Dáil Éireann

06/Apr/1938

Prelude

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Land Purchase Annuities.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Road Maintenance.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Labourers' Cottages.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Damage to Road at Kilkee.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Building Through Public Utility Societies.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Finglas Bridge Building Site.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Newcastle West County Home Attendants.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Skerries (County Dublin) Graveyard.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Marsh's Yard Shooting.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Gárda Síochána Entrance Examination.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Rhynana Airport Strike.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Oil Refinery Company.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Waterford Leather Factory.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Slieveardagh Coal Mines.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Fishermen and Unemployment Assistance.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Arrangements for New Seanad.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Former Seanad Officials.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Land Annuity Payments.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Grants to Local Authorities.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Land Reclamation at Tramore.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Public Utility Works in County Mayo.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Pulathomas, Erris (County Mayo) Bridge.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Stephen's Green Parking Facilities.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Meath Minor Relief Schemes.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Export Bounty on Sheep.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Bounty on Mackerel.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Carlow Military Service Pension Application.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Findings of Military Service Pensions Board.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Meath I.R.A. Men's Claims.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Galway Disability Pension Claim.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Old I.R.A. Men's Holdings.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Buildings on Meath Estate.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Mayo Estates.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Acquisition of Tipperary Estate.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Arrears of Land Annuities.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Acquisition of Tipperary Lands.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Transfer of Mayo Tenants.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Development of Mayo Estates.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Stock in Rural Industries Depôts.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Communication Between Cork Islands and Mainland.

Order of Business.

Private Business. - Mountjoy Square, Dublin, Bill, 1938—Report and Final Stages.

Private Business. - Erasmus Smith Schools Bill, 1938—Report and Final Stages.

Public Business. - Cement (Amendment) Bill, 1938—Report Stage.

Public Business. - Estimates For Public Services.

Committee on Finance. - Vote 41—Local Government and Public Health (Resumed).

Private Deputies' Business. - Civil Service and Arbitration (Resumed).

Written Answers. - Acquisition of Carlow Estate.

Written Answers. - Acquisition of Kildare Lands.

[1445] Do chuaidh an Ceann Comhairle i gceannas ar 3 p.m.

Mr. Roddy:  asked the Minister for Local Government and Public Health if he will state in respect of (a) estate [1446] duty grants, and (b) agricultural grants for the year ended 16th February, 1938, (1) the amount chargeable to each county of the sum drawn from the Guarantee Fund in respect of purchasers' annuities in arrear, and (2) the amount credited to each county in respect of old arrears which have been recovered, as certified by the Land Commission.

Minister for Local Government and Public Health (Mr. O Ceallaigh):  The reply is in the form of a statistical table and will be circulated in the Official Report.

The following table shows the position on clearance of Guarantee Fund at 16th February, 1938:—

County Net Amount Chargeable Net Repayment
Estate Duty Grant Agricultural Grant Estate Duty Grant Agricultural Grant
£ s. d. £ s. d. £ s. d. £ s. d.
Carlow 102 0 11
Cavan 1,152 11 10
Clare 1,181 8 10
Cork 45,762 5 0
Donegal 300 5 1
Dublin 2,252 1 1
Galway 1,109 10 4
Kerry 734 1 4
Kildare 1,774 16 9 1,656 11 2 7,159 12 2
Kilkenny 1,624 16 2
Laoighis 864 17 6
Leitrim 1,204 8 6 581 13 2
Limerick 3,787 8 3 506 12 2
Longford 1,820 19 11
Louth 3,036 5 0
Mayo 2,858 18 3
Meath 2,560 17 3 7,092 4 6
Monaghan 171 18 5 246 2 5
Offaly 1,658 15 0
Roscommon 5,668 14 1
Sligo 1,680 1 11
Tipperary (N.R.) 3,847 7 2
Tipperary (S.R.) 474 17 0
Waterford 2,336 0 11 2,624 12 10
Westmeath 1,640 2 2 3,117 15 0
Wexford 1,901 19 6
Wicklow 1,745 13 4 8,830 14 6
TOTALS 17,972 16 6 24,410 3 4 1,796 14 7 80,889 5 2

Mr. Heron (for Mr. Davin):  asked the Minister for Local Government and Public Health whether he will state for each county the amount expended in each of the last three financial years on the maintenance of (a) trunk roads, and (b) main roads, the sum provided from the Road Fund and the sum provided from rates.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  The Deputy presumably refers to (a) trunk roads and (b) link roads. The statistics that are available do not segregate main road expenditure under these separate heads. The information so far as [1447] available is being compiled and will be sent to the Deputy.

Mr. Pattison:  asked the Minister for Local Government and Public Health if he will state in respect of each county board of health district the expenditure on the repair of labourers' cottages in each of the last three years, the total number of cottages in the functional area of the county board of health and the number repaired.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  The information is being compiled and will be sent to the Deputy when completed.

Mr. Hogan:  asked the Minister for Local Government and Public Health if representations have been made to his Department in respect of the damage done to a road at Kilkee, in front of a line of houses known as McDonnell's Terrace, and if, in view of the approach of the tourist season and the value of the road as a tourist amenity, he will consider the desirability of making an immediate grant towards the repair of the road.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. As to the second part of the question, the matter is one for the county council.

Colonel Ryan:  asked the Minister for Local Government and Public Health if he is aware that hardships are being inflicted upon persons who commenced the building of a house under the Housing Acts, 1932 to 1937, through a public utility society by the withholding of the higher grant for the reason that the public utility society may have ceased to exist before completion of the house and the payment of the grant; if he will take steps to ensure that all persons who applied through such societies for grants, and whose houses are certified as complete, or [1448] where the amount of work necessary to obtain half the grant is certified, will receive as expeditiously as possible at least the amount they would receive had those societies not gone out of existence.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  Cases of the nature referred to in the first part of the question would be very rare. They would be considered as favourably as possible. There is no power in the existing law to make grants to private persons at rates appropriate to public utility societies in the circumstances stated by the Deputy.

Mr. McGowan:  asked the Minister for Local Government and Public Health whether the amended plans for the development of the site for the erection of 158 cottages at Finglas Bridge, Finglas, County Dublin, have yet been approved; whether the additional land required for the development of the site has been acquired by the County Dublin Board of Health, and whether he can state what is causing the delay in erecting the cottages in question.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  I have approved of the lay-out plan for the erection of 158 labourers' cottages at Finglas Bridge, County Dublin. Application has been made by the board of health to the Land Commission for the issue of the necessary vesting order in respect of the additional land acquired by the board. When the lands are vested in the board I understand that tenders will be invited for the erection of the cottages.

Mr. McGowan (for Mr. Keyes):  asked the Minister for Local Government and Public Health whether he will state the rates of pay, hours of duty and conditions of employment prescribed for the attendants in charge of the mentally deficient inmates in the County Home, Newcastle West, County Limerick.

[1449]Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Local Government and Public Health (Dr. Ward):  There are four male attendants in receipt of 26/-a week with rations, apartments and uniform. The hours of duty usually extend from 6.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m., inclusive of the time allowed for meals, but each attendant in his turn is liable to remain on duty to 8 p.m. The conditions of employment also require attendance for duty on certain Sundays. There is at present only one temporary female attendant, who receives 23/6 a week with rations and apartments. The hours of duty are from 6.30 a.m. to 8 p.m. inclusive of time allowed for meals.

Mr. McGowan:  asked the Minister for Local Government and Public Health whether he is aware of the dangerously overcrowded condition of the graveyard at Skerries, County Dublin; whether it has been brought to his notice that frequent representations have been made to the county board of health without success to have the graveyard extended, and if he will state whether his Department would be prepared to have the present cemetery examined with a view to taking the necessary steps for its enlargement.

Dr. Ward:  Representations as to the overcrowded condition of the graveyard were recently made to me by Deputy P.J. Fogarty. I am aware that the matter has been under consideration by the County Dublin Board of Health for some time. Definite proposals for an extension of the existing burial ground were submitted by the board to my Department on the 24th ultimo.

Mr. McGowan:  Arising out of the reply of the Parliamentary Secretary, is he aware that that reply is the reply that has been given to the people of Skerries for the past 18 years, and that, as a result, the dead are being buried on the footpath? Am I to take it from the reply of the Parliamentary Secretary that, since the people of Skerries live beside the sea and have [1450] a knowledge of the sea, they will have to avail of the sea for burial purposes?

Dr. Ward:  I am afraid that the Deputy has missed the tide in this connection. Deputy P.J. Fogarty has made representations on this matter already. Evidently, Deputy McGowan, in his anxiety to get in his supplementary question, did not take sufficient note of the reply that was given to his question, but in the reply it was stated that definite proposals for an extension of the existing burial ground were submitted by the board to my Department on the 24th ultimo. Therefore, I do not see how that reply could have been conveyed to the board of health from time to time during the past couple of years.

Mr. McGowan:  My point is that representations have been made to the board of health without success, to have the graveyard extended. Their reply for the past 18 years has been that definite steps were being taken to have the graveyard extended. I am suggesting that the Minister's reply puts the matter no further.

Mr. Brasier:  asked the Minister for Justice whether in view of the decision of the High Court and Supreme Court respecting the shooting and death of Michael Patrick Lynch at Marsh's Yard, Cork, he intends to pay compensation to the nine persons wounded on the occasion of the shooting.

Minister for Agriculture (Dr. Ryan) (for the Minister for Justice):  The answer is in the negative.

Mr. Brasier:  Arising out of the Minister's reply, is he aware that John J. O'Riordan, who was severely wounded on that occasion and whose life was despaired of; James Hegarty and Maurice O'Doherty, a married man, had nothing whatever to do with the lorry, were ordinary spectators of the incident, who were pushed by the crowd, and that they were acquitted by a Cork jury of activities in connection with the Marsh's Yard incident? In view of these facts can the Minister see his way to compensate these men?

Dr. Ryan:  I do not know.

[1451]Mr. Brasier:  Can the Minister tell us what action those men are entitled to take, having regard to the fact that, in the case of Michael Patrick Lynch, severe and heavy damages were given against the perpetrators of the shooting?

Dr. Ryan:  I do not know whether they could take any action or not.

Mr. Brasier:  Well, I am sorry the Minister for Justice is not present to give us some information on the matter. However, I shall bring it up again.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney:  Is the Minister aware that, arising out of the shooting in question, a decree was given against certain members of the Guards and that very strong remarks were made by the judge who tried the case? Is the Minister further aware that, were it not for the provisions of the Public Authorities Protection Act, every single one of these men would have an action which the State would have to face? In the circumstances, does the Minister not consider it to be an act of gross injustice to these men, who have been wronged by the servants of the State, not to compensate them?

Dr. Ryan:  The Deputy may be right in his legal points—I do not know.

Mr. Brasier:  Is it in order that the Minister principally concerned in an important question like this should be absent and that it should be left to be answered by a Minister who seems to know nothing at all about the case?

An Ceann Comhairle:  Members of the Government have joint responsibility.

Mr. Brasier:  Quite so, but in this instance the Minister left to answer the question seems to be in absolute ignorance of the subject matter.

Mr. Dillon:  Arising out of the Minister's reply, is he prepared to give an undertaking that, in the event of civil actions being started by these injured parties, he will undertake that no servants of the State will plead the Public Authorities Protection Act in order to avoid their liability?

[1452]Dr. Ryan:  I could not give any such undertaking.

Mr. Dillon:  So, in fact, you want to do these people out of the compensation to which they are entitled?

Dr. Ryan:  Who found that they are entitled to compensation?

Mr. Dillon:  The judge of the High Court has said so and has given stiff damages against you.

Dr. Ryan:  He said no such thing.

Mr. Dillon:  He said, on the only case tried on the merits of this issue, that the conduct of the Government servants was a public scandal and it was proposed to give the maximum damages against them.

Mr. O'Neill:  Arising out of the Minister's reply, is he aware that these men went into the witness-box and deliberately swore that they went out to kill? It was an unprecedented admission in a court of law. Is the Minister aware of that, that they went out to commit murder?

Dr. Ryan:  Not to commit murder.

Mr. O'Neill:  They went into the witness-box and they swore there that they went out deliberately to kill these people.

An Ceann Comhairle:  A supplementary question must relate to the main question on the Order Paper, which in this instance has reference to compensation.

Mr. Brasier:  I should like to give notice that I will raise this matter on the adjournment.

Mr. O'Neill:  I would like to ask if, in a case of deliberate murder by a servant of the State——

An Ceann Comhairle:  The words “deliberate murder” should not be used in the House unless of a person duly convicted of murder. Citizens have no defence against charges made here.

Mr. O'Neill:  I do not want to accuse them of it, but they went into the witness-box and said they went out to kill these people.

[1453]Mr. MacEntee:  I think the Deputy should be asked to withdraw those words.

Mr. Brasier:  What other name could be given to it?

Mr. O'Neill:  These men swore deliberately that they went out to kill the boys.

Mr. MacEntee:  Is this in order?

Mr. O'Neill:  If there is a technicality——

An Ceann Comhairle:  The Deputy may ask a supplementary question, but may not endeavour to make a speech in the guise of a question.

Mr. O'Neill:  Is the Minister aware that those men went into the witness-box and in my presence and hearing swore they went out to kill these boys? It was only by the mercy of God that at least a dozen were not shot to pieces.

Mr. O'Leary:  Is the Minister aware that the judge ordered these people to be brought up on trial?

Mr. Little:  Has the Deputy withdrawn the charge of murder?

Mr. Brasier:  No, I am raising it on the adjournment.

An Ceann Comhairle:  The Deputy will not raise it on the adjournment. He may not, on the adjournment, raise the question of murder or anything else relating to this matter.

Mr. Brasier:  I intend to raise this question, as we cannot get a satisfactory answer now from the Minister.

An Ceann Comhairle:  While the Chair is speaking, no Deputy should interrupt. This whole matter was discussed at length on an Estimate last week. Hence it may not be reopened on the adjournment this evening.

Mr. Brasier:  The Minister who was left to answer the question knows nothing at all about it.

[1454]

Mr. Roddy:  asked the Minister for Justice if, since the entrance examination for the Gárda Síochána is in future to be held by the Civil Service Commissioners, he will state if any change is to be effected in the list of subjects for examination, and, if so, what these changes will be.

Dr. Ryan:  A syllabus for this examination has been published by the Civil Service Commissioners. I shall send the Deputy a copy of this syllabus which will, I hope, afford him the information he requires.

Mr. Norton:  asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he is aware that a strike has been in progress for some weeks at Rhynana airport, whether he intervened with a view to effecting a settlement, and, if so, whether he is in a position to state the result of his intervention.

Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lemass):  I am aware that a strike has been in progress at the Shannon Airport since the 21st February last. I do not think that any useful purpose would be served by my intervention.

Mr. Norton:  Will the Minister say what justification he can put forward for the attitude of doing nothing in a matter that affects the livelihood of 600 workers who are engaged on a State airport scheme in the County Clare?

Mr. Lemass:  So far as the scheme is concerned, it appears that the work which would have been in progress if the strike had not been undertaken cannot now be done. From the point of view of the scheme, it is not of much importance whether the strike is settled or not.

Mr. Norton:  Does the Minister contend that a strike can take place and for six weeks the Minister, who has a special responsibility in respect of industrial disputes, can abstain from taking any action to bring the strike to a satisfactory termination? Would [1455] he adopt a similar attitude in connection with any other type of dispute?

Mr. Lemass:  In this particular case the Spring growing season, during which the men might have been employed, has been missed and, from a purely constructional aspect, there is no element of urgency in having this strike settled.

Mr. Norton:  That is the most amazing reasoning that we have ever had from the Minister. There are apparently to be two kinds of strikes, strikes in which a settlement is urgent and strikes in which a settlement is not urgent. The Minister, apparently, will not interfere in the non-urgent ones. May I call his attention to the fact that a State Department is specially concerned in this by reason of the fact that it is endeavouring to enforce on the workers at Rhynana an extremely low rate of wages? Does the Minister not think, having special functions in respect of industrial disputes, that he ought to intervene in order to bring the strike to a satisfactory conclusion and thus try to put his Department in such a position that it will pay a fair rate of wages to those whom it employs? The Minister should recollect that his Department has a certain responsibility under the Constitution.

Mr. Lemass:  I have been trying to explain that even if the men returned to work it is doubtful if there is any work for them.

Mr. Norton:  That is quite beside the point. The Minister has a certain responsibility in the matter of endeavouring to effect a settlement of industrial disputes. He is now arguing that there is no urgency about a settlement. There was on the day the strike took place and the day afterwards, and the Minister has done nothing to exercise his functions in that regard. Will he now take steps to endeavour to effect a settlement?

Mr. Lemass:  I am satisfied that no useful purpose would be served by my intervention.

[1456]Mr. Norton:  In view of the unsatisfactory answers given by the Minister, I propose, with the permission of the Chair, to raise the matter on the adjournment.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Time was given for the discussion of a motion on the position of Rhynana within the last fortnight. Consequently, the Chair does not propose to allow it to be raised on the adjournment. Furthermore, the matter may be relevant on an Estimate which will soon be before the House.

Mr. Norton:  I am not proposing to raise the merits of the Rhynana dispute. I am merely proposing to raise the action of the Minister and the unsatisfactory reasons which he has given for his inactivity in this matter. I do not propose to raise the merits of the dispute at all.

An Ceann Comhairle:  The Chair does not purpose allowing that matter to be raised on the adjournment.

Mr. Dillon:  The Minister has said that he declines to intervene in the Rhynana dispute because he does not think there is any emergency which requires relief by a settlement of the dispute. Does not the net question arise as to whether it is not the Minister's duty to try to restore good relations in any industrial dispute, whether an emergency is associated with the work being done or not?

An Ceann Comhairle:  That aspect of the case has no relation to the question on the Order Paper.

Mr. Norton:  May I put it to you that offering me an opportunity of raising this matter on the Estimate is not satisfactory?

An Ceann Comhairle:  I regret it is not, but the Chair will certainly not allow it to be raised on the adjournment.

Mr. Norton:  I submit that it is a most unfair ruling.

An Ceann Comhairle:  There is a recognised method of challenging it.

[1457]Mr. Davin:  That is a different issue, and you know it well.

Mr. Norton:  It is no answer to a reasonable plea by me to be given an opportunity of exercising my rights in the matter.

Mr. Heron:  asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether his attention was directed to the statement made by the Chairman of the London Thames Haven Oil Wharves, Ltd., at the Fortieth Ordinary General Meeting of the company in London on March 28th, to the effect that under arrangements made with the Government of Éire, the Irish National Refinery Company, which has intimate financial associations with London Thames Haven Company, was granted a licence to refine and manufacture the whole of the petroleum products required in this country, and accordingly that the company is assured of a constant equal profit which will enable it to pay a dividend of 10 per cent. on £1,000,000 Ordinary Share Capital and 5 per cent. on £1,000,000 Debentures, and whether he can confirm if the statement referred to is founded on fact.

Mr. Lemass:  I am circulating with the Official Report a statement containing a summary of the arrangements made between the Government and the promoters of the refinery project.

Following is the statement:—

In accordance with arrangements agreed between the Government and a group with which the London and Thames Haven Oil Wharves, Limited, are associated, a new manufacture licence was issued to Irish National Refineries, Limited, on 16th July, 1936. The licence authorises the company to refine crude petroleum for the manufacture of petrol, kerosene, white spirit, gas and fuel oils, lubricants, asphalt, and all other petroleum products. The following is a summary of the arrangements:—

1. The proposals provided for the formation of two Irish companies, each with a capital of not less than £500,000 with the right to provide the further finance required by means of debentures bearing, in the case of the [1458] refinery company, interest at 5 per cent. per annum with a sinking fund of 5 per cent. per annum for amortisation. Since the date of this understanding two Irish companies have been formed, viz., Irish National Refineries, Limited, and Liffey Transport and Trading Company, Limited, hereinafter respectively referred to as “The Refinery Company” and “The Trading Company.” The nominal capital of each company is £1,000,000.

2. The refinery company will carry out the work of refining and sale of the refinery products in Éire. The trading company will acquire from the refinery such products as will be required solely for export.

3. An arrangement will be entered into between the refinery company and the export company for the production of all petroleum products required by the latter on such terms as will reimburse the refinery company the costs of refining and provide a small working profit.

4. The Minister has received an undertaking that the profits derived from sales in the Irish market shall not be used to subsidise the trading company.

5. It is provided by the articles of association of the refinery company that the distribution of profits, by way of dividend, bonus, or otherwise, on the shares of that company shall not on the average exceed 10 per cent. per annum after the provision of reasonable reserves for depreciation, obsolescence, and contingencies.

6. The arrangement provided that the draft memorandum and articles of association of the refinery company should be subject to the Minister's approval, and a clause has been inserted in the articles to the effect that no alteration can be made in them without the Minister's consent.

7. The appointments to the board of directors of the refinery company are subject to the Minister's approval, and in addition, he has the right to nominate a representative on the board.

8. The voting control is vested in certain of the shares, and the holders have agreed that such shares are issued and transferable only with the [1459] Minister's concurrence. It is also agreed that the voting-control shares are held by a trust company whose registered office is in Éire.

9. The appointment of auditors to the refinery company can be made only with the Minister's approval. An undertaking has been received that copies of the annual accounts of the refinery company will be supplied to the Minister, and in addition any such further information that he may require for the purpose of satisfying himself that the undertakings given by the refinery company are being carried out.

10. It is agreed that the refinery company will afford Irish investors the right to obtain at par not less than 50 per cent. of its share capital and debentures. The same arrangement applies to any additional capital or debentures which may be required at a later stage.

11. The Government have, at the end of 21 years, an option to acquire the undertaking of the refinery company on the basis of:—

(a) the actual cash paid on the shares of the company, and

(b) the payment of amounts owing to debenture holders.

It has also been agreed that the Government may acquire the capital and debentures of the trading company at a price to be fixed by agreement. The necessary provisions have been made in the articles of association of the refinery and trading companies to give effect to these arrangements.

12. The refinery company has undertaken, immediately the refinery is in operation, to train Irish nationals for the higher technical positions. The Minister has expressed his intention of facilitating the company by granting exemption from the conditions of the new manufacture licence in respect of certain non-national skilled workers until such time as Irish workers have been trained to fulfil the duties in question.

13. The Minister has undertaken to facilitate the refinery company, so far [1460] as he has power to do so, by the issue of licences for the duty-free importation of such machinery, plant, and equipment as cannot reasonably be obtained from Irish manufacturers. He has also promised to make such arrangements as will enable the crude oil required by the refinery to be imported free of duty.

14. The Minister has undertaken to take such steps as he may be empowered to do and as may be necessary to give adequate protection to the proposed industry in so far as competition from imported products is concerned.

15. In connection with the possibility of a competing refinery being established in Éire, the Minister has given an undertaking that, before granting a new manufacture licence, he will have regard to the extent to which the needs of the country are capable of being supplied by the refinery contemplated by the present arrangement.

16. Provided the various undertakings given are carried out, and the conditions of the new manufacture licence are complied with, the Minister has given an undertaking that he will not be prepared to grant facilities to persons or firms wishing to establish a competing industry.

17. In so far as the existing refineries are concerned, the Minister has made it clear that he does not desire that their present activities should be disturbed. He has, however, given an assurance that, in so far as suitable materials for such refineries can be obtained from the refinery company, it would not be in accordance with his general policy to arrange for the grant of facilities for duty-free importation where he is satisfied that suitable materials are available from home sources.

18. With regard to the possibility of the development of the refinery at present operating at Haulbowline to such an extent that the success of the new refinery would be prejudiced, the Minister has given an assurance to the promoters of the latter that he will take such steps as will be necessary to ensure that—

[1461] (a) the quantity of crude oil processed at Haulbowline shall not exceed approximately 30,000 tons in any year, and

(b) that the output of petrol produced by that company therefrom shall not on an average exceed 3,000,000 gallons a year.

The throughput of crude oil referred to and 3,000,000 gallons of petrol represent the quantities agreed upon with the promoters of the Haulbowline scheme in the course of negotiations in connection with the establishment of that refinery.

19. As regards the prices of the products of the new refinery, it has been provided that the products will be delivered to existing distributors at such prices as would have enabled them, after recouping themselves with distributing expenses and a normal profit, to sell at prices approximately equivalent to those ruling at the time the arrangements were entered into. Arrangements have been made to give effect in the ex-refinery prices to fluctuations in the cost of crude oil, freight, labour and other charges.

20. A definite understanding has been obtained that the quality of petrol and other petroleum products turned out by the new refinery would be at least of the same standard as the average quality at any given time in Great Britain.

21. The products of the refinery in so far as they are required for the Irish market are to be supplied to existing organisations engaged in the distribution trade in approximately the same proportions in which similar products were handled by these organisations prior to the date of the issue of the licence or on such other basis as may be agreed. An undertaking has been received that in the event of its not being found possible to continue existing arrangements the refinery company will be prepared to arrange for distribution or alternatively will be agreeable to the Minister's making whatever arrangements he considers necessary to ensure a continuance of distribution.

[1462] 22. It has been provided that in the event of the refinery company's not being in a position to supply the products of the refinery in sufficient quantities to satisfy the reasonable demands of the Irish market, the Minister will be entitled to take such steps as he thinks fit to arrange for such supplies.

23. The new manufacture licence provides for the operation of the refinery within two years of the date of issue. Provision has, however, been made for an extension should a delay occur through causes not within the control of the refinery company.

24. It has been intimated to the Minister that it is the intention of the refinery and trading companies to acquire and operate their own oil tankers. It is understood that orders for these tankers have in fact already been placed.

25. London and Thames Haven Oil Wharves, Limited, have undertaken to provide the necessary experts to control the design, erection, and operation of the proposed plant.

26. The arrangements provide for the giving of an assurance to the Minister by the refinery company and London and Thames Haven Oil Wharves, Limited, that the refinery company will be in a position to enter into contracts for securing the necessary supplies of suitable crude oils.

Mr. Dillon:  Does that summary contain any report or reference to a report submitted to the Minister as to the prudence or safety of establishing this oil refinery, with all its appurtenant storage facilities, so near the residential City of Dublin?

Mr. Lemass:  Wait and see.

An Ceann Comhairle:  That is quite a separate question.

Mr. Dillon:  The Minister said he was publishing a complete report.

An Ceann Comhairle:  I presume the Deputy will see that report and will have an opportunity of questioning it.

Mr. Heron:  When will this report be circulated?

[1463]Mr. Lemass:  It will be published in the Official Report.

Mr. Wall:  asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he is aware that many of the operatives in the leather factory, Portlaw, County Waterford, have been placed on short time, and if any representations have been made to his Department in the matter, and, if so, with what result.

Mr. Lemass:  I am not aware that any of the operatives in the Leather Factory, Portlaw, County Waterford, have been placed on short time, and no representations regarding the matter have been made to my Department. The last part of the Deputy's question does not therefore arise.

Mr. Wall:  In actual fact, the operatives are working only half time, and they, and the local people, are becoming seriously alarmed by the recent developments in the factory. Would the Minister mind making further inquiries into the case?

Colonel Ryan:  asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if the report on the Slieveardagh coal mines in County Tipperary has yet been considered by his Department, and, if so, when he proposes to indicate to the House what are its terms and what action he proposes to take thereon.

Mr. Lemass:  The report on the Slieveardagh coal mines has been fully considered by my Department. In view, however, of the private interests involved I am not at present prepared to indicate to the House either the terms of the report or the action, if any, which I propose to take thereon.

Colonel Ryan:  The Minister, on 10th November, in answer to a question here, stated that when the report was considered, he would place it before the House. Why does the Minister now go back on that statement?

Mr. Lemass:  I think the Deputy's memory is at fault.

[1464]Colonel Ryan:  I did not think there were any private interests involved. I thought it was a purely Government matter.

Mr. Lemass:  The Deputy is showing extraordinary ignorance of the circumstances of his own constituency, if he does not think there are private interests involved.

Mr. O'Neill:  asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if, in view of his declaration that he does not intend to move to vary the legislation which prevents fishermen while working on the share system from getting any benefits under the Unemployment Assistance Act, though they may be actually earning no money, he will operate the Unemployment Insurance Acts in their favour so as to give them the advantage of at least having a card stamped weekly.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Moylan):  For the purposes of the Unemployment Assistance Acts a person is neither unemployed nor available for other employment whilst he is working for wages whether paid in cash or in kind. This is true of fishermen equally with other persons. Fishermen when unemployed are entitled to the benefits of the Unemployment Assistance Acts on precisely the same terms as other unemployed persons.

The Unemployment Insurance Acts require contributions to be paid in respect of fishermen as well as other workers who are employed under a contract of service and such persons when they are unemployed may become entitled to receive unemployment benefit in accordance with the Acts. Members of the crew of a fishing vessel who, though employed under a contract of service, are wholly remunerated by a share in the profits or the gross earnings of the working of the vessel are, however, expressly excepted by the Unemployment Insurance Acts and I have no power to operate these Acts so as to require or to accept contributions that are not permitted by the Acts.

[1465]Mr. O'Neill:  This question has been raised several times in an effort to get some relief for these unfortunate men. Do I take it that, having explored various clauses of the Acts the Minister, in face of the unprecedented failure of the salmon fishing in the south this year, now confesses his inability to do anything whatever to bring relief to these men?

Mr. Lemass:  That is nonsense.

Mr. O'Neill:  Of course, it is nonsense, but would the Minister consider it great nonsense for men to be fishing in a salmon boat for five weeks and drawing 2/- a man? That is the sort of nonsense I want to deal with.

Mr. Lemass:  The Deputy does not deal with it. His question is not about that.

Mr. O'Neill:  My purpose is to get some relief for men working on the share system and who are precluded, according to the reply to my question, from getting any help under the Unemployment Assistance Acts.

Mr. Lemass:  The Deputy did not hear the reply.

Mr. O'Neill:  Yes, I did.

Mr. Lemass:  The reply stated that men cannot get unemployment assistance while they are working. That is apparently what the Deputy wants.

Mr. O'Neill:  I want to have some distinction made. Surely it is in the Minister's power to draw a distinction between the word “earning” and the word “working.” These men are working, but not earning, as we all know. It would be better for them to remain idle and put their backs against the wall, but they are honest men trying to get a living and trying to do their best.

Mr. Cosgrave:  This is certainly a case for consideration.

Mr. Lemass:  The law is the same since 1920.

Mr. O'Neill:  Is it not nearly time that, in the very difficult circumstances [1466] of this year, the law should be changed? Would the Minister not give us an indication of his desire to do even that?

Mr. Davin:  asked the Minister for Finance whether he will state what officers and officials will be appointed to the Seanad and the rate of remuneration in each case, the arrangements to be made for reporting the proceedings of the Seanad, the nature of the liaison arrangements between the Dáil and Seanad and the cost of these arrangements.

Minister for Finance (Mr. MacEntee):  It is intended to provide the Seanad with a Clerk and an Assistant Clerk. The rate of remuneration attaching to these posts has not yet been settled.

The proceedings of the Seanad will be reported by the reporting staff of the Oireachtas. It is not proposed to establish any special liaison arrangements between the Dáil and Seanad.

Mr. Davin:  What is the reply to the part of the question asking for the salaries of the occupants of the position of Chairman and Vice-Chairman?

Mr. MacEntee:  They have not been fixed yet.

Mr. McGowan (for Mr. O'Brien):  asked the Minister for Finance if he is now in a position to state the cost to public funds in the current financial year of re-establishing the Seanad.

Mr. MacEntee:  It is assumed that the Deputy refers to the additional expenditure which will fall to be met during the current financial year in consequence of the re-establishment of Seanad Eireann, and not to the cost of the recent Seanad elections.

As a decision has not yet been taken as to the salaries which will in future attach to the offices of Cathaoirleach and Leas-Chathaoirleach, or as to the future rates of allowances of Seanadóirí, it is not possible at this stage to give the information asked for.

