Tuesday, 12 May 1942
Dáil Éireann Debate
Mr. Corry: When dealing with the Budget last week I stated that I was seriously troubled about the food position. If the position is examined carefully I do not believe, even with 25 per cent. of the land tilled, that we will have a sufficient supply of grain. We have complaints about the shortage of butter already. Previous to the war we imported about 350,000 tons of  maize and 100,000 tons of linseed meal and oil cake for the feeding of cattle. In 1938, the last normal year, the acreage under oats amounted to 570,414, and under barley 117,842 acres. In 1941 the acreage under oats amounted to 782,201, and under barley 163,000 or a total of 945,000 acres. The 700,000 acres under oats and barley in the year preceding the war were used for feeding purposes, and very little of it was exported, leaving a difference of 227,000 acres to fill the gap caused by a shortage of some 500,000 tons of maize and cotton meal for feeding stuffs previously imported.
Mr. Corry: I suggest that the present acreage under tillage will not be sufficient, and that is the main reason why oatenmeal cannot be got this year. I believe that 40 per cent. of the land will have to be put under tillage if there is to be a safe supply of grain, and that that will have to be done, not in a haphazard way, but definitely enforced if we are going to prevent want and misery. I do not believe all the yarns that we hear about farmers holding back oats for better prices. The farmers sold a certain quantity at tempting prices and, in my opinion, they were absolutely justified, having regard to the gap that was left between the price of oats and the fixed price of oatenmeal. Farmers are prepared to work and to produce crops at very little profit, if any, so that the consumers may get food at a low price, but when a gap was left other gentlemen on whom there were no restrictions stepped in between farmers and consumers. No attempt was made to get these gentlemen to share in equal sacrifices for all. They stuffed their pockets with the loot, while others might starve. While that condition of affairs exists I do not think farmers are to be blamed if they take advantage of the scarcity of commodities to try to extract portion of the loot. I know that I will be told: “Oh, nobody takes any notice of what Deputy Corry says.” I heard that often before from county councillors and in every phase of public life, but I succeeded in showing  that when I make a statement I never do so without producing the proofs. In this case the proof was a letter from a miller who admitted that on a turnover of 300 barrels of oats per week—the oats having been bought at the price fixed by the Government and the oatenmeal sold at the fixed price—he could make a net profit of £10,600 a year.
Mr. Corry: He did his part. There would be less trouble if some of the cock-and-bull yarns were dealt with in the same manner. I agree with what the Minister for Supplies said the other day. The principle under which we are working is right. If the administration goes wrong it is our duty to call attention to the loopholes. In an emergency period like this we cannot afford to have loopholes. Democracy is on trial to-day, it is on trial here. I know that the people on the opposite benches can sneer at times and can talk about bringing this House into disrepute but if there is anything that would bring this House into disrepute, disgrace and shame, it is the manner in which the Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices Act has been acted upon. There is the picture drawn by Deputy Hickey, and the statement made by the Taoiseach the other day regarding the means test in the case of old I.R.A. pensions. Where was the means test here in the case of people with £1,200 in one job, £480 out of another job, and £500 a year of a pension?
I consider it my duty to my constituents, who sent me here on every occasion on which I asked them, to show, since the Opposition Front Bench are gagged by this Pensions Act, where, in my opinion, mistakes have been  made by the Government. I will carry out that duty while I am here, and no sneers from anybody will prevent me from doing so. I said democracy was on trial. It is on trial in this State and very much on trial. If we cannot provide for the unemployed and poor. I do not think there will be any democratic rule here before this war is over. When you have a condition of affairs here in which the necessaries of the poor, such as sugar, are shipped across the Border while the aristocracy here—those who are rich enough to afford it—can get black-market tea and black-market white flour, that does not shed credit on this country and would not shed credit on any country. Nobody can deny that that position exists here to-day. A person need only take up the paper any day to be aware of that. Nobody will persuade me that the lorries which bring that white flour and those chests of tea across the Border to this side are going back empty. Nobody will persuade me that the butter which is so scarce here has not found its way out of the country as well as the sugar. The merchant who wants white flour does not care what he exchanges for it when he can get a profit of 500 per cent. on his gamble. That is, unfortunately, the position which has prevailed and which I am asking this House, as a whole, to stand up and end. There is only one place for the black-market man and we should put him there. If he were in any other country, he would not be black marketing so long as he has been here.
