick Belton  I suppose the Minister and the Government are carrying on the fiction that tobacco is a luxury. Ninety-nine out of every 100 old age pensioners would rather go without food than without a smoke. It is the only comfort they have left. Tobacco has become of such wide use that it is now a necessity to practically all the male population, and to a large section of the female population. Whether it is good for them or not is another matter. When we consider that a material with a commercial value of about 5d. or 6d. per lb. is carrying a tax of 9/4 per lb., surely [1635] it will be agreed that there must be a great demand for it. If it is injurious its use should be stopped altogether, but the amount of tax it is carrying shows what the people are prepared to pay for its use. We all know the comfort it is to old people, and young people too. There is no use in the Government continuing the fiction that they are the poor man's Government when they are prepared to tax his smoke without showing any corresponding relief. It shows unmistakably the way in which we are drifting. Perhaps it is a good thing that we have this tax on tobacco, because when a man goes in for his ounce of tobacco and finds that he has to pay out another ½d.—if he smokes three or four ounces in the week his income is reduced by so many halfpennies—it brings home to him the way in which we are drifting, and it will probably teach him such a very useful lesson that he will know how to exercise his citizenship on the next occasion better than he did on the last.

Mr. Costello: Information on John Aloysius Costello  Zoom on John Aloysius Costello  I entirely agree with the point of view put forward by Deputy Belton that tobacco is not so much a luxury as a necessity. It enables everyone, whether rich or poor, to carry on his work. It is a sort of anodyne, and to that extent it is a necessity and not a luxury. This particular tax, in the way in which it is sought to be imposed by this section, really does fall harder on the people who have to pay either for tobacco or the cheaper class of cigarettes. The price of cigarettes that people smoke has been increased by a ½d. in the 20 packet. Very few people feel that, if they are in any sort of comfortable circumstances. They usually got a packet of cigarettes for 11½d. and took a carton of matches which they did not really want. But to a poor man an additional ½d. on a packet of cigarettes is a really serious matter, and an additional ½d. on an ounce of tobacco is a still more serious matter. Since the present Government came into power they have increased the tax on tobacco by 2/-. They increased it by 1/4 in their first year, and this year [1636] they have increased it by 8d.; in other words, they have increased to the ordinary man the expenditure on his weekly amount of tobacco by from 6d. to 8d. That is a serious item on what is really a necessity rather than a luxury. In addition to giving a certain amount of comfort, and soothing the nerves, as tobacco does, it enables a man to work. It gives him a certain amount of relaxation, and enables him to do his work better. To that extent, it is a necessity. The tax on tobacco is just a necessary consequence of the type of thing that is being done under this Finance Bill—putting a tax on every article of necessity which the people have to buy.

Mr. Anthony: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  There is one satisfaction at any rate to be derived from those imposts on the necessaries of the people. You have a tax on tobacco, on bread, sugar, tea, coal, etc., and the one satisfaction is that it will bring home to every member of the community the financial chaos that exists, and the tendency to drift further and further almost into bankruptcy. It used to be said, and said with a good deal of truth, that the farmers were in the front line trenches in this country. They were, but now the workingmen, consumers of the commodities I have mentioned, are going to be brought into the front line trenches, and very properly. I have said, I think, on a previous occasion, that until the full force of the trouble we are passing through, namely the economic war, was brought behind the shop counter, into the workshops, into the counting-house, and into every other place as well as into the farmyard, the people would not realise the effects of entering into this foolish, ridiculous and nonsensical economic war. This is the best indication that can possibly be given by this Government that they have failed ignominiously to balance their Budgets, or even to do national housekeeping of any kind or character without taxing the very food of the people. It is considered by all Governments, and in all countries, that it should be the last resource of any Finance Minister or of any Chancellor of the Exchequer to tax the breakfast table.

[1637]An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  We are discussing a tax on tobacco.

Mr. Anthony: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  Food has been taxed, and now another necessary in the shape of tobacco is taxed. A lot of Members have pointed out already that this is regarded as a necessity, and it is regarded as a greater necessity by the poorest persons in the community. The old age pensioner has been mentioned, and some persons spoke as if there were no female old age pensioners. Everybody knows that some of the women old age pensioners are possibly heavier smokers than the men. Any of us who has been engaged in any kind of welfare work knows that the most welcome present to an old person is a couple of ounces of tobacco. Now we are going to increase the cost of living in another respect on the very poorest persons in the community. It is all very fine for the man who smokes an expensive cigar and who is accustomed to pay a good price for his tobacco; he does not mind a few pence extra in the way of additional taxation because he can bear the burden. But every additional penny you put on these necessaries of life means so much of a reduction in the wages of the poor man or poor woman, as the case may be. This tax has one satisfying aspect, and that is, it is bringing the fight into the homes, into the kitchen, into the backyards, into every part of the home and to every member of the community. It will not be long, I suppose, until the Minister introduces a Bill here in which he will ask 40 per cent. of the people to maintain another 40 per cent. Then we will be in such a condition that the whole nation will say: “For Heaven's sake send us any Government that will reduce the taxes on the necessaries of the poor.”

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  The silence of the Minister on all those matters is very eloquent. I suppose the fact is that he really cannot tell us anything and there is no defence to be made. If tobacco has a soothing influence on the nerves, as we are told, I think there should be a free distribution of tobacco instead of a free distribution of beef in view of the nerve-racking experiences the [1638] people have gone through and are going through as a result of this Government's policy. The nerves of the community are racked trying to find money for the various purchases they have to make. In the country they find it difficult to get the money for their produce, all because of the Government's policy.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  On a point of order, there is nothing in this clause which deals with nerves or the free distribution of tobacco.

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  That is a very interesting point of order.

Mr. Belton: Information on Patrick Belton  Zoom on Patrick Belton  Perhaps a quiet smoke would do the Minister good.

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  Such an interjection on the Minister's part only serves to illustrate the condition in which he finds himself. It is quite possible that this tax may have the opposite effect. It is possible its imposition may have this effect, that we may reach saturation point in this matter. While we may regard tobacco as important from a soothing point of view, it is, nevertheless, the type of thing that people can go without, and the Minister may find that his revenue will not increase as a result of this tax. As Deputy Anthony pointed out, and as we have endeavoured to point out, this is one more indication of the tragic position in which we find ourselves. It is a very sad state of affairs to find that the Government must tax all foodstuffs and must even tax tobacco in order to accumulate revenue. I am very sorry indeed that a Government of this country should have sunk to such a depth.

Mr. Costello: Information on John Aloysius Costello  Zoom on John Aloysius Costello  Listening to what Deputy Anthony said, I recalled a statement made by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance during the Budget discussions which were the prelude to the present Bill, and I was wondering if Deputy Anthony had not really put his finger on the purpose of the tax. Is this tax really brought in for the purpose stated by the Parliamentary Secretary during the Budget discussions? He said that [1639] what he liked about the Budget was that it brought everybody up against the facts. In answer to Deputy Anthony, who protested against taxes on working men, the Parliamentary Secretary said: “Why should not the working man be taxed?” He said also that the Budget brought everybody, including the working man, up against the facts. Perhaps Deputy Anthony has really discovered the true purpose of this tobacco tax—that it is not for [1640] the purpose of revenue or even taxing the luxuries or the necessities of the working man, the poor man, but it is really for the purpose of bringing home to everybody the facts of the present situation.

