Dáil Éireann

05/Jul/1938

Prelude

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Arrears on County Kerry Cottages.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Carrick-on-Suir Slate Quarry.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Regulation of Conditions of Employment.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Compensation for Malicious Damage.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Blind Persons' Pensions.

Election of Leas-Cheann Comhairle.

Committee on Finance. Financial Motions. - Motion No. 1—Income-Tax.

Committee on Finance. Financial Motions. - Motion No. 2—Income-Tax.

Committee on Finance. Financial Motions. - Motion No. 3—Income Tax.

Committee on Finance. Financial Motions. - Motion No. 4—Death Duties.

Committee on Finance. Financial Motions. - Motion No. 5—Death Duties.

Committee on Finance. Financial Motions. - Motion No. 6—Excise.

Committee on Finance. Financial Motions. - Motion No. 7—Customs.

Committee on Finance. Financial Motions. - Collection of Taxes (Confirmation) Bill, 1938—Second Stage.

Committee on Finance. Financial Motions. - Collection of Taxes (Confirmation) Bill, 1938—Committee.

Committee on Finance. Financial Motions. - Imposition of Duties (Confirmation of Orders) Bill, 1938—Second Stage.

Committee on Finance. Financial Motions. - Estimates for Public Services.

Committee on Finance. - Vote No. 53—Fisheries.

Committee on Finance. - Vote 2—Houses of the Oireachtas.

Committee on Finance. - Vote No. 5—Office of the Minister for Finance.

Committee on Finance. - Vote No. 6—Office of the Revenue Commissioners.

Committee on Finance. - Vote 7—Old Age Pensions.

Committee on Finance. - Vote—8.—Compensation Bounties.

Committee on Finance. - Vote 13—Civil Service Commission.

Committee on Finance. - Vote 14—Property Losses Compensation.

Committee on Finance. - Vote 15—Personal Injuries Compensation.

Committee on Finance. - Vote 16—Superannuation and Retired Allowances.

Committee on Finance. - Vote 18—Secret Service.

Committee on Finance. - Vote 19—Tariff Commission.

Committee on Finance. - Vote No. 25—Supplementary Agricultural Grants.

Committee on Finance. - Vote 26—Law Charges.

Committee on Finance. - Vote 28.—Universities and Colleges.

Committee on Finance. - Vote 31—Management of Government Stocks.

Written Answers. - Mayo Bog Road.

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

Mr. J. Flynn:  asked the Minister for Local Government and Public Health whether any decision had been come to in the matter of writing off portion of the arrears outstanding in respect of labourers' cottages in South Kerry, as submitted to him by the Kerry Board of Health; and, if so, if he will state to what extent he is prepared to meet the submissions of the board of health; and if not, if he will expedite matters so that he will be in a position to sanction schemes for the erection of new cottages in Cahirciveen.

Minister for Local Government and Public Health (Mr. O Ceallaigh):  As regards the first and second parts of the question. I have informed the board of health and public assistance that I have no power to approve of any proposal for writing off portion of arrears of rents due by tenants of labourers' cottages. As regards the third part of the question, the arrears of rents in the Cahirciveen district were greater in March, 1938, than in March, 1937, and the decision to defer the provision of further cottages must be adhered to.

Mr. Gorey:  asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state (1) what was the amount of the loan to the Carrick-on-Suir Slate Quarry Company; (2) the amount of the grant or grants to the company; (3) the amount received by his Department as a result of the sale of the plant, fittings and equipment; (4) the names of [100] the purchasers at the sale of the said plant, fittings and equipment, or any part of them; and (5) if portion of the fittings and equipment was not paid for, and if the firm or firms that supplied them lodged a claim for payment of the amount outstanding.

Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lemass):  A guarantee under the Trade Loans (Guarantee) Acts in respect of a loan of £4,500 was given to the Carrick Slate Quarry Company, Ltd.; grants totalling £2,250 were made to the company; the net amount realised on the sale of the plant and equipment of the company was £104 18s. 5d.; the plant and machinery were advertised for sale, and were sold to the highest bidder, viz., the Killaloe Slate Quarry Company, Limited, Nenagh, County Tipperary. As to whether any portion of the fittings and equipment had not been paid for by the company, or whether the firm or firms that may have supplied such fittings and equipment lodged a claim for payment of the amount outstanding, I have no information at my disposal.

Mr. Norton:  asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce when it is intended to introduce proposals for legislation for the purpose of regulating the conditions of employment of workers not covered by the Conditions of Employment Act, 1936, or the Shops (Conditions of Employment) Act, 1938.

Mr. Lemass:  I would refer the Deputy to the answer I gave to his question on this subject on the 27th April last.

Mr. Norton:  Arising out of the Minister's reply, can he indicate whether legislation will be introduced this year, and made effective in regard to workers' holidays this year.

Mr. Lemass:  I have no idea what legislation the Deputy has in mind. If his question refers to legislation for the purpose of regulating the conditions of workers in certain occupations, it is improbable that legislation of that kind will be introduced this year.

[101]Mr. Norton:  Did the Minister say “improbable”?

Mr. Lemass:  Yes. It is improbable that that type of legislation will be introduced this year.

Mr. Norton:  asked the Minister for Finance whether his attention has been called to the fact that under existing law persons alleging that their property has been damaged maliciously are entitled to recover from the local authority compensation for such damage, as ascertained by the Judge in the Circuit Court; whether he is aware that this practice originated in circumstances which no longer prevail; and whether, in view of the hardship inflicted on the ratepayers of the country by the operation of this law, he is prepared to take steps to secure its repeal at the earliest opportunity.

Minister for Finance (Mr. MacEntee):  I am aware of the existence of the law under which a person whose property has been maliciously damaged may obtain compensation from the local authority and of the circumstances in which the law originated. As its repeal would only result in great hardship to the individual whose property has been subjected to malicious damage, the answer to the last part of the question is in the negative.

Mr. Norton:  Is the Minister not aware of the fact that this legislation was originally introduced by the British Government as its method of dealing with the revolutionary situation in Ireland, and does he not consider it unfair to the ratepayers that they should be mulcted for damages inflicted maliciously under the conditions which led up to the introduction of this legislation and which are no longer with us? We are assured that the country is in a peaceful condition.

Mr. MacEntee:  I consider that, by the repeal of the law, greater hardship would be inflicted upon the individual whose property was damaged than by its continuance.

Mr. Norton:  So the innocent pay for the guilty?

[102]Mr. Norton:  asked the Minister for Finance whether he is now in a position to state if proposals for legislation will be introduced at an early date to ensure that in calculating the amount of the pensions payable to blind persons, grants made to such persons under local welfare schemes will not be taken into account; and, if so, whether he is in a position to say when those proposals will be submitted to the Dáil.

Mr. MacEntee:  Legislation has been prepared and will be introduced shortly to exclude from the calculation of a blind parent's means, for the purposes of a blind pension award, of any allowance payable by a local authority in respect of a dependent child or children.

Mr. P.S. Doyle:  I feel it an honour to have the privilege of proposing that Deputy Finian Lynch be elected Leas-Cheann Comhairle. I think it is unnecessary [103] for me in this Assembly to refer to the qualifications which render him eminently suited to fill this important position. His activities in the national movement are part of our common history, and the qualities of moral courage and tolerance which characterise all his works are in the highest Gaelic tradition. As a member of this Dáil since 1918, Mr. Lynch has enjoyed the respect and goodwill of all sections of the House. I feel, therefore, that this is a motion which ought to meet with the general approval of the House.

Risteárd Ua Maolchatha:  Cuidím leis an tairisgint.

Question put and agreed to.

Minister for Finance (Mr. MacEntee):  I move:—

(1) That where the owner of any securities sells or transfers the right to receive any particular interest payable (whether before or after such sale or transfer) in respect of the said securities without selling or transferring the said securities, then and in every such case, subject to such qualifications, exemptions, reliefs, and other provisions as may be prescribed by statute, the said interest shall, for all the purposes of the Income-Tax Acts, be deemed to be the income of the said owner or, where he is not the beneficial owner of the said securities, of the person beneficially entitled to the said securities, and in either case shall, where appropriate, be chargeable to tax under Case VI of Schedule D of the Income-Tax Act, 1918.

(2) That this Resolution shall have effect in relation to every year of assessment which began before the 6th day of April, 1938, as well as every year of assessment beginning on or after that date.

In the Budget speech I intimated that [104] it would be necessary for me to move this Resolution, which arises out of a decision recently given in the courts of England. A case has not yet arisen here, but, lest it should, it is necessary for us to declare that the law is what it has always been assumed to be. In the English case to which I have referred, the holder of certain foreign bonds sold the interest coupons whilst retaining the bonds themselves, and it was held that the proceeds of the sale were not the income of the holder of the bonds. If a loophole similar to that which is created in the English law by the English decision were to be allowed to be made in our law, Irish holders of foreign bonds would have a ready means of evading income-tax by selling the coupons to a foreign purchaser instead of cashing the coupons through an Irish Bank, and the holder of such securities would escape both income-tax and surtax on the proceeds of such sale. The device could be used in the case of interest payable on English or Irish securities from which tax is not deductible at the source, as in the case of our own National Loans. This legislation which we propose provides that the proceeds of the sale of the right to receive interest by the holder of the securities shall be assessed under Clause VI of Schedule D as the income of the holder or the beneficial owner.

General Mulcahy:  The Minister certainly has not made clear to me what kind of transaction is involved. Do I understand that he is endeavouring to meet a case where a person has some interest coming to him from stocks or shares and for one or two or ten years offers the interest he gets on these to some other person for a consideration?

Mr. MacEntee:  I think the Deputy has not got the point quite fully.

General Mulcahy:  I should like the Minister to give us, in explicit terms, an imaginary deal showing the kind of case he has in mind, and I should also like to ask him what is likely to be involved, how much money is likely to be at stake in this country, in a transaction of that particular kind.

[105]Mr. MacEntee:  My voice may not have carried, but I did try to make this case quite clear. Assume that the holder of certain bonds, the interest on which is paid by way of redemption of a coupon, sold the interest coupon, while retaining the bonds themselves, and that a decision was given here in our courts on the same lines as has already been given in England—that the proceeds of such sale were not to be regarded as the income of the holder of the bonds, the position is that we wish to make it quite clear that the law here is what we have always assumed it to be—that where the interest coupons have been sold, the proceeds of the sale are to be regarded as the income of the bond holder and that they are assessable to income-tax. I cannot say exactly what the amount of money involved is, but it may be a considerable sum, varying from year to year. I have not any doubt that, on the same reading of the law as in Great Britain, it would be assumed that the proceeds of this sale would not be regarded as the income of the holder and, accordingly, this income would in fact escape tax. The purpose of the resolution is to prevent that occurring.

General Mulcahy:  Could the Minister give us any idea as to what the circumstances are that would induce a person to sell such an interest? Is it for the purpose of saving money, or for the purpose of avoiding a probable loss?

Mr. MacEntee:  One does not know the circumstances, but, quite clearly, if by selling the interest coupons, a person could escape income-tax, I think there would be a very substantial inducement for the holder of such coupons to sell them.

General Mulcahy:  Could the Minister say if there is a difference in the rate at which income tax would be charged on the interest coupons and the rate that would be charged if income-tax were charged on the amount of money the person receives for the coupons?

Mr. MacEntee:  A person will be charged on the proceeds of the sale of [106] the coupons. That will depend upon the terms upon which he sells them.

Questions put and agreed to.

Mr. MacEntee:  I move:—

(1) That where any funding bonds are issued to a creditor in respect of any liability to pay interest on a debt to which this Resolution applies, the issue of those bonds shall be treated for all the purposes of the Income-Tax Acts as if it were the payment of an amount of the said interest equal to the value of the said bonds at the time of the issue thereof, and the redemption of the said bonds shall not be treated for any of the said purposes as payment of the said interest or any part thereof.

(2) That this Resolution applies to all debts owing by any government, public authority, or public institution whatsoever or wheresoever and to all debts owing by any body corporate whatsoever or wheresoever.

(3) That in this Resolution the expression “funding bonds” includes all bonds, stocks, shares, securities, and certificates of indebtedness.

This is a case which I also referred to in the course of the Budget statement. It is similar in some respects to the case which has been already dealt with in motion No. 1. A foreign Government issued funding bonds in settlement of interest due on one of its Government loans. They were not able to meet the charge on the loan on the due date and issued funding bonds instead. The English courts have held that in such a case the value of the funding bond was not income to the recipient. The Resolution which we are now dealing with provides that in such a case the issue of a funding bond shall be treated for income-tax purposes as if it were the payment of an amount of interest equal to the value of the bond at the time of issue and, as a corollary, that the redemption of the bond, when it is redeemed, shall not be treated as a payment of interest.

General Mulcahy:  The Minister in [107] the course of the last answer he gave on the previous motion was more confusing than in anything he said before and seemed to contradict everything he said before. It would help us to understand this case if he would deal with a specific case, imaginary or otherwise. The statement of the Minister, which was in general terms, is very difficult to understand and, in view of the fact that his last statement contradicts everything we understood from him before, and is probably wrong, I suggest that it would be much more informative if the Minister would deal with a concrete case.

Mr. MacEntee:  When a Deputy alleges that another Deputy is wrong, surely it is incumbent on the Deputy to show that, in fact, the other Deputy is wrong. I do not think that these wild statements of Deputy Mulcahy have the least value. I have to repeat what I have already said, that where a foreign Government issues a funding bond in settlement of interest due in respect of any of its loans—I do not know whether it is necessary to explain what a funding bond is—the court has held that in such cases the value of the funding bond is not income of the recipient. I do not know whether it is necessary to explain who is the recipient. He is the person who gets the funding bond. I hope the Deputy is listening attentively to me.

General Mulcahy:  I am listening for the figures.

Mr. MacEntee:  There are no figures. We are discussing a general principle. No specific case has arisen here and we are merely making quite certain that should such a case arise, a decision which, from our point of view, would be very undesirable would not be taken by the court. The clause before the House provides that in such cases the issue of a funding bond shall be treated for income-tax purposes as if it were the payment of an amount of interest equal to the value of the bond at the time of issue and, as a corollary, that the redemption of the bond, when it is redeemed, shall not be treated as a payment of interest.

Mr. Cosgrave:  Will the Minister take [108] into account that the funding bond may possibly include five or six years' payment of interest? Is the income-tax payer to be charged, in one year, tax for the accumulated interest of five or six years which in the normal course he should receive in five or six smaller sums?

Mr. MacEntee:  A funding bond would be issued only in respect of the interest for each year.

Mr. Cosgrave:  Presumably if a funding bond is going to be issued, it will be issued in respect of some payments that have been withheld?

Mr. MacEntee:  The full amount of the income received by the person would be treated as income for that year.

Mr. Cosgrave:  Precisely. That is the point I am arguing. A person may receive, by way of a funding bond, five years arrears of interest in one year. Is he going to be charged income-tax on these arrears of interest, as if they represented his normal income for five years? If so, it may happen that by reason of the non-payment of the interest during these five years a person may have to pay five times the amount which he would ordinarily be called upon to pay if he had received the interest yearly.

Mr. Dowdall:  I presume the Minister does not intend that the Inland Revenue authorities would make application to an income-tax payer for tax on a funding bond of that description except it was really equivalent to a dividend warrant.

Mr. MacEntee:  On the point which Deputy Cosgrave has raised, it is quite clear that if a funding bond carried two years or three years interest, the usual practice is to charge tax upon the income received in that one year. No taxes have been charged in the preceding years. It may happen as a result of that, that a person may be charged at a higher effective rate.

Mr. Cosgrave:  That is what I mean. This Resolution ought not to mean a greater liability on any individual. It [109] ought not to mean a greater liability on an individual income-tax payer than if he had been regularly paid the interest during each of these five years. Take the case of a man who is supposed to receive £200 in dividends each year. For the years 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936 and 1937 he does not receive any interest. Then suddenly in 1938 he gets a bond for £1,000. If this Resolution is passed, it would deprive him of the advantage of getting the lower rate, or of not being subject to the higher rate. He has had the disadvantage also of not getting his money for five years, in the first instance. Having remained out of his money for five years, it is, I suggest, unfair to charge him at the higher rate which the issue of the bond for five years arrears would impose upon him under this Resolution. It ought not to be outside the bounds of possibility to arrange that he would be only liable for whatever amount he would have been obliged to pay if he had received the income in each year of the five years.

Mr. MacEntee:  This particular Resolution, I would submit, is not the place to raise that matter, because that principle, whether for good or for ill, runs and always has run—at least for a considerable number of years past—through the income-tax code. A person is charged on the full income which he receives in one specific year. If, for instance, a person has not been able to collect, for one reason or another, the interest in respect of a bond over a number of years, when that interest is collected eventually, it forms part of his income for the year he collects it. That is the whole principle. There is no departure from the general principle of the income-tax code in this Resolution.

Mr. Cosgrave:  There would obviously be no reason for putting down this Resolution if this method of charging tax were already part of the income-tax code.

Mr. MacEntee:  The reason is——

Mr. Cosgrave:  The Minister can explain whether or not it is a departure [110] from the income-tax code by dealing with this case which I shall put before him. I am taking the case of a person who was entitled to receive £200 interest each year, for five years. If he had received that income each year, he would be entitled to claim a personal allowance of £125 for each year, and he would be liable for tax at the lower rate on only £75. He suddenly gets a bond value £1,000 in respect of these five years, and he is charged at the rate of 4/6 in the £ for every £1 over £225. In other words, he has remained out of his money for five years and the Government then comes along and taxes him at three or four times the amount which they would normally have received from him. I am not dealing with rich people. They can afford to look after themselves. The Minister, having made overtures to them recently and having been successful in these overtures will, no doubt, also look after them. I am dealing with the case of a small person who had an income of only £200 or less. Take the case of a person who has an income of only £100 a year. In each separate year, there would be no liability at all on him to pay income-tax. But supposing that having got no money for five years, he gets a bond for £500 at the end of that period, he becomes liable for the payment of a substantial amount of tax in that year whereas, if he had received his interest each year, there would be no liability upon him to pay income-tax.

Mr. MacEntee:  It amazes me how Deputy Cosgrave misses his opportunities. This is a case that would appear, at first sight, to be one of hardship. But the Deputy was, on one occasion, not merely head of the Government, but also Minister for Finance. He could have remedied this position then if he had so desired. Where arrears of investment interest are paid in one year, the income of the recipient has always been deemed to include the amount which fell to him for that one specific year, irrespective of whether the preceding years were lean ones or not. That has always been the position. We are not proposing to make any change. We are only saying that where instead of getting the [111] money he gets, instead of the cash, a funding bond, which may be disposable, that that bond will be regarded according to its value, as income of the person who gets it. That is the position here. We are not proposing to depart in any way from the general position.

Mr. Cosgrave:  We are changing the law. We are making a new law. The Minister fears that the courts, at the moment, will decide against him, and he is making a law under which a person who was not subject to income-tax for five years, assuming that he had a holding of £100 and no other income, by reason of the funding bonds is going to pay income-tax and be charged at the rate of 4/6 in the £.

Mr. McGilligan:  Is it not the position that this is new to that extent?

Mr. MacEntee:  No, it has always been the practice.

Mr. McGilligan:  Apart from practice, is it the law?

Mr. MacEntee:  We hold that it has been the law, but in case there may be some person who may proceed to litigate vexatiously, we are making this declaratory Resolution.

Mr. McGilligan:  There will be penalties?

Mr. MacEntee:  I do not know.

Mr. McGilligan:  I assume if the law is broken that there will be penalties?

Mr. MacEntee:  I am not prepared to say if there will be penalties until the law is broken.

Mr. McGilligan:  If it is retrospective, and if the law is deemed to be broken, there will be penalties. Is not that so? I think a constitutional point arises. There is a provision in the Constitution regarding offences that were not so on the date of commission. Does this not propose to do that?

Mr. Dockrell:  I would like the Minister to consider the case of a person who, if he received income-tax [112] demands over a number of years, would have received allowances but, by reason of not receiving income over a number of years the allowances fell to the ground. As the allowances fell to the ground by reason of a person not receiving sufficient income, or for some other reason, I think the Minister should let what is sauce for the goose be sauce for the gander. If income is regarded as the income received in one year, then the allowances should also be brought forward by the income tax payer. Another question arises regarding supertax. Would that come under the terms of the supertax for one year or be deemed to be spread over a number of years when making up returns?

Mr. MacEntee:  That is a general question and does not arise on this matter. With regard to Deputy McGilligan's point, there is no substance in it at all. We are not legislating here to invalidate anything which has been done. We are legislating to make things lawful.

Mr. McGilligan:  How will you enforce this?

Mr. MacEntee:  We may not be able, in so far as there might be an attempt on the part of someone, to evade it, to enforce it retrospectively. I am not certain what the courts would hold. We do not know what their view may be on the existing law. It may be that they would hold that this was not necessary. We cannot afford to take any risk, however, and we are not taking it. We would not be justified in taking it. Why should the Government charged with the collection of taxes not do so equitably?

Mr. Cosgrave:  Equitably?

Mr. MacEntee:  Because there was a flaw in the drafting? Why should the legislature permit itself to be defeated when we can bring in a Bill to secure for the State what is justly owing by taxpayers who may wish to evade their liabilities and responsibilities?

Mr. McGilligan:  How will they get it?

Mr. MacEntee:  That remains to be seen.

[113]Mr. McGilligan:  If it is by the usual machinery of making it an offence to make a false declaration with regard to this matter, and if the Courts would not hold in accordance with the terms of it, are you not making something an offence which was not an offence at the date of commission?

Mr. MacEntee:  That is a matter the courts will have to decide.

Mr. McGilligan:  No. If the Bill contains that, on the face of it, there is not an expression of amendment of the Constitution.

Mr. MacEntee:  The Bill does not contain anything which will invalidate anything already on the Statute book. So far as we know, the original provisions were drafted in such a way as to make it possible to deal with such income as is here concerned. A decision in another place was as to whether the draftsmanship was sound and not as to what was the intention here.

Mr. McGilligan:  As to what the law was.

Mr. MacEntee:  As to what it was in another place—Great Britain. That is where the doubt was caused. No one has raised the issue here yet. We are now getting a declaration as to what was the intention. As to whether it is a matter of penal legislation that will be decided by the courts when they have the existing provisions and the new provisions before them. If they decide that the existing provisions here are, as was held in Great Britain, then a question of penalties retrospectively might arise in the courts, but not otherwise.

Mr. McGilligan:  Have you read the Constitution? Do you know what is in it?

Mr. MacEntee:  We are hoping that the legislation and the provisions of the statute will not be interpreted by our judges as elsewhere.

Mr. McGilligan:  The situation is that by a decision in another country the clause is rendered necessary. If [114] the decision here was the same as in England that clause would be necessary. It is rendered necessary to make the law what the Minister thinks it ought to have been, and that he is afraid the courts will pronounce it was not previously. The only way to enforce payment was by making certain things offences, with penalties. I would be pleased to know that all the rubbish at the bottom of the income-tax sheets after one has signed is not meant. The suggestion here is that there is a doubt. The Minister says it is hardly doubtful. The situation by the decision elsewhere is that this is necessary, and if necessary it does remake a particular situation with regard to the law. It is going to be made retrospective, because it did not apply for the year beginning the 6th April, 1938, and other years. What is the way to enforce it if it is required? I suggest it is through the ordinary machinery of enforcing court orders, where a system is adopted of making offences. This will make something an offence which was not an offence at the date of commission. That is forbidden by the Constitution. If you want to amend the Constitution you are bound to do it openly. If you pass this you run the risk that the Bill may be held up to get a decision from the Supreme Court as to whether or not it is an offence against the Constitution.

Mr. MacEntee:  Even if the Deputy is in the Opposition he should not be absurd. Why does he assume that the decision given elsewhere will be given by our courts?

Mr. Cosgrave:  You are assuming that.

Mr. MacEntee:  We are not.

Mr. Cosgrave:  What is the meaning of the Resolution?

Mr. MacEntee:  We are facing the possibility. The Deputy is aware that there is some difference between possibility and probability. In order that the possibility may not arise and that the State and the general body of taxpayers and citizens may not suffer consequent loss for the [115] benefit of one or two individuals who are not prepared to bear their fair share of the burden of the national service then we bring this amendment in to make the present position sound, to make it water-tight. Did the Deputy never hear of caulking a ship? I was just dealing with this absurd proposition here that because the English courts have given a certain interpretation of the law in their country that the Irish courts are going to follow that precedent. The Deputy is as well aware as I am—he ought to be better aware, he is a lawyer—that the Supreme Court and the Courts of Appeal in both countries have often been in conflict with regard to decisions on certain provisions of the Statutes, and it is quite possible that a view taken by our courts here would be different from that held by the courts in Great Britain. In order, as I have said, to avoid vexatious litigation, because it would be vexatious in this sense, that no Government could afford to allow that interpretation of the existing law to go unchallenged. The British Government against whom the decision has been given have not permitted it to go unchallenged—they brought in a provision to amend the law and make it effective——

Mr. McGilligan:  Retrospective?

Mr. MacEntee:  To make it effective.

Mr. McGilligan:  Retrospective?

Mr. MacEntee:  There is no question of retrospective legislation here, not in the sense in which the Deputy wishes that word to be construed. I was saying that in Great Britain—if I may be permitted to speak without continuous interruptions—I was saying that in Great Britain they brought in a provision in the Finance Bill of this year——

Mr. Cosgrave:  Did they settle the particular case?

Mr. MacEntee:  It does not matter. No case has arisen here.

Mr. Cosgrave:  You do not know whether they did or not.

[116]Mr. MacEntee:  No case has arisen here. I am not concerned with what the British Government did in regard to British income taxpayers.

Mr. Cosgrave:  Up to a point the Minister is.

Mr. MacEntee:  I do not know whether they settled the case with that particular income taxpayer or not. I do know that they amended the law to make it quite clear to the courts there.

Mr. Cosgrave:  Did they amend it retrospectively?

Mr. McGilligan:  No, they did not.

Mr. MacEntee:  This is not merely a case of what we have thought the law to be during the six years we have been in office but what Deputy Cosgrave and Deputy McGilligan and Deputy Mulcahy thought it to be during the nine or ten years they were in office and I think we are perfectly justified in taking that view of the law. The purpose of this legislation is to confirm that view. The question as to whether we should sue for penalties and recover penalties is a matter the courts might have to consider if in fact we did it, but, of course, we can collect the tax without recourse to penalties as the Deputy may know.

General Mulcahy:  If the purpose of this amendment is to protect the position which in fact operates in the country at the present time, would the Minister say how much revenue annually is involved? Surely, if he proposes to operate in this particular kind of way, he has made himself familiar with how much revenue is involved in the matter.

Mr. MacEntee:  Sir, the Deputy knows as well as I do that the amount would vary from year to year.

General Mulcahy:  How much?

Mr. MacEntee:  According, first, to whether people were receiving interest on funding bonds; according to [117] whether they sold foreign securities and invested them in Irish securities, or whether they sold Irish securities and invested them in foreign securities.

General Mulcahy:  How much was involved last year and the year before? The answer is you do not know.

Mr. MacEntee:  I do not know, and neither does anybody else know. The Deputy is only wasting time. He knows that as well as I.

General Mulcahy:  I have not been responsible for wasting as much time as the Minister.

Mr. MacEntee:  The Deputy puts that absurd statement——

Mr. McGilligan:  Why not sit down?

Mr. MacEntee:  Sir, is that in order?

Ceann Comhairle:  No. Although we are in Committee, and Deputies have a right to speak several times, any Deputy on his feet—or Minister— should be allowed to make an uninterrupted statement.

General Mulcahy:  So much has been said about the desirability of protecting the taxpayer by seeing that the revenue was not defrauded in any way, I would like to ask the Minister whether the amount involved in revenue last year was £50 or £5,000.

Mr. MacEntee:  It might have been £50,000. I do not know, and the Deputy does not know.

General Mulcahy:  But the Minister knows perfectly well that it was not £50,000.

Mr. Cosgrave:  It was not £2,000.

Mr. MacEntee:  I do not know how much it is.

General Mulcahy:  The Minister has not an idea, and he comes in here and he gives us long warnings about the necessity for doing justice to the taxpayer in this country by seeing that this particular motion was passed, and it is all eye wash. The Minister cannot tell us [118] whether it was £50 that was involved in this matter last year. He mentions £50,000 now, but it has as much relation to this subject here as, say, the £4,000,000 additional taxation that the Minister put on the unfortunate taxpayers in this year without blinking an eye about it.

Mr. McGilligan:  I assume this is clear. In any event it is clear to this extent, that if this retrospective legislation has to depend upon the enforcement of penalties through the machinery of deeming things to be offences then it is unconstitutional.

Mr. MacEntee:  I have not said so.

