Tuesday, 24 June 1941
Dáil Éireann Debate
That it is expedient to authorise the payment out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas of any expenses incurred by the Minister for Industry and Commerce in the administration of any Act of the present Session to provide for the licensing of bodies carrying on negotiations for fixing wages or other conditions of employment, to provide for the establishment of a tribunal having power to restrict the rights of organisation of trade unions, and for other matters connected with the matters aforesaid.
Mr. Norton: What will be done under this Money Resolution is about the only thing the Bill will do. It will provide jobs for three people and it is the only beneficial thing, one might say, that the Bill will do. It will take three people off the unemployed list — very likely, three casualties of the last election or three difficult folk who cannot be placed in jobs at present. This Bill and this Money Resolution are being put to the Dáil, I believe, under false pretences. The Minister insists, in the absence of any demand for the Bill from workers, trade unions, employers or the community generally, on throwing a Bill of this contentious kind into the public arena at this stage. In the course of his opening speech, he endeavoured to deceive the House into believing that this Bill would cure unofficial strikes, that, in fact, it would bring more order into our industrial relations, but the Minister knows perfectly well that a reading of the Bill will disclose clearly that it will do nothing of the kind. It will not prevent strikes; it will not prevent unofficial strikes; it will not in the slightest promote harmonious industrial relations; and the Bill is not intended to do any of these things on its face. The Minister tried to suggest that the Bill was  welcomed by the trade unions, although every trade union which has spoken on the matter has expressed the utmost condemnation of its terms.
Mr. Norton: The Money Resolution is the pivot on which the Bill works and are we not entitled to say at this stage that this money ought not to be provided to finance activities under a Bill which nobody wants, except the Minister, who does not know why he wants it?
Mr. Norton: The House which you can machine and steam-roll. This side of the House opposed the Bill; the Fine Gael side opposed the Bill; and if the Minister took off the Whips, he could not get any people into the Division Lobbies in support of the Bill.
Mr. Norton: That just shows the Minister's mentality in relation to the Bill. If the Minister could only hear the stories which his own Deputies who sit behind him told the trade unions, he would know perfectly well that they do not want this Bill, and if the Minister were prepared to take off the Whips, he would realise that he could not get a majority for it. In spite of the fact that nobody wants the Bill but the Minister and probably a few civil servants who advise him, or misadvise him, as I might more appropriately say, the Minister still persists in pushing this Bill through the House. I put it to the Minister and to those members of the Government Party who are still free to exercise any independent judgment, that, in view of the widespread opposition to this Bill, in view of the fact that it has been roundly condemned by the trade unions and in view of the fact that its introduction at this stage will seriously impair and not foster the national unity so necessary at present, would they not be prepared to withdraw the Bill, to postpone it until the question of whatever difficulties exist in the trade union movement can be considered in a calmer atmosphere and an atmosphere free from the many other issues which to-day render it very desirable that we should avoid discussions of contentious matters like this Here, in the middle of a war situation——
Mr. Davin: That was the decision in the absence of many members of this House — members of the Minister's own Party. As a matter of fact, there are only seven out of 77 Fianna Fáil Deputies here at the moment.
Mr. Norton: I submit. Sir, while I do not want to develop the argument  at any length, that I am entitled to put it to the Minister that at this stage, and in view of the widespread opposition to the Bill, and in view of the fact that he could not get a majority of his own Party to support the Bill except by the threat of putting on the Whip and the threat of expulsion from the Party, he ougth to withdraw the Bill so as not to increase at this period of crisis the indignation and national disunity which has been caused, and is being caused, by the introduction of a Bill of this kind.
Mr. MacEntee: On a point of order, Sir. I am being asked to withdraw a Bill of which the House has already approved in principle. It seems to me that the speech of Deputy Norton is not a speech which should be delivered on the Money Resolution.
Mr. Norton: May not similar arguments apply here as applied in connection with the Valuation Bill, which has been on the Order Paper for about three years? The Minister said, in connection with that Bill, at the time, that it would be a boon and a blessing to the ordinary working-class people if it could be passed, and he wanted to rush it through the House. Yet that Bill has remained on the Order Paper for the last three years, and I say that it would be no harm if this particular Bill were treated with the same lazy indifference as the Valuation Bill or the Insurance (Intermittent Unemployment) Bill. There is no reason why we should have to pass this Bill to-day or why we should enter on the Committee Stage of the Bill to-day. Nobody wants the Bill; and if the Minister or his Party had any sense they would deal with the question of supplies which our people cannot get, or with the question of coal prices, or with the question of the export of our male population to Great Britain, or the absence of employment.