[1467]Mr. Davin:  asked the Minister for Finance if he will state the cost to public funds to date of the pensions, gratuities and compensation paid to the former officials and officers of Seanad Eireann.

Mr. MacEntee:  An award of compensation under Section 6 of the Superannuation Act, 1909, was made to an officer of Seanad Eireann whose office was abolished as a result of the coming into operation of the Constitution (Amendment No. 24) Act, 1936.

The compensation awarded comprised a fixed annual allowance of £258 15s. and a supplementary variable annual allowance amounting at maximum to £49 13s., together with a lump sum of £789 6s. The amount payable to the 31st March, 1938, in respect of annual and supplementary annual allowances was £462 12s., which, added to the lump sum of £789 6s. makes a total of £1,251 18s.

[1468]Mr. Roddy:  asked the Minister for Finance if he will state the amounts received (whether from purchasers or the Guarantee Fund) in respect of annuities due under the several Land Purchase Acts in the Guarantee Fund year ended in 1938, and the payment to or disposal otherwise for the benefit of the Exchequer of such annuities, giving the dates of such receipts and payment in the said year.

Mr. MacEntee:  The reply to the Deputy's question is in the form of a tabular statement which will be circulated with the Official Debates.

Following is the statement:—

Amounts received (whether from purchasers or the Guarantee Fund) in respect of annuities due under the several Land Purchase Acts in the Guarantee Fund year ended in 1938, and the payment to or disposal otherwise for the benefit of the Exchequer of such annuities.

Land Purchase Acts Amounts received in respect of Annuities How disposed of
£ s. d.
Acts 1881-1888 111,964 17 7 Paid to Local Loans Fund:
on sundry dates £111,964 17 7
Acts 1891-1909 1,716,470 18 1 Paid to the Account of the Exchequer:
On 3/9/1937 £858,326 1 6
,,25/2/1938 858,144 16 7
£1,716,470 18 1
Acts 1923-1936 627,913 17 0 Paid to the Land Bond Fund for the service of Land Bonds:—
On sundry dates £554,569 8 2
Paid to the Exchequer Funding Annuities and Excess Annuities):—
On 3/9/'37 £35,04856
,,25/2/'38 37,59570
72,643 12 6
Paid to Land Commission (Instalments of additional sums payable by purchasers):—
On sundry dates 700 16 4
£627,913 17 0

[1469]Mr. Roddy:  asked the Minister for Finance if he will state for the year ended 17th February, 1938, (1) the amounts provided by way of taxation grants in respect of the following grants, viz., the Estate Duty Grant, the Agricultural Grant and the Exchequer Grant, and (2) the amounts paid in respect of these grants to local authorities.

Mr. MacEntee:  The reply to the Deputy's question is in the form of a [1470] tabular statement which will be found in the Official Report.

Following is the statement:—

Statement showing in respect of the year ended 17th February, 1938, the amounts of certain Local Taxation Grants issued from the Exchequer to the Guarantee Fund and the amounts released on foot of such Grants from the Guarantee Fund to the local Taxation Account and paid to local authorities, etc.

Amounts released from Guarantee Fund to Local Taxation Account and paid to Local Authorities, etc.
Amounts issued from Exchequer to Guarantee Fund:— £ s. d. Estate Duty Grant: £ s. d.
£
Estate Duty Grant: £ To Local Authorities 13,474
1936-37 (Balance) 17,474 To Department of Agriculture 4,000
1937-38 (On Account) 79,000
96,474 0 0 17,474 0 0
Exchequer Contribution, 1936-37 36,153 12 5 Exchequer Contribution:
Agricultural Grant, 1937-38 1,870,000 0 0 £s.d.
Net payment to Guarantee Fund on foot of arrears, i.e., excess of arrears of annuities, etc., of previous years recovered over arrears of annuities, etc., in the year 40,302 19 9 To Local Authorities 2,046149
To Labourers Cottages Fund 4,901116
To Office of Public Works 29,20562
36,153 12 5
Agricultural Grant:
To Local Authorities 1,989,302 19 9
TOTAL £2,042,930 12 2 TOTAL £2,042,930 12 2

Mr. Wall:  asked the Minister for Finance whether he is aware that at Tramore, County Waterford, the sea has encroached on a large area of land known as the Old Racecourse; that the view is held locally that the land can be reclaimed; that its reclamation during the coming summer will provide work for most of those unemployed in Tramore and Waterford City; if he will have the place inspected by an expert with a view to obtaining a report as to the practicability of restoring the land to its former condition, and if he will sanction a grant from the Employment Schemes Vote for the purpose of reclamation.

Mr. MacEntee:  The proposal for the repair of the Malcolmson embankment at Tramore was submitted by Deputy Little and examined in December, 1932, in connection with the Employment Schemes Vote, but independently of the suitability of the work from other points of view as an employment scheme, it was considered that the expenditure involved would be far in excess of any economic benefit which might be expected to accrue from the execution of the works.

Mr. Wall:  Was this place inspected recently, because I am given to understand that the labour content of such a scheme would be very high?

Mr. Corish (for Mr. Everett):  asked the Minister for Finance whether he received from the Carratigue branch of the Labour Party (County Mayo) a number of proposals regarding works of public utility in the electoral division of Knockadaff and Muingnabo; whether the proposed works have been inspected; and, if so, whether they will be proceeded with in the near future; [1471] further, whether he will state what is the cause of the delay in having the bridge at the end of the county road, across the Kilgalligan river to the burial ground proceeded with.

Mr. MacEntee:  There are 10 separate proposals in the electoral division of Knockadaff and three in the electoral division of Muingnabo, in which the Garrateigue branch of the Labour Party appear to be interested, and of these, six proposals were originally submitted by the tenants or by another organisation on their behalf. All the proposals have been inspected and grants for three of the proposals were included in the minor employment schemes programme for last winter. One of the proposals has been found unsuitable for execution under minor employment schemes and another cannot be proceeded with owing to an objection on the part of a local landholder. The remaining eight proposals have been noted for consideration under minor employment schemes but, as they can only be considered in competition with other proposals for the area and in the light of the unemployment position, no undertaking can be given as to when any particular proposal will be carried out, if at all.

An application has also been received for the erection of a bridge across the Kilgalligan river for the purpose of providing more suitable access to the cemetery, but as the cemetery is vested in the Mayo Board of Health and Public Assistance, the question of improving the means of approach would appear to be a matter for that body.

Mr. Corish (for Mr. Everett):  asked the Minister for Finance whether he is aware that funerals from Rossport to Pulathomas, Erris, County Mayo, are obliged to cross the Rossport Ferry, and that in stormy weather funerals are delayed for several days; whether he is aware that a number of civilians and a member of the Gárda Síochána lost their lives in crossing this ferry, and whether he will state if it is the [1472] intention of the Board of Works to erect a suitable bridge across the river at this point.

Mr. MacEntee:  The Minister's attention has not been called to the facts mentioned in the question, but so far as the question of the safety of the public is concerned, the provision of suitable means of communication would seem to be a matter for the consideration of the local authority. An application for the repair of Rossport Pier was made by Deputy Ruttledge, Minister for Justice, in January, 1937, and is at present under consideration in connection with the Employment Schemes Vote. It is anticipated that an engineer will visit the district to report on this proposal in the near future and he will be asked to give his views as to the feasibility of erecting a bridge to connect with the Pula-thomas shore. An examination of the map of the area, however, would seem to indicate that the erection of a bridge at or near this point, if practicable, would involve a major engineering work running into an expenditure altogether incommensurate with any benefit which would be likely to result.

Mr. Dillon:  Arising out of the Minister's reply, I wonder could the Minister tell us whether he remarked that the industry of the members of the Fianna Fáil Party in pressing minor relief works arises from the confidential letter that was addressed to them by the Board of Works urging them to put in their proposals before the Opposition Deputies had time to make application; does he know that this confidential letter was issued the 5th April, 1937?

An Ceann Comhairle:  That is a separate question.

Mr. Dillon:  It may be, but it is an extremely interesting document.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Many extremely interesting documents may be out of order at a certain time.

Mr. Dillon:  Well, an opportunity will arise on the Estimates.

Mr. MacEntee:  May I point out that this application was made in January, 1937?

[1473]Mr. Little:  Might I draw your attention, Sir, to the practice of abusing question time in making general statements and getting entirely away from the question?

Mr. Dillon:  Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that this confidential document was issued from the Board of Works?

Mr. Little:  Is it on the Order Paper?

Mr. Dillon:  No, but it will be.

Mr. Dockrell:  asked the Minister for Finance if, having regard to the very inadequate provision for parking motor cars in the City of Dublin, he will consider taking away the stone pillars round St. Stephen's Green, so as to enable motor cars to be parked at right angles to the thoroughfare; and if he will also consider making any other sites under his control available for the relief of the present congestion.

Mr. MacEntee:  Under the St. Stephen's Green Act, 1877, all the ground within the posts and chains of St. Stephen's Green is vested in the Commissioners of Public Works to be maintained as an ornamental park or pleasure ground for the recreation or enjoyment of the public.

The commissioners are advised that they have no power to alienate any portion of the Green, and therefore they cannot agree to the removal of the stone pillars to facilitate the parking of motor cars.

I am not aware that there are any sites under my control in the city which could be made available for the parking of motor cars.

Captain Giles:  asked the Minister for Finance if he is aware of the failure of minor relief drainage schemes in County Meath to bring relief to those [1474] affected by flooding; and if he is aware of the heavy charges on ratepayers in the vicinity of those abortive schemes; and if, in view of this, he will suspend the collection of those drainage rates until a special inquiry is held, at which the many ratepayers concerned could give evidence; further, if he is aware that the cause of all this drainage trouble is the filling up of the beds of the Rivers Boyne and Blackwater with mudbanks and islands and refuse of all kinds; and if he will state if there is any likelihood of those rivers being drained and cleaned in the near future.

Mr. MacEntee:  The drainage schemes referred to in the first part of the question were carried out by the Meath County Council under the provisions of the Arterial Drainage (Minor Schemes) Act, 1928.

As the assessment and collection of the drainage rates for the schemes referred to are matters entirely for the county council I have no power to intervene in the manner suggested by the Deputy.

The section of the River Boyne from Navan to Newhaggard was the subject of a petition for a drainage scheme under the Arterial Drainage Act, 1925. Investigation showed that it was a hopelessly uneconomic proposition as even if the full cost of the scheme were provided by means of free grants, the estimated annual value of the benefit which would be derived would not be sufficient to meet the annual cost of maintenance. Accordingly it was decided to allow the proposal to drop.

As a result of the public inquiry into the objections to the Blackwater proposed drainage scheme, certain difficulties came to light. Until the investigation of these are complete it will not be possible to state when the drainage works will be started.

Mr. Keating:  asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will consider giving a bounty of 5/- per head on the export of hogget sheep from April 6th to May 31st in order to clear the surplus stock.

[1475]Minister for Agriculture (Dr. Ryan):  I am not prepared to recommend the payment of an export bounty on sheep.

Mr. Keating:  Is the Minister aware that there was a very big surplus of lambs from last year's crop and that now we are getting the new crop of lambs. Is the Minister prepared to do anything for the sheep breeding people of the Free State? The Minister will not answer. All this sort of thing will not be taken with a laugh by the country.

Mr. Corish (for Mr. Everett):  asked the Minister for Agriculture whether he is aware that the price realised for fresh mackerel at Cahirciveen is as low as 3/- per hundred fish, and that at this price fishing is entirely uneconomic; whether he will state if a bounty is payable on mackerel exported to England; and, if so, at what rate; and if he will indicate what steps he intends taking to prevent a complete collapse of the fishing industry on the western seaboard.

Dr. Ryan:  I am aware that as from the 8th March (when the season may be said to have begun), up to the end of that month the price realised at Cahirciveen for fresh mackerel ranged from a maximum of 21s. per 100 to a minimum of 3s. per 100. The day-to-day average was 5s. 9d. per 100, and the average for the last three days of the period rose to 8s 10d. per 100. A bounty equivalent to the British import duty is payable in respect of fresh mackerel consigned to Great Britain and Northern Ireland. I understand that the Sea Fisheries Association has been according special attention to the condition of the fishing industry on our Western seaboard.

Mr. O'Neill:  Arising out of the Minister's reply, might I ask is there not a bounty at the moment in respect of mackerel?

[1476]Dr. Ryan:  Yes.

Mr. O'Neill:  How long will that continue?

Mr. Norton:  asked the Minister for Defence if he will state when a decision will be conveyed to Mrs. Kate Geoghegan, Barrack Street, Carlow, on her application for a pension under Military Service Pensions Act, 1934.

Minister for Defence (Mr. Aiken):  As the referee has not reported to me on this case, I am unable to state when a decision will be conveyed to this applicant.

Mr. Norton:  In view of the fact that this woman has been brought to a condition of acute distress, with an invalid husband and children dependent upon her, will the Minister take steps to expedite a decision in this case?

Mr. Aiken:  I will bring what the Deputy mentions before the referee's notice.

Capt. Giles:  asked the Minister for Defence if he will state what is the cause of the delay in reporting the findings of the Military Service Pensions Board in cases where the applicants were before the Pensions Board as far back as 12 months ago, and if he will state when such applicants will be notified of the findings of the Pensions Board in their respective cases.

Mr. Aiken:  Every effort is being made to deal with all service pensions applications as quickly as possible. When a decision is reached in any particular case, it is notified without undue delay to the applicant.

[1477]Captain Giles:  asked the Minister for Defence if, owing to the poverty existing amongst Old I.R.A. men in County Meath, and the high cost of travelling to Dublin to appear before the Pensions Board, he will make Navan, County Meath, a centre at which applicants' claims could be considered.

Mr. Aiken:  The answer is in the negative.

Captain Giles:  asked the Minister for Defence if he is aware that Patrick Clarke, Doon, Moynalty, County Meath, who was called before the Military Service Pensions Board over a year ago was unable to attend owing to the dangerous state of his health, and if he is aware that responsible officers of the Old I.R.A. appealed to the Pensions Board to have his case treated as urgent without effect; if he is aware that this applicant since died in poverty and want, because he was unable to procure the necessary medical attention and nourishment, and if in the light of those facts he will treat as urgent, any appeals from responsible officers of the Old I.R.A. in cases of urgency of this kind in the future.

Mr. Aiken:  I am aware that representations were made to the Referee to the effect that this applicant was unable to attend personally to give evidence in connection with his claim for a service pension. In consequence the Referee agreed to accept evidence tendered on the applicant's behalf by local officers. I regret that it was not possible to arrange sooner for the verification of the service claimed as owing to the delay in getting records from County Meath no pensions have as yet been awarded in this area.

Mr. Hogan:  asked the Minister for Defence if he will state the cause of the delay in considering the application of Michael Connolly, Townagh, Gort, for a disability pension, a claim for which is before his Department for a considerable time.

[1478]Mr. Aiken:  The application of Michael Connolly under the Army Pensions Act, 1937, which was received in my Department on the 27th September last, is under investigation by the Military Service Registration Board. Owing to conflicting evidence the board have experienced difficulty in dealing with this case, but they hope to be in a position to furnish their report in the near future.

Captain Giles:  asked the Minister for Lands if, owing to the failure of many Old I.R.A. men who were allotted farms of land under the recent Land Acts to work those holdings in a satisfactory manner, he will consider issuing cheap, long-term loans at 3 per cent. of £100 or £200 to such applicants for the purpose of stocking their land and buying farm implements.

Minister for Lands (Mr. Boland):  The Land Commission have no power to make such loans as the Deputy suggests and legislation for the purpose is not in contemplation. The means of an applicant for a parcel of untenanted land, and his capacity to work the land, are taken into account by the Land Commission prior to allotment. Farmers who require additional capital for stock and implements can apply for loans to the Agricultural Credit Corporation.

Captain Giles:  asked the Minister for Lands if he is aware that new houses and out-offices which were in course of erection on the Hume estate at Renville, Enfield, County Meath, were left in an unfinished state for over 12 months, and that no attempt is being made to complete the building of same; if he is aware that the new tenants who were to occupy those houses when completed are asked to pay rent for same, although still in an unfinished state, and if he will state why these houses have not been completed.

Mr. Boland:  The contractor whose tender for this work was accepted [1479] found himself unable, in April last, to complete the buildings under the conditions of the contract. He has, however, recently advised the Land Commission of his ability to complete the contract, and arrangements are being made to have the work restarted in the immediate future.

The rents payable by the tenants are in respect of their entire parcels of land.

Mr. Moane:  asked the Minister for Lands if he will state when the Land Commission will resume work on the Moore estate at Killevally, County Mayo.

Mr. Moane:  asked the Minister for Lands if he will state when the Irish Land Commission will be in a position to deal with the Patten estate at Ballyheane, Castlebar, County Mayo.

Mr. Boland:  I am taking the Deputy's two questions together. From the particulars furnished the Land Commission are unable to identify the lands in question.

Mr. A. Fogarty:  asked the Minister for Lands whether the Land Commission have yet inspected the Mulcahy Estate (125 statute acres) at Clocully, Ardfinnan, Cahir, County Tipperary; and, if so, if he will state when it is proposed to acquire and make available those lands for the relief of congestion in the surrounding area.

Mr. Boland:  The Land Commission are having inquiries made to ascertain the suitability for their purposes of the lands of Clocully and others on the Mulcahy Estate, but at the present stage of the proceedings it is not possible to say whether or when the lands will be acquired.

Mr. Roddy:  asked the Minister for Lands if he will state the total amount of the arrears of Land Commission [1480] annuities outstanding on the 31st January last under each of the Land Acts from 1885 to 1923 inclusive.

Mr. Boland:  The reply is in the form of a tabular statement which will be circulated in the Official Report.

Mr. Roddy:  When will the information be available?

Mr. Boland:  I have the information now. I will hand it to the Deputy; it will be circulated with the Official Reports.

The total amount of the arrears of revised land purchase annuities outstanding on the 31st January, 1938, under each of the Land Acts from 1881 to 1923 inclusive was as follows:—

Land Acts. Amount of Arrears.
£
1881-1889 62,491
1891-1896 39,468
1903 744,321
1909 115,411
1923-1936 316,745

Colonel Ryan:  asked the Minister for Lands if he will state the reasons for the delay in acquiring the lands at Ballynonty, Thurles, County Tipperary, known as the Cobden Estate, the property of the late W. P. Hanly.

Mr. Boland:  The Land Commission have decided to institute proceedings for the resumption of two holdings in the townland of Ballynonty on the Cobden Estate formerly in the occupation of the late W. P. Hanly, but action has been postponed pending negotiations for the acquisition of other lands in the same district, with a view to the preparation of a comprehensive scheme of division.

Colonel Ryan:  Is the Minister aware that at the moment there is a good deal of trouble in that district and the area is under police surveillance? Is the Minister aware that there has been some damage done in the area? Is he also aware that these lands were offered to the Land Commission three years ago, and though the Land Commission have been very busy in other [1481] parts of the county, they have made no effort to acquire these lands? Will the Minister look into the matter and have these lands speedily acquired and divided?

Mr. Boland:  I suggest to the Deputy that there might be more trouble in the area if one small estate were divided; I suggest that the better thing to do is to defer dividing the lands until more estates have been acquired so that the division could take place at the same time in that area?

Colonel Ryan:  Perhaps that is so, but I ask the Minister to have the lands divided as soon as possible. There are numbers of small holders in that district and they are inclined to cause trouble owing to this delay of three years in having these lands divided.

Colonel Ryan:  asked the Minister for Lands whether it is the intention of the Land Commission to insist on the acquisition of the lands of Richard Purcell, Cashel, at Boscabell and the Commons, and if he is aware that the acquisition of those two farms means depriving the present holder of his only means of existence.

Mr. Boland:  The Land Commission, having heard and disallowed an objection lodged by the owner, have decided to proceed with the acquisition of the untenanted lands of Hills Lot and Lalor's Lot on the estate of Richard Purcell. They have also instituted proceedings for the acquisition of the untenanted lands of Boscabell and Hughes' Lot. The owner has objected to the acquisition of the latter lands, and his objection is pending for hearing by the Land Commission. On the hearing the circumstances of his case can be considered. In addition to the lands mentioned (which are all nonresidential) this owner has a further area of approximately 14 acres (also non-residential) in the townland of Lalor's Lot, which is not being acquired by the Land Commission.

Mr. Everett:  asked the Minister for Lands whether he has been approached by tenants in the townlands of Stonefield, Kilgalligan, Carratigue, Cornboy [1482] and Portacloy, for transfers to Gibstown, County Meath or elsewhere, and whether it is his intention to carry out any of the transfers referred to.

Mr. Boland:  Application was made by a number of tenants in the townlands mentioned (situated in County Mayo North) for transfer to the Gaeltacht Colony at Gibstown, County Meath. and up to the present two families have been transferred. The applications in the other cases have been noted for consideration when suitable lands become available for distribution.

Mr. Everett:  asked the Minister for Lands if it is the intention of his Department to develop the following estates and to vest them in the tenants (1) W. G. Murphy estate, Stonefield, County Mayo; (2) the Carson estate, Muingnabo, County Mayo; and, if so, whether he can give any indication of when the work is likely to be put in hands.

Mr. Boland:  The holdings on the estate of W. G. Murphy, Record No. S. 5423, and on the estate of W. H. Carson, Record No. S. 6922, County Mayo, were vested in the Land Commission under Section 9 of the Land Act, 1931, and before the revesting of the holdings in the tenants, it is proposed to have these estates inspected with a view to carrying out a rearrangement of the lands and other necessary improvements. In view of the large number of estates in County Mayo requiring rearrangement, it is not possible at present to state when the work on these estates is likely to be put in hands.

Mr. Dockrell:  asked the Minister for Lands if he will state what was the amount of stock in hands at the various depôts of the rural industries at (a) March 31st, 1937, and (b) March 31st, 1938.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Lands (Mr. O'Grady):  The value of the stock of materials and finished goods at the Central Marketing Depôt and the rural industrial [1483] centres on 31st March, 1937, was £28,389 14s. 7d.; the stock as at 31st March, 1938, has been taken, but it will be some little time before the value is ascertained.

Mr. Dockrell:  Arising out of the reply, will the Parliamentary Secretary postpone the Estimate for the Gaeltacht Services until that figure is available?

Mr. O'Grady:  I do not think it will be necessary to postpone the Estimate. The figure will be made available for the information of Deputies, it is hoped, in the course of a few weeks' time. There will be no avoidable delay in making the figure available to them.

Mr. Dockrell:  I think last year the Minister admitted that discussing the Estimate without the result of the year's trading savoured somewhat of putting the cart before the horse. I think if the Parliamentary Secretary looks back on the record he will find that that was more or less agreed to, but, apparently, it is now going to become the normal practice.

Tadhg O Murchadha:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he is now in a position to state when telephonic communication will be established between the islands of Cape Clear and Sherkin, County Cork, and the mainland.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Traynor):  Cape Clear and Sherkin Islands, County Cork, are included in the general scheme for island communication services which is at present under consideration. I am not yet able to say when a decision can be arrived at, but I am hopeful that it will not be much longer delayed.

Mr. O'Neill:  Would the Minister say when the general scheme first came up for consideration? As far as we are aware, we have been getting this reply for the last six years.

Mr. Traynor:  At the present moment, experiments are being carried [1484] out with the wireless method of transmitting messages, but the method has not yet been fully tested. When that method and the cable form of communication have been fully tested, a decision will be arrived at as to which is the more suitable.

The Tánaiste:  It is proposed to take business as on the Order Paper Nos. 1 to 4 inclusive, No. 4 to be taken before No. 3. Public business will be interrupted at 9 o'clock to take Private Deputies' business.

Mr. Dillon:  Is the Vice-President able to tell us to-day, in the event of an adjournment this week, when it is proposed to introduce the Budget?

[1485]The Tánaiste:  The date for the introduction of the Budget will probably be May 4th.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  I move:

That notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in the Standing Orders of Dáil Eireann relative to Private Business, the Report and Fifth Stages of the Mountjoy Square, Dublin, Bill, 1938, be taken to-day.

Agreed.

Ordered accordingly.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  I move that the Bill be received for final consideration.

Question put and agreed to.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  I move that the Bill do now pass.

Question put and agreed to.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  I move:

That notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in the Standing Orders of Dáil Eireann relative to Private Business, the Report and Fifth Stages of the Erasmus Smith Schools Bill, 1938, be taken to-day.

Question put and agreed to.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  I move that the Bill do now pass.

Mr. Moore:  Before the motion is put, I think the House would like to hear from the Minister for Education whether he has any scheme in view for the spending of this money. The Bill provides that a very considerable sum of money will come into his hands for the use of his Department. I should like to know if he has yet prepared a scheme for the disposal of that money.

Minister for Education (Mr. Derrig):  I have no scheme ready or in preparation in connection with this Bill. All I can say to Deputy Moore and to the House generally with regard to it, is that if the representatives of the [1486] parties and the districts which claim benefits under the Bill put before me an agreed scheme, it will receive my sympathetic consideration.

Mr. McMenamin:  You are an optimist.

Question put and agreed to.

Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lemass):  I move that the Bill be received for final consideration.

Mr. Dillon:  I desire——

An Ceann Comhairle:  Perhaps the Deputy——

Mr. Dillon:  I am asking leave to put a question because the information I want may be necessary for the House. The Minister will remember that we promised to give him the remaining stages to-day and I understood from him that he would be in a position to communicate to the House the terms of the specification that he laid down for Cement Limited in connection with the quality of cement to be manufactured and the price that was fixed by Cement Limited for the various regions in which they proposed to deliver cement in Ireland from the date on which they commence production. I did not get these particulars and I wonder if the Minister has them before him now and, if so, whether he could give them to us.

Mr. Dockrell:  I want to ask the Minister just two questions on the Bill. The Minister stated that cements that did not come under the definition of this Bill would be cements which were non-hydraulic or in other words that the cement affected by this Bill was hydraulic cement. I think if the Minister could, it would be advisable that he would satisfy us what he understands by hydraulic cement. There is another question. I think the Minister stated that from a particular time, Cement, Ltd. were going to take over control of all [1487] supplies of cement coming into this country. I should like the Minister to fix the date. What I meant by that is that I want the date announced because there may be questions as to whether particular consignments belonged to, or were to be handled by, Cement, Ltd. or not. It would be desirable if the Minister would announce to the House, if not to-day then shortly, that, as and from a particular date and a particular hour Cement, Ltd., had assumed control. In other words, that what had passed through without Cement, Ltd., having control they would take control of. From the way supplies of cement are arriving it would be very desirable if a definite point was fixed at which one would be one thing, and the other another thing.

Mr. Lemass:  On the question of standard, the Act provides that the Order prescribing the standard of cement manufactured by Cement, Ltd., will be submitted to the Dáil. The Order has been prepared on the advice of a Committee which I formed for that purpose. I understand it is ready to be made, and will be made in the very near future. When it is made it will be formally submitted to the Dáil as the Act requires. I cannot give the Deputy any more information on the position as to the price of cement, but a price list has been published by the company and has, I understand, been circulated to potential customers. It is a very formidable document, in so far as it provides for different prices under different conditions of sale, and according to the quantities purchased.

The Deputy was informed during the discussion that took place on the last day the Bill was before the House, that if he applied at the office of my Department he could probably make a copy of the Order, or that it would be made available for him, or if the Deputy communicates with my office I would have it sent to him. It is possible, no doubt, to provide a complete list of all kinds of cement which would come under the definition of [1488]“hydraulic cement.” It would involve referring to some of them by what are properly known as trade names, perhaps even by the names of firms that manufacture them. The term “hydraulic cement” in its application under the Act is fully understood by interested parties, because the Act has been in force for about five years, and applies only to hydraulic cements such as Roman cement, Portland cement and other hydraulic cements. Any form of cement for which an importation licence was required heretofore would be in the same position in future. As regards an announcement, what the Deputy suggests is the practical course to take. He understands that the Bill, when it becomes an Act, will not automatically provide that there will not be still licences. New licences will continue to be issued until the arrangement is completed. The completion of the arrangement will take some little time, although it is obviously desirable that it should be effective before quantities of Irish manufactured cement become available. Even when the arrangement has been made and brought into operation it will apply only in respect of new licences. Any person engaged in the cement business will continue to be facilitated until the new arrangement is working completely.

Mr. Dockrell:  Arising out of the Minister's reply, I am afraid I do not quite understand the way he put the matter. If I understood him, what the Minister now suggests is that all licences that have been issued will be allowed to run off.

Mr. Lemass:  Yes. Of course the licensee has the option of surrendering the licence and getting a refund. Some may be prepared to take that course.

Mr. Dockrell:  Where a fee has been paid, the position is that the cement is the licensee's property, but that no fresh licences will be issued after a certain date.

Mr. Lemass:  That is right.

Mr. Dockrell:  The rough and ready test is this, that if you get a licence [1489] the cement is yours, but if you have not got one Cement, Ltd., will have to arrange to take over the cement.

Mr. Lemass:  Yes.

Question put and agreed to.

Mr. Lemass:  I move that the Bill do now pass.

Mr. Dillon:  On the Fifth Stage, which we have undertaken to facilitate to-day, one or two points arise. The House will remember that originally the determining factor of price mainly concerned this country. Therefore the merits of that question fall for discussion now. This Bill goes a further step, and in order effectively to carry out the purpose of the Principal Act it has become necessary to confer an absolute monopoly on Cement, Ltd. All this is being done in the sacred name of economic self-sufficiency. I notice what must be the greatest miracle since Moses struck the rock, that the Labour Party has become converted. Having for the last six years given stalwart support to the Minister for Industry and Commerce in promoting the cause of economic self-sufficiency, they have now announced that that was all wrong.

An Ceann Comhairle:  They are not in this Bill.

Mr. Lemass:  There is nothing concrete about their ideas, anyway.

Mr. Dillon:  I am going to submit with respect that this Bill is an instrument made necessary by the policy of economic self-sufficiency.

An Ceann Comhairle:  On the Second Stage of a Bill, discussion may be pretty wide. It is much more restricted on the Fifth Stage, being confined to what is actually in the measure. I suggest to the Deputy that the discovery of an apt illustration does not justify the writing of a book.

Mr. Dillon:  No, but the necessity here increases the price of cement by 21/- a ton, and it seems to me to be a very relevant point to make on the Fifth Stage.

[1490]An Ceann Comhairle:  Quite, but not on the general policy of self-sufficiency.

Mr. Dillon:  It is towards that I am approaching. I want to make this case, with your leave, that it is unreasonable to criticise the Minister for Industry and Commerce adversely for these increasing charges if at the same time you are going to urge him to pursue a policy of economic self-sufficiency. My respectful submission is—and I am going to make the case now—that we are responsible, through this legislation, for further increasing the price of cement for the building of labourers' cottages by 21/- a ton. I do not deny that if the Minister is to follow a policy of economic self-sufficiency, and if he is instructed by the Executive Council to carry out that policy, then I cannot blame him, as I think he has a complete answer if he says: “In pursuance of the policy of economic self-sufficiency, I have got to raise the price of cement by 21/- a ton, as there is no other way of achieving economic self-sufficiency.” I agree with him. I think he is right there. The point I want to make is that the extra cost of cement, as a result of this legislation, is the price of economic self-sufficiency. Deputy Corish took me to task recently, I think under a misapprehension, when he stated that the increase in the price of cement was a trivial matter in the building of a house.

Mr. Corish:  No, I did not. I said that the increased cost of 5/- would be infinitesimal on the rent.

Mr. Dillon:  I am glad the Deputy corrected what was the popular impression. The effect of the increased price of cement is not 5/- per ton but 21/- per ton. In October, 1936, cement was being delivered in this country at 30/- a ton c.i.f., and for larger quantities, 29/6 c.i.f., at Irish ports. The Minister, then, for purposes which are completed by the passage of this Bill, announced his intention of levying a licence fee of 5/- a ton.

