Wednesday, 6 July 1938
Dáil Éireann Debate
Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £9,192 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íochta an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1939, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí Roinn an Taoisigh (Uimh. 16 de 1924 agus Uimh. 40 de 1937).
That a sum not exceeding £9,192 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 Department of the Taoiseach (No. 16 of 1924 and No. 40 of 1937).
There is an increase of £662 on this Vote as compared with last year. That increased provision is due to the rise in the cost-of-living bonus; to the replacement of a post of employment staff officer by one of staff officer; to the insertion of a provision of £400 for extra staff, the need for which has become apparent though the proposals  therefor have not been officially sanctioned by me; and to the normal incremental charges. This increase is counterbalanced to some extent by the appointment of the former assistant secretary as secretary to the President, and his replacement by an officer on a lower point on the salary scale.
Mr. Gorey: I move —“That the Estimate be referred back for reconsideration.” This motion was put down for the purpose of drawing attention to Executive policy, and I suggest that this is the proper Vote on which to raise the question. I refrained from participating in other discussions because it seemed to me they were not the proper ones for the question I want to raise. In this connection I say that Executive policy continues to place a load on one section of the community that has not to be borne by other sections. I will probably be told in plain terms that that means discussing the merits and the demerits of derating. I may be told, as the Minister for Finance hinted yesterday, that the Government had got a mandate at the recent election to refuse derating and to refuse justice to a certain section of the people. Nothing can be further from the fact that a mandate was given in that direction. The statements made during the election campaign by the Minister's supporters are at variance with the actual facts. I heard one speaker at New Ross, who is a member of the House now, say that the operation of derating in Northern Ireland was nullified by an equal rise on houses and buildings used for agricultural purposes. That statement was repeated in Monaghan by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Local Government. I saw the following letter dealing with the question in the newspapers on Wednesday, June 22nd:
“A few days ago Dr. Ward was reported to have made a statement to the effect that the equivalent of the money raised on land in Northern Ireland before derating was now levied on buildings, raising the rates to 12s. in the £. This is incorrect.
“In County Down the average rate in the pound this year is 5s. 11d., and in County Antrim 6s. 1d. Some rural districts pay a little more, some less, but these are the averages. A rate of 12s. in the pound is unknown in the rural districts.
“Judging by his speech, as reported, Dr. Ward does not even know that agricultural buildings as well as land are derated in Northern Ireland. A farmer only pays on his dwelling-house. No rates whatever are assessed on buildings used for agricultural purposes — i.e., cow-sheds, stables, etc.”
Mr. Gorey: The Parliamentary Secretary may try to draw a red herring across the path, but that will count for nothing. The propaganda advanced by the Government was that they had got a mandate to refuse justice. Even if they had a mandate that would not make injustice justice, or inequity equity. At the present time County Kilkenny is paying a flat rate of 8/9 in the £.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy intimated to me some days ago his intention of moving to refer this Vote back for the purpose of discussing derating. He had a note from me regarding that matter. The question of derating agricultural land may not be regarded as the underlying basis of several Estimates. The practice of this House has been, and it is a very necessary practice, that a matter discussed on one Vote may not be reopened on another Vote. The question of derating agricultural land was discussed at considerable length on the Vote for Agriculture. It was discussed yesterday, perhaps rather  irregularly, and may not be again discussed to-day. If the Deputy objects to the policy of not derating, and seeks to initiate a debate on derating of agricultural land as such, he must take some other opportunity. I also informed the Deputy that on the Vote for the President's Department there could not be an omnibus discussion. Obviously it may not be used as an opportunity to reopen matters discussed on other Votes, or to anticipate discussion on Votes not yet reached.
Mr. Gorey: I submit, Sir, that this is the proper Vote on which to discuss Executive policy. This is a question of policy, and even if this question was raised on other Votes that is not a reason why it should not be raised on this Vote, which, I submit, is the proper one, as this arises out of Executive policy. Therefore, I submit that I am entitled to go into the question now, as I took no part in the other discussions. I recognise that they were irregular and improper to the matters that were then under consideration. I submit that this is the proper time to discuss Executive policy as this is Executive policy, pure and simple.
An Ceann Comhairle: Seeing that there is collective responsibility in the Government, I fail to see what matter arising on any Estimate might not be brought under that heading. This matter was discussed at length on the Vote for Agriculture to which it was relevant. The discussion may not be reopened.
Mr. Gorey: I submit, Sir, that this is the proper Vote to discuss the question, and I refrained from discussing it on other Votes. I submit that this concerns the policy of the Executive Council, and that I am in order in discussing it. The guidance I got, with the exception of the note I got from you, Sir, was that I could raise it on this Vote. Can I continue now?
An Ceann Comhairle: As I indicated, the Deputy may suggest derating as a desirable policy, but he may not initiate a debate on derating of agricultural land and enter into details. There would be no finality if discussion were allowed to be reopened.
Mr. Gorey: I go back to the whole history where this tax was imposed, and I go back to the year 1847. I have here in my hand a poor rate receipt from Kilkenny Union in the year 1847 — July, 1847 — in which the rate was 5d. in the £. This rate, too, Sir, was imposed at a time — perhaps some of the Deputies will be of opinion that it is an historical tradition that they should keep up — when the common people, such as we are representing, had no voice whatsoever in the affairs of the State, were not even represented on the board of guardians, were slaves in their own country. These were the penal days, the barbarous days, and this is the last relic of those days. One class of people ruled the country at that time — a privileged class. A rate of 5d. in the £ was in operation at this particular date, which was borne altogether by the landlord. Four or five years later, four I think, half of it was transferred to the tenant. He had no option in the matter, he had to take whatever burden was put on his shoulders. He had either to take it that way or in an increase in his rent. Anybody who has read anything about the history of the penal days and those days will remember that he had no option in the matter at all. He had to take whatever was given him and shoulder whatever load was put on his back. In 1851 or 1852 he was given half this load to carry, 2½d. in the £, and that held good up to our own day, up to the year 1897 or 1898, 40 or 41 years ago. I remember distinctly myself paying at the rate of half this particular rate. The other half was borne by the landlord. Legislation came in then that transferred all the load on to the agriculturist in occupation. I want to compare the incidence of taxation in the early days with the incidence of taxation to-day.
 In our time we can remember when the professions, industry and trade, bore a certain burden in proportion to their means. We must contrast the position then and the position now, and the revolution that has taken place since those early days. Let us take the baker of to-day in Dublin; he is at present receiving £5 2s. 0d. a week; he is threatening a strike for 10/- extra. In the early days he had a salary or wage of half a crown a batch, working out at 10/6 or 15/- a week. He is paying a tax on his home, his household. That is all he is contributing to the cost of social services, but the farmer's position is different. It was laid down distinctly in 1897 or 1898 that the basis of the farmer's income was his valuation, and even then the authorities at that time had a doubt as to its justice because they put in a provision in the Finance Act that an agricultural farmer who could keep accounts, and who was able to show he was making no profit from his business, was charged no income-tax. Certainly, there can be no question that the valuation at that time was the basis of his income. It is still the basis of his income under very changed circumstances. But, in addition to his liability for income-tax, the same as the baker who is in receipt of £5 2s. 0d. a week, liability for income-tax even though he is a married man, the farmer is liable to an impost on every £ of his valuation. Even a man in a labourer's cottage is liable to the county rate. In my county it happens to be 8/9; in Waterford, 12/6 in the £, and he is liable even on the first £ of his valuation. A man with no income is liable to that particular impost. I want you to realise the position of the two classes of citizens in this State, the people who are contributing nothing to social services and who are getting all the social services, and the people who are contributing all to the social services and who are getting nothing from it. It is an extraordinary position that this one section of the community should be singled out to carry a load that no other section of the community has to carry. As I say, we have no objection at all to paying an impost like every other citizen on our habitations,  but we do distinctly object to carrying a rate that no other citizen has to carry. Take the Minister. Take any professional man, for instance. He is paying a tax on his home, merely a home tax. He may be in receipt of £1,700 or £2,500 a year, but on no other part of his income is he paying a tax until he has passed the £250 mark, and then he is subject to 4/6 in the £. In addition, he has allowances for every child he has got who is of school-going age or attending the university, but the unfortunate farmer down the country is liable to an impost, of 12/6 in the £ in County Waterford, on the first £ of his income, even the dweller in the labourer's cottage. We have another case. A man here in Dublin who has no home, who is merely living with a friend, may have £1,000 or £1,500 a year——
Mr. Gorey: There has been a considerable amount of hostility here in this country to agriculture. It is said that agriculturists have always a poor mouth, that they are always claiming something they are not entitled to. I heard a claim made a month ago by one of the best men of figures in the County Kilkenny. He said: “Look at all we have paid to help to purchase  the agricultural holdings of the country for the farmers under the recent British Acts.” I asked him at how much loss was he or the community. He said they paid a considerable amount of money. The facts were on the basis of the £63,000,000 that we owed England, the whole of the United Kingdom was asked to contribute £300,000 and that was for all the Acts and in the particular Acts a certain bonus had to be made up by the taxpayer. I will not go into that, because I will just assume in round numbers that they were paying a bonus on all the Acts, because it does not matter which. It was £300,000 on all the citizens of the United Kingdom. I will not go on the President's or the Prime Minister's contention that we are only a sixty-sixth part of the United Kingdom. I will go on the population basis and say we are about a thirty-third, to be more accurate and just. On that basis our contribution towards the £300,000 would be £9,090 and, reduced to pence, it would be a lot less than 1d. per head of our population.
Now, the profits and the turnover of industry 40 or 50 years ago and to-day are two different things. When the basis of income was fixed 50 years ago it was fixed on infinitely better terms than it is to-day. We had more prosperity and more security. Our overheads were less. Our wages bill was less and outgoings in every direction were less. Our profits and the prices we got for our produce were as good as and in some cases better than they are to-day. We were able to get as good a price for corn, barley and oats, and as good a price for every other article. We were able to get as much for our cattle.
Our wages bill was, practically speaking, nothing compared with what it is to-day; our rates were nothing compared with the rates to-day; the cost of machinery and overheads were not more than one-third what they are to-day; replacement costs would be only one-third what they are to-day. In every way our prosperity and security were infinitely better than to-day. Even when there was a doubt about our position,  we got the benefit of it. They put in a clause in the Finance Act indicating that, if we could not show a profit, we paid no income-tax. What is the contrast from the business point of view? Take the case of the baker, the professional man or anybody else and you will find that a revolution has taken place in the last 40 or 50 years. As a matter of fact, the position is altogether reversed. There would be some justification years ago in saying that a landlord was receiving a good income out of his land and he did not earn it. To-day that condition of things has disappeared. The poor man of that day is the rich man of to-day. The poor man of that day is a man of wealth to-day, and the man who possessed wealth at that time is not to-day in a position to pay anything.