Mr. Norton: Yes, Sir, I realise that, but I suggest that instead of dealing with this Bill we should be dealing  with these issues. While these issues are being ignored, and while the interests of the people and the country as a whole are being neglected, the Minister comes along with a Bill of this kind, the purpose of which is to weaken the rights and privileges of trade unions, on the one hand, and, by means of the Emergency Powers (No. 83) Order, keep down the wages of the workers. I suggest that nobody wants this Bill, and that the only useful thing which it may accomplish is to produce jobs for three pals. I suggest that it will not do anything more than that. In my view, the Bill should not be proceeded with, and should be left on die Order Paper to keep company with the Valuation Bill of 1938, which is still there on the Order Paper after three years.
Who wants the Bill? Nobody except the Minister. The Minister is trying to get this Bill through this House by false pretences, by pretending that it will do things that it will not do, and he seeks, as a result of the parsing of this Bill, to weaken the trade unions on the one hand, while doing nothing whatever to protect the interests of the workers on the other hand. You failed to control prices in the interests of the workers; you failed to maintain employment in the interests of the workers; you failed to maintain supplies in the interests of the people; and having failed to do all these things, you want now to weaken the trade unions, the only instrument left to the workers to do the work which ought to be done by the Government in the interests of the workers and the people generally. I protest that this Bill is unnecessary, that it is uncalled for, and that it is making war on the trade unions which took such a magnificent part in the building up of this State. These powers are now being sought for the purpose of using them to smash the trade unions, which played such a magnificent part in the building up of this State.
In any case, if, in spite of the advice that has been given to the Minister by trade unions, and of the advice, which I believe, has been given to him by many followers of his own Party, he insists on pushing this Bill through  the House, then let him not think that he has still made it law——
Mr. Norton: ——because although you pass this Bill a thousand times, so far as I am concerned I shall do my left to recommend the trade unions of this country not to recognise it, if and when it should be passed, because it is not democracy but tyranny, and its only object is to muzzle the trade unions and prevent them voicing and protecting the interests of the workers of this country. As a protest, Sir, we do not propose to move any of the amendments that have been submitted in our names. So, let the Minister go on with his jack-boot tactics now.
General Mulcahy: I asked the Minister what this Money Resolution was for, and I should like to repeat that so that the Minister might have a chance of telling the House, in an ordinary and full way, why exactly a Money Resolution is being associated with this Bill when, so far as we can see, through every clause of the Bill the most elaborate precautions are being taken to see that any cost of this measure is going to fall on the trade unions that are being dealt with. The Minister can only be convincing, in suggesting to the House that a Money Resolution is necessary, if he tells us what particular part of the machinery that is going to deal with this measure is going to be paid for by State funds, and what the functions of that particular piece of machinery are going to be; because I suggest that there is no operation in connection with the Bill for which some section of this BU1 does not provide that the trade unions, or the people representing them, will have to pay.
Mr. Davin: Yes, Sir, the Taoiseach. If the Taoiseach and the Minister for  Industry and Commerce, who is the prime mover in this matter, and the other Ministers of the Government, are sincerely anxious to preserve the unity which has existed amongst all sections of the people during the past 12 months, the Head of the Government will come into this House, and, in the interests of peace during the period of the emergency, ask his Minister for Industry and Commerce to withdraw this measure. I pointed out, during a previous discussion in connection with this measure, that there did not appear to be any justification for its introduction under existing circumstances — on the grounds that any labour troubles had. been caused during the past 12 months at any rate. The Minister for Industry and Commerce has just said that the Second Reading of this Bill was approved by a majority of the House. We all know perfectly well — and the Minister for Industry and Commerce better than anybody else — that the Fianna Fáil members of this House, or at least the majority of them, did not listen to any of the discussions on this measure, and that the majority of them were not present in this House at any stage of the proceedings. Look at the House at the moment. Out of 77 members of the Fianna Fáil Party, elected by the people of this country to give expression to the will and desire of the people on matters put before the people during the last general election, only seven of them are present, and one of them, representing the City of Dublin, who knows the views of the workers as well, I suppose, as anybody else, is sitting outside the House and will not come in here.
