Friday, 16 April 1937
Dáil Éireann Debate
General Mulcahy: There is one more than remarkable thing about this Budget which has been approved of to such an extent by the Minister for Finance and others. That is, that contrary to the practice of the last few years, he has not himself been prepared to face the microphone at 2RN or to allow any other members of the House  to do so. It is really that remarkable thing about this Budget that makes me intervene, because I think there must be something to be discovered about it that can only be found out by a certain amount of coaxing. Considering the length to which the Minister for Finance spread himself the other day on the subject, one wonders what is wrong that we cannot have a broadcast, not only to the people of this country, from Donegal to Wexford, but to our friends abroad, to the Irish nation across the seas, of the details of the magnificent advance that has been made in this normal Budget No. 2. The Minister for Finance went before some of the various representative bodies of commercial people in the City of Dublin a couple of years ago and he gently broke it to them that last year's Budget was going to be normal Budget No. 1. They had, he said, got away from the unfortunate state of affairs in which they had to make emergency additions to the Budget which imposed a very considerable amount of regrettable increase in taxation and a considerable amount of borrowing. Last year's Budget was to be normal Budget No. 1, and the present Budget is normal Budget No. 2.
It is worth while looking at what normal Budget No. 2 means. It means that, after five years of Fianna Fáil Budgets, we are now going to face a year in which the amount of taxation raised from the people is going to be greater even than it was for any of the five previous years. When we examine the five years about which the Minister speaks, and in which he says the condition of the people has improved very considerably over the previous years before the Fianna Fáil Government came into office, we find that the people have been openly taxed to the extent of £5,649,713 per year, over the five years running, more than they were in the five years preceding the advent of the Fianna Fáil Government. That is the additional amount of money that has been taken from the people in revenue, tax and non-tax. There is, furthermore, this addition, that whereas the Government are withholding from the British Government approximately £2,000,000 per annum for payment of local loans and pensions,  they are taxing the people for that £2,000,000, so that the people are really having taken from them, above what was required for general government purposes in the five years that preceded the coming into office of the Fianna Fáil Government, £7,649,000 exclusive of any additional amount on which the Government are laying their hands by borrowing. The excuse that is given by the Government for taking that amount of money from the people is that in the first place they are pursuing an enlightened social policy and that, in the second place, the country has been so built up and the economic foundations of the country have been so improved that the country can well afford that amount of money.
General Mulcahy: The Minister for Finance says “Hear, hear”! I should like to take that remark of the Minister for Finance and to judge some of his statements by, as it were, his own criteria. I know that the judgment that will fall on him and his Party will be based on, perhaps, a different test. The judgment that will fall on the Minister and his Party will be the judgment pronounced by ordinary men and women who have to find work in this country and who have to rear and educate their families on the conditions in which they have to exist in their own homes. When the Minister, his colleagues and the members of his Party set out just before their period of office commenced to describe the Government that had carried on for the five previous years as the greatest failure in Irish history, they adopted certain standards. It is perhaps worth while looking at their standards. They asked if the country was better or worse as a result of its being ruled by the then Cosgrave Government; was our wealth greater; had our production increased; had the standard of living of our people been raised; had industries disappeared; were farmers, who were paying their way before, now facing bankruptcy; were thousands unemployed; were poverty and destitution widespread, with a consequent heavy drain on public funds for the  relief of distress? They satisfied themselves by answers to these questions, on the falling population, on the emigration that had taken place, the number of people who were unemployed, the number of people who required home assistance, the fall in agricultural production, the fall in the number of people who engaged in farming, the failure to absorb young people in the congested districts into employment, the non-provision of employment for over 75,000 workers. Here, perhaps, we find the 75,000 workers that the Minister for Industry and Commerce was so enthusiastic about last night as having found employment, and that Deputy Corish was so much in doubt about as to where they were. We may not be able to see where they have been put, but we seem to have some idea now as to where they came from. They came from the 1932 election literature of Fianna Fáil, where there was also figured out the amount of extravagance as a result of taxation, the particular extravagance of the Shannon scheme, and a few other things like that.
In regard to emigration, we had statements here that emigration is decreasing, but the Minister for Industry and Commerce admitted a rather different story yesterday. We have statements by Fianna Fáil candidates for parliamentary honours, particularly in Cork, that emigration has fallen since the Fianna Fáil Party came into office. Now we had better dispose of that. That is disposed of by the Minister for Local Government and Public Health, whose figures show that emigration—by some glorious dispensation of the peculiar Fianna Fáil providence that the Minister for Finance speaks about—is no longer emigration but an outward movement of population. The outward movement of population, according to the Minister for Local Government and Public Health, did not exist in the year before the Fianna Fáil Government came into office, because the movement was inwards, and inwards to the extent of 3,089 persons. Then, what was known as emigration in the past, and must now be known as the outward movement of population, began with the coming of Fianna Fáil to the extent of  3,278 in 1932, 9,517 persons in 1933, 17,284 in 1934, 23,711 in 1935—the years ended mid-year—and it has been estimated somewhere or another that the emigration for the year ended mid-1936 had gone up to nearly 50,000. The Minister for Finance does not know where those figures come from? Up to and including the year 1935——
General Mulcahy: It may have been an estimate from some people whose estimate the Minister would more readily accept. If the Minister is reading anything of the local Press throughout the country, or even any of the descriptions of special trains——
General Mulcahy: When the Minister hears, as he ought to hear, that trains which are normally joined together at particular junctions in this country are not joined together but have to run separately into the city because of the fact that they are carrying emigrants to Great Britain, he will be better able to understand the reliability or otherwise of the correspondents who deal with this matter. Up to the year ended mid-1935, from an inward movement of population to an outward movement of population the change had been from 3,089 inwards to 23,711 outwards. Do not let the Minister begin to argue that emigration to Great Britain for the year ended June, 1936, or for the year ended December, 1936, was less than it was in 1935. Leave that to somebody like the Minister for Industry and Commerce, although in certain matters I find it very hard to discriminate between the powers of the Minister for  Finance and those of the Minister for Industry and Commerce in dealing with matters, as the Minister for Industry and Commerce said yesterday, by any and every means. I should like to ask anybody whether a Government in whose period of office emigration was reduced completely and stopped, was a greater failure, judged on the question of emigration, than a Government which has restarted it, and restarted it in ever increasing numbers?
On the question of population, the Minister took over office when the population of this country was rising. For the year ended mid-1931, the year before he took over office, the population of this country had risen by 6,000. The fall in population, which had continued for such a long period, had ceased, and the population had begun to rise. It went up by 6,000 in the year ended June, 1931. It went up by an additional 16,000 in the following year, and by an additional 13,000 in the year after. In that year, and in the subsequent years, the population in this country was affected by the economic conditions brought about in this country; whereas the population rose by 16,000 in the year ended June, 1932, the rise was reduced to 13,000 in the year ended June, 1933, was further reduced by 9,000 in the year ended 1934, and then stopped. The population of this country began to decline again at the end of 1934, and it had gone down 5,146 by the middle of 1936. Judged on the question of population, the Government which the Fianna Fáil Party replaced in 1932 was a Government in whose time the continuous drop in the population of this country had ceased and the rise was started. Coming into that particular position, coming in with the foundations laid for protective trade for our farmers in the biggest market that they had—because the British market was bigger than the market here to the extent of about two to one—nevertheless that Party reduced this country, by the end of their third year of office, to a country in which the population was falling. We judge them then by their own standard—population—and we have to judge them a greater failure than what they call the greatest failure.
They pointed out the number of  people who were on home assistance in this country. Only in September last year did the local authorities of this country reach the point at which they paid out less money in home assistance than they did in the corresponding month of 1931. From the coming of the Fianna Fáil Party into power up to September, 1936, in spite of all the moneys that the Minister was pouring out on relief, according to himself, in spite of the coming of unemployment assistance in the beginning of 1934, the condition of affairs in this country was such that the home assistance authorities throughout the country had to pay out every month more than was paid out in the corresponding month of the year 1931, the year before the Minister came into office. One of the signs given us by the Minister to show that the Government which preceded him was the greatest failure in Irish history was that the total number of persons in receipt of home assistance had risen to 70,325 at the time that he was publishing his propaganda. The latest figure we have for people in receipt of home assistance is 82,987, one-sixth higher, in spite of the fact that huge sums of money are being paid out in respect of unemployment assistance, and that 40,000 persons, unable to find work otherwise, are said to be engaged on public works. Judged by home assistance, we have that situation. Emigration was assuming the proportions of 27,000 a year, judged by the 1935 standard, and going higher, judged by the 1936 standard.
One of the points made against the previous Government was “that poverty and destitution were widespread, with a consequent heavy drain on public funds for the relief of distress.” One of the schedules issued by the Minister for Finance in connection with his Budget statement is a schedule indicating the “enlightened social policy” that has been started. When moneys were provided for the relief of distress before the Fianna Fáil Party came into office it was a sign of the failure of the people who were in government. Now, just as emigration is “an outward  movement of population,” the heavy drain that is put on public funds for the relief of distress is to be described as “an enlightened social policy.” The people are said to be able to bear the burden that is being put on them, a burden which amounts, in fact, to £7,649,000, exclusive of the borrowing raised per year in revenue, more than was raised per year in the five years before, £5,600,000 being a direct additional raising of taxation, and taking non-tax revenue, together with an additional imposition of £2,000,000 that was formerly imposed for other purposes and that is now being imposed for different purposes by the Minister.
Now, let us take agriculture first. Our people, we are told, are better off than they were in the five years which preceded the advent of the present Government. One of the charges against the Government that, according to the Minister's colleague, was “the greatest failure in Irish history,” was that the number of persons engaged in farm work from 1927 to 1931 had fallen by 35,000. We have had a certain amount of argument between the Minister for Industry and Commerce and other members of the House about the figures relating to agricultural employment. Take the total number of males employed in agricultural. I am giving the figures from statistics issued by the Department of Industry and Commerce. I have expressly stated that during the Fianna Fáil period of office, 2,202 persons, males, have lost their employment in agriculture. The Minister for Industry and Commerce says that we cannot add up. He would like to shift and talk about paid male labour. Very good.
