Resolution No. 11—General (Resumed).

Wednesday, 18 May 1938

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 71 No. 9

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Debate resumed on the following Resolution:—

That it is expedient to amend the law relating to customs and inland revenue (including excise) and to make further provision in connection with finance—(Minister for Finance)

Mr. Cosgrave: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  The Minister for Industry and Commerce on Friday expressed a desire to learn more about the policy that was being advocated by this Party in connection with agriculture. From his remarks, it was evident, in the first place, that as far as he was concerned, he had no knowledge of what the Government's policy was in regard to agriculture, and that he had not perceived any alteration in that policy for the last few months. In the course of his observations, he said that he thought the year 1931 was probably the worst in the history of this country for agriculture. He asked how we stood with regard to the Derating Report, and recommended that some of us should read it, probably forgetful of the fact that it was part of our duty to have read it, that, it is now seven or eight years old, and that as a matter of fact [1156] if one were to examine some of the observations of the commission, it should be much older even than that. It is interesting to note how the prices of agricultural produce in the course of the last six years compare with those of the year 1931. In the year 1931, agricultural produce had an index value of about 110 as against 100 in 1913-14. The figure has dropped during these last six years, taking an average for the whole period, to about 90. It is fairly clear then that there can scarcely be a comparison between the conditions which exist to-day and those with which the last Government had to concern themselves in 1931.

It is quite clear from the report of the Commission of Inquiry into Derating that they found that there was no case for derating at that time. They gave many reasons for it. They examined the case very exhaustively and went to great pains to present a report that was of very considerable value. In the course of their observations, they went on to say that, having regard to the fact that derating would entail additional taxation, they were not prepared to make a recommendation in favour of that policy. It is fair to say in connection with their recommendations that they did make, as I have already stated, exhaustive inquiries, and in paragraph 154, page 68, of the report, they said:

“As the result of an investigation recently made for us by the Department of Posts and Telegraphs, it is estimated that the percentage of de posits in the Post Office Savings Banks which may be attributed to agriculturists rose from 27.1 per cent. at 31st December, 1926, to 28.3 per cent. in 1927, 28.9 per cent. in 1928, and 29.1 per cent. at the end of 1929. It was also found, as a result of an investigation made for us by the Bank of Ireland, that the proportion of its deposit accounts attributable to agriculturists rose from 51.03 per cent. at the 31st December, 1925, to 52.32 per cent. at the end of 1929; and there is no reason to think that this experience is not typical of all Saorstát banks.”

This report was signed on the 20th April, 1931. It will be served that [1157] although it is dated 1931, the end of their inquiries was dated 1929 as regards the Post Office Savings Bank and the Bank of Ireland.

Let us compare the situation to-day with the situation as it existed then. There has been a contraction in these last few years in deposits in the banks. Reference was made by at least three of the chairmen of banks here in this country, at their annual meetings this year, to the fact that they had noted that there had been a withdrawal of deposits in their country districts, that these withdrawals indicated that there had been a difficult time for agriculturists and that it was symptomatic of the situation that prevailed in the country. It is quite clear from all the information at our disposal that, however profitable agriculture may have been in the last six years, it can only have been profitable if very considerable savings were made in expenses, because I have not been able to discover in any case that the retention of the home market, which was one of the planks in the policy of the Government, was of any value to agriculturists, that in fact less goods were consumed, or, at least, that the goods consumed by the agriculturists themselves were of less value, that less were sold to the non-agricultural community, and also that there was a very considerable drop in our exports in the last few years. If, then, there had been prosperity in the last few years, it must have been brought about by a drastic cutting down of expenses.

But, as a matter of fact nobody would be so foolish as to make the case that agriculture was profitable in the last few years except the Minister for Industry and Commerce. Taking the year 1931 and comparing the total amount of our agricultural produce exported in that year with the amount exported each year since it is quite clear that our exports have gone down to the extent of over £10,000,000 per year. That is an entirely different situation from what was presented at the time the report on derating was signed. There are, however, recommendations in that report concerning which very little, apparently, has been [1158] done. They are to be found on pages 71 and 72. They deal with the extension of the measures taken for the improvement of live stock and the provision on suitable terms of additional pedigree stock to promote the breeding of horses, cattle, sheep and pigs; the encouragement of the best methods of feeding and managing live stock, an extension of the measures taken to raise the milk yield of dairy cows and a more active encouragement of cow-testing, the promotion of poultry-keeping and the encouragement of the best methods of rearing and feeding poultry, the extension of improved marketing methods, etc. It is not necessary to go through the whole list. It was obvious having regard to the fact that there were agriculturists on that commission, that there would be such sensible recommendations. The Government at the time, notwithstanding the fact that the commission reported against derating, made provision for a further £750,000 in the relief of rates on agricultural land, because there had been even during the period that the commission was sitting, a drop in the index prices of agricultural produce. The attitude taken by the then Opposition, which is now the Government, was that £750,000 was not enough, that it should be £1,000,000. That was under the circumstances I have started, when there had been an increase in the deposits in the banks, and in the Post Office Savings Bank, attributable to agriculture.

We are now in the position when we see money that was saved for a time of difficulty in a time of prosperity being drawn upon. If we just take one example of what happened during the last few years, it will be found, in fact, that arrears of Land Commission annuities have increased very considerably over any correspondings period in the last 40 years. If anybody in these circumstances suggests that a case will not be accepted to relieve and improve the position of agriculture, then I fail to know what would influence the mind of the Government. It is very remarkable how the trade of Australia, New Zealand and Canada has improved with Great Britain during the last six years. They have increased their [1159] exports, and have had very large sums of money—far greater than they were in receipt of in 1931. Some of the figures in connection with the exports of these countries are almost unbelievable and, in our view, if we are to increase the prosperity of this country, we must bend our minds and our energies towards increasing the profitable production of agricultural goods. Whatever we may have to do in connection with industrial expansion, and in the use of industrial goods, it is obvious that we will have to depend on our own market here to the extent of 95 per cent. In the other case, we have the opportunity to export far more agricultural produce than at present. It is within our own competence, and ought to be our business, to see what particular lines of agricultural produce are most profitable for us to export. Looking over the returns of agricultural stocks it sems there is not much of a reduction during the last six years, but there is a reduction. I merely refer to the percentage.

Anybody in business knows that the difference between good business and bad business in 5 per cent. one way or another. If the normal trade is taken at £100, and if the business is down to £95, the business is bad. If the normal trade is £100, and business is up to £105 the business is good. So with agriculture. The reduction must be taken into account with the reduction of deposits in banks. If those engaged in agriculture have to draw deposits from the banks and, at the same time, reduce stocks, it is obvious that we are up against a difficulty, but it is not by any means an unsurmountable one, because there is this difference between the policy of the two Parties, that while for the best part of ten years we heard nothing but whines and wails, prophecies of bankruptcy and statements about the downward trend of things, we are perfectly satisfied that, with an effort, and with inspiring confidence and efficiency on the part of those in authority, there is an opportunity to rehabilitate agriculture and to restore the prosperity which the Government's policy during the last few years has [1160] damaged so considerably. If agriculturists had to sell more of their stock, have smaller stocks now than they had six years ago and if, in addition, they had to withdraw money from the banks and are in greater debt than they were then; if there has been a reduction in the population, and a movement from the land towards the urban districts and cities, as the case may be and, if we are interested at all in maintaining the population on the land, and getting value out of it. we must bend our minds and energies towards making it possible for them to earn a decent livelihood on the land.

Some extraordinary things have happened in the last few years. Many calculations could be made to show what have been the losses incurred. Some people had to put fat stock out on the land and to reduce them from fat stock to stores in order to cash them. In these cases the losses have been simply colossal. It is quite true perhaps that certain people have been able to have a fairly prosperous time during the last few years. I remember that one member of this Party who was a Deputy in 1929-30, but is not now in the Dáil, presented cattle for sale at a fair in December, 1932 and was offered 20/- per cwt. which he refused. The total weight of the cattle was approximately 150 cwt. He brought them over to Scotland or England, and allowing for what he paid for the transport over, and the penal duties over the amount of bounty he received, he netted 29/4d per cwt for the cattle for which he had been offered 20/- per cwt. here, or something over £70 more. I suppose that was the only man at the fair who had resources for sending cattle across or who had, perhaps, the business experience to do it. It benefited him in many ways financially. He was an exporter and he was entitled to licences but the average farmer or the typical farmer throughout the country was not entitled to the one and did not know how to get the other except to pay for it. So, during that period, there were many middlemen who did fairly well but, if they did, it was mainly at the cost of the industry of [1161] agriculture. Consequently, in my opinion at any rate, there is a very different situation existing to-day from what there was when the derating Commission Report was signed. As a last and final reason, the principal objection to providing extra moneys for derating at that time was that it would have entailed extra taxation and industry was not in a particularly prosperous condition at that time. The industrialists would have been called upon to pay, I suppose, about half of what the cost would have amounted to, but, since that time, both industrialists and agriculturists have been taxed to the tune of about £6,000,000 or £7,000,000 a year. And still they have not got derating. Practically all the taxes that were mentioned as being necessary have been added on, even though for a period some of them may have been relaxed, so that the last case against derating goes.

We are not exactly wedded to derating. If the Government have a better scheme for putting agriculture on its feet we would be glad to hear it. Having made a market available which one might almost say had been closed to the industry of agriculture for the last six years, it is not enough merely to mark time. It is not enough to concern ourselves with the figures on one side or the other. There ought to be, and there can be, economies effected during the next 12 months which will enable this money to be found, or, as I have said, a better scheme if we can hear it. But in the present condition of agriculturists generally throughout the country what they need is some easement of the burden that they have borne, some accommodation, whether by credit facilities or other means of that sort, at any rate, some consideration on the part of those who have been so responsible for the difficulties which have beset agriculture during those last few years. If we can manage to restore the prosperity of that industry in this country we will find that some of the problems that agitate the minds of persons who live in municipalities or urban districts will be lessened, and that the prosperity which will come to agricultrue [1162] will benefit other fields of activity in the country.

Mr. Dockrell: Information on Henry Morgan Dockrell  Zoom on Henry Morgan Dockrell  A Chinn Comhairle, rising to make a few remarks on the Budget, one cannot but the struck with some of the clauses in the Agreement which ended the annuities dispute with the British Government. I am not going to make a speech on the Agreement and, broadly, speaking, I content myself with saying that the Government settled that dispute, on which we congratulate them. In regard to the two big classes of the community, they told the farmer they had done their best for him and he had been put back to his old position, and, as far as the manufacturer is concerned, they said that they had done the best they could for him under the circumstances and considering there was another party to the bargain. When one turns to the Budget and looks at the position in which certain manufacturers are placed, one is forced to the conclusion that either the Government had very little consideration for some manufacturers or that they had completely ignored the position that was brought about. At the present time the position with a number of manufacturers is that they have been thrown into a state of consternation. There is, more or less, a stand-still order until they find out where they are. Some of the manufacturers even go so far as to suggest that the Government might be compared to the pirate Joe, that all the people that they met had to walk the slippery plank, and that the manufacturers, having been brought in and having made certain commitments, a lot of their protection was withdrawn from them. The present Government seem to consider, and rightly so up to a point, that all the manufacture that can be promoted in this country is all to the good. That is so up to a point, provided they do not worsen the position of some of the existing manufacturers who have been trying to establish themselves for years past. What will be the position when the Government find that there is not enough space for all the mouths on the loaf? Apparently, they say to [1163] any new industry which comes along: “There is a tariff for you, dig in and do the best you can,” and it does not matter how the existing manufacturers are going to fare under the present situation.

As a more specific illustration, and I am sure the Minister for Finance would be looking for a precise illustration of my remarks, I would like to take the position of steel fabricators in this country. What is the position of steel fabricators in this country? Before the Agreement was concluded they had protection of 50 per cent. as against foreign fabricators; they had a protection against British fabricators of 33? preferential duty, which did not come into force, and the protection of the emergency duty. Notwithstanding that, some of the fabricators have passed through very difficult times and the biggest fabricator in the Free State, namely, the Dockyard Company, shut up. When we come round to the Budget and look at the position which is drawn up by the present Government, presumably without regard for adverse criticism from elsewhere, what do we find? We find that under Resolution No. 10 the raw material of the fabricators is subject to duty of 37½ per cent. on foreign goods and 25 per cent. if it is English. There is the position now of the fabricators in this country who are faced with a reduction in the protection afforded them against English fabricators. The duty against English fabricators is down or at least it will be down in the next few days from 70 per cent. to 33? per cent. And there the expenses of the raw materials have increased by 37½ per cent.

How can anybody carry on business on those lines? I would like to point out to the Minister that in my opinion it would appear as if the Government had not taken into account that the cost of fabricating steel in this country is higher than in the United Kingdom and for the following reasons:—The wages are from 15 per cent. to 20 per cent. higher; the payment for bank holidays and weekly holidays adds approximately another 5 per cent. to this cost; the overhead charges on the smaller turnover are of course much higher; there is the question of office [1164] equipment and the cost of printing and stationery which are also higher; there are higher rates and last, but not least, we must remember that on a very big turnover there are reduced costs to the bigger firms operating in the United Kingdom. There is also the question of handling from the quay to the yard while at the other side of the Irish Sea probably the railway train brings the steel right into the works; freight has to be paid on material which is eventually waste instead of freight ont he finished product. In England the raw materials can be procured at lower prices. In addition to all these things htere is this, that owing to standardised methods the English company can produce goods at a price which would not be an economical propostion for a fabricator in this country. The smaller turnover will count in deciding whether a fabricator in this country is to instal the most up-to-date machinery. Then again in this country there is the higher cost of coal.

How can industries be carried on from day to day and week to week by an Irish firm under conditions in which the costs of their competitors are down from 70 per cent. to 33? per cent. in the matter of the tariffs on goods coming into this country? The Irish firm will have to pay 37½ per cent. more for their raw material on the 1st November. The Minister for Finance may argue: “Oh, well, but they will not have to pay that until the 1st November and, in any case, they can lay in stocks.” What is the position of the fabricator in this country who is asked to give an estimate for a steel contract? I understand that at the present time there are question of a number of large steel contracts floating around. Are those to go to the other side and are the fabricators in this country to join the Dockyard Company in closing down their works? When one looks at this one is forced to the conclusion that the Government really have not given this matter adequate consideration.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  May I suggest to the Deputy that this point he is on now [1165] can be dealt with much more effectively on the Report Stage of the particular Resolution than at this stage?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  There is a good deal in the Minister's representations, as the debate on the Budget should cover only taxation and expenditure. It would obviously be impossible to deal with the details of particular tariffs at this stage. An opportunity will arise on the Report Stage of these Resolutions and on the Finance Bill when the details can be gone into. The Deputy at the outset purported to cite one tariff as an example of a tendency.

Mr. Dockrell: Information on Henry Morgan Dockrell  Zoom on Henry Morgan Dockrell  I will bow to your ruling, Sir.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  It would be more convenient for the Deputy and the House generally and it would be more feasible to deal with the details on the Report Stage. That is the usual procedure.

Mr. Dockrell: Information on Henry Morgan Dockrell  Zoom on Henry Morgan Dockrell  I will certainly adopt your suggestion, but I would like to point out to the Minister that he has brought this on himself through his pliable habit of disregarding criticism if one waits until the last stage to raise it.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  The Deputy will have not merely on the Report Stage but on the Second Stage of the Finance Bill and on the Committee Stage of the Finance Bill, an opportunity to reinforce any criticism which I may disregard.

Mr. Dockrell: Information on Henry Morgan Dockrell  Zoom on Henry Morgan Dockrell  Then there will not be any evasion. There is one point I would like to put before the Minister. That is the question of the practice before. The matter will not brook delay. However, having made my point more or less in detail ahead we will see to it that we will keep the Minister up to scratch.

Mr. Moore: Information on Séamus Moore  Zoom on Séamus Moore  In my opinion not much of importance has emerged from this debate up to the present except one [1166] very starting proposal from the Opposition. In a speech of Deputy Dillon during which he repeated again and again that his whole desire was to be constructive and that he was not concerned to use old taunts or catch-cries, that he wanted to help and to be constructive in face of the conditions that now prevail in the country—in the speech in which he repeated that intention again and again he made the revolutionary proposal that a big enterprise in this country, a £2,000,000 enterprise, should be liquidated.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  As a last resource.

Mr. Moore: Information on Séamus Moore  Zoom on Séamus Moore  The Deputy proposed that one of the biggest enterprises in the country should be completely liquidated. I wonder what Deputy Dillon would have said if he wanted to be destructive instead of constructive. It would be hard to imagine a criticism that could be more destructive than his proposal to liquidate one of the biggest and most widespread enterprises in this country. The Deputy took care, of course, to say that he had not consulted his Party on that question and that he was expressing his own opinion only. But Deputy Dillon is the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and when he makes a proposal of that kind we may assume I think that he believes it has got considerable support within his Party. A strange circumstance was that he did not make any attempt to go into detail, as to how he would liquidate this concern, as to whom he would compensate or whether he would compensate anybody. There are a great many people concerned in this enterprise. There are those who invested their money in it and those who are working in the factories since the enterprise was established. There are thousands of farmers to whom beet is now a regular part, and a very valuable part, of their agricultural economy. In face of all the talk about the necessity for restoring confidence—it is very useful talk, in my opinion, if it is seriously intended; it is a very important thing, indeed, to try to create confidence in the country at the present time—to come along with so revolutionary a [1167] proposal is, to me, a very startling thing and i think that if there are more responsible members in that Party, they should realise the danger of it—as far as I can see, it has already caused a certain amount of alarm—and they should not hesitate to repudiate that proposal.

Deputy Dillon will not have beet under any circumstances; he scorns the notion of growing potatoes at £2 a ton, yet he is all for the production of pork, butter, beef and so on. I wonder if he read Senator Baxter's speech in connection with the recent settlement? In the Seanad, Senator Baxter gave a warning about the danger of multiplying the number of milch cows, in view of the fact that butter has to be sold under subsidised conditions. Deputy Dillon will not have beet, or potatoes at £2 a ton. What on earth is he going to base his prodution upon? What root crops is he going to base his tillage upon? A very limited quantity of potatoes, turnips, and mangolds? Yet we all know that turnips are about the most uncertain crop that could be grown. We all remember the time when a lecturer of the Department of Agruculture made a national reputation by going out on a proposal to eliminate turnips as a crop in this country. He said they were too uncertain and should not be grown under any conditions.

Deputy Dillon has, again and again, professed his great interest in agriculture. It is, as far as one can see, his chief interest, yet he leaves very big holes in his policy—so far as one can ascertain what his policy is. He makes a revolutionary proposal of that kind in order to cover the cost of derating and, again, he leaves derating suspended in the air. He does not tell us what system of derating he is going to follow. Anyone who has read the report of the Derating Commission, knows there were two or three systems proposed. Senator Green, for instance, ahs one very drastic proposal in a special minority report. Senator Baxter and his group have quite a different proposal. Neither Deputy Cosgrave, who has emphasised the necessity for [1168] derating again and again, nor Deputy Dillon, nor any other Deputy on the opposite benches, will tell us what particular system it is proposed to adopt. Neither do they say whether they would discriminate between the different classes of farmers. I consider that any system of derating that will not discriminate between farmers is going to cause great discontent in the country. If you are going to say to the average small farmer that he will bear by direct taxation what is now paid in rates by his neighbour, who has 100 or 200 acres of grassland and employs only three or four people, then we are preparing for a period of discontent and continuous and excited agitation. It would be manifestly so unjust that you could not expect the small farmer to put up with it, and you may be quite sure he will not put up with it, especially since he has had experience of the system of distributing the agricultural grant in a manner that recognises his special claims. He recognises that he, as a person working on the land, and employing his sons, has a special claim as against the man who owns big tracts of grassland and employs only two or three people.

I think this derating agitation has evidently been decided upon as the principal plank in the Fine Gael platform, but unless it is refined a good deal, unless it is stated in a concrete form and made appear much more just, unless the anomalies that appear in any general system of derating are explained and guarded against, then I am sure we could be in for a period, not of contentment on the land, but very serious discontent and social agitation. It looks to me remarkable that the Party that is quite correctly talking about the necessity for creating confidence and enthusiasm, if it can be done, amongst the farmers with regard to their future, should leave that big gap in their proposals unexplained.

Another curious inconsistency is that, while we have a proposal to scrap the sugar industry, we have repeated assertions by Deputy Dillon that he would not like to see this country avail of cheap labour or bad labour conditions in other countries. He is in favour of [1169] such tariffs as will protect decent conditions in this country. What is his proposal with regard to sugar? Let us avail of the cheap labour and such bad conditions as prevail either in a country like Cuba, where cane sugar is produced, or Czeckoslovakia, from which we used to get the bulk of our sugar in former times. he says in effect what does it matter to us what conditions prevail there and in spite of his repeated assertions that he is so humanitarian that he would not avail of such bad conditions as exist in Japan or any European country where there is a lower standard of living, he thus adopts the very opposite attitude on an important question.

Deputy Cosgrave has talked about the danger of the adverse balance of trade and the necessity for correcting it. In face of that criticism we have this proposal to increase imports by a very substantial amount. We have a further protest by Deputy Cosgrave against the decision to proceed with the industrial alcohol factories here. He makes a curious remakr that other countries can afford such experiments, but that we are too poor to afford such experiments. It looks to me as if it is the poor country that should have to make the experiments. A country with a wide range of wealth and resources need not make experiments so long as its trade is prosperous. In a country with small resources it looks to me rather necessary to make experiments. I rather think that if we are going to reduce imports we may have to make very many experiments of that kind.

The adverse balance obviously can be corrected in two ways, by an increase in exports, and by a reduction of imports. Deputy Cosgrave and his Party put all their confidence in an increase of exports. They may prove to be justified, but looking at the signs of recession in England I am not so sure that that is likely to take place in view of the fact that many of the things we are going to concentrate upon are at present selling at a very low price in England and will be subject to very serious competition in England. I cannot feel at all satisfied that their hopes are going to be justified there.

If there is one thing that can be [1170] observed in England at the moment amongst her leaders of commercial policy, her leaders of finance and so on, it is the considerable apprehension with regard to the futute of their international trade. Our success in the British market very largely depends on the prosperity of their external trade. Can anybody say that that is guaranteed in any way or that it is a very safe reliance for any country to put its whole faith upon? You may be able to develop confidence in this country amongst the farmers or amongst every class, but it would be a foolish confidence and a reckless confidence that would place all its hopes, that would base its whole economy, on the continued prosperity of England's external trade. That is what it really amounts to because, unless England's external trade continues prosperous, obviously our hopes of good prices and continuous demand in that market are not to be fulfilled.

I suggest, therefore, that if that very elusive thing, called the adverse balance, is really a serious matter—and I do not pretend really to understand the full implications of an adverse balance—if it is a danger, then I think it would be only commonsense policy to concentrate on both sides of the problem, that is, not merely to increase exports, but also to reduce imports as far as possible by substituting home production for imports. In that connection, I notice that Deputy Cosgrave talked—he repeated the remark several times—about the decrease in farmers' deposits in the banks during recent years. He made the suggestion the other day that the Government should make inquiries from a bank director to find out how far that withdrawal of deposits had gone, and he said that he thought the Government would learn a valuable lesson from the answer. Well, before that speech was made, I did not make the inquiry, but I happened to learn from a bank director that the total withdrawal of farmers' deposits from all the banks in the past five years have amounted to a good deal less than £1,000,000. If that statement be correct—of course, I only had it from one bank director—then Deputy Cosgrave is not helping his case or not making any considerable point [1171] by referring so frequently to it, because, in face of such a world depression as has taken place and in face of the losses that undoubtedly accrued to very many people through the economic war, the withdrawal of £750,000 of farmers' deposits in five years, if that statement be correct—as I say, I only have the word of one particular bank director for it, but he is a very eminent banker—does not seem to support the doubts and apprehensions of Deputy Cosgrave. On the other hand, it seems to be a very great tribute to the farmers of the country that they have been able to get through these very difficult years at such a low cost to their savings.

Everybody, I think, is eager to see new vigour given to agriculture and to see farmers get every advantage that can be got from the recent settlement. Everybody wants to see all the happiness that can be developed in country life developed as quickly as possible, and whatever suggestions can be made on the subject, in my opinion, should be examined in an objective way, entirely impartially and entirely on their merits. I can see no better means of helping agriculture than the Minister has adopted in his recent Budget, that of continuing to give subsidies to certain goods the production of which would not be economical if such subsidies were not continued. I do not know why it is that Deputy Dillon continues to assert that egg production, for instance, can be made self-contained and that it can be made a prosperous business if the Government do not interfere with it. Not long ago, one of the most reputable British daily papers published an article on the egg and poultry industry in England, and suggested that, at the time— the article was written some months ago—there was something like £30,000,000 of capital in that industry in jeopardy, that poultry farmers were unable to make ends meet, that eggs and poultry were proving unremunerative, and that there was a very black prospect in front of that big industry. If that be the case, therefore, I do not think anybody is to blame for the fact that our egg and poultry industry has not been remunerative, and I think the [1172] Minister deserves credit for deciding to continue the subsidies which are provided for in the Budget.

There is just one thing that I think all Parties should exert themselves to solve. It is the position of the farmer who, for years past, has not enjoyed any credit and who has been semi-derelict, not, in many cases, through any Government policy, but through circumstances sometimes within his own control and sometimes outside his own control. I well remember the late Deputy Hogan, when he was Minister for Agriculture, adverting to the position of that farmer and remarking that with all the thinking he could do and all the sympathy he could exercise, he could find no way of helping such a person—the man who had no security, who had nothing on which credit could be secured to him—and that he had to give up the hope of helping him. To-day, there is a good number of farmers in that position, and I think it is one of the most difficult problems that is in front of those who wish to see every farm a thriving homestead. How to re-establish such a person as that, and enable him to restock his farm when he has no security to offer, is a thing that, I think, will test the brains of both sides of this House, but at the same time I think it ought to be examined again and again by a committee or by the authorities of the Department of Agruculture, because it is a very unfortunate and very deplorable thing that there should be a number of families in the country who are in that position and who, at the moment, apparently have no hope unless assistance is given to them to re-establish themselves. The problem is not peculiar to the last five years, nor is it peculiar to the previous five years; it has been there all the time; but it is a problem that will have to be faced, and, in my opinion, will have to be solved if there is to be that contentment in the country and that development of the agricultural industry that we all hope to see.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  I think I may dispose of Deputy Moore's speech with the phrase that I do not think it deserves much comment. The whole speech betrays the mind of a man who is not [1173] conversant with agriculture—the mind of a city man. Any attack that was made by the Deputy on the arguments made from this side of the House was directed to Deputy Dillon's reference to beet. When Deputies opposite speak of that, I would be glad if they would read Deputy Dillon's references in full. When making an appeal to the Minister to meet this question of de-rating, Deputy Dillon said that, even as a last resort, he would be prepared to forego the subsidy on beet and end it altogether. I think that, when the Deputy said that, he was offering to make a very great sacrifice indeed. Certainly, some people on this side of the House whould, if they were asked to make that sacrifice, consider that they were making a very great one in the interests of the common good, because we must remember that only a limited number of people in the country are beet growers. The last thing that the people who are in the possession of land suitable for beet, want to contemplate is the scrapping of the beet industry, even though we are paying a tremendous subsidy to keep it going. At the same time, it is the last thing taht they want to consider, and it is only as a last resort that they would give the question of the scrapping of that scheme serious consideration. The losses that farmers have suffered in the economic war—I mean that section of them who suffered losses and the stages in which they suffered them— have never been stated in this House. I propose to deal with that question now.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  Of the economic war?