We are asking no charity, no compassion. We merely want justice and equity, and those things we are going to get. You may talk as you like about the mandate you got at the election, but remember, you will be asking for another mandate within the next four or five years. That day is going to come and we will get what we are entitled to get. No Government can exist defending a position like that. Our claim cannot be attacked on any just grounds. Although you may use the big stick and talk about the majority received under a series of heads, not alone under this particular head, and although you may refer to the claims and appeals to the electorate, you have no mandate in this case, and this country would be a slave country and a cowardly country, not deserving of the salt used in its baptism, if one section of the people lived as slaves to the other half.
I remember the time when the school teacher was paid by results, and the payment might amount to £55 or £75 a year. The position is very different to-day. I suppose the salary to-day runs to £400. I am speaking subject to correction, but I think, roughly, that it runs to £400. There are many officials in the same category. A revolution has taken place in that status, and you cannot ignore it. I am not asking that these people should be burdened or that anything should be done to victimise them. I  am merely asking for justice for ourselves. We should not be saddled with an impost that has no foundation in justice and equity. What is this heritage you have got? It is a heritage transmitted by the old British régime, by the old privileged, landlord class. Some people might talk about the sacred position, but what is sacred about it?
I might add, too, that things have occurred in the farming industry. Circumstances are present now that were not present some years ago. We have epidemics passing through agriculture at the moment, serious epidemics that were not heard of 30 or 40 years ago. Herds of cattle can be turned on the scrap-heap with a visitation, and no one can help us to combat that. I say that the position is infinitely worse from every point of view. Any Executive that wants to be just to all citizens cannot afford to ignore the agricultural community, and they should not try to impose penalties on people unable to bear them. I am talking now about the need for treating the farmers justly. No one section of the people should be asked to slave for the other section. At the moment there is no equity, and I do not know how any Ministry could defend the position. Is there any Deputy here who could indicate any section of the people subject to the same imposts as members of the agricultural community are subject to?
I want you to compare the conditions of the citizens of the towns, the comforts and the social services they have, the hours they have to work, the pay they receive on holidays, with the conditions of the people who have to live on the hillsides, on the mountain-sides through the country, with their poor approaches, bad lanes and roadways. At one time the highways were available for us. We could go out and drive our cattle and other stock to markets and fairs and to the railways; we could drive our horses to the towns. We cannot do that now. If we attempt to drive cattle on the roads they are flopping at every turn and get their legs broken, and there is no compensation. We are, practically  speaking, driven off the main roads, the highways of the country. Contrast the lives of the country people with the lives of the people who live in the towns. The country people have not the same social services and they receive nothing except what they provide with their own hands. Anybody who has gone through half a dozen or a dozen campaigns the same as I have, and who knows every home in his constituency, will realise the position of our boys and girls to-day.
There are people who wonder why boys and girls stay on the land at all. So-called statesmen get up here and elsewhere and ask why are the people fleeing the country, emphasising that we must keep them on the land. How can you keep them on the land? Why do you not give them fair play? Have you any idea of the lives they lead? Have you any sympathy with the people on the land? You have not any; you have not shown any in practice, anyhow. The people are leaving the country districts. There are no marriages because young men will not accept the responsibility that in ordinary circumstances people would be expected to accept. The men and women are growing old and none of them get married and you are coming to the time when that position will have serious reactions. If the reactions do not appear to you now, they will in ten years' time or less. Nobody wants to stay on the land. Boys and girls want to leave it, glad to escape into anything else.
In the country that I know so well you do not find much lipstick or much polishing of nails. You will find girls there chopping fir stumps to get a bit of fire in order to cook the meals. It is all very well for some Deputies to laugh at that, but the people who laugh do not know the country. The country is not going to stand it. Revolutions have been put on the way in other countries for less, and I would welcome a revolution here when it comes, and a revolution will come unless there is justice done to the people. You cannot compel them to live under the conditions that they have in the country while other people here and in the towns are having a  much better time. Any Executive Council that is not prepared to give greater justice to those people in the country does not deserve to occupy the position of an Executive Council. I do not care by what means they have got to the position of being a Government, they will have to do justice to all the citizens of the State.
Mr. Gorey: There are some Deputies I would not think it worth while replying to. What is the reason of all this injustice we see around us? We have not been as articulate as we should. We have not had the spokesmen we should have, arguing our case. It might be asked why I did not make this case to the Minister for Finance 12 months or two years ago. My answer is that I think an apology is due from me to the people I represent. I confess I have failed them. I did not begin to understand this case nor its implications until I found the Minister for Finance indicating that he had no sympathy with the people who have to bear these imposts. That set me thinking and, on examining this matter, I found the position to be iniquitous and an injustice to the rural population.
I am heartily ashamed of my inability to deal with this question in the way in which I think it should be dealt with. By what law or justice can it be claimed that the farmer is not entitled to the same consideration as any other people in the community? By what right is it claimed that he should bear this heavy impost on the first £ of his income? What is the position with regard to the young people leaving the country to get a job in the cities and towns? I challenge any young country boy to find a job in this city or in any other city to-day. The trade union regulations are so tight that a boy from the country cannot go into any business, such as the business of butcher or baker or even vanman. The union rules are so worked that they will all go on strike if such a boy comes in. I challenge any man in the country to get a job in this city or in any other city under the present restrictions. He simply  cannot. If he wants to get employment he has to leave the country altogether and escape to some other land. He is absolutely shut out from employment here. I want to know what the Government's attitude is with regard to that state of things?
I am not one who wants to be put in the position of being a supplicant. I do not want to be in the position of making an appeal to anybody. I do not like the rôle of beggar. In this matter I am not begging; I ask for justice. I demand justice, and neither the Prime Minister nor anybody else can defend the present position. I would like to see the Prime Minister stand up and defend it; I would like to know on what grounds he would do so. I would like to see him attacking our position. I want to know what we have done that would justify our being degraded to the level of slaves, bearing imposts which no other section in the community has to bear. What argument can the Prime Minister adduce for that? What arguments can the Government Party bring forth to justify that? I will be told that this issue was before our Party seven or eight years, and that it was turned down by a commission that had been set up to deal with it. That is true. Some of us were just as keen about it then as now, but we did not see the implications then as closely as we see them now.
Mr. Gorey: Perhaps the Minister would tell us to what he is referring. The actual facts were that somebody was put up to say “no” on that commission. The Minister was shocked a few weeks ago when he thought of it, and he said that this was not a genuine transaction.
Mr. MacEntee: I referred a few weeks ago, in reply to similar statements, to the commission set up to consider a proposal to derate agricultural land. I presume that is the commission which Deputy Gorey has in mind.
Mr. Gorey: Oh, I am sure the Minister is very anxious to get a point of ruling here. He is very clever. That is the type of thing we hear from the Minister. I notice the Minister is leaving. He is a damn good riddance.
Mr. Gorey: Yes, but it is the way he does it. I am afraid I am not very good at facing this hostile element. I am, I suppose, rather a coward in a way. I trust the Prime Minister, who has a different mind from some of the others, will give us something better than that. He has some idea of justice.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy has referred to the “Prime Minister.” I should like to point out to the House that according to the Constitution, the Prime Minister is to be referred to as the Taoiseach. The Standing Orders also refer to him as the Taoiseach. The Irish term should be used in this House. “Taoiseach” is not a very difficult word to pronounce.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Chair has not suggested that Deputy Gorey did it deliberately. Deputy Gorey did continue to refer to derating despite the ruling of the Chair. Derating would require legislation. A passing reference to the burdens of the farmers would be legitimate, but derating, requiring legislation, may not be advocated in the course of debates on the Estimates.
Mr. Cogan: I understand that on this Vote we can discuss the question of the general policy of the Executive Council or the Government, and as the Government is charged with the tremendous responsibility of ruling this country and seeing that the people of this country get justice, fair treatment and a chance of living in this country, it should be the duty of the members of this House to co-operate with the Government as far as possible and to make any suggestions they think reasonable — suggestions that would be likely to help the Government in improving their general economic policy and in promoting that national recovery which is the urgent need at the present moment. The country at the present time is in many respects declining. It is declining economically and socially — I will not say morally. It is declining for the reason that the most important industry in the country, the industry upon which the entire population have got to depend, has been reduced to an impoverished condition. Until that industry is placed on an independent footing and on a paying basis there is no hope whatever for economic recovery. The proof that the agricultural industry is declining can be found in the statistics published by the various Departments of the Government. Statistics prove that the rural population is declining while the urban population is increasing. Our statistics prove that the value of our exports is declining and has declined during the past few years to an enormous extent — I believe by £20,000,000 per year — statistics which prove that the earning power of each individual farmer working on the land has declined from £93 per year to £51 per year. All these figures or statistics show that the agricultural industry is in a really desperate position, but one does not require departmental figures to realise the position to which the agricultural industry has been reduced. One has only to note the impoverished condition of the people who are working on the land. One has only to go to the rural districts and see the women and children out working in the fields because the farmer cannot afford to employ labour and pay for labour at a reasonable rate of wages.  We see also young people flocking into the cities and flocking to the emigrant ship, trying to get away from a life of poverty, a life of penal servitude, upon the land. We must ask ourselves, why does not the Government take adequate steps to end this situation? There is a reasonable answer that they will make, or rather a reasonable question that they will put by way of answer. They will ask: “What steps do you wish us to take in order to put the agricultural industry on a sound and paying basis?” The first step is to ensure that everything the farmer produces on the land, everything that it is necessary for him to produce upon the land, should carry a remunerative price — a price that will cover the cost of production and enable him to pay a living and a reasonable wage.
If you examine the prices of the various foreign products and live stock during the past five years—and you must always take an average of five years in order to find out whether farming is paying or not — if you average the prices of any foreign product for the past five years, you will find that the farmer has been working at slave wages: that he has been giving away the produce of his labour for absolutely nothing. Take, for example, the farmer who bought a calf in 1932 for £3. In 1935 he probably sold that calf for £3, after feeding it for two years. Was that just remuneration for the farmer? The same applies to other products. Take, for example, beet. For two or three years farmers were compelled to grow beet at 30/- per ton, a price which did not allow the workers in the industry a living wage. At the present time that price has been substantially increased, but it will require to be further increased if the farmer is to continue in the beet-growing industry. In addition to fair prices, it is absolutely necessary that the farmer must not be wronged in the matter of taxation. There is an obligation on the Government to see that justice is done to farmers and to every citizen of the country in the distribution of the burden of taxation. An obligation rests upon the State to see that no section of the community is forced to contribute in excess of what is just and  reasonable. That obligation has not been carried into effect during the past few years. Farmers have been taxed in a thousand different ways. They have been taxed heavily to promote industrial development, which every progressive and every national-minded person agrees is absolutely necessary, but the promotion of industrial development has imposed upon the rural population and the farming community generally a crushing burden, an exceptionally heavy burden, and if the farmers are to continue to bear that burden, they must be given relief in other directions.