Mr. McGilligan:  The Minister does not say so. I suggest that it is. Let us leave out the bleeding taxpayer— the taxpayer whom the Minister is out to bleed so much—let us leave him out of it. It does not matter very much whether the revenue of the State or the taxpayer is going to be mulcted and for the sake of something that is very small and for the sake of something in regard to which a saving clause to protect the Constitution might easily be inserted. The Minister is just going to drive ahead with the casual remark—“We leave that to the courts afterwards.” Now, clearing away the verbiage, the situation is this. There has been an English decision interpreting the law in a particular way. The Minister is so far afraid that the courts here will accept that decision that he moves to amend the law and he moves to amend the law retrospectively. He throws all this into the ordinary framework of tax, income-tax, and tax collection, and one of the methods by which the tax payment is enforced is this matter of penalties, penalties because of offences. That is clearly bringing all that atmosphere, all that background of offences in upon this matter. Anybody who has listened to income-tax cases being decided must have ringing in his ears statements from judges that in the background always is this question of the offence that has been or may have been permitted if the matter had been pressed. Whether that is pressed or not, if the amendment here brings about such a [119] change that in fact something is declared to be an offence at a date when at the date it was committed it was not an offence then there is an amendment of the Constitution. That amendment may be meant; it may be even necessary to have the amendment, but there is a way of having the Constitution amendment laid down. There is a further thing. If a Bill is found to amend the Constitution when it is not meant to do so or if either the Seanad here or the President decides that the Bill does amend the Constitution or that there is some doubt about it then there is a question of reference to the Supreme Court and a possible reference to the people. And all that is going to be risked in order to get through here, casually and simply, a phrase which could be quite easily made foolproof by the insertion of two or three words. The Minister will have his own way.

Mr. Benson:  Am I right in assuming that these funding bonds will bear interest?

Mr. MacEntee:  Presumably, yes.

Mr. Benson:  So that, in fact, there is going to be income tax paid twice over, on the funding bond which has come in as interest and then becomes principal, and there will be a further income tax levied on the interest on that interest?

Mr. MacEntee:  Not unless the bond is disposed of.

Mr. Benson:  It would surely be liable to income tax, that is, interest on what was originally interest?

Mr. MacEntee:  Yes.

Mr. Benson:  It comes in first as interest and interest accrues on it subsequently, so there will be income tax paid twice over?

Mr. MacEntee:  The interest is paid to the recipient, whoever gets it.

Mr. Benson:  My point is that you are making it liable to income tax twice over.

[120]Mr. MacEntee:  It will depend on the owner of the bond at a specific date.

General Mulcahy:  Briefly, the Minister is preparing here to secure that the people who last year expected money from people who were not able to pay, would get next year, or the year after, the interest on their funding bonds, and that they are not going to escape the Minister here. They may have their difficulties in countries abroad, where their money is invested, but whatever those difficulties are, and to whatever straits they are reduced, as soon as they get any kind of a halfpenny here the Minister for Finance will be after them.

Mr. MacEntee:  Any person with income assessable to tax is liable to pay the tax. I assume that in some of these cases they may sell the funding bonds abroad.

General Mulcahy:  The Minister smacks his lips.

Mr. MacEntee:  No, but apparently the Deputy is anxious that those people should get off, should be relieved of their responsibilities.

Mr. McGilligan:  It might be £50,000 in the year, you say. It is certainly outrageous.

Question put and agreed to.

Mr. MacEntee:  I move:—

(1) That any sum which is paid or payable during or by reference to the administration period to a person in respect of an interest (whether limited or absolute) owned by him in the estate of a deceased person shall, subject to such qualifications, exceptions, reliefs, and other provisions as may be prescribed by statute, be deemed for all the purposes of the Income Tax Acts to be paid or payable to such person as income.

(2) That in this Resolution —

the expression “administration period” means the period commencing [121] on the death of the deceased person and ending on the completion of the administration of his estate; the expression “deceased person” includes a person dying before, as well as a person dying after, the passing of this Resolution.

(3) That this Resolution shall have effect in respect of the year which began on the 6th day of April, 1937, and every subsequent year.

Mr. McGilligan:  The same point about penalties clearly arises here.

Mr. MacEntee:  There is no point about penalties, and the Deputy knows that as well as I do.

Mr. McGilligan:  How do you propose to enforce them?

Mr. MacEntee:  Wait and see. In connection with this Resolution, I dare say we will hear a great deal about the poor, bleeding taxpayer. This Resolution affects, in the main, persons liable to surtax. The position with regard to the estates of deceased persons in process of administration has, broadly, been this: that income received by the executors of an estate, in so far as it has not been taxed by deduction, has been assessed to income-tax by direct assessment on the executors. In so far as the income has been actually paid by the executors to a life tenant, it has been treated as the income of the latter for surtax purposes, and the recipient has been assessed to surtax accordingly. On the other hand, income received by executors during the period of administration, which ultimately reached a residuary legatee, has been regarded as the income of the executors, and, as such, has not been liable to surtax, and has, therefore, escaped surtax altogether.

Recently the practice in regard to life tenants was challenged in the British courts. It was held there that income paid over to the life tenant was not his income, and he could not be charged surtax accordingly. The issue has not been raised here, but we wish, in case it may be, to confirm the existing practice; that is, as regards [122] the life tenant. With regard to the case of the residuary legatee, I cannot hold that there is any sound reason why the income, which ultimately reaches him through the executor, should not be treated for surtax purposes as his income. Apart from that, there is in the existing state of the law some considerable temptation to the residuary legatee of a wealthy estate to get the completion of the administration deferred as long as possible so as to escape the payment of tax.

The effect of this Resolution, therefore, will be that income received by the executors of an estate while it is in process of administration, in so far as it, in fact, ultimately reaches either the life tenant or the residuary legatee, will become liable to surtax in the hands of the ultimate recipient, subject to the usual provision that the first £1,500 for any one year is not chargeable.

Mr. McGilligan:  Would it be polite to say “well read”?

Mr. MacEntee:  It might be.

Mr. McGilligan:  I submit that the same point in relation to the Constitution arises.

Question put and agreed to.

Mr. MacEntee:  I move:—

(1) That the following provisions shall have effect, for the purposes of Part I of the Finance Act, 1894, in relation to the death of a person who dies after the passing of this Act and on whose death an interest in the residue of the estate, or in a part of the residue of the estate, of a testator is limited to cease and who dies before the completion of the administration of that estate, that is to say:—

(a) the said interest shall, until the completion of the administration of the said estate, be deemed to be an interest in —

(i) the unadministered estate of the said testator as for the [123] time being held by his personal representatives, but subject to outstanding charges on residue in so far as those charges are payable out of the said unadministered estate and subject to any adjustments between capital and income remaining to be made in due course of administration, and

(ii) the property (if any) representing ascertained residue of the said estate;

(b) the said interest shall be deemed to have become an interest in possession on the date as from which the income of the said residue would have been attributable to the said interest if the said residue had been ascertained immediately after the death of the said testator;

(c) where the said interest is an interest in a part only of the residue of an estate, references in the foregoing provisions of this Resolution to unadministered estate, to residue, and to charges on residue shall be construed as referring only to the part of the unadministered estate, of the residue, and of the charges on residue respectively to which such interest extends or which is otherwise appropriate to the context.

(2) That in this Resolution —

the expression “unadministered estate” means all property for the time being held by the personal representatives of a testator as such personal representatives, but excluding property devolving on the personal representatives otherwise than as assets for the payment of the debts of the testator and also excluding property which is the subject of a specific disposition;

the expression “ascertained residue” means property which, having ceased to be held by the personal representatives as personal representatives, is held as part of the residue;

the expression “personal representatives” means, in relation to the estate of a deceased person, his [124] executors as defined by paragraph (d) of sub-section (1) of Section 22 of the Finance Act, 1894, and includes persons having under the law of another country any function in relation to a deceased person corresponding to a function for administration purposes under the law of Ireland of executors as so defined;

the expression “specific disposition” means a specific devise or specific bequest made by a testator, and includes any disposition having, whether by statute or otherwise, an effect under the law of Ireland or of another country similar to the effect of a specific devise or specific bequest under the law of Ireland.

(3) That real estate which vests in the personal representatives of a testator (whether by statute or by an express provision in the will of such testator) and is included (whether by a specific or a general description) in a residuary gift made by such will shall be deemed for the purposes of this Resolution to be part of the residue of the estate of such testator and not to be the subject of a specific disposition.

I mentioned this matter in the course of the Budget statement. It is somewhat more complicated than the preceding one. The effect of the Resolution is to provide that where a person who has been left by will a life interest in the residue of an estate dies while the estate is in process of administration that person is to be treated for the purpose of the estate duty as having, at the date of his death, a beneficial interest in the residue.

Question put and agreed to.

Mr. MacEntee:  I move:—

That the exemption conferred by sub-section (3) of Section 5 of the Finance Act, 1894, in the case of settled property where the interest of any person under the settlement fails or determines by reason of his death before it becomes an interest [125] in possession and subsequent limitations under the settlement continue to subsist, shall cease in cases where the property would, if that sub-section had not been enacted, have been deemed to pass on the death otherwise than by reason of the failure or determination of the interest.

This Resolution was already before the Dáil. It was introduced prior to the dissolution to pave the way for a clause in the Finance Bill designed to defeat a device suggested by a writer in a legal journal for avoiding the payment of estate duty in connection with settled property.

Question put and agreed to.

Mr. MacEntee:  I move:—

(1) That, notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1) of Section 3 of the Hawkers Act, 1888, or in sub-section (2) of Section 12 of the Finance Act, 1930 (No. 20 of 1930), the duty of excise to be paid on an excise licence issued under Section 3 of the Hawkers Act, 1888, in respect of any period commencing after the 31st day of March, 1939, shall be charged, levied, and paid at whichever of the following amounts is applicable, that is to say:—

(a) on any such licence issued to a person who is a hawker by virtue of paragraph (a) or paragraph (b) of the said Section 12 of the Finance Act, 1930, and travels with a horse or other beast bearing or drawing burden — £4, and

(b) on every other such licence — £20.

(2) That where a person commits an offence under sub-section (1) of Section 6 of the Hawkers Act, 1888, and the act constituting the offence is of such character that the proper licence within the meaning of that sub-section is a licence in respect of which the excise duty is four pounds, such person shall be liable on summary conviction of such offence to an excise penalty of twenty pounds.

[126] (3) That where a person commits an offence under sub-section (1) of Section 6 of the Hawkers Act, 1888, and the act constituting the offence is of such character that the proper licence within the meaning of that sub-section is a licence in respect of which the excise duty is twenty pounds such person shall be liable on summary conviction of such offence to an excise penalty of one hundred pounds.

This is the Resolution relating to hawkers' licences.

Question put and agreed to.

Mr. MacEntee:  I move:—

(1) That a duty of customs at the rate of an amount equal to thirty-seven and one-half per cent. of the value of the article shall be charged, levied, and paid on every of the following articles which is imported on or after the 1st day of November, 1938, that is to say:—

(a) articles of iron or steel of any of the following descriptions which, in the opinion of the Revenue Commissioners, are suitable for use in building construction and are not fabricated, that is to say:—

(i) angles,

(ii) channels,

(iii) girders,

(iv) joists,

(v) tees;

(b) articles of iron or steel which are, in the opinion aforesaid, of any of the following descriptions, that is to say:—

(i) squares,

(ii) flats,

(iii) hoop,

(iv) skelp,

(v) strip other than strip suitable for the manufacture of safety razor blades,

(vi) bars,

(vii) rods or rounds,

(viii) sheets,

(ix) plates,

(x) tinplates,

[127] (xi) light rails not exceeding thirty pounds in weight per lineal yard;

(c) galvanised corrugated iron or steel, whether worked or unworked.

(2) That the duty mentioned in this Resolution, in so far as it is chargeable on articles mentioned in clause (c) in paragraph (1) of this Resolution, is in lieu of the duty imposed by Section 11 of the Finance Act, 1932 (No. 20 of 1932), and mentioned at reference No. 30 in the First Schedule to that Act, and accordingly the said duty mentioned at the said reference No. 30 shall not be charged or levied on any article imported on or after the 1st day of November, 1938.

(3) That the duty mentioned in this Resolution shall not be charged or levied on any article which would, but for this paragraph, be chargeable with that duty and is shown, to the satisfaction of the Revenue Commissioners, to have been manufactured in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or in the Channel Islands, or in the Isle of Man, or in the Dominion of Canada and (in any case) to be comprised within one of the following classes or descriptions of articles, that is to say:—

(a) brassed strips; steel strips for manufacture of corsets; tempered steel lathing;

(b) cast steel sheets and plates for guillotine knives; mica steel sheets and plates; stainless steel sheets and plates;

(c) asphalt coated sheets and plates; bitumen coated sheets and plates; silver finish sheets and plates; stainless steel sheets and plates coated.

(4) That the provisions of Section 8 of the Finance Act, 1919, shall apply to the duty mentioned in this Resolution with the substitution of the expression “the area of application of the Acts of the Oireachtas” for the expression “Great Britain and Ireland” and as though the articles chargeable with the said duty were mentioned in the Second [128] Schedule to the said Act in the list of goods to which two-thirds of the full rate is made applicable as a preferential rate.

(5) That whenever the Minister for Finance, after consultation with the Minister for Industry and Commerce, so thinks proper, the Revenue Commissioners may by licence authorise any particular person, subject to compliance with such conditions as they may think fit to impose, to import without payment of the duty mentioned in this Resolution any articles chargeable with that duty either, as the Revenue Commissioners shall think proper, without limit as to time or quantity or either of them or within a specified time or in a specified quantity but so that no such licence shall be exempt from the provisions of Section 15 of the Finance (Agreement with the United Kingdom) Act, 1938 (No. 12 of 1938).

(6) That an article shall not be deemed for the purposes of this Resolution to have been manufactured in any particular country unless such proportion of its value as is prescribed by regulations made under sub-section (1) of Section 8 of the Finance Act, 1919, for the purposes of that section is the result of labour within that country.

This is the Resolution relating to iron and steel.

General Mulcahy:  I should like to ask the Minister whether anything has been done to clear up the doubts that have arisen in the minds of steel manufacturers in the City of Dublin since this matter was brought up in the Financial Resolutions moved on the occasion of the Budget. The type of Resolution passed at that time created confusion in the minds of steel manufacturers in Dublin. There was a considerable amount of fear on their part that unemployment was going to be created in the industry here.

There was confusing legislation brought before the House at that particular time and I would be glad to know if steel manufacturers in the City of Dublin will have their position taken [129] into consideration and if their fears will be wiped out?

Mr. MacEntee:  I am not in a position to say. I understand that arrangements have been made by which some representatives of the steel manufacturers are to meet the Minister for Industry and Commerce. I do not know if that meeting has taken place as yet.

General Mulcahy:  Presumably this will be embodied in the Finance Bill?

Mr. MacEntee:  Yes.

General Mulcahy:  Presumably we will have some information on the subject when dealing with the Bill.

Mr. MacEntee:  Yes.

Question put and agreed to.

An Ceann Comhairle:  When does the Minister want these Resolutions reported?

Mr. MacEntee:  I want them reported on Thursday.

Agreed.

Mr. MacEntee:  I move that the Bill be read a Second Time. Seven of the Resolutions which were passed on the 12th May last were given statutory effect under the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act, 1927. That Act, however, provides that the Financial Resolutions to which statutory effect was thus given would cease to have such effect on the Dissolution of the Dáil. On the other hand, the Finance Bill would, in the ordinary course, have given the effect of the force of law to the previous Resolutions subject to any modifications or amendments which the Dáil may insert in this Bill during its progress through the House. It is obvious that if steps were not taken now to clear up the position which has been created at the Dissolution, some confusion and uncertainty would prevail which would affect in relation to income tax on ground rents, etc., not only the Revenue but a number of [130] persons throughout the country. This Bill is designed to clear up that situation and to restore the position which would have existed if the Budget Resolutions continued to have the force of law up to the date of the passing of the Finance Bill. This Bill does nothing more than that. I move, subject to the approval of the House, to take all stages of the Bill to-day.

Mr. McGilligan:  A matter on which I have already spoken requires attention on this Bill. Section 3 (1) of the measure before us is in these terms:—

Every of the Financial Resolutions to which this Act applies shall, notwithstanding anything contained in the Act of 1927, have and be deemed always to have had statutory effect as if contained in an Act of the Oireachtas, and shall continue to have such statutory effect until such cesser as is provided for by the next following sub-section of this section.

Does that mean from the date of the introduction of the Resolution or from the date of the passing of this Bill? Is it intended to be retrospective? Can the Minister give me that information? Is this Bill giving statutory effect to the Resolutions passed on the 12th May, some of which were given further effect to on the 25th May?

Mr. MacEntee:  It is.

Mr. McGilligan:  The situation is that a declaration on financial matters affecting the country is before us. There has been a series of Resolutions passed here. The last one is the one which brings in the Act of 1927. The effect of the Act of 1927 is this — that statutory effect is given to certain Resolutions until they are taken up in certain ways or until they cease. One of the ways in which cesser is brought is by Dissolution. Does it cease to have any effect after the date of the Dissolution? There is a gap between the date of the Dissolution and this. From the date of the Dissolution to this point there is a gap. I do not care what the intention is, but I suggest that without a breach of the Constitution it is not possible to do anything against any man who has [131] erred in that period by anything in the way of a penal attack upon him. Because if you try to do that you are making something an offence which was not an offence at the time it was committed. From the 19th May until this particular date, when these Resolutions were passed, the position was the same as if they had never been there. If you start now to re-establish the law and if the re-establishment of the law imposes the making of anything an offence which was not an offence at the time it was committed you will find that that can only be done by an amendment of the Constitution. Therefore it cannot be proposed to use that machinery. Let the citizens get this into their heads that no matter what threats may be held out to them in regard to the collection of taxes, one thing the Government cannot do and that is to bring them before the courts and to operate against them the machinery of penal legislation. I understand that was in the background all along. If there is any fear that that particular type of machinery will have to be relied upon then the Constitution must be amended. There is a doubtful position there and it ought to be cleared up.

Mr. MacEntee:  I do not think it will be ever necessary to impose the penal provisions of certain Acts. It is not, therefore, necessary to make provision for that situation until it arises.

Mr. McGilligan:  I am pointing out that it is not legal to do it.

Mr. MacEntee:  The Deputy says it is not legal to do it. He has been advocating an amendment of the Constitution, but why advocate an amendment of the Constitution when it is unnecessary? I have already said that there is no reason to anticipate that any penal provision of any Collection of Taxes Acts will be enforced. This Bill does not propose to make anything unlawful which was not in fact unlawful during the particular period that has elapsed.

Mr. McGilligan:  Surely it does. Surely it was not unlawful to refuse to pay income-tax from the date of the dissolution.

[132]Mr. MacEntee:  The question of the collection of income-tax is being legalised. That is quite a different thing from making illegal during that period the non-payment of taxes. No person seeks to do that. If a person comes along and pays his taxes voluntarily, this Bill confirms that position. The tax is lawfully collected.

Mr. McGilligan:  Can the Minister say it is intended to enforce the tax collection during that period?

Mr. MacEntee:  The necessity will disappear once the Bill comes into operation.

Mr. McGilligan:  How will it be enforced?

Mr. MacEntee:  By the usual processes of law. What we are simply doing here as practical business men is to confirm the policy of these Resolutions, and making certain that the collection of the revenue, which is one of the most important functions of the State, goes on.

An Ceann Comhairle:  The question is: “That the Bill be now read a Second Time.”

Agreed.

Mr. McGilligan:  I should like to object to the Committee Stage being taken to-day as I cannot speak a second time.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Objection taken to taking the Committee Stage to-day.

Mr. MacEntee:  I understood that all stages of the Bill would be taken to-day.

Mr. McGilligan:  Well, I should like to find out whether or not we can get this situation clear. It is not an answer to a constitutional point to say that certain penalties may not have to be availed of. That is no answer. Is the situation this: that there is a code of income-tax law that includes, as part of the enforcing machinery, as I call it, that there is an offence? I suggest that that is being built into the code, and, if that is so, I suggest that it is futile to say that there may be no necessity to enforce what I might call an offence [133] type of coercion. Is this an attempt to establish the law in that period that is not covered from the dissolution of the Dáil to this date? Does that include the offence type of sanction? If so, I suggest that it is open to the President to have doubts about this and to say that, possibly, we are not going on constitutional lines. Is there an effort being made by the Oireachtas to do something which is wrong? It must be remembered that this is not a question which is peculiarly phrased in the Constitution, or one that is covered by a law which says that it is null and void. There is an absolute prohibition to the effect that the Oireachtas shall not pass anything which might constitute an offence. I suggest that there is a serious point to be considered, and that the courts, in considering this whole matter from the point of view of amending the Constitution, should be in a position to say whether or not there are methods of evasion. They would argue as to whether or not there might be the possibility that, on some occasion, this offences machinery, as I have described it, could be used. I suggest that, if so, it is a breach of the Constitution, and that, if not, there should be some amendment. I should like to deal with one portion of the Act of 1927. I do not think the Act of 1927, in its entirety, is dragged into this, or that the whole business of tax enforcement is involved, but there is one portion of that Act with which I should like to deal, and I suggest that there is an attempt here to draw into this what the Constitution says should not be done.

Mr. MacEntee:  Are we taking the Committee Stage here to-day, Sir? I understood that we were taking all stages.

An Ceann Comhairle:  I understood that the Committee Stage was being taken to-day.

Mr. McGilligan:  All stages but one.

Mr. MacEntee:  I would suggest that we take all the stages. However, I should like to reserve what I might [134] have to say in connection with this to the last stage of the Bill, if we want to continue this discussion in Committee.

General Mulcahy:  We want to facilitate the Minister in every possible way with regard to the Bill, and the only point that arises is this constitutional point. Perhaps the Minister would be satisfied if he got the Committee Stage through to-day, and would then give us reasonable opportunity for discussion on the Report Stage to-morrow?

Mr. MacEntee:  I cannot admit that there is anything in the constitutional point.

General Mulcahy:  As I have said, we wish to facilitate the Minister, but we would like to have an opportunity for a discussion of this point.

Mr. MacEntee:  Perhaps the Deputy would bear with me for a moment. I say that I am not conceding anything with regard to the constitutional point — I do not think there is anything very much in it — but I should be quite happy if the Opposition would agree to take the Committee Stage and, if possible, the Report Stage to-day, and allow Deputy McGilligan to make his constitutional point more clearly on the final stage to-morrow, when I could deal with his point.

An Ceann Comhairle:  That is, if the Deputy desires it.

Mr. McGilligan:  But, Sir, I cannot do it on the Fifth Stage.

General Mulcahy:  What we are anxious about is to have the Attorney-General's answer.

Mr. MacEntee:  I think it only goes to show that even a brilliant Deputy like Deputy McGilligan should not get up here and try to improvise a case.

Mr. McGilligan:  Would the Minister tell us whether the point concerned has been considered by anybody with even a nodding acquaintance with the law?

Mr. MacEntee:  It has.

[135]Mr. McGilligan:  The amendment of the Constitution?

Mr. MacEntee:  Oh, no — quite different — whether the Bill is contrary to the Constitution.

Mr. McGilligan:  Is there a difference between what is constitutional or not constitutional and what is contrary to the Constitution?

An Ceann Comhairle:  Not in Section 1, Deputy.

Bill passed through Committee and reported without amendment.

Report Stage ordered for to-morrow.

Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lemass):  I move that this Bill be read a Second Time. As Deputies are aware, the Emergency Imposition of Duties Act of 1932 provides that any order made under that Act, that is to say, an order not merely revoking an order previously made — ceases to have statutory effect upon the expiration of eight months from the date upon which it is made, unless, in the meantime, it has been confirmed by an Act of the Oireachtas. A number of orders, made in accordance with the powers conferred under that Act, are proposed to be confirmed by this Bill. The first of the orders mentioned in the Bill requires to be confirmed before the 6th August, as otherwise the order would cease to have effect upon that date. The other orders were made on various dates, and are not so urgent, but, as has always been the practice, advantage is taken of the first suitable occasion in the Dáil to submit them as early as possible for confirmation here. Deputies, no doubt, are aware of the effect of the various orders set out in the Schedule to the Bill.

Order reference No. 1 relates to the duty upon certain woven piece goods, linen and cotton. The duty upon these goods was increased by the order, and certain exceptions, which applied in [136] respect of the original duty, were removed. Since the order came into force, the duty upon linen piece goods has been reduced arising out of the Trade Agreement with the United Kingdom. The orders under reference Nos. 2 and 3 were in a sense consequential upon the order referred to under reference No. 1. They were designed to preserve the same margin of difference between the protection given in respect of the cloths dealt with under the first order, and the articles made from these cloths which are dealt with in the other two orders. Order under reference No. 4 affected a minor change by imposing a duty upon heads for hoes. Order under reference No. 5 increased the existing duty upon certain classes of hollow-ware. Order under reference No. 6 imposed a duty of 45 per cent. upon certain classes of woven tissues which were not previously subject to duty in consequence of the commencement of the manufacture of these new classes of cloth here. Order under reference No. 7 imposed a duty upon certain classes of component parts of sparking plugs — that is, parts made wholly or mainly from porcelain. Order under reference No. 8 imposed a duty upon certain classes of electrical apparatus, the manufacture of which was commenced in this country a short time ago by a firm which established a factory for the purpose in the County Louth. Order under reference No. 9 varied the duty previously in existence upon certain classes of domestic ware such as teapots, coffeepots and similar articles. Order under reference No. 10 was designed to create a licensing provision in respect of the duty upon certain toys the manufacture of which was proceeding in this country, but not to a sufficient extent to enable the total requirements of the country to be met.

If there is any further information which Deputies require in connection with these orders, I am in a position to give it. Some of the duties are, of course, of minor importance. The orders under reference Nos. 1, 6, 8 and 9 are of most importance, and if Deputies require a more elaborate statement from me concerning these, I am prepared to give it.

[137]General Mulcahy:  The Minister indicated that only one of these orders was near the time of its termination. I do not think the Minister should apologise for asking the House to pass these Emergency Imposition of Duties Orders at the earliest possible moment after they had been issued. The Act under which they were issued was one that was introduced in order to protect industrial manufactures in this country because of the recent economic war. When the Act was introduced the plea was made for it that it was of an exceptional and emergency nature, and I think the suggestion was made that the operation of it would be limited: that it would not be continued after there was necessity for it. The economic war is over. The Minister has already informed the Seanad — at least there was this implication in his statement — that this is magnificent and handy machinery for dealing with the imposition of tariffs. There was the suggestion that he has no idea at all in his mind of getting rid of it. There was the suggestion that it was going to be the normal way, except perhaps during the months of March or April or the months of April and May, for dealing with all matters relating to tariffs where they were being imposed or changed. I do not want to quarrel too much at this particular stage with that point of view, but I do want to say that, if in normal circumstances this machinery for imposing tariffs is going to be retained, then I think the sooner after an order has been issued the Dáil is asked to give statutory effect to that order the better. I think that in the new circumstances that is absolutely necessary.

I would ask the Minister, when closing the debate, to elaborate on orders under reference Nos. 8 and 9. Whether tariffs are imposed for revenue or industrial protection, I think it is important to have them reviewed thoroughly in a parliamentary way. When the Minister reviews the position with regard, say, to certain woven piece goods and decides either to change or impose a tariff in respect of them, a certain number of very elementary considerations must be present to his mind, such as whether the order is for the protection of an [138] existing Irish industry or to increase employment in an industry. The House should be told why exactly the tariff is being imposed. I think that, in the new circumstances, when orders of this kind are presented to the Dáil there should be a formal statement from the Minister as to why the duty is being imposed, the effect of it, as well as any other necessary information with regard to the industry which the Minister is in a position to give, such as whether additional prospects are expected in the line of employment from the industry by the imposition of the tariff.

The Minister, I am sure, will agree that it is unreasonable to impose a tariff by means of the Emergency Imposition of Duties order machinery which tells nothing at all as to the reasons for imposing the duty except what the future duty will be. It is unreasonable, I think, that that is the only information which Deputies should get, and that the Minister should ask the House to pass the order without giving to it a certain amount of formal detail with regard to the order: the reason for it, and what is expected from it. In order that a proper discussion may take place on the Committee Stage of the Bill, it is essential that Deputies should have in their hands a brief formal statement, such as I suggest, and what I am putting to the Minister is that we should have that formal statement on the Second Reading.

The Minister has indicated that the duties imposed under orders reference Nos. 8 and 9 are important, and that if required to do so he is prepared to make a more elaborate statement concerning these. I think it is important that we should have that further statement from him so that we may have all the information the Minister can give before the Committee Stage of the Bill is taken.

Mr. Lemass:  I agree with the Deputy that it is desirable that orders made under the Emergency Imposition of Duties Act should be brought forward for confirmation by the Dáil as soon as possible, having due regard to the state of parliamentary business and other considerations of that kind. [139] In fact we have adopted that practice in the past. For obvious reasons, it has been necessary to wait until more than one order had to be confirmed so that the time of the Dáil would not be unduly taken up. Consequently, the practice has been to wait until one order has been followed by others and bring the whole block forward in this way. Deputy Mulcahy should not be misled by the title of the Act under which these orders are made. It is true that special circumstances existed in 1932, when that Act was introduced as a Bill and passed, but circumstances in this country are always such that it is necessary to have certain powers to act quickly as regards the imposition of protective tariffs. We are a small country. Our geographical situation is such that it is very easy to import goods quickly, and experience has shown that it is practically impossible to prevent news spreading whenever any new industrial project is mooted. The spreading of that news is followed by action on behalf of persons engaged in the importation and distribution of goods of the kind concerned with a view to stocking up. They have little difficulty in doing so quickly because of the circumstances to which I have referred. It would seriously impede industrial development and, perhaps, even jeopardise the possibility of proceeding at all with certain projects if the discussion and completion of plans could not be followed up fairly early by action to impose whatever restrictions on imports had been decided upon. In the ordinary course we try to keep tariff proposals for submission to the Dáil at the time of the Budget. Wherever practicable we have done that, but in other cases earlier action may have to be taken. The Dáil may not be in session or it may be fully occupied with other business. In such circumstances, it is desirable to have the powers which this Act confers. I should strongly advise against the repeal of the Act. I am quite certain that any Government dealing with industrial projects here would find it necessary to have some such powers. I do not say that they would find it necessary to have precisely the powers [140] which this Act gives, but they would require some powers to take action when action was required, whether the Dáil was in session or not.