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  Of the losses that were suffered. I propose also to make suggestions as to how to meet those losses, because no suggestion of the kind was contained in the Minister's speech when introducing the Budget. Fist of all, I want to deal with some statements that were made by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. He said that we will not get any benefit when the economic war is settled. He talked about prices in 1937 and compared them with the prices in 1938. It [1174] is quite obvious that the prices that obtained in 1937 and 1938 were all based on a settlement of this question. People with any knowledge of the country must know that to-morrow any beef that is in the country, as well as cows that are calving down—cows that cannot be gambled in or kept over— will bring an immediate benefit of £4 5s. 0d. That will not apply to stores that have been gambled in for the last four or five months. The men who gambled in them to the extent of 4,000 head, and who had to give them hay, will not get the benefit because they have already gambled it, and have suffered losses in maintaining those cattle all over the Irish Free State. There is the further point, that there is not only a shortage but a famine of grass in England, and this has had the effect of keeping down prices. Nobody can deny that. Things may mend after a month or so, but the Minister for Industry and Commerce would seem to give himself credit for the position as regards prices from 1936 to 1938—that something happened because of some act of the Government or of the policy of the Government. By this day week the proof will be there as to whether we were wrong in everything we ever said with regard to the economic war.

The Minister's statement was so silly and ridiculous that I do not wish to make any further comment on it. The whole thing simply proves what has been in my mind for a very long time, that politicians do not want to think fairly and that a lot of them do not want to think intelligently. It seems to me that there is a national necessity for them to think both fairly and intelligently. A quotation which I propose to give from the speech made by the Minister for Industry and Commerce in the House on Friday last gives one an idea of his intelligent thinking. He said:

“The great industries of other countries were not built up, in many cases, on natural resources. The cotton industry in England, the machinery and metal-working industries of Germany, and many other industries I could mention which have achieved world-wide importance, were not begun because of any [1175] special advantage existing in the districts in which they are locate.

I will not say that that statement is deliberately false, but I do ask, could there be a more misleading or inaccurate statement? Surely, anyone possessed of a sense of observation must know that the great industries in England, Germany and America—the three big industrial countries of the world— were, up to a few years ago when the development of electricity was begun on a big scale, started in the districts where in the early days they had cheap coal at their doors. Why did we in this country undertake the Shannon scheme? Simply to supply that deficiency, and to put ourselves on an equal footing with other countries. The countries that were great in the industrial sense were those that had cheap power, and it was to those countries that the people flocked. The Minister's statement, in my opinion, betrayed a lack of observation that certainly did not do any credit to a man in is position. I suggest that the Minister, instead of making a statement of that sort, should try to give some picture of the actual losses that were suffered during the period of the economic war, and an indication as to the people who bore them. We all know that the people who were not producing tariffed commodities bore none, or at least very little, of the burden of the economic war. The people, for instance, who were producing beet and wheat here and only enough cows to keep the house running, bore none of the burden of the economic war, or at least very little of it. Not only did they not bear the burden of the economic war, but they were paid a subsidy on the crops that they were growing— on beet and wheat, and, to a lesser extent on barley and oats. As a result of that, it would be very hard to ascertain the number of farmers on whom the whole brunt of the economic war fell. I would be inclined to say that 50 per cent. of them bore none of it, or very little, and that the whole burden fell on the other 50 per cent. Not alone had the 50 per cent. to bear the whole burden of the economic war, hot alone had they to pay the British [1176] the £3,000,000 per year which they collected but they had to see their means being sucked away through other channels. Their position was like that of a sieve. The British collected £5,000,000 per year during the period that they were imposing the tariffs but we should have had very little to complain of if there were no other leakages and if the 50 per cent. who had to bear the brunt of the war were paying no more than that. There were, however, other leakages. The cattle which were smuggled across the Border bore no part of the cost of the economic war. We had to supply the home market at the scrappy price which was available. Even then, if there were no other ill-effects, we should not have been as badly off as we ultimately were.

I want to give Minister and Deputies as fair a picture as I can. I do not want to overstate the case because I know the harm one does one's case by overstatement. I have here also a statement made in the Northern Parliament on the 23rd April, 1937—12 months ago. The headings are, “Border Smugglers' Success—Claim by Minister,” and the statement reads:—

“Sir Dawson Bates, Minister of Home Affairs, in moving the Estimate for his Ministry, which was passed in the Northern House of Commons to-day, said that, in the space of something like a year, smuggling from the Free State into Northern Ireland had been reduced to a non-paying proposition, and was now practically non-existent. This was the result of a new arrangement made with the British Government whereby the police force, as a whole, was now responsible for dealing with infringements of the Smuggling Acts.”

It is clear that for the 12 months preceding April 23rd, 1937—in other words, from the beginning of the year 1936— a system of policing was carried out on the Border which made smuggling, as they claimed, an unprofitable business, but, even since the recent negotiations started, five or six cases of smuggling across the Border were reported in the Dublin Press.

[1177] Smuggling is still going on, but not, perhaps, to an extent we need bother about.

I want, however, to give the House and the country figures to show what the smuggling amounted to. I am taking the fugures from our own official publications, as no other publications were available to me. In the year 1931, we shipped to England from the ports of this State 653,047 cattle. In 1934, that number had dropped to 391,177— not quite by half, but nearly half. In the year 1931, 181,380 cattle went through Northern Ireland ports. In the year 1935, that number had grown to 320,256. The position always was that the Counties of Donegal, Sligo, Mayo, Leitrim, Roscommon, Monaghan, Louth, Cavan, Galway, Meath and Westmeath sent a certain number of cattle across the Border, and through the Northern Ireland ports to Great Britain. From the Dublin markets a certain number of cattle went to England by that route every week. Judging from the census of stock raised in these counties and sent through the ports, there can be no question that about 120,000 of the 180,000 always went through the Northern ports. Not alone was that maintained during the economic war. and up to 1936, but it was multiplied almost by three—certainly by two and a half. Every beast which went across by that route up to 1936, when the tariff was readjusted, meant £6 of a loss to the farmers here, and met none of our obligations to England. That was in addition to the loss we suffered by payment of the tariffs on cattle which went through the regular ports.

There was even a worse feature of the business than that. The only real competition our regular traders here had to meet in the English and Scottish markets was that of irregulars which had gone across the Border and had paid no tax. These irregular traders were able to pay more than the others at the Irish fairs, and they were very active at every fair in the country. They were able to pay 2/6 and in some cases 5/- more than the regular Irish trader. They had £6 in their pocket with which to gamble. They could, therefore, pay more and get more [1178] cattle in the fairs even in the remote parts of the South of Ireland. Still, they were in competition on the English and Scottish markets with men who had not this £6 with which to gamble. They could sell 10/- less, and they were continually bringing down the price in England—under-selling the regular Irish trader. When the Irish trader came back he had to adjust his price to the conditions and he had to give, perhaps, 10/- or £1 less at the fair. So bad did the position get, and so cheap did the cattle become, that the National Farmers' Union and the farming papers raised an outcry to stop this trade, stating that there were more cattle than they thought in Britain—more than enough to meet the demand. They thought that all the cattle smuggled across the Border were raised within Britain's jurisdiction, when, of course, that was not the case.

The next thing we had was the quota for both stores and beef cattle. I am not able to put a figure on the amount this irregular and unfair competition pulled down the price of Irish cattle in the English and Scottish markets. I should be only guessing. I am not able to make a calculation of what the additional imposition of the quota meant in pulling down the price here to the figure which it reached, but I know that it brought about a position in which we in the South were buying cattle from 35/- to 55/- apiece for some of the best two-year-olds sold in the South of Ireland, and in which cattle were going out on the road and people did not bother to look after them. That was the period from 1932 to the end of 1935. We had three and a half years of it, and that is the period in which all the losses were inflicted on the people of this country and in which they were really nailed to the cross. We had these scrap-heap prices that were obtainable by reason of this irregular, cut-throat competition, and this Government was responsible for it, because they did nothing to stop it. They knew as well as I knew that this traffic was goin across the Border and our people being robbed as a consequence. We were not concerned with the other side of the Border at all, [1179] but it was the duty of the Government to stop it. The Government started this economic war and said that nobody would rob them, and they should have seen that there would not be a lot of buzzards over the Border robbing them—men who came back from America to these jobs because they were bettern than anything they could get by bootlegging and racketeering in America. We know a lot of them.

The position was saved and we have been enabled to carry on for three years, but we will never get back all the losses suffered in the previous three and a half years. The position was saved, but it was not saved by anything this Government did, but in spite of everything they did. The position with regard to pigs is much worse than the cattle position and I can give the Minister all the figures. Pigs sent through Ulster ports in 1931, numbered 27,226, and in 1935, they numbered 84,490. In the year before, they numbered 76,824, that is, they multiplied by a little over three. The same applies to horses and the same, I am sure-altough I have not got the figures and I am not going to make claims with regard to figures I have not got—to other products such as poultry and eggs which could be, and were, taken away in lorries. If a sum of £5,000,000 was collected from us through the ports here and, allowing for the numbers of cattle that always went across the Border, there must have been robed from us something around £4,000,000, added to the £5,000,000, by reason of the traffic across the Border.

The, we had to meet the home market at these scrap-heap prices. The home market was always regarded as being about one-third of our total production. I heard an indication here to-day that there might be some inquiry to find out the extent of the losses, and I am prepared to sit down with anybody and amend my figures if I am shown to be wrong in respect of the amount of loss sustained by the people and the particular section of the people which had to bear it. Suppose it is one-third. Put it down at £3,000,000. That, with the £9,000,000, [1180] represents £12,000,000, and we had to meet the demands of the Irish Minister for Finance to the extent of £2,000,000. That makes between £14,000,000 and £15,000,000 we were paying for a debt of £2,900,000 which we owned the British. That was going on for three and a half years. What happened to right the position? The British did certain things, which came under five main heads, and none of them was done with any thought for the position here. They did these things merely to suit themselves. Minister here claimed that the prices to-day and last year were due to something they did and they went out at the last election saying to the people: “How do you think we did? Cattle are not so bad now. We did not do so badly after all.” That was the universal cry of their supporters, but what did save the position was that the British embarked on a scheme of Imperial defence, involving the expenditure of £1,500,000,000. Whether it bought healthy prosperity or permanent prosperity to England, it certainly brought prosperit for the time being and put the people in a position in which they could buy a better article than the Argentine and New Zealand chilled meat they had been having. They instituted a cattle bounty of 5/- per cwt. on beef produced in England and, in addition, they derated agricultural land. Not content with that, they admitted Argentine meat in under licence and they closed the Border to smuggling.

They did these five things, and these five things together brought about a position in this country in which the market improved, and improved immediately and steadily, especially when the smuggling was stopped, when this cut-throat competition was stopped and cattle going out of the country had to pay their share of the burden. Mind you, that was the time when tariffs were reduced from £6 to £4 5s. and whereas England collected £5,000,000. Is any further proof needed of the robbery the farmers of this country had to suffer for the first three and a half years of the economic [1181] war? There is no disguising the fact that England did not embark on her scheme of Imperial defence because of anything that happened here. We had no influence whatever on her actions and the cattle bounty was not instituted because of anything that happened here. It was instituted for the purpose of saving her farmers. It was done to save her farmers, because her farmers were going out of production altogether. Derating was done for the same purpose. The strongest argument of the lot was that they were letting in Argentine meat under licence. That was not done because of anything that was happening here. That is just one of the things which prove that she was absolutely indifferent to what was happening here. In the interests of common decency and order she closed the Border to smugglers. We have been living on charity. England's charity, although she did not mean it that way, was responsible for the comparative prosperity which has been here during the last two years, as compared with the other four. We have been living on charity, and the moment she chooses to change her policy down goes our house again. Only for what she did we would be selling cattle here at 35/- or £2 to-day as we were in 1934 and 1935; there would be no farmers in the country. There would be no farmers in the south where they were bearing all the burden—in the south ad the southwest and some of the midlands where there is the same type of farmer. It is a peculiar thing that the Minister and his Party did not go down the countr until about the middle of 1936.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  We went down in 1934.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  Under escort. You went down very seldom. Nobody ever heard of you. You went down when the English made the position here better, and then you gave yourselves credit for it. I do not say the people were not fooled. A lot of them were fooled. They did not see through it, and many of them to not see through it yet, but we hope the day will come when they [1182] will see through it. Light is dawning on a good many of them now. At the last election, as I said, you were taking the credit for yourselves. The people were being told, “The price of cattle has improved; we did not do so badly,” and the poor people of the country swallowed it, but they did not swallow it half as well as very much earlier int he campaign, when we had such a response in Monaghan and in Louth, in the counties where the smuggling was going on. Between 1932 and 1933 the Fianna Fáil poll in Louth jumped by 5,000 votes. The Minister for Finance was able to go down and tell them: “Look at the position we have gained.”

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Deputy must relate his history of the economic war to the Budget.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  I want to prove that somebody was getting fat at the expense of the people who bore the burden of the economic war.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Deputy is supposed to be dealing with the Budget for a particular year. He has spent 20 minutes dealing with the position that existed five or six years ago.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  My object is to appeal to the Minister to do something for the people who bore the brunt of the economic war, and I want to put before the Minister the exact figures, or as nearly as I can get them, of the burden that they bore. I submit, Sir, in that connection, that I am entitled to go a little bit outside this particular year's Budget.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  But not to deal with election speeches.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  I want to appeal to the Minister to try to think in terms of the country, and not in terms of the peculiar conditions that exist in the City of Dublin. I realise that the residents of Dublin are always thinking with the city mind. Dublin is not the country, and, while the country bore the effects of the economic war, Dublin City did not, or only to such a small [1183] extent that it was not noticeable. Dublin had resources which the rest of the country had not. I will try to enumerate them for the Minister for Finance. The City of Dublin is the seat of Government, and because it is the seat of Government money was continuously flowing into it. It had the salaries paid in connection with the sweeps; the rest of the country had not. It had all the money that was spent in the building trade and on the material used in the building trade. Dublin had, as it always had, the specialists' fees—medicine, law, dentistry and everything else. There were the huge excursions from the country—people coming in for drapery and other goods. There were five or six channels of wealth flowing into Dublin—in fact, flowing away from the rest of the country. The rest of the country was not in the favoured position which Dublin occupied because of those channels of wealth flowing into it. The Minister's speech here in connection with the Financial Agreement did give me hope that he had a different mentality from what he seemed to have formerly. Nobody can have anything but praise for the words he used here, for the sympathy and understanding which he seemed to express for our fellow-countrymen across the Border, and my hope is that the same understanding and the same sympathy might now be extended to his own people here, the residents of our own State who fought this economic war, who were in the trenches for six years. It might, of course, mean a little repentance for some of the things they did during that period. I do not know whether I would be in order in referring to them. I should like to refer to some of the things this Government did to help the people in the trenches. I should like to give the full history of the things they did. The only time we ever had a message from them during the black years up to 1935 was when the Black and Tans came around, the body that they recruited—

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Deputy might wisely pass over those irrelevant matters.

[1184]Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  It is very hard to pass over them.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  Possibly for the Deputy.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  I am appealing to the Minister for repentance——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  I understood the Deputy to be appealing for financial assistance for the farmers.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  That is what I mean. We will take his repentance in the form of financial assistance.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  The best sign of repentance is the amendment of their lives.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  I will never forget the act of an Executive Council who evidently sat down at a table, coolly and calmly, and decided upon the formation of those Black and Tans——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  That is not in order. I presume the Deputy desires to make an appeal to the Minister. He may lose his opportunity of doing so.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  I am trying to confine myself to a statement of facts in connection with the position. I have advanced very little proof; I do not want to delay the House very long. I have merely confined myself to a statement of facts. If the Minister is in that frame of mind of which he gave an indication here a few weeks ago, perhaps he would see his way to set up a committee. We do not want to sponge on the people. We do not want to be pensioners, but, as we were soldiers in the front line trenches, we want at least fair play. We know that the policy of this Government and of the last Government was to pension everybody who gave service to the State, to help everybody who gave service to the State, and the only service some of them gave was to rob banks. They might have felled a few trees or gone a mile or two on a bicycle after supper, but they got a pension. Some of them are in the Seanad to-day, and [1185] the only thing they did was to rob banks.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Deputy should not make such a charge against members of either House, even without naming them. His remarks are most disorderly.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  I am sorry, but how can you suppress facts? I always confine myself to facts.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  If the Deputy wishes to make those charges outside he is free to do so, but he must not make accusations under privilege of the House.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  The reason I have not gone in for a lot of proof of all the statements I have made is that I hoped the Minister would give an opportunity to a committee or somebody to examine the position. They are so obvious and apparent to me that I think they must be apparent to everybody in the House and in the country. They are apparent to every man in the cattle trade and to every producer who produced the taxable articles and who had to bear the whole brunt of the economic war. I thought the thing was so obvious that it did not need proof. As I said, I think the Minister deserves a lot of credit for the changed mentality and the sympathy and understanding with which he referred to our countrymen over the Border, and it is not too much to expect the same thing for our people here.

With regard to the price of cattle, the legitimate trader regulated the price here by the price he could pay. The other fellow paid a bit more, but the irregular and illegitimate trader regulated the price in Great Britain at which our people had to sell. There can be no doubt that this competition over the Border, which the Government did nothing to stop, robbed the people of this country of an amount which nobody could calculate and pulled down the whole cattle trade to such a point that the English producers who bought our calves and young cattle appealed through their Farmers' [1186] Union and their agricultural papers for an embargo on cattle coming out of Ireland and they got the quota. What that did in addition to this competition will never be accurately known, but there is no doubt at all about its effect. When that disappeared, as much money was collected from the smaller tariff on the younger cattle as was collected when we were shipping 600,000 cattle. I have here the figures from their own returns. They can be seen any time. If I can be of any help, I should like to thresh out this matter, not from a Party point of view, but in the interest of the people who suffered loss and whom the State ought to see put right. The State ought to go part of the road anyway to restoring these people to their former position, as lots of them have been reduced to beggary.

I saw an appeal the other day for recognition of what workers in Dublin had lost during the economic war. We have nothing to say to their position because it improved vastly since the economic war started. It was the other way about with them during the economic war. I have nothing to say to that now because it is not pertinent to this. Anyway we are looking forward to a new era now that this thing is settled and I should like Ministers to face up to the position and deal with facts fairly and squarely and not be trying to camouflage and disguise facts. The speech of the Minister for Industry and Commerce was directed to the disguising and camouflaging of facts. Sometimes the Minister for Agriculture indulges in the same kind of speech. That is not worthy of the office of Minister. It is painful to see the office degraded by this method of dealing with facts. It seems to me that they have reduced it to a fine art, somewhat similar to the art of the thimble-rigger who is able to disguise the pea. I hope that page in our history will be turned over and that we will leave more than the economic war and bad relations with England behind us: that we will leave behind us bad relations with each other and that we will treat each other fairly.

Deputy Moore in his speech [1187] expressed a certain type of mind. His reference to derating was based on the fact that there are big and little farmers in this country. His speech would have been a good speech ten or 15 years ago when nothing was done. Very little remains to be done now. When he makes a distinction between the 20 acre farmer and the 50 and 60 acre farmer I think it is unworthy of any Government to consider the matter from that angle. If the land problem is not settled, that is the fault of the previous Government and of this Government. All the land in the country is agricultural land and it ought to get the same treatment. We are tired of this game of playing one man against another and it is time that it was ended. For people to be trying to get into office or to become T.D.'s on the strength of that type of policy is a disgrace to this country whose people used to be honourable people. I hope we have heard the last of it and that we will go back to the position we occupied 25 years ago.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  I think the House and the country will be very thankful to Deputy Gorey for his few minutes of frankness anyhow. He has just told us what this Government and this Party have been telling the people for a good number of years. His most outstanding admission was that in 1932, 1933, and 1934 the British people were so poor that they were not able to pay an economic price for Irish agricultural produce.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  What about the £6 per head they had to pay?

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  He told us that in these years they had to eat inferior frozen meat from the Argentine and other countries. But in the year 1935 the British Government decided to spend the large sum of £1,500,000,000 on Imperial defence, and as a result of that huge expenditure the British people were enabled to pay a decent price for the superior produce that we produce here. I think that is the most damaging statement from the [1188] point of view of Deputy Gorey's Party ever made in this country. We are delighted for once to hear such an admission from Deputy Gorey, and I hope his Party will not be too hard on him for making it. Certainly it is a very good statement from the Fianna Fáil point of view, because it justifies and bears out everything that the Fianna Fáil Government have said during the last five years. He told us further that if in the morning the British Government changed their policy down would go the price of Irish produce on the British market.

Mr. O'Leary: Information on Daniel O'Leary  Zoom on Daniel O'Leary  But have we not got alternative markets?

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  Deputy Gorey should spend half-an-hour or an hour lecturing the Fine Gael Party every week and then we will have more unity in this House and be able to get on much better and do much more business. He told us about the wealth in Dublin and one of the reasons he gave for that was the number of excursion trains that were run to Dublin every month to enable people to spend money in Dublin. He did not tell us the trains were empty. We assume there was somebody in the trains or they could not spend their money in Dublin. We take it that the people who came up here to spend money were people from the country. The story the Party opposite have been trying to put across on the people of the country for the last few years is that the people had no money. Now we have it from Deputy Gorey that they flocked in here to spend money in thousands, to enrich Dublin. Excursions had to be run to allow people to spend their surplus money.

A Deputy:  That was money they got from the banks.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  Special excursion trains had to be run to enable them to spend their surplus money in Dublin. I think Deputy Gorey is certainly being educated, and I hope he will educate the Fine Gael Party. I think this House, and the country as a whole, should be thankful to Deputy Gorey for [1189] telling the truth for once in his life. It is about time we heard it from the Fine Gael Benches. I hope Deputy Bennett and others will get up later and tell the House a few more truths. The economic war is over now, and he cannot take it as a subject any longer, but he can tell us, as Deputy Gorey has just told us—and it will be on the records of this House for evermore— that it was owing to the poverty of the British people in 1932 and 1934 that the price of Irish agricultural produce was so low, and that there has been an improvement in the last few years owing to the fact that the British Government embarked on a large-scale armament programme, and are spending a huge amount of money on it. I listened very attentively to Deputy Gorey for the last half hour, and I did not hear one suggestion from him as to how the farmer might be helped in the future. He talked about smuggling and smugglers. He must know something about it.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  I do, and a man in your Party is mixed up in it, too.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  I think every Deputy in this House came to the conclusion that you knew a lot more about smuggling than you told the House.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  A lot, and I can prove it.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  We shall be glad to hear it.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  I could tell you a lot more if the Leas-Cheann Comhairle would let me.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  No. The Deputy can deal with it elsewhere, but not here.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  On Friday last Deputy Dillon, who speaks on every subject in this House, contributed to this debate on the Budget. A big portion of his speech referred to the necessity for relieving farmers of some of the taxation which they have to bear at present. The only suggestion he could make was that agricultural holdings should be derated, and the only hope of bringing about derating is by way [1190] of extra taxation. He did not put forward a single suggestion of how he could relieve the country of any of its present taxation. He did not tell us how to find the £1,500,000 to bring about derating. Deputy Dillon's only suggestion was to scrap beet. The growing of beet, he said, was a “cod,” and he is going to scrap that “cod,” as a means of derating agricultural land. I hope he will go around the country and tell the people how he hopes to get the money to derate the land. I hope that Deputy Gorey will be able to defend that proposal of Deputy Dillon and stand over it in his own constituency.

Deputy Dillon is the vice-leader of that Party. On many occasions I have seen him lead that Party, against the will of many members of it, into the Division Lobby on various issues. I am sure that if Deputy Dillon in his wisdom decided to scrap beet, he will lead the Party opposite into the Division Lobby to have beet scrapped and to have derating financed as a result of the scrapping of the growing of beet in this country. I hope members of the Party opposite who do not agree with him will have the courage to stand up to him and repudiate him. Deputy Gorey made an effort to do that to-day. He does not agree with them apparently in that. We all know that any sensible Deputy who knows anything about the growing of beet would not agree to the scrapping of that policy. Deputy Dillon will also scrap wheat-growing, and Senator Baxter will scrap the milch cows. He thinks that there are too many in the country and that it is not economic to produce butter for the British market owing to the number of cows in the country at the moment.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  That statement was not made here.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  It was not made here, but it was made in one of the Houses of the Oireachtas. I am just referring to it in passing.

Mr. O'Leary: Information on Daniel O'Leary  Zoom on Daniel O'Leary  Is it not as natural as your policy of killing the calves?

[1191]Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  I thoroughly agreed with the policy of killing the calves at the time it was enforced. I just mention the statement of Senator Baxter to indicate what the policy of the Party opposite is on agriculture. We have now a full outline of what their agricultural policy is. I am sure they are now trying to formulate a new policy, and we have a few heads of that policy. They are going to derate agricultural land. They are going to cease growing beet and wheat. There is £2,000,000 invested in that industry. Has Deputy Dillon or Deputy Gorey ever thought—

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  Your white elephants.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  How do they propose to liquidate the amount invested in the factories?

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  Put the white elephants in the Zoo.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  And put Deputy Gorey as keeper to mind them. Where will you get the £2,000,000 to liquidate the beet factories?