Mr. Lemass:  When did I announce it?

Mr. Dillon:  Subsequent to the date I mentioned.

[1491]Mr. Lemass:  1936?

Mr. Dillon:  About then you imposed a fee.

Mr. Lemass:  As a matter of fact, it was imposed in 1933, five years ago.

Mr. Dillon:  I think it was in 1936 that the Minister announced his plans as being completed for the creation of the cement industry.

Mr. Lemass:  1933.

Mr. Dillon:  The Minister's plans for the establishment of the industry were not then completed.

Mr. Lemass:  The plans were completed in 1933.

Mr. Dillon:  Let us not bicker over details, but at that stage it became apparent that the Minister was going to cut off all imports of cement as soon as he could, and that in the process of doing that he proposed steadily to raise the price of cement. Mark this, because this is immensely important, he fixed the public with notice that there was no use, as the price of cement went up, in their looking to other sources of supply, because he said, “At the end of a couple of years, or as soon as I can get the cement plant built, I am going to cut off all imports of cement.” Faced with that notice, the cement cartel took counsel with themselves. They said that the Minister for Industry and Commerce in Ireland is going to raise the price of cement no matter what we charge for it, c.i.f., at an Irish port, and if the price is going to be raised by the Minister we might as well raise it ourselves, because if we now raise the price of cement there is no danger of anybody in Ireland buying Spanish or Polish cement, as they were tempted to do before themselves when we tried to raise the price. The Minister for Industry and Commerce has warned them that if they establish business relations with Poland for cheap cement he will break up those business relations as soon as he has established Cement, Ltd., with the result that the price of cement began to rise. The cement that was costing 30/-, c.i.f., [1492] at an Irish port in 1936 was costing 39/6, c.i.f., in December, 1937, and to-day is costing 41/6, c.i.f., at an Irish port.

Now, when cement was costing 30/-, c.i.f., it was being sold to the contractors who had to build houses at prices varying between 34/6 and 36/6 per ton delivered on site. I think it might be fair to say that the average price was 36/6 delivered on site, and that for some very small quantities 1/- more might have been charged, but the average was 36/6. Now, the price is about 57/6 delivered on site—that is £1 per ton more than it was two years ago. It takes about six tons of cement, I understand, to build a small labourer's cottage if the cottages are built in pairs.

Mr. Corish:  Nonsense.

Mr. Dillon:  I asked a contractor and he told me that it took about six tons if the cottages were built in pairs— that is six tons to build a small labourer's cottage.

Mr. Dockrell:  A lot depends on what the cottage is built of.

Mr. Dillon:  I have many vocations in life, but there is one thing that I have never put up to be, and that is a builder.

Mr. Seán Brady:  That is astonishing.

Mr. Corish:  It takes about 12 tons of cement to build a labourer's cottage if the cottage is built of concrete.

Mr. Dillon:  That only strengthens my case.

Mr. Corish:  We are trying to keep the Deputy right.

Mr. Dillon:  I was merely going to submit to the House that, on the information I have from builders, it took six tons of cement to build a small labourer's cottage if you are building the cottages in pairs. That represents an additional cost of £6 on the house, and my point is that if you had that £6 you could add many a little convenience to that house which you cannot now add owing to the increased cost of cement. Deputy Corish, who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of [1493] matters of this kind because of his experience of local administration, states that in the County Wexford it may mean a difference of £12 in the cost of building a small labourer's cottage. That merely strengthens my case.

Mr. Corish:  We thought that we might as well try and keep the Deputy right.

Mr. Dillon:  I am very glad to get any information the Deputy can give me because what he has said makes it all the clearer that the cost of economic self-sufficiency in cement is going to be largely borne by the labourer's wife who must now do without the conveniences that she otherwise might enjoy in the cottage that is being built for her. I have always, and my colleagues in this Party have always, warned Deputies of this House and the country that economic self-sufficiency was not only impossible of achievement in its entirety, but that the pursuit of it involved great losses to the community, and particularly acute suffering to the poor. Up till recently the Labour Party seemed to have taken the opposite view. We are now informed that they have changed their minds.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Now !

Mr. Dillon:  I am going to ask them this categorical question.

An Ceann Comhairle:  I suspect, unofficially, what the Deputy desires to ask the Labour Party. As the Deputy has already been informed, this is a Bill dealing with cement. On the Estimate for the Minister's Department he will have an opportunity of discussing the Minister's policy. If the Deputy were allowed to do so now, and the Chair were to prohibit further discussion of Government policy on the Estimate for the Minister's Department, other Deputies might find themselves aggrieved. The Deputy cannot have it both ways: he cannot now anticipate discussion relevant to Estimates.

Mr. Dillon:  It is right at any rate that the House should realise a few things. The first is that this Bill is in [1494] conformity with the Government's policy of economic self-sufficiency. The other is that this Cement Bill is going to impose a very heavy burden on the people, and the third, and most important lesson for the Labour Party to learn, is this: that this is the only way that you can get self-sufficiency. You cannot blame the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he demands in this Cement Bill immense sacrifices from the community at large. He must, if he is to carry that policy through. There is no other way of doing it, and it is because I am of opinion that it is wholly unjustifiable to place this burden on the community, and that we are getting no adequate return for the suffering that the community must endure as a result of these burdens, that I and my colleagues believe that the policy of national self-sufficiency on which this Bill is founded cannot be justified, and that departures of this character cannot be justified. However, I accept your ruling that the place to challenge—I am not trying to circumnavigate your ruling—I accept your ruling that the place to challenge the fundamental philosophy of national self-sufficiency is on the Estimate for the Minister's Department and not on this Bill.

An Ceann Comhairle:  We are now in agreement.

Mr. Dillon:  I agree with that and I hope that, hereafter, I shall not be told that, having made a strong speech, I did not challenge a division on this matter. I accept your ruling that the proper place to raise the principle involved in this Bill is on the Estimate and I shall so raise it unless the Labour Party get in ahead of me. I propose to put down a motion that the Estimate be referred back for reconsideration. Seeing that the Labour Party are now putting down that motion for every Estimate on the Order Paper, they may get it down before me in respect of this Estimate.

Mr. Davin:  Not every Estimate.

Mr. Dillon:  As many as they know anything about or as many as they can get up and talk about. If they do not put down that motion, I propose to put [1495] it down and to join issue with the Minister on that fundamental question which is not relevant to our momentary debate. The Labour Party must do either of two things—challenge the Minister's fundamental philosophy or help him in piling on the burden that is falling on the working people of this country. They cannot have it both ways.

Mr. Lemass:  Neither can the Deputy.

Mr. Davin:  Tell that to the Labour members of the Seanad.

Mr. Dillon:  They have not manifested themselves as yet. I propose to tell it to the Labour members of Dáil Eireann and to the members of the Labour organisations, as a whole, and the sooner we come to a realisation of these facts, the better it will be for us all. I should be glad if the Minister would give us his opinion as to whether my view upon that aspect of the situation does not correspond materially with his own—that you cannot have certain policies without paying for them and that there is no use in clamouring for the policy if you are not prepared to pay the price.

Mr. Corish:  I had not intended to speak on this Bill at this stage but Deputy Dillon has made certain statements that might lead people to believe that the Labour Party were supporting the Minister for Industry and Commerce in something that was going appreciably to increase the rent of labourers' cottages. As I indicated —and I have ascertained I was correct —during the course of Deputy Dillon's speech, on an average it takes about 12 tons of cement to construct a labourer's cottage. What we are chiefly concerned with, I submit, in so far as Government policy is concerned, is the matter of the 5/- licence—that is what I think it is called—which is imposed by the Government. We, certainly, have supported the Ministry hitherto on this tax or licence. If it takes 12 tons of cement to build a labourer's cottage—I have ascertained this from people who are in a position to tell me —that means that the extra cost will [1496] be £3. The Minister for Local Government and Public Health pays 66 and two-thirds of that and the increase in the rent of a labourer's cottage would be a little less than three farthings a week. That is the imposition.

Mr. Dillon:  Surely the Deputy realises that the Minister's Bill proposes to increase the price of cement by 21/-a ton. The price of cement has got to go up to 21/-. The bottom, therefore, falls out of the Deputy's argument.

Mr. Coburn:  I trust that the Minister will see that the price of cement will not be unnecessarily high—higher than the price prevailing in other countries. It is all right for people to say, “So long as it is made in the country, we can charge what we like.” I disagree with Deputy Corish in his deductions with regard to the rent of labourers' cottages. But you cannot confine yourself to the rent of labourers' cottages. You have got to consider the other tens of thousands of workers in this country. There seems to be a sort of general “singsong” on the part of members of the Labour Party and of the Government Party about the unfortunate men in labourers' cottages. What about the other workers? What about the man who wants to construct a house under the Small Dwellings Acquisition Act? What about the man who has a sense of dignity, who wants to provide a house for his family instead of staying in an old tumble-down “shack” and who does not want the State to subscribe 66 and two-thirds of the cost? There should be a little practice of Sinn Féin—the thing you were so fond of preaching years ago. May I ask Deputy Corish what will be the effect of the £12 extra which he quoted. Every £12 extra means a tenth——

Mr. Corish:  On a point of order, I do not think that I referred to £12 extra.

Mr. Coburn:  I should like to go into a round-table conference with Deputy Corish on this question.

[1497]Mr. Corish:  I am prepared to meet the Deputy anywhere. I never mentioned the question of £12. I was dealing with the question of the 5/-licence, and I said that it took 12 tons of cement to build a labourer's cottage. I was answering the argument of Deputy Dillon. The Minister pays 66? of the increase of rent and that would mean a little less than three farthings.

Mr. Dillon:  The Deputy may think that he was answering my argument, but that was not what he answered. The £12 is in question.

Mr. Coburn:  I should like to deal with that question at a round-table conference or, possibly, on a public platform and to point out the different views I hold as a workmen's representative. It matters not whether the State pays or not; this money is coming out of the people's pockets. I hold that the decent worker of this country who is out to build a house for himself should not be fleeced in regard to the charges made for the materials he uses in the building of his house. With all respect to Deputy Corish, I maintain that every £10 increase put on the building of a house does make a difference in the rent. Assuming that the rate is £6 13s. 4d. —I think that is the inclusive rate charged by the public authorities to people who apply for loans to build houses under the Small Dwellings Acquisition Act—that is one-tenth of 100, and that means one-tenth of £6 13s. 4d. which is much more than three farthings, on the average, to the working man.

Mr. Corish:  I was only answering in regard to the labourer's cottage.

Mr. Coburn:  The aggregate of all these little additions means a very big thing.

Mr. Dillon:  Hear, hear!

Mr. Coburn:  It is just the same as an addition of 1d. to the rate. In the aggregate, it means a very big thing. A great many people gibe at things because they do not understand them and they are surprised that anybody else should understand them. When [1498] certain Deputies do not understand things in this House, they start to laugh, but they will not spend ten minutes in trying to understand them. They talk about the “unfortunate, poor workman” and they ask the Minister to put on the money, no matter where it comes from. In dealing with this very important question of housing, I would never get up and ask the Minister to do everything. I want the people themselves, including the workers who are engaged in erecting houses, to help the Minister as well. I do not agree with the Labour Party's view and that is the reason that, instead of asking the Minister to put up all the money, I ask the Minister to keep a close eye on the cost of cement in so far as it will be manufactured in this country because it all means money.

Another question which I was going to ask the Minister is in connection with these factories. I do not know whether it would be in order on this stage. Great dissatisfaction exists in this little country of ours because certain people will not get work in these factories. I should like to have the ear of the Labour Party in connection with this matter of the factories. If a man lives a half a mile away——

An Ceann Comhairle:  If the Minister is responsible, that point would be more appropriate on the Estimate.

Mr. Lemass:  It would not be appropriate at all because the Minister has no responsibility.

Mr. Coburn:  I thought it was brought up on the Second Stage of the Bill.

An Ceann Comhairle:  If the Minister has no responsibility, the matter cannot be raised.

Mr. Lemass:  I have nothing whatever to do with it.

Mr. Dillon:  Query! On a point of order, the Minister has power under one section to make regulations in regard to the erection of these factories and other matters affecting them, and it might well be argued [1499] that, under that section, he has power to deal with the matter raised by Deputy Coburn.

Mr. Lemass:  I have no doubt the Deputy would argue that.

An Ceann Comhairle:  In any case it was not a point of order.

Mr. Coburn:  I intend to raise the matter on the Estimate of the Office of the Minister for Industry and Commerce. I would not interfere in this debate were it not for the mistaken idea that exists that £10 or £12 extra does not matter. It matters a lot to the working classes of this country other than those who are living in houses to which the Minister contributes 66? per cent.

Mr. Lemass:  Trying to follow Deputy Dillon is as futile as chasing a revolving roundabout. He gets so far away from any known facts that it is impossible to relate his contentions to the circumstances which others know to exist. I followed him as carefully as I could, but I could not identify anything he said with any fact of which I am aware. I do not know, consequently, that his remarks are worth while dealing with, but I will continue this unprofitable process of trying to educate him. There is going to be no increase in the price of cement. The establishment of these factories is not going to impose any burden on anybody. On the contrary, the price of cement is going to be decreased by an average of from 3/- to 4/- per ton over the whole country.

Mr. Dillon:  It was boosted 21/- per ton.

Mr. Lemass:  Who boosted it 21/-a ton? This imported foreign cement which the Deputy is talking about has increased in price. That is true. Everybody knows what happened. Deputy Dockrell knows quite well what happened. In 1933, when the original Cement Bill was introduced, foreign cement was being sold here at an extremely low price because this was the only free market in Europe to which cement could be imported. You could buy Belgian cement here at half the price it was sold in Belgium. You [1500] could buy Danish cement here at half the price it was sold in Denmark. In fact, there are people still in Dublin who made money by buying British cement delivered in Dublin and reexporting it to England, because the prevailing price here was 10/-, 12/- or 15/- per ton lower than the price even in England. That is the situation. Undoubtedly that conferred an immediate advantage on the consumer here, but nobody expected that it was going to continue. It was an entirely abnormal and, obviously, only a temporary situation. It stopped when these exporters made an arrangement amongst themselves to stop cutting their throats in this market and the price of cement began to go up. Of course it went up.

Mr. Dillon:  To what.

Mr. Lemass:  The price of cement went up. I am not in a position, nor is anybody else in a position, to say to what extent the increase in the price of cement is attributable to that, because there were other reasons operating. The demand for cement arising out of rearmament undertakings and other causes also increased to such an extent that there was a scarcity of cement. Does Deputy Dillon know that in 1936, the year to which he referred, we made an agreement with the British Government to purchase 200,000 tons of cement from Great Britain in consideration of their buying a corresponding quantity of bacon from us, and that the British exporters could not supply the cement? The arrangement had to be terminated because the cement could not be made available. Deputy Dillon does not know that. He referred to the year 1936 because he thought it had some significance in relation to his argument. It had no significance whatever. Nothing happened in 1936 except this: that we reduced the duty on cement from 20 per cent. to 10 per cent.—that is the duty on British cement. Obviously that did not increase the price. I told Deputy Dillon a few days ago that he could make his fortune writing threepenny novelettes for servant girls. He has a most fertile imagination. This picture [1501] he painted to-day of the cartels sitting down in secret session to decide how they were going to take advantage of some statement of mine in order to exploit the consumer here was all bunkum.

Mr. Dillon:  It is precisely what happened.

Mr. Lemass:  It was for a similar reason that the price of cement went up in Great Britain and in every other country.

Mr. Dillon:  It did not.

Mr. Lemass:  It is all nonsense. The price was bound to go up here when it went up elsewhere, because the costs of producing it were increased. It was bound to go up as soon as this cut-throat war in which they were engaged ended. Now we are going to produce our own cement and we are going to produce it cheaper than foreign cement is now sold here. There is going to be a reduction in the price of cement. This is no burden on anybody. It is an advantage conferred upon this country of considerable magnitude because that cement is going to be not merely superior in quality to cement conforming to the British standard specification, but cheaper in price and produced in this country by Irish workers entirely from Irish materials, except for coal.

Mr. Dillon:  Of which it takes one ton to manufacture two tons of cement.

Mr. Lemass:  That may be a development towards national self-sufficiency, but I did not promote this for any other reason except that I thought it good business to do it. Deputy Dillon can, of course, sneer at this idea of national self-sufficiency. He could have a talk with Deputy Cosgrave about that at some time. He was very flattering in attributing the enunciation of this policy to me. I do not make that claim for myself. Whatever I know about national economics I learned from the writings of Arthur Griffith and those who advocated his teachings many years ago. Deputy Cosgrave is one of them. Is he now one of those “who deny [1502] and deem it mad, the faith their nobler boyhood had?” Perhaps if Deputy Cosgrave goes back over 20 years and considers the attitude he took in that matter, he may be in a position to give Deputy Dillon a few rudimentary principles on which to base his speech.

I expressed the opinion here before, and I repeat it, that the imposition of the licence fee caused no increase in the price of cement in itself. It did, of course, during the period when the price war to which I referred was in progress, but once that war ended, the only thing that determined the price at which cement would be sold here was the effect of that price upon its saleability. The licence fee had nothing to do with it. In fact, agents in this country who handled imported cement themselves increased their fees substantially more than the licence fee charged by the State.

In any event, the licence fee in future is going to have nothing whatever to do with the price of cement, because imported cement, the cement to which the Bill relates, will be sold without profit at precisely the same price as that at which Irish cement will be available and the price of Irish cement, as I told the Dáil, is definitely fixed in relation to the cost of manufacture. It will vary only if the price of coal or the cost of labour or the price of electricity alters. If these charges do not alter, the price will remain the same. If these charges go up, the price of cement will go up; if these charges go down, the price of cement will go down. Imported cement will be sold at that price no matter what fee, if any, we decide to have on the licences issued to those bringing it in. Therefore, all this talk about the burden on the people, about increasing the cost of labourers' cottages, and calling the nation to make sacrifices for the policy of national self-sufficiency is so much hot air.

Mr. Dillon:  Might I ask the Minister this question? Does he seriously tell the House, assuming that the new price for cement is going to be in the order of 46/-, that cement, if it were being imported freely, would cost [1503] 46/-; or is it not true to say that, if we were importing cement freely, we could buy it at the present moment for about 34/- per cwt. c.i.f. at an Irish port?

Mr. Lemass:  I expressed a serious opinion. I am not in a position to say precisely what would happen in purely hypothetical circumstances. I expressed an opinion which is certainly seriously meant and which, I think, is a correct one. The fact, however, is that the price at which cement is now available will be reduced when Irish-made cement is available.

Mr. Dillon:  The question I asked was: Is the Minister, with the information in his Department at his disposal, of opinion that the price charged by Cement, Ltd., will be as low or lower than the price which would obtain if we were free to import cement from the large number of sources of supply available? To that the Minister makes no reply.

Mr. Lemass:  It is a purely hypothetical question and not worth an answer.

Mr. Dillon:  It is a vital question.

Mr. Lemass:  It is of no significance to anybody.

Mr. Dillon:  The difference between these two prices is the cost of this enterprise. I say it is 21/- per ton.

Question put and agreed to.

The Dáil, according to order, went into Committee on Finance, and resumed consideration of the Estimates for Public Services for the year ending March 31, 1939.

Debate resumed on the following motion:—

That the Estimate be referred back for reconsideration.

Mr. Allen:  On the last day, I intended drawing the Minister's attention to the necessity for increasing [1504] or extending the immunisation schemes already in operation in the country. It is the opinion of medical officers of health that immunisation against scarlet fever and measles, which is in operation in other countries, should be extended to this country. I should like to suggest to the Minister that he should have an investigation made by his medical officers as to the results which are obtained in other countries where those schemes are in operation. I believe they are in operation in parts of America, and also in Great Britain. There is no doubt about the fact that immunisation against diphtheria has saved the lives of hundreds of children in this country during the last few years, and if we had immunisation against both scarlet fever and measles we would probably be going a great deal further.

There is just one complaint which I should like to make with regard to the Minister's Department. They are very stiff-necked in giving authority to boards of health to provide instruments for their county hospitals. Time after time the board of health in the constituency I come from has put up to the Minister's Department the necessity for certain surgical instruments in their hospital. That was on the advice of the medical officers of that hospital. As often as we put them up, those applications have been turned down by the Minister's Department. I think it is most unfair to a county hospital, when the chief medical officer and the chief surgeon of that hospital request that certain surgical instruments should be provided, that the Department of Local Government should prevent them from having those instruments. The boards of health are prepared to pay for them, and if they are considered necessary by the doctors in those hospitals I think they should have them. I hope the Minister will give serious attention to that matter. The Wexford Board of Health has been raising it during the last five or six years, but no progress seems to have been made.

I think it was Deputy Brennan who complained that the county councils [1505] were being used at the present time for spending unemployment relief grants. He thought it was unfair to the county councils to ask them to spend those grants. I do not know any county council in the country—except, perhaps, Deputy Brennan's; I am sure he speaks for his own, but I can speak for the one I am connected with— which is not glad to get those grants. The one complaint I have to make is that the Minister's Department insists on a contribution from the county councils. I think those grants could very well be given without insisting on any contribution from the county councils, or from the urban councils either. Those moneys are given out of the unemployment relief fund. The councils find it very hard to meet all the demands which are made on them, and the grants should be given independently of any contribution from the county councils. I do say that the county councils do not object to getting the grants; they only wish they were getting far more than they are receiving at the present time.

There is one other matter to which I wish to refer, and that is the necessity for having an investigation into the manner of the allocation of the road fund grants. The county councils find it extremely difficult at the moment to keep the third and fourth-class roads in a condition to cope with the large amount of motor traffic.

They have to carry an increasing amount of motor traffic year by year. The railway companies failed to carry the transport of the country on steel rails, and I do not see why the county councils should be asked to carry that very same traffic on the roads. That is what it amounts to. The railway company was carrying the traffic on rails, but they were not able to continue to do so, and now the county councils are required to keep up the roads, many of which are in very poor condition. There is no possibility in the world of the county councils being able to bring their third and fourth-class roads up to the standard necessary to carry the motor traffic at the present time. Something will need to be done. The trunk roads are in first-class repair, and the complaint of the [1506] county councils is that they are compelled by the Department of Local Government to contribute a certain amount towards the upkeep of those trunk roads. The feeling is that the trunk roads could do with less maintenance than is being allocated to them each year, but the county councils are more or less compelled to contribute; otherwise there would be no grant. What is required is that there should be a re-allocation of the grant. There are certain important roads which are not at the present time classified as trunk or link roads. An extended classification of link and trunk roads would relieve the pressure on the local authorities. It costs £1,000 or £1,500 a mile to steam-roll a road. In the case of a county like Wexford, where there are something like 3,000 miles of road, only about 300 miles being steam-rolled already, the House will have a fair idea as to what it will cost to put even 50 per cent. of those roads into perfect condition. The only means of improving the present position is that the Minister should have a change made in the allocation of the road fund grant, and make it available for other than the scheduled roads. I think that is about all I have to say, but I hope the Minister will bear those few points in mind.

Mr. McGovern:  This discussion has gone on for a pretty long time, and covered a good deal of ground. I am glad that the Minister has been commended on the general standard of his administration. I do not want to depreciate it; I prefer rather to encourage that tendency, and to try to raise the standard of administration all round to the high level which it has reached in those branches on which the Minister has been commended. There is one very serious matter to which I want to refer. Although no Deputy in this House has referred to it on either of the two days during which the Vote has been under discussion, it is a very burning topic down the country. I refer to the condition of the main roads insofar as the man with the horse and cart, or the man with the cow is concerned. That is a very serious matter. Nobody has asked what has become of him. Everybody knows that that man is not [1507] using the main roads now. Why? Because they are being turned into skating rinks, and it is impossible for the man with the cow or the man with the horse and cart to use them in safety. Yet, no Deputy has referred to the matter. If you look up the daily papers, you will see no reference to it there. The last time I remember reading about that man was in the report of a coroner's inquest. He came out on the road and all his belongings were scattered in all directions; a motor car came along and ran over him, and so the coroner's jury settled the rest. They found that he was as dead as Queen Anne. Lately, when the rate collector went to seek him out, he found he was alive and kicking at the back of the hill. It was very little wonder he was kicking when he found that his rates are three times as much now as they were when he had the use of the roads.

I think that is a very serious matter; it is no joke, and the Minister ought to give it consideration. The last time I referred to this matter the Minister, although I cannot charge him with discourtesy generally, had not the courtesy to mention it when he came to reply; it was not worth alluding to. Does not the Minister or Deputies in this House consider that those people have at least a prescriptive right to use the roads? They have been using them for hundreds of years. They were there before the Minister was here. They were there before motor cars. They were there before Dáil Eireann was established. These people have a prescriptive right, even if they have no other rights; but they have other rights, because they are contributing largely to the upkeep of these roads. They were responsible for making the roads, and they had certain other rights. Nobody is entitled to deprive them of these rights, even though we are living in the year 1938 when, apparently, in some places, right has to yield to might. Some European dictators have shown the world recently, perhaps, how it may be said that right must yield to might. However, we did not have to learn that [1508] lesson in this country from these European dictators, because we learned that right sometimes has to yield to might, long before these dictators started.

I do not know whether or not it is the intention of the Minister to drive a coach and four through these rights. Perhaps he might think that that was too slow a method, but I would appeal to the Minister to consider this matter carefully. If Deputies generally have neglected this matter it seems to me to be very strange that they have neglected it. Many of them are cogs, so to speak, in the machinery of local government since they are helping to operate local bodies and are all responsible more or less; but the Minister is at the head of this machine and he is the person who is really responsible for the interference with the rights of those people. Those people have a right to the use of the roads. Now, I do not want to have the roads put back to the condition in which they were formerly. I am just as anxious to see good roads provided for motoring as anybody else. I use the roads very often for motoring. I want to see good roads, but I say that the other people are also just as much entitled to the use of the roads. Can we not have a road suitable for both? I maintain that we can, and I hold that that is where the Minister can do very useful work. I shall make a suggestion in that connection. Various suggestions are made at meetings of the county councils from time to time, but they seem to fall through and nothing effective is done. Of course, they do discuss the matter and they make various suggestions, but they are not practical suggestions, and even their servants, the county engineers, are left without any definite direction, and the result is that the matter remains as it was. What I would suggest to the Minister is that he should make a recommendation to the county councils to get their engineers when they are finishing off those tarred roads to finish them off with white grit instead of limestone chippings. If that were done there would be no slipping worth mentioning. If the material with [1509] which the road is finished off is changed and if when that goes down the same kind of material is used, instead of limestone, there would be very little danger, and all classes of people, including the man with the horse and cart, or even with the ass and cart, going to fairs and markets, can use the road in safety. I hope that the Minister will not forget to deal with this matter when he is replying, and I also hope that when he goes back to his office he will not forget to make some recommendation in connection with this, and that at least he will have some experiments carried out on the lines I have suggested or on some other lines that may appear to be more feasible. I think that if the Minister only asks some of the engineers under the Department to carry out some experiments with a view to seeing how this difficulty could be got over the problem of providing roads that will be suitable for motor cars as well as for farmers and other users of the roads will not be found to be insuperable at all.

Another matter to which I should like to refer is the question of hospitals in County Cavan. For the last four years, and perhaps longer, the Board of Health in County Cavan have been trying to get hospitals built there, but for some reason or another the Department has been blocking the way all the time. An architect from the Department went down there and agreed upon a site. The board of health actually purchased that site, and then, when they had purchased the site and when a couple of years was spent, during which the board of health were still in touch with the Department trying to get the work carried out, they were informed that the site was unsuitable. Well, if the site was unsuitable, it was the Department's own inspector that was responsible. The position now is that the board of health do not seem to know exactly where they are. They do not know whether or not an architect has been appointed, and correspondence has been going on between the board of health and the Department and there seems to be more or less friction in connection with the [1510] matter. It is evident on the face of it, however, that the Department of Local Government and Public Health do not want the hospital built. Now, that is not fair to Cavan. It is not fair to Cavan for this reason. The Cavan people spent more upon their hospitals than any other poor county spent—and Cavan is a poor county— but the very fact that they did raise their hospitals to the best of their ability, and to a high standard at the time, seems to be the reason that they cannot get the money to which they are entitled in order to raise them to the standards that are desirable at the moment or to the standard that obtains in other counties, but Cavan is just as much entitled to good hospitals as any other county, and, therefore, I hope there will be no further undue delay in building these hospitals. There is plenty of unemployment in the County Cavan, and if these schemes were started at once, it would go far towards relieving the unemployment there. The board of health are willing and anxious to proceed at once with the work, and if the Minister would only facilitate them, the work could go on at once.

Now I should like to say a few words with regard to the enormous increase in rates. This is a very serious matter. Every year we see the rates going higher and higher, while the means of the people who are paying the rates are going down. The farmers, who are the hardest hit and who are paying the rates on an inequitable basis, are paying, as other people pay income-tax, on an income basis—or rather on an estimated income basis on which no living allowance is granted as in the case of income-tax. Now, that is absolutely unfair. These people are unable to pay the rates at the present time and they are much less able to pay the enormously increased rates which the Minister is taking every available means to increase. I notice, for instance, that for the last couple of years the grants which the Minister gives for the relief of unemployment are given only on condition that the county councils put up a share of these grants. I do not see what right the Minister or the nation has to ask [1511] the unfortunate ratepayers to take over the responsibility for unemployment. The responsibility should be upon the nation itself. It should be a national charge, and should not be a local charge. It is no fault of the people who pay the rates locally if there happens to be local unemployment, and it is a very unfair basis on which to deal with that matter. It puts the unfortunate county councils in the position that they have to let down the interests of those whom they are supposed to represent in order to secure grants for the county. They want to get the greatest amount of grants that they can, to get the greatest amount of work done, and for that reason they will put up money that they know in their hearts the unfortunate ratepayers, or the half of them, are not able to pay. I think that, pending the time when justice will be done completely to those unfortunate farmers by granting them derating, the Minister should not give any grants on such conditions. Whatever grants he does give to the county councils, he should give them, not on the condition that a share of the money is put up by the councils, because it is impossible for the unfortunate small farmers particularly, who have had their lands laid waste, to pay the rates. Those people are going to derive very little advantage from the boom conditions in the cattle trade and other things when they have their lands unstocked.

I hope, when the Minister goes back to his office, that he will not forget the point I referred to about the slippery condition of the roads and that also he will remember not to make grants from the Department contingent upon the county council putting up a share, because that will mean increasing the rates out of all proportion, certainly out of all proportion to the means of the people who are called upon to pay.

Mr. Cosgrave:  I should like the Minister to give the House some information about what is being done in connection with that tragic case which occurred in Waterford; whether the Minister has enquired into the circumstances of the case to ensure that there [1512] will not be a repetition of it, and what steps, if any, have been taken towards compensating the families of those children who have suffered in it. I suppose quite a number of members of the House could write what we might call a Civil Service thesis upon what the attitude of the official mind is towards a matter of that sort. The fact is that the parents of these children undertook a certain risk when they agreed to have them inoculated and they are entitled, in view of the very serious effects of the inoculation, to get consideration from the State in respect of the sufferings and losses they have sustained.

I would like the Minister also to tell the House whether any provision has been made for the institution of a hospital for dealing with bone tuberculosis. There is a reference in the report of the Hospitals Commission about the chest—I think it is medical T.B.—but there is no hospital, so far as I am aware, except for children, dealing with surgical tuberculosis. This would come under two heads. There is, first, the danger of infection and, secondly, would come the point of some attempt to cure the disease. It so happens, from the information I have had from medical men, that the fact that there is no hospital available for the treatment of bone tuberculosis in adults is one of the very serious drawbacks in this country at the present moment.