When the Fianna Fáil people said that there were 35,000 persons less  employed in farm work in 1931 as against 1927, they ignored this completely: that something like 45,000 or 17,000 persons had been deliberately taken off for statistical purposes, that is the number of members of farmers' families recorded as being engaged in agriculture. For the purpose of showing the solidity of our economic foundations, let us compare the Government's achievements in the last five years with the previous five years as regards paid male labour in agriculture. Again I quote from the Minister's own statistics. Between June, 1927, and June, 1931, the number of paid males in agriculture had increased by 18,428. Between June, 1931, and June, 1936, the number of paid males engaged in agriculture had fallen by 532. It has been stated that the way to provide against emigration, to provide against “the outward movement of population,” is to provide employment in this country, and in so far as employment means employment for wages, and in so far as agriculture is concerned, five years of Fianna Fáil administration have reduced the number of men paid wages in the June of the year by 532 persons, and the greatest failures in Irish history, in the same period of five years before the Fianna Fáil Party came into office, in the period which bore the brunt of the agricultural depression that is only now beginning to be realised by some members of Fianna Fáil, added 18,428 persons, male paid labour engaged in the agricultural industry.
One of the statements that is made as indicating how the agricultural industry must be well off is that in the matter of sugar there is £1,400,000 that, under other circumstances, would find its way into the Treasury, and that now, with the exception of £95,000, “goes to the benefit of the beet growers and those engaged in the factories and ancillary industries.” We are told that £1,305,000 goes to the beet growers.
The Minister for Agriculture, at any rate, will admit that if beet growing is to reflect itself in improved economic conditions for the workers in agriculture, that ought to be so in  places like Carlow, Kildare, Leix, Louth and Wexford. Yet we find that during the period when the number of paid male labour in agriculture was reduced, the wages in these counties were substantially reduced also. Again the official figures show that in spite of £1,305,000 of a subsidy for beet alone, paid by the purchasers of sugar, across the counter for their sugar, and going, as the Minister for Finance said, to the benefit of the beet growers and those engaged in the factories, the wages of agricultural labourers in Carlow are down by 3/- a week; in Kildare they are down by 6/- a week; in Leix, Louth and Wexford they are down by 3/6 a week.
That is the state of affairs in which we are told that the condition of our people has improved steadily. From a period during which over 18,000 additional agricultural male labourers were, as it were, put to work, and which was described by Fianna Fáil members as a period of the greatest failure in Irish history, we now turn to a period of five years when a greater strain was put on the popution of the country than ever before, to try and build up and support our agriculturists, to find that the number of persons employed for payment in agriculture has gone down and the wages have been substantially decreased.
We heard Deputy Keating last night doing what the Wexford County Committee of Agriculture also did—throwing aside completely the official figures of wages for agricultural workers and saying that agricultural labourers in Wexford are only paid 8/-, 9/- and 10/- per week. We had Deputy Hales in a very simple and plain speech yesterday showing what his position was. He said he was growing 21 acres of wheat, but left to himself he would only grow four. If he had to continue to grow 21 acres of wheat, his farm would deteriorate. In fact, he said that the foundation upon which the well-being of our people must rest was deteriorating very definitely as a result of the policy he was pursuing—pursuing because he was forced to pursue it; and pursuing in circumstances in which employment in agriculture and the amount  of wages available in agriculture, instead of increasing, were decreasing.
Then we come to the industrial side. The Minister for Industry and Commerce indicated that 75,000 persons were put into employment during the period of office of the Fianna Fáil Government. It ought to be a very simple thing to say in what direction these people were put into employment. I submit that if the 75,000 persons come from the propaganda sheets of the year 1932, they have at least found a promise that they are prepared to say was implemented. But when Deputy Corish asked for information as to where these additional persons had been put into employment, he could not get that information. There are other aspects from which we can examine the industrial ground upon which this country must stand, if it is to carry on the work of keeping its people, carry on the work of government, and, particularly, if it is to be able to stand the terrible drain of taxation imposed at present on the country.
The preliminary figures of the Census of Production issued some time ago indicate that the increase in the gross production of the 23 industries dealt with in these returns, in the year 1935 over 1931, was £11,600,000. Deputy McGilligan has already had some argument with the Minister for Industry and Commerce on the subject of what is paid across the counter for that £11,600,000 worth of increased production. I am prepared to be even more modest than Deputy McGilligan was for the purpose of trying to reach some conclusion on the matter. I suggest that when wholesalers' profits, cost of transit and retailers' profits have been added to that £11,600,000, they amount to an additional £5,000,000. So that the increased production amounting to £11,600,000 means, when the goods are disposed of, a passage across the counter of about £16,600,000.
In these circumstances we naturally ask what is the addition to the wage pool of the people as the result of the industrial production which demands that amount of payment across the counter. We find that the increase in  wages for the same period was £1,427,000. So that out of the £16,000,000 odd paid across the counter for increased industrial production, wage earners were only provided with an additional £1,427,000 in wages to purchase these materials. In other words, for every pound that crossed the counter, to take off the retailer's or wholesaler's hands the increase in industrial production between 1931 and 1935, 1/8½ was the amount that went into the wage earner's pockets. That wage earner is the man who has been struggling along all the time. He is the man who was told in 1932, when £4,000,000 additional taxation was being then put on to the people for the emergency Budget, that all that money was going to come off the rich. Ministers and Deputies went around the country explaining that very fully. He is the man on to whose back the greater part of that taxation has gradually slipped back. So much so, that we had the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance putting his back to the wall here last year and saying: “Why should not the workingman pay?”
The workingman is the person who is paying. So far as the increased industrial production is supposed to be solidly laying the foundation upon which our people can live and these burdens be raised, his position is shown by the fact that he gets 1/8½ as his share of the money that has to buy this increased industrial production out of every additional pound for, say, the retailer. To the ordinary person looking on, there is not very much soundness or solidity in that particular side.
Not only has the worker to bear the taxation, and to bear the high cost of bread, flour, bacon and sugar, but it is interesting to see how the tariff system, which has been set up to bring about increased industrial production, is reacting on the worker. The Minister for Industry and Commerce, addressing a meeting of drapers, recently said:
“Very often, if you go to a retailer he will give you a lot more information, a lot more reliable information, and a clearer picture of things, than you could get from any  of the official statistics that are knocking around.”
We heard a lot about the cost of living figure. That is another of the things that show that everything is in a very good economic position, and that the workers are better paid than ever. But the number of things that enter into the cost of living figure is very limited. I took a tip from the Minister for Industry and Commerce, and went to a retail trader on the one hand and to a wholesaler on the other hand. I took a certain line of goods, cups and saucers, mugs, tea-sets, dinner-sets, milk-jugs, enamelled basins, buckets, scrubbing brushes, teaspoons, enamelled kettles, zinc buckets, table knives and forks, and got the 1931-32 and 1936 prices. The wholesaler gave me the retail prices as he expected retail prices would run from his point of view. The retailer, over a somewhat increased list, gave me retail prices. It is well worth while enshrining them on the records of the House. I will take the retailer's list: Cups and saucers were 3½d., they are now 6½d., 7½d., and 9½d.; cups were 1½d., now 3d.; delph mugs were 2½d., now 6½d.; tea-sets were 3/11, now 9/11; dinner plates were 3d., now 4½d. and 6½d.; tea plates were 1½d., now 2½d. and 3½d.; milk jugs were 5½d., now 8d. for the ½ pint jug; flasks were 6½d., now 1/6 for 1/2 pint and pint flasks; enamelled milk jugs were 10d., now 1/3; enamelled baths were 1/6, now 1/11 for the small size; enamelled basins were 1/-, now 1/6 medium size; buckets were 1/-, now 1/11; teapots were 1/1, now 1/9; nest of five saucepans was 3/8½, now 5/11; scrubbing brushes that ranged from 2d., 3d. and 4½d., are now 3d., 4½d. and 6½d.; sweeping brushes that were 4½d. and 6½d. are now 11½d. and 1/3; teaspoons that were 1d., now 2d.; enamelled kettles that were 1/2, now 1/9; zinc buckets were 6½d., now 10½d.; zinc baths were 11½d., now 1/3; go-cars were 7/11 and 9/11, now 12/6 and 14/-; table knives were 7½d., now 1/3; table forks were 2d., now 3½d.; tea knives were 6½d., now 1/-. In short, if we take the statement of affairs given by that retailer, items that would have cost 28/3½ in 1931 would now cost 51/2, an increase of something over 80 per cent. The  wholesaler's figures, that I have not read out, are in substantial agreement with the retailer's. In a list taken from the wholesaler of retail prices, items that in 1931 cost 19/6½ would now cost 37/-, an increase of 17/5½, or nearly 90 per cent. That is a list of items that go into the ordinary worker's house and quite a number of these items have a weekly or fortnightly breakage. The relief of 7d. that the Minister for Finance says is given in the Budget is completely swallowed up in the crockery line alone.
There is another side to the taxation of the workers on the one hand and industrial development on the other hand. Year after year the Minister has almost deliberately underestimated the amount of money he expected to get from customs duties. In spite of the nerve he has shown in presenting the bill to the people, he would like to reduce that item as much as he could, and therefore for a number of years we have had a system by which an estimate is made of what the Minister expects from customs duties and, at the end of the year, he has to announce, as he announced this year, that he received more than £600,000 out of the people's pockets than he pretended he was going to get. Another aspect of the people's income that has to be taken into consideration is this, that while there is an increase in the number of persons employed in the 23 industries covered by the Census of Production there is a decrease in their wages. The average wages paid workers in the 23 industries covered by the Census of Production for 1931 and 1935 show a reduction of £16 a year. If coachbuilding, which has certain complications, is excluded the average reduction is £10 a year—actually £9 18s. 0d. In some of the industries the fall in wages is markedly substantial. In the malting industry the average decrease in wages was £25 18s. 0d. a year; in aerated waters it was £4 3s. 0d.; in the tobacco industry, £5 6s. 0d.; in brickmaking £29 12s. 0d.; in the furniture industry, £5 8s. 0d.; in metals and engineering, £4 13s. 0d.; in engineering and implements, £20 12s. 0d.; in boots and  shoes, £24 4s. 0d.; in soap and candles £14 15s. 0d.; in fertilisers, £14 1s. 0d.
According to figures furnished Deputy Everett recently as to the average number of contributions under the insurance Acts paid for men, women, boys and girls, in so far as there is increased security in industry for any classes of men, boys, women or girls, the increased security for women is about half as against men. The increased security for boys is twice that of men, and the increased security for girls is three times that of men.