Mr. Davin: Deputy Norton has pointed out that in the opinion of the members of this Party, or of anybody who has given consideration to the consequences of this measure, the expenses are not justified, although the Minister, who wants to rush the Bill through the House, cannot tell us the cost of it. Of course, I daresay the  Minister is not concerned about the cost of the Bill since he will be able to recover it from other people. Is there anybody — including Deputy Tom Kelly, who ought to know something about the views of the workers of Dublin — who is prepared to stand up and give reasons why this measure should be rushed through the House, in the hasty way in which it is being sought to be rushed, during this, the greatest crisis that has ever occurred in the history of this country? Will Deputy Cooney come inside the House and give some reason, which the Minister has not so far given, as to why we should have all this haste in rushing this matter through the House? I admit that Deputy Cooney, from his personal contacts, must have considerable knowledge of the views of the workers of this city in this matter. He received a very high percentage of their votes, and is he going to sit silent outside, or come in and support the Minister in rushing this thing through, and rushing it through, as the Minister knows and as Deputy Cooney knows even better, at a time when peace and unity are absolutely necessary amongst our people ?
Mr. Davin: I thoroughly agree with Deputy Norton in deciding not to proceed with the amendments put down in the name of the members of the Labour Party, for the very good reason that the members who are going to vote for or against these amendments will not listen to the merits of the discussion on the amendments. I do not know the Minister's views on the amendments that have been submitted, but the Minister may possibly accept one or two of these amendments. I do not know whether he will or not but if he decides in his wisdom not to accept any of the 48 or 50 amendments we put down for consideration, we can talk as long as we like to the silent Fianna  Fáil Benches opposite and, at the end of the discussion, the Minister will have the bell rung and will get a majority registered against us, no matter what views have been put forward in favour of these amendments. That is the farcical procedure that we have been asked to subscribe to in this House over a long period and that is a very good reason why Deputy Norton has decided — and I agree with him in his view — that it is merely a farce to proceed with discussion of these amendments when those who can decide the merits of the amendments will not listen to the discussion.
I am sure the Minister was as well pleased as any of his colleagues in regard to the unity movement which was brought about here 12 months ago. I appeal to him that if be wants, as I believe he does, to maintain that spirit of unity in the country he should not proceed any further with this provocative measure. Deputy Norton referred to the measure that is on the Order Paper since before the last general election. Is it the Minister's personal wish that that measure should have remained on the Order Paper for so long or is it because there was some strong feeling put to him by some interested parties that they should not proceed any further with the remaining stages of that particular measure? I do not know what is the reason but there is surely some reason why a measure which got a First Reading in this House three years ago is still lying on the Order Paper and has not gone one stage further.
Mr. Davin: I would do a good deal to try to wake up the lazy members of the Fianna Fáil Party who are somewhere around this building just waiting for the bell to ring, when they will come in and register the Minister's opinion on a matter to the discussion on which they will not listen.
Mr. Davin: We are as anxious as anybody in this House or in this country to maintain democratic institutions, to maintain this Parliamentary institution, but the people who are doing their best to kill it are the people who will not come in and sit behind the Minister and listen to discussions on measures of this kind or who, like Deputy Cooney, will not come in and give good reason why this measure should be rushed through the remaining stages under existing circumstances.
Dr. Hannigan: I join with the Labour Deputies in appealing to the Minister for Industry and Commerce to withdraw this Bill. It is ill-chosen, ill-timed, ill-advised, and its immediate effect will be to destroy that spirit of co-operation outside this House which everybody within the House purports to be anxious to preserve. I have no intention of traversing ground covered already by Deputy Norton and Deputy Davin. My principal objection to the Bill is because of its Fascist implications. There were other Bills of a different nature from this but showing the same trend, which I opposed on the same grounds. When some of these County Management Bills were before the House I pointed out then that I considered that this snatching away of authority here and there throughout the country could only have one ultimate effect, and that some day we would probably be discussing a Bill in this House which would be taking away the privileges and rights of Deputies. I see in this Bill a very real danger that we are moving as rapidly as we can in that direction. As I say, I think it is very ill-timed and ill-advised, and I would appeal to the Minister to respond to the appeals made, not only by the various Deputies in the House, but by very strong representations in the trade union movement outside.
Mr. Keyes: I desire to protest against the Money Resolution, perhaps on different grounds from Deputy  Davin. I am not personally concerned whether the Fianna Fáil Benches are bereft of their occupants or packed to suffocation. I am more concerned with the underlying principle of this Bill. It was introduced, Deputy Norton said, under false pretences. I repeat that charge. It was introduced on an allegation that there was certain looseness and lack of discipline showing itself in the trade union movement that called for attention. As a result of that, certain discussions took place between representatives of the Government and representatives of the trade union movement, but at none of these discussions was the fell purpose of the Bill disclosed as it shows itself in Section 6, which indicates clearly what is at the back of the mind of the Minister and the Government, which is nothing short of trying to put the trade union movement out of commission in this country. Nobody on these benches could possibly stand for the passing of money in this House to introduce legislation for so vile a purpose, which is so ill-advised and which is going to have such disastrous consequences, I believe, on the country as a whole.