With regard to the particular duties to which Deputies referred, I mentioned more than two. I mentioned four which were — shall I say — of major importance. Certainly they are of greater importance than the other ten orders set out in the Schedule to the Bill. These orders are contained in references (1), (6), (8) and (9). Order No. 131, set out in reference No. (1), imposed a duty of 40 per cent., or 4d. per square yard, on linen, cotton and union woven piece goods of various categories and, as I have already mentioned, removed from the list of exemptions to the then existing duty certain descriptions of piece goods — that is to say, piece goods which had been subjected to a process of proofing involving the use of rubber or rubber solution and not less than 14 ounces weight per square yard, cotton piece goods, with certain exceptions, of less than 4 ounces in weight per square yard and union piece goods containing a quantity of silk or artificial silk. The 40 per cent. or 4d. per square yard, whichever was the greater, applied to all these classes of goods until the Act confirming the Trade Agreement with the United Kingdom was brought into force. The effect of that was to reduce the duty on all linen piece goods to 20 per cent. The object of the duty was two-fold — to give special protection to the home mills in respect of classes of cloth which they were specially equipped to make and to offset certain increased costs of production which had arisen here, to some extent in consequence of the conditions of employment legislation but more directly in consequence of an award given by a Wages Tribunal established in 1937 which Deputies who were then in the House will, no doubt, remember. The effect of the duty has been to encourage the increased production of these goods and to afford increased employment in their production. The number of persons employed in the manufacture of these goods in March of the present year was 1,190.

The duty referred to in reference [141] No. (6) will, perhaps, be familiar to certain Deputies and remind them of a discussion we had here concerning the establishment of a new mill to manufacture certain classes of woollen tissues not previously manufactured here — the mill at Portlaoighise. That mill has come into production and, because it was engaged in the manufacture of classes of cloth not previously made here, an alteration of the scope of the duty had to be effected, the particular alteration being the reduction from 7 ounces to 5½ ounces in the weight of cloths per square yard to which the duty applied. Previous to the making of this order, cloths under 7 ounces in weight per square yard were not subject to duty. Now, cloths down to 5½ ounces per square yard are liable to duty. The manufacture of the cloths has only begun and full production has not yet been accomplished but, apparently, the project is proceeding very satisfactorily.

The order referred to at No. (8) imposes a duty upon certain classes of electrical apparatus — electrical water heaters, radiators, tubular heaters, fire irons, and so forth. A company was established for the production of these goods here. It has established its factory at Ardee, in County Louth, in the station premises of the Great Northern Railway Company which are no longer used for passenger traffic. At the outset, the company proposes to confine its activities to the assembling of these classes of electrical apparatus from component parts but, as their programme proceeds, the manufacture of certain of the parts will be undertaken. The company has only now started production and is engaged in the task of training its workers and running in its machinery. It will have to secure a considerable increase in output before it will be able to meet anything like the full requirements of the country. The import of these goods in 1937 was valued at £250,000 so that there is considerable scope for their production here, apart from the fact that the demand for this class of goods is continually increasing.

The next order altered the duty upon certain glazed articles, that is to say, tableware, teapots and coffee pots and [142] other classes of glazed earthenware articles, all of which had been subject to duty previously. There were two firms manufacturing on a large scale here, one at Arklow and one at Carrigaline, under the protection of the original duty, but during the course of 1937, very considerable competition developed against them from Japan and also, to some extent, from Great Britain, from which countries second quality goods were imported here at low prices. As Deputies who are familiar with the operation of a pottery are aware, the goods produced have to be classified after they are made. Those which turn out good quality are regarded as first class and those which turn out to be inferior in some way are regarded as second class, and these second-class goods are frequently disposed of by large potteries at very low prices. Consequently, it was decided to check the importation of these goods by the imposition of the minimum duties for which this order makes provision. At the time the order was made, one of the potteries to which I refer had closed down and the other was carrying on only with considerable difficulty, but in consequence of the order, both factories are now in operation and, according to the latest returns, about 470 persons are employed in them, so that Deputies will note that it is an industry of some importance from the employment point of view. In fact, there was in relation to that particular order considerable public agitation to have it made before it was made. It was delayed for various reasons for some time and one of the concerns had actually reached the stage of having ceased production before it came into force.

The other orders, as I have mentioned, are of minor importance. In fact, Nos. 2 and 3 were consequential upon No. 1. The variation of the duties upon linen and cotton cloths involved a variation in the duties upon articles made of linen and cotton cloths. The order at reference No. 4 relates to heads for hoes, which were not previously subject to duty. The order at reference No. 5 increases to some extent the existing duty upon certain classes of hollow-ware, the increased duty being [143] necessitated by the expansion of imports of these goods to the detriment of the concern making them here. The order at reference No. 7 was designed to impose a duty upon certain classes of sparking plugs, that is, porcelain sparking plugs, in order to protect the manufacture of sparking plugs which has been undertaken here quite successfully by two firms, one in Dublin and one in Galway. The order at reference No. 10 made no change at all in the duty, but merely imposed a licensing provision. I think I promised in the Dáil that licensing powers would be taken in relation to that duty because it was clear that the existing concerns manufacturing these articles were not yet producing sufficient to supply the full requirements of the market. Consequently, the balance had to be imported subject to the duty, which was fairly high. Now licences are being issued whenever it is clear that adequate supplies from home sources are not available.

Question put and agreed to.

Committee Stage ordered for tomorrow.

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

Minister for Agriculture (Dr. Ryan):  I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £24,549 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1939, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí i dtaobh Iascach Mara agus Intíre, maraon le hIldeontaisí-i-gCabhair.

That a sum not exceeding £24,549 be granted to complete the sum [144] necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1939, for Salaries and Expenses in connection with Sea and Inland Fisheries, including sundry Grants-in-Aid.

This Estimate is set out under four main headings, viz.: Administration, Sea Fisheries, Inland Fisheries and Sea Fisheries Association. The total expenditure provided for shows a net decrease of £4,930 as compared with the figure for the previous year. The section dealing with Administration consists of four sub-heads — A, B, C and D. The increase of £1,356 shown in sub-head A over the corresponding figure for the preceding 12 months is due, in part, to the normal increments on salaries, and, in part, to addition to the staff of an assistant principal officer and one extra junior executive officer. The figures at sub-head B call for no comment. The provision under sub-head C and sub-head D is somewhat greater than that for last year mainly because of additional expenditure anticipated with regard to the items of advertising and telephone calls.

It may be well to repeat what I indicated when introducing last year's Estimate, namely, that in the event of the major Fisheries Bill being enacted within the current financial year, some increased outlay upon administrative and technical staff may prove to be inevitable during that year. The Bill in question is a rather comprehensive one and the preparation of it has entailed very full consideration of important points that arose as the measure was being got into shape.

It will be noted that there is an increase of £1,989 in the provision made for Sea Fisheries as a whole in comparison with the previous year's figure. I do not think that sub-heads E (1). E (2) and E (5) call for any comment. The items comprised in them are not large and there is no change in last year's figures. The increased outlay provided for at sub-head E (3) is to be explained by our having a second fishery cruiser in commission. When a Supplementary Estimate was submitted a few months [145] ago for the fisheries service Deputies were made aware that this vessel has been taken over on a charter basis. That charter is due to expire towards the end of the calendar year 1938 and, consequently, provision is being made in respect of it for only part of the financial year. Should it be found advisable, after reasonable trial has been had of the vessel, to extend the charter period, it will be necessary to come here later with a Supplementary Estimate.

Next, there is an increase of £475 shown in the figures under sub-head E (4) which deals with whaling. Administration of the Whale Fisheries Act, 1937, is a new responsibility for my Department, and when introducing the Supplementary Estimate which, inter alia, covered expenditure thereon, I explained to the Dáil that we received licence fees from certain ships which had been registered in this country, and that, in return, we had to appoint officers to supervise the whaling operations conducted by such ships, in that way discharging our obligations as signatories to the Geneva Convention and the London Agreement with regard to whaling generally. The figures now set down are necessarily contingent upon factors beyond our control inasmuch as we cannot say what number, if any, of the whaling vessels now registered with us will continue that registration, or whether the existing number is likely to be increased. The main point, however, is that whatever be the number of such registrations, the receipts from licence fees are not merely to counter-balance but to exceed somewhat our expenditure upon supervision. The receipts by way of such licence fees would come in as an Appropriation-in-Aid of this Vote and Deputies will notice that we have made an estimate of the figure under sub-head H (8).

The aggregate expenditure set down for inland fisheries is £58 below that for the previous year. The previous year's figure, however, included a purely temporary item of £108, and, therefore, there is really an increase of just £56 when the normal items of this sub-head as a whole are compared with [146] those for 1937/38. Subhead F (1) shows a reduction of £25 in the item concerning improvement of fish passes; but the reduction of £250 in the provision for grants to Boards of Conservators is offset by a like increase in the provision for payment to local authorities under the Fisheries Act, 1925. At sub-head F (2) there is an increase of £50 over last year's figure for fish hatcheries and at sub-head F (3) a rise of £25 in the total figure for wages and expenses in connection with the working of certain fisheries which are in the control of my Department. Sub-head F (4) calls for no particular comment.

With regard to the Sea Fisheries Association, the provision made in this part of the Estimate falls under four sub-heads. Sub-head G (1) covers the amount set down by way of Grants-in-Aid to this association towards the payment of its administrative expenses, and the figure is the same as that which was provided last year. Sub-head G (2) represents another Grant-in-Aid to the association, but in this case the money is to be devoted to schemes of general improvement for our sea fisheries, these schemes to be of such a nature as appear to my Department to be commendable, because it is on the recommendation of my Department that the Minister for Finance will agree to the issue of any such grant. The amount set down in this Estimate is £5,000, as against the sum of £10,000 which was voted last year. I will refer to this difference later.

Sub-head G (3) comprises the provision made for the issue to this association of repayable advances (not grants) for the purchase of boats and gear (and for the repair of such chattels) which are issued to approved members under a hire purchase contract. Here again the amount set down in this Estimate is £5,000, as against £10,000 voted last year, and I shall refer later to this difference also. Sub-head G (4) concerns a provision for repayable advances to be made to this association for the construction of works of a more or less permanent nature, that is to say, lobster ponds and such like structures, the need for which is very clear if our fishermen [147] are to be in a position to dispose of their catches of shell-fish under the most favourable market conditions. The provision of £2,000 set down in this Estimate is considerably greater than the net amount voted last year for this particular sub-head.

In explaining the reduction in the aggregate amount provided under the four sub-heads just mentioned, that is to say, the drop from last year's £30,327 to £22,000 this year, a difference of £8,247, I would remind Deputies that it became necessary to set up an InterDepartmental Committee to examine the working of this association generally — to undertake, as it were, a sort of stocktaking of the whole position so that we might see what precisely had, so far, been achieved and what relation the results bore to the expenditure made in attaining them; also in what respects, if any, the procedure and general working of this association could be improved in the interests of its members and of our sea fisheries generally. That Committee of Inquiry, having been in consultation with the directors of the association, very soon found that there was a considerable cleavage of viewpoint as among these directors, and that, in short, there did not exist that spirit of agreement which is so important if the team-work of a board of directors is to be effective. Consequently, a few months ago it was arranged that the directors of this association would appoint a manager on my nomination and would transfer to that officer for a limited period all their powers and responsibilities under the association's rules. In that way we hoped that this manager would be free to survey the whole position, and to carry on the immediate work of the association free from any discordant notes, and thus place himself in a position to report fully to the Committee of Inquiry and to me at the end of his term of office as to the prospects of making this association an ultimate success.

The manager's first term of office having expired, it was arranged that the heavy weight of responsibility which he had been carrying should be restored in large measure to the board [148] of directors. The election of two directors in the ordinary course by the members and the nomination by two others by me having taken place — all in accordance with the association's rules — and the full board of eight directors having been completed by the filling of these four vacancies, it was settled that the directors would avail themselves of the services of the manager for a further period, and would accord him a fairly wide discretion in the discharge of his duties. Such is the present position, and we all hope that with the whole-time assistance of their manager, the directors will find themselves able to reach a measure of success with this association which in the absence of such an officer they had failed to achieve.

While, however, the modification or expansion of their plans by this board is in progress I have not considered it necessary to ask for quite the same provision in respect of sub-heads G (2) and G (3) as was made last year. This is partly because the provision then made for G (2) had been availed of only in small degree by the association, and partly because I prefer to await having from this new board of directors a more or less definite statement of their aims of policy before undertaking to ask for larger sums of money to be made available for disbursement upon the work of this association. It will, I feel, be considered more satisfactory by the Dáil if I adopt this line and then come back by way of a Supplementary Estimate should I be convinced that a case has been made by the new board for the provision of further funds to them.

I do not think there is much need for me to say a great deal about Appropriations-in-Aid. The first item is stereotyped; the second item represents what we hope to retrieve during the coming year out of the considerable arrears that have been outstanding for a long time on foot of the fishery loans which were issued many years ago; and the third item is a token one to cover a case where a borrower has died without assets save perhaps the remains of some old boat which has to be disposed of for a trifle [149] by my Department as creditor. Item (4) represents the income expected from the letting of sporting rights, and those fisheries the maintenance of which is provided for under sub-head F (3) before mentioned. Item (5) represents the estimate of what we may expect to get during the coming year from the Sea Fisheries Association in repayment of the principal and interest due by them on advances made under sub-heads G (3) and G (4), already referred to. Item (6) stands for the recoupment of the salaries of certain officers who are dealt with in sub-head A, but who have been seconded for service with the association. Item (7) represents the anticipated receipt by way of special local licences for netting in the estuaries of the Erne and Owenea, respectively, out of which receipt we have to meet the payment covered by item (5) of the sub-head F (1). Item (8) represents the expected receipts from licences which may be paid to us in respect of vessels operating under the Whale Fisheries Act, 1937, and to which I have already referred in discussing the provision set down contra at sub-head E (4). Item (9) is the same as last year and does not call for special comment. It will be observed that the total of the Appropriations-in-Aid is estimated at about the same as last year's figure.

Before concluding, I should like to advert to the statements made by me upon more than one occasion as to the opening which, in my opinion, existed in this country for a properly equipped and well-managed deep-sea trawling company. I am glad to say that quite recently arrangements were made whereby the Dublin Trawling, Ice and Cold Storage Company, which had been dormant for a considerable time, has been taken over and rehabilitated by a commercial group. The company has at least four steam trawlers now in commission, and is, I understand, busily engaged in arranging for a considerable expansion of its fleet. While we all wish the best of luck to this group of business men in their enterprise, I want to make it quite clear that this revival of the company is not a State undertaking. [150] It is nothing more or less than a commercial undertaking or investment by the parties concerned. On the other hand, the Government are pleased to see that this local industry has been revived; and, so far as it may be within the province of my Department, or any other Department of State, to facilitate those who have undertaken this revival, that will be done.

Mr. Brasier:  I was glad to learn from the Minister's concluding remarks the intention of a company to begin operations for the trawling of fish, but I hope that before that will be done certain control will be exercised by the State to prevent any infringement of the rights of the smaller fishermen by a company such as that. Otherwise, the incursions of foreign trawlers would unquestionably injure the smaller men, and defeat the object of the Department of Fisheries. At the same time we cannot ignore the very substantial increase in wealth that would be brought to the country if such a company were operating, but, as I have said, our chief concern must be to prevent the living of a very large fishing population being in any way curtailed or interfered with. One section of the fishing population in which I am very deeply interested is the salmon net fishermen. The decrease in the quantities of salmon caught by those men is a matter of very vital concern, not alone to those who take an interest in this deserving class but also to the State, because we cannot ignore the fact that reports have been made from a very extended area of the country that considerable destruction of spawning fish occurs at the source of the rivers.

Tales are told of absolutely mischievous and deliberate attempts to take up a large number of spawning fish, which must militate enormously against any possibility of the rivers being properly stocked. The State is doing its part in helping to stock hatcheries with salmon ova, and that in itself will be a very considerable help. But I think the natural spawning of fish with proper seasonal protection [151] will be the best means of preventing the depletion of our rivers of stocks of salmon or spawn. That is one of the factors which I was anxious to bring to the notice of the Department. You cannot ignore the fact that a great deal of blame seems to be placed on the net fishermen for depletion of the rivers, but most of us who know them will realise that they are really sportsmen at heart, and if, by any possible chance, a spawning fish were caught in the net, it would be thrown overboard again. They realise that such fish are absolutely unfit for food and that they would be only doing an injury to themselves.

There is another factor which I have been asked to bring before the House, and that is that extraordinary relic of feudalism which exists on one of our most important salmon rivers, a relic of a historic time when might was right, and that is the Lismore Estates Company, who exercise a right over the Blackwater which was inherited, I think, from Sir Walter Raleigh. At any rate, you have got rid of the landlords; you have succeeded in effecting an agreement in connection with the land annuities, and I am sure the genius of the Minister will devise some scheme in order to get rid of ever so great a person as a duke. I think that we must ask that some effort should be made to bring to an end something which has been regarded as tyrannical and unjust. These fishermen have to pay a sum of £10 for a harbour licence, together with a sum of £3 to the conservators, and in addition to that even a sum of £1 for a sprat net has been imposed. I think the time has come to ask that the State should intervene and endeavour, either by agreement or by legislation, to give these men the right, which undoubtedly from tradition or from immemorial time they had, of fishing on one of the greatest rivers. Serious disabilities in connection with the size of the nets, too, are imposed on these men, and that has been found to be absolutely inadequate. I ask that the Minister should give his attention to removing the difficulties with which these men have to contend.

The Minister mentioned the provision [152] of hatcheries and also of lobster ponds, which are a very desirable help to a great industry of which we ought to be able to make more use. But there is one point to which the Minister might direct his attention, and that is the provision of oyster beds. We know that in the past very considerable sums of money were made from oyster breeding. I happen to know one of these beds myself in Cork and there was also another at Carrigaline. These were very valuable sources of revenue to those who provided and worked them. I suggest that these can be developed now for the benefit of the local fishermen by laying down these beds with proper oyster seed.

A very considerable sum of money is expended year after year, but it is a matter of concern that the results, so far as the small men are concerned, are not greater. The fisherman, if he wants to get a motor boat or gear of any kind, has to pay a very substantial sum as deposit, which very often he is not able to pay, and the result is that he must seek employment elsewhere rather than in the natural industry to which he was brought up and to which he was accustomed. I suggest to the Minister that that imposition of a deposit before he will get a loan for either a motor boat or gear should be abolished. Our chief concern must be to provide employment for men who are a hardy and courageous race and an undoubted asset to the country, and being more liberal in the giving of loans and not curtailing their activities by the repayment of money that they do not possess would tend to help us in wealth producing.

Mr. O'Neill:  I think there is only one branch of the Minister's Department that shows an improvement and that is the whale-fishing. I was very glad to see that the whale-fishing has been so successful so far as the Department is concerned as to bring in a revenue of £2,100 in the issue of licences, but I am afraid the Minister has used that to close our eyes to the important fact that what is known as sea fishing proper has shown a very decadent outlook. The whole attitude of the Ministry towards this very important industry, or what should be an important industry, is that it has gone to [153] the lowest depths and is scarcely worth reviving. In the last few years we have been taking up this Estimate year after year and we have seen the conditions getting worse and worse. In fact, a few years ago I was so impressed with the impossibility of doing anything with regard to sea fishing that I thought the Minister should in future cease to ask for any Estimate for this industry at all, or cease to keep alive a Department which had no function whatever to perform, or which was, at all events, performing no useful function with regard to this important industry.

In fact we have not got a Minister for Fisheries at all. I emphasise that this industry has fallen so low that it does not want the special undivided attention of a qualified person to look after it. We all know how the Minister has been handicapped in the last four or five years by the economic war, and perhaps that might be claimed by him as some excuse for the terrible decadence into which sea fisheries have fallen. I do not want to blame the Minister or his Party or the policy of the Party for what has befallen the industry; but it is a remarkable fact that for many years past while Fianna Fáil have been in power there has been a terrible and deplorable falling off not only in the landings of fish in this country, but in the number of boats and men employed.

Deputy Brasier made reference to the fact that there is the potential danger that this new deep-sea trawling industry might affect the living of a large number of our fishing population. I should like to know what Deputy Brasier means by the large number of our fishing population. Is he not aware, and is the House not aware, that the number of persons engaged in sea fishing in this country at present is only something over 7,000 persons? That is in a country which comparatively has the largest seaboard of any country in the world. Before the Fianna Fáil Party came into power there were 12,000 persons employed as fishermen in this country. That included men employed wholly and partially in fishing. The number of [154] boats engaged in fishing, including boats partially and wholly occupied, was 3,434 before Fianna Fáil came into office. That number has now fallen to 2,646. Therefore, there has been a great decrease in the number of men employed and also in the number of boats.

While that has been going on the annual value of the catches has been getting less and less. For the last completed year for which we have any information the total value of the fish landed on our shores amounted only to £152,182. If you divide that amount by the number of men engaged in the industry I think you will see that the income of the men engaged does not average more than 7/- or 8/- each per week. If this industry is so important as we are led to believe it should be able to afford far more than 7/- or 8/- per week to those engaged in it. While the total value of our catches amounted only to £152,182, we imported fish to the value of £316,708. Considerably more than twice the value of the quantity of fish landed has been brought in here either as fresh fish or in a preserved form. Included in these imports was £30,000 worth of preserved fish from Japan. That is an extraordinary fact, that we are importing preserved fish from Japan to the extent of £30,000 worth. The whole Vote asked for by the Minister does not exceed that amount very much. That, I think, is an extraordinary state of affairs.

I am afraid I shall have to admit that the Sea Fisheries Association, from my association with it — no pun intended — has not been a success. I have been a member of the Sea Fisheries Association practically since it was founded. I have had experience of it under two Governments, and I am not in this case attaching any more blame to the Fianna Fáil Government than to their predecessors for what I would call, not the failure, but what I should rather regard as the non-success of the Sea Fisheries Association. That, I think, might be attributable to the fact that the association has not got enough scope. Certainly those associated with the administration of it say that they have [155] not got enough money. I have always felt that an industry so important as the fishing industry should get more money from Government sources. We cannot run it with the amount of money provided here. The problem has not been tackled with the imagination and courage that one might expect. Even though the Sea Fisheries Association has undoubtedly done some good work, the work, I feel, has not been dealt with in the way it should be. The Minister has referred to differences of opinion amongst the members of the association, but I do not think these differences were responsible for the non-success of the association. That non-success was inherent and fundamental in the association from the beginning.

In that regard, I should like to repeat what I have already said in regard to the Gaeltacht Vote, namely, that we should bring into being some body like the old Congested Districts Board. That was a board that attended to the wants of the rural population and did not confine its activities to those who were purely Gaelic speakers. When a Department for the Gaeltacht was set up here our first idea was to preserve the language amongst the people of the Gaeltacht, but I do not think we have succeeded either in preserving the language or in preserving a livelihood for the people of the Gaeltacht. At present we have the Government migrating these people from the Gaeltacht to other parts of the country. I think that in conjunction with industries that are what I would term native to the seaboard, we should revive some interest in fishing, that we should get these people interested in something that would give them a livelihood and at the same time preserve the native culture and the native habits. In doing that we should have recourse to what I should call voluntary co-operation. That work could best be done by some body functioning under some such Department as the old Congested Districts Board rather than by a sub-office functioning under the Government.

The Minister has dealt with the industry more or less from the point [156] of view of developing deep sea fisheries or the trawling end of the industry, but I do not think there is ever going to be in this country such a demand for fish as would justify our going in for the development of the home market on a large commercial scale. The population of this country is small, and the fish-eating propensities of the people are not very marked. I rather think that the industry should be developed from the exporting end. We are living close to a country which has a teeming industrial population, a population which has a decided taste for fish. England imported last year fish nearly to the value of £3,000,000. More than half of that came from Norway and Denmark. Here we are with our tremendous seaboard, quite close to England, and yet half the quantity of fish imported into England came from Norway and Denmark. Our aim should be to improve the facilities for catching fish and for exporting fish to the English market. Now that the economic war is over, and that there is no longer a tariff on our fish going into the British market, I think that the Minister ought to devote his attention to the development of the English market as well as looking after the home market. It is a market that is worth exploitation, a market which, while it may not be without some limits, at all events has got limits that we are never likely to reach.

While saying this, I should like to give the Minister credit for the efforts he has made to protect our fishermen. I think the chartering of the second protective vessel was a step in the right direction. Whether it is going to be a success we shall see in due course, but I think the Minister is right in chartering this vessel, if only as an experiment. Then again this protection is not as effective as it should be, even with the second vessel. We are not able to keep these poachers away from our shores as we should, and I think a great deal of the fault is due to the fact that we have not got our by-laws codified or made properly effective. Now that we have passed our Constitution and declared our authority over our seas and the islands adjacent thereto, to use the words of [157] the Constitution, I think we ought to be in a better position internationally to protect our fisheries, to see that they are kept for our fishermen and that they are kept immune from interference by foreign trawlers.

An extraordinary thing happened a few weeks ago. There are many trawlers from Spain fishing on the south coast. They fish in pairs, similar to what was done by mine sweepers during the war, two boats being about three-quarters of a mile apart, with a big trawl in between. One of these vessels went ashore in calm weather recently three or four miles inside of the old head of Kinsale. That shows that they must have been poaching. I think the Minister was informed that these boats only fish within a certain distance from the shore, but that is not so. In another case an English trawler which was brought before the courts was, in my opinion, fishing well within the three-mile limit, but in law the defence was successful. That brings me to the point that our fishing laws are not codified or properly emphasised. We have two classes of by-laws dealing with trawlers, one containing 26 regulations, and the other 30 regulations, referring only to steam trawlers. Between these two codes there are contradictions, and some of the regulations have been in force for over 100 years. The Minister and the Department should endeavour to get these laws properly codified.

While on that point, I think the Minister might also turn his attention to the possibility of getting some sort of international arrangement with regard to trawlers. Certain English and Scotch vessels come to our shores and poach for fish that they are not allowed to take off their own shores. The owners of these vessels will not break the by-laws in force in their own countries, but they have no hesitation about breaking our by-laws and getting away with it. There should be some sort of international understanding dealing with steam trawlers. The time for such a proposal is opportune, in view of the new arrangement with Great Britain. I think it would be favourably received at present. There is a precedent for such an international [158] arrangement, because some time ago agreement was reached with regard to the catching of immature fish. The Department was represented, I think, at that conference, and certain regulations have been published. The results should be very good and should protect the fish, so that even our own people will not be allowed to take small-sized fish. Having regard to what was done for the protection of immature fish, something might also be done by which understanding might be arrived at with regard to the limits within which English and Scottish trawlers off our coasts could fish. We might perhaps try to have some understanding similar to one reached on the Continent. The Baltic countries came to an arrangement regarding the prohibition of trawling, which is not altogether in consonance with the international three-mile limit but includes many safeguards.

With regard to the marketing of fish, it is up to the Minister's Department to see that when fish are caught they are marketed in a proper way. That refers particularly to the marketing of cured herrings and cured mackerel. Cured herrings go principally to Germany, Russia and other Continental parts. I understand that there are certain regulations dealing with these exports, and that they are fairly well observed by our exporters. Cured mackerel went principally to America, and while there has been a great falling off in the trade, due to influences which I need not recapitulate, it was at one time a very important part of our economy, particularly on the west coast of Kerry and the south-west of Cork. The exports of salted mackerel went to New York and Baltimore. There was a tariff against the exports, which practically killed the trade for a time, or made it scarcely worth while keeping. We tried to get over the difficulty in a way that the Minister will remember, by a sort of subsidy, but the American authorities increased the tariff when they found that the industry was being subsidised. That is an industry of a very important kind, because it comes along at the fall of the year. Coming in after the harvest, it is a very valuable industry and [159] should be encouraged. As the Minister for Agriculture has set up standards for the quality of butter and eggs, I think the same might be done with regard to fishing. I am anticipating the time when the fishing industry will develop along the lines the Minister indicated. In that connection I will quote for the information of the House a letter written by a firm of American importers in Baltimore in June:—

“We wish to emphasise the necessity for more care in counting and grading Irish mackerel. We have had a lot of trouble in late years with barrels incorrectly marked and poorly sorted and graded, and unless this practice is corrected it is going to have a very injurious effect on the market for Irish fish in general, as this trouble is not confined to any one shipper. We trust that you will make greater efforts to see that your pack is more accurately counted and marked, and it would be most beneficial if you could take this matter up with your neighbours in the business, with a view to improving the quality of the Irish shipments, and so create a feeling of dependability amongst the comparatively few importers who are still fairly large buyers.”