I would like to know, too, from the Minister, whether, in connection with schemes for water supplies and sewerage generally through the country, the water has been connected up with the houses in each of the towns or villages to which it has been made available and if the houses have been connected with the sewers that have been constructed. It may be that certain owners of property might not be able to undertake the cost of that particular work, but there is little use in having a central method of drawing off the sewerage if the houses are not connected. Some effort might reasonably be made out of unemployment grants or otherwise to make it possible to have the real advantage of sewerage undertakings made available to the people.

[1513] This Estimate is up in its administrative costs something like £50,000 in comparison with the Estimate of 1931-32. It is a very considerable increase and it is a question which the Minister ought carefully to consider, whether value is being obtained for the expenditure of such a huge sum of money. In recent years, by reason of alterations in the law and other provisions made in connection with assistance under social services and so on, there has been a considerable amount of overlapping, and while the central Government's administrative costs have been increased, the costs of the local authorities have not decreased. You have this situation in a place like the City of Dublin, where people, having been visited by the unemployment officer and having had the means of the person applying for assistance considered and reported upon and grants made and allowances fixed and so on, apply to the local authority for some further assistance and the local authority granting that further assistance and in some cases paying out the money and then sending along an official to collect rent from the same person. There you have three sets of persons all engaged in administrative work and all costing extra money and the unfortunate person getting no advantage except, perhaps, a couple of shillings. An effort ought to be made to co-ordinate these services and to lessen the administrative costs in connection with the distribution of them and to have somebody fixed with the responsibility of giving the full amount and getting paid afterwards, if you like, from the local authority or the State, whichever of them would not undertake the full responsibility, so as to lessen the cost on the ordinary taxpayer of the country.

In the same way, with regard to the provision made for housing under this Estimate, I find one Deputy addressing himself to the Estimate stating he was satisfied when he saw all the items increased in comparison with last year. Looking up last year's Estimates, I find there was a sum of £80,000 over-estimated in connection with the provision for housing. That is not the point I want to make, however. [1514] The point is that, under an arrangement, local authorities are allowed sometimes two-thirds and sometimes one-third of the costs incurred, but so far as the debt is concerned, it is on the local authority, and so far as the repayment to the local authority is concerned, it is a matter for yearly accountancy, entailing extra expense and extra administrative costs, no one ultimately knowing where he is, the State having a liability of X millions of pounds and the local authority having a liability of X millions of pounds. The result is that the local authority owes the full debt on paper, the State having a prior responsibility for a considerable portion of it. I think that ought to be cleared up, and it would be much better if the local authority would know exactly what it owes and let it be responsible for that and let the State take over its proportion.

The last thing I want to refer to is the Road Fund. The charges on the Road Fund within recent years have increased very considerably. If I am not mistaken, the service in respect of the debt on the Road Fund is now about £150,000 a year. In this year's Estimates we are favoured for the first time with some reference to administrative costs in connection with the Road Fund. The costs have gone up this year £20,000. They are now over £50,000, according to the Estimates Book. I doubt if the £50,000 covers the entire charges there are on the Road Fund, because I find from other accounts that the Gárda Síochána are to get something like £9,000 or £10,000 per annum. We have arrived at a point where the Road Fund is responsible for £200,000— £150,000 for debt charges and £50,000 for administrative costs. Then the Minister for Finance has taken £100,000 for the provision of unemployment relief, so that the Road Fund's very fair revenue of something like £1,000,000 or £1,100,000 is reduced by nearly £300,000 by reason of all these charges. It is unlikely that the sum of money that is left will be sufficient to keep the roads in good order. Some Deputies, speaking about this Estimate, had the politeness and courtesy to go over the events of the last 15 [1515] years. I think very few of them have recollected that the roads of this country 15 years ago could scarcely be called roads at all. Quite a number of bridges in this country, to the extent of about 3,000, had to be reconditioned and the condition of many of them was due to the constructional activities of some of those Deputies opposite, who seem to have forgotten all about it. I hope their sins have been forgiven them.

Mr. T. O'Sullivan:  During the previous two days' debate on this Vote, I was glad to see that the criticism levelled at the Minister and his Department was mostly constructive criticism, with the exception, of course, of some wild statements from one or two alarmists. The record of the Minister's work in housing alone can best be seen in the poorer areas of the country. Going through the poorer areas to-day, one can see the remarkable difference in the comfort and the appearance of the houses. If there are a few that remain to be done, I believe that those few belong to people who are over the maximum valuation of £25 set by the Minister in respect of grants for building or reconstruction. I should like to hear that the Minister was considering fixing the maximum valuation above £25.

There is a matter in connection with housing to which I want to draw the Minister's attention. After a good deal of delay, which certainly was not the fault of the Minister, the West Cork Board of Health and Public Assistance agreed on a scheme for housing in non-municipal towns. The scheme proceeded, and a good number of sites were obtained by agreement. Others are to be taken compulsorily, but, although some agreement was reached in respect of sites, nothing further has been heard from the Department on the matter. I ask the Minister to look into it immediately. There is a matter in respect of which I believe there is undue delay on the part of the Department. Some nine months ago, Cork County Council submitted a scheme to the Minister [1516] for the construction of a coast road around the Beara peninsula. In addition to being one of our greatest beauty drives for tourists in the South, it is the only means the people have of ingress to, or egress from, the peninsula. The county council agreed to put down a sum of £6,000, if the Department would give a grant of £18,000. The people of Beara are very anxious to know what is the position with regard to that proposal and I mention it for the Minister's attention.

A further matter, the delay in respect of which is not, I believe, caused by the Department, is the question of the report of the Hospitals Commission with regard to the hospitalisation of West Cork. Some time ago —over 12 months ago, I believe—the Hospitals Commission reported on a general scheme, but so far, through no fault of the Minister's, I am sure, that report has not been implemented. I draw the Minister's special attention to that report, and I should be glad if he would take some steps to have it implemented as soon as possible. In connection with the hospitalisation of West Cork, I should like to mention specially the question of some improvements which are required in Castletownbere cottage hospital, which, I am glad to say, is a cottage hospital second to none in Ireland. Castletownbere being a seaport town, strange diseases coming from the sea are occasionally discovered, and there is no means whereby patients suffering from such diseases can be segregated from the ordinary patients in the ordinary wards of the hospital for the purpose of observation. The nearest fever hospital is 34 miles away and a patient may be brought into the cottage hospital suffering from any contagious disease, and must, of necessity, be placed in the general ward. The West Cork board have asked the Minister to consider providing this hospital with an observation ward and the matter is still under consideration.

This hospital provides for a peninsula 40 miles long. It is a very remote peninsula and owing to the [1517] difficulty of travelling, people have to depend a good deal on that hospital, especially for maternity cases. The hospital contains a ward with only two beds in that connection, and this is entirely insufficient for the area. I recommend the Minister to look into the proposal of the West Cork Board of Health and Public Assistance to provide a labour ward for that hospital. Generally speaking, many grants for roads and houses have been made available in that area, but I should like the Minister to look especially into these few points for the benefit of the poor people in the area.

Mr. Corish:  In connection with this Estimate, Deputy Roddy mentioned the matter of the amount of money allocated by the Minister's Department to mental hospitals. I should like also to say something in connection with that matter. I think the Minister and his Department are familiar with the fact that, in recent years, the cost of maintenance per head in mental hospitals has increased considerably.

As far as I know the grants to mental hospitals were first instituted by an Act of Parliament passed in 1874. The grant that time was paid out of the general taxation fund and it approximated to about 50 per cent. of the cost per patient. Under the Local Government Act of 1898 a change was made in the method of raising the money in question. A sum of £79,000 was set aside from general taxation and the remainder, approximating to £200,000, was raised by setting aside for this purpose the levy obtained from beer, game and other licences. It would be very interesting to find out if the money collected through taxation from these commodities is still used to pay the grants to mental hospitals. As far as I can ascertain, the grant in 1898 was based on the number of people who were in mental hospitals prior to the passing of the 1898 Local Government Act. Unfortunately, there are more people in mental hospitals now than there were at that time and the amount of money that was given by the Government [1518] towards the support of mental patients in those hospitals has in consequence been reduced considerably per patient. At the time the grant approximated 50 per cent. of the cost of each patient. Now it is considerably less than that sum. The result has been that from year to year the demands of the mental hospitals on the rates are increasing rapidly. In my county this year the increase has gone up by about 4d. in the £ in consequence of the demand of the mental hospitals. The Minister's attention has been drawn to this matter on various occasions not alone by individual county councils but by the general body of county councils. I suggest to the Minister that the time has arrived when there should be a reconsideration of this question and a grant should be given which would approximately be in the same proportion as the original grant.

Deputy Allen to-day referred to the fact that the Minister or that section of his Department responsible for this business were guilty of terrible procrastination so far as agreeing to the purchase of certain instruments and surgical appliances required by county hospitals. Quite recently there was a case in the High Court where a doctor in the employment of the Wexford County Board of Health was prosecuted for the alleged ill-treatment of a patient. In the course of the case the judge referred to what he called the criminal neglect of the county board of health in not having at the disposal of their doctors an x-ray equipment. Deputy Allen, as chairman of the county council board and also a member of the board of health, knows that for the last four years our county board of health had been seeking the Minister's permission to instal an x-ray plant. We are as near now to getting the permission as we were then. Yet we are paraded in the court by a judge with what he has described as criminal neglect. In another case an officer of a board of health requires instruments which would cost about £50. He says these are absolutely necessary to enable him to discharge his duties properly. But we have been refused sanction for that sum also.

[1519] Another matter to which I should like to refer is the accommodation for fever patients in Wexford. Quite recently, when there was an epidemic of scarlet fever in Wexford, it was necessary to make arrangements with private hospitals in order that the patients should be properly dealt with. The fever hospital for County Wexford is in the town of New Ross. I think it is necessary that that hospital should be there, and I do not want the people of New Ross deprived of it. But I do object to the people of the town of Wexford having to send patients a distance of 23 miles to New Ross. Remember that Wexford is a town with a population of 13,000. It is a large sea port, and is subjected to diseases of a more infectious and contagious kind than an inland town would be. I ask the Minister to have a survey made of the accommodation in Wexford so far as accommodation for fever patients is concerned, and to make the necessary grant so as to enable Wexford to provide accommodation for fever patients in Wexford. I have been asked by many of the ratepayers to make these recommendations.

During the discussion on this Vote, a great deal has been said about housing. I want to repeat now what I have said on many occasions, that the Minister has done splendid work so far as housing is concerned. Long before he became Minister for Local Government and Public Health, he showed himself very interested in housing. What he said then is reflected in the housing policy he has since been carrying out. Quite recently, in consequence of representations made by the council of municipal councils, the Minister agreed to subsidise housing costs in cases over £300. I am going to ask the Minister to increase the subsidy also in rural areas to houses which are costing over £300. I would not refer so much to isolated cottages built in rural areas. As the Minister knows, various boards of health are engaged in reconstructing villages, doing away with slum property and building better-class houses for the ordinary agricultural labourer outside. Those houses are costing well over £300 in consequence [1520] of the increased cost of building material and other things lately. The result is this, that if a house costs £320, that means an increase of 5d. a week in the rent. If the house costs £340, that will work out in terms of rent at an increase of 10d. a week. That is so if the Minister is not prepared to pay the subsidy in the case of house costing over £300. The Minister should at least concede the same treatment to people living in villages in the country as he is conceding to people living in urban areas, because the agricultural population, in my opinion, are less able to pay these imposts than the urban population. I would, therefore, ask the Minister to get his housing section to reconsider this whole matter with a view to giving the same concession with regard to the subsidy in rural areas as in urban areas.

Mr. Browne:  I have listened to the remarks made by other Deputies on this Vote, and as a result there is very little left for me to say unless I wish to repeat what they have said. For that reason I intend to confine myself to just one or two things. The first matter I want to deal with is that small land-owners are sometimes victimised in the acquisition of plots for labourers' cottages. I understand the formula in these cases is that, when a labourer has to apply for a cottage, he is asked to send in an application to the local authority. In that application the labourer has to mention the site on which he wants the cottage built. In the ordinary way these sites are examined, and a certain routine is gone through. Sometimes the owners of the farms on which the cottage is applied for have only a very small amount of land attached to their own house, so much so that you could hardly call them farmers. They are really labourers. If these people lose a little bit of land out of what they have, that means that their means of existence disappear. This happens while substantially large owners of land quite convenient to the site on which it is proposed to build the cottage go scot free. I know of cases where there is plenty of available land on large holdings, and the cottage is not applied for there. It is applied for [1521] on a very small holding. Yet the public authorities persist in taking the plot from the small holder. I mention this particularly because of three cases in my own county which will bear out what I am saying. One of these is in Crossmolina; the second is in Foxford, and the third in Ballycastle. I do not wish to mention any names. I just want to bring the matter here for the consideration of the Minister. I think if the Minister inquires into these three cases he will come to the conclusion that these three small owners should not be interfered with while there is land available in the neighbourhood. I am sure the Minister will not permit these small holders being put at the great disadvantage that the taking of these cottage plots will mean to them.

We shall take the Crossmolina case first. This is the case of a farmer living in Crossmolina who has about eight statute acres attached to his house. He has eight or perhaps nine in family. They depended for their existence on that farm of land and whatever labour they could get in the town. I wish to mention his case specially because he was originally a herd on a farm of land adjacent to the town. The farm of land was taken over and distributed by the Congested Districts Board. I am informed that at that time he was one of the parties instrumental in having the land divided. That happened years ago, perhaps as far back as 1920 or even prior to that. At that time, he was given a very small addition to the land attached to the house in which he originally lived as herd. As a matter of fact, I am told that he got only three or four acres in addition to a similar area which he occupied while he was herd but now it is suggested that two acres of this holding should be taken over. The portion which it is proposed to take over is the only part of his land which contains a water supply, the only part that is likely to be of any use in the rearing of cattle, pigs and things of that sort. It is a field convenient to the house. There are a number of substantial land holders living in this district and there are also some derelict sites which would be more suitable for the erection of labourers' cottages than the land which [1522] it is proposed to take from this man.

In the Foxford case, the owner of the land was a widow and I am informed that she has about nine in family, the youngest of whom is about four or five years of age and the eldest about 16. She had originally a fairly large farm of land, some 60 or 70 acres, but this farm was taken over by the Land Commission. She kept this small plot of two or three acres for the grazing of a milch cow. She fell ill some time ago and had to go to hospital with the result that she could not retain the cow as there was nobody to look after it. During the time she was away, she let the land on the 11 months' system and the principal reason for taking it over, I suppose, was because it was let. Her idea was to let it while she would be away and of course she could not resume possession of it until the period specified in the contract expired. Her only reason for letting the land as I have said was that she was away and could not attend to it.

The third case to which I refer is the Ballycastle case. This man had also a small acreage. I cannot give the exact area but it cannot be very large. He has also a small licensed place but he does not do very much trade and he lives more or less on the farm. If land is needed in that locality for the purposes of building, there are many large land owners around the place who would suffer very much less if portion of their land were taken over. If this man's land is acquired, it will simply mean that he will be put out of existence as far as farming is concerned.

The question also arises of the amount paid to people whose land is taken over. There is another case in Crossmolina where a two-acre field was taken off a man and the amount paid him, I am informed, was something like £100. He had to give a fee simple right to the place with the result that the net amount he received would be something in the region of £40, perhaps a little less. He has a weak family and yet these two acres were taken off him for this very small consideration, something in the region of £40. If he had put it up for auction in the open market, I am sure he would get anything between £200 and £300 for it. Ten [1523] cottages have been erected on it and if he had offered it for sale as sites, I am sure he would get £40 for each site, a total of £400. Forty or fifty pounds is not a sufficient payment for an area like that actually in the town when you consider that in different parts of the country, when corners are taken off country roads, 10/- or perhaps 15/- per perch, is allowed for the land acquired. That would work out at £80 or £100 an acre. There is a very big difference between that and £20 an acre. I would ask the Minister to examine specially the three cases I have mentioned and any assistance I can give him in having justice done to these parties I shall gladly give. I am sure that he will find that in the vicinity of the areas I have mentioned there is plenty of land available for building and that there are many people who can afford to give sites on their holdings without any sacrifice whatever. There is no necessity then to inflict hardship on the parties I have mentioned.

Another matter which I should like to mention has reference to derelict and condemned houses in rural areas. When a house is condemned and the tenant obtains a cottage, the house is left derelict, perhaps in the principal street of a town. In my opinion some means should be adopted by which that house can be rebuilt or by which it can be turned to some use instead of being left as an eyesore in the town, with nobody to look after it.

I should also like to refer to the manner in which relief schemes are carried out. To my mind those relief schemes are not being carried out in a constructive way, inasmuch as some of the schemes for which applications are being granted, and on which £20, £30 or £40 is being spent, merely mean that a little bit of a road into one farmer's house is made.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  The Minister is not responsible for that. There is another Vote under which that would come.

Mr. Browne:  I am speaking of the manner in which relief schemes are being carried out.

[1524]An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  That would come under another Department. The Minister for Local Government and Public Health does not administer these funds.

Mr. Browne:  These are minor relief schemes.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  I know —road-making in hamlets.

Mr. Browne:  They are minor relief schemes.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  They do not come under this Vote. There is another Vote on which the Deputy can raise the matter.

Mr. Browne:  I shall leave that matter then until I get an opportunity of raising it on a later Vote. From what I have seen going through the country, I should be glad to see this money spent on bigger roads that would benefit a larger number of people. The position is worse in areas where employment is low and where work is not available. I hope the Minister will deal with the cases I mentioned. Any assistance I can give in connection with the matter I will be happy to give.

Mr. Harris:  I am of opinion that the bad condition of the county roads, in comparison with the main roads, throughout great parts of the country, is largely due to the method of allocation of grants from the Road Fund to county councils. The method of allocation may have been all right when the main roads were in a bad condition, but now that these roads have been brought up to a pretty high standard, I think that method is unfair and is not giving proper results. I am sure county surveyors when preparing estimates do so with a view to getting the biggest grant that it is possible to get, but they lose sight of the fact that much larger estimates should be prepared for county roads and perhaps smaller estimates for the main roads in view of the fact that the Road Fund contributes 40 per cent. of the cost of maintaining main roads. As I think the present system is bringing in bad results, I ask the Minister to reconsider the method of allocation of [1525] grants from the Road Fund. The upkeep of the county roads is very important, because a great proportion of those who pay motor taxes in rural areas have to use these roads much more frequently than they use the main roads. The main roads in my constituency in County Kildare are in a very neglected condition. Every day milk and other lorries have to pass over them. In connection with the turf development scheme, motor lorries use these roads and also in the harvest, carrying beet, wheat and other agricultural produce. These roads are in a neglected condition but are used by lorries collecting stock and produce for the Dublin market. The owners of these lorries have to pay motor taxes and as ratepayers they have complained to the county council about the neglected condition of the roads. It is very unfair that contributions from the Road Fund which, I understand, is made up from motor taxation, cannot be made available for the maintenance or improvement of these roads. I think these people have a great grievance in that respect. The main roads form a considerable part of the mileage in County Kildare and buses and lorries passing to and from the south and west of Ireland pass over them, but they contribute nothing in the way of motor taxation in the county. The money that should go towards the maintenance of county roads goes towards the upkeep of trunk roads, which are being used to take traffic from the railways. The position of the ratepayers has been further worsened owing to the fact that the valuation of the railways has been reduced in the county. The loss to the rates has, imposed an added burden on the ratepayers. I hope the Minister will consider the question and do something in that respect.

We have another matter which affects a considerable portion of County Kildare. In that county there are many roads running alongside the canal, and it transpired recently that it was only with the consent of the Grand Canal Company that the county council could maintain these roads. A number of them have been maintained [1526] for many years by public funds. The Grand Canal Company attempted to impose certain conditions on the county council two or three years ago, but the Department of Local Government would not allow the county council to agree to them. As a result these roads are no longer maintained as county roads and have deteriorated. Some of them are in a very bad condition. One of these roads which is in bad repair serves a parish, a Catholic church and national school. The people of that parish, some of them big ratepayers, as well as the children have to pass over that road almost every day. Another road lies in a populous area where, in the winter months, the people have to pass through slush and mud. Those who have to use such roads have a genuine grievance. I do not know what solution can be found, but I urge the Minister to look into the question to see if something can be done to improve matters. Priests and doctors complain very much about the condition of these roads and blame the county council for not attending to them. The position is that the county council in present circumstances is not in a position to do anything with them.

Reference has been made to defects discovered in the building of labourers' cottages. There were some complaints in County Kildare about chimneys that smoked. I went and visited some of the cottages and, in my opinion, the design of the fireplaces and the chimneys was not really suitable for some areas. In some houses there were grates and in others the fires were on the hearths. The houses I visited were in turf-burning areas and the chimneys were smoking. Engineers from the board of health inspected them and suggested alterations, and I suppose some tradesmen came and tried some experiments on the chimneys which, in some cases, they improved and in other cases did not improve. Whether the chimneys smoked or not it appeared to me that the fireplaces were not well designed to help the women to cook efficiently. We hear a great deal recently about the necessity of cooking food properly and about encouraging workers to [1527] till their gardens and grow vegetables, but the designs of fireplaces in some of the houses I visited gave no real encouragement or help to women to cook food efficiently. If it could be done, I think an effort should be made to introduce our people in the rural areas to a more efficient way of cooking than they have at present. I suggest to the Minister that he should investigate the advisability of having proper turf ranges installed in some of those cottages, especially those with smoky chimneys. I am satisfied that a turf range has now been devised which will help to popularise the use of turf, wherever it is put in and that an extension of its use will lead to economy in fuel. That is an important consideration for working people in the rural areas who find it hard to buy turf. I believe that one-fifth of the amount of turf used under the old method would, with this new range, be sufficient to warm the house and provide a proper means of cooking food efficiently. I think that in the rush of building cottages enough attention has not been given to that side of the question. I would ask the Minister to give it his special attention.

I recognise that the social services provided impose a pretty heavy burden on the ratepaying community. The contribution which the ratepayers are called upon to make for the provision of hospitals, cottages, waterworks and sewerage schemes is a pretty heavy one. I do not find any great outcry against it in my constituency. I must say that the ratepayers, as a whole, realise the necessity for those schemes and are doing their best to meet the cost of them. At the same time, there are some directions in which, I think, economies might be practised. I do not know what control the Minister is able to exercise, but there are a few matters to which I wish to direct his attention. At the present time the ratepayers are, I think, sufficiently burdened in the contributions that they have to make to housing, public health schemes and roads, so much so that, I think, the expenditure which they are being asked to undertake in other directions might be deferred. It was [1528] Deputy Coburn, I think, who said that all the little expenditures, when added together, amount to a great lot.

The kind of thing that I have in mind is this: Recently the County Council of Kildare, of which I am a member, got an order from the Department of Local Government to provide a site and build a courthouse in a certain area. I do not know whether the Minister is responsible for that or not, but the provision of a courthouse in which the district justice would sit for an hour or two in the month would cost at least £1,000. The council received other orders or directions for the renovation of existing courthouses. It was asked to bring them up to a very high standard. So far as I am concerned, I have never heard any complaint from the local lawyers or the people as to the condition of those buildings. I think it is unreasonable to ask the county council to provide this new courthouse that I have spoken of I just mention that case to indicate the line which I think economies might take. It would be disheartening for the ratepayers who find it difficult to meet their obligations of the present time if they were to see the county council making provision for expenditure of that kind. I would suggest to the Minister that he should use all his influence to protect the ratepayers. In conclusion, I would appeal to him to give his special attention to the questions that I have raised: the allocation of the Road Fund grant, and the provision of a better design of fireplace in labourers' cottages.

Captain Giles:  It is usual for Deputies when the Estimate for a Minister's Department is brought before the House to put before him the grievances which their constituents bring to their notice. It is customary for Deputies on the Government side when reviewing the work of a Government Department to throw bouquets at the Minister responsible, and for Deputies on the Opposition side to throw bricks. In the case of this Estimate I propose to give the Minister a little of both. At the outset I desire to congratulate him on the way in which he has carried on the work of [1529] the Department during the last few years. I know the Minister for a long number of years to be a man of experience and capability in local administration. I certainly give him the credit of being the right man in the right place. At the same time, I want to say that he is not getting the service that he should get from a good many local bodies, and particularly from the local body in the County Meath. If he were, then our country would be in a different condition from what it is to-day. Instead of that being done, we find that local administration in many cases is run on political lines. While that is so you cannot expect to have decent service. Until local affairs are conducted on business lines, instead of on political lines, the ratepayers will not get the return that they are entitled to for the expenditure of their money.

In the County Meath housing is going on at a very rapid rate, but personally I think better work would be done if we went a little slower. At the moment we have two, or three, or four housing schemes proceeding, one on top of the other. That position has gone on for the last few years and has led to a complete muddle. Many of those houses were not built by decent contractors. Tenders were invited for the work, with the result that every Tom, Dick or Harry who thought that he could use a hammer or a pincers sent in proposals, and I am sorry to say that their tenders, being the lowest, were accepted for building the cottages. We have cottages that were built under the one scheme and they are almost useless. We have a flying squad of contractors going over them now carrying out repairs—roofs leaking, smoky chimneys and other defects. I think that if we were to go slower, and learn from the mistakes of past schemes, we would be doing better work to-day in the matter of housing.

I do not believe in giving the building of cottages to any but competent contractors. The credentials of men who send in tenders should be put before the local board and carefully examined before contracts are given [1530] out. We are in the unfortunate position in County Meath to-day that we have housing schemes that were started three, four, or five years ago and they are not finished yet, the reason being that the men whose tenders were accepted for the work had not a “bob” to enable them to get ahead with the work. They were held up trying to get money from the banks, or neighbours to come to their assistance. The result is that the schemes are left there unfinished. I would appeal to the Minister to make local authorities realise that what the Government stand for is decent administration, and that his Department will insist that where building work is to be done it must be put in the hands of competent contractors. We have in County Meath as good contractors as there are in the country, but they are not getting a chance since this type of handyman takes the work out of their hands. We have quite enough competent contractors in County Meath to build all the houses that are needed there if they are allowed to do it.

I have also a grievance in connection with repairs to cottages. For a number of years, repairs were allowed to fall into arrear. The cottages got into a condition of neglect, with the result that we had a very costly repair-scheme brought forward during the present year in order to bring the repairs up to date. The board of health brought in a scheme known as the “flying squad”—an expensive scheme of lorries, qualified men and squads of all sorts who go around the county repairing these cottages. There was no need for these flying squads. They are very expensive and I think the Minister will have to do away with them. He has already referred to them on a few occasions. There would be no need for these men if the small-carpenter type of worker were left to do repairs instead of building houses. Of course, we have to learn by our mistakes and, in our county, the mistakes are many. I hope that the Minister will see that this is the last of the mistakes.

I should like to know when it is proposed to bring the cottage-purchase [1531] scheme into operation. What is the cause of the delay? This scheme seems to be like the I.R.A. pension scheme. It is kept over for an election and then it is forgotten. I hope the purchase scheme will soon be put into operation and that the occupants of the cottages will get the benefits to which they are entitled.

My colleague on the opposite benches spoke of the Nazareth Home at Trim. For the last three or four years, there was a lot of talk about this home. It was to cost about £80,000. It was to be built inside 12 months and all our poor were to find a refuge there in their old age and be maintained in reasonable comfort. There is not a word about the Nazareth Home to-day. There is not a word about the £80,000 which was to be spent in giving employment and the unfortunate men in Trim who were watching out for that employment have now given up hope and have gone across to England. I should like the Minister to say where we stand in connection with the Nazareth Home.

As regards schools, we have in County Meath as large a number of bad schools as there are in any county. No effort is being made to build new schools. I ask the Minister to speed up the building of schools. We cannot expect decent education when the teacher and the children have to work in insanitary surroundings.

As regards water and sewerage schemes, we, in County Meath, have put through many sewerage schemes. They were rather costly but I am quite satisfied that they were necessary. We have put these schemes through and paid the money and now we find that, in the majority of cases, the people are refusing to connect with these schemes, with the result that the money is practically wasted and the towns are in as bad condition as they were before. Before these schemes are entered upon in the future, we should find out how many people are going to connect with them because if they are not prepared to [1532] connect, the money is wasted. I hold that these schemes were quite necessary and that people should be compelled to connect with them and not have the ratepayers' money wasted.

In County Meath, we have a large strand suitable as a seaside resort but I find that it is, more or less, going to waste. The only hope of keeping it before the public as a popular resort is for the Minister to take it over as a national asset. With the high taxation at present we, in County Meath, are not able to do justice to this seaside resort. We have put in a costly water and sewerage scheme but that is as far as we can go. Something more is needed because this place is of great national value and has one of the finest strands in Ireland. I hope the Minister will give us some little help or, alternatively, that he will take the place over as a national asset.

I put some questions to-day to the Minister with regard to drainage. The small drainage schemes of past years in County Meath are at present an absolute failure. Unless something is done, grave injustice will be caused to the ratepayers who were, saddled with the responsibility for these schemes. The land is waterlogged and the people concerned are getting no value.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  Is that the concern of the Minister for Local Government? I do not think it is.

Captain Giles:  It comes under the county council. If it concerns the Minister's Department, I should like him to look into it because these men are paying for schemes from which they are deriving no advantage.

As regards annuity arrears, County Meath has the largest amount of annuity arrears of any county. The amount at present is about £72,000. We are at the loss of that because the Minister deducts it from our agricultural grant. The result is that the council has a large overdraft. We are allowed to go up to £40,000 and we have applied for leave to extend that to £50,000 or £60,000. The Minister has refused our request because [1533] of our high land-annuity arrears. In the course of six or seven months, we shall be up against a crux unless the Minister softens his heart and allows that extension. I think it is unfair that these annuity arrears should be deducted from the agricultural grant because, in that way, we are saddling the people who are paying their annuities. I am quite satisfied that the majority of the people who have not paid would pay if they got half a chance.

Social services are going on very well at present and we can congratulate ourselves upon them, but we should realise that this is a very small, impoverished country. There are altogether too many officials engaged in the running of it. The sooner we realise that this is a small country and that there are altogether too many officials engaged in the running of it, the better. The number of officials occupied in running this country would run the British Empire. Whether or not we are trying to compete with John Bull, I do not know. We shall, however, shortly have to use the axe and to use it with vigour. In my county, we have a large number of officials receiving from 25/- a week to about £2,000 a year. There are more officials in that county than would run the country. In the board of health offices, you cannot turn with the number of officials. We do not need all these men.

One section of the community which, in recent years, has not got much satisfaction is the small-farmer section—men with between five acres and 50 acres. These men are housed in slums. The 70-year old or 80-year old mud cabins in which these men are living are in decay. The thatch is rotting and the walls are giving way. If these men were labourers, they would get a nice little cottage, but, as it is, they have to look for a grant. They may get a grant of £50 or £100 but the building of a house will cost £300 or £400. They can never get a grant sufficient to enable them to build and they also have to take out administration. The result is that they are not able to improve their position. Now that the cottage schemes are fairly well advanced, we ought to have a building scheme for small farmers—[1534] a scheme on, more or less, the same basis as the cottage scheme. There is no use in giving a grant to the small farmer when he has no money to add to it. He cannot build and he must live in a small, smoky, rotten house. I hope that the Minister will be able, in the coming year, to devise a building scheme for the small farmers. If it is not done this year or next year, it will have to be done the year after. These people are entitled to as much consideration as the poor man or the rich man. They are the backbone of the country. They pay their rents, rates and taxes and they are deserving of more consideration than they are receiving. I am satisfied that the Minister himself is a very good Minister in the job. He does not get the service down the country to which he is entitled. So far as my own county is concerned, I believe that if we had a manager in that county we would be all saved a great deal of money and the Minister would be saved a great deal of unrest and agitation. As I say, things are all in a muddle and until they get out of a muddle the Minister will not have very much comfort.