Mr. Belton: Information on Patrick Belton  Zoom on Patrick Belton  If there was any substance in that supposition, then somebody should be looking for relief, but no one is being promised relief.

Question put:—“That Section 20 stand part of the Bill.”

Aiken, Frank.
Bartley, Gerald.
Boland, Gerald.
Boland, Patrick.
Bourke, Daniel.
Brady, Brian.
Breen, Daniel.
Briscoe, Robert.
Concannon, Helena.
Cooney, Eamonn.
Corish, Richard.
Corkery, Daniel.
Corry, Martin John.
Crowley, Timothy.
Daly, Denis.
Davin, William.
Derrig, Thomas.
De Valera, Eamon.
Doherty, Hugh.
Dowdall, Thomas P.
Everett, James.
Flynn, Stephen.
Fogarty, Andrew.
Geoghegan, James.
Gibbons, Seán.
Goulding, John.
Hales, Thomas.
Keely, Séamus 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.
Moane, Edward.
Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
Norton, William.
O Briain, Donnchadh.
O'Grady, Seán.
O'Reilly, Matthew.
Pattison, James P.
Pearse, Margaret Mary.
Rice, Edward.
Ruttledge, Patrick Joseph.
Ryan, James.
Ryan, Martin.
Ryan, Robert.
Sheridan, Michael.
Smith, Patrick.
Traynor, Oscar.
Victory, James.
Walsh, Richard.

Anthony, Richard.
Belton, Patrick.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Brennan, Michael.
Broderick, William Joseph.
Burke, James Michael.
Burke, Patrick.
Coburn, James.
Cosgrave, William T.
Costello, John Aloysius.
Curran, Richard.
Desmond, William.
Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
Doyle, Peadar S.
Fagan, Charles.
Finlay, John.
Fitzgerald, Desmond.
Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
Holohan, Richard.
Keating, John.
Lavery, Cecil.
Lynch, Finian.
McFadden, Michael Og.
McGilligan, Patrick.
McMenamin, Daniel.
Minch, Sydney B.
Morrisroe, James.
Morrissey, Daniel.
Mulcahy, Richard.
Nally, Martin.
O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
O'Leary, Daniel.
O'Mahony, The.
O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Reidy, James.
Rice, Vincent.
Rogers, Patrick James.
Wall, Nicholas.

Question declared carried.

Question proposed: “That Section 21 stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I want to give notice that on Report Stage, I will move an amendment to delete para graphs (b) and (c) of sub-section (5), and I will move a further amendment to delete sub-section (15).

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Will the Minister say what is the importance of these sub-sections on which he proceeds to break silence, the Minister having been so silent on important matters during the debate?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I am merely giving notice that this will be done. I will explain to the House fully on the Report Stage.

Section 21 agreed to.

Sections 22 and 23 agreed to.

Question proposed: “That Section 24 stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  There may be an amendment on this section on Report Stage.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  As the Minister has again broken silence on this important section, will he tell us why this tax which we oppose is being imposed? Having ransacked every corner of the home to see on what he can put taxes, and in the case of the rural homes having sent in the tax gatherer himself to collect the revenue on butter, he now puts a tax gatherer very prominently outside every single house of entertainment to which people may be tempted to go to try to get away from the smell of the tax gatherer around the house. The only chance these people have of forgetting the shape of the tax gatherer's fist is to get away from the linoleum in the home, from the wallpaper in the home, from the window glass in the home, and from everything else in the place——

[1642]Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Does that mean getting away from the section?

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  ——and when they do mean to make an attempt to get away from these things—and these things can have a very upsetting effect on the nerves of the ordinary housekeeper—they are to be followed to the house of entertainment. The housekeeper has sufficient troubles to meet at home without seeing that kind of new broad arrow stamped all over the place. But when the householders do go to a house of entertainment the same old fist and the same old head is stuck out there to remind them not that social services are being built up or that the Free State is being built up but that there is a war leading them into further miseries, further wrecking of hope and further unemployment. Is the Minister going to take these taxes off by the amendment which he hopes to bring in on Report Stage, so that there will be somewhere without the broad arrow of the new Christian State to which the people would be able to go for an hour or two?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  The question is: That Section 24 stand.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Would I be in order in moving that progress be reported with a view to asking that the President would come here and tell the House what the attitude of the Government is to the House?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  There is no authority in the Chair to force the Minister to reply, if he does not wish to.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Particularly when the Deputy talks about the same old head and the same old fist.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Are we to understand that the subsequent sections are to be discussed without the Minister intervening in any way to face up to the criticism of the House?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  This Bill was fully discussed in all its aspects on the Second Stage for four days. It is not [1643] necessary now to say anything on a Bill that has been discussed so exhaustively by the House.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Is it the policy of the Minister to cut out the Committee Stage and to mark out against each section of the Bill, “majority of one,”“majority of two,” or “majority of three.” Are we coming to that?

[1644]Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  A majority of two is enough for you.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  One was very nearly enough for the Minister.

Mr. Smith: Information on Patrick Smith  Zoom on Patrick Smith  It is as good as 20.

Question put: “That Section 24 stand part of the Bill.”

Aiken, Frank.
Bartley, Gerald.
Boland, Gerald.
Boland, Patrick
Bourke, Daniel.
Brady, Brian.
Breen, Daniel.
Briscoe, Robert.
Concannon, Helena.
Cooney, Eamonn.
Corish, Richard.
Corkery, Daniel.
Corry, Martin John.
Crowley, Timothy.
Daly, Denis.
Davin, William.
Derrig, Thomas.
De Valera, Eamon.
Doherty, Hugh.
Everett, James.
Flinn, Hugo V
Flynn, Stephen.
Fogarty, Andrew.
Geoghegan, James.
Gibbons, Seán.
Goulding, John.
Hales, Thomas.
Keely, Séamus 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.
Moane, Edward.
Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
Norton, William.
O Briain, Donnchadh.
O'Grady, Seán.
O'Reilly, Matthew.
Pattison, James P.
Pearse, Margaret Mary.
Rice, Edward.
Ruttledge, Patrick Joseph.
Ryan, James.
Ryan, Martin.
Ryan, Robert.
Sheridan, Michael.
Smith, Patrick.
Traynor, Oscar
Victory, James.
Walsh, Richard.