Again, on the question of direct taxation, you have the fact that the farmers have been overtaxed in the matter of annuities, and annuities must be regarded as a form of taxation since they are used, or the money collected under the heading of annuities is used, as revenue for the State to a large extent. Now, in addition to what the farmer is called upon to pay to the Land Commission, he has been called upon during the past few years to pay duties upon his products exported from this country, to the tune of £5,000,000 a year, approximately. That was a crushing burden imposed on the farming community, and a burden from which other sections of the community have been exempt, and it represents only a small portion of the many burdens which have been placed on the farming community during the past few years. We have also a burden imposed through the restrictions on agricultural exports — the losses sustained through those restrictions, the losses sustained by farmers through the maladministration of export bounties which, for one year— the year 1934 — were distributed by a Government Department, not on a basis of justice, but distributed to people who were selected by the Department as being exporters. We know that that system was found to be unjust by the Government and that it was discontinued, and the export bounties were handed on direct to the producers. I am sorry, what I really meant to refer to was the export licences, and not bounties. These export licences were really valuable, and for one year they were retained in the  hands of the Department and handed over to exporters, while the farmers and producers were deprived of the benefit of them, although they were worth at least £5 each. There was a tremendous loss inflicted on the farming community as a result of that, and there was also a tremendous loss inflicted on them through the smuggling of cattle. That affected them to the extent that the smuggling of cattle pulled down the price of the cattle in the English market; at least, it deprived the farmer of the benefit of the market price in the English market, and thus it happened that the farmers, in addition to subsidising the so-called exporters, were also called upon to subsidise the smugglers. The smuggling industry flourished for a year or two and tremendous profits were made at the expense of the agricultural producer.
All these crushing burdens were placed on the shoulders of the farmer, and there never has been any question of making any recompense to the farming community for the losses they have sustained. We will be told that tremendous sums of money have been spent on bounties, and that these compensate the farmer to a large extent. We know, however, that those bounties were paid to exporters, and that, owing to the restrictions on the export of live stock, and for various other reasons, a very small portion of those bounties was passed on to the farmer. We know also that, under the heading of compensation, we will have included the £250,000 that was paid to the proprietors of the Roscrea Meat Factory. That also will be included in the account of compensation to the farmers for their losses in the economic war. But will any serious or fair-minded person dare to suggest that that money was for the benefit of the farming community? Was it not to a very large extent for the benefit of those enterprising proprietors of the Roscrea factory? The farmer did not get an economic price for his old cows. He got 50/-, and even during the economic war 50/- was not a fair price for old cows. The proprietors of the Roscrea  Meat Factory were given those cows absolutely free, skins and all.
Mr. Cogan: I am just pointing out, Sir, that other sections of the community have been compensated. The proprietors of the Roscrea Meat Factory were compensated when it was found impossible to provide them free with the number of cows that was promised to them; but when it comes to the just claim of the farmers for compensation for the tremendous losses which they have suffered — losses amounting to approximately £20,000,000 a year for five years — no attempt is made to recompense them to any extent for those tremendous losses. Until some such attempt is made, no one can believe that justice is being done to the farming community. It is not alone a question of doing justice to or compensating the farmers. It is a still more important question. It is a question of reviving the agricultural industry; it is a question of giving the people who are working on the land renewed confidence, a chance to live, and a chance to increase production. The wealth of this country will depend in the future to a very large extent upon the output of the land. If the people who are living on the land are not given some encouragement to increase their output; if they are not provided with some very necessary capital to enable them to extend their industry, then there is no hope for this country; there is no hope for increasing the natural wealth of this country by increasing the output from the land. What the farmer needs at the present time is capital to enable him to restock his land, and to clear off the accumulated load of debt which is crushing him into the ground. We were told years ago that the farmers of Ireland were divided into two classes, those who hunt and those who are hunted. To-day there is only one class in the farming community — those who are hunted; those who are hunted for rates, hunted for annuities, hunted for debts. Until the powers that be stop hunting the farmer, and give him a  chance to settle down and work his land; until they give him a chance to recover some of the tremendous losses which he has suffered, there is no hope for the agricultural industry. The arm of the agricultural producer to-day is paralysed by poverty. He cannot increase the wealth of the nation. If the farmer cannot increase the wealth of the nation, then the wealth of the nation cannot be increased, because there is no other industry in the country which is capable of such extensive and intensive development as the agricultural industry.
I appeal to the Government to do justice to the farmer; to give him some recompense for what he has lost, and, above all things, to stop hunting him. Surely, after all the farmer has suffered during the past five years, it should not be necessary to recruit a special force known as the Flying Squad to visit the farmers' holdings weekly and almost daily, and keep on persecuting and harassing the unfortunate farmer until he is forced to take his horses from under the plough and sell them in order to meet the demands of this special force. Surely that should not be the policy of the Government in dealing with a section of the community who have borne a great national burden during the past few years, and who have made tremendous sacrifices in what the Government believe and what the majority of the people believe to be the best national interests. Surely the Government must realise that the farmers are entitled to justice. Yet it seems that the Government have not measured their actions in accordance with the principles of Christian justice. I will give an instance. I will give the case of a struggling farmer whose cows were seized for annuities, although he, in common with all the other farmers in Ireland, had been paying the annuities twice over through the tariffs imposed on his produce, and through the devaluation of his stock. Surely, even if such a drastic step as to take from that farmer his sole means of living were necessary, the powers that be should have seen to it that that farmer got a fair price for his cows when they were offered for sale. Yet what were the facts?  Those cows were put up for sale by the sheriff, and were bid for by the Government's agent. They were bid up to a price of £90, which was approximately half their value. It was found even then that the man to whom the cattle were knocked down had not the necessary capital to pay for them. The cattle were put up for sale again. They were bid for by the Government's agent and bought by him for £60, that is to say, £30 less than he had already bid for them. Surely the agent acting on behalf of the Government should have been instructed that it was his duty to act fairly. Surely he should have been instructed that it was his duty to give the unfortunate farmer whose stock were seized a fair price for his produce. Unfortunately that was not done. If this agent got instructions that he was to do justice to the unfortunate farmer he apparently ignored those instructions.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy stated that he intended to discuss general Government policy on this Vote. The matters to which the Deputy now refers were discussed in detail on two other Estimates when the House had not the benefit of the Deputy's presence. If an individual case is raised in discussing general policy, it is very difficult for the Minister to reply without having had previous notice of the case in question.
Mr. Cogan: In conclusion, I appeal to the Government to change their attitude with regard to the unfortunate agricultural producer. I appeal to them to get the idea that the farmer is not a convict on licence; that he is a decent citizen, prepared to do his part in this country, prepared to co-operate with the Government in whatever steps they may desire to take in promoting economic development and progress. You have had an example during the last few years of the manner in which the farmers have co-operated with the Government. First, you had the beet growing industry, a new industry introduced in this country ten or 12 years ago. The farmers knew nothing about  beet growing. They were asked in the national interests to grow beet. They took it up enthusiastically, more enthusiastically than any other section of the community would take up a new branch of industry if asked to do so. They took up beet growing and made it a tremendous success. I am proud to belong to the county which led the way in making the beet growing industry such a success.
There was the attitude of the farmers towards wheat growing, and towards every other branch of industry that the Government tried to promote or develop. The Government had the wholehearted co-operation and support of the farming community in that respect. Farmers were always ready and willing to do their part in whatever policy was considered best in the national interests. All they ask is that the Government should do justice to the farming community, by relieving them of the crushing overhead charge imposed upon them, seeing that they get fair prices for the products of their labour and, above all, that they get some little opportunity to recover from their present impoverished condition. We know that in 1933 when the farmers were in a difficult position, but were not as badly off as they are to-day — because they had not then met the full force of the economic blizzard — the Government suspended the collection of annuities for a time, reduced the annuities permanently, and funded outstanding arrears. Is it not possible for the Government to take the same course now, to suspend the collection of annuities for a time, to fund outstanding arrears, and reduce the annuities once more to the amount required to meet Government liability under the Land Purchase Acts? I do not believe that liability exceeds £1,000,000 per annum, although £2,000,000 are being collected. That is all we ask of the Government on behalf of the agricultural industry.
Mr. McGovern: I fully sympathise with the views of the previous speaker, and I want to refer briefly to a few  matters appropriate to this Vote. I do not want to go back on what happened for the last few years. As a result of the economic war we know that farmers are entitled to compensation and to justice for the losses they sustained. Apart from that, continued injury is being done to the farming community, because the tendency of legislation is to drive people off the land. Every Act passed into law during the last four or five years, when it is examined, shows that the tendency is to drive people off the land, whether farmers, farmers' sons and daughters, or agricultural workers, because two standards of living are being set up here. There is one standard for the cities and one for the rural districts. That is evident in every Act passed by this House. For instance, take the position of industrialists and compare it with the agricultural industry. In the case of industrialists in places other than rural districts, provision is made to give them in some cases as much as 75 per cent. protection. Only yesterday I received notice of the imposition of a duty amounting to 75 per cent. on certain articles of delph. A number of other articles are protected to an enormous extent, yet the agricultural producer is not only competing in the world's markets but, as the Taoiseach knows, he has to take a lesser price for his produce. Cattle or other agricultural produce from Éire must be exported by an approved road and, in the market, these cattle are about £1 or 30/- under the price paid for cattle on the other side of the Border. At the end of the economic war farmers here found that they had to produce under world prices, while other producers had an advantage of 35 to 70 per cent. for their goods. That was done at the expense of the agricultural community, whether farmers or working people. That is the position and it is an inequitable one. Even that might not be so bad. But what is the real position? In the matter of taxation here discrimination is made against the farmers. They are the only people paying direct taxation. On grounds of equity that position cannot be defended. I refer to the demand for derating. It has been stated that a commission was set up  to inquire into the question. I was a witness before that commission and when I referred to the equity or inequity of rating——
Mr. T. Kelly: On a point of order, I should like to have your ruling, Sir, in connection with that question. During nearly the whole of yesterday's session the House was considering the Estimate for the Minister for Agriculture, and the speeches made to-day were all delivered then. I should like to know if it is in order for Deputies to repeat the speeches to-day. Personally, I do not want to hear any more about the farmers. I heard enough about them yesterday.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy was present when the Chair indicated to Deputy Gorey certain lines of debate to-day, lines which Deputy Gorey did not follow very closely. The underlying theme of several Estimates cannot be the same. For four or five years, the economic war underlay almost every Opposition motion brought before the House. The question of agricultural derating cannot be substituted as the underlying note in other debates. On the Estimate for Agriculture, derating was discussed at length. Yesterday it arose rather irregularly. On this Estimate derating should not be discussed. In any case, the derating of agricultural land would require legislation. Legislation may not be advocated on Estimates.