Mr. Fagan: Information on Charles Fagan  Zoom on Charles Fagan  And the Roscrea factory.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  Will they impose further taxation or will they raise it by loan? We should have some indication from Deputy Gorey and Deputy Dillon as to where they will get the £2,000,000 to liquidate the present beet industry. I am sure Deputies who come from counties where the beet factories are situated will have something to say on that matter. We are glad now to have had such a frank statement from Deputy Gorey as we heard a few moments ago. We know now, and the country knows, why the price of agricultural produce was so low for the last couple of years. We have it from the lips of Deputy Gorey that it was because of the poverty of the British people. They could not pay for our superior agricultural produce and they had to use the inferior produce they bought from other countries! That was the reason why our farmers did not get a fair price or an economic price for what they produced for the last three years. The Deputy further [1192] warned the House and the country that if the British Government changed their policy and if poverty reigned supreme in that country, we will possibly have the same conditions again.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  We will go back to 1931.

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  That is perfectly true.

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  The farmers now need never go back to 1931 in one respect at least. That is, they have been relieved of £1,700,000 in land annuities which they will never have to pay in future.

Mr. Fagan: Information on Charles Fagan  Zoom on Charles Fagan  As long as grass grows and water flows.

Mr. O'Leary: Information on Daniel O'Leary  Zoom on Daniel O'Leary  What about their rates? How long will they continue to pay their present annuities?

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  Until the land is fully purchased. The Deputy knows that. It is embodied in the Land Acts and is the law. That £1,700,000 is a far greater sum than would derate the agricultural land. As Deputy Moore pointed out, the proposal made means that the man with one acre or the man who has not an acre would be paying towards derating land for people with 500 or 100 acres. The agricultural labourer who works for a farmer with 100 acres would be asked to contribute towards derating that land. That is the derating policy of the Fine Gael Party. We want to have their policy explained in black and white, to know whether the workers and the small farmers are to pay for others. There are many more farmers with valuations of £30 and £20 than with valuations of £100. This Government and Party will never stand over a policy whereby labourers and small farmers would have to pay to derate agricultural land belonging to large landholders.

Mr. McGovern: Information on Patrick Gregory McGovern  Zoom on Patrick Gregory McGovern  What about their promises?

Mr. Allen: Information on Denis Allen  Zoom on Denis Allen  We will take good care to see that the people understand the derating policy that is being [1193] advocated. I hope it will be fully explained by Opposition Deputies when they are advocating that policy. If they can bring forward no better policy for agriculture than one under which small farmers would be asked to contribute £1,250,000 extra to derate land for large landholders I advise them to drop it. It will not carry them far in the country. As they have been beaten as a Party from the political point of view, I warn them that such a policy will have no effect. If they have no better policy they will continue in the wilderness where they have been for the past five or six years.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  Deputy Moore began his speech by criticising Deputy Dillon, but he wound up by making exactly the same case as Deputy Dillon made for a measure of relief for farmers. I admit that Deputy Dillon made his case in a much more vigorous way. Nevertheless, I am very glad that Deputy Moore made a case for the relief of agriculture. It only shows that Deputy Moore is thinking in exactly the same way as Deputies on this side, and, I am sure, many other Deputies on the Government Benches. In any event, it is an indication that the members of the Fianna Fáil Party are keenly alive to the situation in the country, and will use their influence in a quiet way, I assume, in bringing pressure to bear on the Minister to do something more practical and more tangible than is proposed in the Budget we are discussing. Deputy Moore appeared to be somewhat squeamish about obtaining relief, and about Deputy Dillon's suggestion that certain debts should be liquidated. I do not propose to deal with Deputy Dillon's statement, because I know very little about the industry that was referred to, but I assure Deputy Moore that long before the period to which he referred, and before this Government took control, the confidence of this State was established so securely and so firmly that it has emerged triumphantly, notwithstanding the shocks of the last five or six years. Surely it is our duty to discuss internal policy in this House without, as Deputy Moore seems to suggest, interfering with the confidence of the State.

[1194] Deputy Moore made one statement which appears to me to have been so novel that I should like if some of his colleagues on the Fianna Fáil Benches referred to it. The statement was that some official of the Department of Agriculture had advocated that turnips were not a suitable crop for this country at all. I was dumbfounded at that statement. I felt that if it had been made by an official, he was not worthy to hold a position in the Department of Agriculture. After all, it is only an indication that Deputy Moore spends much more of his time in the urban part of his constituency than in the rural part, because, if he were well acquainted with the rural parts, and knew the feelings amongst farmers, he would not make such an absurd statement. Deputy Allen, I am afraid, is not a success in the rôle of humorist. I have no doubt that his speech was, to some extent, inspired by the Minister, because of remarks made by Deputy Gorey. Deputy Allen is not such a novice as not to know that the price at which we sell in the British market is regulated by world conditions.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  It is regulated more by the demand in the British market, and the Deputy knows that.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  It is subject to world conditions, but they vary just as the amount of money spent in England varies if the outlook with regard to expenditure is conservative or not. Coming to the Budget, I must confess that I was sincerely disappointed because I thought, by virtue of the Agreement recently concluded with Great Britain, that the Minister would have reacted to the favourable atmosphere thereby created by introducing what I might call a recovery Budget. Instead of that, we find that taxation, which is already abnormally high, is to be slightly higher during the present year and that no concession, no matter how little, has been made to those who bore the brunt of the recent struggle, and who will certainly bear the marks of it for a long time. When listening to the Minister's statement I wondered was he [1195] really alive to conditions here at all, or if he had any true conception of the hardship and suffering that had been endured by large numbers of people during the last five years. If I closed my eyes I could have imagined that the Budget was one designed for a country recking with prosperity, and not for a country that had just emerged from a rather exhausting struggle, which had, to some extent, sapped its vitality and undermined its strength. Nowhere in the Budget statement could I find any recognition whatever of the necessity of scaling down taxation, and of giving some relief to the people whether merchants, shopkeepers, professional men, farmers or labourers who had suffered during the last few years, by giving them an opportunity to repair their losses and to take advantage of the new situation created by the recent Agreement. We know perfectly well that after any war, whether waged for military or for economic purposes, there is bound to be a difficult aftermath, with trade dislocation and depression, and during such a period the people are undoubtedly entitled to some form of relief from the Government, in order to readjust the machinery of economic existence to the new set of conditions. In my view, at least, one of the most effective ways of giving assistance to the people under such conditions is to scale down the load of taxation and, in other directions as well, to try to facilitate the people. The Prime Minister and the Minister for Industry and Commerce in their speeches in both Houses of the Oireachtas on this Settlement admitted quite frankly that it will take quite a long time before trade resumes its normal channels, that the period of recovery will be slow and painful and that there is no immediate prospect of any bettering of the conditions of the people as a whole. Surely under these circumstances and especially in a Budget such as this, the Minister should have done something, if it were only as a gesture to the people, towards bringing down the scale of taxation somewhat [1196] and affording other reliefs in various other directions as well.

It is very amusing to hear the Minister ask the House or the Opposition to point out to him in what directions it is possible for him to make reductions and to economise. The Minister has asked that question so often during the last five or six years that it is now becoming almost boring.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  It is still without an answer.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  It is very amusing that the Minister should really ask such a question. The Minister will recall that when his Party were in opposition in this House they were then the arch-economists but, since the Fianna Fáil Party have become the Government of this country, they have become the daring spendthrifts and, after the Government themselves have set an example of extravagance they now ask the Opposition to tell them in what direction it is possible for them to economise. Surely everybody will recognise that the greater the spending the greater the demand and the Government have reiterated that there is a desire amongst the people as a whole for expenditure on a large scale. It was inevitable that new demands and new desires would be created in consequence, that there would be an ever increasing demand for expenditure in various other new and novel directions. But, it was the Minister and the Government themselves that set the bad example and it is their duty now to help to get away from the bad example they have set and to scale down expenditure to a level commensurate with the ability of the people to meet it. The fact that this country is taxed beyond its capacity is apparent on all sides and even apart from the official returns altogether. If the Minister wants any evidence on that let him go down the country and get in contact with the local bank managers. Let him get in contact with the local shopkeepers and traders who are in our towns and cities. Let him even try and acquaint himself with the ordinary everyday experiences of Deputies in this House. [1197] I think myself there is one signal, or at least there is evidence which, I think, is really more important than any other evidence that can be adduced in support of my contention that this country is overtaxed, and that is the position with regard to the payment of Land Commission annuities. On the 31st January of last year, notwithstanding the fact that four years ago the Land Commission annuities were halved, there was an amount of over £1,200,000 outstanding. After four years, that was the accumulated arrear of unpaid Land Commission annuities, whereas, prior to 1931, the arrear, in fact, the standing arrear, of unpaid Land Commission annuities was somewhere about £400,000, and during those years the people were paying the full amounts.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Did the Deputy say prior to 1931?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  1931 and the years prior to it—during the lifetime of the last Government.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  During the lifetime of the last Government?

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  Yes. The average was about £400,000 and during that period the farmers of this country were paying the full amount of the annuities. In 1933 the annuities were reduced by half and, notwithstanding that reduction, we find at the 31st January of this year that there is an unpaid arrear of over £1,200,000.

Mr. L. Walsh: Information on Laurence Joseph Walsh  Zoom on Laurence Joseph Walsh  Thanks to the advocacy of the Opposition.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  That is the surest, the clearest and the most convincing indication, to my mind at least, of the fact that the people of this country are overtaxed.

There is another indication that was mentioned by Deputy Cosgrave in the course of his speech. It is contained in a return issued last week by the Department of Industry and Commerce which reveals that the live stock in this country has depreciated even during the last three or four years. Naturally, because the farmers were unable [1198] to hold their live stock; they had to sell out their live stock in order to meet the demands for annuities, for rates, for shop-bills and the ordinary household charges, with the result that every Deputy who represents a country constituency knows perfectly well there are many farms in each of these constituencies that are to-day understocked, considerably understocked. Some of them are three-quarters stocked, some half-stocked, and others perhaps a little more than three-quarters stocked, and yet, the Minister, in the course of his Budget statement, boasts of the wonderful things he has done for the agricultural community. I forget his exact words at the moment. I hope I am quoting the Minister correctly because I do not wish to misquote him on such an important matter. He said in the course of his statement, at all events, that everything that had been taken out of agriculture had been put back into it.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Was being put back —would now go back into it.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  Would now be put back! I wonder was he quite serious?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Quite.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  Or was he having a joke at the expense of the poor farmers, or what sort of farmers had he in mind when he made that silly and nonsensical statement? Does the Minister seriously suggest that this Budget proposes to make any restitution of the money taken out of the farmers' pockets during the last five or six years? Surely there is no indication in any part of this Budget that it is the Minister's intention to make any restitution, this year at least, of the money taken from the farmers of this country.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  The Deputy is misreading that statement.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  Very well. During the six years—during the years this economic struggle has lasted, the farmers of this country have been taxed—the people of this country as a whole— about £4,000,000 odd more than they [1199] were taxed during the six preceding years. In taxation alone they have paid an extra amount approximating to £21,000,000, apart from the losses on their export trade, the increase in rates, the increased prices that they have had to pay for the raw materials of industry, for the machinery for the production of their crops.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  The Deputy ought to reconcile the two statements he has just made.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I cannot very well hear what the Minister is saying.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  £21,000,000 over six years does not average out £6,000,000 a year.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I did not say £6,000,000. I said £4,000,000—approximately £4,000,000.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  The Deputy's leaders said £6,000,000.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  As against all these increases, the farmer during at least the first three or four years of the economic struggle had to sell his cattle, his products, in very many cases 50 per cent. less than the actual world price.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  The farmer does not pay the whole £4,000,000.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  Is the Minister quite serious in making a silly statement of that kind?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Of course.

Mr. Roddy: Information on Martin Roddy  Zoom on Martin Roddy  I know perfectly well the Minister is anxious to justify himself in the eyes of the farmers of this country, but does the Minister seriously think that a statement of that kind is likely to justify himself, or his policy, or the policy of his Government in the eyes of the farmers by virtue of all they have suffered and lost during the last five or six years? As I said at the outset, I was very glad that there was at least one member of the Fianna Fáil Party who had the courage to make the same case as Deputy Dillon made for the agriculturists in this country. There is no [1200] question whatever about it that they are in need of assistance, financial assistance, and that it will be utterly impossible for them to get back into full production unless the Minister is prepared to go to their assistance and provide some credit facilities for them.

If the farmers are to get back into full production within a reasonable time it is essential that there should be a scaling down of taxation—a scaling down not merely of national taxation, but of local taxation as well. Mark you, the impact of the rates on the farmers just now is as bad as was the impact of the annuities. So long as the Minister pursues his policy with regard to social services, and so long as the local authorities are forced to borrow money for social service schemes, I do not see any possibility of the rates being brought down to a lower level than they are at present. In fact, to my mind the tendency is an upward one; that upward tendency is bound to remain so long as the Minister pursues his present policy of social services. In my deliberate view the country is not getting full value at all for the money spent on social services. I do not believe that the Minister or any Government Minister has yet devised such an efficient organisation behind the expenditure of these moneys as will ensure that the country will be given full value for the money spent. Money is being squandered in certain directions rather foolishly. Money is being squandered on social service schemes that are really unnecessary. I admit that some of these schemes may be absolutely essential. We want from the social service point of view in this country to become as modern as other European countries. But my point is this, that we are going too fast. We should scale down expenditure to the level of the ability of the ordinary ratepayer and taxpayer to pay for it. I say to the Minister, and to the other members of the Government as well, that it is his duty to bring down national and local taxation. I ask the Minister to ensure that when these large sums of money are being spent on social service [1201] schemes that he will have such an organisation behind the expenditure as will ensure to the country full value for the money expended. I do believe there is a lack of due attention given to this side of the business. When we were discussing the Vote for the Local Government Services I drew attention to that matter, and so did other Deputies. I could quote instances, even in my own constituency, of where value is not being given for the money expended.

Notwithstanding what the Minister says, I do believe that it is possible to cut down expenditure and at the same time secure the same results. The same is true of expenditure in connection with other Departments, especially the Land Commission. I know that the Minister for Lands dealt at great length with the expenditure under the head of improvements to estates. I have said on many occasions in this House, and I say it now again, that I am not yet convinced that the country is getting full value for the money spent. It is the duty of the Minister for Finance to ensure that there is such an organisation behind expenditure as will guarantee to the taxpayers as a whole that the money is spent to the best possible advantage. These matters require to be inquired into and examined. They are important matters and because they are so they undoubtedly do affect the rates. The local rates are now becoming a greater drain on the farmers of this country than the annuities ever were.

Judging by the Minister's statement, and from what I read this morning in one of the papers, there is no question about it that a very high importance is to be attached to the transfer of the ports from the point of view of expenditure. The upkeep of these ports and the modernising of them will cost enormous sums of money. According to what I read this morning, if it is true, it is difficult to know how many millions of money we will be forced to spend on rearmament. I think that is the proper word to use. As we are joining up with other nations we must spend money on rearmament on the same grand scale. [1202] If we are obliged to expend enormous sums of money for the purpose of modernising these ports then the Minister must admit that at least the effects of the Financial Settlement have been to a large extent negatived.

Down the country, the opinion amongst the ordinary citizens is that some of this expenditure is being embarked on really for the purpose of making England safe from invasion, because to the mind of the ordinary person it is not very evident why we, a small nation, should go in for very big schemes of expenditure of that nature. Neither is it evident what national, financial or practical value we are to derive from it. I suggest that the Minister should take the House into his confidence, and give it some idea, however remote it might be, of the probable cost involved in the maintenance, upkeep, and modernising of these ports; whether, after all, we are only at the beginning of this heavy expenditure; and whether, as the time goes on, we will have to undertake responsibility for the upkeep, modernising and equipment of other ports as well. There is a great deal of anxiety in the minds of a number of persons in this particular direction. I suggest to the Minister, in his own interests, in the interests of his Government, and in the interests of the House, that he should deal as fully as possible with that question when he is replying. I can quite realise that the details have not as yet been worked out, and that possibly he may not be able to give information of a great deal of value at the present stage. Nevertheless, he will probably be able to give some information which will have the effect at least of allaying the apprehensions which undoubtedly exist in the minds of the citizens at present.

Mr. J.P. Kelly: Information on James Patrick Kelly  Zoom on James Patrick Kelly  This Budget has been referred to as a featureless Budget. It was so referred to, I suppose, because of the fact that it imposed no new burdens upon the people. Income-tax has not been increased, nor has there been any duty imposed on any article. It was generally accepted that, as a result of the commitments under the recent Agreement, some extra taxes would [1203] be imposed. I think the people of the country were relieved when they heard it was such a featureless Budget, and that the position stood “as you were.” I think the Minister deserves congratulations on being in a position to introduce a Budget such as this. The criticisms to which we have listened from the Opposition Benches in the course of this debate were mostly directed to a history of the economic war period. It was mostly reiteration of the speeches we have been listening to here for the last five or six years.

The only point that has been put forward against the Budget is that it does not make full provision for securing all the benefits that can be derived from the recent Agreement by the farming community. The market which we have secured now for the farmers is the market we have been asked for during the past five or six years by the Opposition. We were told that if we had that market back the farmers would be rolling in prosperity in a very short time, that the country would be very prosperous. We are now told that it is absolutely essential that we should have a system of derating for agricultural holding if we are to derive full benefit from the Agreement. I would be very glad if agricultural holdings were relieved of all charges. But we have to face facts; we have to decide whether it is for the benefit of agriculture and of the country generally that such a revolutionary change should be made.

Deputy Gorey does not like to play off the small farmers against the large farmer. Members of his Party are continually referring to the small farmer, the man with £20 valuation, as the man who most needs attention. If we take such a man in my own county, he has to meet a rate of 8/3 on such a holding. That would amount to £8 5s. in the year. That man would get an agricultural grant of £4 14s. 2d., leaving him to pay in rates a sum of £3 10s. 10d. There is nobody here who would suggest that the amount of rates paid by that small holder would make up the difference between starvation and opulence in the case of [1204] himself and his family. Of course, very little would help in a small farm; I admit that. The point has been made that the large landholder would secure greater benefits from derating. Of course, that is so. The large landholder has his land mostly in fee and he is not paying annuities.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  What is that?

Mr. J.P. Kelly: Information on James Patrick Kelly  Zoom on James Patrick Kelly  When he would get his rates abolished he would have no charges on his land. Deputies here do not hold that the farmer should be relieved of all charges on his land. It quite evident that if you have a system of derating you must have some contribution from the farming community towards social services. That money can only be got in through the medium of a land tax, or something amounting to a land tax. To me it appears that the system of getting in the rates, the system that obtains at the moment, is less objectionable than the collection of a land tax.

Against derating we have the argument that Deputy Cosgrave's Government set up a commission to inquire into derating and to determine whether or not it would be practicable. The commission reported against derating, and Deputy Cosgrave and his Government accepted that position and did not go ahead with their scheme. To-day Deputy Cosgrave tells us that the commission's report was not accepted, because it would entail extra taxation if derating were put into force. He said that industry was not in a very prosperous condition then. I wonder is that an admission from Deputy Cosgrave that industry is now in a very prosperous position after six years of Fianna Fáil administration? Is it an admission that industry is now able to bear the tax that would be imposed upon it for derating and that it was unable to bear when he was in power? I think this question of derating might very well be dropped by the Opposition. If they get into power again on this question of derating, if the farmers are foolish enough to believe all the Opposition say and put them in again——

[1205]Mr. Bennett: Information on George Cecil Bennett  Zoom on George Cecil Bennett  The same as they did to you.

Mr. J.P. Kelly: Information on James Patrick Kelly  Zoom on James Patrick Kelly  ——the same thing as happened before would happen again: Deputy Cosgrave would set up another commission to inquire into derating, and the commission's report would show them to be of the same opinion.

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  Ho do you know?

Mr. J.P. Kelly: Information on James Patrick Kelly  Zoom on James Patrick Kelly  He would have no guarantee that their minds have changes and, consequently, he would be in the same position and he would be bound to abide by their decision. Farming was always in need of assistance. It was not only during the last five or six years that the farmers needed help. They needed it just as much when the last Government was in power. Farming needs attention just the same as other services in the country. It needs the attention of the Government, and I hold that the members of this Government have not been unmindful of the position of the farmers. They will give them the assistance that is best calculated to benefit them. It is not merely what the Opposition think should be given, but what the Government deem most suitable for the farmers—that is, what they will give to them. Of course, we are always asked where the money is to be got. Deputy Roddy told us this evening that we could scale down the social services. I hold entirely different views on that matter. The social services here were for many years neglected, and we are now making up leeway, and I think an impartial observer in the country will acknowledge the fact that we have made great headway during the last few years in placing our social services in such a position that we can be proud of them.

We cannot, of course, interfere with any of the services for which we are directly responsible. We cannot, for instance, stop our housing drive. I do not suppose any Deputy in opposition would ask us to do that. Until we place our people in employment we cannot stop unemployment assistance. We cannot cease turf development, [1206] land division schemes, nor can we drop any of our pensions schemes. Deputy Dillon hinted that there could be savings in administration, but I do not quite agree. So far as administration is concerned, I know that extra inspectors were taken in for the purpose of land division. Extra money is being spent on land division, on the improvement of land. All that is necessary. It is for the good of the country and the uplifting of the people. In connection with housing, we have had to sent inspectors around and we could not interfere with that particular service now. When we got into power the housing conditions in the country were simply a disgrace. We have introduced several new services for which votes have been passed under the various Acts. We are certainly spending money, but I hold that it is money well spent and that the people will not regret spening.

Deputy Dillon said he believed the money for derating could be got by economies in the administrative expenses of various Departments. He said, however, that if the Minister said No,—that it would dislocate the ordinary working of the schemes—then it would be good policy to derive the necessary revenue from sugar. He says that it would pay well to derate the land of the country by winding up the sugar experiment. That statement has not been repudiated by his Party, and consequently we here on these benches have to take it as being the policy that has been outlined by them. Deputy Dillon could not face his constituents and tell them that his Party would scrap any of the social services, because he knows very well the people wold have better sense than to stand for that. He says that it would be quite possible to effect the saving necessary for derating by closing down the sugar industry. It appears to me that the saving suggested is not based upon fact.

The money that is invested in the been industry is one matter. Then we would have a number of people who are directly employed in that industry, [1207] working on the land, tilling the beet and transporting it to the factory, as well as the men who are working in the factory—you would have all these people unemployed and placed on the unemployment register, and, consequently, we would be placed in the position of having to vote further sums of money here for our Unemployment Fund to meet the situation that would arise in these places. Deputy Dillon does not say what sum that would be. Then, again we would have the farmers who are growing beet at the moment, turning their attention to some other form of agricultural pursuit, and the Government would be placed in the position of having to subsidise some of that stuff going into the British market, and, that being so, the £800,000 subsidy which we are now, in this Budgetm, devoting to subsidies for the export of agricultural produce, would have to be increased; so that the money Deputy Dillon claims would be secured as a result of closing down the sugar factory is mythical.

Deputy Dillon says that he did not consult the Deputies of his own Party upon this matter. I think it is quite evident that he did not consult his constituents in County Monaghan, and I put it to him—I am sorry he is not in the House—that 90 per cent. of the farmers of County Monaghan would willingly accept a beet factory to-morrow morning if such were made available for them. I go further and say that 90 per cent. of them would be willing to forego derating if a beet factory were to be erected in a neighbouring country. Of course, Deputy Dillon went somewhat further. e said that there should be a closing down of other factories. He did not tell us how many people were directly or indirectly employed in these factories. Of course, it is quite easy to find out how many are directly employed in these industries but the Deputy would be well advised to make some calculation as to the number of people who are indirectly employed through the existence of industries in this country. Very lightly he speaks of scrapping the sugar industry. He does not calculate the number of people that are indirectly employed. Then he speaks of closing [1208] down the alcohol factories. He speaks of a number of other industries which he claims should be closed down. Well, now, we have tradesmen, we have shopkeepers, we have shop asistants—a whole string of people in this country —depending for their existence, either in whole or in part, one one or other industry. There would certainly be repercussive effect of the scrapping of any one industry in this country, and the Deputy should bear in mind the penetration of industry into the lives and the ordinary every-day work of our people.

I think, too, that the attainment of self-sufficiency of any one industry in this country is a matter of great achievement and, of course, at no time except in war time would that be properly appreciated here. Deputies will remember how we had sugar doled out during the period of the great war. That could not happen again so long as we are making our own sugar here. We do not want to see that position created again in case there is another outside war. I think it should be a primary law in this country to grow all our own foodstuffs, to be self-sufficient so far as foodstuffs are concerned, and to provide as much as possible of the raw material necessary for these industries.

Dr. O'Higgins: Information on Dr Thomas Francis O'Higgins Snr.  Zoom on Dr Thomas Francis O'Higgins Snr.  The white elephants are getting popular again.

Mr. Kelly:  Deputy Dillon tells us that we should examine the tariff lists and find out the number of industries that are not turning out good material at an economic price and giving good employment of decent wages. I think that the watchful eye of the Prices Commission should be quite sufficient for Deputy Dillon, and that any examination he could give to the tariff lists would not lead us to a better position. An examination by Deputy Dillon would mean the scrapping of a number of our industries. An examination by the Prices Commission does not necessarily mean the scrapping of such industries. It might mean that where the prices charges were found to be too high there would have to be reorganisation of the industry concerned, but it certainly [1209] would not mean its closing down. There are difficulties to be overcome in all industries. We know that there may be managerial difficulties and a certain amount of inexperience for the first couple of years in new industries. Instead of looking down the tariff list to find out what industries should be scrapped, we should try to help those industries in every way possible. We do not stand for inefficiency, but a certain amount of help would be bound to be given. Deputy Dillon, however, goes further and states that people are becoming exasperated because commodities are being forced upon them that they do not want. It is irresponsible statements, coming from a responsible Deputy such as the Vice-Leader of the Opposition Party, that cause upsetting influences inthe minds of prospective industrialists or investors here. We try to get other industries into the State, and statements such as that made by Deputy Dillon go far to upset the minds of those people.

I put it to Deputy Dillon that it is quite unfair to attack Irish industries as he has been attacking them for some time past. If he were an ordinary Deputy in the Opposition, it is possible that so much note would not be taken of such statements. I hold that we must maintain our existing industries. If they are not being run efficiently, then it is the duty of the Government to see that they are run efficiently. It will be the duty of the Government to assist the new industries that will be started, and then there will be growing pains in these new industries for some time, and it will be the duty of the Government to see that the industries will get over that period. The Budget makes allowances for all that and, further, I think that it gives Irish workmen and opportunity of earning their own livelihood at home, and that is a great thing it itself.