Mr. Pattison:  There is one matter to which I desire to refer which I have not heard any speaker refer to, and I think it is about time that something was done about it. I refer to the dispensary system generally and the treatment of our sick poor. Undoubtedly, a good deal has been done by the Minister in the provision of better equipped hospitals and so on, but I think all that good work will be lost if something is not done very soon to deal with the system of dispensary work and the treatment of the poor. That system really is not our own creation; it is something we inherited from a foreign Government. I want to avail of this opportunity to ask the Minister to give early and serious consideration to a complete change of that system. I think the poor are entitled to select their own doctor. I am not going to suggest what the new scheme should be, but I think that the poor who cannot afford to pay a fee to a doctor are entitled to proper treatment. I sincerely hope that the Minister [1535] will crown his many meritorious works with a scheme that will meet with the general approval of all Christian people.

I also suggest that the system of home assistance generally should be reviewed and some system created whereby one could see the basis on which assistance is allocated. I found it absolutely impossible to satisfy myself how the authorities allocate home assistance. In some cases we find sums of 5/-, 4/-, and so on granted. Generally speaking, the home assistance given is inadequate. Some scheme ought to be devised by the Minister and made mandatory on local authorities to give effect to it and not leave it to people, many of whom have reactionary mentalities. There is certainly, to say the least of it, a great lack of human sympathy in the administration of home assistance.

As regards my own constituency, I would ask the Minister if he would personally look into certain matters concerning the provision of water and sewerage schemes that have been hanging on from one year to another. We have in the village of Ballyragget a most serious state of affairs, and many people there, both young and old, have died during the last ten or 12 years from typhoid fever. In fact, before the present Minister came into office, the board of health were tinkering, if I might put it that way, with proposals for a water scheme. Since then the people have been waiting for it, while year after year there have been outbreaks of infectious disease. Then there is the important town of Thomastown. Recently the commissioner, who is administering the affairs of the county, sent a petition to the Minister in connection with that town, but, for some reason or another, it was sent back as not being satisfactorily prepared. If my information is correct, there was nothing wrong with the petition, but I believe a new one has been submitted. I would ask the Minister, having regard to the urgency of these schemes, that he should personally look into them.

With regard to the moneys allocated by the Department for the relief of [1536] unemployment, if newspaper reports are to be taken as any accurate indication of allocations made elsewhere— and very often they make statements before we can get the official figures— it would appear that some areas seem to be getting more than others. In regard to the City of Kilkenny, if it is a question of giving a larger grant to a place because of special circumstances I think the Minister has personal knowledge of the financial position of the Kilkenny Corporation and the amount of capital expenditure incurred by them before the present Government came into office. In 1929, realising the seriousness of the position of that town of approximately 12,000 people, without a modern sewerage scheme, the corporation embarked upon a scheme which cost about £40,000. It was only a partial scheme, but since that time the corporation have been able to make extensions. I mention that so that the Minister may know that Kilkenny City is in a special position for consideration for a larger grant, or at least that it should be asked for a smaller contribution in connection with any grant made.

It is also generally felt that unemployed people, who are not entitled under the provisions of the Unemployment Assistance Act to draw assistance benefit should be allowed to work on these schemes. To my own knowledge, many of these people are almost as badly off as people who have to exist on unemployment assistance. Some of them have small incomes of 7/- or 10/- per week, and because of that they only get unemployment assistance at a very small rate or none at all. I think that the Departmental regulations in regard to the recruitment of labour should be widened so as to permit of the employment of all unemployed workers who have to meet the 18/-in the £, which goes towards the provision of these schemes and other things, as well as every other person.

Reference has been made by a good many Deputies to the state of the county roads. I say that that is due [1537] to a large extent to the reactionary policy of county councils in putting these roads up for contract. The Minister should do something to abolish that system of road maintenance. I think it will be agreed by all Deputies who have a knowledge of it that it is really throwing money away. I know roads which at one time cost, say, £60 to maintain and by this cut-throat competition between road contractors the sum has been brought down as low as £25. The fact, of course, is that there is little or no work done on these roads. The contractors are able to get away with the payment all right, but the way the work is done is not of any benefit to the community. The Minister would be doing a good day's work by having an order made which would prevent county councils from continuing that very bad practice. He should have the work carried out by giving higher grants, and by direct labour. In nearly every county in the country I think it will be found that in the rural areas the people generally, the small farmers and workers, would benefit a good deal if this work could be carried out by direct labour. It would certainly be a very popular thing for the Minister to do, and would be appreciated by the community generally. I do not think there is anything else that I have to bring to the Minister's notice, but I am certainly very much concerned about the matter which I stood up to refer to, that is the dispensary system. I am sure the Minister knows that he will have the full backing of all decent citizens in this country if he tackles that problem.

Mr. M. Ryan:  During the course of this debate last week I was rather amazed on listening to some of the statements made by Deputy Jerry Ryan of Tipperary, and to some of the charges which he levelled against the North Tipperary County Council. I happen to be associated with that body and I know, as does everybody here and everybody in the country, the difficulties with which local authorities generally have had to contend in the last few years. The tactics adopted by the Deputy to whom I have referred, [1538] and by some of his colleagues, in trying to put into effect their policy of smashing local government in this country, and making, as they had boasted they would do, the local authorities depend solely on Government grants for their revenue, are fresh in the minds of the people and there is no need for me to refer further to them.

Mr. Coburn:  And it might be wiser not to.

Mr. Ryan:  Deputy Ryan also complained of the condition of by-roads in County Tipperary, and suggested that the county council there should be dissolved. He complained of the increase in rates; of the new houses that were being provided; and of the inability of the clerks of works to carry out their jobs. From my own knowledge, the condition of the by-roads may not be all that might be desired, but a great many people who are in a position to judge have commented on and paid tribute to the improvements in the by-roads of that county during the last few years. We certainly have an engineering staff there which is second to none, and they are carrying out their job efficiently. The Deputy to whom I have referred stated that the clerks of works there were incapable of doing their job, and that they were appointed because of their political outlook. That statement is not correct. The clerks of works operating here at the moment were appointed away back in 1932 or 1933, long before the present board of health came into existence. They were appointed following an examination by a Local Government inspector. I presume the Deputy will not question the inspector's ability to decide who was fit for the position of clerk of works. The Deputy also stated that hordes of temporary gangers were employed because of their political persuasions, and that they were retained in the employment of the local authority while the ordinary worker was let go. That is another statement without a shadow of truth. All workers and gangers on relief schemes are recruited through the labour exchange, and there is not a shadow of foundation for the statement [1539] of the Deputy. We have maintained the services in that area at a very high standard. We have housing schemes of which any county might well be proud. We take second place to none as regards housing, and the same is true of sewerage and water schemes. Those schemes have been provided for practically every village and town in the country. During the last few years I think we have given more employment than ever before in the history of the council. Notwithstanding all those things, there has been a considerable reduction in the rate. Therefore, I see no justification at all for the charges made by the Deputy to whom I have referred.

There is one matter to which I wish to draw the Minister's attention, and that is the delay in providing medical examination for the applicants for blind pensions. I find that in a great many cases they have to wait for a very long time. There is also another matter which is under the Minister's control, and I suppose I will be in order in mentioning it. It is in regard to the conditions under which national health insurance agents are working. Their conditions are very bad. I find that in some rural districts the pay is very small, and in some instances the agent has to cover a radius of perhaps 30 miles on a push bicycle. Some of the districts are very thinly populated, and the number on an agent's books would not justify the same facilities which are available for other agents in say pretty large towns, where they would have a larger number in a much smaller area. In those instances, too, I understand, postage and other facilities are available while they are not available in the rural areas to which I have referred.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  I do not think the Minister has any direct responsibility for that. I think it is a matter for the Unified Insurance Society.

Mr. Ryan:  It is a matter to which my attention has been called regularly. Of course if the Minister has no control over it, it ends there but if anything [1540] could be done in that direction I would very strongly urge that it should be done. I do not want to take up any more of the time of the House. I think the administration of local government under the Minister deserves congratulation. As has been suggested by various Deputies here, he is a man well fitted for his job, and he is carrying out the duties allotted to him in a manner which, I can say, is giving general satisfaction.

Mr. Dockrell:  I want to draw the Minister's attention to a couple of matters. First of all, under the Acquisition of Small Dwellings Act, I have before now referred in this House to the various aspects of housing. As far as Dublin is concerned I suppose there is not one Deputy in this House who will deny that there is a very real problem to be solved there, and that anybody who builds a house at practically any time contributes to the solution of that problem. The housing of the working classes has been carried on at an accelerated rate. I am not suggesting that the housing of the working classes, or the provision of houses for people who cannot provide houses for themselves, would not be accelerated even further, but that is not the point I wish to make. Now, under the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Act, a class has been catered for that, in some respects, is practically indistinguishable from the working classes. Perhaps I might describe them as the black-coated brigade. In some cases, they are people of the type of foremen and so on, but in any case I expect the Minister will not deny that there is a very great need in this connection and that any solution under the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Act will contribute largely to the solution of the housing problem.

The Minister, some time ago, extended for the present year the grants for these classes of dwellings. Now, I am afraid that the Minister is taking away with one hand what he is giving with another, because I understand that a circular letter has been issued from the Minister's Department to local authorities [1541] interested and that, whereas the Act provided for 90 per cent. to be advanced, this has been reduced to 75 per cent. and collateral security has to be obtained. Now, the net effect of this is to decrease enormously the number of people who are able to comply with the terms of the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Act. I need not elaborate on that. Probably, the Minister is better aware than I am of the employment that is given by the putting up of these houses, the materials that are used in the erection of the houses, and the contentment of the people once they are housed under that Act. I understand that this circular has been occasioned by the fact that, owing to an extraordinary number of circumstances, in a few cases the local authority has been left with a certain amount of liability. I should like, however, to suggest to the Minister that the cure he has propounded is worse than the disease—that, even if a few cases have occurred where the local authority was stuck with a small amount of money, they might very well have persevered and found that in the end they had contributed a large number of houses in which people had been housed, some of whom would have competed for the working-class dwellings. I should like the Minister, when replying, to give us the reasons for this circular and tell us whether or not there is any hope of its being withdrawn and a more liberal view being taken of this Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Act, instead of keeping houses merely being fed from hand to mouth and from year to year.

There is another item which I want to bring to the Minister's attention. I am not quite sure how far I am in order in mentioning it, but at the same time I want to make a very brief reference to it. I refer to the problem of parking motor cars in the City of Dublin. Of course, the Minister may say that he, directly, is not responsible for it, but somebody will have to shoulder the burden and I think that the Minister's Department might very well initiate some scheme by which the local authorities as would be placed in such a position as would enable [1542] them to know exactly where they are in providing free parking, or parking at a nominal charge, for the general public. I know that this is a very wide subject and that it has various ramifications, but in some dreadfully crowded cities they have had to put up huge buildings where motor cars can be parked. Now, of course, we have not arrived at that stage yet, but I think we are in an intermediate position in which a certain number of parking places will have to be provided—possibly where a nominal fee would be charged. I should like to urge on the Minister, however, that this is a growing problem and a problem that must be tackled by some authority, such as the corporation or all the local authorities, under the advice of the Local Government Department, because, certainly, it is not a matter in this case for private enterprise. While the Minister, of course, like a celebrated individual, may wash his hands of the matter, I should like to suggest that the City of Dublin must provide parking places for people who come to Dublin to do their business. I am merely asking the Minister to look into those matters and to give an answer to them when he is replying.

Mr. Beegan:  The discussion of this Vote has already taken up a considerable amount of time and I am very reluctant to take part in it at all or to delay the House. One thing, however, has struck me, and that is that so many compliments have been paid to the Minister and his Department from all sides of the House, it would appear that there should be no need to have a motion down to refer the Estimate back. I think we could have discussed the Vote just as well as if there had not been a motion to refer it back. However, be that as it may, I think it matters very little whether we shower compliments or bricks on the Minister because, to the people of this country in general, irrespective of their political opinions, I think the Minister will go down in history as the greatest democratic, social reformer of this century. I have heard expressions of opinion here—different expressions, of [1543] course—as to the advisability or inadvisability of the managerial system. I happen to be a member of a board of health and I have an open mind on the question, but if the appointment of managers were to make for a better understanding between boards of health, and local authorities generally, and the Department of Local Government and Public Health, and thus help to expedite work, I, for one, would not find any fault with that system because I know that a good deal of time is wasted through lack of understanding between the Department and the local bodies—and this is particularly true in regard to the boards of health, which are the largest spending bodies in the country. In almost every case—in every case, I believe—the secretary of the board of health is a thoroughly efficient man, and while we may not have managers in the actual sense of the word, I think it might be no harm to have managers nominally and, instead of having the secretary merely a correspondence link between the Department and the board of health, it might be no harm, but on the contrary some good, if he were to be a vocal link between the Department and the board of health, and to have him called up, let us say, at the end of every six months' period with a view to going into the various problems that arise from time to time and have consultation with some of the executive officers in the Department of Local Government and Public Health.

I have a few matters in mind with regard to the county I come from, and one is the proposed sanatorium for the whole county. A house was purchased and some land also was purchased about five years ago. There have been differences of opinion on many aspects of the case as to what kind the sanatorium should be, or rather how the house should be reconditioned in order to be suitable as a sanatorium. The matter has been going backwards and forwards between the Department and the local bodies for a considerable length of time—for the past four years, in fact. I believe if the secretary of the board of health had been called up to the [1544] Department and given an idea as to the particular type of sanatorium required, the work would have been under way long ago. Furthermore, we have had certain difficulties regarding the appointment of an architect. I quite agree that very qualified architects are required for work of this kind, and I believe that if the thing were to be expedited or hurried up properly, the better course would be for the Local Government Department to prepare a panel of architects to be submitted to the boards of health when a scheme was being proposed and submitted for sanction, and that the architect would be appointed from that list, together with some of the medical experts of the Department. If would be well if they came on the site and got going with the work. In that way a good deal of delay that has been occasioned in connection with work of this kind could be avoided.

I have another local matter to bring under the Minister's notice. To me it seems more or less putting the cart before the horse. I refer to the question of a district hospital at Ballinasloe. In 1934 or 1935, the board of health agreed to go on with that, and they were sent instructions, or at least given liberty to advertise for suitable sites. Offers were made, and the county medical officer of health, the local medical officer of health, one of the engineers of the board of health, and also the engineer to the Ballinasloe Urban Council selected a site, and a bargain was made. That was sent on to the Local Government Department and some of the medical experts in the Department came down and they considered that the site was unsuitable. I believe that if one of these men came down at the beginning, and if the architect had been appointed and they all went into the matter, there would be no reason for delay, as otherwise they would have to turn down all the sites. The fact is that considerable delay has been occasioned. I have been in communication with the Department, and I got the reply some time ago that these men were coming down again to try to select a site. Although it may appear ridiculous [1545] to state that it is difficult to get a site in or near Ballinasloe, the fact remains that it is very difficult to get any suitable site there. I hope those people will come down soon.

There is another matter I wish to bring to the notice of the Minister and his Department, although I do not know if the Department can do very much about it. Boards of health all over the country put caretakers to look after graveyards. In County Galway, or at least in a considerable portion of it, on the initiative of his Lordship Most Reverend Doctor Dignan, and with the co-operation of the priests and the people, a lot has been done to improve the appearance of graveyards generally. One thing that remains to be attended to, and people are not inclined to do it voluntarily, is to put the roads leading to the graveyards into a proper state of repair. Some of the roads are in a very deplorable condition. There was a time when our people had the idea that the more difficult the way to the burial ground the greater the indulgence they would get. I am afraid that idea has moved away from our people. It is a sad sight on a winter's day to see people trying to wade through water and sludge a distance of over a mile to get to the graveyard. Local authorities are prevented from repairing stop-end roads. This is the real type of stop-end road, and if it is not possible for the Department to do anything in the matter, I would urge them to make strong representations to the Board of Works to have such repairs carried out by way of minor relief schemes. One thing that may operate against them is that in some places a number on the unemployed list would be against carrying out a work of this kind. But I hold this is a most important work.

There is another matter that I brought up here on another occasion and I do not know whether it is altogether relevant to this debate, but, anyhow, if I am irrelevant, I expect the Chair will call me to order. I refer to what I hold to be the unfair treatment of a certain section of the agricultural community. The section I refer to now is that section of the agricultural community that lives in [1546] urban areas. I will be countered with the argument, no doubt, and it is a logical one in many instances, that farmers living within urban areas have a greater advantage than those living in the rural districts. That may be, but the fact remains that they have to pay the county and town rate and they have to pay for the lighting, the sewerage and the water supply of the townspeople, from which they derive no benefit and they get no relief on their agricultural rates. I do not mean to say that they should get the same benefit as the farmers in the rural areas, but I believe they should get some relief, a proportionate relief, because many of them live off the main thoroughfares and, therefore, the land is not so valuable for the purpose of building sites. Of course, the line ought to be drawn somewhere, but this matter is the cause of discontent and dissatisfaction. I know very well it is a rather difficult matter, but at the same time there is certainly a very great grievance felt by those people.

Finally, there is another matter, and I do not know if it comes under the control of the Minister. It is really under the control of two Departments —the Department of Local Government and the Department of Justice. The Local Government Department, however, must have something to do with it when the rate collectors take a hand in it and when they are paid on a percentage basis in relation to the work they do. I refer to the preparation of the voters' lists. So far as all parties are concerned, the preparation of the voters' lists in many parts of the country is an absolute disgrace. It is not merely a question of people who are just about to qualify, or who have qualified on the previous 15th November, not being placed on the list, but in many parts of the country people who have been for years and years on the voters' list find their names have been omitted without any notification whatever when it comes to the day of an election. I hold that that is highly unjust, and the people who suffer under that disability should have some action at law in order to get that grievance rectified. This may appear to be a very small matter to bring up [1547] but it is very annoying to the people concerned who, when they come to the polling booths, without having to be brought there at all, find their names have been omitted, although their names have been on the list for several years. Instead of having too many cooks preparing the broth, the matter should be confined to one Department, and something should be done to have it taken out of the sphere of the political Parties altogether, so as to ensure that every person who is entitled to vote will have that vote irrespective of what Party he belongs to. In common with other Deputies, I should like to congratulate the Minister and his Department for the very efficient way in which they are carrying out the important social services which were so much needed by the people.

Mr. Minch:  In 1933 or 1934, I suggested on this Vote that the duties and responsibilities of public bodies would ultimately become so onerous, so numerous and so crowded that the present system would break down and a new system would have to be constructed. I think everybody in the House agrees that in respect of county councils, county boards of health and urban councils it is impossible to give honest attention to the agendas submitted at meetings thereof. Not only is there so much to be covered, but there is so much of a specialised nature that the average member is not competent to give a sound opinion on it. I remember suggesting at that time that the managerial system would ultimately have to be adopted, whereby there would be at least five, and at most seven, persons to guide on the question of policy alone, and that the manager then would have power vested in him, and full scope given to him, to carry out the innumerable regulations and administer all the different special works with which public bodies to-day cannot cope. That is true, and everybody knows it is true. Experience shows that, with present staffs, the public bodies are not able to get through the work by reason of the fact that that work is doubled and trebled by all [1548] sorts of red tape, which is increasing day by day, until the ordinary member of a public body has red tape around his hands and around his feet.

I make that suggestion here in all sincerity, purely as a matter of business, purely as a matter of getting value in the services paid for and purely as a matter of getting on with the job. Everybody has paid tribute to the Minister, and rightly so, but are we getting value for the money expended? That is the point at which we have to commence and to end—the durability or otherwise of these sewerage schemes and these houses. I am not competent to judge and very few in this House are competent to judge. It is a matter for experts and something which time alone can show. Throughout the various counties, there are medical officers of health, qualified men, men with excellent experience and men who have shown themselves eager and anxious to carry out their duties and men with a good spirit of citizenship. They go around and call on Mr. So-and-so and warn him that his dairy is not complying with the regulations and that if he does not make this good here and that good there, he will be prosecuted and fined or closed down. The same thing applies in respect of licensed victuallers, but here comes the extraordinary thing—whereas all this activity takes place in respect of clean milk and proper victualling, water does not apparently count for so much. Why? Because the board of health, which is the real authority of the medical officer, to a very large extent, is responsible for pumps in the different counties. What is the result in many counties, including my own? There are pumps which are not functioning, which have not functioned in the past and which will not function in the future, so far as one can see, with the result that hundreds of people are taking water from rivers flowing through rural places without boiling it or making any attempt to see that it is pure. I suggest to the Minister that it is a serious problem and that all the vaccination, all the inoculations and all the other work which he is endeavouring to get going in a competent and businesslike way for the sake of the health of the people is [1549] jeopardised by the condition of the pumps in the different counties, and I refer particularly to those in my own county. I do not want to go into details but everybody knows what I am driving at.

With regard to home assistance, I can never understand the basis for the refusals of home assistance or how the amounts ultimately awarded in a very meagre way are arrived at. I think the time has come when the question of whom to appeal to in the matter of the genuine case that comes to many of us, whether in public life or in business, ought to be capable of a satisfactory answer.

I would like to see county services in one big building in which the managerial system with the popularly elected five or seven members were where one could get in a circularised way that class of information and the reason for turning down applications, and how the amounts are worked out. Undoubtedly there are in the country many who have to wait for weeks without receiving anything. Does not every T.D. here know that for a fortnight there is often not even one single shilling to be secured by the applicant because there is some mix up between one place and another? The St. Vincent de Paul Society can only award 2/- or 2/6 at the outside. That is a pretty hard case on people who need assistance, and it is a matter which should be attended to at once. I believe that the Department of Local Government and Public Health should have available at once an inspector to see the chief home assistance officer and, if necessary, also to visit the ordinary home assistance officers. We hear these men say repeatedly: “We cannot do it.” The result is that men cannot get relief anywhere. There is certainly something wrong there, and that is quite true. I believe it is not the fault of the spirit. It is because of some peculiar administrative red tape. I am perfectly satisfied that the ratepayers themselves would applaud the giving of genuine, honest relief through home assistance to the people who are seeking it and who very often cannot get it. I say that now because the stampeding is over. The rushing of officials off their feet is over. Only [1550] those who have a case are now putting in their claim for home assistance. In the overwhelming majority of cases that is so. These are the cases I have in mind.

There is one other point to which I wish to refer. I am not quite sure who is responsible or how we are to get over the difficulty of dealing with this matter. I speak of the long miles of roads along the canals that pass through the County Kildare. The people do not know to whom to turn as to the responsibility for the upkeep of these roads. I know that if the county council were to go in and steam-roll, repair or do anything required in the ordinary way to these roads they would be immediately surcharged. If they were to go to the Grand Canal Company they would find that they, when asked to do anything to the roads, would say: “We will do nothing.” Yet they have control of these by-roads, and they can even close them down once a year if they like. If the people themselves desire to see any improvement in these roads they are powerless. I would like if the Minister would tell us if the transport department of Industry and Commerce in connection with his Department has any say in the matter. If so, the time has arrived when those two parties should tear up the charter granted to the Grand Canal Company. The powers given under that charter are out of date and should be ended. I am sure the Minister, if he were to look into all the facts of the case, would agree with that. The Minister, or Tánaiste, has been receiving congratulations here every time I come into the House. All through the debate he has been paid compliments, though for a good deal of the time he seems to be having a siesta, yet he has borne the strain well. For very much of the time during the debate on this Vote one would imagine it was his silver jubilee and not a debate on his Department that was taking place.

Mr. T. Kelly:  On Friday last I was provoked—that is the word used—by Deputy Davin, who said that he hoped I would say something on this Estimate because, he said he realised I was one [1551] of the oldest members of one of the biggest public authorities we have in this State. Well, I am provoked, but the Deputy is not here to listen to me now. However, he can have the satisfaction later on of reading in the Official Debates, if he likes to look them over, what I am now saying. The question upon which I was provoked was the question of the managerial system. I do not want to be provoked on that question at all, because I do not believe in it. I never did and I never will. There cannot be two masters. That is a very old saying and a very sound and wise one. You can have only one master. If you have a successful manager, it is all right; but if you have a popularly elected body that is doing its duty well—a democratic body elected by the people— there is no reason whatever to put any other body or individual in its place. That is my opinion. I have had experience of three city managers. In 1930 the new system was brought in here. The first city manager was a bit of a statesman all right because he conceived a way of carrying out his work that was very helpful to him. It brought him most of the credit while most of the work was done by the members. I will give the House an idea of the present position of the oldest body in Ireland, as Deputy Davin speaks of the Dublin Corporation, the principal institution in Ireland, the corporation of a city with 18 centuries of history behind it. The powers conveyed on the city manager are simply overwhelming. I have in my hand the standing orders of the council which say:—

“By the Local Government (Dublin) Act, 1930, the council for the new City of Dublin consists of 35 members of whom five are aldermen. The Act also provides for the appointment of a city manager and town clerk who exercises and performs for and on behalf of the city corporation all the powers, functions and duties of the corporation in relation to the appointment and removal of officers and servants of the corporation (other than the city manager and town clerk), and who also exercises [1552] and performs all powers, functions and duties of the city corporation other than the functions reserved to the city council, which are as follows:—

“(a) The making of any rate or the borrowing of any moneys; (b) the making, amending or revoking of any by-law; (c) the making of any order and passing of any resolution by virtue of which any enactment is brought into operation in or made to apply to the city and the revoking of any such order and the rescinding of any such resolution; (d) the application to be made to any authority in respect of the making or revoking of any such order as aforesaid; (e) making or revoking of any order under Section 5 of the Shops Act, 1912 (in that Act referred to as the Closing Order); (f) the powers conferred by Section 3 of the Municipal Funds (Ireland) Act in relation to the promotion or the opposing of legislation, the prosecution or defence of any such legal proceedings as are mentioned in that section and the application for those purposes of the public funds and rates under the control of the corporation; (g) the appointment or election of any person to be a member of any public body; (h) Parliamentary and local elections; (i) the admission of persons to the freedom of the city; (j) subject to the provisions of the Local Government (Dublin) Act, 1930, the appointment, suspension and removal of the manager and granting of any allowance or gratuity to the manager on his ceasing to be manager; (k) the determination of the amount of the salary and the remuneration of the Lord Mayor; (l) applications to the Minister for a provisional order under the Local Government (Dublin) Act, 1930, extending the boundary of the city; (m) the disposition (otherwise than by demise for a term not exceeding one year) under the Municipal Corporation (Ireland) Acts, 1840 to 1888, of lands, tenements and hereditaments belonging to the corporation.”

There is not a single word in all that which shows that the corporation has any control whatever.

[1553] I do not know, nor does any member of the council, anything in connection with the salaries or wages paid. We have no function whatever concerning the officers or the workmen of the council. The first City Manager proceeded to set up two committees. One was called the Housing Committee, and the other the General Purposes Committee. The Housing Committee considers and reports on all housing matters coming within the jurisdiction of the council. It also considers any other matter which may be submitted by the Manager. Everything the committee does is recommended or submitted by the City Manager. The same applies to the General Purposes Committee. What it does is recommended or submitted by the City Manager. That is the position. To think then that the members of the council have the slightest idea of what is paid to any officer in their employment! There used to be given, when the yearly statement of accounts——

Attention called to the fact that a quorum was not present; House counted and 20 Deputies being present,

Mr. Kelly:  Deputy Davin on Friday made certain remarks in connection with the managerial system. He said:—

“I listened last night to a Deputy, who does not know too much, I think, about the activities or work of the Dun Laoghaire Borough Corporation, paying a proper tribute, in my opinion, to the managerial system as administered in that area. I imagine he speaks from hearsay, but, as a ratepayer in that district, and speaking from some intimate knowledge of how the managerial system has been administered in that area, I want to say that in my opinion it has been carried out on model lines. It was administered in a quiet, calm way, without any bluster on the part of the Manager, who was wise enough, although there was no obligation on him to do so, to consult the members of the council and to seek their advice on matters on which he was entitled to act on his own.”

There is an admission! Deputy Davin went on further to say:—

[1554]“I do not want to deprive the members of local bodies of their share of responsibility for administering the moneys which they are compelled by statute to collect. Even where the managerial system exists, the members of those local bodies have the power, or privilege, of striking the rate, but in some cases they have very little to say in the spending of the money which is collected under their authority.”

What privilege is there in striking a rate, especially if there is an increase of 3/- or 4/- in the £? I remember a long time ago—I am a long time now a member of the Dublin Corporation— about the year 1901——

An Ceann Comhairle:  That is a long time ago.

Mr. Kelly:  It is, Sir.

An Ceann Comhairle:  This is an Estimate for 1938.

Mr. Kelly:  I am only giving an instance——

Mr. Finlay:  You are only quoting what Deputy Davin said.

Mr. Kelly:  I remember there was an increase of 1/- in the rates of Dublin, and a man coming out after saying his prayers saw me just outside the church. He said: “There is another of the robbers,” and he used a very red adjective. Deputy Davin went on to say:

“If I were an employee of a local authority, whether a road worker or an office worker, I would prefer to have one man in complete control as an executive head than to see him at the mercy of a number of councillors with the right to interfere with him.”

I am afraid Deputy Davin has allowed Herr Hitler or Signor Mussolini to impress his mind. It is evident from further remarks in his speech that he will have to be courtmartialled or else confined to barracks, because if he is let loose again in this Assembly with this class of talk I am afraid he may impress some soft-headed fellows like myself to look on the Fascist or the Nazi system as the most perfect [1555] system of control in the world. As I have said, I do not believe in the managerial system. I have a good experience of Dublin, at any rate, and I think the old system was a better system. I think I could well maintain that by evidence if it were permissible for me to do so. I have given enough information concerning it and the actual position in Dublin to show that it is not a perfect system. The present city manager seems to be a first-rate man. I am sure that with the staff at his disposal he could control the city in an admirable way. Why then put men to the worry, the trouble and the expense of elections and compel them to devote such a large portion of their time——

An Ceann Comhairle:  Is the Deputy advocating an amendment of the law?

Mr. Kelly:  I am not.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Will the Deputy point out by what administrative act the Minister can get rid of the system to which he objects?

Mr. Kelly:  I think the Minister has power to get rid of it if he thinks proper to do so.

An Ceann Comhairle:  By an administrative act?

Mr. Davin:  By a stroke of the pen!

Mr. Kelly:  I think so. I may be wrong. If I were Minister to-night, when this debate would end—if it ends before Easter; it will certainly end before Christmas—I would simply say, “You are too well off,” bundle up my papers and go out, because the complaints which we heard to-day were something intolerable, more especially when we think of what other countries have to suffer at the present time. We should be thankful that we have such a Government and have such an easy time. You need not laugh at all. What are they doing in other countries? Instructing women and children to use gas masks, instructing their authorities to construct various underground shelters to protect the people from bombs. I heard a man last night in a broadcast [1556] describing the damage done in Spanish towns by bombing, and you could scarcely credit the horrors of which he spoke.

Mr. Davin:  Did you believe it?

Mr. Kelly:  I have no reason to disbelieve it, having regard to what one sees in the newspapers. These gas bombs are terrible. They are instruments that could only have been invented in hell. They could not be conceived by the mind of man. Here we are dealing with proper parking-places for motor cars. Deputy Dillon spoke for over an hour last Friday telling women how to feed their children, to give them plenty of vitamins.

Mr. Davin:  And he would not get married himself.