I refer that letter to the Minister for his attention, because the industry has great possibilities and might be very much extended. I want to try to help the Minister, rather than to have any regard to mistakes that were made in the past, because fishing has practically disappeared as an industry. As very few people and very few boats are engaged in it, any change may be for the better. I should like to emphasise the necessity of trying to develop the export trade to England. Another matter that I wish to raise concerns the protection of our own market, which is a very big one, having regard to the quantity of fish imported. The Minister will have to be very careful in that respect, so that whatever protection will be given will not necessarily raise the cost of fish to our people or interfere with the continuity of supply. I cannot help thinking that something must be done [160] in a practical way for the fishing industry. In order to show how this country is affected by the importation of fish I will mention an incident that came under my notice. I saw some landings of herrings at Kinsale in the spring, for which a market could not be found within 24 hours. Some of the boats that caught the fish were subsidised or provided by the Irish Sea Fisheries Association, and the owners had paid deposits on them. On the same day I was in conference with the local buyers, and a message was received from Dublin stating that 1,000 boxes of fish had been landed from Dutch trawlers, and that there was a plentiful supply of herrings from English and Scotch boats. That is what happened while the fishermen in Kinsale could not sell their catches. The Minister must protect our fishermen in some way, while at the same time having regard to the danger of raising the cost of fish on our people or interfering with the continuity of supply.

I do not think there are many more points in the Minister's report that I would like to criticise, but I do think that the Sea Fisheries Association ought to be done away with altogether and some new form of administration substituted for it on the lines of the old Congested Districts Board.

I would ask the Minister to try and look for more money for his Department. The Minister for Finance would probably tell him he is not making proper use of what he is getting at present. I think an industry of this kind cannot be administered properly or effectively, with the small amount of money allowed for it. We are in a very bad state in the fishing industry, very bad indeed. We must begin from the bottom and build it up and we must have proper regard to the conditions that prevail in the industry and the conditions we have to compete with and the competition we have to contend with from other sources. We have to build it up as a means of providing food for our own people and also to build it up as an industry that will have an export value and provide not only food for our people but employment for persons [161] engaged in the packing and the export of this fish. I would ask the Minister to take into serious account the matters I have raised. I think there is a future before the fishing industry in this country but it will need very serious attention, not only from the Minister but from somebody even better than the Minister. I have no fault to find with the Minister's personal interest in this industry, nor do I attribute to him any blame for the failures that have taken place. He does not really understand the question. He has been saddled with a responsibility he is not fit for. He has enough to do in the other industries he is engaged in but I do think somebody ought to be got who would understand about fishing and who would put some life into the whole Department — the Fisheries Department, or the Sea Fisheries Association, or whatever form of activity is going to take its place.

We have got to face this question in a big way, we have got to get some imagination and put some drive into it. Do not let it be as it has been in the past, always going down hill until it has practically ceased to be an industry at all. Let it provide a revenue for our people and an industrial activity for those who would be inclined to put money into it.

Mr. J.P. Kelly:  I would be glad to know if the Minister is satisfied with the progress that has been made during the past year in the negotiations that are being carried on with a view to getting more favourable consideration from the medical authorities in England in connection with the mussel fishing industry. For some years past it has been customary to raise this mussel fishing industry on this Vote and, personally, I feel that we should have reached the stage when it would be possible to have the mussel purification tanks erected and a market developed on the other side. I am satisfied that there are many inquiries for mussels from dealers on the markets in England, especially during the past year. They have been looking forward to placing orders here for our fish as soon as the purification tanks are in operation and the necessary certificates [162] forthcoming from this side. I wish to make a special plea upon this occasion that the matter should be speeded up because of the fact that the fishermen at the mouth of the Boyne, in whom I am particularly interested, have had a very inferior salmon fishing season. In the early stages of the salmon fishing season this year when the price was remunerative the fishing was below the standard. Later on, of course, when the price went down, matters improved somewhat in that there were more fish coming in but, however, taking the salmon fishing industry on the mouth of the Boyne as a whole this year, it is much below the standard. Consequently, the fishermen there will be faced with a very serious situation in the winter months because of the fact that they had not their usual source of income in the spring and summer months. Some years ago it was customary for those men to fish for salmon in the early stages of the year and then to turn their attention to fishing for mussel and it was indeed a very great industry for those people. It gave them ample remuneration for their work and it was a splendid little industry in the winter time of the year when they could not be fishing for any other fish. There are some hundreds of people on both sides of the Boyne who are looking forward to the erection of a purification tank so as to enable them to ship their mussels and who shipped them some years ago before the medical authorities in England refused to take them without the proper purification.

I do not wish to enter into competition with Kerry Deputies who are fighting for purification tanks in the mussel beds of Kerry, but what I do suggest is that two smaller tanks should be erected so that we could have one at the mouth of the Boyne and another in Kerry, if that is possible. Of course, the original idea was to have one central tank erected here in Dublin Bay, and £5,000 was allocated a couple of years ago on the Vote for Fisheries. Of course, that was not realised, because the Department was not satisfied that the market would be found and thought that if the tank were erected it would prove to be a white elephant. I think, [163] now that conditions have improved so much, that that danger does not exist any longer, and I would appeal to the Minister to take his courage in his hands now before the winter sets in. I know that grants have been forthcoming from the Board of Works and from the Fisheries Department for certain works during the winter for the past couple of years, but for those fishermen at the mouth of the Boyne those grants have been insufficient. Looking forward to the coming winter I feel that unless the tank is erected those people will feel the hardships very severely. The grants are inadequate because there are too many people depending upon the fishing industry there, and, when they lose their regular income, their income from other works which they are capable of performing usually proves insufficient. I do make a strong appeal to the Minister on this occasion to assure the House that he will be able to place the amount of money necessary for the erection of these tanks under this Vote

Mr. W.J. Broderick:  The point made by the Deputy in reference to the Boyne salmon fishermen can be borne out by every other fisherman in every stream in the State. Salmon fishing has been practically a failure this year, and a large number of men and the families dependent upon them are faced with a very bad prospect for the winter. The Ministry must take some energetic action in the protection of the spawning beds. There should be a thorough investigation into it to try and find out what is the cause of the scarcity of salmon at this particular time of the year. There is a scarcity of salmon in the rivers. I do not intend to refer very much to this; the whole question has been covered, as far as deep sea fishing is concerned, by Deputy O'Neill, but Deputy Brasier in referring particularly to the Blackwater fishermen made a reference to Sir Walter Raleigh and the Earl of Cork, and the amusement of the Minister and the consultation with the nearest member behind him gave me the impression that the thing was being treated rather lightly. The [164] claim was put forward that now that many questions were settled that this one question of the feudal rights of the Blackwater might be seriously treated. The impression given by the speaker — I am quite sure unintentionally — was that this was a thing that had continued for generations, and that this claim was one that went back to the Sir Walter Raleigh or the Earl of Cork period. That is not at all according to the facts.

What are the facts? I myself am quite old enough to remember the law suit and the legal proceedings that were entailed in this thing. Renovations were being made in the famous castle at Lismore when some old script was discovered, and on the script was the claim by the then Duke of Devonshire to the bed and soil of the Blackwater. That was contested by the fishermen and all their supporters along the Blackwater. It passed from one court to the other, and it finished up in a compromise in the House of Lords. The compromise was that a certain number of fishermen were to be permitted to fish. The implication of that is quite clearly that control of the bed and soil of the Blackwater goes to the Duke of Devonshire. What I want to contradict is the impression accepted by the House that this thing was of centuries standing. It is only the result of a compromise by the House of Lords, and that in very recent times. The compromise was that a certain number of fishermen were to be allowed to fish. I think the number was 29. There was a further limitation, because the length of their nets was prescribed. All this made it extremely difficult for the fishermen to make a living.

The claim is now made that the Minister should take this thing up energetically. He has faced much bigger questions, and ones of longer standing that this compromise of the House of Lords and the supposed right of the Duke of Devonshire. It is the only river in the country in regard to which such feudal claims can be made and upheld. I support very strongly the suggestion that the Minister should take this up seriously. The people there are suffering considerably through what was an accidental happening, if you like — I refer to the [165] finding of the script. One point that might be taken up is the prescribed length of the net that the fishermen are allowed to fish with. There is a third point, and that is the prescribed area, possibly a quarter of a mile, which the fishermen are not allowed to use. Life has been lost there in bad weather because the fishermen are not allowed to use this place. If the Minister is disposed to go into this question, any information I have at my disposal will be readily placed before him.

There are a good many more points that could be considered in making a case. I am not one who would like to break through a national understanding nor am I one to repudiate lawful authority, but I suggest that this giving of the bed and soil of the Blackwater to the Duke of Devonshire is due to an accidental happening, the discovery of a script which was found about 48 years ago. The whole thing eventually wound up by giving him certain liberties as a result of a compromise. The position to-day is that there is great hardship amongst the fishermen there who are open at all times to be chased and hunted away. They are, one might say, living the lives of outlaws, and such a position should not be allowed to continue indefinitely in a country with its own administration. I hope the Minister will investigate this matter seriously, and any assistance I can give I shall be always ready to give it. I shall be happy to place before the Minister all the information I possess.

Mr. McMenamin:  In connection with fisheries, a number of things have been said from some of which false deductions might be drawn. Some of the statements on the subject of salmon fishing this year rather indicate a complete ignorance of the conditions which prevail. An attempt has been made to suggest that the scarcity of fish is due to poaching. It is also suggested that the bailiffs and the Guards do not do their duty. I think an elementary knowledge of salmon and the conditions prevailing this year would dispose of those suggestions. For several months there was very little water in the rivers and the bulk of the fish remained in the sea. They would very quickly [166] travel up the rivers had there been a supply of fresh water.

I should like to join with Deputy O'Neill in asking for more money for this Department. I think there is every need for infusing fresh life and energy into the Department. The Minister has indicated the cause of the disaster in his Department. According to the Minister, there are three authorities in his Department, all of them semi-independent. There is, first, the Minister; secondly, the Sea Fisheries Association and, thirdly, a manager who has been appointed by the association. Apparently, the internal condition of the Sea Fisheries Association was such that the committee or whatever they are could not agree about anything, and disagreement reached the point when it was thought advisable to have a manager.

What are the functions of the manager? What authority has he? When he arrives at any decision, can he enforce it in the event of disagreement with the members of the association? Does he make proposals, refer them to the association, and can they disagree about them the same as hitherto? Deputy O'Neill wants more money for fisheries. He wants more protection. He suggests an international arrangement the same as in the case of the catching of immature fish. There is no analogy between them. Immature fish can be refused in the market. In the case of the protection of fisheries it is quite a different matter. I think we will have to resort again to the old method of force. What success has attended the sending out of the new boat? The Minister indicated on another occasion that the new boat was unarmed. Is she unarmed now? I understood from the Minister on another occasion that the speed of the boat was about ten knots an hour, or three knots slower than the Muirchu.

Has the Minister counteracted the difficulty with regard to her speed by the range of the guns? Will the ports that we are taking over in a few days be used in defending the fisheries? What is the range of the new armament that we are going to put into the forts? Will it be such as to make it dangerous [167] for any trawlers to come within 20 miles of the coast of Éire? The real cause of the disaster of the fishing industry is the fact that the Minister has taken no steps to find a market for fish. Where is the use of setting up a Sea Fisheries Association when there is nothing done about procuring a market?

Why impute the fault to the management? The whole thing is due to neglect on the part of the Government. Take the operations of the association. Anybody who puts down one-tenth of the cost of a boat is given a loan to buy a boat; he goes out, catches fish but when he brings them in he finds there is no market for the fish. Would anybody outside a mental home make that sort of a suggestion and put it forward as a business proposition? Last year the Minister for Agriculture secured a quota from Germany, for, I think, some £10,000 worth of herrings. True we received that nominal quota for herrings but the Germans were not bound to take £10,000 worth of herrings. While provisionally giving that quota for herrings they were not bound really to take one barrel of herrings. What wonder is it, therefore, that when the fisherman went out and caught herrings he had no market. That is how the industry was killed and how this great source of wealth was rendered useless. That is the real cause of the decay of the fishing industry.

We got a quota the year before last for a certain quantity of herrings. The people who purchased that quantity of fish purchase £3,000,000 of fresh fish annually. Now we ship fat cattle to Germany. We had quite a good market for fat cattle. Why did not the Minister, when making a deal with these people, ask for a market for our fish? What is the use of getting a nominal quota for 10,000 barrels of herrings, when there was no obligation on the Germans to take even that quantity? In this matter of herrings that was really the last blow to the industry here. When there are big catches of herrings and when they are landed here it is found that no one will cure them because in the absence [168] of a market it would not pay to do so. Now this year the same condition of things prevails. Then we will be told “you did not fill last year's quota.” That is no answer. I told the Minister last year the cause of the failure and he knows it himself.

Will the Minister tell us what steps he is going to take to help the fishing industry? For our size we are the largest importers from Germany of any country in the world. Cannot we have a fair deal with these people? Are we always going to have these people saying to the Minister and is he going always to go on telling us “we can't do any better.” By his actions the Minister seems to be afraid of the Germans who “can do this thing and that thing” to us. But there is the old maxim — that might is not right. Surely if we have business to do and if we have a quota to receive and a quota to give we should find people with whom to do business. It is altogether a question of business, of £.s.d. These people seem to be insistent on striking hard bargains with us. Is it not about time that we stiffened our backs? If this industry were only a side line with us it would be quite a different matter but it is our second largest source of wealth. Yet it only represents the miserable sum stated by Deputy O'Neill.

I earnestly appeal to the Minister to cease wasting the large sums of money that are being wasted on this Department unless he takes steps to make the thing efficient. As it is, the money spent is purely thrown away. Deputy Kelly comes along with the old cry about a disinfecting tank for mussels. I think if the whole Department were taken down and put into that disinfecting tank it would be a good thing. The Deputy brings it forward this year again as a hardy annual. We are told that mussels cannot be shipped owing to the lack of a few thousand pounds for this tank. If that tank were erected and the officials taken down there, well, it might not be so bad. Some hustle might be infused into them.

Is the Minister serious in speaking about the setting up of a departmental committee with regard to inquiring [169] into whatever disagreement exists in the Sea Fisheries Association? What power has the manager of that association got? Has he the right to overrule the association? I understood some time ago that the association was dissolved or abolished or superceded. For practical purposes I do not see what use it is. The members come up here to Dublin at the taxpayers' expense. They hold meetings and receive applications for loans for boats. If the proposition appears to them sound they lend money for the purchase of boats. But is not all that on the assumption that the man when he catches his fish will have a market for it? If the man has not a market, how is he to repay the amount of the loan? Really is it not a case of the money being given under false pretences? The money is given, I presume, subject to the conditions that the fishery industry will be protected and that a market will be found for the fish that is being cured.

Along the entire coast of Donegal the curing industry is dead. Yet at the last meeting of the Donegal County Council I read that provisions were made for new steps, new beacons and new iron ladders for the fishermen while the industry is only a mere fraction of what it used to be. I would like to hear from the Minister his policy in putting this industry on its feet. The Minister read out a list of items and expenditure. That was like a schoolboy's rhyme. The Minister read out this list of things that was prepared and handed to him by some official. It was just like a schoolmaster handing something to a child to read out to the rest of the class. That is not going to get us anywhere and it is not going to get the industry anywhere. We should be frank about this matter and unless we can do better than we have been doing we should close down this branch of the Department.

It is now three or four years ago since the Minister promised an amended Fisheries Bill. That promise was renewed each year since but the Bill has not yet appeared. Serious matters and important interest for the people are involved in that Bill but no financial provision has yet been made [170] in regard to it. The people who are most deeply interested do not know where they are. At all events, a number of men should not be asked to come up here from the country to these meetings at the expense of the taxpayers and go back by the next train. There is no reason why this Bill should not be introduced. It certainly was not pressure of work that prevented it.

Would the Minister tell us what advantages have been gained by having secured a second boat for the protection of the fisheries? Has it given effective protection to our fisheries? I should like the Minister to explain how it was that this boat, to which Deputy O'Neill refers, ran on the rocks at Kinsale in the last week or so. There is also this matter of grading, to which Deputy O'Neill has referred. I think that, if anything substantial is being done with regard to the export of fish, and particularly with regard to mackerel, this question of the grading of fish, and the standard and quality of fish, should be attended to. It is rather surprising that, in a country such as ours, with a very extended sea-board, fish should be exported without any proper method of grading. It is certainly a very serious oversight on the part of the Department, and the matter is one to which the Department should attend forthwith. It is certainly curious that mackerel should be cured and put into barrels without any check at all as to the number or quality or standard of the fish put into the barrels. People carrying on a high-class business exporting fish to America and other countries, and selling various classes of fish or such commodities to customers, should grade these commodities carefully according to quality, and the prices would be graduated according to the grade.

I should like to hear from the Minister about the one serious question— the only real question at issue — in connection with this Estimate — and that is as to what he is doing with regard to this year, and what he proposes for the future, in connection with getting quotas for our fish. That is the real issue in this Estimate. The other issues are quite simple, and follow from that big issue. Let us suppose that [171] Germany should close out the market there for our fish, what is the Minister doing to secure quotas for us? Our Minister for Agriculture has been across in London during the last three or four months, and I expect that he made contact there with the British Minister for Agriculture. Assuming that our Minister is ousted from the German market, will he strike a bargain with the British Minister for Agriculture in order to get a decent quota for our fish? Even if he were to get a quota for 60,000 or 70,000 barrels of cured herrings, it would succeed in putting new life into the fishing industry in this State. That would not be a very large quota, and it would not solve the problem, but at least it would put new life into the industry, and I do not think it would be putting any undue burden on the Minister to ask him to secure a quota for 60,000 or 70,000 barrels. Naturally, I should be glad if he could secure a quota for 100,000 barrels, but, as I say, even a quota of 60,000 or 70,000 barrels would put new life into the industry and also into the Sea Fisheries Association. A lot of the troubles of the Sea Fisheries Association would disappear if that could be done, but the Sea Fisheries Association is a mere mockery unless the Minister, who is at the top, does something. Money is being given out to purchase boats, but what is the use of giving out the money for the purchase of these boats if there is nothing for the boats to do, because there is no market for whatever fish they catch?

With regard to this question of salmon fishing, I should certainly like to dissociate myself from the implications of the statement that the lack of salmon recently is due to poaching. I think that that is an undeserved reflection on the bailiffs and the Civic Guards. I can find no trace of any serious poaching having taken place in the rivers here, and I think it is obvious that the lack of salmon in the estuaries and rivers of this country this year is due to the lack of fresh water in the rivers and estuaries and not due to poaching or anything of that kind. I would strongly suggest to the Minister that the best message he [172] could send to the fishermen off the shores of this country is that he has secured for them a decent quota of some 60,000 or 70,000 barrels of herrings for the current year.

Mr. Linehan:  It is rather remarkable, Sir, that this is the one Estimate upon which there seems to be general agreement in the House. Nobody has a good word to say for the Department of Fisheries, and it goes to show that there is probably a certain amount of justification for the saying “One man, one job”; because the Minister, in his other sphere of activities, succeeded in getting rid of the calves and the old cows, but in his sphere of activity connected with the matter of fisheries, he cannot succeed in getting rid of the fish. Now, I do not presume to know anything at all about the fisheries or the fishing industry generally, but I find it hard to understand why I should hear it being bewailed from all sides of the House that there is no market for our fish when, as I suggest to the Minister, you have in this country one of the largest home markets for fish that you could find in any country in the world. Owing to the religion of the great majority of the people of this country we have, approximately, a day of abstinence in every week of the year, as well as about 16 more fast days in Lent and the Ember days and the eves of holidays. There is no good, therefore, in saying that you have no market for fish, because there is the market here in your own country, but let the Minister go into any small town or village in the country on a fast day and try to get fish for his lunch, and he will find it almost an impossibility, and even if he were to succeed in getting some fish, I do not think the type of fish he would get would be a matter of congratulation for the Department.

As I say, I find it hard to understand that no attempt is being made to develop the home market for our fish, and I suggest to the Minister that what is necessary is the organisation of a campaign on some such lines as “Eat more fish”. I do not see why a market that is right at our very door, so to speak, should be entirely overlooked, [173] and I suggest that there should be a campaign along some such lines in this country and that some machinery should be set up for the marketing and early delivery of fish to the inland towns of the country. That would have a very beneficial effect on our fishing industry.

With regard to what Deputy McMenamin said in reference to the shortage of salmon here, I should like to support the Deputy. I do not think that the shortage of salmon can be attributable to poaching. As a matter of fact, I think that poaching in this country is a fast-dying-out art, and I do not think there was anything like the same number of prosecutions or convictions for poaching during the past five years as there was in any other five-year period during the last 30 or 40 years. There is another point to which I should like to draw the Minister's attention. I am not at all sure if this is correct, but it has been mentioned several times in my constituency. Salmon have died in the Blackwater for no apparent reason and from some, at the moment, unknown disease. A number of people attribute the deaths of these salmon in the Blackwater to the sewage coming from the beet factory at Mallow and going into the river. As the Minister is aware, the beet factory there is built alongside the river, and there is a large pond there, of a couple of acres in extent, into which there is this discharge, and that goes into the river and creates a kind of slime on the river. I am not saying — because I do not know — that that is exactly the cause of the deaths of the salmon in the lower reaches of that river, but it has been suggested by some of the people there and by some of the conservators that it is one of the causes, and I should like to bring the matter to the Minister's attention in the hope that he would have it investigated with a view to clearing up whether or not it is the cause of the deaths of these salmon. If that should be found to be the case, something should be done to remedy the matter.

I believe myself that there is another complaint about these inland fisheries, and it is this: that in a number of places you have mill streams run off [174] very small rivers. You have weirs constructed on the rivers to carry the water to the mill stream. I think it should be made absolutely compulsory to have a very fine mesh netting at the mouth of these weirs so that trout and young salmon could not get down into the mill streams, because if they do get down they will ultimately be put through the turbines. On a number of occasions I have seen fish get into these small mill streams on which you have creameries and mills. The fish get through the weir so that when the water is shut off they are left there high and dry to be put into bags by people with their hands. I do not say that happens very often, but there is just the possibility of great damage being done to trout and young salmon in that way. Some protection should be provided so as to prevent them from getting through the weirs.

I repeat that I believe there is a great market for fresh fish in this country. I seriously put it to the Minister and his Department that if they could do anything in that direction it would go a long way to help our fishermen along the coasts. I believe that a campaign should be started for putting fresh fish into various inland towns in the country. If that were done it would confer a great benefit on our fishermen along the coast.

Mr. Bartley:  I desire to draw the Minister's attention to the great disability which the Claddagh fishermen suffer under by reason of being prevented from pursuing drift-net fishing for salmon in Galway Bay. It is one of the few places along the west coast where such a prohibition exists, and is particularly hard on these men in view of the fact that the owner of a several fishery on the Corrib is allowed to net that river. I am told that he does that in a very unsportsmanlike way. I think there is no reason whatever why the Claddagh fishermen would not be allowed to supplement their earnings from fishing with a drift net in Galway Bay. The matter has been the subject of a good deal of discussion locally. Representations were made to the previous Government and to the present Government on the matter. I think myself that there is a good deal of [175] justice in the claim of the Claddagh men.

On the general question of the inland fisheries, I am satisfied myself, at any rate, that on the west coast of Ireland generally the people are opposed to the present system of control by the boards of conservators. They are hoping that that system of control will be abolished under the new Bill which has been promised, and for myself I hope it will be introduced at the earliest possible date. As regards the sea fisheries, there is one great drawback so far as the present system is concerned, and that is, the provision with regard to the method of getting boats. In a great many cases the best qualified fishermen are not able to put down the deposit that is required. That prevents very good men from being able to take advantage of the facilities that are available. I know it is a very difficult problem, and for myself I am not able to offer any solution for it. Under the old system an applicant had to provide two solvent securities. We know from the provisions of the Fisheries Act that governed the granting of loans, that that system was not a success either. For myself, I think that the failure was largely due to the slump in fishing. In that connection, I would like to point out that the slump did not take place since the present Government came into office. It was there before that.

A new system was then tried, and under this system deductions were made from the catches marketed by the Sea Fisheries Association. I do not think it has been a roaring success either. It was an experiment, and, possibly, if there was a protected home market it might prove more successful for our fishermen. The point that I want to direct the Minister's special attention to is this: that there are large numbers of fishermen around the coast who are not in a position to avail of the present facilities because of their inability to put down the deposit. As I have said, I am not able to offer a suggestion to the Minister as to how that difficulty can be got over, but I think it is one to which the fisheries section of his Department should give [176] some attention.

I think it is quite unfair to lambaste the Minister and the present Government for the decline in fishing. The position with regard to herring and mackerel is no new thing. There has been an almost complete break up of the herring industry across the Channel, evidently due to world conditions. I do not think it is true to say, just because there is an obligation on the vast majority of our people to eat fish on one day in the week and more frequently during the Lenten season, that we have a good market here at home for fish. I think that if a comparison be made, and if the figures available were examined, it would be found that the average Englishman eats two or three times more fish than the average Irishman. Hence, I do not think there is much in the argument in regard to the demand that is to be met in the home market. I believe it is true to say that we import about £300,000 worth of fish annually. It is not a huge sum, but at the same time it is not an insignificant sum. However, if we could capture that market it would provide remunerative employment for a great number of our fishermen.

That brings me back to the point I was dealing with earlier — the initial difficulty that so many of our fishermen are up against as regards getting boats. If any radical alterations are going to be made, I think there ought to be some recasting of the Sea Fisheries Association. There ought, for instance, to be more scope for the local point of view to find expression. It would be well, I think, if the association were built up on local lines. It has also been advocated on many occasions that, instead of having a national pool for marketing, you should have something in the way of decentralisation — something on the lines of the Turf Board. If you had that, I think it would do away with a good deal of unnecessary transit costs.

I admit that the whole thing is very difficult. I do not think that the Minister has got very much helpful advice from the Deputies on the opposite side who have spoken. I think they were all conscious of one thing, namely, that the difficulties are great, and that [177] they have not been created by the present Minister: that they were there when the Party opposite was in control. It has to be remembered, of course, that the Sea Fisheries Association was established when that Party was in power. I do not know exactly what the motives were that were behind its establishment, but it seems to me that the then Government and the then Fisheries Department felt that they were not able to deal with the situation and delegated their obligations to a body which was partially controlled by the fishermen's representatives. To a certain extent I believe that was an admission on their part that they could not handle the situation. Therefore, whatever decline there has been in the fishing industry cannot be laid at the door of this Government. This is a matter that requires the co-operation of everyone who is interested in the sea fishing industry and feels that he can contribute some sound concrete help to the solution of the problem. I am quite conscious of the fact that I have not been able to give very much helpful advice in the remarks that I have made, but I do feel that if the facilities for providing our fishermen with boats were made more easily available to them, we would have a greater output of fish. I know that the matter is very difficult, and I know that the Minister will have serious objections from the Department of Finance. If we are not, however, to hand over the industry to large corporations, as has been done in England, and if the industry is to be regarded as one in which the Government has an immediate and direct interest, the obligation will remain on them to come to the aid of the man who has not got any money but who knows the business, and to try to provide him with the necessary facilities for carrying on the industry. If we do improve our catching power, I think we shall have to go further and introduce something in the nature of protection of the home market. That is a thing which we can do. We cannot control the world market for herring or mackerel and I do not know that large expenditure in that direction would be justified in the immediate future. The [178] home market, however, is one which we can control. The difficulties of control will, I know, be very great. Fish, being a perishable commodity, will not be as easy to deal with as other commodities. I sympathise very genuinely with the Minister as regards this branch of his Department. His job is a very difficult one.

Mr. J. Flynn:  Deputies have referred to the marketing system. I believe that great development could take place by the establishment of depôts in the different towns and larger centres of population. At one time, the association did make an attempt at real development by having vans and organisers going through the country. Evidently, they did not get the necessary support and the experiment was not wholly successful. The distribution system should, I think, be developed on the lines I mentioned. Men who know the industry and who have practical experience should be appointed in each centre to establish depôts. These men should be under the supervision of the association and the Department, and an inspector should visit the areas from time to time with a view to seeing that proper conditions obtain. They should see that the fish are marketed in perfect condition and that they are available at a reasonable price. Occasionally, we hear complaints that fish sent from Dingle to Killarney are retailed at an exorbitant figure. My suggestion about the establishment of depôts in the different centres would, I think, be a step in the right direction.

A question was raised about assistance to the fishermen. In Caherciveen and south-western districts the fishermen are part-time and, under normal circumstances, would be entitled to unemployment assistance. The association, if it is intended for the betterment of the industry and of the people engaged in it, should assist the men concerned in this connection. The Department of Industry and Commerce make the case that fishermen engaged in part-time work are not entitled to unemployment assistance. Time and again, we have had to make representations on behalf of fishermen who may [179] have a few hours' employment per week in grading and packing fish at the Point and on the coast. These men should not be deprived of unemployment assistance in proportion to their period of unemployment. The manager of the labour exchange visits the pier to see whether they are employed or not with a view to making reports to deprive them of a small sum which would enable them to exist and purchase the necessaries of life. The association, acting on behalf of the fishermen and the industry, should make representations to the Department of Industry and Commerce with a view to having the position clarified once and for all. These men should get the benefits intended for them, even if they are employed part-time.