Mr. McGovern: I agree. I am only mentioning the incidence of derating to show how legislation has set up two standards of living here. The incidence of taxation is one example. I am referring to the methods by which prices are artificially fixed in order to give industrial producers an advantage of from 50 to 75 per cent. over agricultural producers. Then there is the incidence of direct taxation, which is inequitably imposed. It has been stated over and over again that a commission had gone into the question. I happened to be a witness at that commission, and I was called to order on several occasions for introducing the inequity or otherwise of taxation. because the terms of reference of the commission precluded consideration of that question. The terms of reference did not allow the equity of the case to be considered at all, so that it was necessary, before this thing could be satisfactorily dealt with or regarded as having been dealt with by the commission, that the terms of reference should include the equities of the case. That is all I want to say about derating.
There is another matter. Social legislation in this House has the very same trend. It is so shaped and so drafted as to drive the people off the land. I simply give you one instance  and it is typical of many other Bills that go through this House. Take the case of widows' pensions. I do not know how the Taoiseach can defend paying a widow in the country 40 per cent. of what a widow in the city gets as a pension. That in effect is what the Widows' and Orphans' Pensions Act does, and it is most inequitable that a woman in the city should be paid two and one-half times as much as her sister in the country. I think that any representative coming from the rural districts is not worthy to represent his constituents if he stands over that. I do not care whether they be Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael or Independent, it is up to them to see there is more equity in the legislation that is passed by this House. A widow in a rural district gets 3/- if she happens to have 5/- of an income. If she happens to live in the city she gets 7/6. I challenge contradiction of that. If she happens to have one dependent, provided she lives in Dublin, she gets 7/-. If she lives in a rural district she gets 4/6. I put it to all the Deputies on all sides of the House, do they approve of that, especially those Deputies who come from rural districts? Are they satisfied that that is just? Not only are the farmers unjustly treated but everybody in the rural districts. The position is that these people are driven off the land. Some people do not seem to understand it because they do not give enough thought to it; they do not know exactly that it is the legislation that is driving them off the land. They had difficulties with bad times. Agricultural depression was worldwide some five or six years ago, but that has passed away. Times are prosperous, but now they are being driven off by the legislation of the present Government and the Taoiseach is responsible for that because he is the head of the Government. I hope that amends will be made in these matters, that he will seriously consider this question and change the general policy I know it will be said: “We have got a mandate for this.” Ninety per cent. of the people who gave that mandate did not examine  these things. They do not understand them, but they have got to learn, and they will learn, and I hope that the Taoiseach, now that he has been given the responsibility, will rise to his responsibility and do justice to the people in the country, whether they are farmers, labourers, widows, or whatever is their position.
I hope I have made myself clear that the trend of legislation is directed against the people in the rural districts, that that is the general policy of the Government and that it must be changed or otherwise, as other Deputies have pointed out, the people will fly off the land. Such as remain there are growing old. They are unmarried. The population is going down. The schools are being closed, or they must be closed eventually, because there is no prospect unless there is a change.
With regard to the question of loans, it is well known that the people engaged in the agricultural industry cannot get loans while the people in other industries can. The reason for that is, not that the Credit Corporation or the banks are afraid that these people are not honest; they know they are amongst the most honest people in the country; but they know that in their present position it is impossible for them to carry on and to make a profit such as would enable them to pay 5 per cent. interest plus sinking fund upon loans. These banks are very shrewd people. They will not allow public money for which they are responsible to be loaned to agriculturists. Neither will the Credit Corporation. The reason is that interest is too high and the farmer's economic position is such, with the overheads and with the high cost of production and the poor prices, that he cannot meet his liabilities and pay off any debts. That is why he will not get credit. It is up to the Taoiseach now to change the policy of his Government, to put the farmers in the position that they will be able to get credit facilities the same as any other industrial undertaking in this country. Then, and only then, can they give increased employment and do their share to remedy the greatest evil we  have in this country, that is, unemployment. The land of this country could give employment to every unemployed hand in this country if things were run wisely and if the Government understood agriculture better and dealt with it more sympathetically.
Mr. Brennan: I am sorry, Deputy, that you are fed-up with this question of derating. Mind you, I would advise Deputy Kelly and all the other city Deputies to remember that their very existence in this country depends upon the farming community—their very existence.
Mr. Brennan: Yes, and mind you, I will give you this authority for it, the authority of your Minister, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, Mr. Lemass, and I think that is perfectly good authority from the Deputy's point of view. Quite recently, at least last year — this was after he had learned a lesson and after Deputy Kelly and all the people on those benches had learned a lesson — he made a statement in the House. Do you know what it was? I am referring to this specially for Deputy Kelly's benefit, because Deputy Kelly is a man who maintains that he wants to see the standard of living raised in this country. We all do. What was the cure which the Minister for Industry and Commerce had for the raising of the standard of living here? He said the standard of living would increase when we increased our purchasing power, and our purchasing power would increase when we increased and got higher prices for our exports. What are we exporting? We are exporting agricultural produce and nothing else — nothing else.
Mr. Brennan: We may possibly be able to carry some conviction to Deputy Kelly through the words of his own Minister, who told us that the standard of living can only be raised if we can get higher prices for agricultural exports. Those are his words.
It is possibly a bit too early to expect from the Taoiseach a statement on Government policy. A lot has happened in the past six months. The Government have become converted completely to the policy that we advocated — that was the policy that agriculture was the mainstay of this country, that live stock was the mainstay of agriculture, and that the British market was essential to that. It is a complete conversion. Now that the Taoiseach has got his two feet on the ground, that he does realise that it is not like crying for the moon to be crying for the British market, that it is worth crying for, now that he has realised that, he ought to communicate in some shape or form to the people of this country what he has in view to put this country back on its feet again. When he settled the economic war every person in this country was delighted.
When we come to consider the policy of the Government, as enunciated from time to time, by the Taoiseach particularly — the policy of self-sufficiency — and when we come to consider in conjunction with that the terms of the Agreement with Britain, we feel there has been a complete change and that the country ought to be told in the very near future what prospects are in view, from the Government side, with regard to putting this country back on its feet. It is not enough for the Government to say to the agricultural community that they have now got the British market. We had the British market, more of it, before the present Government came into office. What happened? During the period of the economic war other people came in and took the British market behind our backs. Now we have only a portion of that market. Our exports to Britain are not anything like what they were. If the Government are  convinced that our standard of living will increase when our exports increase and when we get a higher price for our exports, what will the position be if we produce more goods in this country and if we are not able to sell them?
If we are going to get back to the British market, are we just to get back what there is there at the moment, or are we going to make any attempt to try to get some share of what we have lost? Will we attempt to beat the other fellow, and how are we going to do that? Is there anything in the policy enunciated by the Government that would show that they are alive to that situation? Is there anything in the policy preached by the Government on election platforms which would show they are now alive to the realities of the situation, that they have got their feet on the ground and that some attempt will be made to put our people into profitable production?
There is no use in the Government or any section of the people advocating a line of activity which does not pay. It is ordinary horse sense that, if we are going to produce, we ought to produce something that leaves a profit. I remember a statement made from this side of the House, when the Taoiseach was in opposition, to the effect that people would be expected to work for the good of the community. That may be a very high ideal and very good, but where is it going to get you? Do you think any people in this world are going to work for any such thing, outside philanthropists or people with money who can afford to do it? The ordinary man in the field, or in the street, who has to bring up a family, rear and educate them, and who contributes his share to the running of the country, is considering one thing, and that is, what pursuit can he follow profitably so as to leave him some margin to educate and bring up his family? That is what we want here. How far have the Government gone for the last six years to put any scheme like that into operation?
Let the Taoiseach examine his own programme for the last six years, and  examine the figures produced by his own Departments with regard to agricultural exports and business generally — I am talking now of business that pays as a result of production. If the Taoiseach will examine these figures, he will find that this country cannot exist unless the individual can follow some pursuit for profit. I think the Taoiseach has abandoned his policy of self-sufficiency. He has got away from the idea that I heard him mention from these benches once, that he wanted the country to be in the position that, if there was a big wall built around it, it could still exist. Possibly, it could still exist, but does any person want to get back to the conditions under which it would exist if it were in that position? I do not think anybody does.
We can get to a policy of self-sufficiency. The farming community can go back to subsistence farming, but where is it going to lead you, and who will be the first real sufferers? The first real sufferers will be the people in the towns. If you want to drive the farmers into subsistence farming, producing just their own requirements, the first thing that would happen would be that their standard of living would be reduced, but the towns, for lack of business and profitable exchange, would go out first. That policy of self-sufficiency has been abandoned because——
Mr. Brennan: It was never contemplated to that extent, I entirely agree, but that would be the logical ending. The Taoiseach did not see at that time where it would lead him, but now he does. Having realised that this country must follow some pursuit for profitable exchange, and that pursuit is agriculture, the Taoiseach recognises that the British market is essential, and he has settled the whole matter. We are in entire agreement with him. Having come to that stage, what are the new proposals to get us back into the position we held in the British market? There do not appear to be any, and that is our complaint. That was our complaint last night when the Supplementary  Agricultural Grant was being considered, the Estimate that Deputy T. Kelly thought was the Estimate of the Department of Agriculture.
Mr. Brennan: That was our complaint, too, when the Department of Agriculture Estimate was before the House last week. Deputy Corry last night advocated fixed prices for certain things. Our complaint again, which Deputy Corry apparently did not see, was that that was not in the Department of Agriculture Estimate. It is not, either. We advocated last night some system whereby those grants would be increased, which would be tantamount to derating. We were entitled to do that. We believe that if the country is to exist, if the farming community are to pursue farming for profitable exchange, their overhead charges must be reduced. We have heard the Minister for Finance introducing Estimate after Estimate, all of which are increased, and his explanation for the increase in every case is the cost-of-living bonus. In one Estimate alone the cost-of-living bonus put up the figure by £22,000.