Then, we have the position in regard to iron supplies—a position which is getting more acute day by day. I saw representatives of Messrs. Pierce, of Wexford, in Cork recently looking for scrap. They found that all the scrap of Munster had been piled up by the Jews in Cork—what they had not exported —and they would not sell a lb. of it. Surely, if an emergency order can be brought in for one thing, it can be brought in for another. To-day, if you want to get a set of shoes made at the forge, you have to bring a wheel band with you to make them, because the blacksmith has no iron with which to make the shoes. I hope that, now  that the Minister has done his part, as I freely admit he offered to do a year and a half ago only the crooks were too strong for him—now that they have accepted the money, I hope that the Minister will see that that factory in Cobh is set working at once, that the furnaces are built and that the scrap iron there will be melted down, so that we shall no longer have a scarcity of an article which is absolutely essential if the agricultural community are to carry on their work.
I now come to the turf position. I put the figure of 64/- on one side and, on the other side, the price at which a local authority in Cork was able to get its turf. There is no comparison between 25/- a ton for turf ricked in Cork County Home, and 64/- for turf, 400 yards away, under the control of Fuel Importers, Ltd. I heard the very lame excuse—I cannot call it anything else —given by the Parliamentary Secretary in that regard. We had the public statement here that the cost of transferring that turf from the wagons across the road and ricking it in the Marino was 9/7 a ton. The moment that statement was published I received a letter from a prominent contractor in Cork stating that he had tendered to do that job at 5/5—4/2 less than it cost. I hold a copy of his tender. The excuse given by the Parliamentary Secretary was that he realised that the poor fellow would lose a lot of money, and, therefore, he would not give the contract to him. How long has the Parliamentary Secretary set himself up as a Providence for looking after foolish contractors? My principal trouble is that that is the turf the poor will get. It is not the gentleman who goes in for a ton of turf that matters; it is the unfortunate people who have to come to our boards of assistance to have their dole supplemented by home assistance. The few shillings we give them has to go to pay the difference between 5/5 and 9/7. That is not a condition of affairs for which we should stand. I freely admit that no man in this country would have handled the turf situation as well as the Parliamentary Secretary handled it last year,  with this exception—that, in my opinion, he has not paid enough attention to keeping the costings down in the right manner and in the right place.
Mr. Corry: I do not mean that he should keep the costings down as regards the unfortunate labourer working in the bog, but that he should keep them down in the case of the fuel merchants here in Dublin who are getting more for carting the turf around than the unfortunate labourer got for cutting, footing and ricking it in the bog. It cost the board of assistance in Cork 2/9 for unloading and ricking the turf in the bog and it cost the Parliamentary Secretary 9/7 for doing the same thing 300 yards away. These are the things that count and which the unfortunate people have to watch. If we are to keep wages at a standstill or anything like a standstill, so that there will be no inflation, surely it is equally our duty to see that the poor will get their fuel and their food at the lowest price we can fix. After all, a large part of the food of the poor is oatmeal. One might say that 95 per cent. of their fuel consists of turf. In regard to those two items, in my opinion, we are sadly lacking in our duty. In my opinion they are the things we have got to look after. We recognise the principle all right, but we must have regard to the administrative side and see that the costings are kept down and that the consumer will not have to pay the wide margin that is at present allowed by the Department of Industry and Commerce and the Department of Supplies between the cost of production and the price at which it is sold to the consumer. We must do that this year, from the moment it leaves the hands of the men who have to work and toil and sweat— the farmer and the farm labourer— and comes into the hands of the collar and tie boys. Where the farmer is allowed 8d. an hour, the merchants are allowed £5 an hour. There is too much class distinction in this country and too much cheese-paring, cheese-par  ing that was evidenced here three weeks ago in the questions that I had to ask in connection with a certain county medical officer of health and the manner in which his duty was being discharged and the manner in which the unfortunate ratepayers of the county had to pay his substitute. That kind of thing is turning this House, not only into disrepute, but into contempt, the contempt of every decent man in the country, who will say, “They are all alike.”