Further, it gives an opportunity to the workers of the country to prove that they are able to make any industry a success. We have our old established industries which enjoy a world-wide reputation. Their products [1210] are proof that Irishmen are not shoddy producers. We have made a name for ourselves and for our industries. Those who were at the Spring Show, held recently in Balls-ridge, must have been struck not only by the number of new industries that have been established, all of which were exhibiting their wares there, but at the remarkable degree of perfection which they have reached in the goods that they are producing. The majority of our industries are rapidly aproaching that high state of perfection which has ever been associated with Irish industries in the past. In the case of our old established industries, when one said that an article was of Irish manufacture that was a sufficient indication to people that it was perfect in quality and finish. Our new industries are rapidly reaching that stage, so that when people refer to their products it will be an indication that they are getting the hallmark of perfection. Since that is the position so far as our industries are concerned, I think it is quite unfair for Deputy Dillon to be constantly harping on this matter. He states that he wants to be constructive, but he certainly cannot become constructive by making irresponsible statements of the kind which we hear from him from time to time in this House.

I think that the strong feature of the Budget is that practically all the money that is being made available will be spent at home. The result of that will be to create new sources of wealth and greater possibilities for the expansion of our industries. The £800,000 subsidy which we are giving to the farmers for that portion of their produce that will be sent across to the English market, will go to the home producer and largely to the tillage farmer. That, in itself, will more than compensate for the lack of derating. As regards the £600,000 for the development of our ports about which we hear so much, all that money will be spent mainly at home. I am sure nobody would deny that we should take defence measures here so as to prevent outsiders from making this country a shambles should a big war take place. It is [1211] not necessary that we should spend a very big sum of money, but it is necessary that we should have regard for our people and our country, and make it clear to all concerned that we will not easily allow this country to be made a cock-pit in a European war. In addition, we will have the annuties about which Deputies on the Opposition Benches have talked so much during the last six years. The sum of money involved will be kept at home in the future. It will be a help to our industrial development because it will mean that we will have more money in circulation here.

That is the position with regard to the Budget, as I see it. It makes provision for all the social services that are required, and for some extra ores. The Budget may not have got any flash headlines in the newspapers; it may not be a spectacular Budget, but, nevertheless, I hold that it is a sound one. Sound finance has been the policy of this Government since it came into office. This Budget is a sound one, and I should be prepared to commend it to the people of the country as an honest one. It has been made deliberately so by the Minister for Finance. Every item has been laid bare, and there is nothing hidden. Of course, there is not one of us who would not welcome a reduction in taxation, if that were possible. It may be held that this country is paying too much for the services it provides, but I hold that we are getting value. I hold, further, that the people in the country are satisfied that they are getting value. Conditions are not yet normal, and will not be normal while we are endeavouring to make up the leeway that has been spoken of, and while it is necessary for us to run the extra social services that have been referred to. But, when we have our industries fully established; when they have reached their maximum output and the stage when they will not require any further assistance from the government; when it will not be necessary to make any provision for them in the Budget; when we have the slums cleared away and all the houses that [1212] we need erected in town and country; when we have our lands distributed and our improvement works completed, and especially when we have raised the standard of living of our people to the point that, all agree, is required, then the Minister for Finance will be in the position, having been relieved of all those extra charges that are due mainly to the fact that the previous Government did not do their duty in respect of these things, that he can present to the House and the country a Budget that will provide for a reduction in taxation.

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  Deputy Kelly might have added, “And when the cow calves I will pay my bill.” That used to be an old saying and a good one. In view of the fact that we are soon to have a by-election in the County Monaghan, let us have some consistency with regard to this Agreement. Deputy Kelly has told us that when the full benefits of it begin to flow the people of the country will be much better off than they are now.

Mr. Kelly:  Would the Deputy quote my words?

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  I cannot quote them verbatim.

Mr. Kelly:  It makes all the difference.

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  I inferred from what the Deputy said that when all the benefits of the Agreement begin to flow the country will be much better off than it is to-day.

Mr. Kelly:  Inferences are not always reliable.

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  There are no benefits then. Is that the Deputy's contention?

Mr. Kelly:  I am not contending anyting.

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  We cannot get any consistency. From the Government side you always get the request, “Please quote.” It is not good enough to say that a Deputy said so-and-so. You invariably get the [1213] request, “Please quote me.” There are benefits, or there are not, in this Agreement. Let us have it one way or the other. Personally, I believe there are benefits in it, and, further, I believe that they ought to be forthcoming. Like a lot of other people, I am disappointed that there is no evidence of them in the Budget.

So far as the agricultural community is concerned, I do not think that they are disappointed with the Minister for Finance, because I do not think they have had any faith in him at any time. I do not think that they have ever regarded either the Minister for Finance of the Minister for Industry and Commerce as friends of theirs. Neither Minister appears to understand the needs of agriculture. That is the impression they have left on people's minds every time they have endeavoured to express an opinion on agriculture. Their opinions were always at variance with the facts. Speaking here on Friday last, the Minister for Industry and Commerce said:

“The improvement will be welcome, but Deputies should not conclude that that improvement is necessarily going to mean any improvement in the position of our people generally, or a reduction of unemployment or any increase in the general level of prosperity.”

I wonder why we made the Agreement. After all the to-do about the Agreement, that is the opinion of the Minister for Industry and Commerce— that it will be of no use to anybody. Deputy Kelly mentioned a speech by Deputy Dillon on beet. Deputy Kelly said that the people in Monaghan or in any other county would welcome a beet factory if they could get it. We have no beet factory in Roscommon and we also would welcome a beet factory—at a price. It is all a question of price. Would not any farmer welcome a beet factory if he could get a price for his beet? What is the economic price of beet at present? Ask Deputy Corry what the price of beet is. Ask the beet factory people what the economic price of beet is. Deputy O'Reilly could make a good case for the growing of tobacco, provided [1214] the subsidy was sufficiently high. You can do anything by subsidy. It is a question of what the people are prepared to pay in subsidy and what is worth paying. Deputy Kelly said that a Derating Commission was set up by the late Government and that that commission found against derating. Why? Has Deputy Kelly or have any of the Deputies opposite ever read the report of the Derating Commission? It would be very enlightening if they did.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Has the Deputy read it?

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  He has. What did that commission find? One of the things they found was that farming at that time was in a state of comparative prosperity, that farmers' deposits in the banks and thrift accounts were more than comparable with those of any other section of people in the State, that the agricultural community had not gone through any period of distress which would entitle them to consideration beyond other members of the community. Is that the position to-day?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I say it is and I should like to hear the Deputy controvert that.

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  The Minister does not agree that the farmers were in the front-line trenches?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I said no ore than I said.

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  Do not say any more if you take my advice.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  So far as the farmers' deposit accounts and thrift accounts are concerned, the farmers are in the same position as any other section of the community.

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  At the time the commission sat, the farmers had not passed through any period of depression which would entitle them to consideration beyond other members of the community. Is that so to-day? No. The [1215] Minister knows perfectly well that it is not so.

Mr. Victory: Information on James Victory  Zoom on James Victory  Frozen debts.

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  I am not talking about frozen debts. I am talking about what the farmers have gone through since Fianna Fáil came into power. Deputy Kelly said that if another Derating Commission was set up, they would not change their mind. See how easily the Minister for Finance, the Taoiseach, and all the members the Government changed their minds.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  In regard to what?

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  In regard to the London Agreement.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  There is no change of mind there.

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  Did anybody ever see such a change in any Government or in any Parliament?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  We have been working to get that Agreement since 1932.

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  The Minister for Finance in 1932, 1933 and 1934 was a different man from what he is to-day. The Government have changed their minds completely. The British market at that time was not worth seeking. The Minister for Finance endeavoured, at that time, to explain away the statement of the then President, Deputy de Valera, that the British market was gone, and gone for ever. Does the Minister remember that?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I challenge the Deputy to produce any record of that alleged statement.

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  At that time, the Minister's idea, as expressed in this House, was that the British market was not worth looking for.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I challenge the Deputy to produce the record of any statement by me of that kind.

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  I could produce hundreds [1216] of quotations from speeches by the Minister to that effect and I could do the same in respect of the Taoiseach and every member on the Fianna Fáil benches. I could produce election literature of that time which would be amazing when put side by side with the present London Agreement. I do not say that the Agreement is not a good one but it is extraordinary that any member of the Fianna Fáil Party should talk about people changing their minds. What about the Minister's statements in 1930 and 1931 in regard to the people's capacity to meet high taxation? Has he changed his mind in respect to that? He is extracting £4,000,000 or £5,000,000 more from them now than was being extracted at that time. Does the Minister recollect the 66 to one ratio of the Taoiseach? How does that apply in respect of the Budget? Has the Taoiseach changed his mind in that regard? Let us hear less about the changing of minds.

If the Minister and the Government would consider only for a moment, they would realise that nothing will be got out of this Agreement, which I maintain is a good Agreement, unless some effort is made to put the people in a position to take advantage of it. There is no use in thinking that a man who has been beggared will, after an Agreement has been made, be able to start in again as he was the first day. He cannot do that. We are told that the annuities have been halved and that the farmers have got a benefit equivalent to derating. It would be worth while for any member of this House to ascertain what the increase in rates has been since 1931. The Minister, of course, knows. What is the increased indebtedness in that regard? In 1931, the total warrants for rates amounted to £3,088,000. In 1936-7, the warrants had increased to £3,384,688. That has to be all borne by the rate-payers.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Not all by the farmers.

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  Mainly by the farmers. These are the county warrants [1217] and the rates have to be borne mainly by the farmers. The Minister thinks that the farmers are not entitled to derating and Deputy Kelly wonders where the money is to be found for derating. Let us not have this matter both ways. The Minister insisted, and persuaded a lot of people, that the penal duties were off-set by counties payable on livestock and agricultural produce. If that be true and if these payments have ceased, what has happened to the money? Was it or was it not true that the penal duties were off-set by the bounties? Either they were or they were not. I never considered they were but we were providing a certain sum which still appears in the book of Estimates. What is going to happen to that sum? The Minister has found other uses for it. I say that no section of the people was so well entitled to it as that section which was robbed during the period of the economic war. There are people who will never get back what they lost.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Who are they?

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  Farmers.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  But Mr. Gorey says only half the farmers were involved.

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  Let us take half the farmers. I agree with Deputy Gorey that the burden was not carried by 100 per cent. of the farmers. The right figure would be about 50 per cent. That makes the burden and the loss all the greater on the 50 per cent.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Then I suggest that the 50 per cent. who did not bear it might club together and come to the rescue of the 50 per cent. who did.

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  The Minister may think it good policy to make jokes about some of the impoverished farmers, but it is not. The Minister knows perfectly well that he cannot get 50 per cent. of the farmers to club together to pay for the other 50 per cent. That is merely some of the Minister's humbug [1218] that gets bobody anywhere. Where will the money be found for derating? Have we not some money on hand, if the London Agreement is worth the paper it is written on? If we have not, I do not understand the situation, and if we have, the first people entitled to it are the people who have had to bear the brunt of the fight.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Why not revert to the full annuity? Why not let Deputy Gorey pay twice as much as he is paying now?

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  We have derating in Northern Ireland, in England and in Scotland. The people here will say: “You cannot have derating,” but why can you not? It took me some time to become converted to derating. There was a time when I was not all out for derating, but at the moment what I feel is that if I have to go into the market to dispose of my goods with people who have an advantage over me in that respect, then, I am entitled to derating. After all, we claim that Northern Ireland is a part of this country. The same conditions prevail there and you cannot say that the position is different as you can say of England or Scotland. They have derating across the Border which, so far as some of us are concerned, is an imaginary line because we have not been there, and they sell in the same market as we. Are we not entitled to the same consideration? Certainly, unless some attempt is made to help the lame dog over the stile—and there is a complete absence of it in the Budget statement—we are not going to reap any benefits from this London Agreement.

Farmers in this country have been hedged around with all kinds of legal enactments and with all kinds of inspectors, from warble fly and slaughterhouse inspectors down to cattle inspectors, whose duty it was to see that the people were paid the proper price for cattle—a price which they were never paid. We have had all this swarm of officialdom which was part of the Fianna Fá'il bungling. It was just a bungling effort to get along some way. We killed the calves [1219] and we made presents to the Germans, to whom we owed no annuities, of some of the best beef ever sent across the water. They came into the market here and bought them for a song. We killed some of the cattle and we gave them away free. We could not fatten our cows because the tariff was more than the cost of feeding them. Consequently, we had to put up the Roscrea factory to make a gold mine for a few people. They got more gold in it than there was int he Wicklow hills.

We have had all this bungling at the expenses of the farmers, but now we have come to commonsense. We realise now that the British market was worth fighting for, that it was worth sacrificing a great deal of our fiscal freedom for, and the Minister for Industry and Commerce admitted that in his speech. What are we going to do now to try to take advantage of it? Are we going to do anything? Is there any forward policy indicated int he Budget speech with regard to agriculture or is it just going to be left there? It is a great pity Fianna Fáil and not leave it there in the first instance. Had they left it there when it was on its feet and when people had stock enough it would have been all right, but they did not. We survived, not because of Fianna Fáil and not because of all those blundering enactments, but because of the nature of the industry, and for no other reason in the world. We survived because no matter who sits on these benches or on the Government Benches this is an agricultural country and grass will grow and cows will have calves no matter who is the Government. That is why we survived. Stock came along, even though people were in an impoverished position, and we are here still, but not in the same sense as formerly.

Some effort must be made to direct the expansion of agriculture. During this silly, idiotic economic war, while our exports into the British market diminished at an alarming rate, the exports of New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and [1220] Canada increased enormously. What are we going to do to get back our place? Are we going to do anything Apparently not. Apparently we are going to do nothing for the farmers, for the agricultural community, and nothing for the ratepayers. The Minster for Industry and Commerce made a statement here which I should not like to classify, and which the Chair would not allow me to classify, as a deliberate untruth, but he stated something which is not a fact when he said that at present the ratepayers are having a higher contribution to the relief of rates on agricultural land. They are not, nor are they as high. We are not as high as we were in 1932 or 1933. I am not sure of the year, but there was one year in which we were higher. although our rates have gone up, the contribution has gone down.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I should say this, that last year the county councils got more by way of grant in relief of rates on agricultural land than they actually got in 1931-32.

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  We can always get around things so nicely. Because some people had their grants docked because of non-payment of annuities——

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  And they were docked in 1931-32.

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  ——and because some people had in the meantime paid in, the Minister takes credit for it. Why should the Minister take credit for it? What credit is due to him? What the Minister can take credit for is the yearly sum provided for the relief of rates.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  But the actual amount issued to the county councils was greater last year.

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  Of course it was, for the reason I have stated. The Minister did not provide it; the people paid it.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I do not want to make my speech now.

Dr. O'Higgins: Information on Dr Thomas Francis O'Higgins Snr.  Zoom on Dr Thomas Francis O'Higgins Snr.  The Budget provided £72,000 less. Is that not so?

[1221]Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Actually, yes.

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  I thought it was £82,000.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  The actual issue was greater.

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  The actual issues, coming in the way I have mentioned. The Minister cannot catch me out in that, because I know it perfectly well. The Minister for Industry and Commerce stated that we got greater relief from rates that we got before. He stated that in his speech the other day. That is not good enough, because that is not true. If a man who is entitled to £20 in one year gets only £10, and if in the following he gets £30, it is not fair to say he got £10 extra. He did, but there was £10 due to him from the year before. There are very many things to which the Minister might direct his attention with regard to the lightening of the burden on the people, but I think that whether the Minister likes it or not some of the burdens will be lightened. I am very glad of it. Deputy Kelly spoke a lot about supporting Irish industry. We all want to support Irish industry. Deputy Kelly thought, of course—I wonder whether there are any more people on the Fianna Fáil benches who think the same—that the Budget is providing money for Irish industry. It is doing no such thing. Deputy Kelly thinks that when the Irish industries get on their feet, and when they have disappeared from the Budget statement, we will be in a position to get relief. As a matter of fact, it will probably be the other way around. At the present time the Minister boasts of the amount of money he is getting from customs duties on goods coming into this country. In other words, he is making a lot of money out of protection, and if we were 100 per cent. self-sufficient all that would completely disappear. The Minister certainly ought to have thought of the farming community in regard to some of the tariffs that are on. We have had a tariff on agricultural machinery, for instance. I drew attention to that in this House some time ago. That tariff was put on in [1222] 1933, obviously for the purpose of helping Irish industry. What happened? Did it help Irish industry? It helped them to get a better price, but that is all. Apparently that is all it did, because, as far as customs duties are concerned, they show an increase year by year, so that we have collected more at the same rate on the imports of agricultural machinery than we did before that. The same applied to forks and graips. Those are things which have to be used on every farm. Apparently the only consideration there is for the farmers of this country is to put a load on them and make them carry it, and when an opportunity comes—as it was thought had come at the present time—to relieve them of some of the obligations and some of the burdens, nothing happens.

I should also like to direct the Minister's attention to another matter. Now that he has come back from London, and feels that he has wiped out the annuities for ever, what about getting relief for the ratepayers from this Guarantee Fund? Would it not be a good idea? After all, as the Minister is perfectly aware, the only reason for including them originally was to ensure that there would be enough money to meet stockholders. The stockholders have now gone. The responsibility, as far as that is concerned, has finished. What about relieving the rates of the responsibility to the Guarantee Fund? The Minister would not think of doing that. But the Minister would think, of course, that he had done a very good turn to the ratepayers if he filched £10 from them this year and paid it back next year. I think that point is worthy of consideration. Of course, I know the Minister went out of his way two years ago to ensure that they would be retained. We passed a special Act in this House for the purpose of retaining them. Now that the British liability is definitely finished with, I think the Minister should reconsider the matter. I never thought it was fair to have people who were paying their rates and annuities made liable for those people who were not paying them. I do not know whether the Minister is in the mood to consider that point. I am afraid the Minister is not prepared to [1223] give way upon anything as far as a reduction is concerned. At the end of the economic war, which we are to celebrate to-night, we find ourselves with the Budget in the same position as five or six years ago.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Is the Deputy inviting me?

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  I have not the smallest objection.

Dr. O'Higgins: Information on Dr Thomas Francis O'Higgins Snr.  Zoom on Dr Thomas Francis O'Higgins Snr.  It might increase the revenue.

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  Exactly. I should like the Minister at least to make some little overture to the people who have suffered during the economic war. He has not done that. I am afraid the farming community are not far wrong in sizing up the Minister for Finance as no friend of theirs. I do not think they are far wrong in that, but perhaps with better feeling for the people on the other side of the water, and perhaps when the Minister has got the ports in such a position that no foreigner will be able to crawl into this country he may see his way to do something in regard to derating for the farmers. Of course the Taoiseach told us here or at least took an hour and a half trying not to tell us what every schoolboy in this country knows—that there was a certain navy going to use those ports in any case. Everybody knows that if we are attacked it means an attack on Britain. As far as I personally am concerned, I have always thought this about the ports: they ought to be ours by all means, but if anybody said to me, “I will defend them, not for your sake, but for my own,” I would say, “Good man; by all means.” In my opinion, however, the farmers are entitled to derating. There are other means possibly that will have to be taken by somebody either now or later to put the farming community on its feet. I do not think Deputy Corry's idea of subsidising beet up to 47/6 a ton will solve anything. You can grow anything in this country if you subsidise it high enough. There is only one thing going to pay, and that is live stock. That is all has ever paid on its own in this country, and everybody [1224] knows that. If the farmer gets 47/6 a ton for beet, and the State has to spend £24 or £25 or £26 an acre, that is not paying anybody. If the farmer gets 30/- a barrel for wheat, and the man who is buying flour has to pay 11/- or 12/- too much for it, that is not paying its way. Now that we have at last shown common sense in regard to Britain, let us also show it with regard to our own affairs at home. Let us try to help the farmers along the road which will pay. It will take a long time before you get back to where the late Deputy Hogan left you.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  There have been so many comments made in connection with what is going to be done with all this money we have now, that perhaps a little examination of the question would be no harm. We are told now that it is costing more to run the country than ever. But there were social services which had been neglected for ten long years here. They had to be brought in by the present Government, and Deputies opposite voted for and supported them. I have not yet seen any Deputy with the nerve to say that they should be removed now. We are paying £700,000 odd more in old age pensions than was paid in 1931-2. I have not heard any Deputy saying that that is wrong, nor have I heard any Deputy say that we should not pay it. We are paying £450,000 in widows' and orphans' pensions. Deputies opposite supported that Bill. Then you have housing grants and a lot of other services which are conferring benefits on the small farmers and, above all, on the agricultural labourers, who were left for 25 years without having any houses built for them. From 1914 to 1933, or 1934, there was not a house built for an agricultural labourer in this country under any Government. That condition of affairs took some remedying and it was remedied. It speaks a lot for the courage of this Government that they did that during a period when there was an economic war on.

Now we have the cures which Deputies opposite are proposing. Deputy Dillon comes along with the first cure-derating. The way in which [1225] he is going to bring about derating is to close down four factories which are giving an enormous amount of employment, both in the factories themselves and amongst the agricultural population. The Deputy comes along with that cure and tells farmers who have two men employed that they need only employ one in future, as they need not grow any more beet. He also referred to the price that was to be paid for potatoes. What I say about that is that the market will be what the farmers will make it. Just as we have found with the beet, so will farmers who will supply these factories find with the potatoes—that they can fight for their economic price and get it, and they are entitled to it. Deputy Gorey, who was described by Deputy Allen as the one honest man of the Fine Gael Party, made an honest statement, a statement which I have made here repeatedly in this House, when I pointed out that the value of our agricultural produce on the English market between the years 1924 and 1929 fell by over £13,000,000. Any Deputy who doubts that can look it up for himself. Although we sent over a larger quantity of agricultural produce in 1929 than in 1924, we got £13,000,000 less for it. Deputy Gorey told us why—“because the English people were getting poorer and were not able to pay for our produce.” That apparently is the position to which Deputes opposite want to bring us back.

Deputy Dillon, who apparently formulates the agricultural policy of that Party, says that we should abolish wheat-growing and beet-growing. Deputy Brennan just now told us that there was only one thing the farmer could make pay, namely, live stock. I do not understand the mentality of a Deputy who comes in here with that kind of yarn, when the Minister for Agriculture, within the last three weeks, has to announce the continuance of the export bounty on butter in order that the farmers might get an economic price for it in the free, open English market. In order that the farmers might get 5d. a gallon for their milk we had to subsidise [1226] it to the extent of £800,000. I do not believe that even Deputy Gorey would keep cows to produce milk at an uneconomic price. I admit that three or four years ago Deputies opposite voted in favour of compelling farmers to produce milk at 2½d. per gallon. That wa when the price of butter in the English market was 70/- per cwt. When we brought in the Butter (Price Stabilisation) Bill they voted against that measure, which was introduced to give farmers an economic price for their butter.

Mr. Minch: Information on Capt. Sydney B. Minch  Zoom on Capt. Sydney B. Minch  I remember seeing several Deputies going into the other Lobby.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I agree that several Deputies did not follow the lead given by Deputy Mulcahy on that occasion. The fact remains that the leaders of the Party opposite did that and brought the majority of the Party with them. There are 100,000 more milch cows in this country to-day than in 1931. Senator Baxter in the other House said that we should reduce them. If we reduce them, we are going to reduce the number of live stock generally. Unless Deputy Dillon has managed to find some incubator or some method by which he can produce two or three-year-old bullocks by machinery, he cannot have cattle without having cows. The very foundation of the live stock industry is milk, and we have to subsidise very heavily the butter going into the English market, which means that you have to start with a subsidy even in the live-stock industry. We have to start with a subsidy, and to follow it up, I suppose, by getting back to grass, and subsequently, I suppose, by getting back to the ranch. Then to use Deputy Gorey's words, we will have to sell our live stock at an uneconomic price if England gets poor. He admitted that she had got poor before the rearmament programme was brought in. If England drops the rearmament programme we will, according to Deputy Gorey, have to sell our live stock at an uneconomic price again. That is the sole market that Deputies opposite want to gallop us into immediately.

[1227]Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  Try to be intelligent. That is not true.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  That is what you are asking for. I am prepared to debate that at any time. We would not have been six years fighting the economic war if we had got the support we were entitled to from Deputies opposite.

Mr. O'Leary: Information on Daniel O'Leary  Zoom on Daniel O'Leary  I wish you gave us the same support in 1922.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  We heard a lot in 1922 and 1923 about majority rule.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  There is nothing about that in the Budget. Let us get back to the Financial Resolutions.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  The less shouting they have about it the better. People will realise what the actions of Deputies over there have cost them, and when they speak of the cost——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  The Deputy should address himself to the Budget.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  However, there is no use in talking about what is past. We come down to the present position. When Deputies come along here and advocate openly the abolition of the beet factories, the non-growing of wheat, and when they want to get back to the happy days of the bullock again, I tell them that that day is gone for ever as far as this Government is concerned. I hope that, as long as they are in office, they will see that the farmer will have some other outlet and that the home market will be preserved for anything that he can produce here will have to be kept at a fairly high figure. The price of wheat will have to be still higher this year than last year, and the price of beet will have to go up again, whatever is paid for the sugar and the flour. I say that it would be suicide on the part of this Government if they abandoned that policy now. It [1228] is the only insurance which the people of the country have that they will have enough to eat if war starts, and that we will have bread for our people. That is an insurance policy well worth protecting and preserving. To my mind, that is the situation with which we are faced.

There was no stronger advocate of derating in this House than I, but experience teaches, and i learned. I learned by finding that the 1,000 acre rancher, employing a man and a dog, got more relief out of the £750,000 grant which I dragged out of the Cosgrave Government during the last year they were in office than any 25 farmers I knew.

Mr. O'Leary: Information on Daniel O'Leary  Zoom on Daniel O'Leary  I thought all these ranchers were gone by now.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Most of them are. A few years more and they will be all gone.

Mr. O'Leary: Information on Daniel O'Leary  Zoom on Daniel O'Leary  Are you going to punish all the other farmers because of a few of them?

