Thursday, 18 February 1937
Dáil Éireann Debate
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lemass): I move that the Bill be now read a Second Time. The purpose of the Bill is to effect a number of comparatively minor amendments in the provisions of the Control of Imports Act, 1934, none of which affect the principle of that Act and all of which arise out of the experience of the Department of Industry and Commerce in its administration. They are, in the main, designed to make more elastic in certain respects the machinery which the Principal Act established for the regulation of imports. I think Deputies may find it more convenient to discuss the detailed provisions of this Bill in Committee, as they are more or less unrelated one to the other, and have relation only directly to the provisions of the Principal Act. However, I will indicate the main changes which it is proposed to effect by the amendments embodied in the various sections of this Bill.
Firstly, the Principal Act provided that the Executive Council should be empowered to make quota orders, but it was found that it was impossible to exercise the provisions of the Act for the purpose of providing for certain exemptions from the general prohibition of imports affected by a quota order. The original legislation provided for the making of quota orders with reference to particular descriptions of goods. In many cases the necessity to exempt from the general prohibition of importation arises from the purpose for which the proposed importation of goods was intended. I might mention, by way of illustration, the importation of small quantities of goods by way of personal luggage. While there is power in the original Act to exclude from the prohibition of imports goods imported in quantities not exceeding a specified number for the personal use of the importer or members of his household, I think it is clear that the necessity of the case will change in particular circumstances. What is a reasonable importation in one particular case might be completely inadequate in another. Another instance which I might mention is the importation of goods for the purpose of use in a stage play and intended to be subsequently re-exported. Provision has been made in this Bill to remove these defects, and to provide for greater freedom in the matter of defining exemptions from general prohibitions.
It is also considered desirable to make more flexible the provisions of the Principal Act in the case of special quotas. By the terms of the Principal Act a part of a general quota could be marked off and required to be the product of a particular country. Licences are issued within the quantity so marked off, and those licences are available only for the importation of the goods from that particular country. Under the existing Act, however, it is possible to use licenses issued as part of the general quota for the importation of goods from the country to which the special quota applies. That particular country would, therefore, gain both by the special quota and also by the use of general quota licences for its products. Provision is made in the present Bill which would  enable licences in respect of the special quota to be restricted so as to enable importation from the country covered by the special quota to be restricted to licences issued under the special quota. Moreover, existing legislation is cumbersome in that in order to limit the importations of a particular country to a specified quantity of goods, that is goods covered by a quota order, it would really be necessary to make a large number of special quotas within the general quota for all the other countries concerned, leaving only a small or negligible quantity which could be imported from the particular country concerned, with others.
Provision has also been made in this Bill by which the goods of a particular country may be excluded from the quota, and therefore remain subject to the general prohibition of imports imposed by the quota.
Mr. Lemass: In my opinion, the general effect produced would be that, in fixing the quota quantity, the goods of a particular country or countries may be excluded, so that, in effect, the Saorstát importation is directed to the goods of one or more countries, and, where a special quota is issued, the goods coming from the particular country benefiting by that special order will be limited to the licences issued under the special quota, and may not be imported under the licences issued under a general quota.
The Bill also recasts the provisions in relation to persons who are entitled to registration in the register of importers. In the first place, there is under the existing law the definition of a national of Saorstát Eireann, which has to be satisfied by any person applying for registration. We are proposing to change that test to one of citizenship of Saorstát Eireann, and thus follow the general practice which has  been more recently adopted, making the test a general one instead of one having reference to a phrase like “national of Saorstát Eireann,” which is the particular meaning conveyed by the definition embodied in the Bill itself. In addition, it has been found desirable to extend the list of persons who may be registered, and to include therein Government Departments, in the first instance, and also certain corporations and institutions which normally import goods as part of their general operations.
We are also making provision to allow of licences being issued in excess of the quota quantities in order to meet very special circumstances which might arise, where it was found impossible to import from a particular country owing to international difficulties, and in order to maintain supplies of quoted goods, that is, where it would be necessary to make provision for importation without waiting for the time which is necessary under the present law before fresh quota quantity orders can be issued. That provision would also help to meet the situation which did arise here, in which there was an unexpected cessation of production, due to a fire at the works of the principal firm concerned in the production of the particular goods, and, for that or similar reasons, an unexpected cessation of production might arise in future and the necessity created for rapid importation of a quantity of the goods subject to the order.
Provision is also made for the removal of persons from the register of importers. These new provisions do not seriously affect the rights of individuals. Under the existing law, there are only two grounds upon which a person can be removed from the registers of importers, firstly, for the commission of any offence under the Act, and, secondly, if that person should fail to use licences issued on quota periods to the extent of at least 25 per cent. Strictly speaking, as the law stands, a registered importer cannot be removed from the register even at his own request, and that position has resulted in registers containing the names of a number of people whose  continuance on the register serves no useful purpose, but who, because of the nature of the existing legislation, are entitled to receive licences in each quota period. That situation is, as I have said, being remedied by the provisions of this Bill.
Power is also being taken to require the furnishing of information by persons applying for registration, which it has been found necessary to do in many cases. Under the existing law, applicants are entitled to refuse the information which the Department might require, if they were so minded. Failure to furnish information, when requested, is being made an offence in this Bill. There are certain other minor changes which I do not think it is necessary to enumerate at this stage. I have given an indication in general terms of the provisions of the Bill and I think I am justified in saying that they do not really import any new principle into the legislation, but that they are aimed mainly at simplifying and making more elastic the machinery set up by the Act where experience has shown such changes to be necessary.
Mr. Dillon: I cannot accept the Minister's statement that this Bill introduces no new principle. Section 5 is designed to complete what is to me, and to our Party, the odious and dangerous structure of the quota system in this country, and we gladly take this opportunity of accepting the challenge that we take this Bill to be from the Fianna Fáil Party on the general question of what the attitude of this country shall be in the future on trade and international commerce. Fianna Fáil with this Bill finally decorates itself and presents itself to the public as the sky-high tariff and quota Party. We gladly accept that challenge and differentiate between ourselves and Fianna Fáil as the Party which regards all quotas as fundamentally, economically and politically unsound and which believes that, while the tariff weapon, prudently used, may be of inestimable value to the community, used as  Fianna Fáil has used and is using it, it can do nothing but injury—if we take the long view.
We believe that it is not only the right but the duty of any Government in this country fearlessly to use the tariff weapon to provide protection for our own industrialists against a deliberate attempt by a foreign Government or foreign cartel to dump merchandise here, with a view to destroying an Irish industry in the hope of being able to exploit the Irish consumer after the Irish industry has been destroyed. We believe it can be legitimate to use that weapon after due inquiry of as exhaustive a kind as it is practicable to make, in order to equate the labour conditions in any foreign enterprise with those which Oireachtas Eireann have determined to be suitable for citizens of this State working in industrial conditions here. We believe that in the early stages of our fiscal independence—and we are still in those early stages and will be for some years to come—it is perfectly legitimate for the bona fide Irish industrialist who is enterprising, and who is prepared to risk at least part of his own capital, to come to the Irish Government and to say: “I am prepared to put up a substantial part of my own capital; I am prepared to give adequate guarantees of good employment under good conditions of a kind that will be a social advantage to the State, provided I get the assistance of the Government to get under way in this industrial field, though I am far behindhand in the matter of time as compared with some of the great established foreign industries of the world.”