The Minister for Industry and Commerce again returned to the question of the consumption of certain necessaries of life as a criterion of the people's purchasing capacity. We cannot get away from that as one of the principal criteria of the people's purchasing capacity. Again, he indicated that people were spending more on clothing and were better clad. At the end of last year or the beginning of this year, the Minister for Industry and Commerce published the Trade and Shipping Statistics for 1935. He warned the House yesterday that you cannot compare one single year with another as if those of us who had been arguing on this question had been comparing a single year with another. We have brought the broad facts for the years 1933, 1934 and 1935—one year running with another—before the Minister for Industry and Commerce. These facts were not easily ascertainable but they could be ascertained with a certain amount of trouble. In respect of boots, clothing and a number of other articles, there were very definite indications that the purchasing power of the people had been reduced. In order to be impressed with that fact, it was not necessary for us to have that evidence because we had evidence that if every scrap of wheat, beet and agricultural produce kept out of this country by the general policy of the Government during the past five years had been made up by increased production on the part of the Irish farmer, the Irish farmer, nevertheless, had lost during the past five years £38,600,000 on his own production. We did not want any detailed statistics to  show that if the farmers lost £39,000,000 —an amount that was probably increased to the farmer by the confusion his industry was thrown into —the purchasing power of our people in the towns and the purchasing power of the rural labourer were definitely cut down. The figures issued by the Minister for Industry and Commerce give the contradiction direct to the things that he has been not only saying for the last two or three years but which he has the nerve to say to-day. He deliberately told this House that the people were using more boots than ever. In his own publication—Trade and Shipping Statistics, 1935, XXIII —it is shown that, in the year 1932, our consumption of boots was 47,000 dozen pairs below the level of the year 1931; that the figure for 1931 was 16,000 dozen pairs over the level of the year 1933, 19,000 dozen pairs over the level of the year 1934 and 14,000 dozen pairs over that of 1935. The statistics also show that the average cost of boots and shoes in the year 1935 was greater than it was for any year up to and including 1932. The Minister gave some explanation of that. He said that rubber boots and shoes of a cheap kind were coming in and were being largely used and that he put a quota or embargo on this footwear to drive people back to leather. That emphasises what I have been endeavouring to show before—that our consumption of boots and shoes is down by this substantial amount in spite of the fact that in 1934 and 1935 120,000 dozen pairs of boots and shoes of the kind the Minister mentioned yesterday were imported into this country at a cost of 17/7 per dozen. The Minister ought to realise that no blustering statements of his here will hide from the people who have to buy boots and shoes for their own families the facts disclosed by his official information and brought out by us in the figures we have furnished to him. These facts show that the people are not using the same number of boots and shoes now that they were able to use before. The reason they are not doing that is that they have not the money.
The Minister turned to clothing. He said we were using more clothing. I should like to know in what circles the  Minister moves when he tells the House that the cost of clothing is not rising. I should also like the Minister for Finance, when he comes to deal with the increased taxes on clothing, to discuss the extent to which these increased taxes are going to raise the cost of clothing. Due again to the falling purchasing power of the people, due to the taking of £39,000,000 out of the pockets of the farmers and the effect of that on the towns and on industry generally, the people, in the year 1932, consumed £923,000 worth less clothing and £700,000 of that was exclusive of hosiery. The position was worse in the following year. The consumption of clothing fell by £1,154,000, £916,000 of which was exclusive of hosiery. In the year 1934, the consumption was down by £887,000, £741,000 of which was exclusive of hosiery. In 1935, the consumption was down by £594,000, £568,000 of which was exclusive of hosiery. Where do these figures come from? They come from page xxi and xxiii of the Trade and Shipping Statistics, 1936, issued by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. We drew the attention of the Minister to that in the year 1934 and in the year 1935 on our own responsibility and we would have done so in respect of last year if we had not his figures on which to go. The Minister for Industry and Commerce or his Department, which is more logically-minded and more responsibly-minded——
General Mulcahy: I am happy to say that the Civil Service machine and the Civil Service brain do not wait for direction or order by a Minister to get their hand on the economic or social pulse of the people. I am prepared to give the Minister for Industry credit for asking to have the statistics put together in this form——
General Mulcahy: I tell the Minister this (it is the only thing with which I am concerned at the moment): that, in spite of the denials of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, carried  over three years, and in spite of the denials of the Minister for Finance, carried over the same period, our people, by reason of their reduced purchasing power, are not clothed as well as they were before Fianna Fáil came into office and before Fianna Fáil found a country out of which they could take £7,500,000 more by way of taxation than their predecessors did. There are other aspects of this matter that ought, perhaps, to be referred to, because there is something wrong with a pre-election Budget when the Minister is afraid to face the microphone of 2RN and glory over it in the way which he did in respect of the last two Budgets. There is something wrong when he will not allow other members of the Oireachtas to face the microphone, as they did for the last couple of years, and say what they think about the Budget.
General Mulcahy: The Minister and his colleagues described the Administration that preceded theirs as “the greatest failure in Irish history.” The Minister indicated that waste and extravagance in all Departments since 1922 “had accounted for about £20,000,000,” and that, “with efficiency and economy during those years, at least £50,000,000 might have been saved.” The total amount in tax and non-tax revenue received by the Cosgrave Administration in the five years ended 1932 was £122,378,000. In the five years that have just passed, the Minister and his Government received £150,627,000 or £28,248,000 more than their predecessors. Add to that the £10,000,000 taxation put on the country to cover pensions and local loans previously paid to the British Government—taxation that was left on the country by the Minister and collared for his own spending— and the Minister has £38,248,000 of income other than borrowing. He has had that for the last five years. So that not only has he not saved the amount that, he said, ought to have been saved on the pre-Fianna Fáil standard, but he has added another  £38,000,000 without any reference to the money he had from borrowing.
We find that there is a fall in the number of persons paid for working in agriculture, that there is a substantial fall in their wages, that industry is developing which is only giving 1/8½ in the £ to workers to buy the products of that increased industry. We find that our people are fleeing from the country, that they are more and more calling to the Government for assistance by putting them on relief and giving them home assistance, which, as I said, never got below the 1931 figure until September last and which has risen in the last month about which we have information—the month of February—above last year's figure. If the people who, under the conditions on which they carried on, were putting an increasing number of people into agriculture and were weathering, in a way that evoked the commendation of the Economic Committee of the League of Nations, the economic distress rampant throughout the world in 1930 and 1931—if they were the greatest failures in Irish history, how are we to describe the people who have taken the amount of money that the Fianna Fáil Government have taken out of the country, brought about the agricultural conditions they have brought about, reduced the population that, under an Irish Government, had begun to increase and are driving people into emigration again when emigration had been stopped. The ordinary language allowable in this Assembly fails to be of any assistance in describing such a Government. It may be because of some individual point or because of the broad aspect of things—I think it is the broad aspect of things—this Budget reflects that the Minister for Finance will not face the microphone and tell the people what he thinks of this glorious Budget, that he will not risk spoiling the effect of last St. Patrick's Day message to our friends abroad by allowing responsible Deputies to stand before the microphone and say what they think of the situation which is being created economically, socially and nationally and the enormous amount of money which the Minister is, again, in his  second abnormal Budget, seeking to get out of the people of this country.
Minister for Agriculture (Dr. Ryan): I listened very interestedly for over an hour to Deputy Mulcahy to see what was going to be his solution of the problem of economic disaster which he described. We got not a single bit of advice or help from him as to how the country is to be pulled out of the state into which he has alleged it has fallen. He gave us, it is true, quite a long list of figures. When it suited him, he relied on statistics and when statistics did not suit, he went to a retailer or to somebody else and got figures that suited him better. Listening to a long speech of that kind that led us nowhere, it is no wonder that it is generally accepted and has become a historical fact that the Government which preceded us was the greatest failure in Irish history. The Deputy gave quite a considerable portion of his time to criticism of our factories. He spoke of the output of the new factories as being worth about £11,000,000, and he went on to say that this was not sufficient because we had to add on wholesale and retail costs. One would imagine that in the good, old times, under Deputy Mulcahy's Government, when we imported everything, the imported goods were passed on to the consumer without any wholesale or retail costs.
I think that is the impression he intended to convey. His talk, insidious or open, about our home industries was most remarkable from a member of the Party that had issued a manifesto that they were going to encourage home industries more than we had done. In that manifesto they said they would not be satisfied with tariffs. They would, in addition to the tariffs, give credits, loans, etc., whatever “etc.” means there. But in this House they speak absolutely against every single item of that precious programme which they issued to the Irish people. Here every item of that programme is insidiously attacked. That shows the sincerity of their programme and it clearly shows that that programme was issued in order to hoodwink the people when asking for their votes. It shows that the Deputies  ties opposite had no belief in what they were saying. Deputy Mulcahy again went on to quote the official statistics. But these did not give him a sufficient total for the five years. He said “it was estimated” for the last year that emigration had reached 50,000. For the four years for which he gave the official figures the emigration statistics were 52,000. It is most extraordinary to see people from the opposite side of the House getting up here and having the courage, or the cheek if you like, to talk of emigration when the fact is that under their Government in ten years almost 250,000 people left this country. Now they talk as if their Government was responsible for stopping emigration, when everybody knows it was stopped through the emigration laws in America. Deputy Cosgrave at the time made an appeal to the American Government to allow his people in.
Mr. Cosgrave: That is a more huge joke. The Minister says (1) that the people went to America, and (2) that emigration to America was stopped. Does he not see the contradiction between those two contentions?
Dr. Ryan: Deputy Cosgrave made a speech at the time boasting to the people of Ireland that he kept those restrictions off Irish emigration, so there was no disapproval of emigration that time. It was regarded as a victory for the Government that so many people were able to get to America—that the American Government allowed more people in. The people did not fill the quota, he says.
Dr. Ryan: We know that at the time Deputy Cosgrave said that they went to America to see their friends. That was a joke. We do not make a joke of it. There were 52,000 emigrated during four years of our time, and 240,000 in the ten years of Deputy Cosgrave's régime. Still we are attacked about emigration, and the Deputies opposite charge us with so many people emigrating.
Dr. Ryan: We may bring them back yet. Sure Deputy Cosgrave said they would come back when they had seen their friends in America. Now we come on to the question of unemployment. We have been told about unemployment in the country. We are told that the numbers of unemployed are very large, and so on. When Deputy Mulcahy was dealing with this question, he gave the impression all through his speech, when the statistics did not suit him, that they were not reliable and he turned to somebody else to support him. He turned to Deputy Keating to support him.
Dr. Ryan: Deputy Mulcahy says that the statistics showing that a lot of people went into employment can be disproved. Now, what are the facts? We know that the sales of stamps under both unemployment and national health have increased. That shows that there has been an additional number of people put into employment. But then, that will not satisfy Deputy Mulcahy, because the fact does not suit his programme. When somebody from this side of the House talked last night of the increased consumption of tobacco, Deputy Dillon gave the explanation that when people were unemployed they had more time to smoke and drink. That is an amazing statement to come from the Opposition who, at the same time, are complaining that the unemployed are on the starvation line and that they have not enough to support themselves in food. I would be more inclined to agree with that than with the other argument,  but any argument will suit Deputies opposite for the time being.