Are we asking for something exceptional for the farmers, seeing that that is being done by the taxpayers for the people who are in those particular Departments? Are we asking something exceptional when we put it that the farmers' overhead charges ought to be met in some way? We claim that the agricultural community are suffering, and have suffered for the last six years, greater hardships than any of the people mentioned in those Estimates. If any case can be made in that respect it has been made by the Minister for Finance. In addition to that, those people mentioned in the Estimates, whose allowances have to be increased because of the increased cost of living, have not to bear the same charges which the agricultural community has to bear. In a lot of instances those people are not themselves ratepayers. Now all over the country the rates have increased enormously in the last four or five years and they are still increasing. If the people on this side  of the House have demanded derating is it not very reasonable? The case has been made from the other side of the House against derating that while the halving of the annuities was of great benefit to the people of this country, derating would be of no benefit. Both statements were made in the same breath——
Mr. Brennan: I am not going to introduce it to that extent. I am only referring to it to the extent of showing that the comparison made by the other side is absolutely unfair. I am making a plea for fair treatment for the agricultural community. The people on the other side say that the farmers have got benefit by the halving of the annuities, and they say in the same breath that no benefit would be given by derating because the benefits would be to the large holders. Now if a man has a large annuity to pay he gets half of that annuity; if he has a small annuity to pay he gets half of that annuity——
Mr. Brennan: He gets no benefit by halving the annuity. Deputy Corry is making my case. There is no use in people on the Government side saying that the farmer has got benefits by halving the annuities and using that as an argument against derating. That argument does not hold water at all. The people on the opposite side say that the Government has got a mandate to carry on. They have, but they have not got a mandate to sit down and do nothing. We cannot, as Deputy Cogan said, sit down and do nothing for the people of this country, the people who have to carry the burden. It is no use, even if the Government does realise the situation, unless they do something to put the people back where they found them six years ago. For the last six years, as part of Government policy, we have had tariffs imposed indiscriminately.  I wonder if the Taoiseach has ever thought, or if he has put it to his Government, that in considering what tariffs would be imposed there should always be some relation between those tariffs and the agricultural community. There should be, and there must be. It is not good enough to say to the agricultural community that tariffs are going to be imposed upon agricultural implements, agricultural tools and agricultural machinery unless there is development along these particular lines. Now as far as the customs duties show, there has not been anything commensurate with the tariffs imposed. Unless the people who are making these implements and machinery give us as good an article as we get elsewhere, the farmer, as the primary producer, is not getting the consideration that he deserves. What do we get? I found in the Trade Journal some time ago a very interesting announcement amongst Government contractors. There has been a tariff on spades, shovels, graipes and forks. I am compelled because of that tariff to buy an Irish-made spade—I want to buy an Irish-made spade but I want the Irish-made spade to be as good as another spade. Notwithstanding that tariff the G.P.O. placed its contract for spades with a firm in Sheffield. They go to that firm when they want spades——
Mr. Brennan: We have had a lot of tinkering with the industrialisation of the country. I admit a lot of good work has been done, but I do submit that care was not taken and is not being taken, to see what effect these tariffs would have upon the primary producer. Surely if the Government has any hand in the setting up of factories in this country it ought to be careful in seeing how that work is done. The Government ought to be careful to see that what happened in the case of the Roscrea factory should not  happen again. In that case we paid for and bought old cows to be sent to Roscrea to be turned into meat meal. We ought to be thoroughly careful in doing a thing like that to see that a great injury is not done to the interests of other meat factories in this country. The people knew that these old cows were not fit for human consumption——
An Ceann Comhairle: It was discussed on a previous Estimate by Deputy Gorey. As already pointed out, in a discussion on general Government policy detailed cases should not be raised. A reply would be impossible in such cases unless the Minister had notice in advance.
Mr. Brennan: Just so, but I want to make a passing reference to this. I do not know whether the Government is aware that this factory which was subsidised by them was responsible for turning out matter like that, and thus doing an injury to other meat factories. These are things to which the Government have not given consideration. They have never considered what the reactions and repercussions of these things upon the primary producers may be. These are the things on which the Taoiseach should take advice from people who are in a position to give the best advice that can be given. I am sure in the Department of Agriculture the Taoiseach and the Government will find officials capable of advising them as to what is best to be done in these cases, and what is the best thing to be done for agriculture. With the settlement made with Great Britain so near us, I suppose it would be too much to expect the Taoiseach to give us any outline of his change of policy, because there must be a change of policy. There has been an entire change of front. I want to know what is being done to give effect to this change of front? Perhaps it is too soon to expect an answer. I am patient in this matter, and I make every allowance for the short time that has elapsed since the Agreement was made. I do  think that no matter what mandate the Taoiseach has got at the general election, he is expected to give some effect to the changed outlook of himself and his Government on the agricultural situation.
Mr. Linehan: I entirely agree that the Taoiseach has good reason to smile. It has been a laughing matter neither to the country nor to the Taoiseach to look back just a little on what was Government policy or, at least, what was the policy delivered by Government spokesmen, and the Taoiseach's policy at the present time, so far as one can gather it from the London Agreement and the election speeches. I do not wonder that the Taoiseach smiles when he looks back and thinks of Senator Connolly's thanking God that the British market was gone, and gone for ever, and when he thinks of the Minister for Lands announcing that although it took a long time to build up the Irish cattle trade, it would take a very short time to tear it down. In view of the fact that the Taoiseach went to the country on the London Agreement——
Mr. Linehan: ——well, partially on it — in view of that fact, it is no wonder he smiles when he looks back on these statements. Possibly the Taoiseach thinks that he has got away with it. Possibly he thinks that the memory of the people here in this country is very short, or takes very little notice of the speeches or announcements of Senator Connolly or the Minister for Lands. It is hard, Sir, to criticise Government policy in this Estimate since we do not know what Government policy is. To a certain extent, in connection with the Estimates that were dealt with in the last Dáil, you were given the policy  of the various Departments, but there is a number of Estimates not yet dealt with. Neither during the general election nor since has anybody heard from the Taoiseach as to what the Government's present or future agricultural policy was likely to be, and when the Taoiseach is replying I should like to hear from him as to whether or not the position now is that, having regained the British market, steps are going to be taken to put the agricultural community of this country into such a position as will enable them to get the fullest benefit from that market and to enable them to compete with the people who have succeeded in increasing their imports into the British market during the period in which the Government were too proud to go into that market and said they did not want it.
It is quite possible that the Taoiseach has not yet made up his mind as to what his future agricultural policy will be. It is quite possible that it is not easy for him to make up his mind as to his future policy. If one were to judge by the references made here to-day by Deputy Kelly and the references made last night by Deputy Corry, there would seem to be intense disagreement on the Government Benches as to the future agricultural policy, because, if Deputy Kelly represents anybody but himself, it would seem that he does not want to hear any more about farmers, and it would seem that Deputy Corry — at any rate, in his public utterances — does not want to hear anything except about the tillage farmers. As a matter of fact, I do not think that is really Deputy Corry's actual attitude, or that he is such a terrible advocate of tillage farming as he would lead us to believe. However, passing away from that, I await with interest what the Taoiseach or any member of the Government will have to say as to their future agricultural policy. I am not going to criticise the Government's agricultural policy before I hear what it is. Apart, however, from the question of agriculture, there is a number of other items on which there has been a change of front, and again I await with interest some statement from the Taoiseach, or  from some member of the Government, as to what their policy is with regard to these items, because, once upon a time, there was a fairy tale, known as “The Plan,” for the relief of unemployment. I await with interest, as I say, a statement as to what is the Government policy in the future to deal with the unemployment menace in this country. The unemployment situation has not been improved one iota in the last five or six years. Mind you, as I have said, there would seem to be, again, a change of front here, but whether it is a change of heart or a change of policy I do not know, because, six long years ago, there was a plan, but in 1938, even in Blarney — even in industrialised Blarney — there was no plan or ready-made solution for unemployment. Again, I do not want to criticise the Government policy until I hear it, but I should like to ask whether any steps are to be taken to deal with the unemployment situation in this country. Are the Government seriously considering doing anything about that problem, or is the position to be that the Taoiseach will just sit back and smile and let things drift?
There is one other item to which I should like to refer. Possibly it is the reason why Government policy has been left so vague both during and since the general election. One might refer to it as the missing document. It is now three months since it was delivered — in March last — and I presume that, when the stress of the general election was over, either the Minister for Finance or the Taoiseach got time to read that document. I refer to the report of the Banking Commission. What effect that report will have, when published, on Government policy, I do not presume to say. I hope we will get that report soon and that, when we get it, the Taoiseach will still be able to smile; but when we do get it, no matter what is in it, I hope the Government will come to this House and, whether acting on the report that may be in that document or, entirely without it, acting on the commonsense view of the present situation, will give us some idea, now that they have their mandate, as to what their  policy is going to be both with regard to the agricultural community of this country and the unemployment situation in this country, because it is perfectly evident in the rural areas that, no matter what the Government may say about the situation in the country generally, not alone is the agricultural community in a low state of circumstances, but among the hardest-hit sections of the community in this country are the small towns and villages who have got no benefit under the Government's industrial policy, having no new industries there, and who have felt the pinch of the economic war and the stress of the last few years just as much as the agricultural community did. They were hard-hit because, if the agricultural community — the farmers — had not the money to buy the goods of the shopkeepers in these small towns and villages, they could not carry on.
As I have said, it is not easy to criticise Government policy in this Estimate when we do not know what the Government policy is, and I await with interest the Taoiseach's statement on these three items: The question of the agricultural community; the question of the small people in the towns and villages and the business they have lost in the last six years; and the question of what is going to be done about unemployment.
Mr. Corry: I should just like to say a few words about some of the statements that have been made. We were told by Deputy Brennan to put the agricultural community of this country back where we found them. Where was that? It was in the position that was outlined by Deputy Carey here on those benches — a Deputy from my own constituency —
Mr. Corry: ——when Deputy Carey had to move that the Minister for Agriculture of the day be requested not to collect any more annuities because the people were in such a position that they could not pay them. That was in 1929, before there was any  economic war, and that was the position of the farmers in my constituency, as outlined by a Deputy of the then Government.
Mr. Corry: That was where we found them. That was the position in which we found the barley growers — the position to which Deputy Gorey and others want to bring them back to-day, if they could — the position where they would not have a market for their produce. That is where Deputy Gorey would like to put them and the other tillage farmers in the country. Deputy Bennett also told us that we had no mandate to sit down and do nothing. The people of this country gave their mandate and their verdict, and they did not want to get back to that position of 1929 to which I have referred. They had got enough of it during the period that Fine Gael or Cumann na nGaedheal or whatever they call themselves were in office. They got enough of it during that period. They had got the full length and breadth of the policy of sitting down and doing nothing and of the policy that endeavoured in this House, when there was economic war on, to place the farmers in the position of having to sell their milk at 2d. a gallon. That was the policy——
Mr. Corry: Yes, Sir. I am dealing with statements that were made here about putting the agricultural community back into the position in which we found them, and with the ways and means that we had to adopt to take the agricultural community out of the position in which we found them. Deputy Gorey here in this House——
Mr. Corry: ——on the Budget statement, which is not very long ago, stated that 50 per cent. of the farmers made money during the economic war. If the Deputy doubts that statement, I am prepared to bring the Official Reports into the House and read it for him.