Anthony, Richard.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Brennan, Michael.
Broderick, William Joseph.
Burke, James Michael.
Burke, Patrick.
Coburn, James.
Cosgrave, William T.
Costello, John Aloysius.
Curran, Richard.
Desmond, William.
Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
Doyle, Peadar S.
Fagan, Charles.
Finlay, John.
Fitzgerald, Desmond
Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
Haslett, Alexander.
Holohan, Richard.
Keating, John.
Lavery, Cecil.
Lynch, Finian.
McFadden, Michael Og.
McGilligan, Patrick.
McMenamin, Daniel.
Minch, Sydney B.
Morrisroe, James.
Morrissey, Daniel.
Mulcahy, Richard.
Nally, Martin.
O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
O'Leary, Daniel.
O'Mahony, The.
O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Reidy, James.
Rice, Vincent
Rogers, Patrick James.
Thrift, William Edward.
Wall, Nicholas.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  On behalf of Deputy Mulcahy I beg to move amendment No. 12:

Before Section 25 to insert a new section as follows:—

The duty of five shillings per ton imposed on coal, culm, shale, slack and coke and also solid fuel which in the opinion of the Revenue Commissioners is composed wholly or mainly of coal or coal dust under the Emergency (Imposition of Duties) (No. 5) Order, 1932, and confirmed by the Imposition of Duties (Confirmation of Orders) Act, 1933 (No. 21 of 1933) shall cease to be charged, levied or paid as on and from the passing of this Act.

We have had examples already of what I may call the topsy-turvy policy of the Government in certain matters. But anything more irrational than their conduct in connection with this tax on coal it is difficult to imagine. We are asking for the removal of this particular tax on coal. Everybody will remember the excuse that was put forward at the time of the imposition of this tax. Even at that time it was a mad idea to strike the Government to adopt this tax, at least if it was their purpose to use it as an economic weapon in the economic war. Anything more foolish or ill-conceived than that particular tax on coal it would be difficult to imagine. It was, as the House will remember, a tax imposed on British coal which was meant to hit back against the British in the economic war. It was pointed out at the time that it could have no such effect. The only result of such action on the part of the Government would be that our cattle would be heavily taxed going into England, and we would pay that tax owing to the fact that we were only supplying a portion of the English market and that most, or practically all, of our cattle had to go into that market. It was pointed out, in these circumstances, and would be plain to anybody except the Executive Council, that the people of this country would have to pay that tariff—every penny of it. That is what happened. Of course, it was denied at [1646] the time; now it is acknowledged by everybody.

Then a brilliant idea struck the Government. They said: “What about taxing English coal?” With that simplicity of mind that characterises them on certain occasions, they assumed that because a tax was put on cattle by the British Government and paid by Irish farmers, if a tax was put on British coal by us it would have to be paid by English producers and not by Irish consumers. Again it was quite clear to anybody who gave the conditions of the country a moment's consideration that what would happen would be this: There might be interference with the amount of coal that came into this country, but the tax would be paid not by the British producer but by the Irish consumer. That, of course, was what happened. The only excuse offered for the putting on of this tax—we heard no other justification for it and I wonder will we hear one from the silent Minister to-night—was that it was a weapon in the Irish war. It was a weapon with the unfortunate characteristic of the boomerang when used by unskilled hands. It had the effect merely of increasing the cost of British coal to the Free State, yet it was hailed at the time as the first of the great big strokes that were to be delivered against the British Government to bring them to a sense of the seriousness of entering into an economic war with this country. Anything more foolishly conceived than such a plan it would be difficult to imagine. But foolish as was that plan, the whole thing became nonsensical when the embargo on British coal was declared off and not merely was the divorce between ourselves and the British declared off, but there was to be close union between the two countries, and, in the future, not merely were we to be allowed to take British coal but were to be compelled to do it and, incidentally, to pay an extra 5/- per ton by way of tax.

That 5/- per ton we could escape at first by taking Continental coal instead of British. Now, as a result of the friendly relations established in [1647] the war which still continues, we are compelled to take British coal, and that economic weapon which was one of the methods of attacking the British now stands forth clearly, for what it really is, merely a dodge to raise revenue by a tax which is pressing upon everybody. It presses upon people who buy one or two tons of coal, but it presses still more upon people who only buy a bag of coal at a time. That tax is left, and not merely is it left, but now it is imposed on everybody as he has to buy English coal. What was to be a great counter offensive, in the economic war, has now become a weapon for drawing the last penny out of the pockets of the people of this country.

I do not know whether it is £600,000 or not—I forget the actual figure—that the Minister expects to get from this particular tax, but the House will notice that whatever excuse was ever put forward for this particular tax has vanished—I was going to say has more than vanished. However, if it was possible for the Ministry to do anything absurd they would, of course, do it. Not merely has the excuse vanished for this tax, but now we are compelled, whether we like it or not, to buy coal that we were warned not to buy at the time when the tax was first imposed, and we are compelled to do that in the new atmosphere of friendship between the two Governments who are at war.

The war goes gaily on; the fight still goes on, but the burden remains to the people of this country. The people find that the knife they were using against the other side has an unhappy knack of closing and cutting off their fingers. There has been reference to taxes put on in war conditions. Here was an actual war tax meant to hit others and not to tax the people of this country. It was never meant as a tax at all and in fact we were told, when this tax was put on, by many Government spokesmen that it was not the people of this country who would pay this tax but the producer in Great Britain. Unfortunately, even when we had the Continental coal market open to us, that particular statement [1648] was not true. How much less is it true now when the Continental coal market is closed to the people of this country and when the people are compelled, by the recent pact, to take British coal and to take only British coal? What is the justification? A war tax, a war measure meant to hit the enemy, kept on in the dire straits of the Government so that they can scrape every penny from the unfortunate taxpayer to meet bloated expenses, because it is absurd to say that this tax cannot be got rid of, as the Minister used to say when he made even the pretence of putting forward a case in this House in favour of the policy he is meant to sponsor.

What is the excuse now? None whatsoever. Expenses are mounting up year after year and mounting up by the million. It is inevitable, if the Government goes in for the policy of gross extravagance, on the one hand, because that is what they are doing, that they have to grind the last 1d. out of the unfortunate taxpayer, on the other hand, and they have to utilise discreditable methods of this kind and turn what is meant, as I say, to be a great war weapon into a weapon against our own people. For that reason, I ask the House to support the amendment.

Mr. Corish: Information on Richard Corish  Zoom on Richard Corish  This is a part of the Government's policy which I find very hard to understand. I find it very hard to understand the mentality that conceived it. Prior to the Coal-Cattle Pact, one would be looked upon as unpatriotic if one supported British coal, and, in some quarters, one would be called a traitor for doing so. Public bodies in various parts of the country were almost compelled by the Local Government Department to use Continental coal. This Continental coal could only be brought in in large complements by large steamers, and these steamers were unable to enter the smaller ports, with the result that during the 12 months prior to the Coal-Cattle Pact, a great number of harbour authorities suffered very seriously. Now, since the Coal-Cattle Pact, we are asked to be unpatriotic and, in being unpatriotic, to pay 5/- [1649] of a fee. I cannot for the life of me understand why this tariff is put on English coal. We are compelled to take it; we have no option. It is hitting the poor very hard and I am sure it costs the ordinary working man's household at least 6d. per week and that, along with the other taxes imposed by the Government in this Budget, is something which I am not going to support. I think that even now the Minister should see his way to remove the tax altogether. It is an unjustifiable tax. It is certainly not understandable and, to say the least of it, it is absolutely Gilbertian.