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

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  We have been a long time asking Deputy O'Leary to take his turn here. That question was put up to me as a farmer the first time we held the land annuities here, and principally on account of what I hear, principally on account of the relief that was being given to large tracts of land freehold, and who were getting this relief on the rates, I concluded that the proper thing to do was to give a relief that would help every farmer. We gave them that relief when we reduced the annuities by 50 per cent. That involves on the old annuities a sum of £1,600,000. It also involved, in the case of those who purchased under the 1923 Act and subsequent Acts, a reduction of 50 per cent. in their annuities also. The reduction in their case amounted to £612,000, so that, in all, the reduction granted here in land annuities amounted to £2,200,000 out of the £2,900,000 which we has succeeded in withholding. I consider that these reduction afforded more [1229] relief to the ordinary farmer than the very doubtful relief he would get from derating. As for the cant that, as the annuities are being retained by the Irish Government, they should not be paid at all now, as some of our friends are preaching down the country, up in the North these annuities were always held by the Government there. They were never handed over to the British Government, and still the Ulster farmer pays the full annuity, not half the annuity.

I hope that, as far as this Government is concerned, we are not going to see any relaxation in the effort to keep the plough going and to keep the land tilled. We have been referred to the policy of the late Minister for Agriculture, Deputy Hogan. I would honestly say that there was not in this House a greater admirer of Deputy Hogan than I was. I admired him for one thing, that no matter how bad a case was, he would fight it and fight it well. To my mind he was a good fighter and did his best according to his lights. I cannot help remembering one of the last statements he made in this House. It was made in connection with the Live Stock Breeding Act when he told us that, after six years' experience of the Act, we might produce, as he said, very good-looking cattle, very fine-looking bullocks, but that it would be practically impossible to get a decent milking cow in this country. That was Deputy Hogan's summing up of the Live Stock Breeding Act, an Act which he had administered for six years. However, what I am interested in is that he had the pluck to do it, and had the courage to warn his successors of what the results would be.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  The result now is that there are no cows in the country.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  There are 100,000 more cows than there were then,and there are more yearlings also. They are there, and as the tariffs are off they will make more money. The owners will not get the £4 or the £6 a head that Deputy O'Leary was talking about. There will be fun when they [1230] look for that money, and they will wonder where it went. To bring the question down to a business basis, farmers are at present more heavily burdened in rates than they were when the Party opposite was in office. The burden is far heavier now owing to the negligence of the previous Government to take ordinary provision for the people. Every Labourers' Housing Act and every other Housing Act carries with it a certain liability which has to be borne by the ratepayers. That liability is gradually increasing as each board of health brings in a labourers scheme, an improvement schemes for villages or for hospitals, because these boards have to contribute a share of the expenditure out of the ordinary rates. In addition to that, there is the problem of the trunk and main roads which were kept by the ratepayers in the condition required for ordinary farm traffic. The use of these roads, and the traffic on them, has completely chaged in recent years. The use to which such roads were devoted even ten years ago is gone now. These roads were brought to their present conditions practically at the expense of the ratepayers. I know a main road passing my house from Cork to Midleton and a horse and car is not to be seen on it one day in seven. Farmers would not have the pluck to take horses and cars on it now. The upkeep of such roads is costing an enormous amount of money. Certainly in regard to trunk and main roads, as well as extra social services, the cost of which has now to be borne by the ratepayers, I consider that that expenditure should be met by the Budget or out of general funds, because it is an unfair burden on people who stood up loyally to the test to which they were put. Everywere inthe front-line trenches for the past six years. They fought the battle and when they were not misled they fought it with goodwill.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  A knife in the back.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I can speak here for farmers, because when they had an [1231] opportunity of electing representatives at two elections I was selected by them, without any outside influence prevailing. I am entitled to speak for them, and I say that where they were not misled they stood up loyally to the test and now deserve the fruits of their victory. They are getting the fruits partially, I admit, in the £2,200,000 of which they were relieved in annuities, but there is no use in taking a bit off with one hand and putting it on with another. There is no use giving them a reduction of 50 per cent. in the annuities and at the same time piling it on to provide special roads for motor traffic and also in the line of social services. These questions will have to be faced. I want to have them faced seriously here. I want the two burdens which I mentioned taken off the rates. Everything seems to be pointing towards increased social services. We hear a lot about the blessings of the sweepstakes, but these blessings have become a curse for many boards of health. Take the question of building hospitals. It is all right to build hospitals if assistance is got from the sweepstakes, but a good deal of expenditure has also to be borne by the ratepayers. That ordinary ratepayer who paid £20 in rates eight or nine years ago is called on to-day to pay anything from £36 to £40. I admit that the relief to rates from the Agricultural Grant is now being given with far better effect and that the more deserving farmers get it. The fact that for each man or relative over 18 years of age employed on the land the farmer now gets relief means that the more deserving cases are assisted. I want to see that assistance extended, so that relief in the way of rates from the Agricultural Grant will go directly to farmers who are entitled to a decent increase in that respect. The roads problem will also have to be dealt with, because, as far as the ordinary farmer is concerned, the use of trunk and main roads is a thing of the past. The Party opposite have no policy, and they are not prepared to support any policy. Any time their leader puts [1232] forward his policy he takes very good care to say that it is his own personal views he is expressing.

Dr. O'Higgins: Information on Dr Thomas Francis O'Higgins Snr.  Zoom on Dr Thomas Francis O'Higgins Snr.  Up the Republic!

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Speaking in the Dáil on the 13th instant, Deputy Dillon, when dealing with the financing of the derating of land, at column 1104 of the Official Debates, said:

“...speaking personally—though I confess that in this matter I have not consulted my colleagues—I make bold to say that I believe that it would be good policy to derive the necessary revenue from sugar. I believe it would pay well to derate the land of this country by winding up the sugar experiment, by levying the revenue on sugar and using that revenue for the purpose of derating the land of this country.”

That was one policy. The Deputy's leader would get the money in another way. Deputies opposite believe that it would be good policy to close the beet factories and to deprive farmers of between £1,000,000 and £1,500,000 of money that they get our of that crop. That is the position as I view it, but we cannot get a definite policy from the Opposition. the Deputies opposite come here with one voice and say: “We are in favour of closing down the beet factories and using that money for derating land, not reducing the price of sugar, and using that for derating land.” I would like to hear Deputies opposite come forward and state their views honestly on it, and whether they are in favour of abolishing the wheat policy, which Deputy Dillon has also advocated here, and to get back to the position that existed in my county previous to 1931, when farmers were absolutely unable to sell their barley anywhere and were asking people to take it away from them at any price.

Mr. Brasier: Information on Brooke W. Brasier  Zoom on Brooke W. Brasier  Oh, me.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Deputy Brasier objects. Deputy Brasier will remember a famous occasion when the late Mr. Beamish was brought down to Midleton [1233] by him in order to buy 1,000 barrels of barley.

Mr. Brasier: Information on Brooke W. Brasier  Zoom on Brooke W. Brasier  At 16/- a barrel.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  At any price Mr. Beamish would say it was worth three months after it was delivered.

Mr. Brasier: Information on Brooke W. Brasier  Zoom on Brooke W. Brasier  No; 16/- a barrel.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  The price paid by Beamish and Crawford that year for barley was 13/9.

Mr. O'Leary: Information on Daniel O'Leary  Zoom on Daniel O'Leary  Who paid the price for it since?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Cork Deputies can decide that in Cork.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  As far as Deputy O'Leary's question is concerned, the price was 18/- last year.

Mr. O'Leary: Information on Daniel O'Leary  Zoom on Daniel O'Leary  Who paid the price for it?

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  It was paid by the brewers. Messrs. Guinness paid it.

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

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  The farmers got a market for their barley in this country that they were deprived of previously.

Mr. O'Leary: Information on Daniel O'Leary  Zoom on Daniel O'Leary  Did not the pork farmers have to pay the price for it?

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  The farmers got a market for their barley.

Mr. O'Leary: Information on Daniel O'Leary  Zoom on Daniel O'Leary  At the expense of the pork farmers of this country. Can you deny that?

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I doubt that. You always gave them a very good article of food. I do not like to bring Deputies back to former statements of mine here. I quoted here in this House at least on three occasions—and [1234] I hope Deputies will spare me from repeating it—i quoted three high priests of the Party opposite on that— Mr. E.J. Cussen, the leader of the Farmers' Party in Cork in the anti-annuity campaign; Mr. Buckworth, and Mr. Dring. I quoted the three in turn on that particular question.

Mr. Brasier: Information on Brooke W. Brasier  Zoom on Brooke W. Brasier  On what question?

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  On the admixture scheme, on the use of barley for pig-feeding. I quoted Mr. Dring, who said he would get out of it altogether, that the admixture scheme upset his business so much that he would go over to the free, open market and rear his pigs there and produce them there, and, I grant you, he had to pluck and the courage of his convictions. He went over for 12 months, closed down here and spent 12 months rearing pigs and fattening them in England. Then he came back.

Mr. O'Leary: Information on Daniel O'Leary  Zoom on Daniel O'Leary  He became downhearted.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  He learned by experience that it paid him better to produce at home, and he came back. Those are facts, and facts Deputies cannot get over. Mr. Buckworth made a public statement that until the Pigs Marketing Board came in and ruined his business he was making £1,000 a years from pigs.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Deputy will have an opportunity of discussing that on the Vote for Agriculture.

Mr. O'Leary: Information on Daniel O'Leary  Zoom on Daniel O'Leary  I think that would be a better place to discuss it.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  The Deputies need not bother waiting for it. They will find it in the records of this House, and I will be glad to hear somebody contradicting it here. Facts are very stubborn things to contradict. The position is that we have found here a market for the farmers and their produce, and we intend protecting and preserving that market for the farmers here. I would like some Deputy [1235] opposite to stand up her and tell us some branch of farming that need not be subsidised. I am looking for it. I have dealt with the live-stock side of it, and the Minister for Agriculture will tell you here that he will have to subsidise the live-stock side of it this year, in order that the farmers may be able to sell their produce on the English market without any tariff. Eggs will have to be subsidised also on the English market, because the price that the English people can pay for eggs or butter is so small that it would not pay the farmers to produce them at that price. That is the position, and there is no good in burking it. The same applies to bacon. The same applies to practically every other things that the farmer produces and, therefore, I say that the proper thing for us to do is to preserve the home market as far as we can, both as regards our bread requirements, to preserve that home market completely for the farmer and to protect it for him.

As for this nonsense that was talked about the price of potatoes for the new alcohol factories, £2 a ton, the price of potatoes for these factories will be the economic price at which the farmers can produce them. i would have no respect for the body of farmers that would not be able to get that economic price—any price they like once the factories are up.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  Subsidy, subsidy!

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I am speaking honestly. The farmers could stop producing. Once the factories are up, the farmers can get their price once they are prepared to stick out and fight for it. That is the actual position, and that is why I laugh when I hear nonsense preached here about putting up alcohol factories for the farmers to produce potatoes at £2 a ton. The farmers can get £3 or £4 a ton, or whatever is the fair economic price for them to produce potatoes at. They can get that price from the alcohol factories or else the factories will become scrap iron.

Mr. McGowan: Information on Gerrard L. McGowan  Zoom on Gerrard L. McGowan  It would be better to give that advice to the Minister for Industry and Commerce.

[1236]Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I am giving it to this House. I consider the agricultural labourer working in my field is as well entitled to a decent wage as anyone who writes his name at the end of a letter for 6/8.

Mr. McGowan: Information on Gerrard L. McGowan  Zoom on Gerrard L. McGowan  It is 10/6 now.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Yes, I heard it had gone up.

Mr. O'Leary: Information on Daniel O'Leary  Zoom on Daniel O'Leary  I would like to put Deputy Corry one question: What would happen in the event of overproduction of any article?

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Your surplus must go elsewhere at the price it can fatch and you must be paid a subsidy.

Mr. O'Leary: Information on Daniel O'Leary  Zoom on Daniel O'Leary  Who will pay the subsidy?

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Who pays the subsidy on butter?

Mr. O'Leary: Information on Daniel O'Leary  Zoom on Daniel O'Leary  The poor people.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  What will you do? Are you going to get rid of live stock? That is, apparently, the policy you have put up for the two days while we have been discussing this matter. The policy has been to go back to live stock and to abandon tillage. That has been the policy of the Opposition. When you come back to tillage you will find that there are 100,000 more cows in the country to-day than when the economic war started. If they look into the matter Deputies will find that in order to maintain the present number of cows in the country, the Minister for Finance must come along and pay a subsidy on butter. Now, Deputy O'Leary is like myself. Neither he nor I have any complaint as far as the price of milk is concerned. I am knocking out 1/4 a gallon, whatever Deputy O'Leary's milk is fetching. We are doing very well and the Government is protecting us. We ought to pass a vote of thanks to the Minister for the protection he is giving us.

Mr. O'Leary: Information on Daniel O'Leary  Zoom on Daniel O'Leary  We are not better off than in 1931 when there was no subsidy.

[1237]Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Some fellows will never be better off. They do not know when they are well off. The argument put forward hee by Deputy Dillon, at every opportunity, has been a definite argument in favour of live stock. The live stock has to be subsidised to the extent of £800,000 a year subsidy on butter. If we are to increase the number of our live stock we must increase the subsidy—unless Deputy Duillon has a new invention up his sleeve. I do not know whether the Deputy has special incubator which will produce, without any cows, two-year-old bullocks. Otherwise, in order to have the bullocks we must subsidise the cows. There is no farmer who would go on producing milk at the price which butter is fetching in the English market to-day.

If we on this side of the House wanted to get rid of our problem in 1934 and, in fact, in 1933, all we had to do was to sit tight and say to the farmer: “We will pay you the full amount of the tariff you have to pay on you butter on its entry into the English market; go on and produce.” If we went and did that and paid the full amount of the tariff on the butter going into the English market, all that the farmer would have been getting for his milk at that time would have been 2d. or 2¼d. a gallon. That is all he could be paid at the price butter was fetching in Engalnd—70/- a cwt. We could have got rid of the problem altogether if we did that, because no farmer would keep cows and sell milk at 2d. a gallon. Without the cows we would not have the bullocks, and thus we would have got rid of the whole problem. Instead of that, what is the position? We find at the end of the economic war we are in the happy position of having 100,000 more cows than we had in 1931 and considerably more yearlings than we had then.

We will next be told that there are too many cattle. Senator Baxter wanted us last week to get rid of some of our cows rather than that the farmer should be paid a subsidy on his butter. I say it is better for us to continue the production of foodstuffs for which we have a ready market at home—the production of wheat and beet and the rest of it—than to go into [1238] the production of articles for the sale of which we have to depend on a market which Deputy Gorey has stated is unsafe. That is a market that is very good for the period while certain things are being done across the water. That market is all right while money is being spent in England or rearmament and things like that. While that lasts the price of cattle will go up, but the very moment people being to get poor the price of cattle will come down.

Between the years 1924 to 1929 the value of our produce in the English market fell by £13,000,000, though we sent over more agricultural produce in 1929 than we did in 1924. As a matter of fact, the position was so bad in 1929 and the condition of the farmers in my constituency was so precarious that year that the Deputy who sat on these benches then and represented my constituency had to go into the town of Midleton, stand up there at the urban council meeting and move a resolution asking the Minister for Lands not to collect any more annuities from the farmers in East Cork because the price of agricultural produce was so bad that the farmers there were able to pay no more annuities. That was in 1929, three years before any economic war had started. That was thenthe condition of affairs there. I ask Deputies on the Opposition Benches to consider these facts now. We have got to get back and to pull the country together so that the agricultural community will get the greatest possible benefit we can give them.

Mr. O'Leary: Information on Daniel O'Leary  Zoom on Daniel O'Leary  How are we to get a guaranteed price for our produce in the English market?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The discussion of the Agreement is not in order.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  The Deputy cannot get a guaranteed price now any more than he could then in the English market. Back in 1929 Deputy Carey said that the prices were so bad in the English market that the farmers could not pay their annuities. That is why I say that the proper thing to do was to keep at the tillage policy. Produce beef, produce wheat and beet, so that [1239] if there is a war our population will not die of starvation and will not be depending on foreign ships to bring in bread to them, and very black bread we got in 1918.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  It did not do the Deputy any harm.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  No, I got over it. That is the position and that is why I argue the proper attitude for us to adopt is that anything the agricultural community can produce for the home market should get protection; the home market should be preserved to them and the Government should see that they get a good price for their produce. By all means keep up your live stock; keep up or increase the number of cows you have. We have 100,000 more cows than we had when Deputies opposite were in office. Let us keep them going and increase them whenever we can, but be careful and do not put all your eggs into one basket. I would not be at all surprised if we would have to salughter calves again. I would not be at all surprised if that happened.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  It would be a damn good job if they began here and slaughtered some calves.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  If that happened I am afraid we would have to start with the bulls. You would be slaughtered. In all probability we will have to start slaughtering calves again, and I do not see any reason why we should not. I would like to bring to the attention of the Minister for Finance the position in regard to the rates. I would like to impress on him that each new proposal that is being brought in, the Sweepstakes (Hospitals) Act, the Housing Acts and all other such Acts add an additional burden on the ratepayers. The worst burden is the burden of keeping up the roads in their present position not for the benefit of the farming community but for the benefit of the motorists, the tourists and the joyriders. I think that those people should be able to pay for their own roads but they do not. Some of these roads cost £1,500 to £2,000 per mile [1240] annually and those people who have the benefit of them should pay for them.

I suggest that the first job is to take the trunk and the mainroads and make them a national charge. Then go into the new social activities, the hospitals and everything else, which are undoubtedly throwing out grants, but side by side with it all there is a burden on the ratepayers. It is time those things were looked after and the farmers deserve that from this Government and from the country in general. One thing I can say is that the farmers were in the front line trenches. They fought their fight and won it. It would have been a far easier fight only for the advice from Deputies opposite. Anyway, the farmers have won it. The fruit of their labours is that for the rest of the land annuity period the farmers will be paying £2,100,000 less in their annuities than they would be paying if the Deputies on the opposite benches were the Government Party during the last six years. That will continue for the same period as that in which their annuities would terminate in the ordinary way. That is the actual position according to law. The farmers will have their annuities halved for the next 20, 30 or 40 years. They have won that as a result of their fight and I suggest seriously to the Minister that we should protect the home market for the farmers and see that their produce will be sold here. any assistance or help or inducement the farmers require to keep their land in cultivation should be given to them and I ask that the increasing burden of the rates will be looked into and relief given. I think that is the only fair way of dealing with these people.

Dr. O'Higgins: Information on Dr Thomas Francis O'Higgins Snr.  Zoom on Dr Thomas Francis O'Higgins Snr.  I listened to the Deputy for some time and I frankly confess that I found it rather difficult to see the connection between his statement and the Budget which is under discussion. I have no doubt he gave us a very interesting lecture on many phases of agriculture, and the fact that it was a lecture with which I think very few authorities would [1241] agree does not take from the amount of interest which he put into the subject. Not the least interesting was his attempt to defend, justify and explain his own acrobatics and evolutions with regard to the derating of agricultural land. He started off by explaining to us, or rather apologising for the fact that many years ago he was in favour of derating, but that he learned from experience and that he was now opposed to derating because he found that the big man would benefit to a much greater extent than the little man. Having explained that position at one point, he finished up by advocating a very big degree of relief in rates, namely, taking off the rates the maintenance of institutions and main roads, apparently forgetful of the fact——

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  If the Deputy will allow me, not the maintenance of institutions, but the amount that the local bodies have to pay to supplement the sums given by the Sweepstakes for local hospitals.

Dr. O'Higgins: Information on Dr Thomas Francis O'Higgins Snr.  Zoom on Dr Thomas Francis O'Higgins Snr.  I do not see the difference in the point. The point was that having been opposed to any degree of derating on the grounds that the big man benefited more than the little man, he then advocated a degree of derating and, whatever the degree of derating is, or whatever charges are taken off the rates, it is obvious the bigger ratepayer. But, in his inconsistency with regard to derating, he was consistent at least in his inconsistency, because I have never heard the Deputy make two speeches in succession in which one statement was reaffirmed or which he stood over in his second statement. He always gave me the impression of a Deputy speaking merely for the momentary effect, and without any previous consideration, or with any degree of conviction. His statements or misstatements with regard to derating were just on a par with his misstatements, his unfair, unjust charges, inaccurate charges, when applied to the members of the Opposition.

[1242] I am glad he came back to the Dáil in a somewhat chastened mood, having been reprimanded for suggesting the use of poison gas against our neighbours in the North, and he has at least decided that, not being allowed to use his poison gas in that direction, he is going to sue it in our direction. We are accustomed to it. We can say that it has ceased to have any effect on us. We are satisfied that the leaders of the Government, who have repeatedly repudiated the Deputy, have not been afraid to express appreciation of the conduct of Opposition Deputies in the Dáil during rather lengthy and rather delicate negotiations. That tribute was deserved, but it was given in a generous spirit and all Opposition Parties in this House prefer to remember that rather than to remember the unfounded abuse of an irresponsible Deputy.

I have always a certain amount of sympathy with any and every Minister for Finance who is standing over a Budget in this House, because I think there is a lot of truth in the statement made by the Minister that all the year round there is general demand for more expenditure and, when the demand is met, there is general condemnation and criticism of the man who puts up the money and foots the bill. There is undoubtedly a certain amount of truth in that. We have had Ministers one after the other coming into this Dáil and standing over their Estimates in the last few months, each one of them patting himself on the back because he was in a position to spend more money in this direction or more money in that direction. Now we have the other side of the coin. We have the Minister for Finance having to stand over the expenditure that is demanded day after day and month after month by the great Departments of the State. I feel our criticism, when it is directed against vastly increased taxation, should be directed against all State Departments rather than against the individual Department that has to stand over the Budget. It is true to say that as one Estimate after the other was brought into this House, members of this political Party have voiced their protest against [1243] the rapidly increasing rate of expenditure and the over-hurried way in which endeavours were being made to do highly commendable and desirable works in some cases. A job that is done in too much of a hurry, to much of a rush, is often over-costly and a very faulty job when the particular work is done.

We have repeatedly warned members of the Government against the rapidly increasing rate of expenditure and against the unplanned, hurried, and rushed tactics that were being adopted. We have the whole thing reflected in the Budget. We have it reflected in the huge volume of taxation which has to be extracted from the people. We have reached, in the sixth year of the present Government, a position where at least they can boast of this: that in bad times generally, and in very peculiarly bad times in this country, they have succeeded in abstracting £24,000,000 more from the pockets of the people in six years than their predecessors abstracted in the previous six years. Some may think that that is a thing to be proud of. Personally, I think it is a thing that requires a certain amount of apology and a certain amount of explanation. The Minister, in his Statement, tells us that there is an amount of confusion when people discuss customs duties; that customs duties are divisible into two big groups—revenue duties and protective duties. That is probably conrect. His classification is probably correct also; but whether they are revenue duties or protective duties, the thing to be borne in mind is, that a duty is a duty and that a duty is a tax, and the collection of that tax is taking so much from the people, whether its effect is purely to increase revenue or to increase revenue and protect some article being produced in this country. We find on the figures, again, that the amount collected in revenue duties is, roughly, about £2,000,000 per annum more than was collected under the previous Administration—revenue duties, the Minister told us, or such duties as tea, sugar, beer, spirits, newspapers, and motor cars. Now, the abstraction of £2,000,000 more than was previously taken from [1244] the pockets of the users of tea, sugar, newspapers, tobacco, beer and spirits, is something that should not be passed over lightly, with the possible exception of spirits. Beer, tobacco, tea and sugar are articles that are more commonly and more extensively used in the homes of the poor than in the homes of the wealthy—far more extensively. In the wealthier homes there are substitutes for those things; there is more variety and there is less reliance on the ordinary standard cup to tea or the ordinary beer. In the past, we were accustomed year after year to hear the present Minister for Finance and every one of his colleagues protesting at the mere suggesion of any form of imposition whatsoever on the necessaries of life. After six years on the opposite benches, they can pride themselves on the fact that they have succeeded, by taxation on the necessaries of life and on goods mainly and most extensively used by the poor, in abstracting £2,000,000 more per annum. We find that, in the last six years, s compared with the previous six, £13,000,000 more has been collected than in the previous six years, under the head of revenue duties.

Now, we hear a lot about social services, and I have never heard any opposition expressed to the development and extension of social services, but I think it is serving no useful purpose, not serving the poor or anybody else, to have social services made the political cat of this particular Parliament—and any time that any Deputy refers to increased taxation or rapidly increasing taxation, somebody gets up and bleats “social services.” Taxation has gone up by some £4,000,000 or £5,000,000 a year. If we add to that the amount that has come in to Irish revenues that used to go to outside sources, we have increased our spending capacity by about £10,000,000. A portion—perhaps a third—of that has been utilised towards improving and developing the social services of this country. Is that any justification for making the social services the cat to be blamed for all the expenditure?

About £3,000,000 or so have gone in increased and better social services. About £3,000,000 have also gone in [1245] increased expenditure on the Army, on the Civic Guards and on the Civil Service—Approximately, according to the figures given to us by the Minister, and I appreciate the fact that, even though it may have been mainly intended to carry out a controversy with a particular newspaper, the figures this year have been presented in great details and in a very understandable manner. It is true, however, to say that the expense of sevices of a nonsocial kind has increased by as much as the expenditure on social services. From the Minister's figures, I take it that the cost of the Army, as compared with 1931, has gone up by £810,000; that the cost of the Civil Service has gone up by approximately £1,000,000; that the cost of the Civic Guards has gone up by £200,000; and now we propose to spend £250,000 on airports. That is £2,500,000 a year of increased taxation that is required for these special purposes.

It appears to me that this particular Budget has been received in many quarters with rather acute disaapointment, and in certain other quarters with a certain amount of relief. The relief is found in quarters that have been accustomed to Fianna Fáil Budgets for six years and always expected that the normal would happen, and that was that there would be a big increase in taxation. It has happened every year for six years, and there was a certain amount of relief that the same did not happen this year; but there was bitter disappointment in all ranks and classes that were invited by the Government to go through the mill and stand the racket for the last six years. There is not a person in the agricultural industry in this country, no matter what side they were on, who did not look forward to a satisfactory and successful termination of the economic war—for national reasons, but also for material reasons —and the inducement was held out to them all the time that the objects for which they were struggling, if attained, would mean that the benefits would pass directly to them. I am aware of the fact that there is rather a considerable amount of the Minister's statement directed towards an attempt to prove that the exact equivalent of [1246] what use to go to Great Britain has gone, or is going, directly or indirectly, into agricultural channels. Now, that is the portion of the Minister's statement which I am prepared to criticise most freely. I think it was a case of special pleading, and in that respect neither the Dáil nor the public was treated very fairly by the Minister Figures, especially when they come from an accountancy department can be made to appear to prove many peculiar and many very different things. It is a simple things to take the £5,000,000 that used to go out of the country, and to take £5,000,000 of internal expenditure and find that the two balance, and then to argue that the £5,000,000 that used to go out is now going as shown in that tot, which amounts to £5,000,000. It would be equally true, equally doubtful and, I would even say, equally doubtful and, I to take the £5,000,000 that used to go out of the country and put that on one side of a balance sheet, and then put the £1,000,000 increase in the Civil Service, the £800,000 increase in the Army, the £250,000 of an increase in the Civic Guard Estimate, the £250,000 for airports all on the other side and, finally, when I had reached the figure of an equivalent £5,000,000 to turn around and say that the responsible Minister for Finance told the public “that is what became of the money”: that all the fruits of the economic war, or the settlement at the end of it, had gone towards inflating the Army, towards a swollen Civil Service, a more expensive Civic Guard, and that we had done that a time when there is less crime, less instability, and less danger in the country than ever before. It would not be a fair presentation of the case. It would not be fair to the people who would look to me for a lead in such a matter; but it would be as fair, and financially as sound, as the presentation which the Minister has given here. It is taking a given £5,000,000 and opposing it to a select group of items that happen to tot £5,000,000.