Mr. Corry: Up to the moment, the discussion on this Vote by Deputies opposite has centred around the wretched position of the agricultural community to-day. But, according to Deputy Gorey's statement, and Deputy Brennan's statement also, 50 per cent. of them — namely, the farmers who worked and tilled their land — suffered nothing and made money during the economic war. Well then, the position cannot be so bad. If the other 50 per cent. did not make money, it was because they were too lazy to make it. I am just putting it in a nutshell. Yet, those statements are made by the people over there who will never be educated. They have gone before the people half a dozen times — they have gone before them in 1932, 1933, 1937 and 1938 — and have got their answer every time, but still they are not educated. Deputy Dillon told us here the other day that they would not be bribed or intimidated. Apparently they cannot be educated either.
Mr. Corry: In regard to the position of the agricultural community I just wanted to point out those matters. The position of the agricultural community,  as we view it to-day, is far better than it was when we came into office. We have secured markets for them here at home. The English market, which Deputy Gorey alluded to, so far as we were concerned, would still have to be subsidised. The agricultural policy that we have been pursuing here is the only agricultural policy that is going to suit the ordinary farmer in this country. There is very little use in Deputies here getting up and talking about derating and about halving the annuities, and making a comparison between this and Northern Ireland; such a comparison is absolutely useless so far as we are concerned. I just wished to point out these matters to the Deputies opposite. We have already pointed them out often enough to get them inside the thickest skin. The Deputies' hides are so thick that it is impossible to get inside them.
The Taoiseach: I find it particularly difficult to deal with the debate as it has proceeded so far. If I were to deal with the points raised by Deputy Gorey I suppose I should have to go into the whole question of derating, but, according to your ruling, Sir, this is not the occasion on which to deal with it. This has really seemed to turn into a debate on agricultural policy. I should have imagined that that would have been more properly dealt with on the occasion of the Vote for the Department of Agriculture. However, there is this question of general Government policy in relation to agriculture. It has been suggested that there has been a change of front. I smiled, as the Deputy noticed, because it is amusing to see this attempt being persisted in — this attempt to explain the past of that Party by pretending now that it is we who have been converted to their point of view. For several years past in this debate we have had to deal with the question of the financial dispute with Great Britain. Anybody who is interested enough to look up the Official Debates will find that on every single occasion on which we had that debate I made  it perfectly clear that we were quite ready at any time to discuss with the British Government the settlement of that by negotiation. On more than one occasion we actually had negotiations with the British Government about it, but the attitude of the British Government was such that it was quite impossible to reach any conclusion which would be satisfactory to this country, and the thing had to be ended. Now, what was the Government policy fundamentally in regard to that dispute? It was this, that £5,000,000 of Irish money was being taken away, was being handed over, and as to £3,000,000 of it we were perfectly certain it was not due. There was a question with regard to £2,000,000 more.
The Taoiseach: It is an old tale, but why do Deputies like the Deputy on the Front Bench there now want to come back on each occasion and think to get away with the other version of it? That is what I smiled at, because they think that the people are such fools that they do not see down beneath the surface of those matters. The fact is that that money had to be paid somehow from the produce of this country. I have here before me figures showing the value of the fat cattle — one of the Deputies a moment ago spoke about the value of the foreign market, and said that live stock was the best of it — and the value of the fat bulls and bullocks in the year 1931, before we came into office, came to a little over £3,500,000; and the value of the fat heifers came to £1,250,000; so the total value of all the fat cattle was only £4,750,000. Therefore, it was essential that produce of the equivalent of £250,000 more than the value of all the fat cattle produced in that year had to go to pay that debt. The policy of the Government was to get rid of that burden which was unjustly placed upon our community, and which we felt was of such magnitude that the community could not prosper if they had to continue payment of it. Now, it was definitely to rid the country of that burden that we said that the £3,000,000 of it which we were  quite satisfied was neither legally nor morally due was to be retained at home. The dispute and the struggle during the last five years has been to make good our claims and our rights in that respect.
I have admitted that hardship was inflicted by that on the agricultural community. I have never denied that on any occasion. That hardship was doubly severe because of the fact that agriculture was so depressed all over the world, and we shared in the depression, so that it would have been a bad time for farming in any case. I have here a table of agricultural prices ranging back from 1922. There has always been a suggestion that the difficulties arose only when we came into office. That cannot be sustained for one moment in the light of the facts that are available. If you will look at the index of agricultural prices from 1922 on you will find that the index of prices here in this part of Ireland runs down from 160 in 1922 to 144 in 1923; it went up again to 160 in 1924; then it dropped to 157, 140, 131, 137; it went up in one year to 139, and then dropped suddenly from 1929. Now, there was going to be a big drop from 1929, as the Deputy knows perfectly well, and that was two years before we came into office. Yet you want to put upon us and upon our Government policy during that period the blame for the total amount of the hardship that has been imposed on the farmers. I say that only portion of that hardship was due to the British tariffs. I am ready to admit, and I have always admitted, that the extra pressure of the British tariffs added to what was already a bad case. I want to point out that agriculture was in a bad condition before we got into office.
The Taoiseach: We did not select the time. We selected the time when we got into office because of the fact that if that money was paid for one term you were admitting the case. We had to make that fight from the very beginning. We were put into  office in 1932, and we made it quite clear to the people from that moment that we were not going to pay that money. From 1929 to 1930 the index price dropped from 139 to 124. From 1930 to 1931 it dropped another 14 points. There was a drop from 139.3 to 110. and then down to 98. That drop is proved by the figures in the Census of Production. If you take production in 1929 in bacon and hams, it amounted to 870,000 cwts., and in 1931 that had dropped to 736,000 cwts. There was a decrease in production over two years on account of the world situation, and we participated in it. In butter there was a drop from 709,000 cwts to 611,000 cwts. In wheat there was a drop from 634,000 cwts. to 418,000 cwts., and in wheaten flour from 4,000,000 to 3,800,000 cwts. The index figures, showing a diminution in prices and a diminution in production, prove actually that agriculture was in a serious situation before we got into office. We did not select the time. The time was selected by the fact that from the first moment we got into office we believed the money was not due, and we had to hold it. I do not want to go into the case of the land annuities, the financial dispute, and Government policy in regard to these matters further than to insist that our policy has saved that money for this country, and it is equivalent to saving for the country the value of all the fat stock produced in the years before we came into office. Whether people say that the cost of that fight was great or small, I am quite willing to admit that it put an extra burden at the time on the farmers.
When we came into office the position was so bad in the dairying industry, as Deputies know, that we had to introduce a Bill for the stabilisation of prices, as a result of which £1,000,000 was given to that industry which it otherwise would not have got. The dairy farmers got prices that were far better and higher than the prices they would have got in the open market in Great Britain if there was no economic dispute at all and no tariffs. The position with regard to agriculture was bad when we got into office, and if the Deputy  wants to have it that the British tariffs on the agricultural industry made the position worse I agree with him. But we had either to continue to bear a burden which would have been a burden for a number of decades or fight for our rights. Fortunately there has been during that time an equivalent to the £5,000,000 a year. If Deputies on the opposite benches were in office that £5,000,000 clearly would be paid. What you have to say is that the real burden on the community because of the struggle is the difference between the money extracted by means of British tariffs and money got otherwise. I do not want to try to bolster up a case on false arguments, and I am willing to admit that the method by which the British extracted £5,000,000 a year was a more severe method and harassed our community more than by paying the £5,000,000, and if it was going to continue indefinitely there would be a point in the Deputy's argument. Our point was that it would not continue indefinitely, and we have been proved to be right. The result of the Agreement is that whereas we would have had to pay the £5,000,000 for decades if the position had continued, now, as a result of the Agreement, that money will not have to be paid. There has been relief to the community as a whole in regard to the land annuities of £78,000,000 as well as a further £10,000,000. It has been suggested that there has been a change of policy. There has been no change. Our policy in regard to agriculture has been so always. There has been no change in regard to negotiating with Britain. We were quite ready to negotiate any time, and we proved that by actually going over, but we were not prepared to make a settlement on the basis of admitting that the debt was due, that the shillings and pence would then be knocked off, and we would pay the pounds. Fortunately that is finished, and fortunately our efforts to retain the money have been successful. What change in agricultural policy has there been? None. As I pointed out in statements made during the election, it is a simple thing for an  opponent to represent one as holding a certain position when you are not in that position at all, but when your opponent persists in saying you are, when the people discover the truth he is not there.
The Taoiseach: Any time I made any statement about the British market, I pointed very definitely to the statements of British Ministers, to the effect that in their own market they found that their industries were in a difficult position. I pointed out that in Britain they were not able, without giving very heavy subsidies, to maintain their own market. I pointed to the competition, and said that if there was a question of trying to get any market for which everyone was competing, the competition would be such as to make that market of very little value. There was not going to be very much value in the English market to the dairying industry in 1932 and 1933, if our farmers only got the price that they would get in the open market. If such conditions were to continue, then, as far as being a profit to us, that market would be of no value, and I would be justified in saying that the British market was gone. It is very easy to take out a phrase or a sentence and to repeat it, leaving out the qualifications and conditions under which the statement was made, and then to misrepresent the attitude of the people who made it. It has been suggested that this Government has not realised that agriculture is our principal industry. There has been no time on which I have spoken about industry, whether during the economic struggle or otherwise, in which I have not clearly stated that I hope it will long remain the principal industry of the country. There is no town mentality either about the members of the Government or the members of our Party.
I think, looking at the personnel either of the Government or of our Party, we have got as great a proportion of country members who know country conditions and who are interested in country life as any other Party. I sympathise with Deputy Gorey when he talks  about the change of conditions. There have been very rapid changes in conditions in this country and in every other country practically between town and country life.