The trade union movement of this country has done nothing to deserve this treatment from the Fianna Fáil Government. As I say, their whole case is given away when they put a premium upon non-unionism. It is not necessary to be a trade unionist; you can have all the negotiation machinery you like and carry on with no fee. The fee is only put on the person who has the temerity and courage to belong to a union. That is really the kernel of this Bill. The rest of it is padding-up stuff. It is definitely aimed at bursting the trade union movement and, as I said on another stage, I wonder what the Minister proposes putting in its place. When he has succeeded, if he does succeed, in passing this measure and upsetting the machinery that has taken a century and a half to build, I wonder what he contemplates putting in its place. The company unions, the House unions and the scabs will be there to run the affairs of industry in this country. I think it is an insult to ask anybody, not alone those on the  Labour Benches, but anybody who has the peace and harmony of this country at heart, to pass money in this House to enable the Minister to get away with this scheme of his, which is disruptive in its conception and which will be disastrous in its consequences.
Mr. Hickey: I wish to repeat what I said when this Bill was being introduced. I then appealed to the Minister to withdraw the Bill. I am now more convinced than ever of the need for withdrawing the Bill. I was present at a meeting on Sunday in College Green. I have my own conception of what mass meetings can be at times, and I understand the feeling that can be aroused at those mass meetings, but at the meeting on Sunday there were thousands and thousands of men, orderly, quiet and resolute. There was not a, contentious word raised at that meeting. The one desire was that this Bill should be withdrawn in the interests of peace first of all. In the second place, as one who has some knowledge of the trade union movement and who has had some experience in dealing with employers over a number of years, I am opposed to giving any money to the Government to provide for this Trade Union Bill. The Minister ought to consult his executive officers in the Department and he will find that, as far as the South of Ireland is concerned, there was no need for any of his officials to go to Cork in the past three or four years to preside over a meeting between employers and trade unions. This is not a Trade Union Bill, but an anti-Trade Union Bill. If there were any need to bring in a Trade Union Bill, surely there would be evidence of such a need in the South of Ireland. When you come down to complaints which were made here about friction between unions, I want to say to the Minister, very definitely, that he has refrained from dealing with the very things that are likely to cause, and are causing, friction between trade unions in this country.
It is not honest to say that it is because there are too many unions there is all that friction. I am quite satisfied that, if he consulted his executive  officers who have presided at conferences of employers and trade unions over a number of years, he would find that it is not altogether a question of inter-union strife. We have in this country at the moment a certain amount of unity and solidarity among the people, and we have men from the different trade unions giving honest, voluntary service in the different services in the country. I want to say to the Minister quite seriously that he would be doing a good day's work for this country if he withdrew this Bill until the country is in a better frame of mind to discuss it. First of all, I do not think there is any need for this Bill. The trade unions will rectify their own domestic troubles that the Minister complains about. In addition to that Bill, we have other things being introduced at the moment which are not in the interests of the working-class people, and which are making things far more difficult for them. Reiterating what previous speakers have said, I say with a. full sense of responsibility that the Taoiseach would be well advised to ask his Minister to withdraw this Bill.
Mr. Hurley: The purpose of this motion is to set aside money for the financing of this tribunal. If there is any part of the Trade Union Bill which is more obnoxious than another, I think it is the part dealing with this tribunal. The tribunal is to be composed of three individuals, one a practising barrister and two other people whose qualifications are unstated. They are to determine the position and the scope and the size of the future trade unions when this Bill is passed. Surely the Minister or the House cannot for a moment suggest that the operations of that tribunal are going to bring any peace or harmony to the trade union movement. The purpose of it definitely is to regiment and arrange trade unions according to the views of the chairman of this tribunal and those of its two other members. The Minister and his Party boast very much of their democratic principles. I suggest to the Minister and to the House that no Bill which has gone through this House, while I have been a member of it, at any rate, has caused  more dissatisfaction and more spontaneous agitation throughout the whole country than this Bill has caused.
If there is any spark of democracy left in the Minister and his Party, then I would advise them to hearken to the voice of the people who are opposing this Bill. If he thinks that he and his Party are now so secure and that their position in the country is so safe that they can, with impunity, flout the opinions of the workers of this country, then I think he will be very sadly mistaken. Deputy Hickey referred to the meeting in College Green. I was not present at that meeting, but I am informed by impartial outsiders that it was the biggest meeting ever held in Dublin. Surely the Minister is not still going to rely on the argument that he and the Minister tor Finance represent the workers of Dublin? Surely that is the voice of Dublin speaking to him and asking him definitely to withdraw this Bill. Similar meetings were held in other centres, and the opinion was unanimous that this Bill should not be proceeded with. If that is not democracy trying to function, I do not know that is.