Dr. Ryan: We have more consumption even with all the emigration, and we have more consumption of tobacco even with less employment in agriculture, and even with higher taxes more tobacco is being consumed. That is an extraordinary fact, but it does not bear out what Deputies opposite try to argue. Deputy Cosgrave talked about the increase in the cost of sugar. But the customs duty on sugar is the same now as it was in his time.
Dr. Ryan: It shows what Deputies opposite are trying to do. They are trying to make propaganda. They do not want to talk about the Budget. But I am talking about the Budget, and I say this Budget has brought down the price of sugar and the customs duty on sugar.
Dr. Ryan: We will refer that to purists in English. I am just as right as Deputy Cosgrave in that matter. We need not argue about English, because neither of us is very good at it. As far as the excise duty on sugar goes, it is lower under this Budget than it was in the time of Deputy Cosgrave's régime. The price of sugar is coming down to the same level as it was in the time of the late Government. Yet, in face of that you have Deputies opposite talking about  the cost of sugar. Deputy Mulcahy said that on his own without any regard to the truth.
Dr. Ryan: I have not that figure, but I know the price here is not going to be 3¾d. a lb., as some Deputy opposite said. Then we had a complaint from one of the Deputies opposite that the price of beef and mutton is going up, and some member of the Opposition said that something would have to be done about the price of beef and mutton. Now, that is a most extraordinary statement to come from the people opposite, who have been complaining for the last four or five years about the price of cattle and sheep. Yet when the price of sheep goes up they are complaining about the price of mutton.
It is very hard to please some people. Deputy Dillon made the point that we took the tax off horses and an equivalent tax had gone on to eggs. That is a statement without any foundation; as a matter of fact, it is a very unfair statement for the Deputy to make. He asked me a question about it the other day and I said the matter was under examination. He had not the courtesy or decency to put a question again before he made this allegation. There is no truth in the statement. As a matter of fact, when the tax was removed on horses the only thing we on this side yielded as against that tax was removing the penal rate on sugar coming into this country. There was no discussion about the tax on eggs or butter. This matter that has been raised is entirely a matter of readjustment or rearrangement  on the side of the British Government, and, if it is going to increase taxes as against us, then we will come into it. We have not been told that it is going to increase the taxes against us.
Dr. Ryan: It was not a part of it; it had nothing whatsoever to do with it. It is merely a rearrangement or a readjustment of the tax on butter and eggs. If it increases the tax on our butter and our eggs, then we come into it. If the tax is increased we are going to see about it.
Dr. Ryan: If the 100 per cent. and the 95 per cent. related to the one thing, it certainly would indicate an increase, but those figures do not relate to the one thing. Butter and eggs going to England are subject to a 40 per cent. tax at the port, but if an arrangement is made between the British Government and the importing merchant to take the tax when the goods are released from store instead, there is a slight alteration. They say: “We will only ask in those circumstances for 95 per cent.” You see, it is then quite a different thing. It is really all the same to us, but if we find that it is not, we will object to it.
Dr. Ryan: I might come to that yet, if you give me a chance. There is a lot of talk about flour. Deputy O'Neill said there was a hidden taxation there of over £2,000,000. He started off with the loaf and he gave us a figure which I am going to accept for the purposes of argument. He said that the loaf was 2d. dearer here than in England. He said it took so much flour to make so many loaves, and so much wheat to make so much flour and he calculated there was a hidden tax, as he called it, of £2,000,000. If he were building on a good premises these figures were not too bad, but he did not start off very well. There is the assumption that everybody in this country eats bakers' bread, an assumption which is about 66 per cent. wrong. That was not too bad for the Deputy. He made bigger mistakes than that later on. He then worked up to the assumption that it made a difference of  something over 15/- in the sack of flour. He took the number of sacks of flour consumed here and he multiplied that number by 15/- and got his £2,000,000. The Minister for Industry and Commerce quoted figures to show that the price of flour here differed from the English price to the extent of 9/8 per sack. He later pointed out that the withdrawal of the duty on wheat would reduce the price here by 2/- a sack. I saw by the papers this morning that the price had come down.
Dr. Ryan: I will go into that, but I think it works out exactly the same there for home-grown wheat as here. Of course, they have a different system. The British miller buys English wheat at its value, but every miller pays a tax on his output to make up the difference between that and the guaranteed price, which is somewhat lower than ours, but not so much. The millers are paying the difference between the world value and the guaranteed price. Here we ask the miller to pay the guaranteed price and that is all there is to it.
Dr. Ryan: No. At least, I am not sure about that. However, let us take it this way, after all. Let us take, for example, 20 stone of wheat coming in at a tax of 1/6, but 20 stone of wheat makes only about 15 stone of flour. I think about 70 per cent is the yield. It works out at 1/7, if you go to the exact figure.
Dr. Ryan: No, it is not. That is quite right. The Minister for Industry and Commerce said yesterday that the difference was 9/6. Even if we assume that 1/6 is all that should come off, Deputy O'Neill ignores that fact and comes along and makes it a difference of 15/- a sack, which makes it absolutely impossible to get down to any sort of figure which could be regarded as reliable; but, of course, the Opposition speakers will not take the official statistics, when they are given to them, if the figures do not suit them.
Dr. Ryan: The Deputy does not like to hear the truth. I said that Deputy O'Neill would be right if we were all consuming bakers' bread, but we are not all consuming bakers' bread, and Deputy O'Neill is about 66 per cent. out, which is about the general percentage of the incorrectness of statements by Opposition speakers.
Dr. Ryan: Deputy O'Neill, as I say, was wrong either from one angle or another. He must be wrong, because for Deputy O'Neill to be right he would have to base his figure on the assumption that all the bread consumed in this country was bakers' bread. He forgot that point, however, and therefore he is over 66 per cent. wrong there. Taking it from the other angle, if we talk of flour in connection with the figures quoted by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, then he is about 50 per cent. wrong. So he is either 66 per cent. or 50 per cent. wrong.
Dr. Ryan: I am not admitting it. I am assuming it is right. I did not hear the Minister for Industry and Commerce yesterday, but he told me afterwards that the findings of all the commissions and inquiries held into this matter proved, and that history also proves, that there must be at least 5/- difference between the price of flour here and the price in Great Britain. It is a geographical fact.
Dr. Ryan: Now, there was also an attack made here by Deputy Brennan on the home-grown wheat policy as being responsible for a part of this price. Deputy Brennan, of course, is only running true to form, because, if we look up the report of the Economic Commission that sat some years ago and went into the question of wheat—Deputy Anthony was on that commission—it will be found that Deputy Brennan opposed wheat-growing and gave several reasons why you should not and could not grow wheat in this country. He mentioned the climate, the soil, and a number of other factors. He gave several reasons and advanced most conclusive arguments to show that the person who would grow wheat in this country would be very foolish and that the Government that would encourage wheat-growing in this country would be very criminal, and yet we now have the policy of Fine Gael, with Deputy Brennan, Deputy Cosgrave and other Deputies signing it, and they are now going to encourage wheat-growing—a criminal act on their part, therefore.
Dr. Ryan: If Deputies opposite are opposed to it, I wish they had the courage to say it, because it would be of considerable help to us, but they now say that they are going to encourage wheat-growing.
Dr. Ryan: He does not encourage wheat-growing, but if any farmer down the country happens to be doing well out of wheat and to be satisfied with the wheat-growing policy, then Fine Gael will come along and say that they are going to do the same as Fianna Fáil has been doing, and then, when the Manchester school comes along they can be told by Fine Gael that they do not agree with wheat-growing—that they do not encourage it. That was very well thought out.
Dr. Ryan: I wonder could we? “Ráméis” would be one word to translate it into. Now, let us come to  bacon. I brought a Bill into the Dáil, almost two years ago, I think, to regulate the pig and bacon industry. It was a Bill that was generally accepted. It was what was called a non-controversial Bill and it was agreed to by all Parties. A Select Committee was appointed to go into the Bill and examine its details, and we were all great friends on that Committee. There was no trouble at all. As a matter of fact, there was not a single division on that Committee and there was no division in this House— just to show how non-controversial the Bill was. Now that the Bill is operating, however, one would imagine that the Opposition Party had nothing whatsoever to do with it. Of course, it is just up to their standard of honesty in most things. Deputy Dillon attacks the Pig Board and he attacks the Bacon Board. Deputy Cosgrave does not know much about bacon, but some of the other Deputies also attack it as if they had nothing to do with it or as if they would not have anything to do with it. They attack it when things go wrong. Of course, naturally, when things go right and the farmer says: “Thanks be to goodness, we are getting a good price for our pigs now,” the Opposition members will say: “Yes, we helped to put that through.” When things go right, they are willing to take the credit, but when there is anything wrong, they dissociate themselves from it.
Under that Bill there was a stabilisation fund created, because the idea of the Bill was to give a guaranteed price for pigs over a period so that the farmer would know a week, two weeks or a month ahead what he would get for his pigs if he brought them to the factory. We could not do that with the rise and fall of prices in the foreign markets—though we might do it at home—unless we had a stabilisation fund to make up to the factories at times when they were paying too much for pigs and to take from the factories, at times when they were paying too little. That stabilisation fund is an absolute necessity for any such scheme. Last autumn we had a good many pigs in this country. We had more than the normal consumption would demand and, therefore, the price  of bacon had to come down for the consumer to encourage him to eat more bacon. At the same time the factories were paying more for pigs than the price of bacon would warrant. They were paying a higher price for pigs during the autumn of last year than had been paid during the same months in any year for the last seven or eight years, or perhaps back to the War years, and they had to draw on the stabilisation fund to compensate them for the difference. Now they are paying into the fund. They are paying a high figure. At least they were paying 12/- per cwt. into the stabilisation fund quite recently and the price of bacon is high, much higher than it was last autumn, but it is nothing like 146/- per cwt.
Why do Deputies want to exaggerate these matters? I do not see that it does any good to the country or even to themselves. Deputy O'Neill got up and made the statement that he had to pay 146/- per cwt. to a Cork factory while bacon was being sold in England at 92/- per cwt. He gets a quotation for “middles” from the Cork factory and he then talks about the price of sides of bacon on the English market. Surely a pig is not composed entirely of back rashers? That is what Deputy O'Neill wants to make out. If we could produce a pig composed entirely of back rashers, we could give up every other form of farming because we would make our fortune on that alone. That is what Deputy O'Neill wants. He gets a quotation for “middles” from the Cork factory and he compares that with the prices for Wiltshire sides on the British market. If any Deputy can produce to me an invoice from a factory showing that he is being charged 146/-, 136/-, 126/ or even 116/- for sides, I shall admit that the bacon factories have been telling me lies, or at least have been conveying lies to me, because the price for sides is not, according to my information, as high as 116/-. Yet, we have it stated by a responsible Deputy from the opposite side, in order to make a case, that he paid 146/-.