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  Deputy Corish is, I think, putting it at a very low figure indeed, when he puts the increase at a minimum of 6d. per week in the average household. If Deputy Corish was thinking solely of the 5/- tax, he would probably be in or about right, but the Deputy must remember that it means more than that. This tax becomes particularly harsh because the giving to Great Britain of a monopoly of the coal supplies of this country means not only 5/- per ton tax, but 5/- per ton increase on the coal in addition to the tax, so that the consumer of coal in this country to-day is paying, between the tax and the increase in the price of British coal, that is, the difference in the price over and above the price at which good Continental coal could have been purchased prior to 1st February, at least 10/- per ton. I think Deputy Corish or anybody else in the House will agree that that means a minimum of 1/- per week extra in respect of coal alone in the average household in this country.

Taking three items alone in the Finance Bill—tea, sugar and coal— there is the huge sum of £2,000,000 in taxation imposed on the people. The Minister will get roughly £700,000 from this coal tax. Under the first quota order, the amount of coal to be imported from Britain was roughly 1,100,000 tons. That quota order was due to expire this month. A new quota order has been made for the remainder of this year and, under it, 1,705,000 tons of coal are to be [1650] imported, of which 1,704,000 tons must be imported from Britain. It will, therefore, be seen that the quota allows, over a space of about 11 months, an importation of roughly 2,800,000 tons of British coal at 5/- per ton. The people of this country are, however, compelled to pay more than £700,000. I want to submit here that it would be nearer £1,400,000.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Why not make it £2,100,000?

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  The Minister can rebut my figures, if he is in a position to do so, when he is replying. I am putting forward this point and I challenge the Minister to contradict it, that, quality for quality, British coal to-day, including this 5/- tax, is 10/- per ton dearer than it was prior to the coal-cattle pact.

When one has regard to the attitude of the Government on this Finance Bill, one is driven to the conclusion that the coal-cattle pact was negotiated not so much for the sake of getting rid of 150,000 head of cattle, as to enable the Government to collect £700,000 by way of the coal tax. I think that is what is emerging now. The coal-cattle pact surprised everybody in this country. Nobody could understand for a moment how the Government could have concluded such a silly bargain. We can only come to the conclusion that it was arranged and that this monopoly was given to Britain in order to enable the Government to collect, as I say, roughly £700,000 in taxation from the people of this country. We must remember that this is not the only saving the Government has made in this matter. I do not remember the details but when the Government decided to impose a duty on British coal, I seem to remember that there was a question of a half-crown a ton of a bounty or a subsidy or whatever it was called for small boats supposed to be affected. That, I am sure, amounted to a fairly tidy sum which had to be paid by the Government. When the coal-cattle pact was concluded, that subsidy was withdrawn, from the smaller boats. It was supposed [1651] to be no longer necessary to pay it and, therefore, there was that saving also. I should like the Minister, if he is going to reply on this, to give us some idea of the sum involved in that subsidy to the smaller boats.

It was first blurted out in the House here that the tax was being retained for the purpose of collecting revenue. Then, as a sort of afterthought, in order I suppose to try to recover a little of the patriotic touch, it was said: “People can burn home fuel; if they burn turf they may not pay the tax on coal.” I daresay if they decided to do so, they would very soon find that there was a tax on turf also. The fact remains that there are many reasons why people do not burn turf exclusively. Some people cannot burn turf at all because they have not the means to do so and for many other reasons. One reason that it is not as economic as coal. I think it is admitted by everybody, who knows anything about the matter, that it takes three tons of turf to give the same results as one ton of coal. There is also the question of the inconvenience of storing it in certain private houses because of the bulk of it. If the Minister would take the price of three tons of turf against one ton of coal, even at the increased price, he will find that there is a substantial difference. Here is a tax which was originally imposed for the purpose of keeping British coal out of the country as far as possible. That tax is now being retained although Britain has been given a monopoly of the coal supplies of the country. The people are denied an opportunity of getting coal from the Continent or any other country in the world because of the coal-cattle pact. A fact which I want Deputies to realise is that the people of this country are being compelled to pay not only the 5/- tax for revenue purposes but another 5/- over and above what they were paying formerly, an increase of 10/- per ton in all. That is what the people of this country get on the coal side and we know what they are getting on the cattle side of the pact.

[1652]Mr. Rice:  Deputy Corish told the House that he cannot understand why the Government have imposed this tax. I think it is rather unkind for Deputy Corish or any member of the Labour Party to criticise the Government for this, because the Government have had the support of the Labour Party for the last three years in wasting the resources of this country, and they must find money from somewhere. Deputy Morrissey has mentioned the fact that in addition to a tax of 5/-, there is an increase in price which the British coal exporters imposed on coal since the coal-cattle pact was entered into. There is another aspect of the matter that strikes me very forcibly as representing a constituency with perhaps more poor people than any other constituency in this country. What is the increase in the price of coal for the poor people of the city of Dublin who buy it in small quantities of a stone at a time? When you come to distribute the increased price of 10/- per ton, over the price of stones of coal, the increase to these people probably works out at £1 per ton.

Deputy Kelly who represents a constituency that I think is almost equally as poor as mine, namely, the South City, told us this evening that he would be confined to barracks if he were to speak on the question of the tea tax. I wonder would Deputy Kelly be confined to barracks by his Party or by his Whips if he were to speak on the coal tax and the effect it has on the poor people of the City of Dublin. This tax is an extraordinary instance of the peculiar orientation of this Government since they came into office. When they first put a tax on British coal as a sort of so-called war measure, they were following the advice which Swift gave this country nearly two centuries ago when he said that we should burn everything English except her coal. The Minister started off with that policy a couple of years ago but now the policy of the Government is that we must not be permitted to burn any coal except British. That is in return for this extraordinary so-called concession, [1653] this bargain by which we are entitled to send 150,000 head of cattle more in the year to Great Britain with the duty that we pay the British Treasury on every one of these cattle. This coal-cattle pact is the most astonishing bargain that was ever made by any Government in any country. Such is the condition of desperation to which the country has been reduced by the policy of the Government that even that wretched bargain was accepted by the people. It was accepted by them on the grounds that even a very bad bargain is better than no bargain, having regard to the condition to which the country has been reduced.

Mr. Belton: Information on Patrick Belton  Zoom on Patrick Belton  It was not accepted. The farmers do not want it.

Mr. Rice:  I think this tax is on a par with the tax on tea. It is a grinding imposition on the poorest people in this country. I hope that Deputy Kelly will refuse to be confined to barracks and will express his views about it as affecting his constituency.