Mr. Kelly:  No; he is not a married man. We have heard a lot about the parking of motor cars and about the smoke from chimneys going the wrong way in Kildare. That happened there 150 years ago. I think it was Arthur Young who, in describing his experiences in “A Tour in Ireland,” stated that in Kildare the smoke went out through the doors instead of up through the chimneys. A Deputy had the same complaint to make to-day. That is all we have to think about. We have a Government that is carrying on the affairs of this country so well that the most trivial things are brought up in debate with a solemnity that makes me laugh. God keep us so. I think this Government is doing splendid work, but, I suppose, as Jonathan Swift said nearly 200 years ago, the Irish will never give up one right. When he was asked what that right was the answer was: “The right to complain.” They always complained. That is true.

Mr. Davin:  You did not always agree with that statement.

Mr. Kelly:  I always did.

Mr. Davin:  I heard you disagreeing with it 30 years ago.

Mr. Kelly:  I cannot recollect what I said 30 years ago. It would be impossible. I only intervened to express my opinion on the discussion that took [1557] place about the managerial system in Dublin. I am against it. I am satisfied that the old democratic system of electing members and letting them carry on the work was the right system. I do not want to have any further discussion about that. That is my opinion. I will always maintain it, and I think I am well fortified with the experience I have had in connection with municipal affairs. The Minister has done remarkably well. One great achievement has been carried out during his term of office, and it is this, come what may, that the slums have to go. That work cannot be stopped. Long years ago it used to be placarded about Dublin: “Vote for Kelly and the housing of the poor,” but no more would be heard about housing until the next election, when there would be more placards. That position is ended, and it is a great matter. Cost what it may, and let the trouble be ever so great, the slums are doomed. God knows, that is a great achievement.

I should like to refer to another matter which was mentioned by a Deputy who, I think, talks least, but is a most useful representative. In proposing the amendment to the Vote Deputy Murphy made one reference to which I listened with great pleasure. He called attention to a genuine grievance that still exists, but that I hope will soon be removed, and that is in connection with the workhouse system. The Deputy described as hideous buildings the workhouses which were planted in various parts of the country. They are horrible to look at from the outside and are probably equally horrible in the interiors. The Deputy wished they could be done away with. I heard one Deputy in this Party describe what had been done in his constituency in Tipperary where the old people had been taken from these dreadful habitations and placed in charge of a religious body. He stated that in a few months after the move there was a surprising improvement in their appearance. I wish to remind the Minister of a very great occasion—and it has been my privilege to witness many great occasions in Dublin—that great day in January, 1919, when Dáil Eireann met [1558] for the first time, when the Republic was proclaimed and an address sent to the nations of the world. My job on that day was to read the democratic programme of Dáil Eireann. I carefully studied the script I received the previous evening, and when the time came to read it, I did so as well as I could. In that document it was deliberately and clearly stated that the poor law system as it was then conducted should go. I have the draft of that document. It was in the Minister's handwriting. He was the man who wrote it. After I had read it, people asked me why I had not put as much vigour into the words as the man who wrote the document.

One man said to me: “You seemed to be saying your prayers rather than reading the document.” I told him that I regarded it as a prayer, because I was reading about the work that the men who brought about the Republic were going to do. It seemed to me to be almost a prayer, dealing, as it did, with the sufferings the people, especially the poorer people, were in the habit of meeting in their lives, and that were now going to be remedied. That is nearly 20 years ago. Probably things happened since then to prevent that programme being carried out, but, in my opinion, no attempt was made to do so until the present Government came into power. I suggest to the Minister that as next January will be the twentieth anniversary of that famous declaration, before then he might have a Bill brought in here and passed for the removal of all these workhouses. If he does that he will have achieved what was in his heart, and what he and his colleagues were fully determined to do 20 years ago.

Mr. Coburn:  In connection with housing schemes, it sometimes happens that delays which are avoidable or sometimes unavoidable occur and that much additional expense is placed upon local bodies before sanction is forthcoming. I do not blame the Department for the delay, because I am aware of the fact that, although it sanctions plans and specifications for housing schemes, they have to wait until sanction is procured from the Minister for Finance. In a scheme in [1559] Dundalk the delay of a month or two meant a difference of from £400 to £500, and meant a loss, as a result of which the council was obliged to put an additional 5d. or 6d. on the rents of £30 houses. Where the Department and the Minister for Finance have reason to believe that a housing scheme is all right, no undue delay should occur, especially at a time like the present, when prices of materials go up and down in a very short space of time.

I also want to draw the attention of the Minister to his action recently in only allowing 15 per cent. for a certain housing scheme which the Urban Council of Dundalk put up a year or so ago. In the year 1935-36 the council formulated a scheme for the building of 48 houses on St. Alphonsus Road. The conditions governing housing schemes carried out by local authorities, so far as I understand them, are: that there is a grant of 66? per cent. given in the case of houses which are built to re-house people from unhealthy areas, and a grant of 33? per cent. for what one may call normal housing schemes. I am a member of the Dundalk Urban Council, and we thought that the time had arrived when houses to suit the needs of artisans should be built. We thought that no house could be too good for the working man if he was in a position to pay for it, and, consequently, we decided to build these 48 houses. The only difference between them and the other types of houses in respect of which we are entitled to receive 33? per cent. from the Department of Local Government is the addition of a bathroom. Considering all that has been said about the importance of health, and all the money that has been expended in providing sewerage and water schemes with a view to improving the health of the people, we thought that we would have been commended for our efforts in having a bath-room provided in each of these 48 houses.

What did we find when we came to fix the rents? We had a communication from the Minister to say that he would only be prepared to sanction a grant of 15 per cent. towards the [1560] charges on that scheme of 48 houses. The excuse he put forward for his action was that the people going into the houses should be able to build their own houses. If they were in that position, then I would agree with the Minister, but instead, they are ordinary working class people. As I said to-day on the Cement Bill, instead of waiting on for years in a house until it was condemned, they decided to take one of these houses. If they continued to live on in a house until it was condemned they would then be able to get a new house at 5/- a week, to the cost of which the Government makes a contribution of 66? per cent. I can assure the Minister that the working men who have gone into those 48 houses are not millionaires, as the Minister and his Department seem to think. Instead of the council being able to let those houses at 8/10 per week, as they thought they would, assuming that the got the 33? per cent., they have now to charge a rent of 10/4 per week, exclusive of rates. The inclusive rent is somewhere in the region of 13/4 per week.

I want to draw the attention of the members of the Party opposite and of the members of the Labour Party and, in fact, the members of all Parties, to what I am about to say. The tenants in those 48 houses are men who work at the docks. They have three, four or five members in their families, and wanted a decent house. Just imagine a poor man working on one or two days a week at the docks being charged a rent of 13/4 a week for his house, and all because the Minister will only sanction a grant of 15 per cent. towards its erection, while the man who may be earning £4 a week, but who happens to be living in a condemned house, is able to get a new house at 5/- or 5/6 a week, the reason being that the Government, in the case of condemned houses, give a grant of 66? per cent. for the rehousing of the tenants. What happens, in fact, is that the unfortunate man who is compelled to pay a rent of 13/4 a week has to subsidise, through the rates that he pays, the provision of a new house at 5/- or 5/6 a week for a man whose income may be from £1 to 30/- a week more than his own. [1561] I think that is a terrible state of affairs, and is due to this: that we simply provided a bathroom in each of those 48 houses. The Minister holds that they are a superior type of house, and that the tenants are not entitled to receive the benefit of the 33? per cent. grant. I think that the action of the Minister and his Department is not just, equitable or fair. The people who occupy those houses are not income-tax payers. I cannot understand the mentality that is behind the action taken by the Minister and his Department, and why there should be this differentiation between various sections of our people. I feel very strongly about this. The only reason that I can see for this ill-advised action is that it was prompted by a small coterie in Dundalk who; for political reasons, thought that they would get a rap at the urban council for erecting houses of this type. In other words, the scheme was opposed by certain people who believed that we should proceed with the erection of houses for people living in slums, forgetting at the same time that we were already engaged on such schemes. We thought that it would be a good thing if we could erect this type of house for the decent type of worker. We have been penalised for doing so. I am not of a suspicious turn of mind, but I have a shrewd idea that what has happened in this case was the result of the ill-advised campaign to which I have referred. There were some people who believed that the action taken by the Minister would be a deterrent, so far as the members of the urban council were concerned, as regards proceeding with schemes of a similar nature. Those silly fools forgot that it was not the council they were hitting, but the unfortunate people who have to pay a rent of 13/4 a week for houses they ought to be able to get at about 10/6 a week.

In my opinion, the Minister is in duty bound to make restitution to those 48 people for the rents that they have been compelled to pay during the last 18 months or two years—at least 1/6 a week more than the minimum. The Minister may say that the council should meet the situation by a contribution from the rates. So far as the housing of the working classes [1562] is concerned, the council have already done sufficient not to be asked to subscribe any more. I want to tell the Minister that this scheme has cost the council over £425 10s. in the way of claims under the Conditions of Employment Act, which was passed before the scheme was finished. The council had to make good that sum to the contractor. That was the extra amount that he had paid. The council also had to put in a special water scheme to provide water for those tenants, so that these two items, added together, make a total of over £900 which has to be met out of revenue. I think that is a very good contribution from the Dundalk Urban Council towards this housing scheme. What we feel is that those people should not be charged this rent of 13/4. It is not fair to ask a man who may not be earning more than £2 10s. a week to pay a rent of 13/4. As I have already pointed out, the ironical part of it is that, for the reasons I have given, a man who may be earning from £1 to £1 10s. a week more is able to have a house at 5/- or 5/6 a week, thanks to the subsidy which the man charged a rent of 13/4 a week has to pay through the rates. That is the position. I know it is very difficult for the Minister to pass an Act to suit all classes, or to have rents on a sliding scale such as obtains in some of the big cities in England. Until that day comes, the Minister should reconsider his position in regard to these 48 houses and allow the urban council the full 33? per cent. to which they are entitled. It was not mandatory on the Minister to do this; it is a matter of discretion. Under one of the Housing Acts, the Minister may, or may not, make a grant of not more than 33? per cent. or 66? per cent. on any housing scheme, which means he may give less. In this case he has come to a decision which I think involves a very grave injustice, and I hope the Minister will see his way to reconsider this whole matter and notify Dundalk Urban Council that he is prepared to give the full 33? per cent. in the case of houses costing up to £350.

While various suggestions have been [1563] made to the Minister as regards expediting the erection of houses, very little, if anything, has been suggested as to the reduction of the cost of building. I often wonder why a little house costs £300 or £350, as against £100 or £120 in pre-war days. It seems that a great many people think that this country is made of money, that we have a big empire at our backs, and that houses can be built in a night. Everybody seems to go out of his way to increase the cost of houses. I think that is hardly fair to the working classes, some of whom have small wages, since it involves their paying 5/-, 6/- or 7/- per week in rent.

You had people living in what were called slums. They were got out of these slums by the good work of the Minister, but we should remember that when they go into new houses they have to pay 5/- where before they were paying 2/6, which means that they have 2/6 less for food. If I had to choose between keeping my family in a house that would be called a slum and feeding them well, and living in a good house for which I would have to pay £1 a week and half-starve my family, I should prefer to rear a healthy family in a slum house. People seem to forget that there is a snag in this matter of providing good houses for the people inasmuch as the extra 2/6 or 3/- means a terrible lot to poor people who may be in receipt of only 10/- or 15/- a week. Nothing seems to be done to help the Minister to deal with the high cost of building. People seem to think it is their duty to collar every little grant that is made by the Minister, and very little of this money goes to the people who occupy the houses. Those who are interested in the question should consider this aspect of it and help the Minister, who, undoubtedly, has done great work in providing houses for the working classes. They should see if the cost of building could not be reduced so that the Minister could build a larger number of houses and, above all, have those houses let at a lesser rent. So far as the Minister and his Department are concerned, they have, undoubtedly, [1564] done great work, but the members of the Dundalk Urban Council have a real grievance in connection with that scheme of 48 houses on Saint Alphonsus Road. Without any display of egotism, I may say that Dundalk Urban Council have done their part in the provision of proper housing accommodation. We feel that we have been very badly treated, and the tenants feel that they have been badly treated by the Department of Local Government in allowing only 15 per cent. of the loan charges where in all equity they should have allowed 33? per cent.

Mr. Bartley:  I should like to draw the Minister's attention to the abandonment of Inishbofin, on the West Galway coast, which is under the control of the Galway County Council. There, there is serious coast erosion. A few houses have been evacuated and there is a danger that some more will have to be evacuated, including the post office. I ask the Minister to give that matter his attention. I support Deputy Beegan's plea on behalf of farmers in urban areas. I refer particularly to farmers in Galway urban area. Whatever benefits they may enjoy by having a good market convenient to them are wiped out by the high cost of urban services and by the high urban rate. I add my voice to what Deputy Beegan has said on that matter.

Mr. J. Flynn:  I should like to refer to the question of housing as it affects the position in our county. The question of Cahirciveen housing scheme has been occupying attention for the past year or 18 months, but, owing to the arrears of cottage rents, the approval of the Department has not been forthcoming. While realising the difficulty of the Minister in connection with the inauguration of this scheme, I wish to make a few points in respect of it. The fact that arrears of rent have accrued in Kerry is the main reason why the Department have hesitated in the matter. The major portion of these arrears accrued over a period down to 1925. Even when the board of health was being established a great portion of these arrears of rent [1565] had accrued. The point made by the Department is that these arrears have steadily increased over a period. I should like to point out that, during the Cosgrave administration, there were three commissioners in our county, and up to 1930 this money had not been collected. If we are to believe the statements of people who have studied economics and made it their business to size up the position of the country, that was a very prosperous period. The point I wish to make is that if the commissioners who were operating in Kerry were unable to collect these thousands of pounds in that period, how can the Department now expect the tenants of these cottages to pay off all these arrears in a short period? It is placing an obstacle in our way to say that until these people clear off the arrears the Department will not assist in regard to this housing scheme. I suggest that this matter be gone into once and for all and decided one way or the other.

Admitting that the tenants are in arrear, can we at the same time afford to leave these unfortunate people in Cahirciveen living in these old antiquated shacks for ever, simply because cottiers, particularly in the wealthier parts of the county, have not paid for eight or nine years? The Minister, I know, has done his utmost to meet us in this matter. These points were raised by the Department, and rightly so from their point of view, but we who know the position and the conditions of these people must make the best possible case we can. There should be some way out. These people cannot be allowed to exist under these conditions. It would be far better for them to be removed altogether from that district than to be living in the type of houses in that area.

There is another matter to which I wish to refer and that is in connection with labourers in rural districts who are anxious to build houses. They qualify for the usual grant, but the question of a loan arises. I understand that there is some restriction on allowing loans to be advanced under these conditions and I would ask the Minister to allow the Kerry County Council to advance money to those who require [1566] loans under the Small Dwellings Act for the building of houses in rural districts. As there is a difficulty so far as these people are concerned, I think the Minister should assist us in that matter.

I have also been asked to raise the question of main roads so far as they concern us in the tourist districts in South Kerry. The traffic on these roads has increased very much. One case in point is the road leading to Ballin-skelligs Irish College. That road is not scheduled as a main road and, consequently, the Department are not entitled to allocate a grant in the usual way that they allocate grants for the upkeep of main roads. I appeal to the Minister to have that road scheduled as a main road, because in the summer months and when the college is in session it is very difficult to get the existing machinery as supplied by the county council and the ratepayers to stand up to the extra traffic. The only possible way in which it could be done is to schedule it as a main road qualifying for a grant from the Department.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  I suppose I might be permitted to take it as a compliment to the Department, and maybe to myself, that so much attention has been devoted by so many Deputies to the discussion of this Estimate. This is the third day we have had the privilege of having the Estimate discussed. That is a record, so far as my recollection goes. Some people might not think it, but I am rather pleased and complimented by the fact that such a deep interest has been displayed in the work of the Department. Of course, the Department of Local Government is an all-embracing one. There is hardly any other Department that takes within its scope such a variety of items of public interest as the Department over which I have the honour to preside. Therefore, it is natural, perhaps, from that point of view that Deputies should display a greater interest in it and a more detailed knowledge as well as interest in its operations than in the operations of some other Departments that do not touch so many aspects of the domestic and public life of the community as [1567] does the work of the Department of Local Government.

I have made voluminous notes of the criticisms offered during the course of the long drawn-out debate. I have not noted the compliments, but I think I would have a fair bundle of notes if I had noted down the compliments paid, not so much, I may say, to myself as to the officials and the working of the Department in general. I did take careful note of most of the criticisms, and though in replying I may not refer to every criticism made, I have on occasions of this kind stated before, and I again state, that any criticisms made here are noted by me and the officials of the Department. They are gone through afterwards by the senior officials and sectional heads of the Department and they are not without their effect. There is that much value in the efforts made by Deputies when speaking on this Vote that I can say for my Department that they can feel sure that whatever criticisms they have offered—it does not matter what kind the criticisms are—do not fall on deaf ears. They are noted and gone over again in the Department and checked up, and if we can meet the criticism and try and improve matters we are happy to do so. That is the spirit in which the Department, not alone in my time but before that, has always been conducted, and, so far as I know the officials, that will be the spirit in which the work of the Department will be continued, with the best effort to try to improve the working of the Department and the services that they are paid to give to the country and to the Dáil.

Deputy Murphy saw fit to put down a motion to refer back the Estimate. I listened carefully to his speech which, as more than one Deputy said, was moderate in tone, and certainly I could find no objection to the criticisms that he offered. With all respect to Deputy Murphy, I do not think, however, that he even attempted to make a case for referring back the Estimate. The criticisms were certainly not such, even if justified—as in most cases I think they were not— as would entitle him to ask the House [1568] to act on his motion, and refer, by way of condemnation of the Department, the Estimate back. He did not seem to take it so seriously himself, although he went over a wide field. It seemed to me, at any rate, that he did not feel convinced himself that he had a case which would justify that his motion should be passed and the Estimate referred back by way of condemnation.

In opening his speech, one of the remarks made by Deputy Murphy, with regard to the attitude adopted by the Department towards certain individuals seeking sanatorium treatment in places other than the local sanatorium, would seem to suggest that the Minister's action was undemocratic; that the Minister had perhaps changed his attitude towards democratic institutions in the particular cases I referred to about individuals suffering from tuberculosis who were seeking treatment in certain institutions. A number of Deputies referred to the same matter. They referred to democratic institutions, instancing managerial systems. Some would seem to suggest that there was a change in the Minister's mind; some would suggest it was in the minds of the Government as a whole, and others would say perhaps it was only in the minds of the officials of the Department. For myself, I say that I have not changed my attitude with regard to democratic institutions. I have not changed my mind with regard to what I consider the proper method of government for this country and management of local affairs. I have always stood for democratic institutions in higher spheres of government and in local spheres of government, too, but there can be modifications of institutions democratically governed that might have the effect of improving democratic control and making it more effective. I have not, as I say, changed my mind. The fundamental view that I hold is that the best system of government for this country and the best system of management for our local affairs is to have close and intimate association of the people by direct election to all the managing boards of our local authorities. That is the best system. It does not always work out perhaps [1569] as the most effective and rapid system in getting where we want, but, in the long run, judged philosophically and judged even from the point of view of its effects, I think the country would be best served by preserving democratic control. In that connection, might I address a word of serious warning, particularly to the Labour Party? I read in the papers a part of a speech delivered by Deputy O'Brien during the last day or two on this question of managerial control of local authorities. If there is any Party in this House——

Mr. O'Brien:  The Minister is mistaken. I made no such speech.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  Well, it was made by one of his colleagues then.

Mr. O'Brien:  Perhaps so.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  By Deputy Norton, perhaps; I am not certain. I am attributing to Deputy O'Brien something which he did not say. I just read the speech hurriedly.

Mr. O'Brien:  I did not refer to the subject.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  I read the speech hurriedly, and I apologise if I am wrongly attributing it to Deputy O'Brien. It was by one of his colleagues. There is no set of Deputies in this House who have more often pressed me, as Minister, to use a strong hand with the local authorities, to drive local authorities, to control local authorities—some have suggested abolishing local authorities—than the members of the Labour Party. Even in the course of this debate during the last three days——

Mr. Everett:  I never did.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  ——that has come out frequently. Deputy Norton, not Deputy Murphy, Deputy Davin——

Mr. Corish:  I never did, I am sure.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  Deputy Everett has done it more than once. but not in this debate.

Mr. Everett:  I beg the Minister's pardon. I had good grounds for complaining [1570] of the Minister's Department on a previous occasion and the matter was never rectified. A child was murdered and you held it died not as a result of the treatment given by the nurses. You had your inspector's lying report.

Mr. Murphy:  The case in which Deputy Davin was interested was one where an official was convicted of embezzlement of a considerable amount of public funds.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  I am not going into details——

Mr. Murphy:  The details are notorious.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  I do not intend to go into details, but I do say it cannot be denied that the Labour Party——

Mr. Everett:  The Minister said I advocated the abolishing of public boards.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  I have not included Deputy Everett.

Mr. Everett:  The Minister has included me to-night.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  “Not in this debate,” I said.

Mr. Everett:  Nor in any other debate. I never requested the abolishing of public boards. I protest against that statement.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  Not the abolishing of public boards, but asking the Minister to do things in regard to public boards which no Minister, if you want democratic control, ought to be asked to do. If the local authorities that Deputy Everett knows better than I do were doing their duty as they ought to do it, and as other local authorities ought to do it——

Mr. Everett:  They were not allowed to do it by the Minister. When they demanded an inquiry the Minister whitewashed an official.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  After the harm is done an inquiry is demanded. Then the Minister and his Department are blamed for the institution not running [1571] as it should. Then it is said: “Why will not the Minister control this”; or “Why will he not direct that”; or “Why does he not abolish this”; or “Why does he not make that local authority do this, that or the other”? We will never, as long as people are human, get perfection with a human machine.

Mr. Murphy:  Not even in Ministers.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  Not even in Ministers. Certainly not, and perhaps least of all in myself. Deputy Murphy, probably, would make a much more perfect Minister if he were here.

Mr. Murphy:  I have no ambition to be Minister.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  It might be just as well. I want to say to those who, more than others, set themselves up as champions of democracy that when they are urging the Minister for Local Government to do this, that or the other with regard to local authorities, they ought to remember the gospel they preached on other occasions. I think it was Emerson who said “Foolish consistency is the hobgobblin of little minds.” I suppose that is the motto of the members of the Labour Party.

Mr. Murphy:  Is that an apology for the change of front by the Minister on the question since 1929?

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  There has been no change of front, so far as the control of democratic institutions is concerned, by the present Minister for Local Government.

Mr. Murphy:  The Minister is burying his head in the sand.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  I am not. I defy the Deputy to prove that there has been a change. The Deputy had an opportunity, and he did not avail of it.

Mr. Murphy:  The number of suppressed local authorities provides an answer to that question.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  One of them was suppressed at the request of one of the Deputy's own Party, for a very good reason. I admit that the reason [1572] which the Deputy and his colleagues gave—they were associated with Fianna Fáil colleagues on that occasion—was a good reason. It was the one mentioned, I think, by Deputy Murphy himself; the case of a local authority which failed to control its officials, who were afterwards convicted of embezzling money.

Mr. Everett:  They were protected by the Department.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  They were not protected by the Department. Does the Deputy suggest that the Department would knowingly protect officials who were embezzling money?

Mr. Everett:  There were certain officials protected.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  No Department at any time would do that, and the Deputy should not make the statement. Deputy Murphy complained about people not being facilitated in getting treatment in certain sanitoria outside their own area. There is a rule—long before I became Minister for Local Government that rule was laid down; it is still there and has operated the same way all the time— that where a county medical officer of health says, over his own hand, that the patient referred to can benefit by treatment in another institution, even if that institution is outside Ireland— in many cases, they have been sent to Switzerland—that as soon as the county medical officer of health takes responsibility for saying that that patient is one who will benefit by treatment in another place, there has never been an obstacle put in his way.

Mr. Murphy:  That is not what the Minister's officials say.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  It is.

Mr. Murphy:  It is not. I have seen letters clearly showing what their attitude was.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  I have read the letters. I have read the correspondence. There were cases in which the Department asked whether the patient could pay portion of the cost of treatment. There were cases in which they asked that.

[1573]Mr. Murphy:  They ask that in every case.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  They do not ask it in every case.

Mr. Murphy:  Yes, they do; and so, in addition to that, if they cannot pay, they have no right of choice.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  There is no right of choice. The people have not a right of choice.

Mr. Murphy:  Of course they have not—because they are poor.

An Ceann Comhairle:  The Deputy should give as good a hearing to the Minister as he himself got.

Mr. Murphy:  But the Minister, Sir, is talking nonsense.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  The Minister is talking the truth, but because the truth does not suit Deputy Murphy, he does not like to hear it. He had a rotten case—I think it was one of the worst cases I ever heard put in this House—and now he wants to buttress it up with bluff; but he will not get away with that. If there is any case— from any county—where the medical officer of health says that the patient will benefit by treatment in an outside institution, the Department, so far as I have been able to discover, have never stopped the patient from being sent to that institution, whether they paid anything towards the cost of their treatment or not. That is the fact. In the case in Cork, the Medical officer of health was asked to state—he was asked more than once—would he give it on his authority that the patient would benefit by a transfer, and he refused to state that; and that is the reason why the case in which Deputy Murphy is interested was not settled.

Mr. Murphy:  That is not so. The medical officer was not asked any question, and the committee refused pointblank to send the patient back to the hospital in which she was previously.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  I have the correspondence here. I have read it. I have read the statement of the secretary of the board of health and I am satisfied that that is the [1574] reason the patient was not allowed to go there. There is no change of policy. The same rule is being carried out as was carried out in the time of my predecessor. The same rule that was carried out in the time of my predecessor has been carried out ever since I became Minister. I think it is known to everybody—perhaps not to everybody, but to a good many people—that people suffering from that disease, whether rich or poor—of course, the rich have their choice to go anywhere they like because they can pay for it— do not like to go into the ordinary county institute. They prefer to be sent anywhere else because, when they are in the local institution, their friends and neighbours visit there and they would rather not be seen by their friends and neighbours in that institution. For instance, in the case of Dublin, they would rather not be seen in Brittas and would prefer to go to Peamount or Newcastle because they seem to feel that the patients there are somewhat above the others. Most of the patients, probably, would want to go to Peamount or Newcastle and, as a matter of fact, there is a long waiting list in both of these institutions, and many of the people who would want to go there would not benefit by the treatment because many of them come to these institutions and to the doctors for treatment when their cases are too far gone.

At any rate, I assure the House that there is no change of policy in that matter and that patients who are certified by the county medical officers of health as being in a fit state to benefit by treatment in these other institutions, or in places like Switzerland, are sent there and paid for by the local authority with the consent of the Department of Local Government and Public Health. I have here an extract from the correspondence referred to by Deputy Murphy. On the 13th of the 12th month, 1937, the County Medical Officer of Health for Cork was asked for observations as to any special treatment required, for one of the patients referred to by Deputy Murphy, which could be given at Newcastle and not in the Cork sanatorium. On the 14th, he replied that he was unable to give any special reasons so [1575] far as treatment was concerned, and he added: “The patient still holds a marked objection to avail of treatment in Cork Sanatorium or any institution other than Newcastle.” The doctor refused to give the certificate that was necessary in order to enable the patient to be transferred to the other institution. If the medical officer of health had said: “Yes, this patient will benefit by the transfer”, that patient would have gone there, or at least the sanction would have been given.

Deputy Murphy and Deputy Kelly, as well as other Deputies, referred to-night, in the course of the debate, to the abolition of the old workhouse county home. I, personally, would love to see these institutions, as they are now and as we have known them in the past, go out of existence, and I hope that they will. There is only one successful step that has been taken so far towards getting the ordinary and old infirm patients out of the county home of that type and putting them into the kind of institution that I and the Department would like to see established all over the country. I refer to the case of Mallow—a case with which, I am sure, the Cork Deputies are more familiar than I am. That is a credit to the local authority for its erection.

Mr. O'Neill:  Has the Minister any hope of extending that system?

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  We have urged other local authorities to try to do the same.

Mr. O'Neill:  It depends altogether on the local authorities?

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  Well, not altogether, because there is the question of grants to help them. However, we got three or four county bodies interested, and we encourage them to go to Mallow to see what had been done there, and every delegation of such a body that went there was much impressed by the work, and some of them have made up their minds that they will try to emulate the good work that has been done in Cork. One county—the County Meath—has been active in making an effort to get the [1576] same Order that is running the Mallow institution established in Meath. Delays of one kind or another have occurred into which I need not go now, but so far as the Department is concerned, we are most anxious and keen to see that what has been done in Mallow will be done as soon as possible in other places all over the country, and we are actively encouraging, so far as we can, the attempt that is being made by the Meath Board of Health to do similar work.

Mr. O'Neill:  I think that, in the first instance, the Nazareth Home at Mallow got no grant.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  No.

Mr. O'Neill:  That ought to be emphasised.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  They are not able to repeat them. Deputy Murphy spoke about the delay in regard to hospitalisation in West Cork. Some progress has been made in West Cork. Minor improvements have been made in the existing hospitals in recent times, so far as I know. A new district hospital at Schull is contemplated, and tenders are under consideration at the moment for the erection of that hospital. Various improvements are suggested with regard to other hospitals. But there is one stand that the Department desires to take, and that is that the district hospitals should not be made centres for major operations. In the best of these hospitals the most staff you have would be two doctors, and none of the hospitals is properly equipped for major operations. It is not the policy of the Department to encourage such operations; rather is it the policy to discourage major operations being done in district hospitals. That applies to district hospitals in other places besides West Cork.

Deputy Murphy raised the question of the county home in West Cork. A good deal of money has been allocated to County Cork in general for hospitalisation, and until we have the hospitals scheme well under way, I do not think we can do very much with regard to county homes. It will probably [1577] take another six or seven years to get the hospitals scheme in operation: even with the Sweepstakes funds coming in at the present rate to provide the necessary money to complete the scheme of hospitals already approved or agreed upon, it will take that period, along with the millions we have. Although we have millions in hands at present, it will take at least six or seven more years at the same rate of income into the Hospitals Trust Fund in order to complete the schemes, some of which have been absolutely approved, and some tentatively agreed to. I do not think we can do a great lot with regard to the county homes until that scheme of hospitalisation has been disposed of. With regard to infirmaries, we have been allocating a good deal of money to improve infirmaries, and I hope we will be able to continue that policy.

Deputy Murphy asked about school medical inspection and some other Deputies asked if it has been a success. I do not know that I could give a straight yes or no answer to that question. I believe generally it has been a success. In some counties it is only a year or two in operation; in other counties it is a much longer time in operation. I would say that wonderful work has been done with regard to the optical and dental treatment of children, and also in discovering tuberculosis in its incipient stages in school-going children. Good work most certainly has been done by the school medical service which, after all, is only in its infancy, in its initial stages. When it is well organised and well under way, and when it is associated with the various other services that will normally be associated with it to complete the work that is usually done under a county medical scheme, I think the effects on the health of all the population, from the school-going children up, will certainly be marked.

While on that subject, Deputy Murphy and others referred to the question of immunisation. We are anxious that immunisation should be put in operation in every county. We have had difficulties with the organisation representing the medical profession on the matter of fees. The fees that were in operation two years ago were [1578] not considered satisfactory, and we met deputations from the medical officers' organisations and discussed with them their troubles, and we agreed to an increase in the fees, but evidently the increase we agreed to was not considered satisfactory by the organisation, and we are still in that position. Many of the medical officers, despite that fact, are carrying out immunisation work in different parts of the country. A number of county medical officers and their assistants are doing immunisation work. In some counties they have appointed whole-time officers and in some other counties they propose to appoint whole-time officers to carry out the work We regard the work as the best form of preventative in regard to the spread of diphtheria I think it is agreed by medical men in all countries that already immunisation against diphtheria has had a most beneficial effect. I understand that even in this country, though it is not so long in operation, it has been the means of saving hundreds of lives.