Mr. MacEntee: We have heard speeches about meetings in College Green and elsewhere, and opinions as to who are the representatives of the workers of Dublin, but not a word about the Money Resolution which is before the House.
Mr. Hurley: I am giving reasons why we are in opposition to this motion. One of the reasons is that we know the feelings of the people outside; we take cognisance of the feelings and opinions of the citizens of this country. To my mind that is the function of democracy. If the Minister ignores them and flouts them, we do not. This is tyrannical autocracy — by a machined majority in this House trying to shove across a Bill which the people of this  country do not want. I have never seen such unity on any matter as there is on the desire tor the withdrawal of this Trade Union Bill, but the Minister is blind to it. We are trying to wake him up to the fact that that feeling ia abroad — a feeling which may have more sciious reactions than the Minister thinks. I am very sorry that the Taoiseach and other Ministers are not present, because the position is so serious and the determination of the Minister is so dangerous that it is no harm that the Government as a whole should be made aware of the position. I am definitely of the opinion that the Minister is trying to force this through from sheer downright pigheadedness — nothing else. He has not advanced any argument as to why this Bill should go through. He has not advanced any arguments as to why this money should be voted. We have tried to advance arguments in a reasonable way as to why the money should not be voted. We are pointing out the dangers of the Bill. We are pointing out the serious position that may arise in this country as the result of the passing of this Bill. We are pointing out that there is no necessity for the Bill. We are pointing out that there are other Bills which have been on the Order Paper for over three years, and which we were told at the time of their Second Reading were most important Bills which should go through this House and should be in operation in the country. Wiser counsels prevailed. We are trying to impress on the Minister the necessity for withdrawing this Bill at this stage. I think there was never a time in the history of this country when unity was more essential, and the Minister is doing his best to wreck that unity. I have heard expressions at trade union and labour meetings that will have very serious reactions if acted upon, as a result of this Bill. We are trying to point those things out to the Minister. We had hoped that he would not proceed with the Committee Stage of the Bill.
If the House passes the Resolution, I do not see any use in going ahead with amendments. The Bill is so bad in principle — it is so bad intrinsically — that amendments, no matter how favourably they may be received by the Minister and by the Government, will not help to improve it. The genesis of the Bill is that the trade unions are to be machined and controlled and regimented as would he the principle under a dictatership. Surely we have some vestige of democracy left in this country? Surely we are not so bound up with Government regimentation in other ways that we expect to have this Bill operated by the trade unions calmly and quietly? There again I want to point out to the Minister the very serious position which would arise. Does the Minister tell this House that, with the passage of this Money Resolution and with the passage of this Bill, according to the ideas he has in his mind, the regimentation of the trade union movement will take place? Is he aware that this trade union movement has been built up over a long period — about 150 years — through blood and tears and sacrifice? Does he imagine that, at the behest of the Fianna Fáil Government, the trade union weapons will drop in the workers' hands and that they will remain quiet and humble while they are shepherded and regimented by this Bill? Surely the Minister in his wildest dreams does not hope for that?
We have tried to point out these things to the Minister, to show him the feeling in the country with regard to this Bill. We have tried to enlighten him to the fact that this is looked upon as an anti-Trade Union Bill, not alone by trade unions but by people who have made a study of the trade union movement — people who are apart altogether from the membership of the trade unions. It is looked upon as an anti-Trade Union Bill, one which will create discord, disunion and trouble in the country. Surely these should be reasons enough for the Minister to withdraw it, and not proceed with the Money Resolution.
Mr. McGilligan: On the Money Resolution there is very little in detail to be said, but one must get down to the principle which is at stake. When he spoke on the Second Reading of the  Bill, the Minister tried to cloak the whole thing under the general slogan of “peace in industry in our time.” How is he proposing to get this peace in industry? By pressing this measure in the face of the opposition to it that has been exposed already? The measure is framed appropriately enough — although by accident — between the Finance Bill in its present state and the Emergency Powers Order No. 83 down for discussion to-day. Industry has to face immediately a period of crisis. To certain people that crisis is complicated and to some it is made very much more exacerbating by the facts revealed by the Minister for Finance on the opening of the Finance Bill. He told us that the Revenue Commissioners had discovered that profiteering on a large scale was taking place. Following on the previous promises he had made to the country, at the time the Emergency Powers Bill was passed — that profiteering would not be allowed — the Minister came to us with that particular measure; but when demands were made that growing industry should be preserved and should not be put in the same role as the obvious and notorious profiteers, he then — despite his own statements that the Revenue Commissioners had discovered that these huge profits were being made — threw overboard, the clauses he had inserted in the measure.