Dr. Ryan: The Deputy will stand with Republicans or anybody else against us if he thinks that it will get him a few votes, but the Republicans will not vote for him even though he does so. I know the Deputy will scrounge anywhere in order to get a few votes, but it will be no use to him. 146/- for “middles”! That is the sort of thing you get from the opposite side. I am introducing an amending Bill shortly. The Dáil will perhaps pass it. Let Deputies then put forward any provisions they desire. The Bill will be coming in before the election. Let Deputies opposite say what they want to do before the election.
Dr. Ryan: Evade the question as best you can. There will be an amending Bill introduced here before the election. We shall let Deputy Cosgrave, Deputy Mulcahy and these other political experts advise their Party what they should do. Let them be straight about it and tell the farmers whether they are going to support stabilised prices.
Dr. Ryan: We did arrange about it. We set up the prices commission. These red herrings and evasions of straight questions will never serve the Deputy. Deputy O'Neill, speaking yesterday on the question of subsidies, gave a figure of £2,000,000 as representing the tax on sugar, which he later reduced to £1,600,000. When I corrected him on that figure, he said that, roughly, it cost £1,000,000. His figures were very rough indeed. I estimated that the programme would cost about £17,000,000, but he added on £3,000,000 that I forgot about. If I were to continue listening here to the Deputies, I do not know what the figures would go up to.
Dr. Ryan: I am not going to say very much more. Deputy Mulcahy estimated that we raised in taxation about £8,000,000 more per year in the last five years than Deputy Cosgrave's Government. I am sure that if these figures are examined home it would be possible to dispute them.
General Mulcahy: I shall give them all to you in a moment. The average yearly increase in tax revenue was £3,518,000 and in non-tax revenue, which included the annuities paid by the farmers, £2,130,000, making a total of £5,649,000. You have to add to that £2,000,000, which is charged on the people for pensions and local loans to be paid to the British and which are not paid to the British, and you have a gross total of over £7,000,000.
General Mulcahy: The Minister is making a distinction along the lines of the argument that there used to be emigration but now there is an outward movement of population. You put on a levy now, but that is not to be called a tax.
Dr. Ryan: There is no tax on essential food. Where did the £3,500,000 come from? We hear about the poverty in the country. We have not raised a single halfpenny tax on essential food, and therefore this money must have come from direct taxation such as income tax and tax on luxuries.
Dr. Ryan: If that figure of £3,500,000 is correct—I am just assuming that it is, because it suits my argument—we have brought this country to such a state that the people can afford to pay that extra taxation and still not feel it. They are just as well off as before; in fact, they are consuming more, as far as we can see, of the things that are taxed
Dr. Ryan: I am going to prove that now. The Minister for Finance in his Budget statement told us that the yield from tobacco duties was £4,422,000, against an estimate of £4,240,000. There is an increase in the consumption of tobacco. I am regarding that as a luxury for the moment, although, strictly speaking perhaps, it should not be so regarded. Even though we have increased our taxation by £3,500,000, there is more tobacco consumed. The figure for the yield from beer duties was the highest for a number of years. It was going down and down under the last Government but is beginning to go up now. That may not be a good thing from some points of view, but at least it shows that the people can afford to consume more beer. The yield from the duties on motor-cars and parts has increased. We are consuming more cars and parts than before.
Dr. Ryan: When the Deputy's Party was in power one person in 1,000 could not buy it. That is the difference. The betting duty has increased. The people have more money to bet. Again, perhaps, that is not a good thing, but it shows that the people are better off.
Dr. Ryan: The yield from table waters has increased. That is another good sign that prosperity is increasing. Again, the sugar duties yielded more than was expected, and more than for some years past. The spirit duties yielded more. Finally, the motor vehicle duties brought in more than was expected. I am not mentioning income-tax. I believe Deputy Cosgrave admitted that we were taking more from the income-tax payer than under his Government.
Dr. Ryan: You would not. I do not think very many of them pay income-tax. In regard to this point which has been made about increased taxation, there might be some justification for the argument of Deputies opposite if we were putting increased taxes on sugar, tea, or essential foods, or if we were putting so great a burden on the income-tax payer that income-tax  was declining in yield—the same applies to tobacco and spirits—but the opposite is the case.
General Mulcahy: Perhaps the Minister would deal with just one point. Why was there a decrease of 532 in the number of males paid for employment in agriculture in June last year as compared with June, 1931?
Dr. Ryan: I do not know; perhaps the Deputy will consult Deputy John Keating. I was speaking to several farmers last Sunday and they told me that all over their area the agricultural wages had gone up. I do not know whether or not the Deputies opposite have that experience.
Dr. Ryan: I am just stating the fact. I am not going to statistics; I am not even going to Deputy Keating or Deputy Hales. I am only saying what I was told by those farmers—that agricultural wages are going up all over their area.
Dr. Ryan: I want to say, finally, that there is nothing in the point which the Opposition are making. We are not taxing essential food stuffs. We are only taxing luxuries, and the yield from those taxes is not going  down, which shows that those things can stand the extra taxation, and no great blame can be placed on us if we have taken that money and increased our social services considerably by doing so.
Mr. Cosgrave: The Minister referred to various items showing an increase in revenue. Let us just take one. Perhaps the Minister might on another occasion improve upon the information that he gave the House. He said that the yield from tobacco duties was up. It may have been up, but what the Minister said in his speech was that the tobacco duties gave £4,422,000 against an estimate of £4,240,000. Now, that is different from getting more money from tobacco. It may be that more money came in last year than came in the year before in respect of tobacco, but that is not the information that the Minister gave us. We will not have the exact figures until next August, September or October, although the Minister has them, I presume.
The beer duties produced £3,219,000, the highest for a number of years. I would like to know in that connection if that figure is meant to reflect a higher consumption of beer as distinct from the rate of duty on beer. It might not mean a higher consumption. It might mean that duty was paid in respect of stocks on hand; that there was a lean stock on hands on, say, 1st April, 1936, and that there was a considerable stock on hands on the 31st March, 1937. However, these are small, inconsiderable points. I have mentioned them because of the significance which appeared to be attached to them by the Minister for Agriculture, who has just gone out. The Minister was at pains in the later portion of his statement to tell us that they had now taken the taxes off food stuffs.
In looking through the speech of the Minister for Finance in connection with sugar, I find it difficult to extract from it anything in the nature of a definite statement as to what the price of sugar is going to be. He said that owing to the unsatisfactory  nature of the sugar industry in other countries, we had to have 16/4 of a customs duty on sugar in excess of the excise duty on sugar.
That meant, so far as the sugar manufactured in this country is concerned, that its price was approximately £16 a ton more than the price at which sugar can be imported here. It is, of course, held that enormous advantages have accrued to agriculture by reason of the introduction, or the extension rather, of the sugar beet scheme. As a matter of fact it has not conferred anything like the advantages that have been claimed for it. The farmers received something like £800,000 for the beet which entailed certain costs on them for seeds, manures, rents, rates, cost of labour and so on. I venture to say that out of that £800,000 the farmers got they did not make more than £200,000, or 25 per cent. I think it would be pretty extravagant to say that they made £200,000 while the cost to the State was £800,000. If we take the sums paid in respect of wages and all the rest, we get the figure of about £1,000,000.
“Another asset to which I should like to refer is our holding in Comhlucht Siuicre Eireann, Teoranta. Comhlucht Siuicre Eireann, Teoranta, as is well known, owns and operates four sugar factories. One of these it purchased as a going concern from the old subsidised undertaking known as the Irish Sugar Manufacturing Company, Limited.”
Mr. Cosgrave: At any rate, the fact of the matter is that that particular experiment is the most expensive that could have been introduced to this country. It costs £1,000,000 a year up to date. It may be that if the price of continental or foreign sugar increases it will not cost so much, but it will cost at any rate the difference between the excise duty and the customs duty per cwt.
Mr. MacEntee: I do not like to see the Deputy doing an injustice to his argument. He has said that it is costing the country £1,000,000 a year up to date. The Deputy is under-estimating, because the figure that I bring out in my statement is £1,400,000.
Mr. Cosgrave: The Minister brings that figure out in connection with an entirely different matter—that is the revenue that he would have got. I am not dealing with revenue, but with the actual cost. I am prepared to take the Minister's figure of £1,400,000 in connection with which he says:
“The whole of this £1,400,000, with the exception of about £95,000 representing dividends and debenture charges, goes to the benefit of the beet growers and those engaged in the factories and ancillary industries.”
What is their net profit out of it— not 25 per cent. It is not effective to the extent of 20 per cent. on £1,400,000 and that is the Government's policy. Would it not have been far better to have distributed that sum of £1,400,000 in some more productive manner than by simply changing root crops, oats and barley or something else for the growing of beet? What is the actual number of acres employed in the growing of sugar beet? Something like 55,000 or 56,000 acres.
Mr. Cosgrave: Certainly. Have we not said all through that there is this difference between us and the gentlemen sitting on the opposite side—that we are not revolutionaries, we are constructive. They are the revolutionaries. They did the damage, and the country must learn that it will have to pay for political experiments of this nature. I only hope, and hope sincerely, that, as a result of the mismanagement of affairs by this Government, there will not be an outcry in respect of tariffs and subsidies, which is quite possible and more than probable. It would appear, in connection with this Budget, as if it were the Government's intention to bring that about. We are told that it is a great Budget, that there is no longer taxes upon food. The sugar tax remission is not coming off until the beginning of next month, whatever date that is.
Mr. Cosgrave: Very good. We come to tea. The tea duty is coming off on the 14th June. All these taxes are still on. Whatever we may say about the literary ability of the Minister for Agriculture and myself with regard to the description—and I give him all the honours in that connection, as I have no claim to literary ability—the fact is that they are still on and we are still paying these taxes. The Minister for Agriculture referred to the good old times when we imported everything. Did anybody ever hear such nonsense? He meant during the term of office of the last Government.