I say that much, Sir, to make perfectly clear—and it is true to say that it is something which this Party is proud of—that we stand as a moderate tariff Party against the sky-high tariffs imposed by the Fianna Fáil Government. I say that lest the misrepresentations of the Fianna Fáil Party and their kept newspaper which is engaged in a campaign of misrepresenting our policy to the people may  prevail. That is why it is necessary that I should state categorically what our position is. But this Bill calls for a special warning to the country that little men such as the Minister for Industry and Commerce in this country and his prototypes in several European countries are possessed with the illusion that they can with advantage to their native country dry up the channels of international trade by tariffs and quotas of a kind for which they have responsibility. I say and I believe it can be proved beyond question of doubt that there is one effective method of blocking up the channels of international trade and that is blocking them up with the bodies of human beings. If a policy of this kind, like what is being pushed in this country by the Fianna Fáil Government, is to be followed by the other nations of the world, then I say that war is to follow in the tracks of such a policy as surely as dawn is to follow night.
A great many people think that you can gradually strangle all international commerce between yourself and any other country so long as it is to your own advantage to do so. It cannot be done without accepting the inevitable consequences. We are not the only country who have suffered under the delusion that such a thing can be done. But we are unique in this, that we are a country which has before it the example of many other countries who made the same attempt and failed, but got wisdom and are now trying to struggle out of the morass into which they unconsciously made their way. But with that object lesson in front of us we are trying to do exactly the same thing that those other countries in their folly did. We have not got the excuse for our illusion that some European nations did have who talked of the necessity of having everything available within their own borders lest war should break upon them. That argument can carry little or no force here because we are so circumstanced, that not having the natural resources to convert into the finished industrial product, there is no use in our talking about our creating a self-sufficient economy in this country. We have to import rubber, coal, oil and so on from other countries.
 If we are going to maintain a moderate standard of life in this country, absolute self-sufficiency is unattainable and we have to model our international relationships in the light of that fact. The United States of America tried that. They introduced an economic policy closely analogous to that which is at present proposed by the Minister for Industry and Commerce here. That attempt brought upon the wealthy United States of America an unprecedented catastrophic economic debacle under which that great country is still struggling and struggling under the directorship of Colonel Roosevelt and Colonel Cordell Hull, the latter of whom went to Geneva and said: “It is our duty to state in public that we are largely responsible for leading the world in this unwise policy, and because of this policy that we pursued we now recognise that it is our duty to show a way out of the desert into which we led the people of the world.” That is a fair paraphrase of the speech delivered by Mr. Cordell Hull at a meeting in Geneva a couple of years ago.
We lately saw something in the Press about the so-called holiday that Mr. Runciman, the President of the Board of Trade has taken at Ottawa. Does anyone who knows anything of international politics believe that it is a holiday that Mr. Runciman is taking? Well-known rumours show that his object in going to America was to break down the obstacles that lay across the path of international trade between Great Britain and America. We hear again that the Oslo Convention is being revived and that the Scandinavian Governments are trying to get the adhesion of countries outside the Scandinavian group to that Convention with a view to establishing freer trade between that group and any other group they can find to trade with them. We have France abandoning her high tariffs and announcing an all-round reduction in these tariffs. France is doing that not because she loves somebody's blue eyes but because she recognises the wisdom of turning her back on the old economic heresy and facing the future and the problem of devaluation.
Mr. Dillon: Devaluation was brought upon them by their own policy of high tariffs. The savings of the small peasant and the small bourgeois in France have been reduced because of that. However, since the Deputy objects, I want to raise no scares in this country, but perhaps the Deputy will consider what happened in France and ask himself could it happen in Ireland. Every one of these countries and groups of countries to which I have referred are turning their backs on the very thing towards which we are now marching and marching with our eyes open. To me the peculiar exasperation is that when policies of this kind are being followed the economic justifications for them are never advanced. But we are always told that an economic policy of this character is vital to the national independence and the dignity of the country that is pursuing such a policy. Herr Hitler and the German Reich are carrying on with the same codology there that the Fianna Fáil Government is carrying on here at the present time for the purpose of advancing this policy of economic self-sufficiency. The Government of the German Reich is at present proclaiming to the world that the economic self-sufficiency which they hope to accomplish by their four-year plan is for the purpose of establishing the national independence of Germany amongst the great powers of Europe. We have the Minister for Industry and Commerce here saying that this policy is called for in order to knock the shackles off Caitlin Ni Houlihan's feet. With the lesson from other nations before us we are using in connection with our policy the self-same words that are being used by the war-ridden Governments of Central Europe. That is a misrepresentation. It is false, but what is horrible about it is that it is a most effective way to exploit sentiments that have done honour to our people for generations. Our people are prepared to make sacrifices, and will make sacrifices, if they believe they are doing so in defence of national integrity or national honour. When they are told, on the authority of somebody whom  they have grown to trust, that these things are true, if they are themselves unable to understand the ratiocination that led up to these conclusions, they take them on faith and make their sacrifice. When I contemplate the day when they will discover that it has all been an illusion and that the immense sacrifices they are being asked to make were secured by false pretences, it fills me with alarm. We had a discussion here yesterday on the cost of living. This Bill is going further to exacerbate the problem which the Labour Party raised here yesterday. It is going to force higher and higher the cost of living on the poorer sections of the community. That is what the Bill is designed to do. If these sacrifices were necessary to national independence, I believe our people would make them, just as the unfortunate people of Germany, inflamed with an exaggerated form of patriotism, are prepared to make them, but the cruel thing is that these sacrifices are quite unnecessary and do nothing to exalt the freedom or independence of this or any other country. On the contrary, they are bound, sooner or later, to lead this country into a position which may gravely imperil its independence and completely shatter its economic life.
In every country in Europe where this policy has been pursued to its logical end, money that ought to be spent on food for the people is being spent upon guns and armaments. If I could only drive home to Deputies' minds that one fact which, on reflection, ought to be clear to them, then, this debate, for me at all events, would have served a useful purpose. There is only one means of securing economic nationalism. You can secure economic self-sufficiency behind a hedge of bayonets and a wall of dead men's bodies. Without these two protections, economic self-sufficiency is a pure chimera, a will-o'-the-wisp that can never be caught. Erect these two defences, send out your men to war, spend your national income on the implements of war and you may preserve your economic self-sufficiency for a time but, in the long run, all your sacrifices will have been in vain. Your  manhood will be slaughtered, your substance spent and, in the long run, you will have to recognise that, in order to live under modern conditions, humanity must trade. We want to trade. We want to preserve in this country a complete and balanced life for our own people. These two things are not inconsistent. Far from it. A growing volume of international trade is complementary to a more and more abundant market for our domestic produce, agricultural and industrial.
Mr. Dillon: I should be glad if Deputy Moore would intervene in this debate. I believe he is one of the very few Deputies on the Fianna Fáil Benches who give any thought to problems such as I have outlined.
Mr. Dillon: If there is one man who ought not to intervene in a discussion on problems of this kind, it is Deputy Corry, because he does not understand the first word about them. Let us have a quiet debate here on this immensely important question——
Mr. Dillon: If there is an opportunity for mind to play upon mind and argument to clash with argument, which can be done without heat of any kind, it matters not which side is educated as to the truth of the matter, some good work will have been done. I think that the policy enshrined in  this Bill must lead to immense and futile sacrifices by our people and, if widely developed throughout the world, to certain war and all the disasters associated with such an event. I believe also that, with growing international trade, with busy ports in this country receiving and dispatching goods, we can make our people more prosperous and develop our industries more successfully. We can raise the standard of living of the people higher than we have ever done before.