Deputy Cosgrave spoke on this subject and asked me about something that happened in Dungarvan a year or so ago. I do not think it would be wise to discuss the matter here, as I understand that the Dungarvan case is sub judice. Some of the people concerned have taken civil action and I do not think it would be proper for me to discuss the matter as the Department, through its inspectors, may be brought into the case in some way or another. It was not a scheme directly under the Department. It was a scheme of immunisation that was carried out by private individuals in a private school—by a private medical practitioner—and therefore the Department is not directly implicated, though it is naturally most interested. Also, we have this much to bear in mind, that the material for immunisation was obtained through the county medical officer of health. All that the Department could do to assist the parents in their time of trouble and bereavement has been done, and I think the parents themselves will admit that the Department has given every possible help and facility to them in their difficult circumstances.

[1579] If I might go back again on the question of tuberculosis for a moment, it was emphasised by some Deputies that I, in my introductory speech, pointed out that there had been a slight increase in the death rate from tuberculosis during the 1937 period. That was emphasised and stressed by a number of Deputies who spoke on the subject afterwards, and they rather suggested that we were not doing all that we could do to make our treatment of persons suffering from tuberculosis as up-to-date as possible. I think it cannot be denied that even here, although our methods may not be as advanced as they are in some countries—I am told that in America they have made much greater advances in this respect than we have; I do not know whether that is true of other countries or not, but America has been quoted to me—there has been an extraordinarily satisfactory decrease in the death rate for tuberculosis in the last 20 years or so. In 1914 the death rate per 1,000 of the population was 2.03; in 1924 it was 1.52; and in 1936 it was 1.17. There was a .5 increase in 1937, but the medical people tell me that that can be explained by the enormous increase in the death rate from the influenza epidemic which attacked a number of people, who were afflicted with tuberculosis, during that year, and it was responsible for the slight increase in that year. Also, the numbers reported as suffering from tuberculosis would seem to be going up, but I am informed that there is not an increase in the number of people suffering from tuberculosis, but that there is a greatly increased registration. People come and report, and it is gratifying that they report and seek treatment at a much earlier stage of their complaint than they used to in years gone by.

I think it was Deputy Murphy who referred to the question of the number of insured persons who were treated by the old insurance committees, and, I think he rather suggested, whose cases were not getting the same treatment or attention now since the old committees on tuberculosis were abolished. The figures go to show that [1580] a much greater number of insured persons are being treated for tuberculosis now than was the case when the insurance committees existed. There is a large increase in the number of persons treated, both insured and uninsured, but the figures certainly would not go to prove that there was any falling off in the number of insured persons seeking treatment and being treated for tuberculosis under the new arrangements that have come into vogue since the old committees were abolished.

Deputy Brennan referred also to the question of immunisation, and he went on to discuss the question of the Roscommon county hospital. So far as I recollect, he stated that an amount of money—I forget whether he cited the details or not—had been paid by the Department of Local Government for the site for the county hospital which was entirely out of proportion to the value of the site. Sites differ very much in value in different counties, and according to their location in a particular county. The site that was purchased for the Roscommon county hospital was selected as far back as 1933. I think Deputy Brennan was inclined to suggest that the site that was selected and purchased was selected and purchased by the county board of health because of its political complexion and the political complexion of the owner of the land. If my recollection is right, the site was selected and purchased by the board of health after a unanimous vote, but at a time when the board of health was, in the majority, if I am not mistaken, controlled by Deputy Brennan's Party.

Mr. Anthony:  Another reason for its abolition.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  It has not been abolished. When the price per acre and the site were sent up for approval the Department pointed out to the board that the price seemed to them high. The officials of the local authority came back and said that they were satisfied that it was the best site that could be obtained and that the committee was unanimous in adhering to the site, and also that the price was not excessive, though they [1581] did eventually get the owner to agree to a £5 per acre reduction in his price. At the time this site was selected and purchased there was no compulsory power to select and purchase sites for hospitals as there is now, so that if the board of health were satisfied that it was the best site and were prepared to pay for it, that was the only arrangement that could be made. Nowadays there is power in law to go anywhere in a county, fix on a site and take it compulsorily, but that law was not in existence in 1933 when that site was selected.

Deputy O'Higgins raised the question of the district hospital in Birr and the delay in respect of it. It is not our practice, even where it has been agreed to build a number of hospitals in a county, to go ahead and build all these hospitals simultaneously in the one county. Every county is clamouring for new hospitals of one kind and another—county hospitals, district hospitals, fever hospitals, sanatoria and so on—and we try to keep something going so far as our resources allow us in as many counties as possible. There is at present being built a county hospital in Tullamore, and that hospital will have to be completed and equipped before consideration can be given to any further developments in the county.

Deputy Brennan, in talking of housing, complained about the tiles and the absence of standards in tiles. There has been a standard specification adopted by the Department. Our own engineers, in consultation with the best engineering advice in the country, the engineers attached to our Universities, have adopted standard specifications. Before any tile-maker's tiles are approved, samples of his tiles are taken and submitted to tests in the State laboratories. If the tiles do not pass the test the manufacturer is told that his tiles are not approved of. From time to time samples of tiles are taken when a housing scheme is being started. Wherever these tiles come from they are subjected to tests, and if they do not pass they are rejected. Every effort is made, so far as we can do it, to see that the tiles are all up to standard and are such as will pass the specification.

[1582] Deputy Brennan also referred to delays in sanctioning schemes; so did Deputy Nally and Deputy Brodrick. In County Roscommon 243 cottages have been built and 56 are in process of erection. Two compulsory purchase orders have been made for 132 cottages and 100 cottages were confirmed on the 10th June and the 1st October. The carrying out of these schemes is now a matter for the local board of health. In Galway there have been complaints, too. Of the last scheme of 500 cottages, 343 have been completed and 121 are in process of being built. There are no further schemes there awaiting sanction. The delay in Ballyhaunis, referred to by Deputy Nally, is one that has passed our wits, so far, to find a way out. In September, 1935, the compulsory order was confirmed for the erection of 32 houses in Ballyhaunis. This is probably ancient history to the Deputy. The owner of the lands started proceedings in the High Court, and in 1936 the court adjourned the hearing to enable an agreement to be reached. However, efforts to reach an agreement have been made without result. At the last meeting the board decided to approach the High Court again, and unless Mr. Waldron will agree to pay all the expenses, I do not know what will happen. They can take the lands compulsorily. They have that power, but they do not wish to exercise it. Deputy Roddy raised the question of delays in Sligo. A census of housing taken in 1929 showed a need for 500 houses in Sligo. Since then 423 have been built and 40 houses are in course of completion. The Sligo Corporation put forward a further scheme, and tenders were received last month for the building of these; these tenders are at present being examined. There is a second scheme for 132 houses of a superior type, and that project is under consideration.

Deputy Hogan raised the question of the allotment of cottages in County Clare. It is the rule of the Department that the county medical officer must certify that the persons to whom the cottages are being given fulfil the requirements of the law in every respect. In some cases in County Clare we have not succeeded in getting [1583] that certificate. The only remedy we have is to refuse to pay the subsidy. That remedy we certainly intend to insist on. It is the practice of the Department, so far as we can, to insist that the regulations of the Department as to the type of persons who should get these houses—people whose need is greatest and so on—should be carried out. Sometimes it is difficult to get the local authorities to obey this to the extent of 100 per cent.

Deputy Brodrick and some other Deputies talked of increases in the rates. It is true, generally speaking, that the rates have increased in every county. In numbers of counties, perhaps in the majority of counties, in recent years, that is quite natural. Even if we did not have the big development of social services of one kind or another that we have had in recent years the rates would have increased. People will demand improved services, and where they get these services they have to be paid for. There has been a record number of houses built. Labourers' cottages and other houses have been built in most counties. A record has also been created in the number of waterworks and sewerage disposal schemes that have been put into operation in most counties. In a great many counties new hospitals, of one kind or another, have been erected or they are in course of erection. There have been improved and increased county medical services. All these things have to be paid for, and they cost a lot of money. People demand them; they are not satisfied if they do not get them, but it is another tune altogether when they have to be paid for.

Some Deputies asked the question: “Are we getting value for the money?” Well, different people, according to their circumstances, will have different points of view on that. I do not think one can estimate exactly in pounds, shillings and pence the enormous value to the public health that the improved waterworks, sewerage disposals works, and public health schemes in general have meant in every part of the country, in rural areas as well as in urban centres. One could not measure that in money.

[1584] A number of Deputies referred to the delay in the matter of blind pensions. I am sorry to have to admit that there has been considerable delay with regard to the examination of persons for blind pensions. We have had great difficulty in getting on our staff qualified persons to do this inspection work. There has been a dearth of applicants for the posts. On one occasion we had to have three separate and distinct sets of advertisements, and there were delays associated with the selection board and all that. There was a period when there was a delay of almost a year. Early last year we put on every available member of our medical staff. We sent them all over the country to clear up all the arrears. They did clear them up, but now again some arrears accumulate. We are taking our staff off urgent and necessary work to clear up these arrears again. We now have got a staff of persons specially appointed for that work. I hope the delays that, unfortunately, occurred in the past will not recur.

Mr. McMenamin:  Are these men permanently appointed?

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  Yes. Deputy Norton referred to the Carlow hospital scheme and spoke of the delays in the carrying out of the scheme by the local authority. I think one could hardly make a stronger plea for the abolition of a local authority than Deputy Norton made. In the case of Carlow, the local authority cannot agree amongst themselves as to what scheme of hospitalisation they want. On the one side we have all over the country in other counties cases where the local authorities are in agreement and where they are anxious to push on with the scheme. Then we have a case like Carlow, where the local authority are divided amongst themselves and cannot agree. In these circumstances, well, we turn to the places where there is agreement, and we give these places the preference.

Some Deputies referred to bad workmanship in new houses. That has been brought to my notice in a few places, not many, not as many as one might imagine, considering the enormous extent of work carried on in all parts [1585] of the country. So far as we can, through our own inspectors and through the local authorities' officials, clerks of works and engineers, we try to see that improper work does not slip by, but there will be cases, as I say. We are all human, and even though you might have as efficient a staff of engineers, inspectors and clerks of works as could be got in any county, still some cases will slip by sometimes. Some Deputies on the last occasion on which we debated this question, speaking on the Housing Bill and again here to-night, spoke of bad chimneys in cottages. I happen to know of the case of a man who had a house built for himself for which he paid £3,500 a couple of years ago, when the turf scheme started and, being an enthusiastic supporter of this Government and its turf development scheme, he decided that he should have nothing to supply warmth in future in his drawing-room but turf fires. He has, however, never been able to get the smoke to go up the £3,500 chimney, from that day to this. He paid £3,500 for that house.

Mr. McMenamin:  Not for the chimney?

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  A chimney is an essential part of a house.

Mr. O'Neill:  He will have to cease supporting the Government.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  If that should happen with a very distinguished doctor, one of the best known in the country——

Mr. O'Neill:  He will have to change his politics.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  He is one of your own best friends. If that can happen in the case of a £3,500 chimney, what can happen with regard to a £350 or £300 labourer's cottage from time to time? There are a number of other matters that I should perhaps refer to.

Mr. Brasier:  What about the roads?

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  The road question has certainly given us a good deal of food for thought. We have had Deputies from different counties and a deputation from the General Council of [1586] County Councils referring to the matter. We have gone into the question in great detail with the General Council of County Councils. I do not think we satisfied every member. I do not think the member who was there from Cork County Council was satisfied with the explanation we gave the last time we met the deputation of the General Council of County Councils on the subject of roads but I am satisfied, so far as I can see, within the limited extent of the Road Fund, that there cannot be any better disposition of that fund. Some of Deputy Brasier's friends have been urging on us the adoption of the system in operation in the Six Counties. Our system of the division of the funds is more just and equitable, as at present operating, than the system in operation in the Six Counties.

Mr. Brasier:  Is it more just to give 60 per cent. on the main roads and 30 per cent. on the by-roads than to give only 40 per cent. for the main roads?

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  Going backward and forward, I think I satisfied members of the General Council of County Councils on that question.

Mr. Brasier:  I ask you that question, and I should like an answer.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  I am satisfied that we are more just and equitable in the division of the funds, and I do not see how we are going to get any more out of the Road Fund unless it develops and increases. There has been, even since I became Minister, a very considerable increase in the amount of money available for the roads through road taxation.

Mr. Brasier:  But the burden falls on those who do not use the roads, not on those who are using them.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  That is not so. There is nobody in the country who is not using the roads.

Mr. Brasier:  But the greater burden is falling on the farmer ratepayers.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  How many farmers in County Cork own motor cars? A good percentage.

[1587]Mr. Brasier:  The greater portion of the burden falls on ratepayers on agricultural land.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  County Cork has not being doing its duty towards the roads out of its rates.

Mr. Brasier:  Simply because of the greater traffic on the by-roads.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  It has not been doing its duty. It has reduced the amount several times that ought to have been spent on the roads in recent years.

Mr. Brasier:  It is manifestly unfair——

An Ceann Comhairle:  The Deputy has had an opportunity of making his case, and he ought to be satisfied.

Mr. Brasier:  The Minister is making a bad case.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  I said to the General Council of County Councils that when the county surveyors hold their annual meeting in Dublin, I would take up this subject with them. They are the men who know the problem best, at any rate from one point of view. I shall take the matter up with the county surveyors, discuss the matter with them, and we might see if there are any suggestions they will have to offer that would lead to any amelioration of this question.

Mr. Nally:  Will the Minister please say something about the failure to enforce the vaccination laws ?

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  That is an old story.

Mr. Corish:  Leave it an old story.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  That has been a problem since the State was established. It is a problem for which the Minister and everybody in authority found it very difficult to find a remedy.

Mr. Brasier:  Could the Minister not increase the grant for roads?

Mr. T. Kelly:  The better the roads, the more people there are killed on them.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  Deputy Cosgrave asked whether there was any central [1588] hospital for bone tuberculosis. There is not any one hospital that specialises entirely in that subject, but most of the general hospitals do treat these patients. There are, I think, five hospitals for children scattered over different parts of the country for surgical tuberculosis. There is a suggestion which is being considered at present—that a hospital of 100 beds for adult surgical tuberculosis cases should be set up in connection with the Lourdes Tuberculosis Hospital at Dun Laoghaire.

I think, Sir, I have covered most of the points that were raised. As I stated earlier, I hope to assure Deputies that other points with which I have not dealt will be, at any rate, considered. So far as we can improve on methods, having our attention called to the improvements necessary as a result of the debate, we shall try to do so. Deputy McGovern seems to be displeased that I did not refer to the case he made when the Estimates were under discussion last year about slippery roads. I read recently memoranda put up to me by our chief engineering adviser on that subject. He pointed out that this is a question that is bothering the best road experts in every part of the world. They are using the best knowledge and experience to try to find a remedy for slippery roads. Various remedies have been suggested, and have been tried here by our own county surveyors in co-operation with the engineers in our Department, but no sure method of stopping macadamised roads becoming slippery after a certain time has yet been devised. Temporary methods have been tried, in some cases successfully. Some methods were more successful than others, but the experiments will go on, and trials and tests of one kind or another will be made. All I can say is that the matter has not been lost sight of, and as soon as our experts discover a method to stop roads becoming slippery, or of curing them, or as soon as we get advice on the subject from the experience gained in other parts of the world where the matter has been examined, we will put it into operation.

[1589]Mr. Lawlor:  Will the Minister indicate what are the views of the Department with regard to the disinfection of tenements, and of having marine stores in the centre of large towns?

Mr. McGovern:  Is it not well known that limestone chippings are the cause of the slippery roads?

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  The engineers do not all agree upon that. Even the engineers here do not agree on it. There was one subject raised by Deputy Dillon about which I should like to say a few words. He discovered what I regard as a mare's nest, and in connection with that he went so far as to attribute all sorts of improper motives to me as Minister, and to the Department, including the officials. He suggested that not alone was I guilty of corruption, and that Dr. Ward was guilty of corruption, but that the Departmental officials must have aided and abetted. I think that to be a most unworthy suggestion, especially coming from a man on the Front Opposition Bench. I do not think it is unworthy of Deputy Dillon, because he never loses an opportunity of ascribing the worst possible motive to every Minister, and to everyone on this side of the House. I did not think it worth bothering about. I would not bother referring to it at all only for the fact that the Deputy occupies what is regarded, I am sure, by his colleagues as a high and honoured position, Vice-President of their Party. He suggested that Dr. Ward and I were guilty of corrupt practice in giving to a vocational education teacher, who was retiring on marriage, in the County Monaghan a marriage gratuity to which the county council objected, and to which they said she was not entitled. First of all, the law lays down what a person in the position is entitled to by way of a gratuity. The lady concerned did not get one farthing more than she was entitled to. She got what the vocational committee recommended she should get and, as a matter of courtesy, we sent a note to the county council, because they have to pay a share of the money. In the note we told the county council what the vocational education body had decided. The county council in this particular [1590] case disagreed. They had no authority and no power to disagree or to disapprove. They were told as a matter of courtesy, and they had no power to interfere. They said that this person should not get this amount, but the Minister is bound by law, and has no power to interfere unless the vocational education body recommends a gratuity more than the officer is entitled to by law. In this case the person was recommended and got exactly what she was entitled to get. The Minister sent out a sealed order as is the usual practice in cases regarding pensions and gratuities. In most cases it is the common practice to send out a sealed order, as every pension has to be agreed to by the Minister. He must give his approval by sealed order. That is not always done in the case of gratuities but it is mostly done. It was done in this case by sealed order. I do not know that I need assure the House that, personally, I never heard of the case until the matter was raised in the Dáil by way of question. When I asked Dr. Ward he said he did not know about it. This was done in a formal way. The law provides that it need not go to the Minister except for formal approval. The suggestion that Dr. Ward, a most conscientious and high-minded man, would be guilty of anything of the kind suggested by Deputy Dillon is most unworthy. I do not think even Deputy Gorey, who does not occupy such a very high place in the Party as Deputy Dillon, would make a suggestion of the kind.

Mr. Corish:  Can the Minister say if anything can be done concerning a matter I raised, that of having a readjustment of grants given to mental hospitals?

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  I am afraid not. When I was chairman of the Finance Committee of Dublin Corporation, 25 years ago, I was a specialist on the question of trying to get provisional grants from the British Government.

Mr. Corish:  You know the position so.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  There is as much hope of getting them now as there was then.

[1591]Mr. Anthony:  Would the Minister consider sympathetically the proposal to alter the conditions governing the grant of blind pensions to persons who receive pensions under welfare schemes, which, in effect, mean reducing the State contribution by the amount that the blind person is in receipt of?

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  Some aspects of that matter are under consideration at present.

Mr. Lawlor:  Will the Minister deal with the question I raised?

Mr. Coburn:  What about the 15 per cent. on the housing scheme I referred to?

Mr. Gorey:  Did the Minister consider the question of dealing with the waste land in the country?

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  I have considered that.

Mr. Brodrick:  Has the Minister considered the claim of engineers who are assistant surveyors and full-time officers to be allowed to do public health work in their districts? I understand such a scheme has been proposed and considered by the Minister for some time.

Mr. Coburn:  What about the 15 per cent. on the housing scheme?

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  I have considered it, and the Deputy has got my answer.

Mr. Coburn:  It is hardly a fair one. Question—“That the Vote be referred back for reconsideration ”— put and declared lost.

Main question agreed to.

Debate resumed on the following motion:—

That the Dáil is of opinion that the Government should immediately establish machinery whereby conditions of employment in the Civil Service and other matters which may from time to time be in dispute between the Government and the [1592] Civil Service would be settled by agreement between representatives of the Government and of the Civil Service associations, and, in default of such agreement, would be submitted for decision to an independent arbitration board, the awards of which, subject to the overriding authority of the Oireachtas, the Government would undertake to implement.—(Deputies Costello and P.S. Doyle).

Mr. A. Byrne:  As one who was interested in this matter in days gone by in another House, and helped in some small way to get what came to be known as the Whitley Commission appointed to deal with the grievances of civil servants as they existed at that time in both countries, I have not yet heard from the Minister any satisfactory reply, or any reasonable objection, as to why he will not appoint a somewhat similar commission. It may not be known to a number of people how that commission got its name. A discussion on the grievances of civil servants had been going on for some little time in the House of Commons. The deputy chairman of the House was Mr. Whitley. The House very reasonably took into consideration all the points made by members for the appointment of something like an arbitration board, a board not with full powers but with sufficient to investigate and make recommendations. Mr. Whitley, who chanced to be in the Chair at the time, was asked by the House to accept responsibility for the formation of a commission to consider the reasonable claims of the civil servants of that time. The British Ministry at the time very wisely accepted the recommendation of that commission which it set up to make recommendations to the Treasury. Since that date the Whitley Council, as it is now known, has given great satisfaction. Sometimes it has received the praise not alone of the Civil Service staffs, but of the general public and the Government itself. So far as I know, it has given satisfaction to both sides.

I think the Minister would be meeting the wishes of members on all sides of the House if he would now say [1593] that he is prepared to appoint a committee to make recommendations. I make the appeal to him that I made in the British House of Commons 20 years ago, namely, to give our officials here the same opportunities of putting their grievances before a board of fair-minded people, people who do not in any way think that they are whittling down the powers of the Ministry or of the various Departments. With previous speakers, I press forward the appeal that has been made to the Minister to accept the proposal in the motion.

Mr. P. Smith:  The Deputy can go to the dance now.

Mr. Coburn:  And he can pay for it.

Mr. M. O'Reilly:  This is an extremely important question. The civil servants are, of course, a special body of people who are extremely efficient along the traditional lines on which they work. It is not easy to make a comparison about that efficiency. Business efficiency may be different, but as far as we know they are placed in a rather exceptional position. Directly they appear to be controlled by the people of this country and the elected Government. The Minister for Finance in that Government is the person responsible for their welfare, and to my mind he is not likely to do any serious injury to the Civil Service, because the country as a whole would not tolerate that. The civil servants are urging this matter. We can see that from the circulars which we received this morning from an organised body of civil servants. I am sure that every other member received one as I did. One has to ask what all this means.

It is my candid opinion that civil servants, if they did succeed in getting an arbitration board set up, might not improve their interests. That board might take into consideration general conditions, and might possibly come to the conclusion that there was a degree of, perhaps, overpayment. That would be a rather serious risk, because I take it that, if this board was set up, civil servants would be prepared to accept whatever the board considered to be just, proper and right, not with a view [1594] to protecting civil servants, which is the Minister's duty, but with a view to protecting generally the people who have to foot the bill. Now, I take it that the ordinary Minister for Finance would hardly be likely to consider any change or any increase of remuneration under normal conditions. I am quite positive that conditions in the Civil Service are so attractive that, when examinations are held, there is great difficulty in deciding who is first, second, third, fourth or fifth or who is in the 100th place. The reason for all that is that life in the Civil Service is a protected life and highly attractive. Life in other occupations is open to all the vicissitudes and chances that life holds. The civil servant is, so far as I can see, reasonably well protected. Personally, if I believed that there was any serious grievance in the Civil Service I would be one of the first to do what I could to alleviate it, and I am quite satisfied that that would be the attitude of every other member of the House; but I have come to the conclusion that this pressure is a little unreal, and that the people faced with the responsibility of government, or Parties here, might not adventure on such an expedition. If a board were set up whose rules did not compel the Minister to accept their recommendations but which could be used to ventilate grievances—I do not know if there is such a board in existence—it might possess some satisfactory features, but I do not think that it is advisable to take the control of civil servants out of the hands of the people. I do not believe that that would be a good step, and I do not think that civil servants should have anything to do with the political issues of the time. We see what is taking place all over the world. We see democracies replaced by dictatorships—by Communism or other “isms” which are equally dictatorial and of the vilest possible character. To impose something upon a community that a community is not prepared to stand often leads to those excesses. It cannot happen in a country like this, nor will it happen, in my opinion, in any country where our people constitute a [1595] substantial proportion of the population.

The presence of Irishmen in any country abroad is a guarantee against any such thing as an upheaval or any running away from the principles of democracy. They are the only countries which are really safe. In a country like this, I think that civil servants have no great reason for pushing forward such a question as this. I believe they are extremely well protected by the Minister. If they are not, the people of this country are always prepared to see that a Minister is put there who will do them justice. As a body, they will be far wiser and possibly better off in the future if they rely on that system.

We talk a lot about the exodus from the country. I read many statements in newspapers, many lectures and many speeches on that calamity. A civil servant here is protected against any sudden rise in the cost of living, and, so far as I know, that protection, known as the cost-of-living bonus, operates flatly up to a certain figure, whether a man is married, has dependents, or is single. Up to a certain figure, he gets all these advantages and is assured against the extra cost. He is living in a city. His expenses are far less than the expenses of the farmer down the country. His cost of living is lower. That statement must be examined at some future time or as soon as possible, because the farmers and their workers are living under changed conditions. There are inventions, there is bus travel and motor travel, and, with all that sort of thing, their cost of living is increased out of all proportion to the cost of living here.

A civil servant with a family here has a splendid secondary school almost next door. His children can go there on a penny tram and return in the evening. All other types of schools are at hand. As every country Deputy knows, children in the country have to trudge long distances to school. Owing to the small population, country schools are widely separated. When these children do succeed in reaching a certain standard of education and look for a position in the city, they are merely [1596] apprentices and get the lowest possible pay. Consequently, they cannot live in the city without help from their people at home, whereas civil servants here are in a position to get their children placed, no matter how low the position may be, because these children are living with them. We are, therefore, rapidly creating here a big attraction to people to leave the country districts. The civil servants' examinations indicate that. These examinations do not indicate that the Service is in any way unsatisfactory. It would be very unwise to take the Civil Service out of the control of the Minister, who is responsible to the people, and to put it into the control of an arbitration board which might be composed of any type of nominee. It is not at all likely that the board would find there were grievances. They might possibly find the opposite. That is the reason I say that, if set up, this board should only be empowered to point out any grievances that might exist and the deciding factors should still be the people's representative It might happen that this board would do injury to the civil servants. One cannot foresee that, under present conditions or any other likely conditions, they would introduce any vast improvement.

We have a considerable social service. It is one that everybody here is agreeable to maintain. It is a good thing to have. Some people say it indicates poverty. That could be argued, but it, certainly, indicates that we are a cultured people and make an effort to relieve the hardships of our less fortunate brethren. There is no doubt that in the country districts, that is a heavy burden. It is extremely hard on the people, under present conditions, to meet the cost of this service but they are meeting it. If we are going to create here, on the edge of this island, in the City of Dublin, a place that will attract the whole rural community, I wonder what the result will be. The result will be continued impoverishment and, possibly, want of talent on the land, want of education, and want of amusement. The result would be that we would all have to live in cities and communities, and nobody would be left in the rural areas.

[1597] I think that this proposal should be very seriously considered. We should compare the lot of the civil servant with that of the man who administers £6,000, £8,000 or £10,000 as a farmer down the country. We should compare his uncertainty and the slavery he has to endure with the position of the civil servant here. We should compare the position of that farmer's wife and children with the position of the wives and children of civil servants in the city. It is lamentable that the salaries of one type of civil servant should be so low. I refer to beginners in the Civil Service. But they are extremely numerous and I admit, candidly, that it would be extremely costly to try and improve their conditions. Some little improvement might, however, be made.

The next thing that such an arbitration board might find—and I am sure it would come within its orbit—is that we had too many here. I think Deputy Gorey and a good many other Deputies on the other side, as well as some Deputies on this side, in fact nearly all of them, may more or less be under the impression, and with a good deal of reason, that perhaps there are too many. I notice that the higher-paid civil servants, the head men, are extremely hard worked. The Minister for Finance will correct me if that is not true, but I believe that the heads of these departments, superior civil servants, are extremely hard worked, while other sections of the Civil Service do not seem to have a terrible lot to do. It is one's duty to notice these things. I believe that they are not nearly as hard worked as they would be, say, in the Bank of Ireland, or in Arnott's, or in any of these big concerns outside. I think that their life is much easier, that there is less worry and irritation, and less responsibility. Consequently, an examination and that sort of thing, which would undoubtedly fall to the lot of this arbitration board, might leave the position a good deal worse than it is. Personally, I am not in favour of any interference with the powers which the Minister for Finance enjoys to-day, and if I am to any extent, it is to this extent, that the arbitration board will be extremely well-controlled and that [1598] its findings will not be binding on the Minister for Finance.

Mr. Lavery:  This subject of an arbitration board being set up in the Civil Service has been debated in this House on a number of occasions and we have rarely heard the Government view, if the Government has a view on the question, put very clearly. I do not know whether Deputy Corry and Deputy O'Reilly, who have spoken from the Government Benches, are to be taken as expressing the Government view on the matter. If they are, the view, apparently, is that the Civil Service is too well-off. Deputy Corry suggested that it is overpaid. Deputy O'Reilly has just suggested that it enjoys advantages which are not shared by the rest of the community. All that may or may not be so, but even if it is the Government view, it is scarcely the matter now under discussion. So far as the subject-matter of this motion has really been touched upon by speakers from the Government Benches, Deputy O'Reilly's view is that the Civil Service ought to trust the Minister. I think I am not misrepresenting what he said. He said that they may be worse off if they secure the right to endeavour to attain agreement as to their conditions of service, and, failing agreement, to have their rights determined by an arbitration board. That is scarcely the point either.

Surely it is to the advantage of this country that we should have a contented Civil Service, an advantage to this or any country that persons who have to carry on the work of government on the official side should be contented and satisfied. Whether they are right or wrong in considering they have grievances—there are very few bodies of people who have not grievances—surely it would be to the advantage of the country that they should have the opportunity somewhere of airing these grievances in a proper way and having them adjudicated upon. Workers in other spheres of life have, in default of other methods of settling their grievances, to resort to what may be called direct action—the strike, and weapons of [1599] that kind. It is certainly not at present to be contemplated that the civil servants in this country will contemplate such steps to remedy their grievances. But such a state of affairs might come to pass, or, even if it did not come to pass, a situation might easily arise in which suppressed grievances, not vented in that way, might cause grave damage to the fabric of the service.

I think it is only reasonable that this House should express the view that it would be advisable that there should be done here what is done in other countries, and that this large body of important people, performing most important work in the State, should have, if not a voice in the political affairs of the country, at least some opportunity of having their grievances ventilated, adjudicated upon and determined in a proper way. It is no remedy to say that they can trust the Minister. I suppose the Civil Service has many advantages, but undoubtedly there are individual and class grievances. Undoubtedly, individual civil servants and classes of civil servants have been harshly and hardly treated, and they have had no opportunity of having those grievances aired, ventilated and adjudicated upon.

Apart from all that, it is a new point of view for the Government, if it is the Government point of view— we have not heard the Minister for Finance, although this debate has gone on for a considerable time—that there should not be that arbitration, negotiation, agreement if possible, and, failing agreement, a proper arbitration tribunal to determine rights. The situation undoubtedly is that in the year 1932, at a time when the Fianna Fáil Party were seeking the suffrages of the country, in the most unequivocal terms the President of the Executive Council, as he was assumed to be, made a solemn and deliberate promise to the country in general and to the Civil Service in particular that, if returned to power he would provide arbitration machinery. That is undoubted: it has never been denied and cannot be denied.

Apart from that announcement made [1600] by the President about-to-be, it is common knowledge that the Fianna Fáil programme or plan, as set out in placards and notices through the country in the year 1932, stated that one of the projects which they would put into operation, if returned to power, as they subsequently were, would be to establish a system of arbitration for the Civil Service. So far as I know, the position taken up until the present moment has been that the Civil Service has been offered arbitration, not that arbitration is something which they ought not to claim, but that, subject to certain alleged constitutional difficulties, arbitration has been offered to them. I do not know whether the Minister for Finance, when he comes to take part in this debate—if he does take part in it—will change that view and express a different view or whether he will adhere to it. The scheme of arbitration which was presented or proposed by the Minister, and was very promptly rejected by the Civil Service staff organisations, has been often explained in this House and exposed for the pure sham which it is.