Let us mark the distinction between the fiscal policy adopted by the last Government and the fiscal policy put into operation by this Government.  When it seemed to us an opportune time to help industrial expansion in this country and to afford permanent, stable employment to our people, the system we adopted was this. We introduced a whole system of tariffs estimated to bring in, approximately, a revenue of £2,000,000 but, in the same Budget in which we imposed these tariffs, we reduced taxation by an equivalent amount, leaving the level of the burden on the taxpayers exactly as it was before—getting in the same sum in revenue, but not increasing in any way the cost of living or the cost of the essential articles used by the people. That is the only way in which it is possible for any country to secure a successful tariff policy. If the present Government had adopted that method, there would have been greater security and stability and a better type of industry and manufacture here than there has been. What was the result of our policy? The cost of living during a whole series of years gradually diminished. What has been the effect of the Government policy during the last few years? A gradual increase in the cost of living.
What is the important point in connection with the present Budget? The outstanding feature is simply this, that last year the Minister estimated to collect on an average, from every citizen, man, woman and child—it is a bad method of calculation, but they are the people who went into averages when they were in opposition, and if they are going to get hammered now by the same type of artillery that they used then, it is to their advantage——
Mr. Cosgrave: I am going to employ the same type of ammunition that I had the pleasure of receiving from the enemy ranks when over there. The average amount that the Minister estimated last year to get from every single man, woman and child, baby and lunatic in this country was £10 3s. 6d. The taxation that he is imposing upon them in this Budget is  £10 9s. 4d. per head. And that is a good Budget, that takes all the taxes off foodstuffs, we are told. In my opinion, and I give it for what it is worth, that is the worst feature of this Budget. We are told that their endeavour is to put the taxes on the backs of those best able to bear them. Is it done? It is not. During these last few years the taxes on what the Minister used very glibly to call the rich have increased by about £1,000,000; but general taxation has gone up by £5,000,000. But there is worse than that.
There are other impositions borne by the taxpayer and consumer which do not appear in this Budget. There is the butter levy. The Minister for Agriculture apparently lost sight of that when dealing with two food taxes. What is the butter levy? Is it because we call a thing, which is a tax, a levy that the Minister claims there is no tax on foodstuffs? Is it because it does not go into the revenue that it is not to be called a tax? The people have to pay it. It matters very little to them whether it goes into the Minister's revenue or into a special cashbox belonging to the Minister for Agriculture as long as they have to pay it. That is the main thing they have to consider. While the Minister, I suppose, claims a great deal of credit for having taken 2d. per lb. off butter, the fact is that while butter is value for about 100/- per cwt., the Minister has to pay 3d. on every pound of butter going into the British market to get it through the customs door. If 2d. has been taken off the levy in respect of butter, the people must remember that they are still paying the other 1d. to allow it to go in.
The Minister for Agriculture dealt with the number who emigrated out of this country during the ten years from 1922 to 1932. They always refrain from giving us the number who emigrated in the last year. Let us consider this matter of emigration. A pretty considerable number emigrated in 1922, 1923 and 1924. These were not happy years in this country by any means; there was great prosperity in the country to which they went. In fact, up to 1929, the prosperity, the industrial boom, and the financial  attraction in America, I suppose, beat any previous period in the history of that country. Young people, however much they might be attached to the land here, must have found it very hard to resist that attraction, more especially when they saw coming back to this country quite a number of Irish people, or the children of Irish people, who had made good in America. But it is a very strange thing that only 1,500 persons emigrated to America in the last year of our Administration. Amongst those who went during that period was a member of that Party over there. Mind you, he came back, and even cattle do not leave rich pasture for poor pasture. He came back and he was astonished and aghast at the poverty here—that was his description of it. If he were a wise man, I think he would have stayed where it was prosperous, although he has done pretty well here since he came back.
Mr. Cosgrave: It does not matter. The fact is that a country which people think was not prosperous at all nevertheless attracted him back from America; and his only complaint was that he was astonished at the poverty of this country. We had an increase in population in the last year of our Administration. During the last couple of years of our Administration, notwithstanding the great prosperity in America, there was an increase in population here. It reached a certain point, and that is where the present Government came into administrative control. They have never reached the peak point of population in this country of that last year of our Administration, and it is now going down. Strangely enough, and different from Deputies opposite, we take no pleasure in this fact, that this country is not in a prosperous condition. It is no satisfaction to see the number of those who have to be helped from State funds increasing. But the fact is that this Budget, from two angles, shows clearly that the Minister's claim that there is prosperity is not true, and  cannot be substantiated. At no time in our history has such a large provision to be made for the unemployed.
Mr. Cosgrave: The sum provided is far bigger than ever. The estimated provision, I should have said, was never as big, and that at a time when we were told that the country is particularly prosperous. On the other hand, the amount provided for export bounties and subsidies is alarmingly high—over £2,500,000. If that has to be done for the industry that maintains two-thirds of our people, surely, on the face of it, it is an indication that that industry cannot be in a prosperous condition. The Minister for Agriculture referred to the question of flour. The Government's policy in my opinion, is responsible for increasing the price here over and above the British price of the sack of flour. Dealing with an item such as flour one has to bear in mind the fluctuations of the market. During the greater part of last year the difference in the price of a sack of flour here and in Great Britain was approximately 12/-, although in the British price, as far as I know, 4/6 was regarded as a sort of bounty to wheat growers there. Assuming that the Minister's claim is right and that 5/- of the amount is due to geographical conditions, what about the remainder?
The Prices Commission did not distinguish itself in an examination of that question some time ago. Its solution was that certain firms were making too much money, and that they should give some of it to those who are not making enough money. Flour is an essential item in the household, and its cost should be kept down, because it presses very hard on the poorer sections of the community. Having regard to the fact that we have a Price Commission and people who are interested in the success of industry and agriculture, it is their bounden duty to look into that matter. They should not be getting away from it by mentioning different cases put up by different members of the Opposition, but should get prices down. I have my doubts  if the figure mentioned by the Minister could not be got below the 5/-. The Minister for Agriculture gave us a little piece of information to-day. I think it is the first time it came from any of the Ministers. It will be in the recollection of a large number of people that I have been charged with responsibility for giving away, I think, £50,000,000—the figure varies occasionally—on my own responsibility. This morning we heard about a Bill which passed the Dáil, and for which the Minister for Agriculture has been brought to book and criticised. The Minister said that he had not passed it; that it was the Dáil did so. I had not £50,000,000 to give away, and in that respect I have to say what the Minister said—that it was the Dáil did so. I said that before. It was not until to-day that the Minister adopts the like I took all along for years—that it is the Dáil passes Bills and not the Government. The Minister for Agriculture totted up the likely cost of the policy put before him. He stated that there are £5,000,000 due in respect of land annuities, and that we accepted them as being due. That is quite true. We do. He stated that that item would cost £5,000,000. I say that it would not cost anything of the sort.
As I said on another occasion, in another place, in my view this dispute, which has occasioned such disturbance in our financial and economic conditions, could have been amicably settled for a sum less than the British have received in penal tariffs since the dispute started. The British Government, as well as a great many other Governments, have subscribed to a formula which was adopted, I think, at Locarno some years ago, that international payments can have only one basis, and that is the capacity to pay. There is no other way of arranging either international or other payments that arise between individuals, countries or municipalities. In my view, that is the only sensible method of solving that question. I rather think that no British Government is strong enough to refuse an offer of settlement in that connection,  and that in the interests of the country the sooner it is made the better. Our whole finance and economy is upset and made much more complex by reason of the conflict that has arisen between us. Take one item to which the Minister referred in the course of his speech. He brought in a Pigs and Bacon Bill a short time ago and sent it to a special committee. Having done that, the committee's report was agreed to and the Minister accepts no further responsibility, because all Deputies contributed in a co-operative spirit towards making the Bill a success. It was accepted as general policy. That is not my recollection exactly of what I heard from Deputy Dillon, but we can allow that to pass. The Minister also said that he is going to bring in another Bill; that that was the best he could do, and let others, if they could, do better. That is not our responsibility. Our responsibility in connection with Bills that come to the House is definitely limited. We can make suggestions, and we can criticise Bills, but in measures of that kind we have neither the resources at our disposal nor the information necessary to put up an alternative proposition.
We say this, that the question of bacon, just as other items of agricultural produce, falls for consideration in difficult and complicated times. There has to be taken into account a certain collection of money from consumers here, so as to lessen the bounties or subsidies that are paid in respect of exports of bacon. I think the Minister has a responsibility, even on the Bill that has been introduced. The price that has been fixed for pigs, generally speaking, has not been sufficiently remunerative, nor sufficiently attractive to bring people into production. It would take courage, and the Minister ought to have had it, to pay that price; in other words, to mortgage his stabilisation fund so as to get them into production. He ought to have foreseen, during the events of the last 12 months, a possible increase in the prices of agricultural produce, and it ought to have been his concern to increase stocks of agricultural produce.
Mr. Cosgrave: The Pigs and Bacon Board have to regulate this matter of home consumption, foreign consumption, and so on, and the cost is £13,000, although the revenue is £16,000. The Minister mentioned this matter here himself to-day, and surely Ministers are not omnipotent. Surely we have not arrived at the age of bureaucracy, plus autocracy?
Mr. Cosgrave: The point I want to make is that the Minister ought to have had more courage. He ought to have insisted and urged on the Bacon and Pigs Board—whichever is responsible for it—giving a price which would bring people into production and which would be remunerative.
Mr. Cosgrave: I say that if there is a stabilisation fund there, it ought to be funded, that there is money to be found. There is money enough to  spend on calf skins and there ought to be money there which would enable the Bacon and Pigs Board to make up the difference between, let us say, the factory price and the price which would compensate the farmer for raising the stuff.
Mr. MacEntee: I thought that subsidisation and all that sort of thing was anathema to the Deputy's Party? We have been subsidising butter production and we have been attacked for it; we have been subsidising wheat production and we have been attacked for it; we have been subsiding sugar production and we have been attacked for it. We are told that we are subsidising it to the tune of £1,000,000, and now the Deputy wants us to subsidise pig production.
Mr. Cosgrave: Does the Minister understand what the meaning of the Pigs and Bacon Act was? It is appalling if the Minister does not understand what it was. That was the very purpose of it. The stabilisation fund was introduced for that purpose, and my complaint is that it has not been employed. When the price was low, the people should have had an increase in the price and, when it goes high, you can give a lower price than the high price and make it up to the stabilisation fund. It is quite clear to me that the Minister does not understand that Act. If that is so, there is no use in my going on with that point, but it is a point that will appeal to those engaged in agriculture. It will appeal to pig producers, that, if there was any use whatever in the Pigs and Bacon Act, it was to bring people into production. It was to keep a general level of prices which would be remunerative and that if the market price of a pig is not sufficient, the stabilisation fund will make it up, and, later, when the price gets beyond that general level, the extra price goes in to make it up.