Mr. G. O'Sullivan: Information on Gearóid O'Sullivan  Zoom on Gearóid O'Sullivan  This is a matter in which the Government has taken a step that they will regret. They have given away the greatest power that any Government could possess, namely the sale of coal in this country. It may look to some of us a very small matter when we see the bellman going around, but it is the one control that Britain has over us here, the selling of that lump of coal. We may produce gold in Wicklow, or coal in some other place, but we certainly cannot produce coal at a price as economical as England can produce it and sell it here. The country was told twice, in 1932 and 1933, that we would fight Britain and beat Britain in this economic war. The greatest weapon we had in that war was the purchase of coal by the Irish people. That weapon—“weapon,” perhaps, is the best word to use—in the economic war has been handed over and surrendered. It has been surrendered by a Government who come to the Irish people to-day and say: “we are fighting for the Irish people against England.” They began the fight by handing over the best [1654] weapon that could possibly be used in a fight, economic or otherwise.

I think that the people of this country have not realised the repercussions of this Coal-Cattle Pact and of this tax with which we are now dealing. They are led, improperly or otherwise, and they follow that lead. In a speech which I saw reported in the papers recently it was stated that the Irish people always stood by their leaders. The President of the Executive Council speaking, I think, in Limerick, said that the fight in the Land War was greater than in the Black and Tan War and that the Irish people backed their leaders on that occasion. In connection with the Land War we have such names as Parnell, Davitt and O'Brien. I wonder do the Irish people realise to-day that they are called upon to fight behind a Party under the leadership——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  This has nothing to do with the 5/- tax on coal.

Mr. O'Sullivan: Information on Gearóid O'Sullivan  Zoom on Gearóid O'Sullivan  I am talking of the 5/- tax.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  It strikes me that the Deputy is talking about the Land War and the Black and Tan War.

Mr. O'Sullivan: Information on Gearóid O'Sullivan  Zoom on Gearóid O'Sullivan  Surely I can refer to them.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  I do not think so.

Mr. O'Sullivan: Information on Gearóid O'Sullivan  Zoom on Gearóid O'Sullivan  Having regard to that I wonder do the Irish people realise that they are called upon to follow leaders——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  The Deputy should talk about the coal tax.

Mr. O'Sullivan: Information on Gearóid O'Sullivan  Zoom on Gearóid O'Sullivan  I am talking about the coal tax.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I thought you were talking about leaders.

Mr. O'Sullivan: Information on Gearóid O'Sullivan  Zoom on Gearóid O'Sullivan  I am talking about quasi-leaders, people who pretend to be leaders. Do the Irish people realise that their leaders of to-day have surrendered?

[1655]An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Let us be clear. We are not discussing leaders or what they have done. What we have to discuss are the merits of this 5/- tax on imported coal.

Mr. O'Sullivan: Information on Gearóid O'Sullivan  Zoom on Gearóid O'Sullivan  We are told that we are fighting a war with Great Britain. Surely we may discuss the question of handing over the greatest weapon we have, whether it is a gun or a piece of paper or a secret pact. Surely, I am in order in discussing that?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  I am waiting for the Deputy to discuss this tax.

Mr. O'Sullivan: Information on Gearóid O'Sullivan  Zoom on Gearóid O'Sullivan  The Government which presumes to give leadership to the people and which calls upon the people to support it, as the people of Ireland supported their leaders in the Land War and Black and Tan times, tell us that we are in a similar fight to-day. Surely I am in order in saying that the leaders of that Party have given over the greatest weapon they had—the purchase of coal by Ireland from England. They did it before the war began. Then they come back and they appeal to the patriotism, the courage and the decency of the Irish people, saying “back us now: we are fighting England.” They do that, having handed over the guns. I think the Greeks did that in the Great War, and I remember that something similar happened in Cork in 1916, but I do not think that anything equal to this happened in Irish history before—before the fight begins to hand over the only good weapon we have. What do we hand over? Is it a gentleman's agreement? No. Is it a bit of paper, secret or otherwise, or signed by anybody? Not at all. The poorest people of the country must pay for this. There is no outcry. There is no cry of traitor.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  May I point out that the Deputy appears to be discussing the quota order?

Mr. O'Sullivan: Information on Gearóid O'Sullivan  Zoom on Gearóid O'Sullivan  I am discussing the 5/- tax. I do not see why the Minister should want to run away from it. Surely it is a thing of which he is [1656] proud. Here we have an Irish Government crying out to the people “stand behind us now. Remember we won the land war, we beat the Black and Tans, and we are fighting the British now.” That is the Government that get up and surrender at first opportunity the best weapon they had.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  They put a tariff on British coal.

Mr. O'Sullivan: Information on Gearóid O'Sullivan  Zoom on Gearóid O'Sullivan  They put a tax on British coal and said they would allow no other coal to be taken in.

Mr. Belton: Information on Patrick Belton  Zoom on Patrick Belton  They put a tax on British coal which Irishmen must pay.

Mr. O'Sullivan: Information on Gearóid O'Sullivan  Zoom on Gearóid O'Sullivan  Perhaps the Minister would explain why coal has increased in price by from 5/- to 10/-. There was a market here open to English, German and Polish coal. At that time, there was a 5/- tax on British coal only. In case the competition amongst these countries for the Irish market would continue, the Minister comes along and says: “We will restrict the amount of coal imported.” I know that I may be reminded that I am discussing the quota. I am. Why is it that out of 1,705,000 tons of coal only 1,000 tons may be imported from outside Britain? That is the open market. And this is a country which had the coal supplies of the world at its service. I do not think that the House should support this tax of 5/-.

Mr. Anthony: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  I am just wondering if the Minister has yet discovered how ridiculous he has made not alone himself and his immediate supporters in the Government appear but how ridiculous he has made most of his supporters in the country appear by this tax. Deputy Corish referred a moment ago to the action of a number of Government supporters in the country who were successful in having resolutions passed at public boards precluding these boards from using British coal. That was the case with one board in Cork. Supplies of coal were to originate outside Great Britain. We could not purchase British coal and we were compelled to use coal from Westphalia, Silesia and other foreign centres. I remember at one [1657] time working in a little bit of badinage which had a useful effect, with the efforts of other persons, who thought on the same lines as I did, in bringing the Government to realise that their policy was ridiculous. And it is still ridiculous in this respect. I stated publicly on that occasion that I would run all the risks of which Deputy Corish spoke about a moment ago. I was prepared to run the risk of being called an Imperialist, a traitor and everything anti-Irish because I said in public I would continue to use British coal. Now, I find that I must have been a patriot then because I am now compelled to buy British coal. I pointed out on that occasion that we had a lot of our kith and kin working in Westphalia where the Murphys and the McCarthys come from. I am sure the Minister had that in mind, that we had working in the mines of Westphalia people with such Irish names as I have mentioned.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  As Anthony.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  That does not arise on this amendment.

Mr. Anthony: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  I regard this as a further impost on the ordinary family budget. I do not want to overemphasise the statements already made, but perhaps the Minister will in his rather peculiar career come to realise that he is not dealing with a nation of school-children; that the majority of our people are a thinking people though, by the way, they did not prove that at the last election.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  That is why the Deputy is here.