The fact of the matter is that of the £5,000,000 that used to go elsewhere the main part of it was paid [1247] directly by the farmers by way of paying off the purchase pruce of their holdings. In the past the present Government and Party questioned the legality and the morality of that payment, and we had a campaign in the country against continuing the payment of that money. The implication, whether it was clearly stated or not, was that if the Party, as a Government, succeeded in getting off those payments, then the farmer would no longer be expected to pay. The Minister may shake his head. He may challenge me to find a clear-cut expression or statement to that effect, but the implication was there in the ears of every audience that the Minister addressed. Does anyone think that, when the Minister excited thousands of farmers, big and little, with the cry of the non-payment of annuities, each ember of his audience read into that that the annuities would be no longer paid to Great Britain but would continue to be paid by him to the Irish Government? The individual paying the annuity did not care a rap whether he paid it to Lloyd George or Séan MacEntee. What he was interested in was getting off the payment of that particular heavy charge on his industry, and that is the meaning that he read into every Fianna Fáil speech and into the whole big campaign of Fianna Fáil propaganda.

But, be that as it may, the Minister may argue or disagree with me as to what the farmer read into it. The fact of the matter is that that money was collected for a certain purpose. It was collected because there was a claim made. That claim was waived in the settlement, and it is reasonable for the agricultural community to claim complete remission of the annuities. The debt is waived. The person paying the debt should get off it. I see that the main objection to the adoption of such a plan would be that it would end land division. We could not afford to divide land in a month's time or a year's time and give it for nothing. We could not find ourselves in the position of making the new receipient of land liable for an annuity while the people all round him [1248] were enjoying their land rent free. That is the big objection that I see to it. If the money is not to go back to that industry, by way of the remission of the annuities, then I suggest that the only alternative way in which the industry can be relieved is by utilising those moneys to completely relieve agricultural land of rates.

Now, there is one argument that is repeatedly put up from the Government Benches which I regard as entirely unjust and dishonest. It is the argument we had from Deputy Corry this evening. His objection to derating is that the big man would benefit more than the little man, and generally the name of some big landlord or landholder in a county is mentioned. I think it is very undesirable to mention here the name of individuals. I think that the number of very big landlords in the country is small and will be getting less as day passes day. If that is a fair argument against assisting a huge big industry, it must not be confined to farmers. I have never heard of that argument used by the political Opposition when the Minister for Industry and Commerce stood up here to move a resolution to give protection to some big secondary industry. The owner of that industry or the head of the firm might be the nearest thing we have here to millionaire, but not one of us ever got up to argue against protection for the whole industry because one or two wealthy individuals would benefit to a great extent from the protection given. That is an entirely dishonest argument to use from any side. Whether we are the Government or the Opposition, we have to regard industry as an industry, forget the personnel and the individuals who may be making a living out of a particular industry. It has been a popular ramp in this country during the last six years to give unlimited protection to any and every secondary industry: to place imposition after imposition on the backs of the ordinary consumers in order to give higher prices and bigger profits to those concerned with secondary industries. We did that as a matter of policy, irrespective of whether the owners of [1249] those industries were wealthy men or not, irrespective of whether they were big men or little men. Each industry was viewed as an industry—the woollen industry and others—and nobody was put up to say that Mr. John So and So, who was worth so much per year, would benefit to such an extent by a particular tariff. It is only when we come down to the farmer and it is only from the Government Party that we have that kind of cheap, canting, unjust and unparliamentary opposition to a proposal. Derating is either god for the whole agricultural industry or it is not. It is either sound as a national policy or it is not. If it is good for the whole industry and if it is sound as a national policy, then it would be nothing short of corruption for the Government to fail to give it because some big person here and there might benefit.

When I argue and advocate complete derating of agricultural land I am in very mixed company—whether good company or not, is a matter of opinion. I am in the company of every front bencher who occupies a seat opposite me. There is not a person now occupying a seat on the Government front bench, from the Taoiseach down, who did not make the welkin ring or more than one occasion with his advocacy of complete remission of rates on agricultural land. They were better politicians than we were. They times their stroke better than we did. It was generally on the eve of the poll that they were noisy about such things and I recall a speech which I quoted here and which is on record. I was invited to quote it by the Taoiseach himself. It was a speech made at the fair of Athy —a four-county fair at which every agriculturist listening to him was promised complete derating for every inch of his land if only he had sufficient sense to trust Fianna Fáil. There was a reasonable case during the last six years for the Minister for Finance or any other Minister saying that their word could not be honoured, that their promise could not be fulfilled, because the country was in a strangle-hold, because there was economic chaos in [1250] the country, particularly in agriculture, and because we were in a life-and-death struggle with a big neighbouring nation. There was reason in that case for the last six years but that is happily ended now and any and every person concerned with or interested in agriculture is entitled to demand the fulfilment of the promise made. If it is unwise to allocate the money that is being retained to the complete remission of annuities, then it is only reasonable to expect that that money would be utilised for the complete remission of rates on agricultural land. There is this to be said for the annuities—that they are a fixed figure. They cannot go up. Rates, like taxes, particularly for the last six years, have developed a habit of going up from year to year.

When the Minister for Finance was over here, he was most eloquent, and fairly impressive, on every occasion on which he got up to argue from these benches that the agricultural industry could not continue to stagger on under the crushing burden of rates and annuities which was annually crippling the industry and the individual farmers. He was particularly eloquent when he scoffed at a proposal to allocate £759,000 towards the relief of rates on agricultural land. I forget the exact expressions used but his general line was that that was only playing with the question, that the overhead charges on the industry were too heavy, that that would have to be remedied and that one of the best and most direct methods of reducing the overhead charges was by remission of rates. Does the Minister for Finance change his mind every time he changes his seat? Does the mere fact that the whole Party is over there, instead of being over here, mean that their views on every question must change? I am proud of the fact that their views have changed on so many questions. But is there any reason why they should change their views so completely on internal economic questions which were argued so eloquently and so frequently?

When the Minister was over here we were not, as a Party, opposed to derating, but the case was met by the [1251] establishment of a commission to inquire into it. It was proposed to carry out the findings of that commission, whatever they might be. The majority report of the commission was against complete derating but, if that was so, the reasons were stated. The reasons why the majority of the members were at that time against derating were: (1) that they examined bank deposits and found that the farming community was in a comparatively prosperous position, that the percentage of deposits held by the representatives of any other industry, and (2) that nothing had happened to pick out the agricultural industry or the farmer for special consideration, that nothing had happened to affect his industry in a peculiar degree or in any special manner. Those were the reasons why the majority were against derating. Does either of those reasons apply to-day?

It is rather unfortunate that we are discussing this Budget in the absence of the report of the Banking Commission. That commission was established long ago. Its sitting and sessions terminated long ago. It was due to the Dáil that every effort should have been made to place that report in the hands of Deputies before this year's Budget was discussed. However, I expect that when that report is published, what I am stating may be either verified or found to be unsound. My information is that neither of these factors that applied ten years ago applies to-day. My information is that, in the last six years, the savings and deposits of the agricultural community have melted, that they were used, day after day, to keep the wolf away from the door, and that whatever degree of prosperity might have been enjoyed by the farmer ten years ago, nobody would look at agriculture as a prosperous industry to-day.

That was the first reason for reporting against derating. The second was that nothing had happened to penalise the agricultural industry any more than any other. Is the Minister, or anybody opposite, going to hold the view that nothing has happened in the [1252] last six years to hit the farmer in a very special and peculiar way, when other members of the community were not hit to anything like the same extent? If that very same commission were to reassemble to-morrow, in the light of the events which have transpired since, and in view of the changes that have taken place in this industry, I firmly believe there would be a unanimous report in favour of derating. From the point of view of either the sacrifices and the suffering endured in the last six years, or of entitlement; from, at least the point of view of fair play and equity, those moneys should go back directly into agriculture to relieve the overhead charges, either by way of remission of annuities or remission of rates. Personally, I should only consider the latter.

There is another matter which has been introduced into this Budget about which I think it would be advisable to give the Dáil and the country more information than they have got so far, and to give the available information altogether and not in small doses. We have a kind of policy or plan—I do not know which it is—with regard to the ports of letting the Dáil and the public into the know on the instalment system. We get a little dose to-day, a bigger dose to-morrow, and a bigger dose again in a week's time. It seems to be following the medical practice of building up the capacity of an individual to tolerate a medicine by giving a little at first and then gradually more and more, and it makes me at least suspect that the ultimate dose is going to be a huge things. Let us examine the various stages of this. When we first discussed the Pact we had a clear-cut statement by the Taoiseach that these ports were given over absolutely unconditionally, and there was nothing else mentioned that day. Two or three days later we had a further dose. We were told that they were given unconditionally, but that we were going to modernise them, that the equipment is inadequate, and that we are going to bring them up to date. That was a step further. A few days later we had another dose when we learned that we were going to modernise them, and that we were [1253] going to die to defent Britain's back door. That was going a step still further, but even at that time we were thinking only in terms of reasonable maintenance parties. Then we got the next dose, which comes in the Budget, when we are told to plank down or put up £600,000 in this financial year. Whether that £600,000 is for the modernisation or to pay the personnel which is to die defending England's back door is not clear. So far as I understood from the Pact, it does not appear likely that we are to take over these ports until the end of December. Is the £600,000 which it is proposed to spend in this financial year only an expenditure for three months, because, presumably, we will not be spending money on the ports before we take them over, and we are taking them over only at the end of December?

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Is it not a question of the old forts and not of the ports?

Dr. O'Higgins: Information on Dr Thomas Francis O'Higgins Snr.  Zoom on Dr Thomas Francis O'Higgins Snr.  Whatever this sum of £600,000 is, it is not very clear. It is put down here as being for national defence, and I take it that it is in connection with coastal defence plans, as the Minister outlined in his statement and as the Taoiseach indicated when speaking elsewhere. If our expenditure on defence arising directly or indirectly out of the Pact is to increase at the rate indicated so far, and is to continue increasing at that rate, I think the quicker the whole thing is considered and discussed and a cut-and-dried proposal put before the Dáil the better. I am not speaking as one who is necessarity opposed to this type of expenditure. If a fair case is put up for it, it will be supported; but I consider that the present situation, where you have all kinds of more or less disturbing and alarming rumours going about, and where we are getting information from responsible Ministers only in a very grudging manner, is nationally unhealthy.

If we are to take over the ports, I accept the fact that they were given unconditionally so far as the Pact goes, but there can often be understandings without conditions, and there can often be understandings outside what more or less is associated with any cut and [1254] dried agreement that is in black and white. I read this into the Taoiseach's statement: that the ports are going to be modernised and that they are going to be fully utilised for the purposes for which they are there. The ports on any coastline are not used for internal communications; they are not used for internal purposes. They are there for co-operation with and co-ordination of land and sea forces in the past, and land, sea and air forces to-day. If those ports are to be modernised, they are going to be modernised for that purpose—for co-ordination between land, sea and air forces—because they were useless for any other purpose. We have no sea forces at the moment. Is it proposed that we will launch out as a naval power? Are we going to establish sea forces of our own? If we are not, we are going to co-operate with other naval forces—presumably, the British. I hold that the quicker there is complete understanding of all that, the better. The British have for the last 20 years, as they did for the previous 60, defended those shores. It suited certain people in responsible positions to turn the blind eye on that for the last six years. When there were wars and rumours of wars for the last few years, they, like myself, slept happily in their beds because the British Navy was around our coasts, no matter who occupied the ports. I would rather approach quickly the point that if we are going to modernise those ports—it is financially impossible for us to have an adequate navy—we are going to modernise and equip them in order to co-ordinate our land forces with the British sea and air forces. If that is to be done and we are asked to put up the money to pay the piper, then the whole plan and the whole arrangement should be submitted to the Dáil for consideration and approval. We are living in the type of world and in the kind of times when it does not do to hesitate or be unstable with regard to the defence arrangements of any country.

Mr. Bennett: Information on George Cecil Bennett  Zoom on George Cecil Bennett  We have emerged from the war. For the last four months the farmers and commercial people of this country have been enxiously people of this country have been anxiously awaiting this happy event. They have been pondearing [1255] what the settlement would be when it came, whether it would be a good settlement or a bad settlement, and expecting that once the settlement was made we would have the Minister for Finance coming into this House with a peace Budget. Does anybody call this a peace Budget? I call it a war Budget. Frankly, without any restrictions, I call it a pure, unadulterated war Budget. I do not want to go into the terms of the Agreement made with Britain. I believe, as far as the agricultural people are concerned, it is a good thing that the restrictions on our agricultural output are ended. We are grateful to the Ministry for at least coming to reason. They might have done it previously, but we do not want to go into that. To my mind, having finished one war, there is no reason why we should prepare for another. Evidently the House is in a war fever. All the speeches made by Deputies on the other side had a war scare in them.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I did not hear any of them.

Mr. Bennett: Information on George Cecil Bennett  Zoom on George Cecil Bennett  The Minister did not hear them?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  And I was listening to the only two that were made.

Mr. Bennett: Information on George Cecil Bennett  Zoom on George Cecil Bennett  Deputy Corry waxed eloquent in trying to prove what he himself said was wrong. He changed his mind two or three times, and then he prepared us for disaster to come when he told us it would probably be necessary to slaughter the calves again. We slaughtered them in the economic war. We are going to do it again.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Deputy should not follow his colleague into the realms of prophecy.

Mr. Bennett: Information on George Cecil Bennett  Zoom on George Cecil Bennett  I am as good a prophet as other Deputies. I am generally more correct in any prophecies. Four years ago I prophesied a lot of things that have happened since. I did not prophesy that the Government would so completely change their minds. I do not believe in miracles, but [1256] miracles have happened. In regard to this question of defence, I for one am certainly not satisfied—no matter what Deputy on this or the other side of the House is satisfied—to find that under the terms of the settlement that we had, and that we are asked to pay for in this Budget, Britain asks us to hold the baby. There is no other way of putting it. I may as well put it in plain language as in any other. The ports were there, manned and equipped. Everybody knew for what purpose they were there. They were there at the expense of Britain, for Britain's purposes. Britain said to our negotiators: “We will settle this little war, and you will help us to prepare for another, but, for God's sake, take this baby we are holding. Feed it; nourish it; we will need it again.” Our delegates said: “Right you are; we will.” They took it. We can forbear from any outcries about national purposes or any such ráméis as that. As Deputy O'Sullivan said the other day, we are either going to defend ourselves as an independent State, fully equipped in every way, or we are going to defend ourselves in co-operation with a neighbouring State, to whose interests it is that they should defend us. We had a statement from the Taoiseach himself a few days ago admiting frankly that he believed it way in Britain's interests to defend us if the necessity arose, and that they would defend us. I believe that every Deputy on every side of the House upholds that view. It is to Britain's interest to defend us. They are bound to defend us, for their own interests. In any of the fights we had with Britain, economic or otherwise, it was never until now suggested that we ourselves should embark on large expenditure in preparation for war. If the portents are right, as Deputy O'Higgins said, it looks as if we are preparing for war. We had speeches from two or three Deputies over there who said that we should conserve our food, we should conserve our wheat and beet and everything else, so that we would be ready for war, so that we would have food for our people when war comes— war which they believed was coming. We had other speeches of the same [1257] type, all tending in the same way. In regard to another matter, the Minister for Finance spoke in this House some years ago about three white elephants. Now I suggest that we ahve three red lions, three baby lions. We are going to take them over and fee them, and have other little baby lions, one at Limerick, one at Galway, and a few others scattered around.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Why did not the Deputy vote against that a short time ago, in the same way as he voted against the Butter Stabilisation Bill?

Mr. Bennett: Information on George Cecil Bennett  Zoom on George Cecil Bennett  I am not as pronounced an antagonist of co-operation with Britain as the Minister perhaps thinks I am, or as the Minister was. I have no qualms at all about co-operation with Britain. Let nobody think I have.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Then what is the trouble?

Mr. Bennett: Information on George Cecil Bennett  Zoom on George Cecil Bennett  But I do resent this attempt to bamboozle the Irish people that we are engaging in expense— and bringing in a Budget to provide for that expense—for a great scheme of national defence, defence of a country completely free, with no political affiliations whatever with any other country. That is what i resent. I resent the voting of money for that purpose. If we are to co-operate with South Africa and the other Dominions, well and good. I will fall in with that, but I will not fall in with the suggestion from the people opposite who have tried to hoodwink the people into the belief that we are a wholly independent country; that we should protect ourselves, and be able to protect ourselves. They come here with this Budget under these pretences. I believe that we could have got on very well without these ports—that the ports would have been manned and equipped in an up-to-date manner at somebody else's expense besides ours.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Deputy opened his speech by stating that he did not propose to discuss the Agreements. [1258] These Agreements have been approved of by the Oireachtas and implemented.

Mr. Bennett: Information on George Cecil Bennett  Zoom on George Cecil Bennett  It is the implementing of the Agreements through the Budget to which I am objecting.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The taking over of the ports has been agreed to by the Oireachtas and omplemented by legislation.

Mr. Bennett: Information on George Cecil Bennett  Zoom on George Cecil Bennett  They are being taken over, and I have done with them. Then we had many references to the vitality of the country and its resisting power during those six years of the economic war. I believe that we resisted better than anybody believed we could at the time. Evidently there is no great belief amongst the Government Party that we are going to continue to be able to resist. There is no evidence that they believe we are going to have any revival. In fact, there have been definite statements from Deputies opposite that there is no possibility of a revival, for the agricultural community at least.

They have been falling over one another during the last three days of this debate trying to give people the impression that they must be prepared for the blow they are going to get; that there is going to be no revival; that there are going to be no better circumstances for the agricultural community. We have had this stated definitely by Deputies Allen and Corry to-day. One of them said that we would have to go back to the slaughter period again and the other one said something to the same effect. When we advocated derating as one of the things the Government, having settled the economic war, might have done as an inducement to the agriculturists who made the continuance of the economic was possible, as one of the things offered to help them to revive we were met by Deputies and Ministers on the other side with the question. “How can you provide the money?” It almost makes me blush for politician to have that question asked of me by Deputies opposite. They did not ask that question five years ago [1259] when the country was better off than it is now, and when they suggested that we should have complete derating as well as other things. Not only could we provide the money then, according to these Deputies, but we could provide for other things with reduced taxation at that period. Now, with a Budget of £35,000,000 we are asked how can we provide the money? One Deputy went on to enumerate the difficulties of the Government and suggested that we were advocating a distinction between the big and the small farmer when we advocated derating. When they advocated derating, there was no suggestion that they were differentiating between the big and the small farmer.

Let us consider for a moment why we suggested that the Minister should include derating in his Budget, and why there should be no differentiation. Why is the big farmer not as entitled to derating as the small farmer? Are his expenses any less? Is he so wealthy that he must provide for all the local social services while his brother farmers are to be free from it? I suggest that not only is there an agricultural necessity for derating but a national necessity, if the social services are to be administered as they should be administered. Rates are going to rise every year, as they have risen in the last six years. One can make no other prophecy. We had the admission from the Minister for Local Government in my city that rates were not high enough—that the farmers were not paying enough rates. I did state in the House recently that the Minister did not mean to say that the farmers were able to pay higher rates, but his suggestion was that the needs of the social services would make it necessary that more money should be provided out of rates and therefore there is going to be a continually rising bill for rates. Everybody knows that the present rates cannot be borne by the ratepayers and there is no prospect that an increasing bill can be met. Eventually, under this Government or some other Government, they must be made a national rather than [1260] a local liability. This differentiation between the big fellow and the small fellow is all clap-trap. There is only one relief given in this Budget so far as I can see and is it for the little fellow? No, it is for the big fellow. When we come to motor cars we find that the big man in this country who can afford to buy a Rolls Royce is going to have a reduction made in his taxation, whereas the little man who buys a common Ford——

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  The Deputy is entirely wrong about that.

Mr. Bennett: Information on George Cecil Bennett  Zoom on George Cecil Bennett  That is provided for somewhere anyway.

Mr. Brennan: Information on Michael Brennan  Zoom on Michael Brennan  It is not in the Budget. It is in the London Agreement.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  It is not. The only thing in the London Agreement is that these cars will be allowed in after paying duty.

Mr. Bennett: Information on George Cecil Bennett  Zoom on George Cecil Bennett  Were they prevented from coming in before?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  They were.

Mr. Bennett: Information on George Cecil Bennett  Zoom on George Cecil Bennett  That is a concession anyhow.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  The Deputy ought to stick to his point. It si not a concession to allow them to pay 22½ per cent. duty, is it?

Mr. Bennett: Information on George Cecil Bennett  Zoom on George Cecil Bennett  They are now paying the same duty as the other cars?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Yes.

Mr. Bennett: Information on George Cecil Bennett  Zoom on George Cecil Bennett  The same exactly as the other cars? Is the Minister sure that he is right in saying that they are paying the same duty?

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

Mr. Bennett: Information on George Cecil Bennett  Zoom on George Cecil Bennett  I want to get the Minister to state it definitely.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Chair desires the Minister and the Deputy [1261] to keep off the Agreement, which was approved of by the Oireachtas.

Mr. Bennett: Information on George Cecil Bennett  Zoom on George Cecil Bennett  The regard of the Ministry is certainly not for the small fellow. I am not blaming them for that. But I think that they should have regard for the little fellow as well as for the big fellow, and that they should not accuse us of having no regard for the little fellow. I do not see why the man who wants a big motor car should not get it, but I do say that the man with the little car should also be thought of, and that there should be some relief given to him in connection with payment of road tax. The motorist who pays his road tax quaterly should get some concession. Why should he be compelled to pay more than the man who pays for the twelve months? Why should be be charged 20 per cent. more on his quarterly payments—an interest that a Jewish moneylender would hardly charge? The farmers did not expect miracles from the Government, but they did expect something from those who stated seven years ago that this country could be run with £2,000,000 less in taxation, and that derating, I assume, could be provided for out of £2,000,000 less in taxation. Having fought this economic war and stood by the Government—some of us willingly and some unwillingly; I, for one, was one of the conscripted soldiers although there were many voluntary troops who plunged themselves in the mud of the trenches for six years—the farmers ought to get something.

It will afford no measure of satisfaction to any of the agricultural community, reading this Budget at the end of the war, to find that there is going to be no provision made for them. One Deputy here the other day asked if I suggested that there should be pensions for those who suffered during the economic war. I said that I would if they could be provided and, if I thought there was any possible way of providing them, I would suggest that they be provided now. I do not, however, generally suggest things that cannot be done. We are in some ways more reasonable than Fianna Fáil Deputies in that respect. I do, however, [1262] suggest that it should be possible to provide derating, which is one of the things that can be done. There are several other measures that might be initiated to help farmers, such as advancing money at low rates of interest, or making provision for a reconstruction loan for farmers at a low rate of interest, portion of which the National Exchequer might bear; but the first and easiest way to help is certainly by derating and, in that regard, I add my voice to all the other appeals which have been made to the Ministry. As I have said, it is going to come sooner or later. I am willing to make that prophecy inside or outside this House and stake my reputation on it, that derating will come as sure as to-morrow's sun rises. With the amount of the bill for rates every year increasing, some Government, possibly this Government—they have changed their minds once on this question and it is not outside the bounds of possibility that they will do so again—will have to grant derating. I hope that if the Government make up their minds to change their attitude on this question they will do so soon, and why not now? As we often urged about another issue, when we said that it would have to be faced some day: “Why not now?” I said that several times in this House in regard to another matter and I say the same thing with regard to derating. If you do not do it now, some other Government will do it when they get in.

In any contribution we had in this debate from Deputies opposite, there is not one ray of hope for any section of the community. There is none, apparently, for the farmers in anything which the Minister or any Deputy on that side has stated. There is going to be no improvement one way or another. The only thing they have got to prepare for is a future war. There was no indication of support for our industrialists, rather the other way. I know for a fact that many of them are in fear and trembling as to their position at the moment. Nor does the Budget offer any satisfaction to the huge number of unemployed—the 70,000 or 80,000 who went to Britain. It offers them no hope of being able to come [1263] back at an early date. It was expected that, when the economic war had ended, there would be some remission of taxation, some indication that the overhead charges on agriculture would be reduced, that more employment would be provided, and that this country could look with a fair degree of certainty for improvement in the general situation in the not very remote future. Evidently that hope has to be abandoned. We are almost in a position of stalemate. We, apparently, have got to regard the conditions under which we are living as interminable. One can only hope that having within the last five years changed their minds so frequently, and so happily in the end, the Government will go further and make an attempt to economise the reserves of this country and, having economised them, expend them in such a manner that the different sections of the community will get an adequate and just proportion of the benefits which will accrue.

Mr. McGowan: Information on Gerrard L. McGowan  Zoom on Gerrard L. McGowan  I shall endeavour to be as brief as I possibly can in any remarks I have to make on this Budget. The discussion which we have had so far has been of a rather diverse nature. From my short experience of politics, I think that any Finance Minister or any Department of Finance bringing a Budget before this House should get the sympathy of the House. With all respects to the Department of Finance, I think it is certainly a very peculiar Department to belong to. From my few months' experience of political life and from any connection I have had with Government Departments, I have found that whenever I endeavoured to be bellicose or obstreperous, I have on many occasions been put off. The whole reason is that we cannot do anything with these gentlemen of the Department of Finance. They aim at making the whole country responsive to their governmental functions. As a result of that small experience of mine, I think that any adverse criticism in personam against the Department is not equitable or fair. I suggest that any criticism should be against the [1264] Government in general, indirectly hitting the Department.