I take it that the view of the Fianna Fáil Party is the exact opposite to that—that they stand for economic self-sufficiency, for producing in this country everything this country can produce, whether its production be economic or not, and for the view that the less imports we have the better for everybody. I say that if you do not sell you cannot buy. I am quite prepared to take the verdict of the country upon that sooner or later. When all the by-play about constitutions and political fol-de-lols which is rolling about the country is forgotten, the issue on which we are joined here to-day is going to be the vital issue. If we can get the people of the country to face it, to open their minds to it, to examine it closely and, so far as in them lies, to understand it, I shall be quite content. I am quite certain that if we could get the people — and particularly Deputies opposite—fully to understand what this problem really means, we might get unanimity in making this country a happier and more prosperous place for our people.
Mr. McGilligan: A long time ago, Benjamin Franklin said that experience was a hard school but it was the only one fools could learn in. It is going to be a very hard school before certain people in this country learn what their economic folly means and repent of it. Deputy Corry got one lesson here in a debate which took place not so long ago that it cannot be easily remembered. Deputy Corry had not got the experience in government which his colleague, now Minister for Agriculture, who used to talk as much folly as himself, acquired  after three or four years. In a debate in this House dealing with the wages of agricultural labourers, Deputy Corry put a question to the Minister which the Minister himself might have put three years ago for Deputy Corry or, at all events, with the approval of Deputy Corry. “Why not stop all exports from this country to England,” the Deputy asked. The Minister for Agriculture assured him it could be done. So it can. The Minister for Agriculture went on to give the Deputy this lesson with regard to international trade, even the limited international trade between this country and England. If we liked to stop all agricultural imports to England, it could be done at the cost of the suppression of one-third of our agricultural produce and the sacking from their employment of one-third of the three quarters of a million people employed in agriculture. These things can be done. The only question is: Is it wise to do them? We have had our own experience here in the last five years. It has been hard enough and bitter enough to have taught most people what the real lesson is. Deputy Dillon has talked about the lessons expanded before our eyes in foreign countries. Let us turn our eyes inwards and look at what has happened here. Deputy Dillon talked about France and Deputy Moore interjected something about the devaluation of the franc. Does he think that devaluation was a cause or an effect in France?
Mr. McGilligan: Let the Deputy read any commentator on what has happened in France, and he will find this, that when there suddenly emerged in France the first socialist Prime Minister the country ever had he found himself faced with a situation that meant a very ugly choice for him. He had to choose between what we are doing here—quotas and restrictions —and a lowering of tariffs. His own statement was that looking ahead a choice in the first mentioned direction led to exchange restrictions. He expressed his view in this way that that led inevitably to dictatorships such as they have in Germany and Italy. His socialistic temperament reacted violently from that, and he took the other line open to him namely, a lowering of tariffs and the devaluation of the franc. That is not the only example that can be given. For two years past there has been this movement towards freer trade and a breaking down of international barriers. It was started by Mussolini who called together the nations grouped round him, Austria-Hungary and Yugo-Slavia. Conferences were held and separate Treaties were entered into between those countries. They all saw that they had to reconcile their complementary national economics. Roumania did the same. She held a series of conferences with countries around the Danube, and there also Treaties were entered into. Later, the then Prime Minister of France made a declaration which still stands against any proof that can be brought to the contrary. M. Flandin said that in no country could it be shown that economic nationalism could be a success. He added that, on the contrary, in any country in which it had been tried it had been either a comparative or an absolute failure. Deputy Dillon referred to the United States of America, the nation which  was the first to embark on this policy of self-sufficiency. The representative of that nation, Mr. Cordell Hull, came on a mission to Geneva to try and get the international barriers broken down. While he was operating at Geneva in one particular summer period, the President of the United States of America had asked Congress to give him certain powers—these powers were that, so long as he did not reduce tariffs by anything more than 50 per cent., he could so operate in reducing tariffs without going near Congress. In the exercise of that power he made 17 new Treaties on reduced tariffs. If he did want to reduce tariffs by more than 50 per cent., he had to go back to Congress. The Baltic nations recently grouped themselves at Oslo, and the Scandinavian nations, Finland, Holland and Denmark—all have agreed to have freedom of trade between themselves.
We have then the movement started at Ottawa. It is being persisted in. Apparently, it is going to be improved this year when the Prime Ministers meet in London round about the time of the Coronation. It seems as if there is going to be a movement for better and freer trade amongst the nations forming the British Commonwealth of Nations in which we are now happy to be for the good of this country. That general survey, brief as it is shows that while we are still infatuated with this nonsense, the other nations of the world at any rate are trying to get free of the shackles that they had put upon themselves.
Passing from what is taking place in foreign countries, let us look at the situation here. We have had a five years' test-out of a high tariff policy garnished with quotas, import restrictions, State credits, State loans and the rest. What is the result? The Minister for Industry and Commerce gave us one day as the test of employment in this country, the only test that anybody could have resort to so far as insurable occupation is concerned, and that is the number of insurance stamps sold. The answer which the Minister gave to a question of mine addressed to him before Christmas shows that as between 1936  and 1931 about 38,000 people have been put into insurable occupation. He said that about 22,000 had been put into employment on house building in 1934.
Mr. Lemass: I think the Deputy is wandering from the subject matter of this Bill. If we are to have a debate on these statistics or alleged statistics which the Deputy is quoting, then I think I should have notice of it.
Acting-Chairman (Mr. M. Brennan): The Bill itself deals principally with tariffs and imports, and so long as the Deputy keeps to them I do not think I can interfere, even though he is quoting statistics.
Mr. Lemass: I submit that any discussion on insurable employment, the yield to the revenue from the Unemployment Insurance Fund is out of order on this Bill. I am quite prepared to discuss these matters, but I would like to have an opportunity of sending for certain papers.
Mr. McGilligan: I suggest to the Minister that he should send for them immediately. According to the test put before us by the Minister himself, 38,000 people have been put into insurable occupation. How many of those are in building and how many on relief schemes of an insurable occupation type? On an occasion here when we had a debate about relief schemes, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance assured me that more than 50 per cent. of the moneys spent on relief schemes was expended on relief work of an insurable occupation type. The number of people, therefore, who got into occupation of that type in 1936 —occupations financed by the expenditure of public money—has to be taken from the tot of this figure of 38,000 before we get the number of those who have found their way into industry in this country through quotas, tariffs, Government loans, Government credits and all the rest. We have to start  off with this basic figure of 38,000, and to subtract from it the 22,000 that the Minister talked about in 1934 as being put into house building. Of the 16,000 left, let us say that 5,000 found occupation on relief works.
Mr. McGilligan: I am speaking of whole-time employment right through the year. We start with the basic figure of 38,000. How many are on relief works on the basis of full-time employment, on the basis of being in insurable occupation? I suggest, as a modest estimate, 5,000. That is the figure that has to be subtracted from the 16,000, after having accounted for the 22,000 put into house building.
Mr. McGilligan: It was nothing of the sort. A test of unemployment insurance figures, based on full time occupation, shows a difference of about £149,000 between the fund in 1931 and 1936; on a basis of £4 put into the fund for each man occupied for 52 weeks, that is about 38,000 people put into employment. From that, however, there has to be subtracted those who are occupied in the building trade, whatever the number is, because that has to be regarded as a temporary phase of employment. I also suggest that there must also be subtracted some number—I do not know what the number is—representing those who have found their way into insurable occupations through relief schemes.
Mr. McGilligan: I say 5,000, and I say that that and the 22,000 that the Minister said in 1934 were put into house building, subtracted from 38,000, leaves 11,000. I do not suggest that that is the number that went into insurable occupations through tariffs. There may have been more. There may have been 20,000 or 30,000.