The Taoiseach: There has been a very big change. We may differ about the words. There has been a very big change and one of the difficulties has been this, to try to get people who live in the cities to realise that that change has taken place. It is not easy. People who are living in the cities have amenities of various kinds and have a standard of various kinds. Whether in the long run it is a higher standard is another question and depends upon what you are going to use as your test of what is a high and what is a low standard of living. But there is no doubt that, from a certain material point of view, the people in the cities have been able to make advances which it has not been possible for the country people to keep up with. I quite agree to that and I do believe that it will be a serious loss to this country if we are not able to stop the change from country life to city life or to check the tendency that there is to go from the country into the towns. Personally I believe that country life is far better. I believe that there are advantages pertaining to country life which are not realised by a number of people who leave the country and go to the towns. I believe they go there because various things attract them but afterwards, in the long run, country life is better for our people and a nation is a better and a stronger nation if it is based on country life rather than on city life and city conditions. Anything that we can do, in reason, to try and change that situation and to try to make living on the land more attractive we will do. But will the Deputies who talk on the one hand about the burden that farmers have to bear and who say that everything goes back upon them, not realise that many of the remedies that are proposed are faulty just for that very reason, that the reliefs have to come from the class it is proposed  to help? It should not have been necessary to talk here to Deputies in this strain, but I want to point out that the Government has no gold mine at its back.
The Taoiseach: I admit again that one of the chief duties of the Government and of the Parliament here ought to be to try to do its best to even up conditions between the various classes and to see that the conditions are just between one class and the other in so far as it can. It is not easy to do these things, as the Deputy knows. It is extremely difficult. You want to try and preserve fair and equitable relations between the different classes of the community. You try to get remedies for it but you often find that the remedies proposed are going to be faulty just because of the fact that those conditions cannot be remedied by the methods that are proposed. I am ruled out of dealing with derating——
The Taoiseach: I have an open mind and so has every member of the Government in regard to all these matters of national welfare. None of us in these matters is set in concrete. We have got to be shown that the suggestions that are made are just and wise and that they can be carried out effectively. My own belief is that this derating policy, so far as I have seen it from the other side, is not equitable and, in fact, that it is going to put burdens just on the class that should not be asked to bear those burdens. However, as I have said, I do not want to be ambling around, as the Deputy was, trying to manæuvre around the ruling of the Chair in order to deal with this subject. We can easily have it out. It is quite easy for the Deputies to put down a motion — I am not suggesting it to them — but they know that it is quite easy for them to put down a motion in this House and, if it is of sufficient public importance, get it discussed publicly. It is very much  better to do that in an orderly way, to have the thing worked out properly, than to bring it in on a side-wind on a debate of this kind. I can tell the Deputy quite honestly that, so far as the Government is concerned, the bias is towards country life. One of the elements of our policy was to try, so far as possible, to put as many families as could live in reasonable economic security on the land. The Deputy knows that. The Deputy knows that money is being spent in putting people on the land. It would be ridiculous to be putting people on the land if the conditions were such that they could not continue on the land, so that, obviously, from the lines we have taken it must be our policy to try to make living upon the land feasible. In so far as we can reasonably help to bring about the social situation here in which our land will be carrying a bigger proportion of the population relatively than the towns we will be only too happy to do it. But these tendencies are very difficult to check and it would seem that it has not been possible in other countries to check it and I do not know what hope we can have here of being successful in any effort we may make towards doing it. But for the will — if that is all the Deputy wants to be certain about — the will is here but the way of doing it is by no means evident and I do not want to pretend for a moment that the Government has a way which will inevitably lead to keeping people on the land instead of going to the towns.
Our general policy with regard to agriculture has been this. I said when I was in the bench occupied by some of the Deputies opposite at the moment that we ought to be able first of all to keep the home market for our farmers, that is, the home market for agricultural produce: “Reserve that for your farmers anyhow,” I said “that is a sure market.” I will admit it is not able to absorb the whole of our agricultural produce. We have an exportable surplus which we have got to market. I could never understand the policy preceding our time. The policy which was persisted in was not to protect the home market. I remember  asking from those benches from the Minister for Agriculture here on this side: “Will you be in any way diminishing your power to avail of the extern markets, such as you have, by protecting the home market and making that part of the market safe for your farmers? It is a market that is going to be affected only by your own internal conditions. It is not a market that can be taken from you by the policy of a foreign Government. Obviously you should try to secure for the farming community the home market in any case.” Have we done anything in that way? We have, and the Deputy knows we have.
The Taoiseach: I have here figures showing the imports of agricultural produce before we came into office and the imports of agricultural produce now, and they show a very heavy diminution. We have done it by positive action, and the result of that positive action is seen from the figures of the imports here of agricultural produce now and the imports in the year 1937 and the imports in the year 1931. In 1931 imports of foodstuffs of various kinds here amounted to £16,200,000. In the year 1937 that was diminished down to £10,729,000, which means that there has been a reduction of £5,472,000. That corresponds to an increased market for our own farmers here at home.
The Taoiseach: No, not altogether — foodstuffs. You have other things. Up to the present anyhow we did not have large quantities of wheat. There is no use pretending there was anything positive or effective done on that line before we came into office.
The Taoiseach: That is not my recollection. The Deputy may be right and he may be wrong, but I remember that when I was on the opposite benches I asked the Minister for Agriculture to try and save that, to keep at least the home market for Irish  produce in the way of various animal products, and I could never get from the Minister at the time what seemed to be a satisfactory answer as to why that was not done. At any rate, it has been done by us and it is a part of our general policy to preserve the home market for the farmer. If we had only enough produce on the land to feed our own people, it would be possible then to proceed on the lines of trying to get a just or a fair price. We have an exportable surplus which has to be got rid of and you have to have a certain adjustment between the price ruling here and the price that rules abroad.
The Taoiseach: I am not now talking about exports. I am dealing only with one aspect of it, and that is the preservation of the home market for our farmers. I am not making a speech to suit any point of view the Deputy may want, and he will have to understand what I am dealing with. Our agricultural policy may be divided into two parts, the internal and the external. The internal portion seeks to save the home market and make it available for our producers here. That we have done very thoroughly and effectively, and it is a safe home market. With regard to the external market, we have never said that we should not get for our exportable surplus the best market available, but we had to do one thing which I indicated at the start; we had to save £5,000,000 a year.
The Taoiseach: That was the basis of our attitude towards Britain, that we had to save £5,000,000 a year, which corresponded to more than the value of our fat cattle during the year we came into office. If Deputies want to have it in terms of butter and other produce, I will give it to them. Anyway, it was a burden that we had to try and remove from our people. There  is no use in pretending that the struggle that we engaged in, in order to save that money, represented our attitude towards the British market or external markets. It did not. We realised all along that these markets were valuable. The external side of our policy is that we would welcome any external markets we could get, and if we can get alternative markets that will supplement the existing market, we will be very glad to have them. It is obvious that having all your eggs in the one basket is not a very wise policy.
The Taoiseach: I said the desire was to supplement the existing market by getting alternative markets and they can be found, to a certain extent, to supplement the existing market. There have been very valuable supplements found. That their magnitude has not been great, I am quite willing to admit, and that they would not absorb the whole of our exportable surplus, I am also quite prepared to admit. The idea is to make the best you can of that market in so far as it is possible to develop our agricultural industry so as to be in the best possible position to avail of whatever opportunities offer. That should be our aim and it is, I am sure, the aim of the Minister for Agriculture. Any methods that can be used to decrease the cost of production and any other things that are possible, consistent with our line of policy, will be availed of.
Sometimes there may be a conflict. For instance, some may want to provide a market for grain crops and it might appear to people in one part of the country that it might be better to let that part of the home market go by default and get in maize or something else of that sort instead of using home-grown grain. There might be a difference of view and you might have conflicting elements. In that case you have to consider the whole matter and see what would be most satisfactory for the community generally. We have  taken up a certain line and we have tried to fix a balance. Our aim is to keep the feeding stuffs for the Irish farmer, to diminish so far as possible the cost of production and put our people in a better position to compete in the foreign market. You have to strike a balance between opposing elements and see how far you can go in making the best arrangement for the good of the community generally.
In regard to agriculture, there has been no change. I do not think there is need for any change. The change that has been effected is due to the fact that a third and outside party has consented to a certain agreement, and a dispute has been settled. I do say, however, that if I were to find myself to-day in the same position in regard to that matter as I found myself last year. I would indicate that, so far as this Government is concerned, we were not going to take the responsibility of advising the people to pay that money and to continue bearing that burden. We are in the fortunate position that that is not so, and therefore that particular point of difference between us does not now arise. I take it that the fundamental attitude of the Opposition would be that it might be better to pay the money, to continue paying it rather than to face a fight. That was the big difference between us.
The Opposition undertook the payment of that money. They said, “We believe it should be paid; we believe it is due,” and they were prepared to pay the money. You had a hope, perhaps on account of the dispute having been started, that you might have made some settlement if you were in office. Perhaps you would have, and perhaps you would not have. One thing I am quite satisfied about is that you were not in the position, on account of having made an agreement and having sponsored it as being just, to make a settlement which would be just and fair to this country. That might have been so. You could argue the matter till the end of the world, but I think there is no use in doing so. Anyway, if I had to find myself in the same position as I occupied on other occasions, I would say to the people that they  should continue standing by their right, even though there was a certain pressure.
So far as agriculture is concerned, we want to see the fullest possible use made of our land. We favour the policy of growing beet and wheat. With regard to wheat, we have only gone one-third of the way. Deputy Gorey and I had disputes long ago about the growing of wheat. We were told, I think, that the farmer would only grow wheat if a pistol were put to his head, or something of that sort. That situation has passed. It was not necessary to put a pistol to his head, anyhow. We have over 200,000 additional acres under wheat. We would want about three times that. I think we ought to go on inducing the farmers as best we can to continue growing wheat, so that we will get a much bigger proportion of home-grown wheat than at present. These things are not done without a burden on the community. If we want to give the farmer a fair price for his butter, we have to charge the people in the towns more for their butter than if the butter were allowed to be imported freely. That was the case for a considerable period in the past. It may be the case again. Again there will be a balance between the interests of the farmers and the interests of the consumers in the towns and elsewhere. It is the business of the Government to try and adjust these things, so that there is no unfair burden on any section of the community. With regard to wheat growing, a stage may be reached in which it may be said that the burden is going to be too heavy to pay the farmer a high price as compared with the price at which wheat could be imported. It may be said that that may put too heavy a burden on the community as a whole. I am not prepared to say at what particular point we should stop. My own view is that we should go on developing our tillage policy, trying to get more tillage. If there was any truth in the arguments used by Deputies opposite in the last four or five years that tillage is dependent largely on a live-stock policy — and there is a certain amount of truth in that — then, if that is so, the conditions are favourable.
 We are asked what further things do we propose to do for agriculture to enable the farmers to utilise the situation we have got. There is one thing that Deputies on all sides of the House ought to do, and that is to educate the people to realise, just as I said a moment ago, that we have no gold mine from which we can draw. The only gold mines we have are the resources of the community as a whole. If you go looking for help for one section you have got to get it from another section. There is no doubt about that. When you ask the Government to help the farmers it is to the farmers themselves you have ultimately to go, because they have to bear, as the owners of the principal industry, a very large portion of the burden. The resources of the country come largely from the farmers. When you are asking the Government to do anything you are asking them to take from one section and give it to another — you are asking them to take from the farmers to give it to another section of the community. One thing that all Deputies ought to do is this — to point out to the people as a whole that the Government by a general policy can bring about certain changes, but it finally comes down to the hard work of the individual himself and the use he makes of his own resources. These are the things which ultimately count.