Mr. MacEntee: May I point out that it may be in order for Deputy McGilligan to try to get a setting, if he were speaking on the Second Reading, but now the House has already adopted the principle of the Bill?
Mr. McGilligan: I am speaking on a financial measure — a motion which proposes to get the people of this country to pay something in order to put the Trade Union Bill into operation — a Trade Union Bill expressed to be for peace in industry and which has results that can be observed already throughout the country. If that proposal is to  be discussed in the setting of a financial measure in which the Minister has revealed that he has discovered that profits are being made by people out of the war and that he does not propose now to take those profits, that is one setting. A second setting is the Minister's Order No. 83. that is to be discussed here. The Minister proposed, not merely to take action regarding excess profits — I would not mind if he had even used the phrase “excess incomes”— but he proposed under that older to prevent incomes rising to a point where they would agree with the increased costs.
Mr. McGilligan: I am arguing on the Financial Resolution motion and hold that I am entitled to do so. We were told that people would not be allowed to make excess profits, but now people are not being allowed to get any increase in their incomes. The Minister proposes to introduce a measure which takes away the old guardianship and power from the smaller people, having revealed to us that other people do not need that support, because they already have it in the standstill measure. It is iniquitous to proceed with this. It has got no support from anybody connected with labour matters throughout the country and has been contested everywhere. It has met with popular indignation, greater than anything that met any measure the Minister has introduced for some years back.
The Minister told us it was based upon certain agreements — or implied agreements — amongst trade unions themselves, that some change was necessary in trade union regulations. In the last debate, the Minister proceeded to quote from documents and then ran away from the documents when he was told they would have to he exposed to us, so that those who would have to answer the arguments would be able to see them. Notwithstanding that suppression of documents  in the background, two matters have been revealed — the definite attempt to depress still further people who are already particularly depressed at the moment, and to keep uplifted people whom the Minister decided to condemn because they were profiteering. By taking his stand over that on the plea of “peace in industry”, the Minister will wreck any possible chance of progress. I object to giving a single shilling in furtherance of that purpose.
Mr. Corish: Twelve months ago I think it was recognised by the Minister and by the two main Parties here that controversial matters would not be discussed in this House during the period of the emergency.
Mr. Corish: There was; and the Minister knows that that was the reason why the Local Government Bill was postponed 12 months ago, and also why the St. Laurence O'Toole Hospital Bill is still on the Order Paper, and why the Valuation Bill was postponed. Now, in the midst of the emergency, when the country is united, having created an atmosphere of united spirit — which they were appealing to other Parties in this House to respond to — the Minister brings in legislation which is going to tear the country from one end to the other — and rightly so. The Minister takes objection to the speeches that are made from this side of the House in connection with this measure, and says that we have no right to make statements of this kind on the Financial Resolution, that all this was said on the Second Reading of the Bill. When introducing this financial motion to-day, the Minister said very little — merely that he was moving that the motion be passed. He is asking that taxes be taken now from the people of this country to put into operation a measure which the people do not want. He will be collecting taxes from people against whom he has made an order which will prevent them getting any increase in wages to meet these conditions.
As Deputy McGilligan has pointed out, the Minister and his Government  made no effort to protect the poor of this country from the profiteers as soon as the war began. Now he is taking a step, through the medium of this Bill, to prevent the poor from getting the necessary money to enable them to pay the very high prices for commodities, which the Government has failed to control. The unfortunate people who will be asked to pay the taxes to put this controversial measure into operation are the people who are being mulcted to the extent of 4d. an ounce on tobacco and high taxes on various necessaries of life.
I remember the Minister when he had a revolutionary mind. I remember the Minister when he would stand up to any Government which would attempt to put through a measure not half as severe as this. I want to tell the Minister that the revolutionary spirit is not yet finished in this country, and that I, for one — and I say this in all seriousness and with all the responsibility I have — will advocate that the law will not be observed when this Bill is passed, and I will take the consequences. From what I know of the country, the country is ripe for taking such advice. The workers of the country will not stand idly by while a Government put into office by the workers of the country tramples upon them.