I speak as one who is anxious, and more than anxious, to see this country coming successfully through the present trouble. If we here keep our heads and do our duty towards our people, it will. Let not money stand in the way. Let there be equal sacrifice for all. If there is £125,000,000 lying idle in our banks, as Deputy Mulcahy told us some time ago, let some of that be sacrificed, to be used, not merely for providing the few million pounds that are necessary now for the relief of unemployment, that, unfortunately, in my opinion, we have not made one-fourth provision for, but for seeing that our people are put into decent employment here and for covering what I call the black period in agriculture, namely, from the 1st November to 1st March, the period in which our agricultural labourers, when they became disemployed last year, flew off to England. If England can pay them with borrowed money that is not worth the paper it is written on, in my opinion, we should be able to do the same. Let us do the same. Let us see that our people are clothed and fed and that the food which our people should receive is not sent across to build up paper credits in Britain that may be no use to us in our hour of need. I do not intend to delay the House further. I have stated what in my opinion is the actual situation in this country to-day and the means that I think should be taken to remedy it.
Mr. Bennett: I am not going to enter into a very lengthy criticism of the Budget. I am not going to suggest that any economies that the Minister could have effected would, in any degree, have mitigated the position of  the people in general. I am not even going to suggest that borrowing was not, in the present period, unavoidable. But I would say that if we had not so lavishly expended in the past and if taxation had not been allowed to reach the limits it had reached we could face with some degree of equanimity the post-war period in which it will probably be more necessary to borrow than it is now, when expenditure may become heavier than it is now, because expenditure rather than economy will be necessary. I wish to refer, in the main, to the effect of the Government's policy on the agricultural community. If one were to follow Deputy Corry, I think one would have to make the rather unfair statement that the policy of the Government was anti-agricultural. I do not think that it is quite fair to go as far as to say that it was deliberately anti-agricultural. I think it would be equally unfair to say that the Government pursued a policy of sympathetic inactivity in regard to agriculture because the whole trend of their policy during the last few years has not been of any great help to the farmer in general. Agriculture suffered very severely in the early years of the Government's administration. It was used as the rope in the tug-of-war in the fight with Britain and if it was not broken it was sadly frayed, to say the least. There was never an attempt made by this Government, or indeed by any Government since the State began to govern itself, to provide the farmer with a profit commensurate with his capital expenditure on the land and with his cost of production.
No attempt was ever made to carry out a proper investigation of the real costs of production in farming. Certainly no attempt was ever made to give the farmer a return sufficient to provide him with a reasonable profit and some slight amount for interest on his capital expenditure, on equipment, etc. Certainly no provision was made, as is made in this Budget in relation to manufacturing industries, for giving the farmer the equivalent of the post-war compensation given to manufacturing industries for moneys expended on emergency equipment and plant. There is no provision in the Budget to  compensate the farmer in a similar manner for the expenditure he now makes on the increased production of food, without manures. No provision is made in the way of post-war compensation for the enforced deterioration of his property, his land, as a result of that extra production. I am not saying now that the Government has never given any money towards agriculture, but I do say that, in the distribution of the pool, agriculture has been unfairly treated. Any help that the Government has been forced to give to agriculture has come after months and years of agitation and, when it was eventually given, it was given grudgingly and hesitatingly.
Take the case of wheat. For over two years, since the emergency started, there was an agitation all over the country and in this House, to fix a price for wheat that would make it an economic proposition for the producer. The Government began by advancing the price to 30/- and then in small doles advanced it to 35/-, 40/-, 45/- and eventually to 50/-. If, in the first instance, the Government had taken the view that they have taken in regard to other industries in this State—that the producer must get a price commensurate with the cost of production— they would have fixed the price of wheat from the start at 50/- or over 50/-, if they took into consideration the deterioration in the fertility of the land and the cost of putting that land into a proper state after the emergency has passed.
What has happened in the case of wheat, possibly will also happen in regard to butter. Sufficient butter is not available at the moment for the needs of our own people. There has been a shortage for the last few months. Probably for the summer months there will be a sufficiency but then it is in the balance whether for the remainder of the year supplies will be adequate for the needs of the people. The threatened shortage could have been avoided if the Government had listened to the voice of people who knew the position, in the last three or four years. I am sure the Minister for Agriculture knows  the position. I shall pay the Minister the tribute that I believe if it were in his sole power he would help in this matter and that he would provide the money necessary to give an economic price for milk, but the Minister is held up by the Minister for Finance and the Government who do not understand the agricultural problem, as I hope the Minister for Agriculture does.