The Taoiseach: There is no doubt about it. In the long run, if we get our people to utilise the resources we have got, that is the very best way to help ourselves. On the other hand, if the attitude of mind is to go to the Government for everything, the people will find they are leaning on something that is going to bend under them. The Government cannot do those things except at the expense of some other section. The Government can make certain things easier. We are trying to bring about increased tillage and to make increased use of the soil for the production of the food of the people. But in the long run production will depend on what way the individual uses his resources and  whether the people are prepared by hard work——
The Taoiseach: Exactly; utilising the resources they have. We all fundamentally realise these things no matter how we may argue about what the Government may do or may not do. It is sometimes the practice of Deputies to suggest that the Government is making everything hard for the people or that the world could be made all right if the Government did something or other. I do not think so. Ultimately the future of this country will depend upon the character of our people and the willingness to make use of the resources each individual has at his command.
The Taoiseach: Deputies spoke of hard cases where cows were being driven off by the sheriff. Do we not all know perfectly well, no matter how we may regret these things, that people will not pay money if they have not got to do it? It is unfortunate that we are are not all animated with ideas that we should press ourselves very hard in order to pay another man what is due — that we should tighten our belts so as to do so. If we were all animated with that idea there would be no need of laws or police forces. Unfortunately communities are not built up of individuals of that sort. We all need the pressure of force at one time or another. If farmers want to get credit when they need it and when they can use it properly they must make up their minds that such credit can only be forthcoming if they keep their bargain and pay it back. If you get land on annuities or rent and if you do not pay your rent those responsible for collecting the annuities will have to collect it. These annuities are absolutely necessary to the State in order to allow the State to do its work. If these annuities are not paid then there would be an end to things. If the  half annuities which are due at present were not paid, the money would have to be made up somewhere else. The reason the land annuities are collected is to enable the Government to carry out other works and services.
The Taoiseach: I am not in favour of lipstick or nail-polish, but I can help neither one nor the other. We cannot carry on the Government services without the collection of that money: The position is that if one man can get off paying or get away with it, his neighbour would say: “Why should I pay?” So that no matter how hard a case may be, the Land Commission have to collect. It is the same in the case of a person looking for alms. No decent person will let a human being starve or refuse him for an alms; every decent person would give alms if he were sure the person asking the alms needed it. But it is the person who does not need the alms, but who goes out looking for alms, who prevents the person really in need of alms getting them. It would be very easy to deal with hard cases if one were sure they were hard cases. People who are well able to pay the land annuities would get in under cover of the neighbour whose case may be a hard one. These are difficulties which no human agencies can get over. If there are certain farms off which cattle have been driven to meet annuity demands, it is not because the Land Commission, which is in charge of the collection of the annuities, is hard-hearted. It is because there is no other way in which you can ensure the payment of these moneys which are absolutely necessary for carrying on the services of the State as a whole. I do not know that there would be any profit in continuing the discussion of this question any further.
Various points have been raised and things have been said. I have some  figures here. What I have here is some material that I had for the election, and I have been using it just now because I did not know what questions would be raised here and I have only the figures that would be immediately available for dealing with points raised in the election.
The Taoiseach: Well, I should be glad at any time if the Deputy would put down a motion. As a Deputy of the House, he is quite within his rights at any time to put down a motion to deal with any particular subject. I cannot promise, straight off, to give him Government time, but if there is a fundamental matter, such as that of the Government's attitude towards agriculture, or things of that sort, I should be quite ready to meet the Deputy and have a general discussion.
The Taoiseach: Well, these are two things that the Deputy cannot pronounce upon in an ex-cathedra fashion. These are matters that have to be argued out. Deputy Gorey's views on equity and justice may be just as sound as my views, but we might very well differ, with regard to a particular case, as to what is equitable and just. We have got to argue out these matters and, where remedies are proposed, to see that the remedies proposed will, in fact, remedy what are called injustices. Our attitude, anyhow, with regard to giving credits, is this. They can be very dangerous. They can become a millstone around the necks of people if they are not properly used. It is very difficult to make credits available just to the classes of people who would make proper use of them and who would make such use of that facility that the giving of  credits would really be justifiable. You have the same old difficulty again. How can you separate the classes: those who can, and those who cannot? As the Deputy knows, at the time of the war, credits were given very freely, and undoubtedly some people used them properly. Some people made proper use of them, but they became a millstone around the necks of other people. Accordingly, one has to consider whether the granting of easy credits would be a boon or the reverse. Then, there is the question of whether they will be paid. Of course, it would be all right if there could be some kind of fund which would permit of not having to pay these credits, and nobody would feel that they would not take credits under such circumstances. That, however, means disaster. That would lead the whole community to disaster in no time, and it is a very serious matter to refund arrears or to remit debts of that sort. That is a very serious thing for the community as a whole, and the trouble is that the doing of it means mostly that the good have to suffer for — I shall not call them the wicked — but that the stronger——
The Taoiseach: Well, I do not know. With regard to the question of wickedness, just as in the case of justice and other things of that sort, it is very difficult to get definitions which will suit all the cases. However, I do not think we would be spending our time. profitably here on this occasion in talking along the general terms on which I am compelled to talk in connection with the debate at present. Now, in regard to unemployment, that is a very difficult and serious problem. I want to say, however, that there has been a very great deal of misrepresentation as to what is the position in that regard, and what has been done. I have the material here which is dealing with that situation. And when some people say sneeringly, “These are things you used for the election,” I say that I am  using them here, just as I used them in the election, because they are based on the facts of the situation, as disclosed in the statistics and so on. They are available to Deputies, and, not merely are they available now, but they are available all the time, because they are obviously things that it is necessary to keep up to date from time to time. What I would say to Deputies who think we ought to do more than has been done at the present time in regard to making it possible for the farming community to get more quickly out of the depression is that, if they have any motion to put down, we will try to find time for it as early as possible. Unfortunately, I do not think there is much hope to find time for it before the end of this session.
The Taoiseach: Well, I do not know. The trouble is that we have to finish the financial business by a certain time, and then there is the question as to whether it is wise in the long run to keep the Dáil sitting after the end of July. There is the question of staffs, and so on, to be considered, and I do not think it would be advisable or right for me to suggest that we might have a debate of such fundamental importance in such a way as to just pass over it in a day. The whole question of the rural community and of agriculture in relation to other industries and other sections of the community is of very fundamental importance, and if such questions are to be dealt with at all, they should be dealt with in detail and examined closely, and I do not think they should be brought in merely by way of a kind of side-wind on an occasion like this.
There have been some references to the Banking Commission report. I have not yet got a copy of it, and it is very strange that all these Deputies seem to be aware of things in it and seem to be deriving satisfaction out of it. I do not know how they have got ideas of that sort. It may be so, or it may not — I do not know. All I can say is that the commission was, for at least two years, examining the whole situation with regard to the basis of our economic life here. They  were given very wide terms of reference and they spent, I think, two years in examining the question. Surely, if it is worth the time of men of that sort to spend two years in examining such questions, we ought to give the matter serious consideration and not regard it merely as a thing to be read through. Obviously, if it is going to be of any value, it must be something which the Government ought to consider very carefully. Then, of course, we have to consider whether or not it is advisable to publish the report in advance of the Government's having made up its own mind with regard to certain recommendations. I do not know what the recommendations are, but they were asked to report and I presume that, in regard to the report, there would be recommendations. So far as financial matters are concerned, I am sure Deputies will understand that it may be a very serious matter if certain recommendations are made, and if there is any doubt as to the Government policy in regard to such recommendations. As I have not read the report, I do not know whether the Government's attitude would be that we should immediately release the report to the public as soon as we have read it, or whether it will mean that we would have to wait in order to make up our minds with regard to certain recommendations that might be in the report. If the Government's attitude were not known at the same time as the recommendations were published, there might be a certain uneasiness with regard to financial matters, and there might be serious consequences if there were uncertainty for a period with regard to the Government's attitude. It may be possible to release it as soon as it is read and to say, in effect: “Let the public do their thinking at the same time that we are doing our thinking.” On the other hand, it might be the case that the Government may come to the conclusion that it would not be in the public interest to let these recommendations be put before the public before announcing our own attitude. I cannot say, of course, because it is true that we only got  that report on the 4th April, and I understand that it is fairly big — that there are two or three volumes in the print. I have not asked for the information, but as far as I know it is not the complete print yet. All I know is that I have not got the copy of the printed report, and, consequently, it is not in a position to be examined. What that report may have in it — whether condemnation or praise or criticism of the Government's policy — I do not know. I do not know what the recommendations are. Whether the Government will be prepared to accept the recommendations and put them into operation, if there are recommendations, I do not know. But it is not right to suggest that this has been done as part of some considered policy. It just followed in the ordinary way. There was no instruction from the Government, and no attitude taken up either as to advancing it or keeping it back. I only say in general that if it took people a couple of years to examine a certain situation — and the terms of reference meant that they were to examine practically the foundations of our whole economic life — the Government cannot make up its mind on that matter without serious study over a reasonable period of time. I cannot say, until we have seen the recommendations and considered them, which of the two things will happen. I cannot say whether we will release it, and let the people as a whole do their thinking at the same time as the Government is doing its thinking——
An Taoiseach: No; we cannot censor it. I cannot say whether that will happen, or whether we will do our thinking first, so to speak, in order to be able to announce, at the same time as the report is published, what the Government's attitude is with regard to the recommendations. It will depend on the form of the recommendations. If the recommendations are of a drastic type that might have any public repercussions and cause uncertainty for any length of time, then obviously what we would do is to keep it until we are prepared to give our views at the same time. On the other  hand, if they are not of that sort, the obvious thing to do would be to let the people do their thinking at the same time as the Government is doing its thinking. That will do no harm to anybody. As I said at the start, this has not been a very satisfactory debate. Apparently the only thing that was at the back of Deputy Gorey's mind was the question of derating, and the Chair ruled him out on that. Although he skated around it a good deal and managed to keep away from the ruling of the Chair in the matter, at the same time one could see that if he dealt with the points which he had in mind he would have to deal with derating. I do not think that should be dealt with without having, so to speak, a dress debate on it, where we would all come in here having figures and facts and having carefully studied the matter. Only in that way would it be profitable. The other things about justice in general are only vague terms, and will not get us anywhere. We have to come down to something concrete.
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