Mr. Anthony: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  I hope that a little commonsense will dawn on the Minister because I am certain that the public are not such fools as the Minister must think them to be. His supporters told us at one time to boycott British coal, but now we are being compelled to buy British coal, whether we like it or not, at a prohibitive price to the community. Is the Minister prepared to give us some indication, beyond that given to the public by the Government Press Bureau, as to what are the other [1658] conditions surrounding this Coal-Cattle Pact?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  That does not arise on this amendment.

Mr. Anthony: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  The effect of it at any rate is that the ordinary consumers are being called upon to pay at least 10/- per ton more for their coal. It is the duty of the Minister, I think, to give some explanation of the figures quoted by Deputy Morrissey and others, and to let the country know where exactly we stand. It is all very fine for the Minister to say that it is a good bargain, but he has been reminded by some Deputies that it is a very bad bargain, and that, in the final analysis, it is the consumer who will have to pay. There would be no use in again enumerating all the necessaries of life that have been taxed by the present Government. Our people are certainly a patient people to put up with the Government and the Minister so long. If the Minister set out to do some very unpopular thing, he has gone the right way about it. There is such a thing as doing an unpopular thing when there is a public duty to be performed, but this is not to be taken in that light. There are certain unpopular things which the Minister might attempt to do, but which I am precluded from referring to on this amendment. But certainly the Minister has set out to make the lot of the poor harder, and to make the rich richer. I hope that even at this stage the Minister will show a little commonsense instead of making himself and those associated with him ridiculous.

Mr. Bennett: Information on George Cecil Bennett  Zoom on George Cecil Bennett  I think there must be other Deputies besides Deputy Kelly on the Government side of the House who are confined to barracks.

Mr. T. Kelly: Information on Thomas Kelly  Zoom on Thomas Kelly  I am not confined to barracks.

Mr. Belton: Information on Patrick Belton  Zoom on Patrick Belton  The Deputy's conscience is confined to barracks.

Mr. Bennett: Information on George Cecil Bennett  Zoom on George Cecil Bennett  There is a peculiar reluctance amongst Deputies on the Government side of the House to get up and speak in favour of this tax. One Deputy did evade the guards and [1659] addressed the House in defence of the Government's proposal, but he was, apparently, effectively silenced. No other Government Deputy has since dared to repeat the process except the Minister by way of interruptions.

Mr. J.P. Kelly: Information on James Patrick Kelly  Zoom on James Patrick Kelly  It needs no defence.

Mr. Bennett: Information on George Cecil Bennett  Zoom on George Cecil Bennett  Apparently there is no defence possible for the Government's proposals in this Finance Bill. We were treated to the spectacle of an hour's debate on the question of an additional 2/- tax on the bag of flour. We had a discussion in connection with the additional tax of 6d. on the bag of coal. Previously we had discussions on a tax on the bag of sugar and on the bag of tea. A Deputy reminds me that our next discussion will be on a tax on a bag of cement. Well, we have not yet been driven to the stage of eating cement though I think we are coming near it. One Deputy said that this was a 5/- tax on coal, and another said it was a tax of 10/-. I do not know what the amount of the tax will be eventually when the coal reaches the poor consumer through the bellman. When the tax of 5/- a ton comes to be paid by the poor person who purchases a stone or two of coal at a time, I do not know what the actual increase will be. When that 5/- comes to be expressed in vulgar fractions over so many stone of coal, I am afraid it will amount to a considerable sum and particularly after the profiteer has added his little fraction. If I were to refer to the Coal-Cattle Pact, I know that I would be ruled out of order by the Chair. All that I will say on that is that when we export cattle to England Paddy pays the tax on them, and when we import coal from England Patrick pays the tax. Paddy or Patrick has to bear the burden in either case. Yet, there is no Deputy on the Government Benches venturesome enough to get up and attempt to defend this coal tax.

Mr. Jordan: Information on Stephen Jordan  Zoom on Stephen Jordan  The attack is not over yet.

Mr. Bennett: Information on George Cecil Bennett  Zoom on George Cecil Bennett  Then all I can say is that we are taking a long time to rouse the Deputy.

[1660]Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  And that is the Deputy's purpose—to waste time.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  We surely ought to get some reply from the Government side.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  The Deputy will get it in the Division Lobby.

Mr. Bennett: Information on George Cecil Bennett  Zoom on George Cecil Bennett  I am glad to hear that Deputy Jordan is preparing for the defence. Apparently, the Deputy believes in the principle that to be prepared for attack is sometimes the best method of defence. I am anxiously waiting to see what Deputy Jordan's line of attack will be for defending the poor against this tax. If he does not get nearer to making an adequate defence for it than Deputy Corry did——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Supposing Deputy Bennett were to get nearer to the amendment?

Mr. Bennett: Information on George Cecil Bennett  Zoom on George Cecil Bennett  The amendment, Sir. I have been talking on this burning, or non-burning, question, if you like, for ten minutes. I have been trying to confine myself to the tax on coal. I am quite satisfied that the coal will cost a good deal more than the 5/- a ton by the time it reaches the stores. I am waiting for the Minister to prove that the tax will only amount to 5/- a ton. I hope, when the Minister makes another bargain, that we will not have to pay on all sides, and that some distinction will be made in the terms of the bargain. We protest in the strongest terms against the imposition of a bag tax on coal, a bag tax on flour, a bag tax on sugar, and a bag tax on every other necessity of the poor. It is really the very poor will suffer from these taxes. I suppose it is no harm to be humorous occasionally, but this is not a question of humour. There will be many fireless grates because of this imposition on coal. If the Minister could defend this tax, possibly he would do so in the way he defended the other taxes, by saying that if people do not want to use coal they need not be taxed; that if they do not want to use flour they need not be taxed; and that if [1661] they do not want to use sugar they need not be taxed. That was his solitary line of defence of these impositions on the food of the people. The people were told that they need not buy any of these things, that they could fall back on some other foods. Perhaps if they use raw beet, or raw wheat or even potatoes they would be exempt. There is very little left for them to use if they are going to defy the taxation that the Minister says they need not pay. If we do not wear boots, I suppose we need not bear the taxes, because we can go in our bare feet. The only way of evading the Minister's tax gatherers is by not wearing boots, clothes or other necessaries. So far we have not tempted Deputies on the Government Benches to defend these taxes. They dare not do so. Deputy Corry ventured to speak for a few minutes, but the gag was put on and the rest of the Party was confined to barracks. They are still there. None of them has the courage to get up to defend a tax of 2/- on a sack of flour and a tax on coal. I suppose to-morrow or after we will be told that we are traitors because we are defending the poor against these taxes. I have not been interrupted while speaking. Usually there is a volley of interruptions from the opposite benches. For once, there is silence.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  On a point of order, are these remarks of the Deputy relevant to the motion?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  They are not relevant to the coal tax.