There has been, as I say, a consistent demand for an increase in the price of milk. That demand was so forcibly put forward by the producers that it is now almost generally recognised by every section of the community that 7d. per gallon is not an economic price for milk and that butter is being sold, even at the moment, at a price under the cost of production. Are we to wait for the same thing to happen as happened in the case of wheat? Are we to wait for the inevitable to happen, because I foresee a further increase in the cost of production of milk, and in the price which will have to be charged to the consumer. That is as inevitable as the increase in the price of wheat from 30/- to 50/-, but Government action may come too late also in this matter. The evil effects of their inactivity may be avoided if they decide to do now what will be inevitable in mid-winter. Why should the Government not investigate the matter fully to see if 7d. per gallon is a fair price to give to the producer of milk and if they find that it is not, why should they not take such steps as will ensure that the production of this vital commodity will be sufficient to meet all the needs of the people while the emergency lasts?
Looking at the production of milk from another point of view, in the last few years the production of butter has fallen by 200,000 cwts., which is equivalent to a decrease of 150,000 in milch cows, or again equivalent to a decrease of 15,000 to 17,000 workers on dairy farms. Is it any wonder that there has been an addition to the number of unemployed in the country, or that the number of emigrants has increased? This is a matter that concerns everybody in this State. It is a subject that looms largely in the conversation  of people everywhere. There is not a housewife in Dublin who is not concerned with the question of the production of butter at the moment. There is not a consumer at the moment who would not willingly pay a penny or more extra per pound for butter if he could get it, recognising as he does that it is the one article of food that he is getting under the cost of production. We are only asking the Minister for Finance and the Government to be as fair to the farmers as they are to the rest of the community. I recognise that we are practically all living on doles. From the rich to the poor, we are receiving Government assistance in one way or another. The Government gives with one hand, but they take away lavishly with the other hand in the form of taxation. Everybody is on the dole to a lesser or greater extent. That being so, we unfortunately have to demand for the agriculturist his share of the swag, as Deputy Corry would describe it.
I have noticed in the Budget that, in regard to manufacturing industry, a fairly liberal provision is made. I grant you that a sufficiency of taxation is extracted from the industrialists, as much as the Minister could afford to extract, in income-tax, supertax, excess profits tax, and in every other way. Many taxes are also extracted from the agriculturist. There was a time when the Minister's predecessor said that no farmer had to pay income-tax. That has been proved to be a mistake. There are several farmers paying income-tax, but I do not think there is any farmer who will be charged with supertax or excess profits tax. I never heard of a farmer having to pay excess profits tax, and I would like to see the official of the Minister's Department who would set out to prove that the farmer had made excess profits. In fact, I think the Minister would smile if anybody suggested that there was ever such a thing as excess profits in the case of a farmer. Provision is, however, made for extracting an excess profits tax from industry. The mere fact that that provision is there and that excess profits are productive in the way of taxation, proves that one section of  the community is at least more prosperous than the other, that the manufacturing community have reached a degree of prosperity altogether beyond what the farmer can ever hope to attain.
I notice that the liberal margin of 7½ per cent. beyond which the Minister could extract an excess profits tax has been, in this Budget, increased to 9 per cent. in the case of certain industries—I do not say in the case of all industries. It has been increased to 9 per cent. So the Minister believes that 7½ per cent. profit on capital turnover is not sufficient for a new industry in this State, that an industrialist should be allowed at least 9 per cent. before he extracts excess profits from him and that after the excess profits are extracted he is going to share in the swag over and above that —the Minister will only take a share in the excess profits. Now, I am not grudging the industrialist his profit— he is entitled to make a reasonable profit—but I am urging that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander and that if it is possible, by Government policy, for one section of the community to make profits in this emergency, it ought also to be possible for another, and a much more vital, section of the community, a section for whose welfare the State should be more concerned than the section I have been talking about.