Mr. McGilligan: Does the Minister say there are people in insurable occupations at this moment who are not having stamps put on cards at the moment? He has said himself that the amount of noncompliance was about 2 per cent.—the same as it was in my time. As I have said already, the stamp fund is the test, and the Minister himself realises that it is the test. He gave me the figures for the stamps sold in 1936 as opposed to the stamps sold in 1931, and it showed such a sum as, transmuted into terms of people, gives a tot of 38,000 people. I do not know where they have gone or whether they have come out, but there are the figures.
Mr. McGilligan: There may be more people who got into insurable industries, but I do not know whether they are in whole-time employment. I know that they represent out-workers in a good many cases, as well as juveniles, but when the calculations have been made backwards and forwards against all these factors, there is one outstanding figure, and that is the test of the stamp fund, and as between 1931 and 1936, 38,000 people are shown, but the Minister told us—of course, I am not taking that as a guarantee of accuracy —that 38,000 had been put into insurable occupations, and that in 1934 about 22,000 people were engaged directly in house building.
Mr. McGilligan: That is what he purported to say. I followed that up by saying that it was a seasonal occupation, and the answer I got was that there is not a variation of 1,000. The Minister's statement was absurd, and I think he realised it was absurd. I think he wanted to ease people's minds by talking about employment in connection with tariffed industries, and I think, therefore, that he exaggerated the employment in connection with building. I do not believe that there were more than 19,000 or 20,000, but there was that. What we must find out, however, is what increase in employment has occurred as a result of tariffs.
Mr. McGilligan: Of course, the Minister is going to give his usual figure of 70,000. I see where the Irish Press the other day gave the figure as 100,000, and maybe the next figure will be double that. The stamp fund is there, however, and we want to get that fund calculation. We were offered that test before by the Minister himself, so let us test it. The figure may be 17,000 or 20,000—call it 25,000—it may go as low as 12,000—but there is some number of people who have got  employment through tariffs in the last five years. What have we paid for it? Again, the Minister published two figures on the increased production. One of these masquerades as gross production, and the other is under the heading of net production. The first is said to have been calculated in this way: that one found out what was the amount paid for the goods produced in manufactories in this country. That represents the moneys got by the producers for the goods they have produced. That is up by £12,500,000 in certain industries. That is a big sum. It is a big sum, but when it is viewed in other ways it is not such a big sum. However, it is a big sum. Certain overheads, however, have to be taken from that. One overhead charge is the cost of the raw material, and then there is the cost of light, heat, and all the other things, and then we arrive at net production. What is the result? The net production, even including subsidies, which are not properly related to the matter, is about £2,500,000 on £12,500,000 gross. That represents, not the whole, because the retailer has to come in, but it represents part of what the consumer has to pay. Therefore, our tariffing of industries in this country in five years has meant that in certain groups the consumers are paying something additional to an increased cost of £12,500,000, and in the end we have a net production of £2,500,000. That is interesting when one looks at it from the point of view of the relation between the employee and the manufacturer.
Mr. McGilligan: Oh, I mean it seriously, but hardly seriously enough to warrant the Minister taking a note of it—that is, if it is to be dealt with in his usual way. That figure of £12,500,000 represents part of the cost to the consumer, but not the entire cost. The net increased production shown by the Minister's figures is about £2,500,000 and, of course, we  have to add on the retailer's profits and the retailer's ordinary charges. What is the result of that on the ordinary individual? It is a notable fact that in most countries throughout the world, until this madness sort of swept everybody off their feet, Labour Governments were generally anti-tariff. They were anti-tariff for the reason that they knew that the increased cost to themselves would well offset anything they would get in the way of increased moneys as a result of these tariffs. One exception was Australia, and the reason Australia was an exception was that in that country there was an arbitration board consisting, in the majority, of Labour members, who always took care that increased wages would be kept a little bit ahead of increased prices. In the main, however, countries, in which Labour majorities ruled, showed their appreciation of the circumstances, of which they had had bitter experience, by being very much anti-tariff. Whether they are so in this country or not, I do not know, but I know they are paying for it.
It used to be a principle of taxation that a man was left, without its being subject to tax, a certain proportion of what he made. It was understood that a man would require, for himself if he was unmarried, and for himself and his family if he was married, a certain subsistence allowance, and that was supposed to be free from tax. In no country, except Germany in recent years—in her bad years—was such a blatant injustice attempted as a tax on the income of poor people. That, of course, has been effected here. It is possible in countries, and has been regarded as normal occasionally, to tax a necessity of life when circumstances demanded it, but in what country in the world does one find all the necessities of life taxed as they are here? In this country you have a tax on bread, butter, sugar, and tea, and you have the tax imposed to the accompaniment of statements made by two members of the Government Party —one, that if you only taxed luxuries, people could avoid the taxation by not taking the luxuries, and therefore you had to come to necessities.
Mr. Lemass: Sir, I have let certain things pass, but I think if we are going to discuss the incidence of taxation and other matters which are in no way connected with the Bill before the House, some notice should be taken of it.
Mr. McGilligan: Yes, Sir. I am talking of what the tariff policy has done here. It has increased costs and it has driven the Government to the point of taxation of the poor man's necessities. The second statement made when these taxes and assessments were imposed, was made by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance. He said that it was absurd that, in a country like this, the workingman should not be forced to pay and the one way in which he could be forced to pay was through the taxation of such things as he required in order to sustain life. Now, as I said, in most countries it is a principle of taxation that the first £100, the first £120, £150 or even £200, is supposed to be left free from the demands of the State by way of taxes but when you get your poor man, when you even get the man who is living on unemployment insurance, on unemployment assistance, even the man who is living on home assistance, taxed in necessities, it surely indicates the pitch to which this country has been brought and, I suggest, brought by the impact of the whole mad tariff movement.
If you tax such things or if you raise the costs of such things as bread, butter, sugar and tea, the unfortunate man who has been kept from being completely destitute by the home help the State gives him, is subscribing to the State through the taxing of his resources. In that way, it is possible, of course, to increase old age pensions on the one hand and to take back more than the amount of the increase through what is gathered in, in taxes on bread, butter, sugar and tea. That is what we have been driven to as far as one side of our national economy is concerned at the moment. We have increased costs out of all proportion.  We have driven down the poor man's subsistence allowance below the point at which it used to be regarded as nontaxable. We have taxed him even on that lowered standard. We have added considerably to the burdens of the middle classes as well as to the almost complete extortion that has been imposed upon those who are supposed to be wealthy in this far from wealthy community. It is, I think, just necessary to refer to the fact that the National Debt has gone up by £10,000,000 and that the local debt has gone up by something between £8,500,000 and £10,000,000. That is, of course, a charge that we are not feeling at the moment. It is being off-shouldered but it will have eventually to be paid, and paid by further encroachment on the subsistence allowance of the poor people.
If there are benefits from these tariffs, where do the benefits go? The Minister decided that after the healthy impact of competition had been definitely removed from prices in this country, he was going to have prices regulated through the Prices Commission. It is hard to be serious about the Prices Commission but it would be wrong to do them an injustice. A more ineffective body has never functioned in a State and yet that body was given a task such as has never been known in this State. They were asked to do what has not been successfully accomplished in any other country, except during periods of war when there is no question of fair play and there is just a certain amount of ruthlessness required. As far as control of prices by the Prices Commission was an ideal, it has certainly not been realised. Somebody is getting the benefit from all these tariffs. We, the consumers, know that. We are paying outrageous prices; we are paying a price that the ordinary business man will charge if he is free from either competition or control.