I want to make a final appeal to the Minister in regard to the mussel industry. In Cromane, County Kerry, approximately 100 families are dependent on this industry and its claims are outstanding. The State are compelled to subsidise the people of that district by providing them with unemployment assistance. There is no other resort when the industry fails, as it has done in the past. At the moment, the only hope for the industry is the installation of a purification plant. From a business point of view, the money spent in that way would be well spent and, in course of time, would be recouped. It would guarantee the families in that area a livelihood without assistance from the State. Through the erection of this tank, the mussels would be accepted in the different centres in England and the amounts obtained would stabilise the industry and make it a paying proposition, thus enabling 100 families to be taken off unemployment assistance and provided with a livelihood. I know that the Minister has taken more than a passing interest in this matter and that both he and his Department have assisted us in the past, and I hope that this final effort will be made by them.

I have been asked to bring to the notice of the Minister the question of boat-building in Cahirciveen area. When fishermen there apply to the association for grants for new boats, [180] the order is given to Baltimore. The point made by the fishermen in Cahirciveen is that they have men there capable of doing the necessary work and that those concerned could see the boats in process of construction and give the necessary directions if they were built locally. That is a suggested method as against the existing system under which boats ordered from the other centres have been on very many occasions unsatisfactory. In some cases, they have had to be remodelled in order to meet the requirements of the people, simply because the coastline and the breakwater at the Valentia-Cahirciveen harbour require a different type of model altogether. We have made a case already to the association with a view to their giving orders in future to the men in that district who are capable of building boats.

I agree entirely with what Deputy Bartley says with regard to the deposits. The deposit demanded is very high and I think some arrangement might be made to have it on the share system. It is very difficult to make a suggestion at the moment, but if the industry is to exist and if the Department is really anxious to get the best material and the best men into it, it is up to them to devise some system. I think the people in general would agree to grants-in-aid, because it would be money well spent. Why should not the Department of Fisheries, as does the Department of Agriculture, go out on a large scale, on the plea that the people as a whole will appreciate the spending of money by way of subsidising and developing the industry? It should be approached from that angle and I believe there should be some system, as there is in the case of the farmers when the British market is in their favour or against them, whereby the Department would come to the rescue of the fishermen in the slack periods. There should be bounties or subsidies available to tide them over difficult periods and to enable them to carry on development, so that the industry would live and expand itself. Finally, I want to thank the Minister's Department for their efforts on behalf of the fishermen in Cromane and the western districts, and I hope that the suggestions I have made will be found helpful.

[181]Mr. P.J. Fogarty:  I want to draw the attention of the Minister to the state of the fishing industry in County Dublin. For a number of years, the industry there has been on the decline, and there are towns, where, some 15 or 20 years ago, fishing was one of the principal industries, and a big number of people earned their livelihood from it, in which fishing is practically nonexistent at present. When I was a small boy in Rush, fishing was one of the principal industries there, and the same applies to Skerries. In such places as Balbriggan, Loughshinny, Howth and Dun Laoghaire, the industry is on the decline and, generally speaking, it is not in the position in which it ought to be in the county generally. For the first time for eight or ten years, the dispensation during the Lenten season in Dublin, which had been granted for years, was withdrawn this year, and the use of flesh meat at the principal meal on Wednesdays was prohibited. The result was a considerable increase in the consumption of fish. That increase, however, benefited to no extent whatever the suppliers of fish in the various fishing centres in County Dublin. During the Lenten season, this year, five of the six steam trawlers were tied up in the port of Dublin. There were supplied by the Sea Fisheries Association in one week alone in the City of Dublin 300 boxes of fish to the market, and another 300 boxes by privately owned inshore fisheries, but about 1,200 boxes were supplied by Dutch trawlers. The Dublin market is apparently a happy hunting ground for the Dutch trawlers. Whenever I go into Balbriggan, Loughshinny or any of the other places where fishing is carried on, I hear grievances with regard to the landing of fish by Dutch trawlers. What is more pitiful is that our salesmen in the fish market give them a preference, and their stuff is sold first. I think that is a matter the Minister should give his attention to.

I want to refer also to the deplorable condition of the harbours. Balbriggan harbour is unsafe for fishermen at present, and Loughshinny harbour, where there is a good deal of fishing carried on, and a big number of fishermen, is in a deplorable state. Some 14 [182] or 15 months ago the Board of Works decided on a scheme for the improvement of that harbour. A scheme was prepared which would cost about £2,000. The Minister for Finance agreed to give a free gift of £1,000. The application for the loan was sent on by the people who control the harbour, and the Board of Works sent back a letter — I have the correspondence here — saying that it should go to Industry and Commerce. Industry and Commerce had a good look at it, and then sent it on to Agriculture, as the fishing industry was affected. That Department decided that it was a matter for Local Government, and it is with Local Government now. The harbour is still dangerous, and the fishing industry in the area is adversely affected. If the Department is anxious to be of assistance to the fishermen of these places, there are two harbours which are in a very dangerous state, and the Minister should take immediate action with a view firstly, to having improvements carried out or seeing if the Port and Docks Board can be forced to carry out improvements to the harbour in Balbriggan, and secondly, seeing that the scheme which has been prepared in regard to the harbour at Loughshinny is carried out. If there is any further delay the matter will have to be postponed for another year, and this is the proper time to carry out the improvements in Loughshinny. I should be glad if the Minister would give some attention to the condition of those harbours in County Dublin.

There is also another matter to which I should like to refer. Travelling through the country any day in the week one cannot fail to notice how difficult it is to get fresh fish in the shops or hotels. The newspapers arrive in even out-of-the-way places in Ireland at 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning. You can buy an Irish Press, an Irish Independent, an Irish Times or even the Sporting Chronicle if you want it, but when it comes to the question of making fresh fish available in the towns and villages of Ireland you are told about all classes of obstacles. There is a market here in this country for fresh fish. I am sure there are thousands of people in every county in Ireland who do not eat fresh fish [183] once in 12 months. An amazing quantity of tinned fish is consumed. That would not happen if fresh fish were available. I think something should be done to deal with that problem. Even in County Dublin, when you go 15 or 20 miles away from the fishing centres, it is very difficult to get fresh fish. Of course the market here was glutted during the Lenten season, and is glutted at present, but that is due to the Dutch trawlers coming in here. As far as I can see, the only remedy is to prohibit the importation of foreign fish. There are consignments of fish coming into Dublin on the B. & I. and L.M.S. every day in the week. One public board, of which I myself am a member, advertised for Irish caught fish and could not get it. A Grimsby firm tendered for the supply at half the price quoted by an Irish firm. When asked if they could guarantee that it was Irish caught fish, they could not swear that the fish had been whistling “The Boys of Wexford” before they were caught. I think a good deal could be done with regard to the fishing industry, particularly in my own constituency, and something should also be done with regard to the harbours in County Dublin. I hope the Minister will give particular attention to the harbours at Loughshinny and Balbriggan. I am sure he could take immediate action in regard to Loughshinny harbour. I hope that immediate action will also be taken with reference to the dumping of fish by those Dutch trawlers in the Dublin market. During the Lenten season, when the consumption of fish had trebled, I think it was a disgrace that only one of the six Dublin trawlers was in commission, while the Dutch trawlers were landing immense quantities of fish here. While the men concerned were being deprived of employment, the market here was being glutted, to the detriment of the fishing industry in other parts of County Dublin. Meanwhile, those men were looking for unemployment assistance and outdoor assistance. I respectfully suggest to the Minister that he should give immediate attention to the fishing industry in County Dublin.

[184]An Ceann Comhairle:  The Minister to conclude.

Minister for Agriculture (Dr. Ryan):  We have heard quite a number of speeches on the subject of the fisheries. Generally speaking, it has been stated over and over again that our fisheries are not in a prosperous condition. I am very sorry to say, however, that we have not got any very good suggestions for dealing with the problem. I may say also that the explanation of some of the matters referred to was more or less ignored. For instance, we all know that the old Dublin Trawling Company has been going rather badly for some time. As a result, some of the boats that had been working for that trawling company were laid off, and naturally fish had to come in during 12 months or so to make up the deficit in our requirements here. To state the fact that there were very big imports of fish during that time does not prove anything. It was due to the fact that the Dublin Trawling Company failed more or less, and the fish had to come in. Now that the Dublin Trawling Company is to be revived by a new company, in all probability that will be made right again. That also, perhaps, is the explanation of the big landings by foreign trawlers. They did not make the landings when the Dublin Trawling Company was operating, but when things became slack, as far as the Dublin Trawling Company was concerned, there was a rather good opportunity on the Dublin market, and those foreign trawlers came along and made landings. That question, as Deputy Fogarty said, is one that must be dealt with, and it will be dealt with. There was no use in dealing with them when we had nobody else to get the fish from. Now that the Dublin Trawling Company is being revived, and will supply our wants as far as they possibly can, of course we will immediately deal with the foreign trawlers.

Deputy Fogarty also referred to the harbours. He told the House of his tour around Dublin from one Department to another to try to get the Loughshinny harbour made right. Where Deputy Fogarty really should [185] have gone was to a body of which he is a member, and that is the Dublin County Council, because everything else would be right if they would do what they were asked to do. They have not done it, and I am sure Deputy Fogarty knows that. Long ago, we in the Department of Agriculture recommended a grant towards the Loughshinny harbour. That grant was agreed to by the other Departments concerned, and the money was ready to be paid out if the county council would do their part. Deputy Fogarty should not raise that matter any more in this House. He should raise it at the Dublin County Council, and then perhaps things will be made right.

I do not think there is anything antagonistic between having an Irish trawling company and protecting the interests of the inshore fishermen. In fact, I think it is the other way around. I do not think we can develop our inshore fisheries properly unless we have a good trawling company operated by an Irish company, because, in my opinion — and I think most Deputies will agree with me — our inshore fishermen will never supply all the fish required in this country for our own needs. They cannot supply certain types and varieties of fish, and therefore we must have a trawling company to supply the deficiency. We cannot properly deal with our markets here until we have a fair supply. Therefore, when we get this trawling company going, we will be able to do better for our inshore fishermen with regard to the protection of the market here.

Instead of the interests being antagonistic, I think that one will benefit the other to a great extent. I should say, at any rate, that the trawling company will benefit the inshore fishermen. The inshore fishermen have nothing whatever to fear from a good strong trawling company operating from Dublin or any other part of the country. In the same way, doubt was raised by Deputy Brasier with regard to the damage that might be done by this trawling company inside our territorial waters. There again there is no danger, because the by-laws which apply will also apply to the Irish company, and the Irish company [186] can be prevented under our present by-laws from doing any damage of that kind.

Deputy Brasier also raised the question of oyster beds. The Minister cannot provide oyster beds, but he can help perhaps in the restocking of these beds. The Sea Fisheries Association will, wherever they think that good work can be done in that way, help to restock the oyster beds in any part of the country where they think there is a reasonable chance of success. But the matter is not altogether in their hands. In fact, I do not know that it is humanly possible to promise success, because a lot depends, during the two or three seasons coming after the beds are restocked, on the weather conditions. If the weather conditions are against us, nothing can save them — all the measures taken will go for nothing. At any rate, the Sea Fisheries Association can be depended upon to do anything they can to help in the restocking of these beds.

Deputy Brasier also raised the question of certain rights in the river Blackwater and that matter was referred to at greater length by Deputy Broderick. I should like to assure Deputy Broderick, because I think he has some doubts on the point, that I am extremely interested in such questions. But I think that this question can be very well debated on the Bill when it comes along. A question was raised as to that Bill. I was told that I had promised it year after year. That is true, but I can say, at any rate, that we are coming nearer to it. I think I can say definitely that Deputies will see it——

Mr. Linehan:  In the lifetime of the present Dáil.

Dr. Ryan:  Perhaps in the present Session, but certainly in the lifetime of the present Dáil. I do not want to anticipate any debate on that Bill, but I should like to say that it is an extremely complicated Bill. In fact, if Deputies could imagine putting all the Land Acts into one Land Bill and bringing it before the Dáil, they will get some idea of the difficulty in drafting that Bill. I hope, however, that it will come along soon. The question [187] raised by Deputy Brasier can be debated on that Bill. If it is not adequately dealt with when the Bill comes along, certainly I shall be very glad for any help that Deputy Broderick can give me, either in the House or outside.

Deputy O'Neill said that the only thing that was paying was whale fishing. Administratively he is right in that. The only thing that is paying administratively in the Vote is whale fishing, because we have no great interest in whale fishing and naturally want to collect as much in fees as we spend under the Whale Fishing Act. The other things, of course, may not be paying from that point of view, but the point is that the Dáil is voting money by way of subsidy to the other fishery branches. If they are not paying from the administrative point of view, it is because we are trying to help them, so far as we can, by subsidy or in some other way.

Deputy O'Neill spoke of the Sea Fisheries Association, and said it would be better if we had something like the old Congested Districts Board. He did not elaborate that very much. I do not know exactly what Deputy O'Neill had in mind. The only difference I can see really is that if the Sea Fisheries Association were controlled by three or four civil servants you would have much the same organisation as you had in the Congested Districts Board, because they do get money handed over to them to spend to a great extent in the way they think best. I know there is a certain amount of control over them by the Department of Fisheries and by the Department of Finance, but I think that if there was an organisation like the old Congested Districts Board set up there would be a certain amount of control over it by the Department of Finance anyway. I do not know that Deputy O'Neill was actually advocating that we should change the control of the Sea Fisheries Association and put civil servants in charge. I am not saying that that would be a bad idea at all — it might be better. But I think I might be wronging Deputy O'Neill in assuming that that is the change he wanted. I should like, however, if he would [188] come back to that point on some future occasion.

Mr. O'Neill:  The civil servants did not control the Congested Districts Board.

Dr. Ryan:  I do not know what else you would call it. I am talking about the difference between control by civil servants and elected control as you have in the Sea Fisheries Association. In the Sea Fisheries Association you have men elected by the fishermen. The only difference I can see in a body like the Congested Districts Board is that we would remove these elected men and put paid men, whether civil servants or not, in charge.

Mr. O'Neill:  I am afraid the Minister has not got the conception of the Congested Districts Board that I have.

Dr. Ryan:  I may not have, and I should like the Deputy on a future occasion to elaborate the point further. I am not trying in any way to take any unfair advantage of the Deputy. I am anxious to get any useful suggestions I can on fishery matters, particularly with regard to the Sea Fisheries Association, because it does appear not to have worked as satisfactorily as we expected. If I could get any useful suggestions with regard to the working of the association, I should be very glad, because I do believe that the idea of a body like that is good — that we should have a body like that working it rather than have the Department working it.

With regard to developing an export trade in fresh fish, there seems to be some possibility in that. I think from time to time from this on we may export fresh fish. For instance, if the Dublin Trawling Company grows big and does well, it is quite possible that on occasions, at any rate, they will land more fish than would be required here, and they would therefore do an export trade. If, in course of time, this experiment of trying an export market proved successful, we can visualise them enlarging their fleet still further and going into the export market properly.

With regard to getting some international [189] agreement as to territorial waters, of course these things are always under consideration. As Deputy O'Neill realises, it is a matter of getting agreement. We are not in a position to force the Spaniards or the French or the British or any other country to adopt our point of view. All we can do is to negotiate the matter and try to get them to see our point of view. If we can get them to see our point of view, we make the agreement accordingly.

As to the marketing of herrings, we did get a quota from Germany. Of course, what Deputy McMenamin says is just nonsense. We cannot compel the Germans to take the herrings at our price. We can, to a great extent, in dealing with them say that a trade agreement is not very acceptable to us unless we get a quota for herrings. We did say that, of course, and we got a quota. But we cannot go any further than that. If our exporters of salt herrings wish to send them to Germany we cannot say to the Germans: “You must give a better price than you are offering.” If they take our herrings, they will take them at a certain price — the prevailing price in Germany. If our exporters are not satisfied with that price, I do not see what we can do. The British are up against the same thing. They have a large quota for herrings in Germany and when they offer herrings the price is not very attractive and therefore they are not filling the quota. The same thing applies to us. I do not see that we can do more than get the quota. We certainly cannot go to the Germans and say: “You must give a better price.” All this talk from Deputy McMenamin is, to say the least of it, uninformed. I should like to know whether Deputy McMenamin knows of any large quantities of salt herrings in this country that are not sold. I think we got rid of our herrings all right last year.

As Deputy O'Neill stated, a good market, in fact the only market for mackerel, is the United States of America, but there again, on account of their regulations, they will add to their tariffs whatever we may pay by [190] way of subsidy on our exports, so that we must accept the price they give us. We did try that. We thought our fishermen were not getting a fair price and we offered to pay a subsidy on the export of mackerel, but when we found that the United States would increase the tariff by the amount of our subsidy, we saw that we would be really only contributing the amount of the subsidy to the revenue of the United States. Seeing that the United States is the only market, the fishermen must take whatever price the United States are prepared to pay for mackerel, and we cannot do any better.

It was stated also that fish were landed from foreign trawlers while our own herrings were unsaleable. I have already dealt with that point. We hope to deal with these foreign trawlers in the near future. With regard to tinned fish, to which Deputy O'Neill referred, there will always be a certain quantity of tinned fish imported into this country. We went fairly deeply into that subject when we were dealing with the subject of tariffs on fish coming in here and we found, as far as we investigated the matter, that you cannot regard fresh and tinned fish as being interchangeable; that one person may want tinned fish while another person may want fresh fish. You cannot say that fresh fish is always a substitute for tinned fish. It is not a substitute. Some people like to have tinned fish in the house and it is a cheap article of diet. For various reasons, you cannot regard fresh fish as being a substitute for it. If we are to allow people, within reasonable limits, to get what they want, we must allow in tinned fish. In dealing, therefore, with the question of imports and exports of fish, tinned fish should really be kept out of Deputies' calculations in making their comparisons. I might say further that, so long as it comes in at all, whether it comes from a country 100 miles away or 4,000 miles away does not matter.

The matter of the codification of our by-laws for the protection of our fisheries is a question that we have considered on many occasions but it is very difficult to catch up on these matters. We are generally so busily [191] engaged in framing new laws that we have not time to go back on the existing laws. I think it would be an exceedingly useful thing if codification of the old laws were carried out.

With regard to a State brand for mackerel, that is a matter which could be brought into operation without any delay, but I do not know if the present trade would warrant it. If it does, of course we can see to it. I think I have already dealt with the point raised by Deputy Broderick with regard to inland fisheries.

Coming to the question of the mussel tank, raised by Deputy Kelly and by Deputy Flynn, that is a matter that has come up here also on practically every occasion that the Vote for Fisheries has been debated. I think Deputies who are interested in fisheries are generally aware of the position in regard to it, that it is not altogether under our control. If we want to export mussels they must be passed by the medical officer of health of the district where they are sold, whether they are sent to Great Britain or elsewhere. A certificate issued by my Department that the mussels are clean and in good condition is not sufficient, because the medical officer of whatever district they are sent to, must be satisfied also that the mussels are all right. Unfortunately, where you have a number of individuals like that to deal with, it makes it harder to get over all the various difficulties. We have, however, been dealing with the matter, and I think we are now in a position to go ahead with the construction of a tank. Of course, I should say it is a matter for the Sea Fisheries Association, and Deputies who are interested might get into touch with the Sea Fisheries Association to see what is being done. I do not know if Deputy Kelly would be as pleased as Deputy Flynn, or the Leas-Cheann Comhairle with the location of the tank.

Some Deputies drew attention to the comparative failure of salmon fisheries this year. I think nobody did blame the Government for that, and I do not think that I could agree that it is due to poaching or to leaving rivers unprotected. It is probably entirely due to weather conditions and to the fact [192] that water levels were so low for a considerable part of the year. Deputies will remember that there was an extremely good season last year, and there could not be such a great difference between one season and another entirely due to poaching. It must be almost entirely due to the low level of the water, and, of course, that is a thing over which we have no control.

Deputy McMenamin raised a number of points, but only just a few that are worthy of attention. He asked about the new boat. The new boat is armed, of course, but, seeing the precedent established in another House recently, I think I should not give any details as to the size of the guns. It is armed, and it is able to deal with any poacher that comes along. It has dealt with five or six recently, and it is doing its job very well. The Deputy in a very solemn way said that he had discovered the real cause of the failure of the fisheries. He says that the real cause is that the Minister has not taken any steps to procure a market. I have dealt fairly fully with the steps that have been taken. What can we do further? We have, as I have said, in every trade agreement, insisted as far as we could in getting a quota for fish of the particular class that we would like to get rid of. Under the recent Agreement with Great Britain, there is free entry for fresh fish. There has always been a good market there, at any rate for salmon and for shell fish. We send our herrings to Germany and to Russia. We have got a quota from Germany. We have not got any quota from Russia, but we have not got any herrings on hands. The only available market for mackerel at the moment is the U.S.A., and I have already dealt with that.

While I may not have succeeded in getting a market, I would like Deputy McMenamin to know, at least, I tried. If he has discovered the real cause of the failure of the fisheries here, he has not stated it as fairly as he could have done. He said that the Sea Fisheries Association had no authority to deal with marketing. That shows a great lack of knowledge of the objects of the Sea Fisheries Association, because the principal object was to market the fish [193] of its members. One who spoke with such an air of knowledge should not have made that mistake. I want to ask Deputy McMenamin where are the cured herrings that cannot be marketed. I was informed some time ago that we had got rid of any cured herrings we had since last year. I do not believe there are any there now. The Deputy asked what powers the manager of the association had. He has general powers to deal with all routine matters. Without some sort of a note I could not tell the exact powers, but he has the general power that a manager would have. He deals with the staff, and generally with the marketing, and consults and takes orders from the directors as to the policy to be pursued. From that point of view, as far as the powers of the manager go, I think the association is working on satisfactory lines and may have a fair chance of succeeding. The main duty of the association is to market the fish of the members, and naturally the manager would carry out that duty.

The fact that a trawler was caught within a three-mile limit does not prove at all that the protection boats are not doing their duty. I stated last year that if that were admitted, then, because a man gets drunk, that is complete proof that the police are not doing their duty. That would be a ridiculous argument to put forward. After all, they have caught a certain number. Is it that they have not done their duty because these trawlers are there and are caught? The point is whether foreign trawlers are keeping out. I think everyone admits that they are not seen so often. They may be seen occasionally, but they are not seen so often in territorial water. These protection boats are doing their duty, to a large extent. Deputy Linehan, in his opening statement, said that he presumed to know nothing about fisheries. I admire the Deputy's modesty. It is a pity others were not nearly as modest. I do not think the Deputy's solution or reasoning correct. He stated that we have a day of abstinence once a week for practically the entire population. That is true, but I think that is against us from the [194] fisheries point of view, because all who consume fish should not get it on one day. The result is that they do not like fish any other day. If we could get our fishermen to supply the population here with fish on Fridays, then there would be a fast for the other six days, because the people only buy fish on the one day of the week.

Mr. Linehan:  Surely the population do not get it even on one day.

Dr. Ryan:  I think it is because there is consumption of fish on one day weekly that our fishermen are at a great disadvantage. There is no great consumption on the other days.

Mr. Linehan:  If that is so we should sell fish on no day.

Dr. Ryan:  That presumes getting a big number to eat fish on one day, and it is very difficult to do that.

Dr. O'Higgins:  According to that argument we might as well drop the whole thing.

Dr. Ryan:  No, there is a certain consumption on other days, but it is not a big consumption like Fridays. With regard to the mortality in the river Blackwater, I have not heard about that recently. The question of pollution from the beet factories has been under observation from the very beginning. As a matter of fact, we have had inspectors on that work from the time the beet factories were built. If Deputies look at the Acts dealing with these factories they will find that certain powers were given as regards fisheries, and they were compelled to have filter beds, and to take certain precautions against letting these effluences into the rivers. We have been taking samples since the factories were built, and, as far as possible, we are watching the position. There may have been at one time a certain amount of mortality, and perhaps it may have been due to that cause, but we are taking every precaution. I do not think great damage was done. The position has been very closely watched. With regard to a point about mill races raised by Deputy Linehan, if there is [195] not a guard on a particular mill race, or whatever it may be, the boards of conservators are not doing their duty. If the Deputy will report any particular case to my Department I will see that it is attended to.

A question was raised about unemployment assistance for fishermen. That was raised previously, and is more properly one for the Minister for Industry and Commerce. However, I should like to state the position. If a fisherman is the owner of a boat, and is fishing for his own benefit, he is classed in just the same way as a small farmer, a business man, or a shopkeeper. He is treated exactly the same way as they are treated as regards unemployment assistance. On the other hand, if he is employed, or is paid a weekly wage or commission, he is treated as an employee. Fishermen are not treated differently from any other class. They are treated exactly the same as others for unemployment assistance. If Deputies are advocating that they are not treated fairly, then we would have to put clauses into unemployment assistance legislation giving them special privileges. They are not victimised. The question is whether they should get special privileges. I want to deal now with a point raised by Deputy Bartley, and that concerns Galway Bay, and drifting for salmon by the Claddagh fishermen. I came up against that position before and, as far as I recollect, it is an extremely difficult one from two points of view. I promise the Deputy to call for a report and to examine the matter in the near future.

Vote put and agreed to.

Minister for Finance (Mr. MacEntee):  I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £73.740 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1939, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí Tithe an Oireachtais, maraon le Deontas-i-gCabhair.

That a sum not exceeding £73,740 [196] be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1939, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Houses of the Oireachtas, including a Grant-in-Aid.

Dr. O'Higgins:  This particular Vote this year is, I think, worthy of a few more remarks than were devoted to it by the Minister. For the first time for a number of years we have a provision for the payment of members of the Seanad. Some years ago there was — whether real or mock — jubilation on the Government Benches at the economies secured by the abolition of the Seanad. Now we have resurrected that body, and if we are to follow the headline set by the Minister this Vote is to be passed in silence. However, I am aware of the fact that practically all of us experienced growing pains before we reached maturity or the use of reason. I will refer those past exhibitions to growing pains and congratulate the Government on having reached sanity, no matter how late. I am quite favourable to a Second House, and I do not want to get into the confidence of the Government, but last year a commission was appointed to inquire into the payment of the Seanad. That Commission made certain recommendations. This Vote seems to be at variance, and I would like to hear a few words from the Minister as to his intentions.

Mr. Corish:  I would like to know from the Minister if it is the intention of the Government to take any steps to secure that a member, when he is elected to this Oireachtas, is paid from the date of his election. I think hardship is suffered by many members by reason of the fact that they are not paid until the date the Dáil sits, notwithstanding the fact that all during that period, especially in the case of an older Deputy who is sitting continuously, he is doing the same amount of work as if he were a Deputy all the time. He has certain expenses. In many cases he has to come to Dublin to do the work of his constituency, and I suggest to the Minister that it is not [197] at all fair that a member should be without salary between the date of election and the date the Dáil sits. On this occasion it was a period of 13 days, and I would suggest to the Minister that some legislation should be brought in by which those members could be paid. I think that is the general feeling of the House.

Mr. Linehan:  There are two items I would like to raise on this Vote. Properly speaking, I am sure that one of them should have been raised and was already raised by me on the Vote for the Department of Posts and Telegraphs. But, as a matter of fact, I submit, Sir, that I am entitled to go back to it on this Vote, because in the Estimate here we find that estimated amounts include other Estimates in connection with the Service. On page 4 you will find the Posts and Telegraphs Vote, £900. My submission is that the Houses of the Oireachtas should take in the facilities that are given to Deputies and Senators in this House and I submit that I would be entitled to refer to it. Every town in this country has not a mid-day postal service. Only the larger towns have. The town where I live has only a morning postal service. To get the morning post at home I must post before 4.30 here. That is bad enough from one point of view but when you turn it the other way, from home to reach Dublin I can post as late as 7.20. That is an amazing discrepancy and it is extremely awkward at times. It is not always feasible for Deputies to post at 4.30 and you often find your letter is delayed and does not arrive in the country until the second day after it is posted.

There is one other item. I am not at all sure exactly what is meant by it but it is G on the Estimate — the Restaurant contribution in connection with catering expenses, £500, an item which for 1938-39 shows an increase of £150 over the Estimate for 1937-38. I assume that that is a payment made in respect of the restaurant and the other services connected with it, and, without any inside knowledge at all of the arrangements, I find it very hard to understand that, because one would be inclined to assume, as an [198] outsider, that the restaurant and bar, etc., was a commercial proposition. It is very hard to see why the taxpayer should have to contribute £500 in the Estimates of this House to make good a deficit to somebody or other for the running of these services. I find it very hard to find, in view of my experience of a year now, any justification at all, looking at it from any point of view, for the payment of this sum.

Mr. MacEntee:  Is the Deputy speaking for his Party now?

Mr. Linehan:  The Deputy is speaking for himself, and the Deputy is speaking because he has seen this amount in the Estimate and is entitled to raise it. Why is it, if somebody at any period thought it worth while to come in and take over the catering services of this House as a commercial proposition — at one period they must have regarded it as worth their while, or they would not have done it — that we have arrived at a point where the taxpayer is paying £500 for the pleasure of getting somebody to take over the catering for this House and for the pleasure of feeding the Deputies and Senators who will also pay for their privilege? I do not know what the explanation is except that it is an unsound commercial proposition and could not be put on a sound commercial basis by any company that would take it over. I am rather inclined to doubt that, and I hope that the Minister will be able to ease my mind on behalf of the suffering taxpayer when he comes to reply on that point.

Mr. O'Neill:  I think that the question of the travelling expenses of Deputies is a matter that should get a little more sympathetic attention than it has been getting from the Department of Finance, particularly in the case of those Deputies who have to go very long distances and who have to go partly by road and partly by train. I had a particular case to put before the Department, and I am fighting them still over it. They fight over pence in a most extraordinary way. My object in raising the matter is not [199] so much that, but either I am wrong or the Department of Finance is wrong.