My submission about this Budget is that we are free no more. It is an admission that our freedom has gone and my reasons for saying that are as follows: I think there are two kinds of freedom. One is what I would call racial or national freedom and the other what I would term economic freedom or the freedom of the individual. The control of the ports, the control of the Executive, the judiciary and so forth will, and I think should be, called attributes of political freedom, but unfortunately they do not bring freedom to the individual or what I might call economic freedom. We may have political freedom under a home Government and yet an individual may suffer a great deal of economic servitude. It is quite possible that he can suffer as much economic servitude under a home Government as he can under an alien Government. I think we have got a precedent for that in that well-known free country, the United States. I think everybody knows that the negroes in the southern States of America were in servitude and in bondage, economically and otherwise, for a number of years prior to 1850 and that it eventually took a sanguinary civil war to clear matters up. I am not going to compare any individual in this country with a negro in South America. Nothing is further from my mind, but I suggest as a result of certain admissions in the Budget and in the recent Agreement —I think I have got to bring in the Agreement—we have sold our economic freedom.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Deputy has not, and indeed may not, discuss the Agreement.

Mr. McGowan: Information on Gerrard L. McGowan  Zoom on Gerrard L. McGowan  Included in the Budget are different provisions from which we may take it that both physically and financially we are bound hand and foot to Great Britain, and that we are prepared to accept that position. On the other hand, owing to other provisions in the Budget this [1265] country has to find £600,000 for defence purposes, so I suggest that we are selling our political freedom also. The Party on the left has been accused— perhaps by this Party, but certainly by the Party that is now the Government —of having sold the Republic by private treaty.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  A secret agreement.

Mr. McGowan: Information on Gerrard L. McGowan  Zoom on Gerrard L. McGowan  I suggest to the Government that their Fianna Fáil supporters are asserting that not alone have they sold the Republic by private treaty, but that they have sold it by public auction, and that the price was a little more security of tenure for a couple of years. I am only saying what I heard supporters of the Fianna Fáil Party say.

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

Mr. McGowan: Information on Gerrard L. McGowan  Zoom on Gerrard L. McGowan  I will not trespass in that respect again, but I repeat that this Budget is an admission that we have sold our freedom. It has been suggested on a good many occasions that a great portion of the money to be spent on defence will go in the provision of equipment, and in the fortification of certain ports to be taken over from the British; in other words, will be spent on machine guns and all kinds of guns to be provided, for the purpose of keeping out invaders. One of the first results has been that we have to pay 2d. per lb. extra for butter. I can visualise a conversation taking place between two well-known characters, generally depicted in a Dublin newspaper as Mrs. Byrne and Mrs. Win-the-war, when going down Moore Street on a Saturday night, and Mrs. Byrne asking Mrs. Win-the-war if she was going to buy butter, the reply being: “No, I am not going to buy any butter; I am going to subscribe 2d. more for a machine gun for Lough Swilly.” That has been one result of the proposed big expenditure on defence. I should like to know what is meant by defence. Is it the intention to spend the £600,000 on the four ports to be taken over? I suggest that if any outside power is going to invade this country it will not attack what might be called third-class ports, but [1266] will attack modern ports such as Galway or Dun Laoghaire. These are the ports we should start fortifying. If we start fortifying all our defences there will not be enough money to do anything else. The Minister referred to another subject with which I wish to deal. When speaking he looked at Deputy Davin and members of the Labour Party who, he said, went around the country wanting to have money spent on social services like old age pensions and widows and orphans pensions, but when it came to paying, they were unwilling to do so. On that particular occasion the Minister looked only at the Labour Benches, and did not look towards Fine Gael.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Your Benches are more effective looking.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  It was a hard look.

Mr. McGowan: Information on Gerrard L. McGowan  Zoom on Gerrard L. McGowan  The Minister's statement was what I might term “a cynical inconsistency.” I was not very interested in politics a few years ago, but as I happened to be a constituent of the Minister then, I remember a statement in one speech dealing with taxation in which he said that his Party could run the country cheaper than it was being run. I think the Minister will agree that that was said.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Only by £2,000,000 cheaper.

Mr. McGowan: Information on Gerrard L. McGowan  Zoom on Gerrard L. McGowan  Even £2,000,000 was something. The Minister may say now that his Party had been forced by the Labour Party to provide money for social services. I think I am correct in saying that concurrent with the assertion that taxation would be reduced, he and his Party were making promises to increase old age pensions, to provide widows and orphans pensions, and to do a great many other things provided for in this Budget. I am only suggesting that the Minister's suggestion is what I term “a cynical inconsistency,” and that it does not affect the issue. Having analysed the Minister's statement, I can see nothing else in his attitude but one that I term “a cynical inconsistency.” I hope I [1267] have convinced the Minister that the freedom of this country physically and economically has now definitely been taken over, as well as the sun, moon and stars.

Mr. Brasier: Information on Brooke W. Brasier  Zoom on Brooke W. Brasier  Deputy Moore asked where the money was to come from for derating, and he sought the information from these benches. The answer is that that is the business of the Government in power. When Deputy Cosgrave is returned to power, there is no question at all but he will be able to find the money for derating. He was ready to find it in 1930 because, arising out of the Report of the Derating Commission, he provided a substantial instalment for derating in the shape of £750,000, which the present Government then declared was insufficient. They said it should be £1,000,000 so convinced were they of the necessity of derating at that period. I venture to say that no one on the opposite benches will deny the necessity of derating for the relief of the agricultural community from taxation. The basis of the poor law valuation of agricultural land is obsolete, and is an unfair method of taxation considering the enormous increase that has taken place in the volume of taxation required to supply social services, roads, mental hospitals, public assistance, and other services. The present system may have been all right when taxation was fixed on the basis of parish relief, but to-day, when it is extending more and more, the necessity of finding other means to supply local services is urgent. It is the business of the Government to find a means. We have been asked where the money was to come from. No matter what services were required, the Government never asked where the money was to come from, because it was provided.

It is to provide various other services that the Minister's increased Budget has been presented to this House. The necessity for providing for the relief of farmers to-day is overwhelming, considering the present position they find themselves in. It is an amazing thing to hear farmer Deputies on the Government Benches so lost to the principles of truth as to try to make out that the agricultural [1268] community are in a prosperous state to-day. There was a question as to why the late Government did not provide derating in toto. There was a strong reason for it. The necessity was not as great then as to-day. The levies for rates for provision for these services were not as large as they are to-day and they are ever growing. They are growing to such a degree that a few years ago the primary party in the Cork County Council decided that they would cry halt to the increasing expenditure and they refused to strike a rate which the Minister said should be struck. The Minister brought a mandamus against them to compel them to strike the rate that he felt was right and he won his victory in the courts and the farmers were mulcted in an increased form of taxation based on that. Since that day, when a very decided opinion was given as to what the position of farmers was on that day, when they were not as badly hit as they are to-day, when they had not got through the operations of the economic war, they protested. To-day what has been the result? There is an overwhelming arrear of rates. In one case I know in Cork County, up to £600 is due by one farmer. £400 is not an unusual sum for some of the larger farmers to owe, simply because they have lost so drastically. Doubt has been cast on the amount of those losses. The Minister's own statement, the Minister's own figures, the figures supplied by the Department of Industry and Commerce will give the lie to any question as to the position of the farmers to-day. In 1930, the amount of class I. exports, cattle, livestock and other forms of agricultural produce from the land, was £21.05 millions. These were taken from the Department's Statistical Statements. In 1931, the figure was £18.3 millions, but in 1932, when the economic war commenced, the exports had fallen to £11.9 millions. In 1933, they had sunk to £7.5 millions. In 1934, £6.1 millions. In 1935, £7.3 millions. In 1936, due to an increase in prosperity and a greater volume of purchases it had risen to £8.95 millions and in 1937, £9.8 millions. It will not be [1269] denied that the influence of the penal tariffs was largely resultant in that condition of affairs. When a cattle dealer was buying cattle at a market or fair he knew the price it would cost to export those cattle, but better than anything and it was particularly brought home to him, he knew the tariff he would have to pay on those cattle and that would have to be paid before they entered the British market. He knew when they were £6 a head and he knew when they were £4 5s. a head. He knew to a penny, and he made it clear in every fair he visited what he would have to pay on those cattle. Those tariffs which were deducted for a special purpose, the payment of which was not denied and which is acknowledged from the Government Front Bench on more than one occasion and which was also admitted in the British House of Commons, were taxes paid direct by the Irish farmer based on his production, every one of which was taken directly out of his pocket and deducted on the day they were purchased.

That will not be denied. An attempt has been made to deny it. The Minister for Agriculture has said that not one penny of the tariffs was paid by the Irish farmer, although the cattle traders will tell you that they deducted them. It is good politics for the Minister for Agriculture to say that, definitely good politics, because he knew very well the Irish farmer would demand restitution. No matter what agreement was come to, they were waiting until an agreement was brought about before making their demands, and to-morrow when those tariffs are taken off they are asking the Government for that restitution which is their right and proper due. That restitution will be demanded all over the country by the Irish farmers and they will insist upon getting it. It is useless for the Minister for Industry and Commerce in the speech which he made last Saturday to say that it was the cattle consumers in England who paid those tariffs. The cattle consumers in England bought Irish cattle on the English market based on the prices that were given for cattle on that market, whether they were Irish-produced or [1270] English-produced or Scotch-produced. They gave the actual market price, and they only gave that price because the tariffs were actually paid before those cattle entered that market.

Is it a very likely story that four plenipotentiaries went over to England to settle the case for the English farmer? If it was, what did they go over for? For what did the Minister for Industry and Commerce sacrifice his dearest ambition, to provide for the self-sufficiency of this country so far as their industries were concerned? He sacrificed that and he gave up your independence so far as your fiscal policy is concerned. The Minister for Industry and Commerce gave up all that, that he held dear and that he acknowledged as right to provide, for an Agreement which he knew was urgent and without which he knew it was impossible to go on in this country. Therefore, I say definitely there is a settlement due to the Irish farmer. The Minister for Agriculture has made suggestions that subsidies will be given. Subsidies do not travel always to the source. Subsidies do not travel back to the farmer. Very often they are arrested on their way, and I say that is not the form of relief which is necessary for men who have experienced during the past five or six years the most drastic punishment that could possibly be meted out to the agricultural community.

Beet and wheat are two very excellent things, for those who are able to carry them out and when climatic conditions are favourable. Wheat is an excellent thing on land that is favourable to its production. With regard to the beet crop, I have very good land and I can say that I have not grown a very big crop of beet. It has not been a success with me and I have had to give up growing it this year. It may be a success with the small farmer with a large family that can carry out all the operations that are necessary, but I submit that any man who has to pay, and pay well, for agricultural labour is not able to make a profit in the growing of beet because the operations are so extensive on it. Often in very unfavourable climatic conditions labourers will not work. You are paying [1271] an extra wage now to agricultural labourers. That will make those operations all the more expensive and will prevent the growing of beet in this country, whatever you may do with wheat.

I say there is one direct form of relief which you can give to the agriculturist, and that is to derate his land, simply because the services that the rates provide for are now utilised by a non-farming community. The community that use all these services are often wealthy men who pay very little in rates, and, whatever you may have done in the past, 50 or 60 years ago, when rating was a purely local matter, when every parish paid for its own poor, when the rates were kept within a particular, circumscribed area, rating might have been perfectly justified, but to-day it is unfair and inequitable. We ask in the name of the agricultural community that it will be removed. Deputies here are anxious about Partition in Northern Ireland. They do not want to see that continued. But will they tell the farmers in Northern Ireland to come in here under their wing, and that derating will be continued to them? Or will you tell the farmer that he is to pay rates on the land again—a very large volume of rates?

The Minister for Local Government and Public Health tells us that we in Cork County are not doing our duty because we are not levying a greatly increased amount of rates on the agricultural community. You can have all those services you want and every class of service you need provided you take it off one particular section of the community who are unable to bear the drastic method of taxation which is involved in the upkeep of the local services to-day. It is a burden which you cannot impose on the agricultural community in view of the heavy arrears which we are utterly unable to-day to collect. Many farms are absolutely unstocked and some of them are partly unstocked. Do not now by levying increased taxation denude the land further. That has happened already in many cases. In 1930 the present Government and its supporters wanted [1272] to give the farmers £1,000,000 in derating. In 1932, I remember, every Fianna Fáil candidate spoke of the blessings that derating would bring the agricultural community. The farmers were told what the Fianna Fáil candidates were going to do for them in addition to having the land annuities retained. The people naturally expected that that promise would be kept. Certainly while the economic war was in progress that promise was not kept.

I say that derating is a form of restitution that is absolutely due to the farmers of this country. I venture to say that we cannot by any means have a contented agricultural community if they are not derated. I have been asked by Deputy Corry as to my views on the beet industry in this country. Well, I would be very sorry to see that industry given up. It is all right for those who are able to grow it, whose land is suitable for it, and for those who have the necessary labour in their own families. But I say this, that when wages for agricultural labour are fixed at 27/- a week, if the farmers are at all to be encouraged they must be given derating and those taxes removed from them. The farmer cannot pay a proper wage unless he is relieved of this burden. The demand note for the rates is the heaviest burden the farmer has now to bear. It is one of the burdens from which he should be relieved. In England the farmers have the benefits of derating. They have been given its benefits in Scotland and Northern Ireland. It is due to the farmers in this country as well.

I think it was Deputy Moore who referred to the fact that only £1,000,000 had been drawn from the farmers' deposits in the banks during the economic war. Is there any greater proof of the fact that the deposits were not there, that they were non-existent or that they existed only in the imagination of non-farmers like Deputy Moore, than the statement that only £1,000,000 had been withdrawn during the most critical period through which the agricultural community has passed? Is it not the position in Ireland that whenever the farmer was in need he had to withdraw whatever little savings [1273] he had in order to meet his current obligations? We have evidence that they were not able to pay their rates or land annuities. I submit that it is absolutely urgent in order to provide adequate and immediate relief for these men who have suffered under the operation of what is known as the economic war that they be now given this relief. I do not suppose, though the embargo is going to be lifted to morrow, that there is going to be an immediate rise in the price of cattle.

I said a few weeks ago that the markets are very tricky things. The effect of the drought is practically to close the markets for cattle in England. A very prominent cattle trader told me quite recently that the effect of the drought was worse than the economic war. In the first place, owing to the drought here it was impossible to put the cattle into proper condition; the drought in England closed the markets there and left us no means of providing an opening for our cattle, whether saleable or not. I feel that Deputy Moore can hardly sustain his argument that the farmers have not suffered under the economic war. If the Government have any doubt as to the position of farmers under the economic war, then they can do what was done in the case of the Banking Commission and set up a commission to inquire into the farmer's present position and into what has been his position in the past six years. If you do that I venture to say that overwhelming evidence will be afforded as to what happened the farmer. Are you willing to set up that commission to inquire into what his position is to-day, and what is the best form of relief to give him? If that is done, I venture to say you will have an unanswerable demand for derating.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  How long would that commission sit?

Mr. Brasier: Information on Brooke W. Brasier  Zoom on Brooke W. Brasier  I am afraid it would be fairly long. Much weightier evidence would be given there than the evidence given before the Banking Commission.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Some of the farmers [1274] would be dead before the commission would report.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  We would be all dead.

Mr. Brasier: Information on Brooke W. Brasier  Zoom on Brooke W. Brasier  If this commission is set up, I am sure Deputy Davin——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Deputies must address the Chair. This conversation between Deputies cannot be allowed.

Mr. Brasier: Information on Brooke W. Brasier  Zoom on Brooke W. Brasier  Well, I was only trying to show how such a commission would help towards reviving the prosperity of the agricultural community. Something would be forthcoming from it which would recoup the farmers for what they have suffered in the past six years. We have not as yet heard or seen the Report of the Banking Commission, but I understand it is of tremendous importance. At any rate, I urge on the Minister to consider the setting up of a commission to inquire into the farmers' position. I think it is most desirable to ascertain what really the farmers have suffered in the last six years. Personally I know something about it. I know that their position is one of dire need at present, and I know the utter inability of the farmers to bear the taxation levied by the Minister under this Budget. The agricultural community are particularly unable to bear that burden. I am in agreement with Deputy Corry in what he has stated as to relief of rates on roads. It would not be going very much further than what he has suggested in relieving the farmers of their annuities. In 1932 every Deputy on the front Government Bench as well as on the back benches advocated derating.

I am quite free to say that the Agreement with England is as good a bargain as possibly could have been got out of a powerful country. I am glad it has been made, but the first debt to be paid by the Government is due to the men in the front line trenches. Restitution is due to them for what they have gone through. The Prime Minister promised that as long as grass would grow and water would run, or as long as the annuities would [1275] have to be paid, the farmers would only have to pay half these annuities. I submit that that would be all right in relieving agricultural depression if the farmers had not suffered all they have suffered in the last six years, but Deputies must remember that since 1929 and 1930, when derating was promised by the members of the present Government, the farmers had not lost £26,000,000. That being the case, it is absolutely unthinkable that they would not now get something more than what they are getting through the having of the annuities. The farmers have an unanswerable case for derating.

The operations of the economic war fell on a certain class of farmers, those who raised live stock for export. There was many a man it did not fall on. It did not fall on the broken farmer who had no stock. It fell on a class of farmers that Deputies on the opposite benches claimed should not get any relief at all. Some of those men owe very large sums in rates. Deputy Corry is well aware who those people are, and surely to goodness it will not be denied that these men are entitled to relief.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  They were “broke” years ago, and they are still “broke.”

Mr. Brasier: Information on Brooke W. Brasier  Zoom on Brooke W. Brasier  The economic war did not mend their ills. If they were poor before, I do not know how you could describe it comparatively, but they are certainly damn poor to-day. You have taken over the forts, and they are a very desirable thing to have from a sentimental point of view, I suppose. I know a certain colleague of mine who in his constituency declared that he would be holding a dance over there.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Perhaps he will be made the Admiral of Berehaven.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Will you play the fiddle?

Mr. Brasier: Information on Brooke W. Brasier  Zoom on Brooke W. Brasier  I will not be there, anyway. I do not play the fiddle, and I certainly will not go near the place where Deputy Corry is. All I will say is this, that you have taken on a white [1276] elephant that is far greater than what the Minister for Finance described one time as a white elephant, the Carlow sugar factory. We will endeavour to provide for the keeping up of the various other white elephants, the other sugar factories, because it is not our policy to knock down anything that has been built up. I say this, that you are going to wreek the whole country if you do not provide for those men who have lost everything through the activities of the economic war; that is, the agricultural community. As a last word, I would ask the Minister to set up a commission which will inquire into the whole position of the agricultural community during the past five or six years.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I think Deputies will agree that there must be a considerable disadvantage in discussing the Budget of this year, because of the refusal of the Minister for Finance to circulate the Report of the Banking Commission.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I must protest against that statement. I have not refused to circulate the Report of the Banking Commission. I have already explained to the House that the Report is a voluminous document, that it is still in the hands of the printers, and I have not read it myself yet. If Deputy Davin were here oftener he would have heard that, too.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I was going to deal with that rather alarming admission on the part of the Minister. I am aware, and the Minister cannot deny it, that before the negotiations with the British Government were concluded, he had this voluminous document in his possession and, if he were doing his duty on behalf of the people of the country, he had that document with him before he went to London and when he was in London, and——

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I had not, and it is no part of my duty——

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  The Minister also made an alarming admission that, because the document was a voluminous and [1277] lengthy one, he had not time to read it. I ask the Minister's constituents, and the people of the State, to say what they think of a Minister for Finance who had the Banking Commission's Report in his possession, and he refused to read it at a time when he was authorised by the people to discuss the Ultimate Financial Settlement.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  That is just like Deputy Davin, but when I answer him, I will answer him adequately.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  I think that matter would arise more properly on the Vote for the Minister's Department, as to whether he was guilty of any dereliction of duty in connection with the affairs of his Department.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I submit that my complaint is a fair one. It is that Deputies in this House have not been supplied with the Banking Commission's Report, although the Minister has admitted he has the Report in his possession, but has not had time to read it.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I have said that it is in the hands of the printers. Does the Deputy want me to go down there and read it?

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  The Minister has made a further admission, that the Report he has not read——

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Is it not always the custom? Let the Deputy remember for once not to be nonsensical in the House.

Mr. Meaney: Information on Cornelius Meaney  Zoom on Cornelius Meaney  If the Minister had had time to read the Report, the Deputy would probably find something else to charge him with.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I do not think I should be interrupted by the unpaid Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiral of Berehaven.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Or the Commodore of Dun Laoghaire?

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I am surprised, as a Deputy of this House with 16 years' [1278] experience, to learn that any report, and particularly such an important report as the Report of the Banking Commission, would be sent to the printers before it was read by the Minister and considered by the Cabinet. It is a most alarming admission on the part of the Minister for Finance, and I ask fairminded Deputies to think what they may about it, and if they are afraid to say it publicly from these benches, let them tell the Minister what they think about him at a Party meeting. I heard the Minister for Finance, and rightly so, when he was in opposition, criticise the Government of the day for having made a secret settlement with Great Britain without having gone into the whole financial history of the State. The Banking Commission's Report deals with the past history of this State and the present financial position of the State, and we have this jack-in-the-box Minister for Finance, who now tells us that it is with the printers although he has not read it, and we cannot be supplied with copies of it.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  On a point of order. We are not discussing the Report of the Banking Commission, and I think Deputy Davin has been out of order for the last five minutes. I submit that to the Chair now.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  The Minister is submitting a point of order. I am not quite sure if it is really a point of order. It may be more a point of relevancy. I think the Minister did say, in reply to Deputy Dillon, that the Banking Commission's Report was not in his hands, that it was with the printers, and Deputy Davin is commenting on that statement.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I submit to you that the conduct of the Minister in regard to the administration of the Department and the circulation or publication of this Report is entirely a matter for consideration when it arises, as you ruled from the Chair, on the Minister's Department.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  May I make a statement? [1279] This Budget makes provision for the payment of everything that is required for the carrying on of State services, including provision for the payment of the Minister's increased salary. I submit I am entitled to comment on this matter.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  The Deputy has commented on the fact that the Banking Commission's Report is not in the hands of Deputies. He has made several remarks with reference to it. I think the Minister's position with reference to giving that Report to the members of the House is really a matter that could better be discussed when considering the administration of his Department. The Deputy has the various methods he knows of in order to get the opinion of the House as to the Minister's duty in that connection, on the Estimate.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  The only thing I said, and I said it quite deliberately, was that I feel I am at a disadvantage in discussing this Budget in the absence of that document.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  The Deputy said this: “because of the Minister's refusal to publish that Report.” The Report could not be published unless it had been printed.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I am very glad that remark provoked the Minister into saying other things which I was surprised to hear him say.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Perhaps it would be better if the Deputy dealt with the financial motions.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Yes. I am keenly disappointed at the contents of the Budget and I think the people are deeply disappointed, because they were undoubtedly expecting that, as a result of the settlement with the British Government, the moneys saved thereby would be made available for the relief of those who suffered most during the economic war period. Nobody is more pleased or delighted that the nightmare of the economic war has passed and gone for ever than [1280] the members of this Party, because— and I say it as one of the people on these benches who made it possible, much more so than other people here, to get whatever has been got out of this settlement—no one realises more than we do, the sufferings which a good deal of our supporters have borne during that period — much greater sufferings than the supporters of other Parties. I hope, during the lifetime of every one of us, that we will not have another civil war, an economic war, or an international war. I would prefer an economic war, bad as it is, to a civil war. An economic war, bad as it would be, would be better than a second civil war, and if we had to go through the economic war for the purpose of avoiding a second civil war, it was all to the good, and the people will benefit by it. I am glad the economic war has disappeared. That period was taken advantage of by this Government, in a way, to make excuses, plausible excuses, for not carrying out any of the promises they made with regard to the solution of our internal problems. The republic has been blown sky-high, as Deputy McGowan said.

Mr. Meaney: Information on Cornelius Meaney  Zoom on Cornelius Meaney  What about the Workers' Republic? Will the Deputy tell us about that?

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Yes, in the proper place and at the proper time.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  The republic that Deputy Davin shed his blood and laid down his life for!

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  And may the Lord have mercy on the people who did lay down their lives. I say that with respect, with the greatest respect, and it is not a matter to provoke a discussion upon. I should like to know what these people would say about the recent settlement, or whether they would think that it was for that they suffered and died.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  The Deputy seems to be travelling very far from the Budget.

[1281]Mr. Anthony: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  Would they be looking for pensions?

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  The recent settlement, as the Minister for Finance admitted, made, or will make in the future, certain moneys available for the relief of taxation or for the provision of increased social services, but there is very little money that I can see in this Budget being made available for the relief of taxation. I read a document, which was issued last week and published and printed in the daily papers, asking for subscriptions from those who desire to subscribe towards the continuance of the Fianna Fáil Party so as to enable them to pursue their policy. One of the four points mentioned in that document was the giving of the necessary money to pursue their policy for the abolition of Partition. I want to know—and this is the occasion, I believe, when I am entitled to ask for the information, and I hope that I will be told, especially by a Minister for Finance who is a native of the City of Belfast—I want to know what is the Fianna Fáil policy for the abolition of Partition?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  That question does not arise on the Budget discussion.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I suggest that it does. I suggest that all questions of policy can be properly discussed in connection with a Budget statement. It is a good job that the Minister is not in the Chair, as I am sure he would rule out everybody who did not agree with him.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Probably Deputy Davin will not be satisfied with the Deputy who is in the Chair when I indicate that it is only the financial policy of the Government that arises in the Budget.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I understood—and, in fact, it is my recollection that I was allowed to do so on previous occasions —that I was entitled to raise matters affecting public policy in connection with the Budget.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Financial policy.

[1282]Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  However, the abolition of Partition has a bearing on the financial policy of the Government. Is Partition going to be abolished by a stroke of the pen or by a wave of the Minister's magic wand, or is it going to be abolished by some kind of economic pressure, or by the increased army and defence forces that we are being called upon to provide for in this Budget? I would like to see it abolished by methods of peaceful persuasion, if it could be done, but I hope that the Minister, who is a native of the City of Belfast, and who, more than anybody else, I am sure, would like to have all Ireland under his wing as Minister for Finance, will say something on this important subject when he is replying and tell the members of all Parties in the House what is the policy of the Fianna Fáil Party for the abolition of Partition. We are all in favour of abolishing it, and we would like to know the means by which the Government is going to carry out that desirable object, and as soon as we learn that from the Minister for Finance we can then say, “Go ahead with the project and you will have our support.” But we want to know what the policy is. The Minister for Finance is the Minister for Finance for Ireland. But he has not jurisdiction over the part of Ireland where he was born and reared, and we should like to know how he is going to get that jurisdiction.