Mr. McGilligan: The Deputy from Cork, who unfortunately is not here at the moment, told us that like any  other business man he would make what he could out of tariffs, and he said that business people would be fools if they had not been operating in that way. Of course, they were operating in that way. What business man would refuse to operate in that way when the chance is given to him? If even the prices, or the benefits of these prices, were being scattered through the general community through increased wages, that would be one advantage. If, however, the benefits are going to a small select group of individuals who will not have the same spending capacity, as a big number of smaller people, then we consumers get no benefit. If wages are raised in tariffed industries through the impact of these quotas and tariffs, the money is kept in circulation and the general community will gain because there will be a lowering of relief and a lowering of all these other burdens that we have with us at the moment—unemployment insurance, unemployment assistance, home help and so on. But the situation is that prices have been very definitely increased over what we used to regard even as inflated prices, and there is a very small number of people getting benefit from increased employment. There is a very big sacrificefrom the community which they pay through taxation and which they partly pay through meeting borrowings, borrowings which are partly off-shouldered but all of which posterity will have to meet. And the Minister comes here with this Bill and feels that he is doing a serious day's work in presenting it to us! He closes his eyes in regard to anything that is wrong in the world outside in regard to these matters. He tries to distort the facts in order to get a more pleasant view of what is happening in the country. Suppose he is going to be as successful as any man might appear to be in this matter, what has he touched? The mere margin of life in this country.
These quotas and restrictions are imposed, as far as 90 per cent. of their effect is concerned, on industrial goods. What does the Minister hope to achieve? We know what he  has achieved. Supposing they are going to operate amazingly well, does the Minister not know that his own statistics again show that more than half the countryside, more than half the people who are occupied in any gainful way, are occupied in agriculture? A fact that emerged from the 1926 Census of Production was that of every 100 people engaged in work in this country, 51 were engaged in agriculture, 14 had to do with industry and the remaining 35 were someway parasitic on the 51 engaged in agriculture and the 14 engaged in industry. The Minister in this Bill is dealing with 14 out of every 100. What does he hope to raise that figure to? Supposing his most optimistic dreams were realised, what is the turnover in the new 100 we will have to examine in, say, a census of production five years hence? What will the 14 have risen to? Will it go as high as even 16 out of every 100 in the country? If it does show an increase, where will the reduction be? Will it be a reduction in the 35 who are engaged in the trading and professional classes or in the 51 who are now in agriculture? If industry is going to gain even in man power employed, where is the subtraction going to be?
The Minister must also recognise a certain artificiality in this matter, apart from the general consideration as to how work is divided in this country as between agriculture and industry. The Minister for Agriculture told Deputy Corry that, as far as this country was concerned, it must continue to produce agricultural products surplus to our own home requirements. If we were going to confine ourselves to producing what this country needed, we would have to put on the unemployed market about 250,000 people. The Minister for Agriculture told us, almost in the same breath, that his only hope of getting rid of our agricultural surplus was in Great Britain. The Minister is going to impose under this Bill a variety of restrictions and quotas and he takes power to differentiate as between countries.
 Some five years ago this Bill would have been introduced with a whoop of exultation as to how the British would be perturbed through its impact. All that has gone. It is now said that we are expecting, not very optimistically expecting, that we may get the Coal-Cattle Pact renewed with Great Britain. The position is that we may get the coal from them if they think fit to supply us with it. What an amazing turn! At one time we would not burn British coal; we had a tariff against it and we quotaed it. Then the quota over night became a restriction in favour of British coal and nothing else. Now we are hanging round expectantly, with our hats in our hands, wondering whether we will get the coal from Britain. What a position! Our people for some two years have been forced to take British coal to the exclusion of other coal.
One of these days, in this country, the labour community is going to awaken to what is going on. There is a certain amount of anger developing in different circles at the sight of people meeting every year to preen themselves on what they have dug out of the consumer, with Government aid, through quotas and restrictions and tariffs. There never was very much hostility that I could discover, properly placed, aroused by the inequalities of wealth and poverty. Outside the landlord class, who have disappeared for so long, if there were any great examples of wealth it was recognised that the people who had achieved it, had achieved it in the face of very stern competition; they were good employers and there was an appreciation that their gifts had brought them where they were and that there was no artificial aid required and no outcry for artificial aid. Nowadays we have a different spectacle and it is developing a certain amount of anger amongst those who have to pay and who see the proceeds going into a very small number of hands and not being distributed widely through the country. There is a feeling of anger developing that that condition of affairs should not merely be tolerated, but that it should apparently be approved by the Government.
 We have the so-called prosperity of the country elevated to our notice when you have certain commercial issues over-subscribed and eagerly grasped, when some heavily tariffed industry in the country offers itself to the public and guarantees a 6, 7 or 8 per cent. preference share. Some day labour is going to awaken to the fact that that 8 per cent. is fastened more or less permanently and is going to be paid before there is any attention devoted to the wages given to the workers, and it is going to be paid along with a possible increased wage to the workers, if that is demanded; but it is all going to be paid ultimately by the consumer, who has no redress and who cannot get any way of checking prices either by way of competition from outside or control inside. All that is lauded here as being a sign of prosperity.
This is the worst feature of the Bill. It is fiddling with insignificances. The impact of that on the economy of this country is going to be small, but it is going to attract attention, and perhaps it is going to attract more than attention; it may, perhaps, attract anger and we may find, through the hostility aroused by the futility of this, that a good thing in the capitalist system may be dragged down. There are quite a number of people in this country who are beginning to despair of a capitalist system which only perpetuates the abuses and cannot keep any of the virtues of that system which had lasted so long.
It used to be that men risked their money, threw in their enterprise, their talents and whatever energy they had, picked up whatever money they could secure, and worked it all out into some sort of production on their own initiative, without outside help. There was this good in it, that when these people did work in that way and were subject to competition, the general public gained, because they got something that was produced against competition, that was produced and sold at a reasonable rate and there were organisations of the trade union type to see that that was not done by sweating workers. Nowadays we get the goods not so well  produced, in the main; we get them sold, in the main, at high prices; we find that, in the main, the net production figures I have spoken of are not to any degree divided amongst workers and employers. We find the community is paying the cost and a small number of individuals are reaping whatever gain there is.
In those circumstances, quite a number of people, who still believe in the capitalist system as an institution, would rather see in this country even bureaucratic control, with all the inefficiency that that means, than see a small number selected, by what means one does not know, and allowed— definitely and clearly the word must be used—to batten on the unfortunate people without displaying any of the virtues of the old capitalist system. The Bill, because it develops this system and all the abuses of it, is a Bill that is to be condemned.
Deputy Dillon spoke of the movements in the world and he mentioned the Trade Ambassador in America who had been sent across to try to make amends for what that country did by starting this ramp. There was a recent announcement by Mr. Cordell Hull, when looking for an extension of the Trade Agreements Act. He addressed a letter to the Senate in America a few days ago. He urged favourable action in regard to this Trade Agreements Bill as a means of easing the present-day political tension which is pushing many nations in the direction of military conflict. He followed that with the declaration that there was not the slightest doubt that America's abandonment of the trade agreements programme at this juncture would mean the resumption of the international economic warfare which was showing such marked signs of abatement. He spoke of the serious injury that would accrue to the United States in case of war, notwithstanding that their country would do everything humanly possible to keep out of it. He said there was one sure way for that country to be spared a war and that was that they should see war would not occur.