Mr. MacEntee: What the Deputy is saying is: “Subsidise production when the price is low and take the levy off when the price is high.” That is what the Dairy Prices (Stabilisation) Act was designed to do.
Mr. Cosgrave: Oh, nonsense. The Minister really does not know any, thing about it. It is only a waste of time. It is apparent from this document here that the Minister knows very little about business or finance, and the unfortunate thing about it is that the same thing applies to every other member of the Ministry. That is the unfortunate position the State is in at the present time.
Mr. Cosgrave: The whole success of the revenue of this country depends upon some evidence of prosperity in the people. If we tax them beyond what they are capable of paying, we are drawing upon capital, and apparently the more money goes into revenue, as has been the case in the last couple of years, the more they are going to get. Every year marks an increase in it. If the condition of affairs in the country was such that there was prosperity, there would not be the same objection to these high taxes, but where there is evidence of a very serious state of affairs in respect of the main industry of the country, it is appalling to see the Minister, year after year, becoming more rapacious in his demands upon the people.
The Minister has been singularly fortunate, or his Budgets have been very badly drawn, with the exception of one year. In one year he was  down £2,000,000. He was on the wrong side to that extent and he had to draw on balances, together with the Suspense Account, to make it good; but here is an item of £1,296,000 which it is proposed to borrow in respect of export bounties and subsidies. There is no doubt that, so far as the Government's policy is concerned, that is going to be a perpetual charge. They have no intention whatever of settling. If we dismiss from our minds the imminence of a general election, if we can exclude from our observation a possible by-election, there will never be a question of a settlement until either one or other of those two things arises in this country, and then every Fianna Fáil devotee goes around saying: “Did you hear the news? There is going to be a settlement as soon as this election is over. Directly it is seen that the Government has the people behind them, there will be a settlement, the best we ever had.” My view is that, so far as this Government is concerned, it is a perpetual item of charge and no justification can be made on any financial grounds or any principles of finance for borrowing it. Similarly with regard to employment schemes. The Minister made the case last year that we were making a special effort and were going to arrive at a point where further expenses in connection with these services would not be necessary. The amount is bigger this year than ever it was. I must say that, generally speaking, so far as the presentation of the table explanatory of the Budget is concerned, those items are selected to fill up a gap rather than because of any other reason for their insertion. Last year we had £950,000 for overestimation and, this year, it is £1,200,000. It is up by £250,000 because he was short that much.
Mr. Cosgrave: Certainly. The Minister would not have balanced his Budget last year but that he saved it from the unemployed. He saved £854,000 from the Unemployment Vote, which gave him a balance of £164,000.
Mr. MacDermot: Like Deputy Cosgrave, I have questioned each year, and I still question, the soundness of borrowing in order to pay export bounties and subsidies; but in former years, although the Minister set out with, apparently, the intention of borrowing, he did not in fact do so. I am, therefore, cherishing some hope that in the year that is to come he may succeed in providing for export bounties and subsidies without having to borrow or, at any rate, without having to borrow as much as he has made provision for. Apart from that, the main criticism I have to make of the Budget is that it does so little for the agricultural community—that it takes so little account of agricultural distress. A great many electioneering statements and speeches have been made, as was inevitable, in the course of this debate. The Minister will hardly deny that he set the example himself. The distress of the agricultural community is not, however, a mere electioneering fact, it is a real fact; and it is my contention now, as it has always been my contention, that if the Government are so pig-headed as not to settle the financial dispute with Great Britain by way of compromise, if they are so pig-headed as to hold out for what they can hardly think they will ever get-the total, unconditional surrender of the British  Government—if they insist on going on with this parody of an economic war, then they ought to provide bounties to the full amount of the tariffs imposed by the British Government. If there is no change in the outlook of the Government about the dispute with Great Britain, my view is that the Minister for Finance should make provision for bounties on that scale.
Apart from that fairly considerable objection to the Budget, I feel I ought to say that I think it was, on the whole, a good Budget and that the budgetary position disclosed for this country compares more than favourably with that of most countries. To say any more in praise of the Budget or of the Minister's stewardship would really be a feeble anti-climax as compared with the praise so liberally bestowed in the Minister's own long-distance oration a few days ago.
Certain remarks made from the Government Benches in the course of the debate I wish to comment upon— remarks which have, curiously enough, been rather strengthened in their misleading effect by some of the speeches from the Opposition. There seems to be a sort of conspiracy to maintain that this Government is a Government of self-sufficiency, that its policy has been one of achieved self-sufficiency, that this is a self-sufficiency Budget. This is not a self-sufficiency Budget. What prosperity we have here, as everybody knows who allows his mind to work, is, to a large extent, a reflection of the prosperity that is prevailing across the water in Great Britain. The budgetary position of this country and the whole economic position of this country would be infinitely less satisfactory if there was a slump going on in Great Britain instead of a very fair degree of enhanced prosperity. It would be infinitely less satisfactory if the Government had indeed, achieved a policy of self-sufficiency. This Budget is a British-market Budget. The policy of the Government is British-market policy. Everything they said before they came into power about the British market has been absolutely exploded. It was always obviously untrue that we did not need their market, but it has  ceased to be even apparently true that that market was declining, that that market was getting every year less valuable.
The prosperity and the capital expenditure going on in Great Britain is a great thing for this country, though it also creates certain problems for this country. A great deal has been said on the subject of the emigration that is taking place. I think that the Government spokesmen have shown bad judgement in attempting to deny the volume of that emigration. The volume is enormous, but I think it is only fair to admit that, whatever Government was in power here and whatever policy was being pursued here, a prosperity wave and a wave of capital expenditure in Great Britain would be sure to act as a magnet to attract people from over here in search of higher wages and greater opportunities of advancement. Therefore, I should agree that while what is going on in Great Britain has been the means of putting this country in as favourable a position as it is and has allowed us to have a Budget as favourable as the one the Minister for Finance has produced, it is also contributing greatly to this problem of emigration. Personally, I am horrified to see our best young people streaming out of the country the way they are; but I admit that the Government can do nothing to stop it except to work for improvement of the condition of agriculture. The vast majority of those who are going are from the agricultural districts, and I would say what I have said here before, that agriculture still remains a kind of Cinderella where least of all it ought to be a Cinderella, that the standard of living and the prospects for young people in agriculture are worse than in any other department of our economic life, and that if there had never been a so-called economic war, the time had come when it was really incumbent on us to make a bold and determined effort to raise cur agricultural population to a higher status. Of course, the Government have created immense additional difficulties for themselves by plunging into this financial dispute with Great Britain. The Minister for Industry and  Commerce has talked about similar agricultural difficulties, or worse difficulties, existing in Denmark. Anyone who is familiar with what has been going on in Denmark knows that the difficulties in Denmark are due to their not being able to get as much into the British market as they want. What is going on in Denmark is not an argument against the British market, but just another argument for it. We have been told that the British are trying to strangle us, but they are, in fact, treating us better—even with the so-called economic war—than they are treating foreign countries, Denmark included.
When the Minister for Industry and Commerce gets up here, as he has now done several times, and asserts that the British have done their level best to ruin us and to crush the economic life of this country, he is saying something that is untrue and that is mischievous. If it is untrue, it is obviously mischievous, because it is not a good thing that a new and false reason for bitterness should be created in this country when I dare say there are true enough and real enough reasons for bitterness arising out of the past. Neither is it a good thing that our economic outlook should be confused by statements like that, because we are falling into a grave error if we think that our economic life is proof against any possible economic onslaughts on us in the future. If the British had really wanted to ruin us and to crush our economic life is proof against any so, with a little expense to themselves, I admit, but they could have done so in a very short time by putting an embargo on all our exports and not merely limiting themselves to trying to raise by tariffs the exact amount that they claimed from us. The British are treating us better than they treat foreign countries, and they are treating us better than they are treated by foreign countries themselves. The tariffs that we have to pay to the British are a fiea-bite compared to the tariffs the British have to pay to the United States. Yet, it is not held by anyone that the United States is trying to crush the economic life of Great Britain. The  truth is that the United States of America puts on the tariffs and taxes that it considers suitable to its own people. The British may take views that are utterly wrong about the justice of their claim on us, but at any rate they have limited themselves to the simple plan of trying to raise by tariffs the exact amount that they claimed. To argue from that that they are trying to crush out our economic life, or to argue from it that we have proved that we are able at all times to sustain any economic assault by them, is misleading the people of this country in a very dangerous way. I do not think the Minister for Industry and Commerce is misleading himself. He is too intelligent for that. I am sure he realises that what he is saying is nonsense, but it is not a good thing that the people should be misled by statements of that kind.
I repeat that this Government is not a self-sufficiency Government. So far as new industries have been established here, there have been and there will be new importations. We are substituting certain kinds of imports for other kinds of imports. We are importing now more in the way of raw and semi-raw materials and less in the way of manufactured goods. But continue importing we must, and continue exporting we must. This Government is not a self-sufficiency Government, but an internationally trading Government, nor is it an anti-British market Government, but a British market Government.
There are a number of problems facing us that are facing other countries. I wish we could hear more dispassionate discussion of these problems on occasions like this here in the Dáil. The problem of unemployment is, of course, one of these. Deputy Cosgrave has suggested that it is a bad thing that this Budget includes larger provision for the unemployed than any previous one, and that that in itself is a proof of economic decline. I do not agree with that argument. If that argument is true of us, it is true of other countries. I think it will be found, on examination of other countries' Budgets, that there are few of them that have not  reached a peak as compared with former years in the matter of providing relief for the unemployed. That is true even in England, where admittedly there is a wave of prosperity. The unemployment problem is there, and every civilised community is feeling more actuely its duties to the unemployed than it used to do in the past. If we are to fight Communism and social disorder and anarchy, we must go on doing our best on these lines of providing relief for the unemployed. Similarly, this problem of emigration and the movement of population is a very serious problem. The future of every country depends to a large extent on the manner in which it is handled and develops. One would like to see it admitted from the Government benches that this problem exists, and have it discussed in an impartial and dispassionate manner.
The cost of living has also become more and more a problem, and it is becoming more and more difficult for the poor man to balance his budget. Deputy Norton devoted his whole speech to complaining about the cost of living. What constructive suggestion did the Deputy make towards a solution of that matter? The time has come when we must open our eyes to the fact that the trend of social policy to which all nations are committed tends to increase the cost of living. Acts like the Conditions of Employment Act, which I warmly supported, tend to increase the cost of living. Successful strikes tend to increase the cost of living. There is hardly any measure about which Labour leaders are enthusiastic that does not increase the cost of living. That problem does exist and it is not going to be solved by a partisan approach. It is one of the problems in the solution of which the Party system is a positive hindrance.