Mr. Linehan:  The Department of Finance is never wrong.

Mr. O'Neill:  I have been trying to do the Department if I am wrong, or vice versâ. At all events, I happen to come from a constituency which has no railway station, and I have to go outside my constituency to where I start my journey to the Dáil, but the Department of Finance discovered that there was a railway station nearer to me than the City of Cork, about half way. To make a long story short, my journey to Dublin should start from Ballinhassig instead of the City of Cork. The railway ticket from Ballinhassig was dearer, but the motor allowance was smaller. Between the two the Minister saves sevenpence on this journey. I think it costs the country over £3 to bring me here every time I come, but they save sevenpence. I could not leave my car on the side of the road all day.

Mr. MacEntee:  Deputy Linehan will let the moral of that sink in in regard to the restaurant.

Mr. O'Neill:  There is the matter of the Deputies' allowances. I do not know if it is statutorily defined that a Deputy is not entitled to any allowance until he signs the roll. If that is a statute there is no use in raising the point. I think a man is a fully fledged member of the Dáil when he has been declared elected by the returning officer. I think his allowance should start from that point. These are matters of small moment, but what brings me up about them is because the Minister's particular Department goes into such devious ways to save twopenny stamps and sevenpence and they waste millions in other ways. That makes you very annoyed at times when you are brought into conflict with them.

I am sorry to see a reduction in the allowance for the Inter-Parliamentary Union, and perhaps the Minister will explain why that is found necessary. I have had some experience of the [200] working of that group, and I think it a very salutary one. It brings the members of this Dáil into close contact with other Parliaments, and I think the members of the House contribute privately something towards this group, too. At the same time, I think, as such a small amount is necessary to keep up this very salutary relationship, that it ought to be continued and the sum allowed ought to be more. It has been reduced there from £225 to £125, a reduction of £100, and no explanation has been given as to why that is necessary. Last year a very successful meeting of this Inter-Parliamentary Union was held in Paris, and members of this Dáil, representative of all sides of the House, were brought into touch with 23 other European Parliaments, in fact, world-wide Parliaments — the Japanese were represented there, too. I think this ought to be really treated more sympathetically — more liberally, I should say. That amount of money is a very miserable amount, and I do not see why it should be cut down by £100. No reason is given for that. I suggest the Minister might be more liberal rather than cheeseparing in this matter. It has a very educative effect on those brought into contact with the representatives of other Parliaments. I wonder if I would be out of order in referring to the discontinuance of our relationship with the Empire Parliamentary Union? I thought that, owing to the great change of heart and feeling towards our good friends — as I presume they are — across the water, we might renew our relationship with the Empire Parliamentary Union. I think that a contribution might also be given to that body and that the relationship should be continued. Perhaps the Minister will explain why he found it necessary to cut it out.

Mr. Gorey:  The House has had considerable experience with regard to the restaurant. It was formerly run by a committee which was responsible to the House, and they bore the expenses directly. I would like to know if in any year a loss of £500 was shown since 1922. Possibly some loss might be shown up to 1927, but since that period I do not know of any year in which it [201] could be shown that there was a loss running into over £1,000. There are Deputies who are of the opinion that the restaurant was managed better by a committee of the House than it has been since; I mean that Deputies were better satisfied. If that is so, I do not see why we should not go back to that position again. The position now seems to be that the Government have given a guarantee to the caterers that if they show a loss they will be compensated.

Mr. MacEntee:  If I might intervene, I should like the Deputy to know that the Government are not primarily responsible for the restaurant. The restaurant is under the control of the Ceann Comhairle and the officers of the House. It is a matter that might be referred to the Committee on Procedure and Privileges, where it could more suitably be discussed.

Mr. Gorey:  I do not want to go into the matter in any detail now, but I will say that the restaurant is not giving the satisfaction it used to give.

Mr. MacEntee:  With regard to the question of the Seanad, a proposal in that connection is under consideration, but I am not in a position to make any definite announcement at this stage. With regard to the date upon which Deputies' allowances should commence, that is also, I understand, under consideration, as well as the question of providing better travelling facilities for Deputies.

Mr. Corish:  Will they be retrospective?

Mr. MacEntee:  That, I cannot say. The matter is occupying the attention of myself and my advisers and I hope to have some decision by the Government as a whole within a short time. With regard to the questions of postal hours, again you will see that the Minister is not responsible for the conduct or the control of the Oireachtas and any representations in that regard ought to be addressed, through the Ceann Comhairle, to the permanent staff of the Oireachtas. The same [202] applies to the position of the restaurant. I may say, however, that, in deference to representations made to me, I had to agree that a grant of this amount should be given to cover, not the whole of the loss, but some part of the loss. Deputies will understand how the loss arises. The restaurant is working under very great pressure for a comparatively small portion of the year. During the rest of the time the business is slow and the staff has to be engaged elsewhere. A skeleton staff has to be retained to deal with Deputies who may call there.

Deputy Gorey had better make up his mind that I am not the Minister responsible for the restaurant. I have no control over this House, and I cannot do anything. I am in the same position as the Deputy. I enjoy whatever facilities are provided, but if any representations are to be made for the better control of the restaurant, they have to be made to the proper authority, and that is the Ceann Comhairle, who is the head of the Dáil, and the official head of the Oireachtas staff. I can assure Deputies that this provision for a Grant-in-Aid of losses would not have been made if I were not satisfied that the losses were substantial, and they do, in fact, exceed the £500. The £500 there is a limit. We have undertaken to provide half the losses up to a limit of £500. In fact, in some years the actual expenditure does not reach that figure. In 1936-37 and 1937-38 the grant was only £150. It depends entirely on whether the Oireachtas is kept pretty busy. If the sessions are long, and if Deputies are here in greater numbers for longer periods, the loss is correspondingly reduced.

Mr. Linehan:  Do I understand the Minister to say that he undertakes to pay portion of the loss?

Mr. MacEntee:  Only portion, if a loss arises.

Mr. Linehan:  So there is a benevolent commercial firm in Dublin undertaking to provide us with food and drink at a loss?

[203]Mr. MacEntee:  I would not say that at all. The fact that they are caterers to the Oireachtas restaurant has commercial advantages for them. They are able to, and they do, advertise that fact, and they are prepared to pay something for that advertisement. They do not do it for the love of Deputy Linehan or for the love of the Minister for Finance. They do it because it enables them to hold themselves out as caterers to the Oireachtas, and that has a certain commercial value. They are prepared to sustain some loss in order that they may secure that position. As to the manner in which Deputies' travelling expenses are computed and paid, I am satisfied that the Act of 1923, which was amended in 1925 or 1929, and again in 1933, was much too rigidly drawn in that regard. It does not allow any sort of reasonable facility to Deputies to meet their own convenience, and it does not permit the officers of the Minister for Finance any margin for meeting hard or extreme cases.

Deputies will have to understand in that connection that it is the Accounting Officer who is personally responsible for any overpayment which may be made, and the Comptroller and Auditor-General, following a serious report made in the early days of the State in regard to travelling allowances of one sort or another, scrutinises the allowances made in respect of travelling with very great care indeed, and the permanent officials have to make good the mistakes or have to make good anything which may not be justified by the Act; so, in order that they may avoid being carpeted before the Public Accounts Committee — a body which has a very salutary effect, not merely on officials but on Ministers, and whose activities I heartily endorse — in order to avoid the possibility of being carpeted before them and the Comptroller and Auditor-General, they have to exercise great care to see that every payment is fully justified by the statute or by the regulations. I am satisfied that the original Act was too narrowly drawn, and I am hoping to be able in due course to put other proposals before the Oireachtas which will enable a reasonable attitude in regard to this question of expenses [204] to be granted to the officers who have to deal with the Deputies in that matter.

Dr. O'Higgins:  May I intervene for a moment merely to correct a misapprehension? I did not raise the matter of the Salaries Commission in order to inquire the intentions of the Government with regard to that. Probably these will be disclosed in the course of time. I raised that point in order to call attention to the fact that some 12 months ago, when there was no Seanad, that commission was asked to make recommendations with regard to a Seanad. They made certain recommendations regarding other matters dependent on the recommendations with regard to the Seanad. Apparently their recommendations with regard to the Seanad have been ignored. If the other recommendations are carried out, those of our Party on the commission will find themselves in the difficult position of having made certain recommendations which could only be justified and based on certain economies. If the economies are ignored, it will then be more difficult to justify the new expenditure recommended by the commission. They made those recommendations at a time when we had no Seanad.

If we put this Estimate through, and subsequently if the Dáil decides to carry out fully the recommendations, then we will be interfering with what have become a kind of vested interest. The new expenditure and economies in the recommendations were balanced. I think it is rather a pity that when we established the new Seanad we did not automatically adopt the rates recommended by that commission. Then if the Government decide to go on with the further recommendations of the commission, any decision would be prejudiced, and certainly the whole position will be made a lot more difficult by the carrying through of the recommendations with regard to the Seanad, and in the future the Dáil will be presented with the position of having either to reduce the rates of allowances for the then existing Senators or to increase vastly the State expenditure. I think the whole thing is unwise. If the Estimate could either be [205] revised or postponed, it would be only what is due to a number of people in all walks of life who at the request of the Government gave up months of their time to, in a perfectly honest way, making recommendations. It is a pity that those recommendations have been ignored in this respect.

Mr. MacEntee:  They have not been ignored. It is not right to say that the recommendations have been ignored. A Bill to deal with the recommendations of the commission is under discussion in Departments of the Government. We had hoped to have these proposals before the House at an early date but the negotiations on the Agreement and, subsequently, the general election interfered with our time table in that regard. The position now is that with the coming into operation of the Constitution, the original position in the Oireachtas (Payment of Members) Act applies and, consequently, Senators are entitled to receive payment at the old rates until this is changed. I cannot at the moment make an announcement with regard to the report of the Shanley Commission but I do hope that in a short period I will be able to make a statement to the House on the question.

Vote put and agreed to.

Minister for Finance (Mr. MacEntee):  I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £49,189 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1939, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí Oifig an Aire Airgeadais maraon le hOifig an Phághmháistir Ghenerálta.

That a sum not exceeding £49,189 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1939, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of the Minister [206] for Finance, including the Paymaster-General's Office.

Mr. Norton:  I move that the Estimate be referred back for reconsideration. I do so for the purpose of calling attention to a matter which I think must concern this House and which must concern the public at large. That is the problem of growing discontent in the Civil Service. It is quite obvious to anybody who takes any interest in the Civil Service or who reads the reports of meetings of the Civil Service that there is growing and widespread discontent in that Service. I may say, and I have some experience of Civil Service matters, that that discontent arises in very large measure from the attitude and hostility displayed by the Department of Finance towards Civil Service organisations and by the very definite and systematic effort made by that Department to stifle, where it cannot openly suppress, the efforts of Civil Service organisations to find an outlet for the effective representation of the grievances from which their members suffer.

For the past 14 years there has been a body in existence. True, it is of very doubtful existence but, theoretically, at all events, it exists. It is known as the Civil Service Representative Council. Why the word “Representative” is still used to describe that body it is very difficult to say, because practically nobody recognises it now except the Department of Finance whose child it is. I doubt if meetings of the council are held, but if it does meet, perhaps one or two bodies representing a half-dozen people might go there. But, generally speaking, the Civil Service Representative Council is despised by everybody who has any use whatsoever for machinery of an effective and impartial character. The council itself was established by the previous Government and its weaknesses and vices have been perpetuated by this Government. The council has no power to reach agreement with representatives of the staff. The Constitution prescribes the right of Civil Service organisations to be represented at meetings of the council by representatives of their own choice, and [207] after matters have been fully discussed at meetings of the council no decision can be got beyond a promise that the representatives there will tell the Minister for Finance what has happened; in due course he will hear from his own representatives on the council and then he will say what he proposes to do.

Perhaps no more classic example of the utter futility of that council was provided than by the case they had before them from the women cleaners in the service. The women cleaners were most temperate in their demands. They desired to be most reasonable. They made application to be supplied with rubber kneeling mats which could be bought for 3d. each at Woolworths. Half a dozen representatives of the Finance Department listened to this not very big claim. Finally, the establishment officer in the Department of Finance told the women cleaners that he had not had notice of the question that had been raised by them, but that he recognised it was an important question and that, in due course, he would report to the Minister for Finance to ascertain whether authority could be secured for the purchase of these rubber mats, at about 3d. each, for supply to the women cleaners. Could anybody outside of Bedlam, or outside of a comedy theatre, imagine a position of that kind occurring, at a body known as the Civil Service Representative Council — six or seven heads of sections of Departments wasting their time dealing with a matter of that kind, which ought to be adjusted by oral representations and which ought to be met in a reasonable way without that appalling waste of time and artificial profundity which surrounds the discussion of matters at the Civil Service Representative Council? If that is the kind of progress there in connection with such a matter as the supply of these rubber mats for women cleaners, one despairs to think of the kind of progress that would be made in dealing with a matter of much more importance.

This body has now been in existence over 14 years, and during that period it has only brought disillusionment [208] and disappointment to those who at first thought it was likely to be a medium whereby the staff organisations would be able to express their point of view and be assured that that point of view would be listened to with sympathy and understanding. The position to-day, in consequence of the complete breakdown of the worthless Representative Council, is that the Civil Service is seething with discontent and that no effort is being made by the Department of Finance, under the control of the present Minister for Finance, to meet the situation which has been created. We have had, of course, an offer to the Civil Service organisations of a worthless and totally unacceptable scheme of arbitration. That has been rejected and, notwithstanding the Minister's professions to the contrary, I believe it will continue to be rejected by the Civil Service organisations who value their reputation and who have any regard for their self-respect.

Mr. MacEntee:  The people have given their answer.

Mr. Norton:  Some of the Minister's new supporters and sectarian friends may have given the answer, thanks to the Minister's conversion to Imperialism in Rathmines during the recent election.

Mr. MacEntee:  The Deputy's conversion to republicanism was taken at its worth by the people, too.

Mr. Norton:  The Minister's speeches in the election were worthy of his speech at the court-martial. I was calling attention, Sir, to the fact that the failure of the Department of Finance and of the Minister to provide an adequate medium, whereby the Civil Service staff organisations could express their feelings in a manner that did not result in these feelings being stifled, was causing grave and growing discontent in the Civil Service. The Civil Service organisations feel that they have no means at present available to them of securing an impartial judgment on any claims they may submit. The position is that claims submitted by the staff organisations may [209] be transmitted to the Department of Finance for sanction or a viewpoint, but the invariable experience of the staff organisations is that the Department of Finance simply has no regard whatever for the merits of the cases submitted and is merely concerned with rejecting every claim, irrespective of its merits, if the claim is likely to cost money; and in many cases even claims which cost practically no money are rejected because of the attitude of hostility displayed by the Department of Finance towards the Civil Service organisations.

I think that anybody taking the long view of the Civil Service, recognising that it is an Irish institution, that it serves the Irish people, and that its business is to function in the interests of the Irish people, could not but be concerned with the development of that state of affairs, and sound commonsense and statesmanship ought to dictate to the Government and to the Department of Finance the necessity of adopting a much more reasonable and a much more conciliatory attitude towards the reasonable claims which have been made, and will continue to be made, by Civil Service organisations. Civil servants, after all, are Irishmen. They live here, and they conduct their business here in the interests of the Irish people, and they are entitled to fair consideration and fair treatment from whatever Government functions in this country, either to-day or at any time in the future. We are being told now that it is almost national treachery to urge that an arbitration tribunal should be established so that it could impartially express judgment upon claims made by Civil Service organisations. In this connection, it should be remembered that civil servants are asking for no more than that the promise that was freely made to them in 1932 — the present Government wanting to get votes at the time — should be implemented, and that a genuine scheme of arbitration should be established to enable the claims of Civil Service organisations to be adjudicated upon. It is not so many years ago since this Government was offering arbitration to Mr. J.H. Thomas on the question as to whether the disputed moneys were due to Britain, and we had no less a person [210] than the Taoiseach declaring in this House that, even though it might constitute a heavy burden on the State, he would recommend to the Dáil the acceptance of the findings of that tribunal. The civil servants are asking for nothing more than that, but apparently it is much easier to offer arbitration to Britain, and accept the consequences of such arbitration, than it is to implement the promise that was freely made by the present Government to the civil servants in 1932.

As if they were public enemies, and worthy of the condemnation of the Irish people, we had speeches made in the recent election which, I think, were the most disgraceful speeches that were ever made about civil servants in any country. Some of these speeches could have been ignored where they were made by irresponsible people, but one would expect the Minister for Finance to have some pretensions to responsibility, and not to engage in some of the intemperate tirades which distinguished him in the recent election. One would think that civil servants were Public Enemies No. 1, judging by the speeches the Minister made in the recent election. Of course, one gets to know the Minister for Finance, and when the civil servants get to know him better they will know that intemperate utterances are characteristic of him, and that he cannot be relied upon in these matters to keep his head for five minutes if the keeping of his head prevents him from engaging in some of these florid utterances which distinguish him in this House and outside it.

Then we had another demonstration of mock indignation that the grievances of the civil servants were being made Parliamentary issues? Who started making their grievances Parliamentary issues? In 1932, during the election of that year, we had the present Taoiseach declaring in the Rathmines Town Hall that Fianna Fáil, if elected to office, would establish an arbitration board to deal with the grievances of the civil servants and would set up an inquiry into the whole question of the cost-of-living bonus and its effect on the salaries and conditions of civil servants. To show that that was not just [211] a stray utterance by the Taoiseach, we had a Fianna Fáil manifesto, published a couple of days afterwards, in which it was again declared that one of the things for which Fianna Fáil sought a mandate in that election was the establishment of an arbitration board and the setting up of an inquiry into the cost-of-living bonus and its effect on salaries and conditions generally in the Civil Service. Was not that making the grievances of civil servants a Parliamentary issue? Was not that statement by the Taoiseach, and the issue of that manifesto, a clear indication that in that year, at all events, the Fianna Fáil Party were making the grievances of the civil servants a Parliamentary issue? Of course, the Fianna Fáil Party wanted to catch votes by doing so. Then, in the same election, we had a leaflet distributed outside all the Government offices, on the eve of the 1932 election, repeating the promise with regard to arbitration and the cost-of-living bonus, and there was a printer's note at the bottom saying that that leaflet was issued on behalf of the National Executive of Fianna Fáil. That was not, of course, making civil servants' grievances a Parliamentary issue. Since then the Government has changed. The Party that made these promises has changed. It is now the Government and does not want to be encumbered by any of its past promises or haunted by the ghost of its past speeches. It wants now to pretend that it is a crime against the nation, against Parliament and against the Government that civil servants, themselves Irishmen, should ask Parliament to intervene in order that they get fair treatment from the State which they serve. A classical example of the type of misrepresentation which was carried on against civil servants is to be found in a handbill which was issued by the Fianna Fáil Party in Kilkenny. It bears the title “Civil Servants,” and under that it says: “Civil Servants are secure in their employment: are paid good salaries: receive cost of living bonus when the cost of living rises: have good prospects of promotion and receive pensions on retirement.” It goes on to say: [212]“They have advantages that other sections of the community have not got: theirs is a sheltered occupation: the Government has treated them fairly.” Then there is this: “End this humbug: give the Government a majority: vote 1 and 2 Derrig and Rice.” What the electors of Kilkenny are asked to believe is that “Mr. Pattison and Mr. Gorey did not consult you when they helped to defeat Mr. de Valera's Government with their votes on the question of Civil Service arbitration.” That is the kind of mean, base appeal that was made to every hungry man and woman in the country during the election in order to try to mobilise public odium against civil servants.

Let us examine this leaflet for a few moments and see what is in it. “Civil servants are secure in their employment.” There are over 4,000 of them in the Post Office service who have no security of employment whatever. They may be dismissed at a moment's notice. Of that number, 2,500 have less than 30/- per week, and well over 1,000 have less than 20/- per week, even when the cost of living bonus is added to their basic pay. “Civil servants have good prospects of promotion.” Four thousand people in the Post Office have no prospects of promotion whatever. It is unprecedented ever to hear of them getting any promotion, and they receive no pensions on retirement; but yet the electors of Kilkenny and elsewhere are being asked to believe that every civil servant in the country “is secure in his employment, is paid a good salary, gets a pension on retirement, and has good prospects of promotion.” That leaflet was issued to deceive and prejudice the people.

Mr. MacEntee:  Tell the Dáil the truth about the 2,000 who are getting 30/- a week. Tell the Dáil that they are part-time postmen.

Mr. Norton:  The Dáil apparently is not as stupid as the Minister, and can understand. No one in the Dáil wants any enlightenment on the matter except the Minister. Some of his officials may help him afterwards. You may, of course, at an election where you issue a leaflet of that kind, get a majority which may justify you in saying [213] that you are not going to introduce a decent arbitration scheme for the Civil Service. By misrepresentation and by an appeal to greed, envy and avarice, you may be able to play off one class of the community against another, and you may create a temporary friendship which will give you a majority of that kind and appear to justify you on the basis of majority rule in turning a deaf ear to the demand of the Civil Service for fair treatment; but you do not suppress the demand for fair treatment or for justice merely because, for the time being, you get votes in the whirlwind of an election which lead you to believe that you can suppress that demand.

Civil servants and every other class in the community have the elementary right to demand justice from Parliament; the elementary right to ask Parliament to listen to their grievances, if they cannot get satisfaction in the presentation of these grievances elsewhere. The fact that, for the time being, you may be in the position of being able to say to civil servants: “We have now a majority which will refuse to establish a genuine arbitration board,” does not by any means mean that you have heard the end of the unanswerable demand which can be made in this and in every other country where similar circumstances exist by civil servants for the establishment of a genuine arbitration board. The refusal to concede that reasonable claim, the refusal to endeavour to establish a mutually acceptable scheme of arbitration is, in my opinion, calculated to impair the efficiency of the service and to intensify the discontent which exists in the service.

If the Department of Finance and the Government were to take the wise view they would see the danger to the State services and to Parliament generally of continuing to pursue an irresponsible and hostile policy of that kind. It is not going to improve the efficiency of the Civil Service and is not going to enable civil servants to give what they want to give, namely, loyal and enthusiastic service to any Government elected by the Irish [214] people. Even at this stage it would be well for the State, and well for the people, if somebody in the Executive Council would display much more prudence and much more statesmanship than has so far been displayed, and that some effort were made to establish conciliation and arbitration machinery of a kind which will satisfy the reasonable demands of the Civil Service organisations on the one hand, and at the same time will provide, by making Parliament the over-riding authority, reasonable protection to the community against any preposterous awards by an arbitration tribunal.

I have put down the motion to refer back the Estimate in order to express that point of view, and I hope it is a point of view which will find an echo in other parts of the House.

Mr. MacEntee:  I am not going, at this stage, to indicate what steps the Government propose to take to deal with the issues which were before the people at the last general election, one of them being that which Deputy Norton has raised in the House to-day, and what in the future is going to be the relation between public servants, Parliament and politicians as we know them in this country. It was not of our seeking or of our volition that the Civil Service was brought within the ambit of the debates which have taken place in the Dáil recurrently year after year during the past five or six years. If civil servants have been brought into politics they have to thank Deputy Norton and those associated with him for that. There was not a session in this Parliament, as I have said, during the last six years when much more urgent matters might have been considered if we had not motions in the name of Deputy Norton and others — motions put down in Private Members' time — which he and those associated with him clamoured to have discussed here. Deputy Norton and his friends took upon themselves the responsibility of defeating the Government on an issue affecting civil servants and they compelled the Government to go to the country upon it. The Government have got their verdict and their mandate from the country and will exercise it.

[215] I deny that there is any real discontent in the Civil Service. I deny that there is any real discontent amongst the great mass of civil servants. Any discontent there is is largely of the Deputy's own creation. If civil servants have any reason to be dissatisfied with their position, that is due entirely to the manner in which Deputy Norton has endeavoured to utilise his position as Deputy for Kildare to create political organisations inside the Civil Service. He himself, a representative of civil servants, sits in this House as leader of a political party. He had in the last Parliament, as colleagues, the servants of Civil Service organisations sitting here as members of a political party. How can any person dissociate the Civil Service from politics when he has brought civil servants into politics? When in politics, they have to take whatever consequences may follow on action such as that taken during the last Dáil when they circularised every Deputy asking him to vote against the Government of the day, the Government elected by the people and the Government in whom the people have placed renewed confidence. That was a very ill-judged thing to do but it was done upon the advice of those who associated themselves with Deputy Norton and Deputy Heron in the last Dáil.

We have been told that certain bodies have brought disillusionment and disappointment to the Civil Service. It is Deputy Norton's policy that has brought disappointment and disillusionment, not merely to the Civil Service, whose cause he has ill-served, but to the Labour Party which he almost wrecked by tying it as a sort of tin-can to the Civil Service tail. I do not know anything so misjudged as the manner in which, during the period he has been leader of the Labour Party, Deputy Norton has utilised the fact that the farmers and workers returned him to look after their interests — the farmers and agricultural labourers and the labourers in the small towns — to subordinate their interests to the interest of a section of the community who, I might quite frankly say are, as everybody recognises, comparatively speaking, much [216] better off than the general body of those who voted for Deputy Norton and his colleagues at the last general election. I have no fault to find with the personnel of the Civil Service. I have, many times, when they were attacked in this House, paid tribute to their loyalty, devotion and zeal. I am quite confident that the great mass of civil servants are loyal servants of the Government, the State and the people but I have every reason to believe that there are, inside the Civil Service, elements which place politics before their profession and endeavour, while enjoying the comparative security of the Civil Service, to intermeddle in public affairs in a way which it is not proper that servants of the State should intermeddle.

The Deputy said that the Civil Service is moderate in its claims. I should say that the general body of civil servants are but those who constituted themselves spokesmen and leaders of the agitation which was waged here during the last four or five years were certainly not moderate in their claims. When this matter was last before the House, I discussed at great length the question of arbitration and I am not going to re-open it. I had hoped, before I sat down then, to make some reference to the evidence which was given by those people who set themselves up as spokesmen for the Civil Service and I say they were not moderate in their claims. I have published some extracts from the evidence of these gentlemen. I wish to put them on the records of the House so that it will be known, once and for all, what were the “moderate claims” of some of these organisations. Take the evidence given by Mr. Archie Heron, who, I believe, is Secretary of the Clerical Officers' Association. What does he say? He was asked:

“Is it the intention of the scheme that, in any case where a matter of remuneration is referred to the arbitration board, that remuneration should, in such a case, in fact, be prescribed not by the Minister for Finance, as it is at present by law, but should be prescribed by the arbitration board”?

[217] The answer was:

“In effect, it is, subject, of course, to the overriding authority of the Oireachtas.”

The old tag! Then, he went on

“The question of the constitutional position, I think, could be got over by the Minister or the Executive Council, as the case might be, in this particular matter delegating their power and their responsibility to the arbitrator or to the arbitration board.”

The Government was to surrender its rights and prerogatives under the Constitution, refuse its duties, and disclaim its responsibilities under the Constitution in order to meet this moderate claim of Mr. Archie Heron — that, so far as the effective control of almost £6,000,000 of expenditure was concerned, it should not rest with the Government, but should be vested in three or five people not answerable to the Dáil or to the Oireachtas, or to the community for the expenditure of public money. That is what Deputy Norton describes as a “reasonable and moderate claim.”

Mr. Norton:  The claim I made provided for the over-riding authority of the Oireachtas, and you know that.

Mr. MacEntee:  The Deputy ought to try to be intelligent.

Mr. Norton:  It is not easy with you.

Mr. MacEntee:  That is the sort of interruption I get from the Deputy. This question was then put:—

“In fact, by acceptance of the arbitration award, on its being made the Executive Council would be expected automatically to recommend the expenditure? — Yes.

Its constitutional function would become an automatic function at that stage? — Yes.

You admitted this morning that the putting into operation of that method of appeal against an arbitration award involved, in fact, the putting out of the Government? — Yes.”

The position that was going to be created, according to this so-called moderate claim, was that the Government, [218] which has responsibility to the Oireachtas, was to deny that responsibility and say that its first responsibility was to be to this arbitration board, even to the extent that the Government might be put out. A Government which had secured, as our Government has secured, the unmistakable confidence of the people, was to permit itself to be put out of office by accepting the yea or nay of an arbitration board, even if it did not consider that the award of the arbitration board was one which could be justifiably imposed upon the people. Thus, according to Mr. Archie Heron, the Secretary of the Clerical Officers' Association, the moderate claim its members made was that the Government should forswear its constitutional responsibility to the Oireachtas, and should say that its first and foremost responsibility was to the arbitration board by undertaking in whatsoever circumstances to give effect to its award. Then this question was put:—

“So that it is evident that the overriding authority of the Oireachtas cannot operate in the normal method of financial control? It leads in effect to putting out the Government, but it does not result in providing control. It would appear so if it was referred to as a remedy for difficulties brought to your notice?”