This is all argument addressed to the Senate with a view to passing a trade  agreement measure. He led up to this, that in the years that lie immediately ahead an adequate revival of international trade is the most powerful single force for easing political tension and averting the danger of war. The same newspaper issue that contains all that, contains the statement that a distinguished Frenchman had been sent to America, and the statement as to his mission was that he was to work for the rapprochement of the great democracies, which should unite in proving that stability can be achieved by freer trade. There is a record in the same column of the meeting of the Oslo Powers' Conference trying to hammer out their view of freer trade amongst that group of nations. As a finish to the column there is a remarkable speech made by General Smuts on world trade, which was the only way out of the otherwise inevitable war that he saw brooding over the world. Against all that tendency in the world we offer this Bill. It is like nearly everything that has been done in this country.
Mr. Morrissey: The Minister, by way of interjection, questioned certain figures regarding employment given by Deputy McGilligan. The Minister denied, as he denied before most emphatically, that any people were driven out of employment in this country during the last four years. The Minister has said on more than one occasion in this House that not only are there far more people in employment, but there are far fewer unemployed. Let me put this to the Minister. According to the last census, the population of this country has decreased.
Mr. Morrissey: The Minister told us before we got the last census that not only did they not decrease but that they were increasing. Let me put this to the Minister. He claims—I am not quite sure whether it is the  Minister or the Irish Press, or both— that something in the neighbourhood of 100,000 persons have been put into employment as a result of Government policy.
Mr. Morrissey: Let us take the figure of 100,000 put into industry. It is a very modest estimate to say that 50,000 persons have left this country for Great Britain in the last three years. I gave the figure on the last occasion when the matter was under discussion and the Minister said it was nonsense and absurd and questioned where the figure was got. Then I discovered that, as a matter of fact, I had given a figure 2,000 less than was given in answer to a question here by the Minister for Local Government some days previously regarding emigration. There are 100,000 additional persons, according to the Minister and the Irish Press, put into employment, and at least 50,000 have gone to Great Britain in the last three years.
Mr. Morrissey: It is at least 50,000. The Government, by raising money in various ways, in addition to £850,000 to be raised by local authorities, are spending £2,500,000 on relief works. Notwithstanding the additional 100,000 into employment, the £2,500,000 for relief work, and the 50,000 gone to Great Britain, the Minister has not been able to bring those signing on for employment under the 100,000 mark. Will the Minister tell us where the 100,000 who are signing on for employment have come from?
Mr. Morrissey: So that the Minister's 100,000, plus the 50,000 who have gone to Great Britain, have made no impression after five years. What really happened, of course, was that the plan failed. In the words of the Minister for Agriculture a few days ago the Government were too optimistic; they had not examined the problem sufficiently closely; they had hoped to solve the problem of unemployment within a couple of years, but he said, “We have to confess that we failed.” That is the position. The Minister for Agriculture admitted the position, but the Minister for Industry and Commerce has never admitted what the facts are and never will, so long as he is there.
Mr. Lemass: This Bill is designed to effect certain minor changes in the machinery for the regulation of imports into the Saorstát. Having repeated that, I still retain the position of being the only Deputy who has referred to the Bill, and I can now proceed to deal with the speeches of Deputies. We are legislating here for the area comprised in the Irish Free State. We are not legislating for the Continent of Europe, or the Continent of America, or even for the British Commonwealth of Nations. It may seem strange that I should have to point out that fact to Deputies, but it appears to be necessary, at any rate, to make it clear to Deputies Dillon and McGilligan that nothing in this Bill is going to cause or avert a world war. Nothing in this measure, or no action taken under this measure, is going to have any appreciable effect upon the general trend of international policy. Nothing that we can do here is going to free the channels of international trade or secure the new development, which Deputy McGilligan tells us the Secretary of State in the United States of America, General Smuts in South Agrica, Hitler in Germany, and a number of other people to whom he referred, are striving towards. We are legislating here with full regard to the present national and international position. It  would be the extreme limit of folly for us to act as if the millenium had come throughout Europe merely because certain people are talking about it. We have to deal with hard facts and those hard facts have to be met by the inauguration of new methods of administration, devising new machinery for dealing with economic problems and equipping the Government and people of this nation with the same weapons for dealing with difficulties associated with international trade that other nations have.
Deputy Dillon may be right or may be wrong as to the causes of the American debacle in 1929. The great majority of the American people I do not think would agree with that view. That is of no great importance. It merely proves that the great majority of the American people must be wrong. But the American people have not left themselves bereft of the power of protecting their industries, of restricting imports, of entering into trade treaties with other countries on the basis of an exchange of specified goods. The Trade Agreement Act to which Deputy McGilligan made reference, was designed for that purpose. Deputy Dillon and Deputy McGilligan may be right or wrong, as to the cause of the recent temporary change in French policy. I do not think it matters to us. So far as we are concerned, we have to deal with a situation in which every nation with which we do trade is engaged in the process of restricting imports, diverting exports, and regulating its international trade regulations generally by means of quotas, by means of tariffs, by means of exchange restrictions and other devices not yet adopted here.
We hear from Deputies opposite frequent references to the British market. If Deputy Dillon was sitting on these benches, and was concerned with the negotiation of trade treaties for the benefit of this country, concerned with the immediate practical problems associated with the international trade position, he would have to equip himself with precisely the power provided by the Control of Imports Act, which we propose to  amend by this Bill. Even if he were to confine trade treaty negotiations to Great Britain, the British Government has quotaed imports, has a quota on our imports, and if we want to negotiate a trade treaty with Great Britain, Germany, Belgium or America, we have got to be in a position to say that we are prepared to take from these countries a specified quantity of their goods in return for their taking a specified quantity of our goods. If we had not the Control of Imports Act we could not enter into these agreements, because we would have no power to impose the necessary restrictions on trade. That is why the Bill is necessary.
It may or may not be true that free trade for the Continent of Europe would be better for the population of Europe and for all mankind. We can debate that question on some other occasion. Here we have to deal with practical problems, and the practical problems we have to deal with are those associated with the restrictions which all other countries can impose on our exports, and which we can only break down by a process of bargaining, by agreeing not to impose restrictions on their products if they undertake to remove restrictions on ours. I am not so sure that if the change in policy to which Deputy McGilligan and Deputy Dillon made reference were to be made that it would prove beneficial to this country. We have had experience of free trade. We have had more experience of free trade than any other European people, because for the best part of a century there were no restrictions of any kind upon imports or exports, and during that period we learned a bitter lesson. It may be that certain classes of our people benefited by that freedom of trade. Those engaged in the production of live stock undoubtedly increased very considerably during that period. Its exportation became the biggest item in our trade returns, but during that period we had to offset the benefits secured by that small section of our people by the hardships imposed upon the great  majority, hardships so great that a vast number could not stand them and left this country.
Deputy Dillon talks of this policy of trade restrictions as being paid for in human life. Four millions of our people left this country in the period of free trade because of the situation produced here by free trade, yet, Deputy Dillon tells us that his ideal is to get back into that position. Our experience was a bitter one, and he would be a rash man who would seriously propose to the Irish people deliberately to set about restoring that position. It is perfectly legitimate, said Deputy Dillon in his condescending manner, for Irish industrialists to approach the Government for protection but foolish for the Government to grant it. The Deputy described his Party as a model tariff Party, remembering, no doubt, that the classical definition of “model” in the dictionary is a small imitation of the real thing.