Mr. Minch: Information on Capt. Sydney B. Minch  Zoom on Capt. Sydney B. Minch  I welcome this amendment because it will clear away the misunderstanding that was abroad in connection with this Party voting some time ago in favour of the Coal-Cattle Pact. It was represented by those who desired to misrepresented the United Ireland Party that this Party voted in favour of the 5/- tax on imports of British coal, when, as a matter of fact, we voted for the Coal-Cattle Pact so that farmers might be able to get rid of their cattle. By this amendment, we are using all the [1662] pressure we can to keep the Minister from exploiting that pact against the interests of the community. The question has been ably dealt with by Deputy Corish, Deputy Morrissey and other Deputies in which they referred to the iniquity of the tax. Some time ago it was patriotic for public bodies to burn nothing but turf, and it was patriotic of members of these bodies to have the odour of turf on their clothes when they travelled in the trams or in the trains. It was considered patriotic to do that, in order to show that we were doing everything possible to keep up our end in the economic war. Now, we see that that was all flapdoodle and nonsense, that it was all sham. Tonight's proceedings prove that it was never meant. All this country has got to do now is to let the Die-hards in the Carlton Club in London see that our financial position is so bad that we can do nothing but order all the coal this country requires from Great Britain and pay an extra fine of 5/- on every ton. Surely, that must be looked upon by other countries as a form of imbecility. That attitude cannot be understood except in the peculiar atmosphere of this House. I wonder what the Germans, the French, the Belgians, or other Continental peoples, from whom we could get coal, think of us, seeing that Great Britain has got everything from this bargain, and that we have to pay an extra 5/- per ton for coal, while, at the same time we are supposed to be fighting for our economic existence. The Minister may have reasons for increasing the imports of coal from Great Britain, but no camouflage or smoke-screen can hide the fact that this tax is to get money to carry on the affairs of the country.

Mr. Belton: Information on Patrick Belton  Zoom on Patrick Belton  I cannot understand why the Minister and the Government will not accept this amendment. I cannot understand the eloquent silence of my friend, Deputy T. Kelly, who has spent his life in the service of the poor. The very poor are vitally concerned about the price of coal. The only apologia I heard from the Government Benches was from Deputy [1663] Moore last week on another phase of the Budget, when he issued a solemn note of warning that there was profiteering in coal, that bellmen were extorting fancy prices for this coal. That shows the mentality behind the support for this tax on coal. If a man buys a ton of coal at £1, he goes out and trades it among the community. In order to make a living profit out of it he has to put on the price on the basis of £1 outlay. If he has to pay 25/-, he must make his profit on the basis of 25/- outlay. If a man is going to buy coal at £1 and sell it at, say, 5/- a ton profit, is he going to pay 25/- a ton and still sell it at 5/- profit? Of course not. He must have his profit on his initial outlay. I am sorry Deputy Moore is not here. I hope that some Deputy of his Party will take up the running for him in his absence. Do not blame others for your own iniquities. The Coal-Cattle Pact has been mentioned. Personally, I am proud of having voted against it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Coal-Cattle Pact may not be debated in this connection.

Mr. Belton: Information on Patrick Belton  Zoom on Patrick Belton  I do not want to mention it, Sir.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Except to brag about it.

Mr. Belton: Information on Patrick Belton  Zoom on Patrick Belton  Well, at any rate, I will stop the Minister from bragging. If the Minister has to put 5/- a ton on the coal used by the poor of this City and County of Dublin, why does he not use that £50,000 that he promised the citizens of County Dublin, and told them that he had rusting, for a water supply at Finglas? Why does he want to put on this tax when he says that he has this money rusting there?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  £50,000 for Finglas water supply has nothing to do with the case.

Mr. Belton: Information on Patrick Belton  Zoom on Patrick Belton  I agree, Sir, but it has a terrible lot to do with the Minister's bragging.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Except for the mis-statement [1664] that I ever made the statement that there was £50,000 available for any water scheme anywhere.

Mr. Belton: Information on Patrick Belton  Zoom on Patrick Belton  Very well, I accept the Minister's contradiction and I hope the Pressmen put it in leaded type on the front page to-morrow, and nobody will be more pleased than I and nobody will be more displeased than the Minister's friends in County Dublin. I am grateful to the Minister for his remark.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  First of all, the Deputy made a mis-statement and then he proceeded to contradict it. It is not the unusual with the Deputy.

Mr. Belton: Information on Patrick Belton  Zoom on Patrick Belton  I accept the Minister's correction. What more can I do? I am proud that it was corrected.

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  But the Deputy did not believe it at any time.

Mr. Belton: Information on Patrick Belton  Zoom on Patrick Belton  I cannot see what case can be made for this tax except want of money, and we all do queer things when we are hard up.

Deputies:  Hear! hear!

Mr. Belton: Information on Patrick Belton  Zoom on Patrick Belton  We do, and the Minister has had a queer job now, and the silence on his benches bears eloquent testimony to the queer things the Minister has to do. Deputy Kelly— honest Tom Kelly—nods assent to that. It has been stated here that the price of coal has gone up 10/- or 12/-. That is true. What is, perhaps, more significant and more important is that the coal we are getting now is much inferior to what we would get if we had freedom to buy in an open market. However, perhaps that is travelling away a little bit from the 5/- tax. This 5/- tax, however, was imposed and defended in the first instance as a hit back at the British. Now that we have made peace on the coal front with the British, there is no longer any high explosive on that front. Why, therefore, is not this big gun of a 5/- tax, that was used when the fight was fiercest on that front, silenced? Now the Minister and his colleagues have to admit the truth: that it is a naked tax for revenue, [1665] and all the arguments used heretofore, to the effect that the tariff on coal was a weapon of retaliation against the British cattle tax, have broken down. The bottom has fallen out of that argument. I should be delighted to give way to the Minister in order to hear him prove that we are taxing British coal by this. Instead of that, we are making the public pay for it. I am not going to make a special appeal and say that it only affects the poorest of the poor. I do not take any special credit for defending the poor. I think there is more hypocritical talk about the defence of the poor than anything else and I think there is no sincerity in most of it, but it is an economic trading fact that 5/- is put on, and I should like some attempt made to defend the imposition of that 5/-. It cannot keep out an article that you have agreed to let in to the exclusion of that article from any other source than Great Britain.

This is purely a naked tax for revenue. As I said in connection with the wheat tax, it is a fearful admission of the straits to which this country has been brought when we have to tax this coal that we have to buy for our own use. We do not produce it. In other aspects of the Budget debate it was mentioned here—I think by the Minister for Industry and Commerce —that there was a rebate or remission of the duty where coal is used for power purposes, but we could not find from the Minister where a remission was given. I asked him specifically whether a remission was given to the Electricity Supply Board for the production of electricity in the Pigeon House, and I was told no. Now, if there is, theoretically or in practice, a remission given anywhere, I should be curious to know, and I am sure more than I would be curious to know, where a remission of this 5/- is given in cases where coal is used for power or in industry.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  1,884 tons of household were allowed in without tax.