The answer of Mr. Heron to that was: “I do not regard it as a defect, really.” Thus, in fact, a position having been created in which he himself had to admit that there was no safeguard for the taxpayer and no safeguard for the public purse under this proviso about the overriding authority of the Oireachtas, he came along and admitted, with a candour which was unwonted, that he did not regard that as a defect really. Of course, we knew there was no safeguard for the taxpayer in this silly reservation about the overriding authority of the Oireachtas. We regarded that as a grave defect and, in order to safeguard the taxpayer, we took the only course open to us, and that was to say that no arbitration scheme would be put into operation here which did not leave the Minister for Finance and the Government free to discharge their full [219] responsibility, not merely to the Oireachtas, but to the people who sent the Oireachtas here to look after, not the interests of any one section, but the interests of the community as a whole. In fact, if Deputy Norton, Mr. Heron and all the others had their way, the Government would become no more than the kept men of certain of the Civil Service organisations. I am glad to say that the people did not stand for that.

Here is the evidence of another representative of one of these Civil Service organisations which has brought the whole cause of the Civil Service to disaster. It is the evidence of another secretary who also circularised members of the Oireachtas, and who thinks possibly that he may be protected by Article 10. The question was:

“That merely puts it legally in order, if I may so express it, but it takes away thereafter, so long as he agrees to that arrangement, any discretion he may have?”

the “he” being the Minister for Finance. The answer was “Quite.” The next question was:

“Particularly any possibility of exercising his judgment having regard to possibly very great changes in the budgetary position?”

The answer to that was:

“That was the point I endeavoured to deal with in my opening remarks. We think the Minister should have no discretion in regard to the payment of fair wages as ascertained in the manner I have suggested by the Arbitration Board.”

Then, this question was put:

“Would you agree that it (the overriding authority of the Oireachtas) is not a means of ensuring that an unreasonable award of the Board should be ineffective?”

The answer was: “I agree”, so that this other witness, spokesman for the Civil Service, explodes, just as Mr. Heron exploded, the whole contention of those who were trying to make people believe that this proviso about the overriding authority of the Oireachtas would prevent the general body [220] of the citizens from having an unjustifiable and unendurable award imposed upon them.

Again, we have the evidence of another representative of the Civil Service. He was asked:

“Do you propose to expect the Government in advance to bind themselves by the statement that they would put into operation any findings which the Arbitration Board proposes?”

And the answer was: “That is what we expect”. He was asked: “Without knowing what the findings are going to be?” and he answered: “That is what we expect”. He was then asked: “Whether the findings involve large amounts or not?”, and his answer was: “That is what we considered had been granted to us when arbitration was agreed to”. The next question was:

“Can you say that it is simply to be inferred from your scheme that you expect that upon the findings of an Arbitration Board such as you propose being declared, the Executive Council has no further function except to put it into operation?”

The answer was: “That is what we expect”. Then, this question was put:

“To give practical effect to it, it must begin with the Executive Council handing over its responsibility to the Arbitration Board?”

The answer was: “If they do, that is what it involves”. These demands are what Deputy Norton refers to as “the moderate claims” of the Civil Service. In fact, it would have meant that instead of having a democracy here with a Government responsible to the people for the expenditure of public money, we were going to have here a bureaucratic dictatorship of the worst type, in which the control of the public purse would pass from the people's representatives to those who are supposed to be the servants of the people. As I have already said, I am glad the people realised the preposterous demand which was being made on them by politicians like Deputy Norton, the Secretary of the Clerical Officers' Association, and others of these gentlemen who tried to make [221] themselves the spearhead of this agitation during the past four or five years.

We have not changed in our attitude towards the Civil Service. We are still anxious that we should have a contented Civil Service, and if there is any difference between the position as it now obtains and that which obtained in 1932, it is because the people have changed and because the people have seen how individuals like Deputy Norton have been prepared to use unscrupulously their Parliamentary position in order to politicalise the Civil Service.

Mr. Norton:  What about your handbill and your manifesto in 1932?

Mr. MacEntee:  This is 1938. The people have spoken on this matter. Deputy Norton went to the people and told them of the pledges which the Fianna Fáil Party gave in 1932. He put the issue before them, and I put the issue, too, in no uncertain terms. Whether my speeches were temperate or intemperate, in the eyes of Deputy Norton, they were, on my part, considered speeches, and the people read them, and the people have given their verdict on them.

Mr. Norton:  God help the people.

Mr. MacEntee:  It is on that I am going to stand now and henceforward in this Dáil in regard to Civil Service matters. Just take the case that was cited by the Deputy. He referred to 4,000 civil servants who had no security. Every one of those civil servants — and the Deputy knows it as well as I do — is more secure in his job than 90 per cent. of the common people of this country who have to earn their bread and who are taxed to pay for all these public servants. The Deputy was referring to 4,000 people who are probably not established officers, but that does not detract from the fact that they are as secure in their jobs — as long as they do their duty—as if they were established officers, and the Deputy knows that. There are men who spent their lives in the Civil Service in an unestablished capacity and retired from it at the age of 70. But [222] the Deputy did not tell that to the House. Then he referred to some other thousands who are receiving 30/- a week. He did not tell the House that they are part-time postmen, most of them in rural districts, working for perhaps 12, 15 or 18 hours per week.

Mr. Norton:  30/- for 15 hours a week.

Mr. MacEntee:  I said “maybe.”

Mr. Norton:  Tell the truth for once.

Mr. MacEntee:  The Deputy knows as well as I do that they are part-time postmen.

Mr. Norton:  Tell the truth for once.

Mr. MacEntee:  I would not address that admonition to the Deputy. I am telling the House now that when he referred to “the civil servants”, as he called them — the “public employees”, as they are—who are in receipt of 30/- a week, he was referring to part-time postmen. I am quite prepared to say that they are public employees, but when he talks about a civil servant the idea he conjures up in the minds of most people is a person who has had a certain reasonably high standard of education, and who is employed here in one of the Government offices in Dublin. Certainly, no person listening to Deputy Norton would have imagined he was referring, as I have said, to part-time postmen, most of them in rural areas. But that is the sort of stuff we have had slung around the Dáil here for the last four or five years by Deputy Norton. I hope that this will he the last of it. During the last four or five years we have had this question of the Civil Service debated here during every session, with absolutely no regard for preciseness of statement or a true representation of the facts. As I have said, this issue was forced upon the Government by the Deputy and his friends. They compelled the Government to go to the country on it, and the last general election was fought on this issue. The people have given their verdict on it, and I for one am [223] going to abide by the verdict of the people.

Mr. Brennan:  Does the Minister deny the promise made in 1932?

Question—“That the Estimate be referred back for reconsideration”— put and declared lost.

Vote put and agreed to.

Mr. MacEntee:  I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £573,771 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá dé Mhárta, 1939, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí Oifig na gCoimisinéirí Ioncuim, maraon le Seirbhísí áirithe eile atá fé riaradh na hOifige sin.

That a sum not exceeding £573,771 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1939, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of the Revenue Commissioners, including certain other Services administered by that office.

Mr. Brennan:  Can the Minister explain the necessity for the increase in this Vote? There is an increase of practically £40,000. Can the Minister tell us why this increase is necessary at the present time? Is there any real necessity for it? Are our revenues increasing to the same extent? What is the actual reason for the increase?

An Ceann Comhairle:  The Minister to conclude.

Mr. MacEntee:  The principal items which are responsible for the increase of £30,000 under sub-head A are the cost-of-living bonus, £22,700; the Accountant-General's office, where there has been an increase of £2,400 in the basic provision; and the office of the Chief Inspector of Customs and Excise, where there has been an increase of £9,200 in [224] the basic provision. As against that, there has been a saving in certain of the Departments, and a reduced provision for overtime and extra attendance of £10,700, making a net increase under sub-head A, which I presume is the one to which the Deputy has referred, of £23,600. As I have said, that is mostly beyond our control. It is due entirely to the operation of the cost-of-living factor.

Mr. Brennan:  I think the figures do not bear out that contention about the cost-of-living bonus.

Mr. MacEntee:  The cost-of-living bonus accounts for £22,700.

Mr. Brennan:  My figures give £27,653, as against £25,883 last year. That is less than £2,000. I am taking sub-head A.

Mr. MacEntee:  I think the Deputy will find that my figures are right.

Mr. Brennan:  I am taking the figures on page 18 of the Estimates.

Mr. MacEntee:  There is a net increase of £23,600, of which £22,700 is entirely due to the cost-of-living bonus.

Vote put and agreed to.

Mr. MacEntee:  I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £2,356,450 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1939, chun íoctha Pinsean Sean-Aoise (8 Edw. 7, c. 40; 1 agus 2 Geo. 5, c. 16; 9 agus 10 Geo. 5, c. 102; Uimh. 19 de 1924, Uimh 1 de 1928, agus Uimh. 18 de 1932); chun Pinsean do Dhaill (Uimh. 18 de 1932); agus chun Costaisí Riaracháin áirithe bhaineann leo san.

That a sum not exceeding £2,356,450 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending [225] on the 31st day of March, 1939, for the payment of Old Age Pensions (8 Edw. 7, c. 40; 1 and 2 Geo 5, c. 16; 9 and 10 Geo. 5, c. 102; No. 19 of 1924, No. 1 of 1928, and No. 18 of 1932); for Pensions to blind persons (No. 18 of 1932); and for certain Administrative Expenses in connection therewith.

Mr. Brennan:  The Local Government Department is not represented here?

An Ceann Comhairle:  The administration of this Vote has been, and should be, discussed on the Local Government Vote. It is the granting of it that arises under the Department of the Minister for Finance.

Vote put and agreed to.

Mr. MacEntee:  I move:

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £28,000 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha na Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta. 1939, chun Deolchairí ar shiúicre do rinneadh de bhiatas dúthchais agus ar thobac do rinneadh de dhuille dhúthchais, agus ar a n-íoctar aistarrac.

That a sum not exceeding £28,000 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1939, for Bounties on sugar made from home-grown beet and on tobacco manufactured from home-grown leaf, on which drawback is paid.

These are bounties to compensate manufacturers for additional cost when their manufactures are exported.

Mr. Brennan:  Will the Minister explain how the increase under Sub-head A from £6,500 to £40,000 is made out? Is it the new price of beet or what is it? What is our position with regard to the guaranteeing of beet at present?

Mr. MacEntee:  That does not arise on this. We have to be quite clear [226] where my responsibility begins and ends. The variation in these figures is occasioned by an increase in this particular case in the quantity of home-manufactured sugar used by a certain company. A large manufacturing company in Eire, the Condensed Milk Company of Ireland, which formerly used a small quantity of home-produced sugar, has contracted to purchase from Comhlucht Siuicre Eireann sufficient home-produced sugar to meet its total requirements for the coming season. It is because of the fact that a large part of the produce of this company is exported that this provision is made.

Vote put and agreed to.

Mr. MacEntee:  I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £17,090 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1939, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí Coimisiún na Stát-Sheirbhíse (Uimh. 5 de 1924, agus Uimh. 41 de 1926) agus an Choimisiúin um Cheapacháin Aitiúla (Uimh. 39 de 1926).

That a sum not exceeding £17,090 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1939, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Civil Service Commission (Nos. 5 of 1924 and 41 of 1926) and of the Local Appointments Commission (No. 39 of 1926).

Mr. Brennan:  Does the Local Appointments Commission arise for discussion on this?

Mr. MacEntee:  The provision is for both.

Mr. Brennan:  On what Estimate does the Local Appointments Commission arise for discussion?

An Ceann Comhairle:  The Taoiseach is responsible in that he appoints the commissioners.

Vote put and agreed to.

[227]Mr. MacEntee:  I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £14,710 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1939, chun íocaíocht i dtaobh Mille no Díobháil do Mhaoin (Uimh. 15 de 1923; Uimh. 19 de 1926; Uimh. 35 de 1933; Uimh. 18 de 1937, alt 17; agus ar shlite eile).

That a sum not exceeding £14,710 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1939, for payments in respect of Destruction of or Injuries to Property (No. 15 of 1923; No. 19 of 1926; No. 35 of 1933; No. 18 of 1937, sec. 17; and otherwise).

Mr. Brennan:  Could the Minister tell us what these items cover, or when does the Minister hope to see the end of this? I understand that these are a carry-over from times which have gone, and I should like to know when the Minister expects to see the end of them.

Mr. MacEntee:  So far as I can gather, there are only about 170 cases awaiting to be dealt with by the courts, anyhow. When the courts will deal with these I do not know, because some of them are rather difficult, and may take a little time, and we have to be patient.

Mr. Brennan:  There are not any new cases?

Mr. MacEntee:  So far as I know, there are no new cases.

Mr. Brennan:  Has not the time expired when they could be entered?

Mr. MacEntee:  It did, but there was a decision of the High Court which allowed a little latitude in regard to that, but I think that any new claim lodged now would receive very short shrift from the courts.

Vote put and agreed to.

[228]Mr. MacEntee:  I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £360 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1939, chun íocaíocht áirithe cúiteamh i dtaobh Leonta Pearsanta no Báis.

That a sum not exceeding £360 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1939, for certain payments of Compensation in respect of Personal Injuries or Death.

Mr. Brennan:  Were these injuries inflicted by servants of the State?

Mr. MacEntee:  No, not at all.

Mr. Brennan:  How do we become liable if they were not?

Mr. MacEntee:  I am afraid that might be more properly addressed to my predecessor. These are arising out of Easter Week, 1916, and also for certain claims for compensation in respect of death or injuries sustained during the Anglo-Irish and civil wars.

Mr. Brennan:  I thought they were later ones.

Mr. MacEntee:  No, they are all of old standing.

Vote put and agreed to.

Mr. MacEntee:  I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £303,540 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1939, chun Pinsean, Aois-Liúntais, Cúitimh, agus Liúntaisí agus Aiscí, breise agus eile, fé Reachtanna Iolardha (4 agus 5 Will. 4, c. 24; 22 Vict., c. 26; 50 agus 51 [229] Vict., c. 67; 55 agus 56 Vict., c. 40; 6 Edw. 7, c. 58; 9 Edw. 7, c. 10; 4 agus 5 Geo. 5, c. 86; 9 agus 10 Geo. 5, c. 67 agus c. 68; 10 agus 11 Geo. 5, c. 36; Uimh 1 de 1922; Uimh. 34 de 1923; Uimh. 7 de 1925; Uimh. 27 de 1926; Uimh. 11 agus Uimh. 36 de 1929; Uimh. 9 de 1934; Uimh. 39 de 1936, etc.); agus chun Pinsean Liúntaisí agus Aiscí nách cinn Reachtúla agus a dheon an tAire Airgid; Tuarastal an Dochtúra Réitigh agus corrtháillí do Dhochtúirí, etc.

That a sum not exceeding £303,540 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1939, for Pensions, Superannuation, Compensation, and additional and other Allowances and Gratuities under Sundry Statutes (4 and 5 Will. 4, c. 24); 22 Vict., c. 26; 50 and 51 Vict., c. 67; 55 and 56 Vict., c. 40; 6 Edw. 7, c. 58; 9 Edw. 7, c. 10; 4 and 5 Geo. 5, c. 86; 9 and 10 Geo. 5, c. 67 and c. 68; 10 and 11 Geo. 5, c. 36; No. 1 of 1922; No. 34 of 1923; No. 7 of 1925; No. 27 of 1926; No. 11 and No. 36 of 1929; No. 9 of 1934; No. 39 of 1936; etc.); Extra-Statutory Pensions, Allowances and Gratuities awarded by the Minister for Finance; the Salary of the Medical Referee and occasional fees to Doctors, etc.

Vote put and agreed to.

Mr. MacEntee:  I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £13,300 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1939, chun Seirbhíse Seicréidighe.

That a sum not exceeding £13,300 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1939, for Secret Service.

[230]Mr. Brennan:  Of course I cannot ask for details in connection with this, but it has always appeared strange to us, as we were accustomed to an expenditure of something around £5,000 on secret service, to find £20,000 being expended now.

Mr. MacEntee:  It is not being spent in fact.

Mr. Brennan:  It is being provided.

Mr. MacEntee:  Yes, it may be wanted.

Mr. Brennan:  I do not quarrel with the provision of it, because it is a very great necessity in every country.

Mr. Gorey:  That depends on its use.

Mr. Brennan:  Could the Minister tell us what amount was spent last year?

Mr. MacEntee:  I could not tell the amount actually spent last year, but I can give the figure for the year before, because it takes some time to get the figures in. I can give the Deputy the figures for several years back. They are as follow: 1930-31, £2,579; 1931-32, £1,511; 1932-3, £951; 1933-4, £4,808; 1934-5, £10,675; 1935-6, £7,611; 1936-7, £4,273.

Mr. Brennan:  The Minister can see the force of my point. It has risen as high as £10,000 from £1,000.

Mr. MacEntee:  The Deputy realises that the circumstances were not wholly similar.

Mr. Brennan:  They certainly were not similar, but I think that whatever was in them was in favour of the later Administration rather than otherwise. It should have been less during recent years than in previous years.

Mr. MacEntee:  The Deputy may have his view on that, but I will reserve to myself the right to hold mine.

Vote put and agreed to.

[231]Mr. MacEntee:  I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £3,640 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1939, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí Choimisiún na nDleacht (Uimh. 40 de 1926 agus Uimh. 31 de 1930), agus Choimisiún na Marcanna Earraí Ceannaíochta (Uimh. 48 de 1931).

That a sum not exceeding £3,640 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1939, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Tariff Commission (No. 40 of 1926 and No. 31 of 1930), and of the Merchandise Marks Commission (No. 48 of 1931).

Mr. Brennan:  What is the function of the Tariff Commission at the present time? Can the Minister tell us what is the function of the Commission?

Mr. MacEntee:  The Tariff Commission was established in pursuance of Section 2 of the Tariff Commission Act, 1926. Under it, the Minister may, if he thinks fit, refer to the Commission, for consideration and report, any application made to him by persons substantially representative of the persons engaged, or proposing to engage in the production of goods of any particular class or description for the imposition, modification, abolition or renewal of a Customs duty on the importation of such goods. It was, and still remains, the function of the Tariff Commission, to undertake these inquiries. In addition to that, the Commission officiates under Section 2 of the Merchandise Marks Act of 1931.

The function of the Commission, under that section, is to consider and report to the Executive Council on applications received by an Executive Minister, and referred by him to the Commission for Orders under the Act restricting the sale or exposure, and/or the importation of goods of particular classes of descriptions, unless such goods bear an indication of [232] origin, and references to the Commission by the Executive Council on the question of the desirability of making such Orders in respect of particular goods. The Commission is at the moment investigating the question of whether it would be desirable to make, in respect of building materials and appliances, (a) an order prohibiting the sale or exposure for sale, of imported goods of that class or description unless such goods bear at the time of such sale or exposure an indication of origin; (b) an order prohibiting the importation of goods of the class unless such goods bear an indication of origin at the time of importation or (c) both such orders.

In addition to that of course, the Commission has been used from time to time to undertake a number of important investigations, notably into the question of marketing of fresh fruit and vegetables and other matters of that sort. The Chairman of the Commission is Chairman of the Dairy Disposals Board. The fact is that it has been found desirable to retain the Commission so that we might have a body of servants who might not be fully engaged in Departmental work, by which investigations of this sort would be undertaken from time to time.

Mr. Brennan:  I am in entire agreement with the Minister in regard to the desirability of having such a body but I should like to know if their opinions have been sought in the case of all tariffs imposed on various articles by the present Government. We are definitely of the opinion that tariffs have been imposed by the present Government which ought never have been imposed. We should also like to know whether advice has been sought in regard to the various licences and quotas now in operation. If this is a body composed of experts, we should like to know if their advice is sought because it does not seem to us that any serious thought has been given to the tariffs imposed on various articles at the present time.

Mr. MacEntee:  The position is that there has not been, if you like, a reference made to them in regard to most [233] of the articles in respect to which tariffs have been granted. Some of these matters have, however, been referred to the Tariff Commission for their report and recommendation. The Deputy is aware of the fact that that has been the position for the last six years, that, in fact, it would not have been possible to have carried out the industrial policy of the Government if every tariff, largely of an experimental nature, had been referred to the Tariff Commission for recommendation and report. That was one of the main features of our policy which differentiated the Government from the Opposition. I am not going to discuss the relative merits of the respective procedures, but our predecessors, when they were in power, before they imposed a tariff, thought it well to refer the matter for investigation to the Tariff Commission. They thought that a good way of dealing with it. Other people may think it too slow and that it would get you nowhere, that it merely means that the industrial development of the nation is going, to progress at a snail's pace. Our policy has been that where Departmental examination shows that if a tariff is granted there is a possibility of establishing a successful industry here, we are prepared to grant that tariff, to see how it works. I say that that is the most practical policy if we are to get anywhere in this generation and that it has more to recommend it than any other.

Mr. Brennan:  I do not agree with the Minister. In the Tariff Commission, we have a number of gentlemen who have made a practice of examining matters in detail and they should be at least brought into consultation by the Departmental chiefs whenever a tariff is being considered. Of course, it was evident, and I am rather relieved to know it, that they have not been responsible for very many of the tariffs imposed by the Government on articles coming into this country. While we may not refer every matter to them for detailed consideration, they at least ought to be brought into consultation by the Government. After all, they have a particular standing on this question of tariffs and their opinions ought [234] to weigh very heavily. I do not at all agree that it would mean the slowing up of activities. The Minister may be quite right in his contention that the Departmental Committee could not submit every matter for detailed investigation, but the opinion of the members of this commission ought to be sought on these matters. I do not think it is any justification for the expenditure on this commission to come in here and say that we are using them on rare occasions.

Mr. MacEntee:  Oh, no.

Mr. Brennan:  The Minister said that certain matters had been referred to them.

Mr. MacEntee:  I have not said “on rare occasions.”

Mr. Brennan:  In fact, the Minister gave me the impression that they were being used but that had they been used on many occasions, industrial activity would be slowed down to a snail's pace. I am reading into that that they are occasionally being used. I think their opinion should be sought on every matter that relates to tariffs.

Mr. MacEntee:  I am afraid that would reduce the progress which has been made in industrial development to an infinitesimal rate. It is not true to say that these gentlemen's services are availed of only on rare occasions. As a matter of fact, some of the inquiries which they have conducted are of a very difficult and complicated nature. I can say that we are satisfied that the chairman of that commission taking into consideration his other duties — and this is true of the other members also — is carrying as much as any human being possibly could.

Mr. Brennan:  I believe that.

Vote put and agreed to.

Minister for Finance (Mr. MacEntee):  I move:—

Go ndeontar suim na raghaidh thar £820,989 chun slánuithe na suime [235] is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1939, chun méaduithe an Deontais d'Udaráis Aitiúla chun Faoiseamh do dhéanamh maidir le Rátaí a thalamh Thalmhaíochta (Uimh. 35 de 1925; Uimh. 28 de 1931, agus Uimh. 25 de 1936).

That a sum not exceeding £820,989 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1939, to increase the grant to local authorities in relief of rates on agricultural land (No. 35 of 1925; No. 28 of 1931, and No. 25 of 1936).

Mr. Brennan:  I think the time has really arrived when the ratepayers are entitled to more consideration than they are getting. If the Minister considers the increased estimates of county councils and other local authorities, and the very much increased responsibility placed upon them, and, in conjunction with that, remembers that their incomes have not increased, the Government ought to come to the assistance of the ratepayers to a much larger extent than is at present the case. On this side of the House, instead of a supplementary agricultural grant or an agricultural grant, we believe there ought to be derating. It is not fair to people engaged in agriculture that they should have to compete in the same market with others who are derated. The Minister now admits that it is a valuable market and, I suppose, he will say that he always thought so.

Mr. MacEntee:  I always said that.

Mr. Brennan:  Having gone into that market now, we ought, at least, to be put on equal terms with others who gained a great deal while we lost a great deal. While the Minister and his colleagues were whipping John Bull we lost a great deal. If we want to get back, there is only one way to do it, and that is by producing a better article, and by beating competitors. We will not do that unless overhead [236] charges are reduced in some shape or form. If we are to have increased production on our farms that increased production must have an outlet. If the outlet is the British market, we must be put into a position to compete and to oust those who, during the last six years, ousted us. I do not believe, and I am sure the Minister does not believe, that anyone in the British market is going to buy our produce in preference to any other produce unless it is a better article. How are we to produce a better article? We are certainly not going to produce it by continuing the very heavy overhead charges that our farmers have to meet. In the Vote for Agriculture we had no gesture from the Minister to the farming community, in the way of something being done, as was suggested on several occasions, giving them cheaper artificial manures or something to help them along. I remember when the present Government sat on this side of the House, that a very strong appeal was made for a hugely increased agricultural grant. As a matter of fact, when the Fianna Fáil Party came into power, as a gesture their first act was to increase the grant but it dropped it the next year and remains in that position still. The Minister may say, as he said recently in the House, that, as a matter of fact, the agricultural community had got more in grants last year than ever. If the agricultural community got something that was withheld during previous years, it was not any concession, as it was theirs by right, and should never have been withheld. As it was withheld in the past this is not any concession by the Government or by anybody else now, but is merely giving what was due. One would have expected that there would be a realisation of the importance of the British market in view of the recent settlement with that country, and the necessity of trying to get back there with a better article than we can at present produce, and that the burden agriculture has to bear would be lessened to such an extent that the farmers would have an opportunity of getting back into that market. The only way to get back there is, either by a reduction of overhead [237] charges or by some kind of direct subsidy to artificial manures or feeding stuffs. Farmers are hampered at both ends of the scale. They are expected to increase production and to produce better articles, while absolutely nothing is done in the way of reducing overhead charges. Now that the Government has gone a certain length, and has seen the light, it should go further and help the farmers by giving a higher agricultural grant than the amount set out here.

Mr. Cogan:  I consider this grant altogether inadequate. I hold that farmers are more entitled to the complete derating of agricultural land now than in 1932, when the Minister and his colleagues guaranteed them complete derating. The case for derating does not rest on the fact that the farming industry is at present in an impoverished condition. It rests mainly on the fact that the present system of financing local services is fundamentally unjust, because it is based not on the income of the ratepayers or the farmers but upon rateable valuation. Every fair-minded person will agree that the contribution which any citizen should give to the upkeep of the public services should be in proportion to income. Rates on agricultural land, which are the contribution farmers make to the upkeep of local services, bear no relation whatever to farmers' incomes. A farmer with £20 valuation is a poor man. He is a struggling uneconomic holder, a man with an income that is inadequate to support a family, yet he is taxed on that income. We heard a great deal to-day about the high salaries of civil servants. If a civil servant with £1,000 a year lives in a moderate sized house his valuation will not exceed £20. Therefore, he pays the same contribution towards the upkeep of social services as a struggling farmer. It is on that basis the case for derating rests. Christian teaching, and the laws of justice demand that the contribution which each citizen of the State should make towards the upkeep of the State should be in exact proportion to the citizens' means, yet, the civil servant with £1,000 a year pays the same contribution towards [238] local services as farmers who have no income. The farmers are being hunted by rate-collectors, and by the Land Commission when they are unable to pay their way.

A system which allows such injustice and such inequality between one citizen and another, is a system which must be abolished, and the first step in that direction is the introduction of a just system, based upon income, and by derating agricultural land. It will be claimed that the derating of agricultural land will impose unjust burdens on other ratepayers. Everyone must realise that there is only one way to finance derating, and that is by making a grant from the Central Fund to local authorities to carry on local services. Everyone must realise that derating must be accompanied by such legislation as will fix a maximum limit to rates on such property as is not completely derated. Everyone acknowledges that it would be absolutely necessary, with the remission of rates on farmers, who are the largest section of the ratepayers, to introduce legislation to fix a maximum limit for such citizens as would still be liable to rates. That, of course, may be assumed and that disposes of all the arguments that are used against derating. In addition to what I would call the fundamental demand or claim for derating, the claim based on justice, we have the impoverished condition of the farming community at the present time. We have the fact that farmers for the past five or six years have been labouring under a condition of actual depression, have been carrying on their industry under conditions which no other section of the community would tolerate. You have the fact that farmers have been forced to sell their stuff for about one-sixth of what they were really worth. Would any section of the community agree to such a reduction in their income, to such a reduction in their earning power as farmers have been forced to submit to during the past five or six years and, having been forced to submit to such conditions, does not justice demand that they be recompensed immediately and recompensed by having their overhead charges reduced?

Again, you have another argument [239] in support of derating in the fact that the farmers of Great Britain and Northern Ireland are exempt from rates on agricultural land. Those farmers are competing against the farmers of this country in the British market and if we are to compete with them in the British market we must be put on a basis of equality, that is to say, we must get the same rights and privileges which the farmers of Great Britain and Northern Ireland enjoy.

There are other aspects of this question which, I think, call for consideration. During the past few years the system of allocating the agricultural grant has been revised, has been altered, and it has been altered to the detriment to a great extent of the farmer of over £50 valuation. The farmer with £50 valuation or upwards is not in a position to derive much benefit from the agricultural grant at the present time, due to the fact that the grant has been manipulated to give the largest measure of relief to the largest number of electors. It has been used to a great extent for vote catching purposes.

Thus we have the fact that a farmer with a high valuation must employ one man to every £12 10s. of his valuation — that is, approximately, one man to every 12½ acres of his holding, which is, as you must realise, an absolute impossibility. It is absolutely impossible for a farmer to employ one man to every £12 10s. of his valuation, or to every 12½ acres of his holding, and pay that man at the rate of £70 a year. There is absolutely no means by which a farmer can derive such a profit out of 12½ acres of his holding as will enable him to pay the standard rate of wages at the present time to one employee.