The House will remember that there were limitations of every kind hedging in the proposed scheme of arbitration. Sufficient is it to say that the Minister for Finance had prior veto on the subject matters which might be referred to arbitration, and he had subsequent veto on the awards of the so-called arbitration tribunal, enabling him either to put them in force or to withhold their application at his own discretion. However ridiculous the scheme proposed by the Minister may have been, it was scarcely as ridiculous as the suggestions made by the Brennan Commission for its scheme of arbitration, on which I think the Minister's scheme was based. It would be humorous to consider the terms on which that recommendation was based if the subject-matter were not so serious for a large and important class of the community. I should like, however, to refer the House to a paragraph of the report of the Brennan Commission on this subject, to show what passed for arbitration in the minds of the Commission and afterwards passed for arbitration in the mind of the [1601] Minister and in the scheme formulated by him. The interim report, paragraph 53, dealing with this question of arbitration, having agreed that some scheme might be put into force, said:

“It would in some respects be convenient that at the inception of the scheme the Minister for Finance, in order to make it intelligible to the Civil Service, should indicate without prejudice the sort of disputes which he might be prepared to allow to go to arbitration, but we contemplate that this indication should be expressed very generally, that it would be chiefly concerned with mentioning exclusions, and that in any case it would purport to be given for the sake of illustration, and could not afterwards be quoted as to imply any obligation on the Minister to agree to refer any specific dispute to arbitration. It might, we think, convey that the Minister would be prepared to consider favourably the reference to arbitration of any dispute respecting the pay or other conditions of service of any class of civil servants, subject to the proviso that any financial or other important considerations of policy involved do not appear to him to render the dispute unsuitable for treatment by arbitration. It might also convey that the Minister would not on any occasion recognise any obligation to assign reasons for declining to refer the dispute to arbitration. It should be unnecessary”—the report continues —“with such a procedure to attempt to frame any exhaustive catalogue of matters not intended to be referred.”

I think the House will agree that any scheme called an arbitration scheme based on recommendations of that kind is nothing short of an absurdity. It is hardly complimentary to the intelligence of the civil servants that the report should open with the words that “in order to make it intelligible to the Civil Service” the Minister should indicate that any reference of disputes is without prejudice; that the classes of dispute which might be referred are to be indicated by exclusion, and that no obligation is to be implied, even when illustrations are given, that the particular class of dispute will afterwards be referable [1602] to arbitration, and that there will be no obligation on the Minister so to refer it. Now, of course that is not the idea that any arbitration scheme ought to have. Quite clearly it is the essence of arbitration that the two parties to the matters in difference should have an independent mind brought to bear on that difference, and that the decision ought to be binding upon the parties, subject, of course—as is provided in the terms of the motion before the House—to the overriding authority of Parliament.

I do not know whether the Minister still adheres to the suggestion that there is some constitutional difficulty in the way of setting up an arbitration tribunal which shall have power to bind, on the one hand, the Minister, and, on the other hand, the civil servants, or the class of civil servants concerned in the dispute, subject naturally to the control of this House. On the last occasion when that matter was debated here, that was one of the main points made. That point was first made in the report of the Brennan Commission to which I have referred, and it has been relied on over and over again here in this House. As Deputy Costello pointed out here in moving this motion, if there was any constitutional difficulty under the old Constitution, which he denied, a full opportunity was offered of removing that difficulty when the new Constitution was being framed. But Deputy Costello expressed the view, and I think it is the view entertained by every lawyer who has given any attention to the subject, that there is no such constitutional difficulty, and that a scheme of arbitration can easily be devised which will protect the authority of Parliament in dealing with any financial consideration or other matter affecting civil servants which might be determined by the arbitration board. Therefore, the view which I should like to submit to this House is that the civil servants have a right to have their grievances, if they have them, ventilated and determined by an independent board. I say it is only right that a body of persons who, whatever security they may have and whatever advantages [1603] they may have, are precluded from expressing their views in so many ways open to others, should be given this particular method of ventilating and having determined any grievances or difficulties which they may have. I think it is only right to say that the persons who have chosen that particular career are persons of a type to use fairly any opportunities of that kind given to them. Whether they do so or not, if a proper arbitration board or tribunal is established, I have no doubt the Service as a whole and the particular individuals who may be involved in any dispute would loyally accept the decisions of that tribunal.

It is within the knowledge of this House that a certain class of civil servants have already the protection of a legal tribunal. A very large body of the civil servants who are transferred officers, that is, officers who served before the Treaty, officers who served before the institution of the Irish Free State, are protected by the operations of the tribunal set up under the Civil Service (Transferred Officers) Act, 1929. The Government have there, in the operations of that body, a clear precedent for setting up a similar body to determine the grievances and adjust the rights of the civil servants as a whole. I am not suggesting, of course, that equal force ought to be given to the decisions of an arbitration board as are given to the decisions of that particular tribunal. That tribunal was, of course, set up, under the international agreement which the Treaty contained, for the protection of civil servants who were being transferred from one Government to another, but I do say that in the operations of that tribunal the Government have a headline. With proper limitations, it could be adjusted so as to form a very suitable arbitration tribunal. I think in the eight or nine years' experience which the country has had of the operations of that tribunal, it has gained the respect of the civil servants with whose rights it deals, as well as the respect of the Government and of the people. Representatives of the Ministry of Finance on the one hand, and representatives [1604] of the transferred officers on the other hand, with an independent chairman, have been able to give fair and just decisions upon the rights of an important body of civil servants. Although I have had some experience of that tribunal, I have never heard any person challenge the justice or efficacy of its work or decisions. If that can be done for officers transferred from the British Civil Service, there is no reason why it cannot be done for the general body of civil servants, again, of course, subject to such proper limitations as the circumstances require. I should like to add my voice to the voices of those who have spoken in this debate in asking the Minister to consider setting up a real scheme for negotiation and arbitration.

My reason is that it has to be remembered that what the motion suggests is not merely an arbitration tribunal to determine rights—that only comes secondarily—but the primary object of the motion we are discussing is that machinery should be provided for enabling the civil servants, by negotiation, to arrive at agreement with representatives of the Government on matters connected with their service and on the remedy of grievances. I should think that most disputes would be capable of being solved by arbitration and negotiation. At the moment they have neither a tribunal nor anything else. The attempt has been made here to set up a representative council. I do not know that that is the precise description of the body, but it was equally as futile as was the scheme of arbitration. It was simply a place where the staff organisation could meet representatives of the Ministry and discuss matters, but it would be futile to call such a system a system of negotiation. It had no power to make decisions or recommendations. It only had power to discuss. For that reason I should like to add my voice to what has been said as to the desirability, in the interests of the civil servants, in the interests of the Government, and in the interests of the country as a whole, to set up such a scheme as will make the civil servants a body of contented servants [1605] of the State, satisfied with their conditions and provided with proper opportunities of ventilating their grievances and seeking to have them remedied.

Mr. W. O'Brien:  I listened with great interest to the contribution to this debate that was made by Deputy O'Reilly, and I think his remarks gave food for thought as illustrating the difference of viewpoints between a Party in office and one out of office. Deputy O'Reilly's objection to granting arbitration to civil servants is the fear that it might reduce the remuneration of the lower grades of the Civil Service. He expressed the opinion, at the same time, that the higher grades were not overpaid, that they were very able, hard-working men, and that the great danger was that the lower grades might lose something they have at present. That, surely, is a new point of view, and my mind travels back to a large poster which I saw displayed on behalf of Deputy O'Reilly and his colleagues at a certain election. On that poster was displayed a list of the salaries of these very able and efficient higher civil servants, and that exposure of the salaries of these overpaid officials at the time was accompanied by a statement that no official of the State should be paid more than £1,000 a year. The view has changed on that policy, evidently.

Now Deputy O'Reilly and, possibly, his whole Party have discovered that, although they said at that time that they were not opposed to the lower grades being improved in their remuneration, it has become necessary to reverse that policy also. At that time, the higher paid civil servant, according to them, was being paid too much and the lower grade civil servant being paid too little. Now, apparently, it is the other way about—the higher grade civil servant is not being paid too much and, if there were arbitration, there was no danger that they might lose something. I do not know if the Minister is impressed by that. Perhaps he would be tempted to grant arbitration if he were convinced that that were so, but Deputy O'Reilly's remedy is to trust the Minister. Well, I am sure that the Minister is a very important man, but his leader [1606] is more important, and the civil servants trusted the Minister's leader when he made this statement in 1932, and we know what the result has been. The change of mind on the part of the Minister's leader reminds me of the remark made by the late Mr. Gladstone on a famous occasion when he was asked about a pledge or a promise he had given when in opposition, and when he took office he was reminded of this pledge and he was invited, just as we are asking Mr. de Valera, to redeem that pledge. Mr. Gladstone's reply was —and Mr. de Valera, or the Taoiseach, might adopt it as his own—that when he gave that undertaking he occupied a position of greater freedom and less responsibility.

Mr. McGowan:  I have not very much to say on this matter. However, about two days ago I was walking into Leinster House, along with somebody else, and we saw three gentlemen coming along the street. Two of them were robust gentlemen, evidently healthy and full of the joy of life. The other gentleman had a woe-begone, worn-out appearance and was a very peculiar-looking species of individual. I asked the person with me: “Who is that?” He replied: “That is So-and-So, the civil servant.” Well, I began to think and to ask myself what is the reason. So, having heard some of Deputy Costello's speech here, and also Deputy Heron's, I began to think that there were views with which I should have been familiar and with which, unfortunately, I was not.

Mr. MacEntee:  Surely, the speeches were not as impressive as all that?

Mr. McGowan:  They were. In fact, I think they were the only impressive speeches from this side of the House so far.

Mr. MacEntee:  Depressive, perhaps.

Mr. Costello:  Depressive for the Minister.

Mr. McGowan:  At any rate, I found that this species of individual that is known or called a civil servant, in this great country of ours and under this Heaven-sent Constitution under which, we are told, everybody is to have freedom of everything—if you want the sun, moon and stars, you have only to put up your hand and bring them [1607] home—I found that this much-lauded individual, known as the civil servant, had not, and has not, even the rights of an ordinary unemployed man. An unemployed man, if he makes a claim for home assistance and is refused, has the right of appeal to an arbitrator. Other people, in similar positions, or in positions perhaps not as high or as remunerative or important as the civil servants, have also the right of appeal and have the right to have their grievances ventilated and inquired into. Perhaps the gentlemen on the right-hand side of the House can supply lots of reasons as to why the civil servants should not possess the same rights as people in a less superior or important position, but I cannot see any reason for that state of affairs.

Deputy O'Reilly and other members of the Fianna Fáil Party were inclined to cast aspersions on the work that civil servants are supposed to carry out. The Deputy thought that they were not hard-worked, and he compared them to bank officials. I am sure Deputy O'Reilly himself is a hard-working Fianna Fáil Deputy. Let us compare the position between the civil servant and the person in a bank. If a bank official makes an error, if he has a bad head on a Monday morning and is a bit snappy with his customers, the average customer, particularly if he has an overdraft, cannot come into the Dáil and ask a question about the bank official's conduct. What is the position in the case of the civil servant? We all know that the civil servant has to meet the public, Deputies from all sides of the House, and people from all parts of the country. The civil servant's actual manual or mental work may not be very great, but I think he has to have a rather thick skin, because he has to put up with a great deal. He is harassed on one side by one set of Deputies who want such-and-such a thing. And then he is harassed by Deputies from the opposite Party, and between the two of them the only thing I can compare him to is a Christmas cracker. If he makes any error in carrying out his work, he can be held up to public ridicule, with [1608] detrimental results to himself. He is always in the public eye, and even his small actions may be made the subject of a great amount of public criticism. Therefore, I do not think we can compare a civil servant with individuals in a bank or individuals in any other occupation of that nature.

On the question of arbitration, I think anything that could possibly be said has already been said. I should like to refer, however, to the type of arbitration that has been offered, or which the Minister says he is prepared to offer at some time. The position is that a board is appointed by the Minister. The civil servant cannot have a paid official from his organisation to plead his case before this board. I am a great believer in specialists, and if the Civil Service have an organisation and an official whose duty it is to inquire into the well-being of the civil servant and his grievances, obviously that person is the proper person to appear on behalf of civil servants generally and put forward their case. Such a man should be permitted to put forward matters of fact. I am not advocating money for lawyers, but if the occasion arose there is absolutely no reason why a civil servant should not be allowed to bring in legal aid if he so desires.

Mr. Corry:  I partly guessed that was what you were at.

Mr. McGowan:  There is absolutely no reason why the civil servant, if he wishes, should not engage legal assistance. Deputy Corry realises, no doubt, that there is a great want of legal talent on that side of the House. Perhaps if they had a few more in the Party they might not be in the predicament in which they are to-day.

Mr. MacEntee:  They would know the difference between Italy and Spain, anyhow.

Mr. McGowan:  I am prepared to meet the Minister, and even Deputy Corry, in open debate on any matter of that sort that may arise, at any time they like. With regard to this so-called arbitration board, if it comes to a decision the Minister for Finance may say: “I am not abiding by this; [1609] I am not going to recognise this award,” and that ends it. I think this type of arbitration simply amounts to going to law with the devil and having the courthouse in hell. What chance has any civil servant in those circumstances? I seriously suggest that the civil servants are responsible for carrying out the government of this country to a great extent. They have a great deal of responsibility, and I suggest that they should be given some opportunity of ventilating their grievances. That is a fairly reasonable suggestion and I cannot understand why they will not be given the facilities they ask for. I have analysed this thing carefully, and I have tried to be fair to the Minister and tried to see what reason he has got for his peculiar attitude on this matter. I expect, like most of us, he is first a politician, and if he could avoid making himself unpopular with the voters I expect he would like to do so. I suppose he likes to do the popular thing.

Mr. MacEntee:  Certainly.

Mr. Corry:  And in a Dublin constituency.

Mr. McGowan:  Yes. I expect the Minister would like to be popular.

Mr. MacEntee:  If it were not contrary to the public interest.

Mr. McGowan:  The Minister must have some good reason for not doing the popular thing.

Mr. O'Brien:  Invincible honesty.

Mr. McGowan:  I argued the matter out with myself. I looked up a few dictionaries and a few Dáil Eireann reports and I even read Irish history and I could not find any logical reason why the Minister should adopt this extraordinary attitude. He says to the civil servant: “Come in here, my boy; you are going to do what I tell you and I will pay you what I like”— perhaps I should not have said that, and I will not say it, but the Minister goes on to say: “You have no right of appeal and if you do not do what I tell you, out you go.” That may be wrong, but I gave in my own mind to [1610] the Minister what I would term a fair crack of the whip and, logically, I had to decide against him. I am anxious to hear what argument he is going to put forward for adopting his peculiar attitude. He is sacrificing his political future and perhaps he will tell us why. I await his reply with anxiety.

Mr. O'Neill:  I am very sorry the Taoiseach was not present during this debate because I feel that he is to a great extent responsible for the attitude that has been taken up on this side of the House with regard to this matter. The Taoiseach is a man for whose personal honour I have great respect; however much I may differ from his political outlook, I firmly believe that when he says a thing he means it. If there is one thing more than another which he boldly proclaimed to be part and parcel of his programme in 1932 it was this matter of arbitration for the Civil Service. It was one of the outstanding things in the great plan. Now, what is the position with which we are faced some six years after that important pronouncement was made? Remember, it was not only a pronouncement, but a solemn pledge, and I take it the Taoiseach, in making a solemn promise before an election, meant to carry out that promise.

I know that others in this House would not pay the same regard to election pledges or promises. One back bencher of the Fianna Fáil Party once told us: “Do not mind those things; they may have been election promises, but they were merely statements.” I do not think the Taoiseach would equate a political promise or public pledge with a mere statement. I am sorry he is not here, and I hope that before the debate ends somebody will tell us, with authority from him, what he really meant when he made use of the words in that promise. He should be here himself to do it.

We have had a good deal of talk during this debate about liberty and freedom and, as Deputy O'Brien says, those who are in office always show a different complexion and outlook from those who are out of office.

[1611]Mr. O'Brien:  On both sides of the House.

Mr. O'Neill:  In the same way, those who seek the most liberty for themselves are the first to deny even some of that liberty to others, and that is precisely the attitude of the Fianna Fáil Party, and of the Minister in particular, towards this claim of the Civil Service for an arbitration tribunal. I do not think it is at all necessary to enter into the principle of what might be determined by this arbitration tribunal, or what matters it might have to determine. Those are things that can easily be decided. What we are seeking to establish and what the wording of this motion sets out very clearly is the principle, and I think that in a House having any regard for democratic principles, the demands made for an assertion of that democratic principle in regard to the rights of civil servants are not very exaggerated. We have been told that if we are going to give any sort of civil rights to civil servants, the next thing will be that they will be taking an active part in politics. I do not think there is any necessity to make a close connection between the two. We want to give them civil rights; we do not want them to be active politicians. I think it would be a negation of any sort of decent government if the men administering that Government were to give expression to any strong Party or personal viewpoints on the policies before the country.

Civil servants in this country have always done their work very well. They are quite entitled to have their private opinions on any matters of public policy, but what we are claiming for them in this motion is that with regard to their own status, with regard to their own difficulties in that administrative capacity, they should have some outlet, or access to somebody, some tribunal, something set up with the authority of this House in which they could have confidence, and something that would see that the great principle of justice would be maintained in regard to the relations between the Government and the Civil Service. I want to speak very strongly on the principle involved here. It is the [1612] principle of carrying out the promise of the great Fianna Fáil plan of 1932, and I am sure the Minister will not be in any way worried or ashamed if I remind him of the necessity of carrying out that promise. It is a very important matter that a political party should redeem its pledges. Some of them go before the country occasionally and say: “Our plan is going ahead. We have not yet achieved all the things we set out to achieve, but we are well on the road to the Republic, or to other places.” All we ask them to do with regard to this matter is to take some steps towards achieving the end with regard to the civil servants, and towards carrying out the pledge solemnly made by the Taoiseach. I do not think it is asking too much of them—that, at least after six years, one step might be taken towards that very desirable end.

It is in that spirit, because I was desirous of seeing the democratic principle of justice established in this very important matter of the relations between the civil servants and the Government, that I rose to support the motion. I think it is one on which there could scarcely be any difference of opinion and, in fact, I am shocked that the Minister should even for a moment refuse to consider very favourably and sympathetically the claim for this arbitration tribunal. I put it to him that it is nearly time, after six years, the pledge or promise of the plan should be some distance on the road to being redeemed.

Mr. Dowdall:  On a matter of personal explanation, the Deputy who has just sat down has referred to a statement of mine in a previous debate with regard to promises and statements. It was a question at the time, I think, of the amount of money which this Party was going to save when they came into power. I said that the condition of things was so bad when this Government came into power that they could not keep the promises made with regard to savings in finance. I believe that, in all human dealings, a promise given should be redeemed, and once any Government, any Party or any man gives a promise effect should be given to that promise, and they should not, as Deputy O'Brien has instanced, [1613] give the excuse of Mr. Gladstone when he said he was then in a different position, and in one of less responsibility than when he came in. I am more or less in agreement with the Opposition, in that I think the civil servants, no matter how they are treated—and I am not speaking on the merits of the question—are entitled to arbitration.

Mr. O'Neill:  I should like to say that I did not mention the Deputy's name, nor did I have it in mind that he was the person who made the statement. In fact, I thought it was another Deputy.

Mr. MacEntee:  In fact, the Deputy took a shot in the dark, and not for the first time.

Mr. Brasier:  I do not think the particular scrap of paper was meant for Deputy Dowdall. It was to some other Deputy on the Government Benches that Deputy O'Neill attributed that statement. This House has not realised that on the change over it inherited a very important Civil Service, fully trained and capable of being adapted to the changes made after the Treaty was signed. I do not think we have realised what we owe to that section of the service which enabled the Government to take up office and to carry on the machinery of government in this country. These men were fully trained. They rendered good service in the past and they certainly rendered splendid service to the new Government that came into office, and enabled them to carry on a Government which was a credit to the country. They were able to adapt themselves to the changed conditions then; they were able to adapt themselves again to the changed conditions when this Government came in; and it is more than probable that they would adapt themselves to the conditions which would arise if another Government, which we cannot contemplate, were to come into office. But one thing against which we have to safeguard them is the Minister, taking stock of the political influence that must take place with any change of government. It is a very pleasant thing for any of us who have occasion [1614] to visit Government Departments to get the efficient service and the information we need from men who probably are not taking any part in politics. It would be an evil and an unheard of thing if these civil servants were under the domination of any member of a Government and that they would be in such a position as they might fear to do what was right. I am very much impressed by the fact that our Civil Service is above politics, and that civil servants can render to the country that service which will make the machinery of the Government run smoothly, simply because they are men who are wrapped up in their work and whose aim is to give good service in their Departments. I do not think there is any Deputy here who will not agree with me when I say these men are giving good service to the country. Any Deputy who has had occasion to look for information in any particular Department will agree with that. There is no doubt about it that a very considerable number of civil servants are working very long hours. That is particularly true of those who work in a supervisory capacity. Perhaps it would not apply to the junior members of the Civil Service but there is no question that the supervisory section work very long hours in order to cope with their work. One of the matters referred to in this debate was the promise made to these men that machinery would be set up to safeguard their interests. After all, that is not a promise that the Government should fail to keep. Doing justice to these men will promote efficiency in the Civil Service. Everybody knows that a Civil Service labouring under a sense of injustice cannot render that good service to the country which we have all a right to demand. That would bring about a situation in which a particular political Minister would be prevented from wielding the big stick over the servants of a Department over which he is the head to such a degree as almost to terrify these men to lend themselves to the influence he brings on them. Should that state of affairs be brought about the country will not be receiving that service from its civil servants which it should receive and which it expects to receive. If one [1615] can visualise these men labouring under a sense of grievance then it is easy to understand how it might be possible for some of them to say they would not carry on. The result would be that the machinery of the State would collapse. It is in some such way as that that evils are brought about. Our Civil Service did not take such a course. They have never done so. They are asking the House now, and asking it in a thoroughly constitutional manner, to set up machinery which will solve any particular grievance under which they labour. There is hardly any interest in the community that from time to time does not labour under some grievance or other and in these cases adjustments have to be made. I suggest that in setting up this arbitration board the House will be doing something that is equitable. If then it should be found that these men are not suffering any injustice, well no harm will have been done. In conclusion, I submit to the House that it will be doing what is right and just in setting up this arbitration machinery.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Deputy Costello to conclude.

Mr. MacEntee:  I have been moved to intervene at this stage prematurely, because so far I have not heard a speech in this debate in which any cogent reasons were given for doing what the House is now asked to do. I said I was moved to intervene prematurely by the speech of Deputy Brasier. Having been absent from the House for a considerable period—at any rate from the time that elapsed between the general election in 1933 and the general election of last year—Deputy Brooke Brasier may not be so well informed with regard to public affairs, and in particular with regard to Civil Service matters, as he might be.

Mr. Brasier:  Oh, yes, I was well in touch with matters.

Mr. MacEntee:  Well, then, I might say through you, Sir, and to the Deputy, that his speech does him no credit. I say that for this reason— that the Deputy is endeavouring to [1616] create in the minds of the Dáil and of the general public the impression that this Government is endeavouring to intimidate or terrorise civil servants in order that the Administration might be able to carry out policies of favouritism or partisanship that were not in the public interest.

Mr. Brasier:  Does the Minister deny it?

Mr. MacEntee:  The Deputy talked of civil servants being under the big stick of the Minister. I say to the Deputy that the Civil Service and individual civil servants in particular have never enjoyed greater freedom of opinion, and, in matters that related particularly to themselves, greater liberty of action than they have enjoyed under this Government.

Mr. Brasier:  In carrying out Government policy.

Mr. MacEntee:  I would like to say that civil servants feel a security in their office as long as they carry out their official duties in honour and in honesty. They know that they cannot be interfered with and will not be interfered with, and that they will not be subjected to political influence. They owe that feeling of security to this Government alone.

Mr. Brasier:  What about the ex-Secretary of the Department of Local Government and Public Health?

An Ceann Comhairle:  Order!

Mr. MacEntee:  When we took up office there arose crises in the Civil Service. It would, at that time, have been quite open to this Government to introduce the vicious spoils system into this country. It would have been open to the Government to dispense with the services of every head of a Department.

Mr. Heron:  The Minister tried to make the service political.

Mr. MacEntee:  Let Deputy Heron be silent on this matter. The Deputy has shown his hand in this debate. It [1617] is quite clear now what he wants. If there is one Deputy who wants to politicise the Civil Service, that Deputy is Deputy Heron. As I have already said, I was compelled to intervene prematurely in this debate. I have not unduly interrupted any speaker while this motion has been under discussion, except when I asked Deputy Heron to make his position clear in regard to civil servants in politics.

Mr. Heron:  It is clear.

Mr. MacEntee:  He says it is clear. Well, it was in order that the House might not be under any delusion as to where the Deputy stands that I interrupted him to ask him to clarify his views upon the civil servant in politics.

I was saying it was open to this Government—to the Fianna Fáil administration when it first took office —to dispense with the service of every head of a Department, because those heads of Departments hold their posts beyond yea or nay at the will and pleasure of the Executive Council. No civil servant, however, was interfered with when this Government took office. No matter what allegations might have been made against civil servants, and they were many, these allegations were not even considered. That was because we took the view that the civil servant ought to secure the protection of whatever Government did take office unless the civil servant was guilty of a manifest breach of trust or did something deliberately which was contrary to the general good or contrary to any particular statute which the civil servant had been called on to administer.

No civil servant has been dismissed or victimised for political or such reasons under this Administration. That was not the position with regard to the previous Administration. One of the first things we had to do was to reinstate in the public service a considerable number of civil servants who had been dismissed or had been compelled to resign for political reasons under our predecessors. As I say, we had a bad example which we might have followed, but we turned [1618] our back on the whole of that and we resolved that we should set a high precedent from which succeeding administrations could depart only at their peril. That is the record which Deputy Brooke Brasier has had the hardihood to get up and say was one of favouritism and one under which civil servants were subjected to the Minister's “big stick.” I think, as I have said, the speech did the Deputy no credit.

Mr. Brasier:  Do you deny——

An Ceann Comhairle:  Order, order!

Mr. MacEntee:  Every civil servant under this Administration has one thing to do and that is, so far as in him lies, to do his duty honestly by the State and by the public. If he does that, he can abide in the Civil Service with an easy mind as to his future and his security of tenure.

The case in the main for this motion has been argued in the House by two able, experienced and astute lawyers, well versed in the wiles of their profession. The first thing a lawyer does, if he has a bad case, is to try to confuse the issue. Then, if a jury should be sufficiently clear-sighted as to descry the truth through the murk which he creates, he begins to abuse his opponent. Deputies in this debate commenced with the allegation that the Taoiseach and the Party with which he was associated had broken some pledge or another. That has been the keynote of the speeches, starting with Deputy Costello. It was continued by Deputy Eamonn O'Neill and, of course, the tale was carried on by Deputy O'Brien and Deputy Brooke Brasier.

One extraordinary thing about the whole course of the debate was that never once, though we were accused of pledge-breaking, were the terms of this pledge which it was alleged we had broken put before the House. Here it is as it appeared in the Fianna Fáil programme: “We are prepared to establish an arbitration board to deal with the grievances of civil servants.”“We would be prepared,” said the Taoiseach, speaking in Rathmines on the 20th January, 1932, “to [1619] agree that an arbitration board be set up.” I have here the white print of a Bill drafted, and ready for introduction in this House, a Bill which would have been introduced years ago but for the attitude of those who profess to speak for the civil servants, the attitude which they have taken up towards this Government and towards the arbitration which the Government had intended to establish.

Mr. Norton:  Is it not a sham scheme?

Mr. MacEntee:  This Bill provides for the establishment of an arbitration board.

Mr. Norton:  A sham arbitration board.

Mr. MacEntee:  Deputies may describe it anyway they like, but it remains an arbitration board within the amplest meaning of the term.

Mr. Heron:  Does it provide for arbitration?

Mr. MacEntee:  It provides for arbitration. What does arbitration mean?

Mr. Norton:  With two vetoes.

Mr. MacEntee:  The Deputy has given the House the advantage of his absence for the last hour and a half.

Mr. Norton:  I wish you would give it the same advantage.

Mr. MacEntee:  The House has heard the Deputy at great length on this matter, on a considerable number of occasions. I would have been very anxious to hear him again this evening because, although I do know the Deputy has a habit of repeating himself, I am afraid I should not be quite able to deal with all his irrelevancies in anticipation.

Mr. Norton:  I came in to hear your nonsense. Carry on.

Mr. MacEntee:  I suppose the Deputy came in here to hear me because he knows that there is more [1620] substance in my arguments than in the arguments of those who are his associates. So closely allied are Deputies over there with their colleagues on the opposite side that to-day one of the Deputy's own followers told him it was no use sending him round the country to tell the difference between the Labour Party and Fine Gael.

Mr. O'Brien:  That was meat and drink to you.

Mr. Linehan:  The Minister talks about clearing the issue. Perhaps he would now try to do so.

An Ceann Comhairle:  He must be given the opportunity to do so.

Mr. MacEntee:  Am I at liberty to sit down until this smoke-room conversation has diminished? I say, here we have the white print of a Bill ready for introduction which would set up arbitration. I was asked what was arbitration, and if it had not been for the interjections which have been made, I would have proceeded to show that Deputy Lavery gave us what I might describe as a half-definition. It was like a half-truth. Both are misleading. Deputy Lavery was proceeding to give us a half-definition of what is an arbitration board. What does arbitration mean? It means this, and nothing more than this: that, in regard to a specific matter, two people shall agree that it shall be referred to a third person for the opinion of that third person. It does not mean more than that.

What it is intended here to force upon the Government is something similar to that which exists in other countries and which is called by what I think is the somewhat ambiguous and meaningless name of compulsory arbitration, where people are compelled, willy-nilly, to refer their disputes to a third party with power to bind. What is the difference between that and a court? We did not say that we were going to set up a compulsory arbitration court before which, as I have said repeatedly, the Government or the Minister could be haled, as if he had been guilty of some sort of offence, crime or tort.

[1621]Mr. Lavery:  Have you legal opinion for this?

Mr. MacEntee:  The more I have endeavoured to get at the root of this arbitration question, the more I despair of getting any definite light or leading from lawyers. They are in conflict with one another except when they sit on the same side of the House. When they appear in court or, as we [1622] have already seen, when they are translated from this side of the House, their opinions in regard to arbitration, the Constitution and other matters of, shall we say, esoteric legal content, are subject to rapid change. I move the adjournment of the debate.

Debate accordingly adjourned.

The House adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until Thursday, 7th April, at 3 p.m.

Mr. Norton:  asked the Minister for Lands if he will state whether the Land Commission propose to acquire the estate of Mr. R. Eustace, Newstown, Tullow, comprising approximately 200 acres, for division; and, if so, when the lands are likely to be acquired and divided.

Mr. Boland:  The offer of the Land Commission for the purchase of an area of 282 acres of the Eustace estate, Newstown, Tullow, has been accepted by the owner, and it is anticipated that the lands will be divided towards the end of the present year.

Mr. Norton:  asked the Minister for Lands if he will state whether the Land Commission propose to acquire the lands of the representatives of the late Mr. John Watters, Old Kilcullen, Kilcullen, County Kildare; and, if so, when the lands are likely to be acquired and divided.

Mr. Boland:  There are no proceedings in the Land Commission for the acquisition of the holding of the late John Watters which appear to comprise an area of 14a. 1r. 27p. of Old Kilcullen.