Mr. Lemass: Deputy Dillon says this policy failed elsewhere. If it failed elsewhere why is it that no country has abandoned it? Not a single country that the Deputy could mention has chosen of its own accord to revert to the policy of free trade which he advocates.
Mr. Lemass: In our circumstances, and having regard to factors of which he is aware, should we adopt that policy; should we open our ports for the products of other countries whether they open their ports for our products or not? Surely not. He admits that if we are to move towards freer trade the movement must be reciprocal, but until that happens  legislation of this kind is necessary and cannot be avoided. Our concern surely must be with the effects of this legislation and the policy which gave birth to it, upon our own people. Deputy McGilligan and Deputy Morrissey tried to deal with it. Deputy Dillon talked of the clash of minds and of the process of self-education. Deputy McGilligan has no enthusiasm for the clash of minds or of facts upon facts. During the course of the past five years I have never yet succeeded in dealing with Deputy McGilligan's so-called facts and arguments in his presence in this House.
Mr. Lemass: Deputy McGilligan said that the number of people put into insurable employment increased by 38,000. The number of people in insurable employment, according to our statistics, which are published annually, and supplied free of charge to Deputies, increased since 1931-32 by something over 100,000. That is the number of people insured against unemployment.
Mr. Lemass: That is the number of persons insured against unemployment. I am not claiming, and it would be foolish to claim, that all these people were in permanent employment during the whole year. The actual increase in employment it would be difficult to express in the form of figures, and is  something less than that, but it is obviously more than the figure Deputy McGilligan gave. The Deputy proceeded on another basis. He assumed that everyone was in full-time employment, and that any increase took the form of an increase in the number of persons in full-time employment. The figure 38,000 that he gave was wrong, but it was on that basis he made his calculation. He took the total of contributions to the Unemployment Insurance Fund, divided it by another figure which would represent the annual amount paid by those in full-time employment, and took the result as the number of persons in employment. It is nothing of the kind. It is a notional number, which would represent the number in employment if everyone was employed for 52 weeks. Another and a better way to express it is the average number employed in each week of the year, and that number increased between 1931 and 1936, not by 38,000, but by 45,000. That is the figure which represents the increase in the average number employed weekly one year against another in insurable employment; there was an increase in other forms of employment as well.
Mr. Lemass: Somewhere between the figures 45,000 and 110,000 lies the truth. The actual number of persons who got new employment arising out of the industrial policy of the Government is something about 75,000.
Mr. Lemass: That is, all types of employment which are classed as insurable under the Unemployment Insurance Act. I am not claiming that there is an increase of 75,000 or even 45,000 in employment in tariffed industries. Nothing of the kind. I will give the actual numbers employed in tariffed industries in a minute. The increase resulting from all the activities of the Government in employment of that kind is about 75,000.
Mr. Lemass: Furthermore, the average spell of employment has  increased in length compared with 1931. It could be said in respect of the year 1931 that, on the average, every insured person got about six months' work. Some people, of course, got a full year's work, and some people got only a couple of weeks, but on the average they got six months' work per man, and that has increased to roughly eight or nine months' work per man per year. The number of persons employed in industries—that is, industries of the kind which are covered by the partial census of industrial production taken annually—is, of course, a different figure. Every year there is a partial census of industrial production. There are very important industries not included in that partial census —industries in respect of which the total employment is much more important than in those which are covered by it—but in respect of the industries covered by that partial census there are some interesting figures. In 1929 there were employed in such industries 47,439 persons; by 1931 that figure had fallen to 44,819. I want Deputies to note that fact—that when this Administration became responsible for the conduct of the affairs of this country the number of people engaged in industrial production had decreased, and decreased at quite a substantial rate.
Mr. Lemass: If the Deputy can think of one he will have plenty of opportunity for explaining it; I am merely drawing attention to the fact. Between 1931 and 1935, the last year for which we have got the figures, the number of persons employed in that limited group of industries increased by 25,000 There was an equally substantial increase during the course of last year, but what it was we will not know until some time about June or July of this year. An extra 25,000 people were in fact employed in that group of industries. We are told, of  course, that there is really no increase in employment at all; that the policy of the Government has put out of employment as many people as were put into employment.
Mr. Lemass: “More,” Deputy Morrissey says. Well, I have continually invited Deputies to name the occupations from which those people were put out. I was told they were put out of the tobacco industry. That is obviously wrong.
Mr. Lemass: The number of male persons who were ever at any time engaged in the tobacco industry registered as unemployed in the whole of the twenty-six counties is 47, so we cannot possibly account for the 25,000 people there. They have to be accounted for, if the Deputy's argument is correct, by reference to the tobacco industry alone. In any case I have here a list of every occupation in the Saorstát in which people are employed, and, against the names of those occupations, the number of persons formerly engaged in those occupations and now unemployed; I cannot find a single one in which there has been any substantial increase in the number of unemployed. There are one or two cases of minor increases, but they are of no importance, and have no bearing upon the arguments of Deputies. In the great majority of cases there is in fact a substantial decrease recorded.
Mr. Lemass: We have not 110,000 unemployed. There is not even that number on the live register. The number on the live register last week was 94,000, and a large proportion are either farmers or sons of farmers who were never previously regarded as unemployed, and who in fact do not come within the definition of “unemployed” operative in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. If we want to compare the unemployment position with the unemployment position in other countries we have got to relate our total to some other figure. Let us relate it to the population. The number of persons upon our live register, even though that figure includes small farmers and others not included in a similar register in Great Britain or Northern Ireland, constitutes 3.1 per cent. of our total population. At the present moment, despite expenditure on armaments, despite all the efforts of the British Government, the number of unemployed in Great Britain is 3.7 per cent. of the population of that country. The number of unemployed in the Six North-eastern Counties, considered in relation to the population of that area, is double the number of unemployed in the Twenty-Six counties.
Mr. Lemass: Deputy McGilligan asked where the people came from who were put into employment in industry —the 38,000 people to whom he referred; the 75,000 people about whom I am talking. He said that that increased employment in industry was offset by decreased employment in agriculture. Between 1937 and 1931—this is just for Deputy Morrissey's information—the number of persons employed in agriculture as members of families working on the family farms decreased by 29,000. Since then it has increased. It has increased, I will admit, by a comparatively lesser figure.
Mr. Lemass: We will take one year at a time. I am merely interested in comparing 1936 with the last year for which Cumann na gGaedheal was responsible; the period of free trade; the period in which we are assured everything existed which, if it existed now, would bring prosperity; the period when the Party opposite had realised their policy to its limits, and had produced their best results. There was, as I pointed out, declining employment in industry. The number of persons employed in tariffed industries was going down; it fell by 4,000 between 1929 and 1931. The number of persons employed in agriculture was going down, and fell by 29,000 in the same period. Since then the number has gone up. In last year the number of permanent agricultural workers employed for wages, and the number of temporary agricultural workers employed for wages, was the highest ever recorded in the Twenty-Six Counties. Our population, of course we are told, is now going down. It is not going down. It is true that the census of 1936 showed a slight diminution in the total population as compared with 1926, but to assume that that diminution was continuous throughout the whole of that period would be entirely fallacious. There was in fact  a sharp drop in population until 1931, and a steady rise in population since then.
Mr. Lemass: I am referring to the figures of the Minister for Local Government which I have here. In 1931 the population was 2,933,000; in 1932 it was 2,949,000; in 1933 it was 2,962,000; in 1934 it was 2,971,000; and in 1935 it was the same—2,971,000.