We have in this House representatives of the City of Dublin who were sent here by the workers of Dublin, and I defy them to get up in this House and say that the workers of Dublin are in favour of this Bill. We did not hear their voices on the Second Stage of the Bill; we have not heard them yet on this resolution, and we await what they have to say. The Minister and his Government, have become so cock-sure of themselves during the period of the emergency, because of the co-operation which they have had from the different Parties in the House, that they think it is only necessary for them to crack their whip through the medium of the majority that they have in the House and the people will accept anything. The people of Ireland are patient people; but no emergency powers, no decrees from the Government,  will make the workers of the country accept this measure of slavery. The trade union movement had to be fought for in this country; blood and tears were shed in order to establish that movement, and the workers of the country will not accept it from the Minister, who sits in his bench with smug complacency while he takes away from them the rights they have won over a period of years.
Mr. Everett: I wish to join the other members of the Labour Party in registering my protest against this Bill, and I am prepared to issue a challenge to the Government. There is a vacancy for a representative in County Wicklow, and if the Minister is so cocksure that the people of the country are prepared to support him, why not have a by-election in that county? We are prepared to abide by the result of that election on the Government's mismanagement of the past two years.
The workers of the country responded to the appeal made them in the cause of unity, believing it was sincere. I am one of the few who could not agree that the Government were sincere in looking for unity, and, therefore, I have never appealed to the workers in any constituency to accept the Government's plea that they wanted the workers to unite. Notwithstanding the Emergency Powers Order, they have granted concessions to men with £1,500 a year; they have granted increases to engineers on public boards while, at the same time, refusing to grant an increase of 2/6 per week to workers. These are the kind of actions we have had from the Government who are supposed to be representative of the plain people. If they are satisfied that they represent the people, why not take steps to ascertain the feelings of the people at the present time?
I suggest that the Minister has been misled by some people who are alleged to be representative of the trade union movement, and the proof of that is the wholesale opposition of the organised workers of Ireland, represented by the meeting last Sunday in Dublin. The Minister would show himself to be a bigger man by recognising that fact rather than by using his machine  majority to achieve his ends. If the Minister wants to have unity, which I do not believe will continue much longer, why is he not prepared to meet the real representatives of the trade union movement in order to preserve peace in industry, if he is genuine in his desire to have peace in industry? His excuse for bringing forward this Bill is that there were disputes occurring in industries which the real organised workers were not aware of. If they were, I am sure he would receive the co-operation of all sides, not alone in this House but outside the House, to prevent any unnecessary strikes or friction. If he has been misled or deceived by interviews with certain parties, let him now realise the seriousness of the position, postpone the Bill, meet the representatives of the Trade Union Congress and discuss the matter with them and see if, with the support of the trade union movement, he cannot improve the Bill in such a way as to carry out the wishes of the Government and of everybody concerned to secure peace in industry. I submit that the Minister would show himself to be a bigger man by admitting that this Bill will not achieve what he has in mind.
To-day we see the Government allowing young men to be exported across to England for work there which is denied to them at home. Over 100 young men from my own town went to England to-day and had passports granted to them within 24 hours, which could not be got by other people inside a month. Then we are toid that they do not want to work in Ireland. That is going on wholesale all over the country. The on way in which the Minister and his Department can try to solve the unemployment problem is to export the youth of the country and the tradesmen of the country to whom work is denied here. Yet, in a serious situation like that, we have our time wasted here considering this Bill and other Bills brought in in order to make the people believe that, the Dáil is a very important Assembly. But the people are not fools. If there is one Party more than another whirh is bringing this Dáil into contempt and trying to bring it back to what the  Government said it was in 1923 — not representative of the people — it is the Government Party. In every action of theirs, day after day, they have treated the elected representatives of the people with contempt, so that we had the Executive governing the people and not those elected by the people.
Mr. Everett: The Minister may get this resolution through to-day, but we are prepared to accept the challenge. He may have the Army and his henchmen to do certain work, but he will be unable to defeat the united will of the trade union movement. The Labour Party in opposing this Bill will not alone have the support of the real trade unionists but everybody who has a grievance against the Government will join in supporting the Labour Party and the Trade Union Congress in any action they may take to prevent the Minister's scheme being put into operation.
Mr. Pattison: I wish to join with my colleagues in protesting against this measure. Personally I am not at all surprised at what the Government are prepared to do in return for the support they have received from the workers of the country. I never bad any misunderstanding in that respect. My friend, Deputy Everett, has issued a challenge. In my constituency we are in the same position and I would like to issue another challenge. I will invite, the Minister and his Government to have a by-election in my constituency to fill the seat rendered vacant by the death of Deputy Gorey. I understand that there is also a vacancy in Deputy Hurley's constituency and he tells me that he is very anxious that the Government should have a by-election there. If you want to test public feeling on an important measure of this kind, that is the proper and the democratic way to do it, or, if you want to do it in the 100 per cent. fashion, you should have a general election. The Government, in a fit of temper on one occasion, decided on a general election and, unfortunately for the workers,  they succeeded in getting back into office, but they did so under false pretences.