Now, the recent settlement which everybody in this House, with one exception, gladly welcomed and voted for, as I say, cuts out of the political life of this country the one contentious issue upon which all young Republicans, so-called, and others, were able to hang their hats and wink at many of the other major internal problems which had been waiting for solution for a long period—since long before the present Government came into office. This question now confronts the Cabinet: Are they going to give serious consideration to the major issue before the people of this country as to what they propose to do in order to provide continuous work at decent Christian rates of wages for the 100,000 people who are waiting for work and willing [1283] to do it if they could get it? While they have been waiting for what they were promised six years ago, we of this Party think that they should be provided with maintenance, during the period of waiting for the promised work, at a rate that would enable these people to keep themselves and their families in decent comfort. The Minister for Finance, who, more than any member of the Government, claims to be a good, Christian Minister, says that they stand for a Christian social policy, the Christian social policy which was contained in the Pope's Encyclicals and which, I am sure, was well understood by the Minister. Six years ago we were told that they had a plan. Are they now ready to put that plan into operation, after waiting for a period of six years, to provide work for every able-bodied citizen of this State?

Mr. O'Leary: Information on Daniel O'Leary  Zoom on Daniel O'Leary  Their plan is to export the people out of the country.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Well, that is one way of doing it, but that is a voluntary effort on the part of the people themselves, who have decided to go out of the country to seek for a livelihood rather than wait for a longer period than they have waited, in order to be provided with work in this country. If the Government have a plan, let them put it into operation, and every Party in this House, I am sure, will be willing to support the Government in a policy that will enable them to put that plan into operation as quickly as possible. Does the Minister, or do his colleagues, suggest that the present scale of unemployment assistance is sufficient to maintain the workless and their dependents in decency and comfort? In many cases, the rate is much below the miserable poverty rate which was previously given by the boards of health in relief. We contend that the time has arrived when that scale will have to be increased to a Christian standard to enable the unfortunate workless people to live decently while they are waiting for work. We have, of course, the plan provided by the Minister for Unemployment, as I think he was properly baptised from these [1284] benches some years ago—a plan for providing casual work under this objectionable rotational relief scheme, at the scab and black-leg rate of 24/- a week. I am referring, of course, to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister. He said that the maximum number of people provided with work under that scheme last year at one period reached 36,000. Might I ask the Minister, who works in close collaboration with his Parliamentary Secretary, for how many weeks were these 36,000 people provided with work out of the 52 weeks in the year, and what was the average amount paid?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  On a point of order, Sir. There is a debate, which is adjourned for the moment, going on in connection with the Estimate of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance, and these questions should be put, if Deputy Davin is in the House to put them, on that debate.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  I have allowed Deputy Davin to discuss unemployment in so far as it impinges on taxation and expenditure. The question of the administration of the Department of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance would arise more relevantly on the Vote, the discussion of which is at present adjourned; but so far as unemployment and rates of benefit impinge on expenditure and taxation, I have allowed Deputy Davin to proceed.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  That is what I was discussing, Sir, and I claim that I have a perfect right to object to the Government policy which propose in this Budget to provide the sum of £600,000 for the modernisation of our so-called forts and is providing that sum in a year when, as has been admitted, these forts will not be handed over to this Government until near the end of the year. There is sum of £600,000 being made available in this Budget for the modernisation of our forts by a Minister who knows perfectly well that this State has no battleships or seaplanes to protect those forts when [1285] they are modernised. In my opinion that sum of money should be devoted to other purposes, if possible to provide a scheme of work for our workless and their dependents. We are asked in a Financial Resolution associated with this Budget to agree to increase the price of butter in the home market to our people. The object of that is to raise a sum of £350,000 for revenue purposes. That sum of money is being raised at the expense of the butter consumers of this country to help defray the cost of modernising our ports which, when modernised, will not have supporting battleships or seaplanes to protect them.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  The Deputy is entirely under a misapprehension. There is nothing in this Budget about raising the price of butter.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  The Budget and the Financial Resolutions associated with it empower the Minister to increase the price of butter in the home market to our consumers by 2d. per lb.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  No.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  The Minister is raising a technical quibble.

Mr. O'Leary: Information on Daniel O'Leary  Zoom on Daniel O'Leary  Are the Government giving any help towards the subsidy on butter?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  The Government have given help.

Mr. O'Leary: Information on Daniel O'Leary  Zoom on Daniel O'Leary  Are they giving any at present?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  The Deputy knows that the amount provided in the Budget for export bounties and subsidies is £800,000.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I think that the Minister and Deputy O'Leary should retire to the Lobby and carry on their conversation there. I submit to the Chair that the Minister's point was a point of disorder. Next in importance to the question of unemployment is this: What policy are the Government going [1286] to adopt during the current year for the purpose of bringing down the cost of living? From the latest figures available we find that in 1936, as compared with 1931, the consumption of bread has gone down by 18,000,000 2-lb. loaves. The Minister tells us that there is more money than ever in circulation amongst the poorer classes of the community, but if that be so, why has there been that huge fall in the consumption of bread between 1931 and 1936? We also learn from the figures available that the consumption of Irish bacon in the home market in 1936 was a quarter less than it was in 1931. Then we have the increase in the price of butter. During the period of the economic was I saw the evidence myself of Irish citizens having the doubtful pleasure of paying a higher price for Irish butter at home than the British consumer had to pay for the same butter in Liverpool, London, Galsgow and other English cities. I hope that that part of the Government policy will disappear during the course of the present year, and that, if we have a surplus of butter to export, it will not be sold cheaper under any system that the Government may frame outside the country than inside.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I have no control over the price either here or in any other market.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  The Minister is in very bad humour, but so long as I keep within the rules of order he will have to listen to me. I would appeal to his good sense not to be trying to take over the duties of the Chair. His important work connected with the Department of Finance and the fact that he has to carry such a heavy load on his back as the Parliamentary Secretary should be sufficient for him.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  That does not arise on the Budget or on the Financial Resolution.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Deputy Corry has already been apointed an admiral at Berehaven.

Mr. Meaney: Information on Cornelius Meaney  Zoom on Cornelius Meaney  An Deputy Davin President of the Workers' Republic.

[1287]Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I am sure that nobody begrudges Deputy Corry his appointment.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  A discussion on Deputy Corry does not arise on the Financial Resolution.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I will have to borrow that cap of yours.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I was assuming that this £600,000 for the modernisation of the forts would also make provision for such positions as admirals of the battleships and seaplanes that will be necessary to support them.

Mr. Gorey: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  That will arise on the Army and Navy Vote.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  The Minister cannot deny that there is this £600,000 to improve the defence forces and to modernise the forts. If the forts are to be modernised, then I take it it will be necessary to have commanders and admirals for the battleships that will be necessary to protect them. Otherwise, I cannot see any justification for modernising them. On this matter at any rate, I am in full agreement with my colleague, Deputy O'Higgins. Behind this whole scheme recently agreed to with our very good neighbours on the other side there appears to be something that has not been let out fully. Will the Minister say why this £600,000 is to to be spent inside three months of the financial year? Deputy O'Higgins correctly pointed out that the forts cannot be taken over until the end of the present calender year. That being so, only three months are left for the expenditure of this sum of money.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Even that is not correct.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Surely to goodness you cannot proceed with the work of modernising the forts before you take them over. Is that not so?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  The Deputy did not vote against the Agreement but might at least have read it.

[1288]Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  The Deputy would not vote against it. Even the Minister's disorderly remarks would not provoke him into voting against the Agreement. The country and the House are entitled to know why this £600,000 is to be spent inside three months of the financial year. The House is entitled to get more information than has been given to it. For instance, is the personnel of the Army and the Air Force going to be increased considerably? I would like to hear something from the Minister for Finance on that, because it is freely rumoured in political circles that there is to be a considerable increase in the Air Force. If there is any understanding not contained in the Agreement to increase the Air Force and to modernise the forts at Berehaven, Lough Swilly and elsewhere, then this House and the country are entitled to be told about it.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I submit to the Chair that all this has nothing to do with the Financial Resolutions before the House. The defence policy of the Government will arise on the Vote for the Minister for Defence.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Two other Deputies were allowed to elaborate on this point this evening.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  I think that Deputy Davin is quite in order in making reference to the proposed expenditure on defence, which will have to be raised out of public taxation. I think he is quite entitled to do that.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I submit that you have ruled that, on the Budget, only financial policy should be discussed. This matter relate to defence policy which would arise in due course on the Estimate for Defence.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  This is a question of financial policy. It concerns the raising of money for the purpose of defence.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  The Minister will say that it is only a question of £600,000 [1289] and that it does not matter. If the Minister would allocate that £600,000 for the purpose of increasing the miserable scale of unemployment assistance for those who cannot get work as a result of the Minister's failure to carry out his plans, it would make the homes of these unfortunate workers happier than they are to-day. But as it is only a matter of £600,000, it does not matter. So say Mr. Chamberlain and the Minister for Finance. Is this part of a proposed scheme of Imperial defence? If it is, the House and the country are entitled to know, and they are also entitled to know if it is part of the understanding arrived at in the recent negotiations carried on by the Minister for Finance and others with representatives of the British Government. I am, I submit, entitled to criticise this provision of £600,000 for modernisation of the forts. We have not, however, the full story of the future defence policy of this Government. If I had the power, I would vote this £600,00 out of the Budget and set it aside for a more useful purpose—to provide useful employment for the workless and to increase the unemployment assitance payments. Will the Minister say that that is disorderly? I am not concerned as to whether the Minister thinks it is pertinent to the Budget or not. It is pertinent to the people to have to find the £600,000. The plain people would much prefer—and I believe Deputies on the other side would also prefer—to find £600,000 to provide work or maintenance for the workless to modernising these forts in pursuance of any private understanding between representatives of this Government and representatives of the British Government.

Mr. P.J. Fogarty: Information on Andrew Fogarty  Zoom on Andrew Fogarty  Where does the private understanding come in?

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  You know nothing about it.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Deputy Davin always judges other people by his own standards, and they are not high.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  £600,000 is not a large [1290] amount, in the opinion of the Minister for Finance. I am sure it is a satisfaction to him to know that none of the people living in the Six Counties will have to pay any part of it this year. We should like to know that they will have to find moeny for these defence schemes in future years. We should like to know that they will share with us the expense of providing for defence of the whole of the country in future years. I contend that money should be made available by the Government for the relief of the people who suffered most during the economic war. I say without hesitation—I am sorry to have to say it, and I invite Deputy Corry or any other Deputy on the opposite benches to contradict it—that many of the farmers in my constituency who suffered in silence during the economic war lost all their savings. Is there any way by which these people can restock their lands or provide themselves with up-to-date machinery to work their lands in the future unless they are provided with cheap money either by way of long term loans at a low rate of interest or in some way other than that by which money is lent by the Agricultural Credit Corporation at a high rate of interest. We of the Labour Party want to see the farmers prosper. Apart from politics altogether, I often wish the farmers had the good sense to organise, and that the Labour Party, including the agricultural labourers, were equally well organised. As the son of a farmer I should be glad to see the Labour Party, well organised, joining with the farmers, well organised, for the purpose of improving the economic position of the farming community.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  A funny combination.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  This country cannot be prosperous so long as you have a poverty-stricken community. Everybody associated with me is interested in farming, and I could not help knowing what they went through during the economic war. There are few farmers in my constituency whose savings during that period were not wiped out or almost wiped out. If this Government [1291] want the farms worked to the fullest advantage, so that they may give employment at a decent rate of wages, they must provide the farmers with cheap money from some source. That is the Government's job, because the Government cannot shirk responsibility for having depleted the resources of the farmers during the past six years. International matters may have helped to make the farmers poorer than they were, but the economic war was chiefly responsible for almost wiping out the savings of the farmers.

We have supported this Government through thick and thin in carrying out their policy of guaranteed markets and guaranteed prices for the farming community. I think I am speaking for my Party when I say that it is not worth while giving a subsidy to any industry unless you give a subsidy to the farmer which will enable him to get a remunerative price for what he has to sell. What is the use of granting a subsidy to the Industrial Alcohol Board for the production of industrial alcohol to be sold at a commercial price when that board will pay the farmers only £2 per ton for their potatoes? We want to see the farmers paid a remunerative price for their potatoes. The Minister for Education is present. I attended a meeting in Jury's Hotel at which the Minister for Education and some of his colleagues were present to deal with the price of beet at that time. The Minister was then on the Opposition Benches. The Minister is evidently going to take part in this discussion and I ask him what part he played at that meeting, what demand was made by the beet growers as the price for their beet and if he supported that demand. Why is the Minister standing to-day, as apparently he is, with his colleague, the Minister for Agriculture, in insisting on an uneconomic price for beet?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  How does this arise?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The matters to be discussed on the Budget Resolutions are taxation, expenditure and financial policy. If the Deputy wants [1292] a guiding line, matters which may be debated on an Estimate should not be debated on the Budget Resolutions.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I submit to your ruling, but I do not think this is a case for discussion on an Estimate so much as for discussion on the Budget as it is a question of financial policy which can only be fully surveyed under cover of a general resolution of this kind. I am attacking the Government for their failure to provide a remunerative price to the farmers for agricultural produce and I would not be allowed to make the kind of speech I am making on an Estimate, which deals only with administration.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  Administration may not be discussed on the Budget.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I am not discussing it. I am discussing general policy. If I were discussing the question of an economic price for beet on the Estimate for the office of the Minister for Finance, he would jump up more quickly and twice as often as he has been doing on this Resolution.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  What of the Estimate for Agriculture, or for Industry and Commerce?

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I should be prevented from doing that on these Estimate as well, although the Minister for Finance is in the habit of jumping up more often than his colleagues on matters of this kind. Would the Minister for Education tell us the price demanded by beet growers on that occasion? There was an agitation for an increase in the price of beet and the Minister for Education was one of the Deputies present. No matter from what side of the House the demand comes for payment of a remunerative price for beet, I shall support it, and the same will apply to any other article the farmer produces, because it is only when the farmers get remunerative prices that we shall be justified in asking them to treat their agricultural labourers in a decent, Christian way.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  And then, of course, [1293] we make a speech about the rising cost of living.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I do not know whether that is meant for the gallery or for the House.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  It is meant for Deputy Davin.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Well, it runs off him like water off a duck.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  We know that. The Deputy has a skin like a lobster's.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  We have had complaints about the failure of the Government to deal with the increasing cost of living, with particular reference to the increasing cost of bread. I have stated that there has been a considerable reduction in the consumption of bread, presumably, amongst the poorer sections of the people. That must be due to the fact that the people are unable to buy bread to the extent to which they would like to buy it. They have not got the money to do so. I should like to hear whether the Prices Commission, for which provision is made in this Budget, intend to do anything in that direction this year. We are aware that at the request of the British Government, the Prices Commission will now have to give priority to the consideration of any proposal put before them by the British Governemnt arising out of the recent settlement.

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

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I want to know whether the Prices Commission will have any time at their disposal, within the next five or six months or within the current year, to give any consideration to the general complaint about the excessive prices charged for bread and flour.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  That is definitely a matter of administration which the Deputy may raise on the appropriate Estimate.

[1294]Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Provision is made in this Budget for the payment of the salaries of the members of the Prices Commission.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  It is not in the Budget.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  This is a matter of policy, a mater for the Government to decide.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The matter which the deputy is discussing is one of administration.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Am I allowed to advocate the establishment of a marketing organisation for the sale of our surplus produce in a foreign market under this general resolution? The recent Agreement, I am glad to note, professes to provide an improved market for our agricultural produce—for the sale of our butter, bacon, eggs and other agricultural produce in increasing quantities in the only market which, it is now admitted, we have outside this country. I contend, and I do so with some knowledge and experience, that the farmers of this country are not going to get this increased market to-morrow, or in the near future, unless they are prepared, and the Government helps them, to organise the sale of their surplus produce in the British market in a better way than is the case to-day. We have been beaten out of the British market by the methods adopted by better organised countries. Before the economic war the total quantity of our butter sold in the British market represented something like 9 per cent. of our butter production. I presume the figures have been decreased, and I suggest, with some knowledge of trading conditions and the experience I have had on a certain advisory body for a number of years, that the farmers of this country need not hope for the sale of their surplus produce in increased quantities, unless they are able to market it in an organised way.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  Is not that a problem for the Minister for Agriculture?

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  It is a matter of policy.

[1295]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  It is a matter of administration, and one for the Minister for Agriculture.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  There is no provision in existing circumstances for an organised marketing scheme. I am suggesting that it should be a matter for consideration, that it would be good policy, and I say that my words will be proved true in a year or two——

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  On a point of order——

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Is this a point of order?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Minister has risen on a point of order.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  The Vote for the Department of Agriculture has yet to be discussed. There is an amendment down to refer the Vote back. This matter could arise then, but it certainly does not arise now.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I have some knowledge as to the reasons why the motion to refer back that Estimate is to be moved, but I am not going to refer to them now, because the Minister would object and say that I was out of order, and he would be right in saying so. The Minister is determined not to let me say anything if he can help it, but if I am talking rot why does the Minister not let me go on and make an ass of myself? The Minister has interrupted me at least a dozen times since I stood up, but I have not deliberately tried to avoid the rules of order and procedure. I rose to make my own speech in my own way and with a knowledge of the procedure previously adopted on this matter. I would not dream, under any circumstances, of disrespecting any order which you, Sir, or the Leas-Cheann Comhairle would ask me to obey, but the Minister has deliberately attempted to prevent me making my own speech in my own way.

Mr. T. Kelly: Information on Thomas Kelly  Zoom on Thomas Kelly  You were not very nice to the Minister.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  The Minister should understand these things. You do not. [1296] You only understand the rules and procedure of the Dublin Corporation. As you grow a little older in a knowledge of the rules of this House, you will realise that this is fair game.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I suppose this is in order?

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

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I was tempted to reply to the interruption of Deputy Kelly.

Mr. Kelly:  But there is a very high standard in the corporation, which is absent here.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  The standard was so high on one occasion that the Minister abolished the corporation at a stroke of the pen and Deputy Kelly, I believe, was included in the number counted out.

Mr. Kelly:  The Minister did not abolish the corporation.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  He did not restore the corporation with its old powers, anyway. They have power to talk now, but not to decide very much. I suggest that it would be a matter of good policy for a Government that wants to improve the sale of our produce in the British market and that expresses its desire to get an increase in the amount of produce sold there, to decide to establish a marketing organisation. As you are aware, Sir, there is no provision in existing circumstances for the carrying on of an organised marketing scheme for the sale of butter, bacon, eggs or other items of agricultural produce.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  From the Deputy's last sentence, it is obviously a matter of administration.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  But, Sir, the Deputy will repeat it.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I also desire to support, with certain qualifications, the repeated demand from all parts of the House over many years that the farmers should get some assistance by [1297] way of the derating of agrucultural land. This Party has argued for many years that it is good policy on the part of the Government to take over the complete control and cost of maintenance of the main and trunk roads of the country, and also the mental hospitals. I was delighted to hear Deputy Corry on the Government Benches supporting that demand here to-night, and I hope that the Government, before the end of the current financial year, will take its courage in its hands and take over complete control of the main trunk and coastal roads and their maintenance, and thereby relieve the farmers to some extent of the unfair burden they have to bear at present.

The main and trunk roads of the country are used mainly by the owners of motor cars, ‘buses and lorries, and these are the people who should pay the whole of the cost of their maintenance. The standard of maintenance under the present system is quite different in one country as compared with another, and any Deputy who travels from Dublin to Cork by road can plainly see that difference. If the Government will take over control of these main trunk roads and put the cost of their maintenance upon the taxpayers instead of upon the ratepayers, it will have the satisfaction of having a uniform standard of maintenance all over the State instead of having different standards in different counties, as is the position to-day.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  What about the railways?

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I will look after the railways in the proper time. It would be out of order to refer to them now, but I am prepared to discuss the railways here or anywhere else with the Deputy, and I am sure he will be able to make some very interesting suggestions for their preservation. I am sure that I will get support of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance in requesting the Government to give careful consideration to the proposal to provide further moneys for the construction of coastal roads.

[1298] We hear a good deal from time to time from representatives of the Government, especially from the Minister for Industry and Commerce whenever he speaks at the annual dinner of the Tourist Association, about what the Government will do, what the Government are prepared to do, to develop the tourist industry in this country. It is an industry which provides unseen assets for many sections of the people. If we are going to develop the tourist industry in this country, as it is being developed in other competing countries, money must be made available for the construction of our coastal roads, so as to provide better natural scenery than is being provided in any other country to which tourists may go from time to time. I am sure Deputy Corry will agree that that money cannot be provided at the expense of the ratepayers of the counties concerned. I am sure he would not like to say to the ratepayers of the County Cork that they should provide all the money required for the making of the coastal roads which undoubtedly would be provided if the money was available. Some people in Clare and Galway——

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Did Deputy Davin ever hear about sitting on two stools at the one time?

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I listened with great interest to the Deputy, and I am sure he would not stand up here and say he is opposed to that policy—the policy of providing a sum of money for the construction and improvement of our coastal roads.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Stick to the one stool.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  It is a practical proposal, and I hope it will get careful consideration from the Ministers who have made those plausible promises from time to time during the last few years when attending functions of the Tourist Development Association. Of course Deputy Corry does not do much damage to the road from Cork to Dublin. I believe he travels mostly by rail.

[1299]Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I try to keep you going.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Keep me on the rails anyway.

Mr. McGowan: Information on Gerrard L. McGowan  Zoom on Gerrard L. McGowan  It is a pity there is a railway from Cork to Dublin.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I have reason to know— and the Minister for Lands and Forestry admitted here on the discussion on his own Estimate—that there has been a scheme for the reclamation of our bog lands under consideration for a lengthy period.

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

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I am pressing the Government to provide the necessary money in this Budget for the carrying out of that scheme.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  Matter which may be discussed on Estimates should not be raised now. The Deputy has admitted that the particular matter he now wishes to deal with has already been dealt with on the Vote. It is not relevant.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  On an Estimate, I cannot make a submission to increase the amount of the Estimate, as you know, Sir. Nobody except a Minister can move a resolution to increase the expenditure.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  A Deputy may, however, advocate certain improvements, and as a matter of fact such improvements were advocated on the Vote.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I have been a very attentive listener to the Budget discussions, and I understood that under the procedure of this House no Deputy would be allowed to move for an increase of expenditure except on a general Budget resolution.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  He cannot even move it on that.

[1300]Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I am submitting that I am entitled to advocate it now. I know I am not entitled to do so on the Estimate.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I am afraid the Deputy is bogging.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I say, Sir, that I am entitled to encourage the Government to provide the necessary large sum—I admit it is a large sum——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Deputy surely does not maintain that the whole House is entitled to go over every Estimate, suggesting on the Budget all the improvements they desire to make in the various Departments, and advocating that money be provided for them? It would entail going through the whole Estimates again.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I am not doing that.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  If the Deputy does it in regard to one or two Estimates, other Deputies would have equal rights, and the whole field of the Estimates would be covered—an impossible position.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I am submitting that for the £600,000 which it is proposed to spend on the modernisation of our ports this other more valuable work could be done. I think I am entitled to make that submission. I am indicating how I would spend that money on other and more useful work than the modernisation of ports which have no battleships or admirals to defend them. There is also, Sir, as far as I can see, no provision in the Budget of this year, nor in the Estimates, for correcting a very serious omission on the part of this Government in connection with the workers employed upon public works schemes. We complained here on many occasions, and so did Fianna Fáil Deputies and every other Deputy in turn, about the refusal of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance in particular, and the heads of other Departments, [1301] to stamp the unemployment insurance cards of men employed on those public works schemes.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  I would again remind the Deputy and the House that on the Budget debate they may discuss taxation, expenditure and financial policy, but not the details of any Estimate. Matters which were discussed on Estimates should not be reopened now. Matters which may be discussed on forthcoming Estimates should not be anticipated now. So far, the Deputy has mentioned three or four matters which have been discussed or which would be perfectly relevant on Estimates not yet reached.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  There is no money in the Estimate for this particular service. May I have an assurance from you now, Sir, that I will be allowed to discuss this matter on the Estimate?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  On a point of order: the Deputy has made a statement which is not correct. The Deputy can ascertain whether or not money has been provided for the stamping of cards on the Vote which is at present being discussed.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I am not paying very much attention to what the Minister is saying. Are you ruling, Sir, that I cannot refer to this matter any further?

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

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  May I have an assurance that I will be allowed to discuss this matter on the Estimate?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Chair gives no hypothetical assurances. When the Estimate comes up, the Deputy may debate what is relevant.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Therefore, I am probably going to get it in the neck both ways. This Party, Sir, has constantly advocated the policy of State control of our big industries. On several [1302] occasions of this kind in the past we have given every encouragement that we possibly could to the Minister for Industry and Commerce to take over control of such industries as the flour-milling industry and the transport industry. In this Budget discussion the other day the Minister had the nerve to get up and say that the number of persons employed in the transport industry had been increased.

I wonder, if he speaks again upon any Budget Resolution or on the further stages of the Finance Bill, will he give us detailed particulars to justify that statement. I know, Sir—I have reason to know—the number of thousands of men who have been dismissed from the railways section of the transport industry for reasons which it is not necessary for me to go into on this debate; they are thoroughly understood by every Deputy in this House. I should like to have from the Minister for Industry and Commerce detailed figures to justify that statement.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  The Minister for Industry and Commerce does not speak again on this Resolution.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  The Minister for Industry and Commerce—and nobody knows it better than the Minister for Finance— can have another “go” on the Finance Bill, which will be the method of implementing the Budget Resolutions now under discussion.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  He will have a better “go” on the Vote for his Department.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  The Minister for Finance knows well that we are not entitled to discuss policy on an Estimate. I should like to hear from the Minister for Finance, but I suppose he will not tell us, whether he and his colleagues have any policy that will save the transport industry from destruction. Those of us who know the transport industry better than the Minister for Industry and Commerce realise that it is in a disorganised state, a state of chaos. I hope the Minister, or somebody replying for [1303] him in this discussin, will say what the Government policy is in regard to the proposal for State control of industries such as the flour milling and transport industries.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  On the Vote for the Department for Industry and Commerce.

[1304]Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  If the Minister does not want to listen to me any longer, I will, with your permission, Sir, move to report progress.

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

The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Thursday, 19th May, 1938.


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