General Mulcahy: And in April, 1936, it had gone down 6,000, so that what happened was that the curve was rising to the 1st January, 1935. At the 1st of June, 1934, it was 2,971,000. It flattened out then to the same figure in June of 1935, and nine months afterwards the decline was shown. The decline which took place in the beginning of 1935 was shown to have operated so that it fell 6,000 between June, 1935, and April, 1936.
General Mulcahy: The Minister is aware that when the Free State Government was set up the population of this country was falling as a result of emigration to America. The Minister is aware that every year the emigration to America decreased. The Minister is aware that we never filled our quota to America as long as there was a quota there. The Minister is aware that except where the quota changed rapidly, the applications on the part of people to go out of this country that were refused, plus the number of people who went, was never up to our quota.
Mr. Lemass: In fact, the number of people who emigrated in 1927 was 25,816, and in 1928, 25,072. In that year the figure was in or around that. In 1929, it was 21,863 and in 1930, 13,722. The Deputies opposite are very concerned about emigration now. The total emigration in the four years 1932, 1933, 1934 and 1935 added together was less than in the average year during Cumann na nGaedheal's term of office. The total emigration in the four years during which the Fianna Fáil Government was in office was 20,447. In 1927 alone, it was 25,816 and in 1928 alone, 25,072. The Deputies are very concerned about emigration now and about the possibility of our people having to go abroad to find employment.
Mr. Lemass: We regret very much the circumstances, the continued existence of the circumstances, which has occasioned emigration and is still occasioning emigration, but we did not contract, and we could not have contracted, to repair in four years the damage done by our predecessors in ten years. We have been doing our  best and the figures I have given show the extent to which we have succeeded. When we were talking about employment in 1931, we were talking in circumstances in which nobody knew the number of unemployed in the country. I will take off my hat to the political acumen of our predecessors, if not to their fair dealing with the people of this country, in the measures they took to conceal the unemployment existing here. It was impossible to get even the material upon which to base an estimate as to unemployment here until 1932, when the new arrangements were made for registration and, in fact, until 1934, when the Unemployment Assistance Act came into operation. We then got for the first time a true indication of the extent of unemployment here and in every year since then, we have been able to record a substantial decrease in unemployment, a decrease totalling almost 20 per cent. in 1936 compared with 1935.
It is, of course, ridiculous, if not worse, for Deputy McGilligan to advance here the argument that the tariff policy of the Government is responsible for the imposition of taxes upon tea and sugar. Were there no taxes upon tea and sugar when Cumann na nGaedheal were in office?
Mr. Lemass: Was it occasioned by the tariff policy? Did they put taxes on tea and sugar in 1931 because of their tariff policy, the moderate tariff policy that Deputy Dillon talks about? Deputy Mulcahy knows quite well that Deputy McGilligan was talking nonsense. He is prepared to support that nonsense because he thinks it will bring in an occasional vote. Deputy McGilligan does not care whether it brings in a vote or not. He will talk nonsense anyhow.
 It used to be the practice, Deputy McGilligan told us, for the enterprising business man to put his money and his initiative into industry without seeking Government aid and without going to the Government and asking for any tariff protection, subsidy or other assistance. It used to be, but where? Not in this country. That enterprising business man whom Deputy McGilligan visualises was very conspicuous by his absence during the years Deputy McGilligan was Minister for Industry and Commerce. Certainly no enterprising business man came forward in that period to put his money, his initiative and his enterprise into an industry without Government assistance or without the benefit of protective tariffs. If Deputy McGilligan can name the individual he has in mind, we can bring him forward as an example to the rest of the community, but, in my opinion, in this country the person who put his money into an industry without the benefit of protection, without the benefit of Government assistance in the restriction of imports from much more highly industrialised countries, where industries are capitalised on a much larger scale, would deserve to lose that money. He would certainly not be an enterprising business man, in my opinion, but a philanthropist, giving money to contractors to build a factory and to suppliers of equipment to provide machinery, and then proceeding to shut down the whole concern, because that could be the only result.
It is not possible for the people of this country, a country of 3,000,000 population, limited in its resources, side by side with the greatest industrial country in the world, within easy reach of a score of highly developed industrial nations, to develop its industrial activities without protection, without the assistance of measures of this kind, and without direct State intervention to restrict the competition which these other countries could bring to bear against our native industrialists. No industrial development would be possible otherwise, and it is sheer nonsense for Deputies opposite to pretend that an enterprising business man can make good without that assistance. It could not be done, and  any Party that seeks to convince the people of this country that it could be done are merely wasting their time. We learned by experience that it could not be done. We learned that the policy of moderate tariffs was merely a policy of taxation. This idea that tariffs are a form of taxes upon the people persists in the minds of Fine Gael Deputies because that was their experience of them—the 10 per cent. duty here and the 5 per cent. duty somewhere else which was paid by the importers and made no difference whatever to the volume of imports. That was the moderate tariff policy they operated. It was not until the Control of Imports Act was brought into operation that really effective protection could be given to Irish industrialists, and the results of that effective protection are noticeable in every one of the industries concerned.
Mr. Lemass: In the case of boots and shoes, in the year 1933, we imported 8,436,000 boots or shoes and we produced here 3,178,000. That figure represented an increase of 50 per cent. on 1931. The Control of Imports Act came into operation in respect of that industry, and in 1936 we imported, not 8,000,000, but 1,800,000 and we produced, not 3,000,000, but 8,757,000. In the case of rubber footwear, we imported, in 1933, 4,184,000 and, in 1936, 948,000. We produced in 1933, none at all and in 1936, 1,448,000. In the case of motor cars, imports decreased from 2,508 to 226 in that period and production increased from nil to 10,836.
Mr. Lemass: Yes, and gave employment to 1,500 people in the assembling. In the case of silk and artificial silk hose our imports, in 1933, were 3,000,000 pairs and, in 1936, 764,000 pairs. Our production in 1933 was 475,000 pairs and in 1936, 3,800,000 pairs. I could give figures like these for everyone of the industries concerned but I will not delay the House by doing so. I want to draw particular attention to one fact which these figures reveal and that is that not only has there been a substantial increase in home production but there has been a substantial increase as well in consumption.
Mr. Lemass: Does the Deputy want more figures? The consumption of boots and shoes in 1935 was 9,995,000 pairs; in 1936, it was 10,600,000. Rubber shoes consumption in 1935 was 1,737,000 and in 1936, 2,296,000. Motor cars in 1933, were 4,000; 1934, 6,400; 1935, 8,520; 1936, 10,836. In silk and artificial silk hose the consumption increased from 3,546,000 pairs in 1933 to 4,554,000 pairs in 1936. In woollen and worsteds the increase was from 5,534,000 yards in 1933 to over 6,000,000 in 1936. It is not necessary to go on. I will merely draw attention to the fact that that increased consumption of these goods is indicative of the increasing purchasing power made available to the people of this country by the policy of this Government. This is election year and the best action the members of the Party opposite could take to secure the triumphant return of the Fianna Fáil Government would be by their voting against this Bill. I invite them to do it.
Briscoe, Robert. Doherty, Hugh.
Keely, Séamus P.
Kelly, James Patrick.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick John.
Corry, Martin John.
De Valera, Eamon. McEllistrim, Thomas.
O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
Pattison, James P.
Pearse, Margaret Mary.
Ruttledge, Patrick Joseph.
Ward, Francis C.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Broderick, William Joseph.
Costello, John Aloysius.
Dillon, James M.
Dolan, James Nicholas.
Doyle, Peadar S.
McFadden, Michael Og.
McGuire, James Ivan.
Minch, Sydney B.
Murphy, James Edward.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Rogers, Patrick James.
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