The Chair has given me a little latitude, for which I am grateful. On the Resolution, I want to protest, as vehemently as I can, against this wastage of public money. Ministers have been telling us that we must make sacrifices and we must economise in this period of great national emergency and then they proceed to bring in a Bill of this type. The Minister is afraid to tell the House to-day what amount of money is required to put this legislation into operation — that is, if it ever becomes operative. I protest against this measure on behalf of my constituents, the vast majority of whom are in a deplorable state, because they live in a county which has been almost scourged to death by the terrible plague that has affected our cattle. The farmers, and the workers employed by them, have gone through a trying period and no amount of compensation that they may receive from the State would be adequate to enable them to look to the future with any sense of contentment. I desire to join with my colleagues and others on this side of the House in protesting against the unwarranted action of the Government in trying, with their steam-rolling majority, to push through this unwanted legislation.
General Mulcahy: It was understood  that anything done under the Bill would be paid for by the trade unions and, therefore, I am asking why the State is being asked for this money. For what particular work is this money being asked? Can we have a reply to that?
General Mulcahy: We are dealing with a very important measure, a measure the Minister called important, a measure that we all realise is important. The Minister introduced this matter very unhappily. Apart from the Bill itself, that was the impression one had from the general tone of his speech. He introduced the Bill very unhappily and he followed it up much more unhappily and, if the approach of the Minister to this important matter is going to be continued in the same spirit — and that seems to be the tendency from the unhappy manner in which he approaches it now — then I do not know what the Minister thinks he is, or what he thinks we are in this Assembly.
In the interest of peace in industry, and all the other things the Minister claims to be concerned about, I appeal to him to give us and the working-class people of the country a definite answer to a simple question. I suggest he should give us an opportunity of doing our business here in a reasonable way. Will he let us know what this money is going to be applied tot What is it going to pay for? The Minister, apparently, does not want to answer.
General Mulcahy: There are 11 members of the Government Party behind the Minister. We are in Committee on  Finance and we are dealing with a very important matter. We are asked to vote State moneys for the purposes of this Bill. The Bill, to my mind, seems to provide that the trade unions will pay all the expenses that the administration of this legislation will create. Surely we are entitled, as members of Parliament dealing vith the finances of the country, to know why this money, coining from the taxpayers, is being asked for. I appeal to members of the Fianna Fáil Party to consider this very carefully. Are they going to force a discussion of this important matter in an atmosphere in which an Irish Parliament cannot get an answer to a simple question put seriously in relation to a very important aspect?
Mr. Corish: There are Deputies on the Fianna Fáil benches who consider this a laughing matter. They need not laugh. It is a nice way to treat Parliament. The Minister sits dumb; he refuses to answer reasonable arguments. It is a damn shame — that is what it is. We hear a lot of talk about respect for Parliamentary institutions. I do not wonder at the Minister being deserted by his colleagues.
General Mulcahy: I have pointed out to the Minister, and to the 12 members of the Government Party who are now here, that we are being asked to provide money that will be taken from the taxpayers' pockets to set up machinery in connection with this Bill. So far as one can understand from the Bill, any money that may be necessary to work it is going to be taken from the trade unions. I am asking why this money has to be voted, why the taxpayers have to be taxed if the provisions in respect to finance are, as I suggest they are, in the Bill. We are entitled to an answer to that question.
General Mulcahy: If I am out of order, it is the function of the Chair to rule me out; but I do not think I am out of order in asking the Minister did he hear me when I pointed out that he is requesting the House to provide money which he wants apparently for the setting up of some kind of machinery?
Mr. Norton: Will you take another motion — that the Taoiseach be acquainted with the nature of the proceedings in the House, that it be intimated to him that his Minister has lost his voice and will not talk, and  that he be requested to send in some Minister who is capable of talking to explain the true nature of this Bill?
Childers, Erskine H.
Da Valera, Eamon.
Fogarty, Patrick J.
Gorry, Patrick J.
Keane, John J.
Kellv, James P.
Kennedy, Michael J.
Lemass, Seáan F.
Little, Patrick J.
Lynch, James B.
O Briain, Donnchadh.
O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
O'Loahlen, Peter J.
Rice, Brigid M.
Ruttledge, Patrick J.
|Bennett, George C.
Byrne, Alfred (Junior).
Cosgrave, William T.
Costello, John A.
Doyle, Peadar S.
Esmonde, John L.
O'Higgins, Thomas F.
O'Sullivan John M.
Pattison, James P.
Redmond Bridget M.
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