I have nothing more to say except that I would like to repeat that I think, on the whole, this is a good Budget and that the Minister for Finance, keeping, as he said last year, within the system, has shown a favourable budgetary position and produced something that we can support. I do not know whether it was by deliberation  that he refrained from referring to the fact this year that he kept within the system, or whether it was accidental. That is another of the problems that I would like to hear a little more about in this House in a non-Party spirit. Capitalism is at present under fire from all quarters. It is not merely Communists and Socialists who now are denouncing capitalism. I was at a Christian Front meeting at College Green on Sunday week and I never heard worse about capitalism than I heard there.
Mr. MacDermot: I think it is—I think the Minister for Finance is entitled to refer to the system under which the Budget is constructed. I regard myself as an open-minded person and, looking at a country like England, where capitalism is maintained and where, combined with it, there is a strong social policy, and a tremendous growth of consciousness of the duty of the richer part of the community to the poorer and an extension of benefits to the utmost limit that the State can afford in order to equalise, as far as possible, the distribution of wealth, it seems to me that that system holds the field. I am waiting to hear an alternative system suggested rather than loose attacks on capitalism as something evil in itself.
Mr. McMenamin: Speaking in 1933 on the Budget, I ventured to state an elementary truth. I said that high taxation tends to reduce production in our industries, causes unemployment and increases the cost of living. In that year, I think, there was an increase by way of taxation on the previous year of £2,250,000. That increase was a bit of a shock for me after the promises made by the present Government prior to entering office. It was obvious then that this country was proceeding on the rake's progress. Since 1933 we have sown the wind and now we are reaping the whirlwind. It is quite useless here to discuss whether or not unemployment has increased. If a Deputy wants information  on that matter, let him go to the country and ask somebody there.
I said in 1933 that increased taxation would bring about unemployment and increase the cost of living. In that year supply services cost £24,217,504. Deputy MacDermot tells us that this is a good Budget. I wonder what is his justification for that. I wonder will he agree with me that the supply services in 1933 were too high because, according to the economists of the Fianna Fáil Party before they got into office, a sum of £21,000,000 for supply services was too high and that figure was to be reduced by them to the extent of £2,000,000. The method to be adopted was quite simple. According to the President, £1,000,000 would be got by knocking off £500,000 from the cost of the Army and £500,000 from the cost of the Civic Guards. The entire Party were on that line, but the President, I expect, accepts the collective responsibility.
The President blamed the high cost of the Army on the Oath. I am not sure that the Oath is gone. If it has gone, I do not see why the Army is being maintained on its present basis. Speaking in 1931, prior to the general election, when economies were a very material issue, the President said:—
“The Oath was the principal cause of the expenditure of £1,500,000 on the Army, which was maintained expressly for the purpose of keeping down a section of the people who, having been denied the opportunity of representation in the National Assembly, were thrown back to force.”
Further on the President said:—“The Army is there for the purpose of keeping down republicans, Sinn Féiners and anybody else who did not agree with the policy of the present Government.” I wonder is that what the Army is being kept for to-day —keeping down republicans, Sinn Féiners and anybody else who does not agree with the policy of the present Government? The President  went on:—“By removing the cause of dissatisfaction among the people, the cost of the Army could be reduced by £500,000.” Then he went on to deal with the police, those rascals, one of whom, in 1931, was standing behind almost every blade of grass in the country. The President declared that a lot of police work was of a political character and the force could be reduced and another £500,000 saved. Assuming no other saving could be effected, there you had £1,000,000 right away and we had the £21,000,000 representing supply services reduced immediately to £20,000,000.
What have we got this year? The supply services are to cost £29,270,269 and yet the Minister tells us he has reduced taxation. He got typed by somebody a speech consisting of 85 pages, all in order to tell us that he had reduced taxation. Evidently when he began this speech he forgot that he had authorised State officials to issue estimates for the current year and there is every indication that the increased taxation over last year amounts to £49,251. I think it is easy enough to put an end to this quibbling about taxation being reduced. Deputy Cosgrave has proved very definitely that it has not been reduced.
What is to be the result of the rake's progress? Where is it going to end? What are the tendencies? According to Fianna Fáil this country in 1931 was not fit to bear £21,000,000. I then agreed, and there was nobody stronger on that point than myself. I did not know exactly where the economies could be got; I did not get down to that. As a matter of fact, I think I was of opinion at the time a smaller army would do. But the Oath is now removed, and there is a free field for all the republicans, the Sinn Féiners and those other people who were blocked by the Oath from coming into this House. We were told that the Oath was deliberately kept there by the previous Administration to keep these people out of this House and keep them lawless. I wonder what is wrong with them now? What trouble have they, now that the Oath is gone? Apparently, the Army is still being maintained at a certain level for the purpose  of keeping down the republicans, the Sinn Féiners and all those other people. I am not keeping the Army there, I hope. I am one of the “other people” now. I was never a Sinn Féiner, a republican or a lawbreaker.
There has been a lot of juggling in an attempt to prove that there is no increase in the cost of living. The Minister talks in millions of pounds, in tons, sacks and barrels. There is no use in talking to the man in the street about that. The poor man has never seen a sack of flour, except in a shop, and he probably never saw a barrel of flour all his life. I heard an answer given to a question put by Deputy Dillon some day last week. Deputy Dillon said that 57/- had been quoted to him as the price per sack of flour and that was denied by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. I expect Deputy Dillon was referring to the price delivered at Ballaghaderreen. Here is the price quoted ex-mill last Wednesday—two days ago—55/- ex-mill Cork. However, there is no use in talking about sacks. There is no use in talking to a poor man about sacks.
Mr. McMenamin: The Minister for Agriculture admitted to-day that it was 54/-. However, where is the use of talking about sacks of flour or barrels of flour in Cork to a working man with a wife and family? I have been listening to all this babble and  talk that has been going on, and I thought that I would apply a simple test to the matter, an ordinary business test such as anyone would apply if he were in business himself. If a man was selling something cheaper than I, I would go to his shop and purchase the commodity concerned and find out for myself, firstly, was it the same price and, secondly, was it the same quality. I went down to my constituency on the 20th March and went into a shop to make some purchases. I learned before I went in what quantity of goods could be purchased by an agricultural labourer, who was a married man with four children, sufficient to provide for a week, or what he could purchase, irrespective of what he required, for these six souls for a week. The particular agricultural labourer from whom I got the information was earning 13/- a week. Of course, I suppose somebody will jump up immediately and protest that that was an outrageous way to pay an agricultural labourer, but there has been a lot of discussion in connection with the Board of Works Estimate on the fact that 12/- a week was being paid by the Board of Works.
Mr. McMenamin: Well, the Minister will want another 85 pages to explain that, but there is no explaining away the fact that the most work a registered unemployed man can get from the Board of Works for any week is three days' work a week and that he gets 12/- for that.
Mr. McMenamin: The Minister knows nothing about it. He does not know what is happening in this country, but I am going to tell him. Only in the present week I had the case of a man who was brought up and prosecuted for doing a small amount of work going down to the railway station to do carrying work.
Mr. McMenamin: Now, I want to get down to the case of the agricultural labourer with 13/- a week wages. It is all right to be talking here about the number of motor cars, and the amount of drink and tobacco that was consumed, and the cigarettes, and about how often they go to the Royal or the Savoy in the week. I purchased in a shop two stone of flour for 5/6. That flour to-day is 3/- a stone—6d. dearer. I brought half a stone of the mixture—or Indian meal, as it is generally called in the country—for 8d.; half a stone of oatmeal, 1/3: four pounds of sugar, 1/2.
Mr. McMenamin: It was not in Belfast. I will tell the Minister the Belfast prices in a minute if it interests him. I bought half a pound of tea for 1/2; half a pound of butter, 9d.; one ounce of tobacco, 9d.; one loaf of bread, 11½d.; matches, 3d., and one pound of soap—to wash the husband, the wife, the four children, and their clothes—5d.
Mr. McMenamin: The total cost of these commodities that I have listed was 12/10½, and that left 1½d. out of the 13/- of the man's weekly wage. The House will observe that there is neither rent, fire, milk, potatoes, beef, bacon, mutton, or any of these other things in that bill. All he had left out of 13/- was 1½d., and that loaf of bread and that amount of butter, tea, sugar, oatmeal, and so on, was to do himself and his wife and four children for a week. After making these purchases, I took a bus to Derry City. The shop I had been in was a roadside shop and there was a bus passing from Sligo to Derry. I went into a shop in Derry and handed the same list to an assistant and asked him to get me the goods on that list. He asked had I a car. I told him that I had no car, but to get ready the goods. I bought the same amount of goods in the shop in Derry for 9/10½, making a difference of 3/-. That is a difference of, say, 6/- in the £ to an agricultural labourer. Where is the use in either the Minister for Finance or Deputy McMenamin telling that man that that difference is accounted for in such and such a way, or where it goes? Out of 13/- that poor man paid 12/10½, and he got ½ lb. of butter, a loaf of bread, ½ lb. of tea, and the other few commodities I have mentioned, and that was for six persons for a week—that would be, in the case of tea, approximately an ounce a day—and those people are expected to cheer and shout “Up the republic.” How are those children to become proper citizens when you get an ounce of butter for six persons for a day, and no bacon, beef or mutton. There is the price of bread for the working man, the agricultural labourer down in Donegal. Deputy O'Neill's figures last night about the difference in the price of bread have been contested here by the Minister. Deputy O'Neill said the difference was 2d. a loaf.  Here it is 1½d., and that is within a distance of eight miles from Derry City down to where I bought the goods on the Donegal side of the Border. The loaf was 10d. on the other side of the Border and 11½d. on this side of the Border.
You can talk as much as you like about sacks and barrels after that, but these are the facts. However, I do not want to push this thing too far. Now the question arises that we were to reduce taxation by £2,000,000 and give derating to the farmers. Derating of the land was to have been given. Of course there were two ways. Deputy Boland, now Minister for Lands, was going to do it out of economies, but of course they could come out of the land annuities. Speaking on the 14th November, 1931, in Roscommon, Deputy Boland said——
Mr. McMenamin: I know that, Sir, but they are responsible for carrying out the promises made to the electors. That is what they are responsible for. It is quite simple. Deputy Boland on that occasion said:—
“Fianna Fáil held that derating could be financed by economies. Apart altogether from the case for the retention of the annuities they held that there was room for  economies more than sufficient to finance derating. Fianna Fáil was the only Party likely to put the necessary economies into operation and the best way to bring about a reduction of taxation was to stand behind the Fianna Fáil Party which was likely to be the next Government.”
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