Mr. Belton: Information on Patrick Belton  Zoom on Patrick Belton  Who got it? That was allowed in without tax, and there was [1666] no remission of the tax on coal used in the Pigeon House to produce some millions of units of electricity, and which used up at a time when we were short of water in North City and had to cut off the water—Deputy Kelly, I hope, will not be deaf to this—600,000 gallons of water that was required for human consumption. The City of Dublin had to stand that racket, but the Exchequer could not stand the racket of a remission of 5/- per ton on the coal used in the Pigeon House. I am not surprised that Deputy Kelly yawns when he hears that.

Mr. T. Kelly: Information on Thomas Kelly  Zoom on Thomas Kelly  I am yawning at you, and not at anything else.

Mr. Belton: Information on Patrick Belton  Zoom on Patrick Belton  It is the information I am giving you that you are yawning at. If we are taxing—as the Minister interjected—British coal, and if we are going to let it in here to the exclusion of other coal, has the Minister considered that on the 150,000 extra cattle we are making England a present of anything up to £900,000. After all that we have suffered in the last three years this is the type of bargain that is made.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Is the Deputy now discussing the Coal-Cattle Pact or the tax on coal?

Mr. Belton: Information on Patrick Belton  Zoom on Patrick Belton  I am discussing the tax of 5/- per ton——

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  There is nothing in the Finance Bill that I know of which refers to the type of bargain made.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  It is not in order to discuss the Coal-Cattle Pact.

Mr. T. Kelly: Information on Thomas Kelly  Zoom on Thomas Kelly  He is discussing the water at the Pigeon House.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  Grossly out of order!

Mr. Belton: Information on Patrick Belton  Zoom on Patrick Belton  If I am grossly out of order in the opinion of the silent leader of the Labour Party, and of the eloquently silent Deputy for South City, one of my colleagues representing the Corporation, I will not say any more for fear I might confuse the issue.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  Where were you when the Conditions of Employment Bill [1667] was being discussed? You let down all the workers you represent in North Dublin by being absent.

Mr. T. Kelly: Information on Thomas Kelly  Zoom on Thomas Kelly  He would save them a lot if he would sit down now.

Mr. Belton: Information on Patrick Belton  Zoom on Patrick Belton  The amendment put up by the Deputy were amendments that he had to put up against his colleagues over there.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  To the Finance Bill?

Mr. Belton: Information on Patrick Belton  Zoom on Patrick Belton  You made as bad a bargain with the Government as the Government made with the British over the Coal-Cattle Pact.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Deputy should address the Chair.

Mr. Belton: Information on Patrick Belton  Zoom on Patrick Belton  I beg your pardon.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  And the Chair is not accused of making a bargain, I hope?

Mr. Belton: Information on Patrick Belton  Zoom on Patrick Belton  I withdraw that.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Deputy says: “You made ... a bargain.” As it is always presumed that a Deputy addresses the Chair, the inference is that the Chair must have made a bargain of some sort.

Mr. Belton: Information on Patrick Belton  Zoom on Patrick Belton  That is a form of address which I must withdraw. I never thought for a moment that the Ceann Comhairle made a bad bargain, or made any bargain in this matter.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  Why did the Deputy not stay in the Party and help them to make a good bargain?

Mr. Belton: Information on Patrick Belton  Zoom on Patrick Belton  I could answer that——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  Does the Deputy take this amendment seriously?

Mr. Belton: Information on Patrick Belton  Zoom on Patrick Belton  I do—very seriously. Through you, Sir, I would ask the Minister to take it seriously, and to give the House some information as to why he will not accept this amendment by Deputy Mulcahy, or why he insists on collecting this tax off coal—[1668] not off British coal, but Irish coal. It is Irish coal when we have agreed to buy it. It is here for our use, and not for British use. It is coal which was necessary for the Irish people to get. If it was not necessary for us to get it we should not have allowed it in. We have agreed to take it in, and we are taking it in. When the matter is in that position the Minister for Finance comes along and says “Now, for every ton of that coal you use you must pay me 5/-.” That is increasing the price to the consumer. Why does the Minister insist on doing that? Is it because, as has been suggested here earlier, he wants to make the consumers of coal get into the front line trenches in the economic war? If it is, when the people who are in the front line trenches are taken out of those trenches they should get some relief, but no relief has been offered. They are still going to be in the front line trenches. Has the Minister, like King Louis, called up his last reserves? Are these his last reserves? Is it the last throw of the dice? If it is, tell us. Is this the financial condition to which the country has been brought? If it is, well then the sooner the whole present situation is reviewed the better. If it is not, then the Minister ought to give us some reason why he proposes to continue this tax and rejects this amendment.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Would you take a motion to put the question?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  Not at this stage.

Mr. O'Leary: Information on Daniel O'Leary  Zoom on Daniel O'Leary  Deputy Corish, when speaking, said he could not understand the mentality of the Government with regard to the Coal-Cattle Pact. I am afraid that Deputy Corish, in making that statement, admitted his incompetence and the incompetency of his Party, because they supported the Government in arriving at that position.

Mr. Corish: Information on Richard Corish  Zoom on Richard Corish  You voted for it.

Mr. O'Leary: Information on Daniel O'Leary  Zoom on Daniel O'Leary  I did not vote for the tax. If the Deputy looks up the records he will find that out. Every [1669] thinking person knew that the policy of the Government was leading to a lower standard of living for everybody in this country, and especially for the people that the Labour Party represent. You have the effects now. You have a tax on tea, sugar, tobacco, flour, coal, and in fact on every article that goes into the houses of the unfortunate people of this country. Deputy Victory —I am sorry that he has left the House —speaking at a Feis last Sunday, said that we had our own fuel in this country. I should like if Deputy Victory would come into the House and tell us the cost of that fuel. In Dublin at the present time turf is being sold from door to door at 1d. for three sods. From time to time I have been thinking of buying three sods of turf and bringing them in here, to give the House the estimated cost per ton for——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  For coal?

Mr. O'Leary: Information on Daniel O'Leary  Zoom on Daniel O'Leary  For turf. Well, Sir, it has been argued here that we had fuel of our own, and that there was no necessity to use British coal or any other type of coal. I myself believe that turf is the dearest article that could go into any house, and I may almost say that I was reared in the bog myself. I ran away from it long ago. There used to be great talk of midnight [1670] agreement at one time in this House, and I should like to find out from the Minister, when he is replying, when this agreement was signed. The Minister for Finance, the President——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Coal-Cattle Pact is not relevant.

Mr. O'Leary: Information on Daniel O'Leary  Zoom on Daniel O'Leary  Surely the agreement ——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  It may not be discussed on this Bill.

Mr. O'Leary: Information on Daniel O'Leary  Zoom on Daniel O'Leary  I am not discussing the cattle pact. I am discussing coal, because the matter is before the House, and I certainly believe I am entitled to do so.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The matter before the House is a duty on coal.

Mr. O'Leary: Information on Daniel O'Leary  Zoom on Daniel O'Leary  I will not discuss cattle. There will be a further opportunity of doing so. The point is that because of the Coal-Cattle Pact——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Deputy might move to report progress.

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

The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Thursday, 4th July.


Last Updated: 17/05/2011 13:06:09 First Page Previous Page Page of 10 Next Page Last Page