Again, there are other aspects of this question of the distribution of the agricultural grant which expose it to the ridicule of all fair-minded people. A farmer who has a grown-up family is granted relief in respect of all the male members of the family. He is not granted any relief in respect of the female members. It is assumed, apparently, that the ladies who work on the farm can live on air. Again, the [240] farmer who employs female labour is allowed no abatement in respect of that employment. Again also, the farmer with a young, helpless family under 17 years of age is allowed no abatement whatever in respect of those dependents. Anyone, I think, who has any knowledge of agricultural conditions must realise that it is the farmer with the young family, the farmer who is trying to keep that family clothed and educated and fed, who is the most entitled to relief — to the maximum relief — under the agricultural grant, and not the farmer who has got grown-up sons who are able to help him on the farm. Yet you find the peculiar system under which the agricultural grant is allocated is designed to inflict the greatest hardship upon the poorest section of the farming community, the farmer with the young, helpless family, with female employees and dependents, and to give the maximum relief to the farmer with a grown-up family. Such a system must be condemned. It could only have originated, I think, in the mind of someone with a bias against women and children. That is apparently the only explanation that can be given in connection with the present allocation of the agricultural grant. Surely, even at this hour, the Government will realise the necessity of coming to the relief of the agricultural industry, and of carrying out the promise which they gave during the years 1929, 1930, 1931 and 1932 — the promise of the complete derating of agricultural land.

Mr. Corry:  Since this question of the agricultural grant has been raised on the Vote, I would just like to deal with it briefly. Deputy Brennan demands that we put them in as good a position as our competitors. I claim that we are in a better position. Farmers in Northern Ireland paid their full annuity, though the Northern Ireland Government has enjoyed the holding of the annuities there ever since 1922, or since 1920, since the Government of Ireland Act was introduced. When this question of derating or halving of the annuities came up, I put forward the claim that the annuities should be cut in half on behalf of the farmers, and I consider I did a [241] good day's work for them. The farmers have got 50 per cent. reduction in their annuities as compared with the farmers in Northern Ireland, who are our competitors according to Deputy Brennan.

Mr. Brennan:  He got 100 per cent. in his rates.

Mr. Corry:  They paid their full annuities but got some relief in rates.

Mr. Brennan:  Got 100 per cent.

Mr. Corry:  And they are paying an increased rate on their farm buildings as a consequence.

Mr. Brennan:  Nonsense.

Mr. MacEntee:  It is quite true.

Mr. Corry:  That point has gone before the Prices Commission. I hope it will be dealt with there.

Mr. Brennan:  For the purpose of giving a subsidy?

Mr. Corry:  For the purpose of dealing with property. Deputy Cogan puts up rather an extraordinary argument. He first appeals for the poorer section of the community, farmers under £20 valuation, and then he goes on to say that the relief in rates has been manipulated in order to catch votes by giving relief to the man under £20 valuation at the expense of the man with £50 valuation and over. I think the manner in which that relief has been given is undoubtedly a better system for the division of the agricultural grant than any system previously in force. For instance, you have the position of the rancher who previously got the same relief in rates from the agricultural grant as the farmer who worked his land and employed labour. You had the man with the £300 or £400 valuation getting as much, although he employed perhaps only a man and his dog on his huge holding. He got relief for every £1 of his valuation as against the small farmer with £20 or £40 valuation who had a couple of men employed.

[242] Deputy Cogan says that that was a vote-catching scheme by which the rancher was put in a different position to the ordinary working farmer who works his holding, who is entitled to relief in rates for every man he employs and for every son of 18 years and upwards who works on the holding and who gets relief besides up to the small valuation mark. I think there can be no complaint whatsoever with that system. I think it was the best system ever devised for giving the agricultural grant to those best entitled to it, the ordinary working farmers who work their holdings and employ labour. As for the other man, the proper system for him is the division of his holding, giving the land to those who will work it. Personally — and I think I speak for every farmer in my constituency — I would prefer to see whatever money can be spent in the furtherance of agriculture given in better prices for agricultural produce to the working farmers. I refer now to subsidies towards milk and assistance in regard to beet. I think that works out far better than by clapping it on in the shape of derating, because 30 per cent. or 40 per cent. of the de-rating scheme will go to the benefit of landlords and large ranchers. Any money that we can devote to the assistance of the agricultural community should go in that manner.

There are certainly burdens on the agricultural community which should not be there. You have, for instance, the main and trunk roads, which should be a national charge. Main and trunk roads are gone completely away from the uses which they formerly served. They were built and maintained by the ratepayers and used by the agricultural community generally. At the present time they are turned into racing tracks for motorists — I cannot describe them as anything else. They should be maintained from the receipts of motor taxation or from revenue in the shape of a petrol tax. They should not be a burden on the farming community, who built them in the first instance, brought them to their present state of perfection, and are now absolutely unable to use them.

I have examined this question more closely than any Deputy here. There [243] was no more ardent supporter of de-rating than I from 1927 onwards. I examined the question very carefully and I saw where the benefits went out of the £750,000 that we succeeded in getting for Cork out of the Cumann na nGaedheal Government when they were here in 1931. We brought in a motion for £1,000,000 for the relief of rates and we succeeded in getting the council of the day to give relief to the extent of £750,000. I saw the manner in which that money went. I saw ranchers in my constituency getting as much relief as a whole parish of farmers. They were ranchers who employed very few people. I decided then that the proper relief to give would be in the shape of a 50 per cent. reduction in annuities, the giving of subsidies and granting assistance for agricultural produce.

Mr. Cogan:  The big farmers benefited by the halving of the annuities just the same as they would by derating.

Mr. Corry:  The ranchers I speak about had no annuities at all to pay. In 99 cases out of 100 they were estate owners.

Mr. Bennett:  Is the Deputy serious?

Mr. Brasier:  They had no annuities? Where are they?

Mr. Corry:  Look around you. I am dividing some of them at present, very much against your will.

Mr. Brasier:  There are none of them in existence to-day.

Mr. Corry:  I may tell you a lot more of your friends will not be there much longer. That is the way in which I view this question. There is one burden of which the agricultural community should be relieved, and that is the burden of the main and trunk roads. There is no justification for keeping them on as a charge on the ratepayers. It is time they went and that the motorists who want speed tracks should maintain the roads. I hope whatever money is to be placed at the disposal of the agricultural community [244] will go towards helping the prices for agricultural produce, helping the prices of bacon, milk, beet, etc., so that the working farmers who employ labour will get a decent remuneration. That is far better than coming here to look for the derating of the ranchers, because I cannot call it anything else. As Deputy Cogan said, the small holder under £20 valuation gets fairly good relief. Farmers working their holdings and employing labour get relief according to the men they employ. That is the best system for the division of whatever agricultural grants are given. I have no room for any other sections of the farming community. I think all this cant about derating that was used so extensively for the past five or six weeks was knocked on the head by the electors. It is dead now, and it might be better to leave it so.

Mr. Bennett:  I am in hopes still that a repetition of the discussion that we are having now on this Vote, may, in the near future, be unnecessary. I am glad to see that Deputy Corry who admits he was an ardent supporter of the principle of full de-rating and who departed from his original belief has come back to it. From what he has said now it is clear he is coming into line with those of us who advocated relief for the farmers through de-rating. He tells us he would like to see the burden of the upkeep of the roads, especially the trunk roads, taken off the rated occupiers. I would like him go one step further. If he accepts the principle that trunk roads and other roads are national services, then it does not require a great stretch of imagination to argue for relief from the burdens imposed for the upkeep of the poor and destitute. One is as much a national service as the other. Why should agriculturists alone be compelled to provide the necessaries of life for the destitute poor, for the unemployed and other such services? The same argument applies in the one case as in the other.

Mr. Corry:  How long is it since Deputy Bennett was converted to this?

[245]Mr. Bennett:  A very long time ago.

Mr. Corry:  I invited Deputy Bennett to take up that policy many years ago but he voted here in this House against £1,000,000 relief to the farmers. He said they had too much already:

Mr. Bennett:  I think Deputy Corry misunderstands the situation. I have never gone back on the principle of de-rating since I first advocated it. Deputy Corry has gone back on it. I do not believe that the amount set out in this Vote is sufficient relief to meet the burden on agriculturists. I am an ardent supporter of full de-rating. However, I will not argue that question now. I just want to draw attention to the fact that Deputy Corry goes so far as to suggest that we should relieve agriculturists from road maintenance. That being so he should not argue against full de-rating; if the farmers are not entitled to relief under the one head they are not entitled under the other. Both are national services and they should be paid for by the Government. It would be useless on my part to go into this whole question this evening for I know that the principle of de-rating will not be accepted just now. But this Government will in time be compelled by the force of circumstances to grant full de-rating just as they have been compelled in other matters to completely change their outlook. I do not agree that the present system is the best way in which to administer the Agricultural Grant.

I am not arguing that the small farmer is not entitled to the full benefit of relief. On the other hand, I am not prepared to argue that the larger ratepayer is not entitled to somewhat similar reliefs. I submit there should be no differentiation between the large farmer and the small farmer. Deputy Corry talks about the ranches. The term “rancher”, as we have conceived it in the past, has ceased to have any meaning. He spoke of the fee-simple holders, the men who pay no annuities. As far as I know, there are very few of these men. Of the tenants, and ranchers, if you like, 99 per cent. are annuity payers [246] or at least they are supposed to pay their annuities. I do not see how any decent honest representative of the people can argue that each farmer is not entitled, no matter how big or small his holding is, to pro rata relief. The man with the very small valuation of £2, £3, or £4 is fully relieved of the rates. In addition to that he is entitled to share in the very large reliefs that the ratepayers provide in the way of work on the roads. The small man is benefiting by this employment on the roads. But look at the case of the man with 60 to 100 acres of land. He pays a bigger portion of the rates and he is not entitled to any work on the road, the work which the smaller ratepayer gets. I say that the arguments advanced by Deputy Corry are groundless.

What I wanted specially to mention is the question of the relief given in the rates to those who employ workers. Deputy Corry says that everybody who provides labour should be relieved. There is not an equitable distribution of relief at present. There is no allowance given to the farmer who employs women workers, and in some counties women labour is employed to a large extent.

Mr. MacEntee:  This is provided for by Statute. The Deputy cannot criticise the Statute or advocate legislation on this Vote. He will have an opportunity later.

Mr. Bennett:  Well, perhaps I am a little out of order.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  The Deputy is very much out of order, but I am afraid he was set the example.

Mr. Bennett:  Yes, I was following on the lines taken by other Deputies. I tried to keep in order. The Minister did not call anybody else to order, and that was because other Deputies did not touch on his sore point. I possibly trod on some sore point. The Minister for Finance can find a way to de-rate agricultural land if the will is there, but I do rot believe it is there. The Minister should provide equal relief for the man who employs women workers just as for the man who employs male workers.

[247]Mr. Corry:  What is the relief given to the farmer who employs male workers?

Mr. Bennett:  No matter what it is, the same relief should be given to the man who employs female workers. The whole method of the administration of this grant requires to be completely changed. As long as it is given at all it should be given impartially amongst all sections of the ratepayers. Something can be said for the very small ratepayers, but they are getting extra provision inasmuch as they share in the employment given on the roads. I know myself that numbers of small ratepayers are sharing in the distribution of this money, while the larger farmer is prohibited. Why that should be the case I do not know. I am firmly convinced that the time is rapidly coming when the force of circumstances and the force of public opinion will compel this Government, probably before they go out of office, to come back to the original opinion they held that all agricultural land should be derated.

Mr. Brasier:  If there is any doubt whatsoever in the minds of the Party opposite as to the desire of the farmers of this country for derating, let them follow the suggestion that I made, namely, to set up a commission to inquire into the hardships and severities under which the farmers laboured in the past six years, and ask what form of relief they most require. I was not such an enthusiastic supporter of derating when the agitation for derating agricultural land in this country was at its highest. When the report of the Derating Commission was published in 1930, class 1 exports from this country to England exceeded £20,000,000 annually. Therefore, other circumstances being somewhat different from what they are to-day, expenses in various directions were very much lower, rates were very much lower, and so were the various overhead expenses. In 1930 the Government of the day gave relief to the tune of £750,000, followed by a Government that gave relief to the tune of £1,000,000 — a very welcome relief at that time; but how much more [248] is the huge increase in rates to-day, followed by a still larger increase in the arrears which farmers, and particularly large farmers, are unable to pay? Is that not a strong case for relief for those men who have to bear a burden that is certainly overwhelming and which is beyond their capacity to bear? I think that this method of financing local services through the poor rate, and so on, is an obsolete method, and I think that, unless relief is given to the farmers, the arrears of rates will increase still further despite anything which local authorities can do to collect the rates.

Deputy Corry has enumerated some of the things he would like to see derated, and I am in hearty agreement with him so far as the derating of the items he mentioned is concerned, but I would be in still more agreement with him on the items that he has not mentioned and which, in his heart of hearts, he knows should be included. Deputy Corry is a large ratepayer himself, and I know that that burden presses heavily on him, but, of course, he has the honour to belong to a Party who did not put derating in the forefront of their policy, and, therefore, the Deputy will be a “Yes” man so far as that matter is concerned, and I do not blame him; but there is this to be said. What is going to be done to help to arrest the growing increase in the arrears of rates which are due? In the Cork County Council we know that in many cases as much as £400 and even £500 are due and cannot be collected, and that we may have to have judgment of mortgages on the land. If that situation grows, what will you do to relieve it? We have many cases. The large farmer is the man who has to bear that burden to the greatest degree, and he is also the biggest employer of labour. He is paying labour, and he paid labour before there was any question of derating, and always paid at a very much higher rate. I do not think the labourer in any part of this country would like to see the large farmer abolished. He might like to see his land divided up, of course, but if it were to come to a question of a choice between the large farmer and the small farmer, in relation to the amount and kind of employment given. [249] I suggest that the labourer, possibly, might choose the large farmer. Labour in that case is more specialised and probably paid at a very much higher rate. I say that a time has come when the Government will have to consider seriously either derating or greatly increasing the various reliefs. These various subsidies and bounties are a great tax on the country, but it must be remembered also that these subsidies and bounties do not always reach the farmer, but may be in the hands of men who are dealing between the farmer and the consumer. It is very often the case that they do not reach the farmer, and, as I say, the time has come to consider seriously this whole matter.

Then, take the case of asylums and so on, where the capitation grant is the same as it was 20 years ago, although the cost of maintaining such institutions is very much higher. Public assistance, owing to the increased cost of living, requires a very much higher standard and, although the number of those in receipt of public assistance may have decreased, the total volume that has to be paid is very much higher. I do not want...

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  I think the Deputy is extending the discussion even farther than the other Deputies.

Mr. Brasier:  I am afraid so, Sir, but I only wanted to stress very strongly the necessity for doing something for the relief of agriculture, and if the Minister and his Party will consider the advisability of setting up a commission such as I have suggested, they will see whether or not the demand for derating is there.

Mr. Hughes:  Anyone with experience of local administration in this country realises that the tendency with regard to social services, poor law services, and so on, has been to increase considerably during the past few years, and that tendency is likely to continue in the future. This grant of £750,000 is not sufficient at all to help the farmer or to relieve him, to a just extent, of the burden he has to carry at the present time. Deputy Corry is against derating.

[250]Mr. Brasier:  He is not.

Mr. Hughes:  He has told us so anyhow.

Mr. Corry:  I think it is the greatest nonsense that you are talking about derating.

Mr. Hughes:  Does Deputy Corry contend that the one section of the community he claims to represent — the farmers — are the only people who should be burdened with the responsibility of paying for poor law services and social services in this country? The one strong reason, as a farmer, that I claim derating for the farmer, is that this one particular section of our people are asked to pay for all the social and poor law services, the upkeep of roads, and to some extent the upkeep of our mental hospitals. It must be remembered that there are people in this country whose earning capacity is infinitely greater than that of the very best of our farmers. I refer to people in sheltered positions — men earning big salaries, such as professional men, men in Government positions and men in industrial work — all men with big salaries, and living in houses with a very small valuation. The contribution of these men towards social services, I contend, is out of all proportion to their earning capacity. I do not think that they should be excluded from bearing their fair share of the burden, and I think the people realise the justice of that contention. I think those people would not grouse if they were asked to bear their fair share in contributing to these services. Why should the farmer be saddled with a charge on his valuation? More often than not, as a matter of fact, his valuation bears no relation to his earning capacity whatever.

As a farmer I am quite satisfied to pay for poor law and social services if I am charged on my income, but I think it is unfair and unjust to ask me or any other farmer to contribute on my valuation when that valuation very often bears no relation whatever to one's income. Every man in the State ought to contribute fairly and in an equitable way to those services. That is the real point, and our strongest point on which we stand for derating.

[251] This is a Christian country, and we do not want to see anyone die of hunger. The destitute people must be relieved and the sick must be looked after. Hospital services are increasing. The tendency to-day is for people when they get sick to go immediately into an institution. That was not the position 20 years ago. It was then difficult to get people to go into a hospital. Poor people at that time would prefer to remain at home and die at home rather than go into an institution. Hence, the amount of money that is being spent on social services is increasing. Then you have water and sewerage schemes all over the country. A certain amount of the charges in respect of them is thrown back on the agricultural community.

There is a system that obtains under the Department of Local Government whereby you have a contribution made by the county to one of these schemes for a local town. You have an area of charge within an area of charge. First of all, you have the area that immediately benefits from the scheme. That may be a town or an urban district. Then you have the dispensary area, and very often you have the county making a contribution. It sometimes happens that you have this peculiar anomaly, that a farmer living five or six miles away from a town is making a bigger contribution to one of these water or sewerage schemes than the people living there who derive immediate benefit from it. The man in the town is a grouser all the time, but if the farmer grouses against this unfair charge there is a lot of talk. If a farmer looks for a water scheme he has very little use in going to seek State aid or in going to the local authority. He has either to foot the bill himself or do without the scheme.

Deputy Corry referred to the ranchers. I think they are gone for ever. In connection with derating, if a small farmer gets relief to the extent of £5 or £10, and a bigger farmer relief to the extent of £60, £70 or £100 that is relatively the same, because the £5 or the £10 is worth as much to the small farmer as the £70 or the £100 to the bigger farmer, the reason being that the expenditure of the small [252] farmer is relatively lower. There may be a few exceptions to that, but taking the generality of farmers over the country they give employment more or less in proportion to their valuations. Why should the farming community in general be penalised because there are a dozen or half a dozen exceptions?

Mr. Gorey:  Because the Government allows them to be there.

Mr. Hughes:  In my opinion good legislation ought to be for the benefit of the majority. If you have derating the benefits that will flow from it will be distributed fairly and justly. This supplementary agricultural grant is not sufficient. In fact, the grant should never have been there because, in my opinion, it is unjust that one section of the community should be called upon to bear those burdens, while people in the enjoyment of big salaries and in sheltered positions are able to get away without making any contribution to the poor law services or to the social services. The members of the agricultural community have no objection whatever to making a fair and just contribution, but they expect that other people should do the same. The plea that we are making for derating should meet with the support of every fair-minded man in the country. I believe that those in sheltered positions, when they see the justice of our case, will be prepared to make their fair contribution.

Mr. Linehan:  I have just a few words to say on this Vote. Without going into the merits or demerits of derating as envisaged by Deputy Corry or anybody else, I want to call attention to one very significant feature in the Book of Estimates for this year. Deputy Corry admitted that the agricultural community are entitled to some relief from the burdens under which they are suffering. The significant fact that I want to refer to is this: that every other section of the community dealt with in this Book of Estimates has been relieved of its sufferings except the agricultural community. Deputies will see that all the other Estimates have been increased, but that the supplementary agricultural grant is the same as it was last year.

[253]Mr. MacEntee:  The Deputy is aware that it is fixed by Statute.

Mr. Linehan:  We are asking that it should be increased so as to make provision for derating. The Government say that they cannot give it. That is their policy, but all other sections in the community such, for instance, as the civil servants are getting relief in this year's Estimates. The Minister for Finance himself admitted a short time ago, when dealing with the Vote for the Office of the Revenue Commissioners, that most of the increase in that Vote was accounted for by the fact that it was necessary to provide a sum of between £20,000 and £30,000 to meet the extra cost of living bonus.

Mr. MacEntee:  Will the Deputy tell the House who instituted that system?

Mr. Linehan:  I will tell the House that, despite the Minister's air of prosperity and of better times for everybody, it has been found necessary, due, as he says, to this increase in the cost of living bonus, to increase the Estimate for the Office of the Revenue Commissioners by £20,000 or £30,000 in order to relieve a burden from which a certain section of this community is said to be suffering. Deputy Corry with his usual adroitness, with one eye on the gallery, the other eye on the Press, and, if he had it, a third eye on the people at home——

Mr. Corry:  That is stale.

Mr. Linehan:  ——suggested that the agricultural community should not have to bear the cost of main roads or of other public services. He attempted very cleverly to make a good point for himself by saying that motorists want speed and racing tracks, and added that they should pay for them. What is the actual position with regard to motorists? That while they are paying heavy taxation to the State for the use of the roads they are not getting the benefit of that taxation in the roads. The taxation that they are paying is not going back into the roads. The Government have time and again raided the Road Fund.

[254]Mr. MacEntee:  The Deputy is quite wrong.

Mr. Linehan:  I maintain that every penny that is collected from motorists should be spent on the main roads of the country, and if that were done the local authorities would not have to make the heavy demands that they are obliged to make at present on the ratepayers for the maintenance of these roads. That would help the farmer.

An Ceann Comhairle:  The Chair would be glad to have some guidance from the Deputy as to whether we are discussing the supplementary Agricultural Grant or main roads.

Mr. Linehan:  I should be delighted to guide the Chair in discussing Deputy Corry's contribution on the Vote for the supplementary Agricultural Grant.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Is the Deputy assuming that Deputy Corry's speech was quite relevant?

Mr. Linehan:  I am assuming that it was. A case has been made on this question by Deputy Corry. They are against derating and must keep it up. Once upon a time, apparently everybody was for derating. Very few people were against it. Lest you should think well to call me to order, A Chinn Comhairle, may I say that the question of derating was dealt with by practically everybody who spoke on this Vote.

An Ceann Comhairle:  The Deputy's statement would not, of course, prevent me from calling him to order.

Mr. Linehan:  I did not like to appear to be unfair. The case is made that the big man would benefit by derating to a disproportionate extent as compared with the small man. The same people will argue that, by having the annuities, they have given a great benefit to all the farmers, and that they have not given a disproportionate benefit to the large farmer. Fianna Fáil attacks the big farmer and calls him a rancher. They tell us what they have done for all the farmers — the big [255] farmers as well as the small farmers— by halving the annuities, and they tell us that the farmer should not pay for social services for which nobody else has to pay, while he is paying for them and not getting the benefit of what he is paying for.

Seán O Monghaile:  Ní raibh dúil agam labhairt ar an gceist seo anocht ach bhí mé ag éisteach leis na Teachtaí ar an taoibh eile den Tigh agus ba mhaith liom cúpla focal a rá. Níl sé i bhfad o bhí na Teachtaí uilig os cóir na tíre agus an chúis atá á plé anois bhí sí os cóir na ndaoine.

Tá a fhios ag gach duine nach mbeadh de-rating oiriúnach do na feilméirí beaga. Is iad na feilméirí beaga agus an lucht oibre do chuir an Rialtas ar ais in oifig chun saoirse na tíre do bhaint amach agus déanfaidh na fir seo a gcion féin, mar a rinneadar cheana, san chúis sin.

Mr. MacEntee:  I do not know whether or not this debate has been strictly in order. So far as I am concerned, the major question — derating — has been referred to the highest authority in the land and has been decided against Deputies Cogan, Brasier, Linehan, Hughes, Brennan and Bennett. I am not going to ask the people to reverse their verdict, which was given with full advertence to the facts. I do not think Deputies attached very much weight to some of the arguments advanced here. I cannot think that the arguments to which I refer were uttered with full advertence to the facts. Deputy Brennan referred to the position of the ratepayers, and said that the cost of local services was becoming heavier. That is so. We have got to remember that the ratepayers are also beneficiaries of the social services. What they pay for they get, and what they get they have to pay for.

Mr. Gorey:  What do they get?

Mr. MacEntee:  The Deputy knows as well as I do what they get. He was, I believe, for some time a member of a local authority. Surely he does not mean to tell me he was taxing the [256] people and imposing burdens on them and giving them nothing in return?

Mr. Gorey:  The benefits were being given to others.

Mr. MacEntee:  They were given to everybody. Are we to take it that sectionalism is to run so rampant in this community that one section will get all the benefit and the other section will get nothing?

Mr. Hughes:  The farmer gets no benefit.

Mr. MacEntee:  Does the Deputy want me to believe that the farmer is not a living element in this community and that he gets no advantage from this expenditure?

Mr. Gorey:  Tell us what privileges he does get.

Mr. MacEntee:  Does he get no benefit from the local educational services, the local road service, the local medical services, the local public health services?

Mr. Gorey:  None. Even in the case of education, he is excluded. His son cannot get a scholarship.

Mr. MacEntee:  He does not send his children along the roads provided by the people?

Mr. Gorey:  If the farmer's valuation is over a certain figure, his family cannot get a scholarship.

Mr. MacEntee:  Then all this money must be spent to improve the condition of the greyhounds. I do not know what else these roads, schools and public health services are for if the farmer gets no benefit from them.

Mr. Gorey:  None.

Mr. MacEntee:  His position is, to say the least, a peculiar one.

Mr. Gorey:  I agree.

Mr. MacEntee:  Does the farmer [257] never get any benefit out of this expenditure?

Mr. Gorey:  No.

Mr. MacEntee:  Does the agricultural labourer get no benefit?

Mr. Gorey:  Very little.

Mr. MacEntee:  Does he get any benefit?

Mr. Gorey:  He gets some poor law service.

Mr. MacEntee:  What particular element in the community gets the benefit of the services provided by the local authorities?

Mr. Bennett:  The Minister gets some of them.

Mr. MacEntee:  The Minister gets no more benefit than the Deputy, if the Deputy is referring to the Minister in his personal capacity.

Mr. Bennett:  The Minister and everybody else get the benefit.

Mr. Brasier:  Has not the farmer to pay the highest amount?

Mr. Corry:  You are no farmer.

Mr. MacEntee:  The farmer has not to pay the highest amount. If he had, would we be voting £1,870,000 to relieve the farmer of some part of the cost of local services?

Mr. Brasier:  You admit the necessity for it?

Mr. MacEntee:  If I am not going to be permitted to speak without interruption, I shall not waste the time of the House.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Deputy Brasier had his opportunity to speak, and should allow the Minister to make his statement.

Mr. Brasier:  Is the Minister to be allowed to make an incorrect statement?

[258]An Ceann Comhairle:  He must be allowed to make his statement.

Mr. Brasier:  Even if it is not correct?

An Ceann Comhairle:  That may be Deputy Brasier's opinion.

Mr. MacEntee:  I do not propose, while Deputy Brasier is in the House, to continue my statement.

Mr. Brennan:  Not a bad way out.

Vote put and agreed to.

Mr. MacEntee:  I understand that agreement has been reached whereby the Order of the House to take the Finance Bill on Friday will be changed so as to permit of its being taken on Thursday.

Mr. Brennan:  I understand that that is agreed.

Mr. MacEntee:  I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £46,477 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníochta i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1939, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí Oifig an Ard-Aighne, etc., agus chun Costaisí Coir-Phróiseacht agus Dlí Mhuirearacha eile, maraon le Deontas i gcabhair do Chostaisí áirithe is iníoctha amach as Rátai Aitiúla do réir Reachta.

That a sum not exceeding £46,477 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1939, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of the Attorney-General, etc., and for the Expenses of Criminal Prosecutions and other Law Charges, including a grant in relief of certain Expenses payable by Statute out of Local Rates.

Vote put and agreed to.

[259]Mr. MacEntee:  I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £81,780 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1939, chun Deontaisí do Príomh-Scoileanna agus do Choláistí (8 Edw. 7, c. 38; Uimh. 42 de 1923; Uimh. 32 de 1926; Uimh. 35 de 1929; agus Uimh. 27 de 1934).

That a sum not exceeding £81,780 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1939, for Grants to Universities and Colleges (8 Edw. 7, c. 38; No. 42 of 1923; No. 32 of 1926; No. 35 of 1929; and No. 27 of 1934).

Vote put and agreed to.

Minister for Finance (Mr. MacEntee):  I move:—

[260] Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £200 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1939, chun Luach Saothair ar Bhainistí Stoc Rialtais.

That a sum not exceeding £200 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1939, for Remuneration for the Management of Government Stocks.

Mr. Linehan:  I note that there is a slight increase in the Vote. There is no provision made in the Vote for the charges that will arise under the new Loan?

Mr. MacEntee:  No.

Vote agreed to.

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

The Dáil adjourned at 10.15 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 6th July, 1938.

Mr. Nally:  asked the Minister for Lands if he is aware that over 50 tenants in the townlands of Barneygreggaun, Moonard, Ballinkleva, Rathduff and Kilnagower, Claremorris, County Mayo, are unable to remove their turf from the Harefield bog owing to the failure of the Land Commission to complete the road through that bog; that the Commissioners of Public Works cannot carry out this work in the Electoral Division of Mayo owing to the number of persons on the unemployment register; and if he will state what steps, if any, are about to be taken by the Land Commission to have the road through that bog put in condition to enable the tenants to remove their turf.

Minister for Lands (Mr. Boland):  The holdings which the accommodation road referred to would serve have been vested in the tenant-purchasers and the Land Commission do not propose to expend funds on the work.