What I believe should be done, and what never has been done in this country, is to set up a Departmental commission, if you like, or rather some sort of a committee—a committee of Deputies of this House would satisfy me—representative of all Parties in this House, to make an investigation of the whole position of farming and agriculture and the cost of production of all the essentials that the farmers produce, as well as the provision by the Government during this emergency of a price which will provide agriculturists with a fair profit. I do not want any excess profit. I do not want to drive the farmers into the ranks of the excess profiteers—although I do not believe there is any danger of their being driven into them—but I do want some investigation to be made, as I suggested,  into the whole question of agricultural production and agricultural profit. It does not suffice to give the farmer what is considered, generally, satisfactory for him, a mere nominal profit on his production.
Take the price of wheat or of oats or anything else produced by the farmer: the profit is arranged on the actual cost of production, and no attempt is made to consider the amount of capital involved in the land, or to provide for interest on that capital, nor is any attempt made to provide the amount that would be necessary in the post-war period to restore the fertility of the soil. I merely want to emphasise, in particular, the position in regard to butter, and I warn the House that what has happened in regard to wheat and our bread supply, oats and oatmeal supplies, is definitely going to happen to our butter supply if no provision is made to provide a better price than that which the Minister for Agriculture announced recently. I believe that a better price is inevitable and that it is going to be brought about within the next few months by the force of agitation and public opinion in this House and elsewhere, and it would be more desirable if it came willingly and unhesitatingly from the Government now than to have it dragged out of them later on when it might, perhaps, be too late.
I notice that the Minister anticipates that he is going to derive something over £2,500,000 in excess profits tax in the coming year. That does not represent the whole of the excess profits in regard to industry. Now, if industry is in such a position that it can probably make £4,000,000 or £5,000,000 of an excess profit, over and above what one might call the legitimate profit, in a period like this, then one cannot say that the manufacturing industries, in general, are not in a flourishing condition in this particular period. We only ask and demand that some attempt should be made to put the agriculturist, if not in exactly the same position, at least in a position where he would have some profit on his production and some  interest on the capital that he has invested in agriculture.
“...references to a trade having been discontinued or to the discontinuance of a trade shall be construed as not referring to or including any case where such trade was carried on by a single individual and is discontinued by reason of his death...”
Apparently, the Government are altering the law in other cases, and I do not think the Minister gave us any very great detail as to what was the necessity for the alteration in other cases. Certainly, however, where there is a death the procedure is not very fair or very just. I understand that the procedure is to call for a valuation of the stock-in-trade at the retail price. Now, that quite disregards the fact that an ordinary trader would have to continue trading for a considerable period and incur considerable expenses, in order to realise his stock. I think that that position should be recognised, especially as, very often, after a death it is found that the person has been in poor health for a considerable period, during which time he was unable to give proper attention to his business, and probably the stock is, if anything, below the normal value that it would have if the person who was experienced in the management of the business had been constantly and closely supervising it. I would advise the Minister to look into that provision.
The Minister has acknowledged a deficit of £4,500,000 in balancing his Budget, but that is by taking in nearly £1,500,000 as capital expenditure. When one examines those items, I am afraid one is forced to the conclusion that the Minister has merely stuck a “capital” label on certain items that ought properly to be treated as items which should be paid for out of the normal revenue of the year. I could agree with the Minister that such items  as Afforestation, £66,000; Airports, £83,000—especially if that is in connection with the commercial airports—and Fuel Subsidy, £100,000—especially if the receipts from fuel are going to show a surplus over and above expenses— should be treated as capital expenditure. I can quite understand that a large part of those might well be treated as capital expenditure. But, when we come to Defence—£493,000 — Special Employment Schemes— £188,000 — and Special Emergency Schemes—£417,000—I am afraid one is forced to the conclusion that a very great portion of all that expenditure is not going to give any return and, therefore, should not be treated as capital expenditure. I think it would have been much more frank on the Minister's part to have lumped all that in with the deficit of £4,500,000. The Minister also called attention to the wasting character of the land annuities which now amount to about £1,750,000. If we were to include these sums the deficit would certainly reach a very formidable figure. Since, I suppose, we must all shelter behind the Government, I do not see how it would have been possible to have bridged that gap by taxation.
The Minister, in the course of his speech, touched upon the depreciation of machinery installed in special cases to meet the emergency. I think he was very wise to have made provision for dealing with cases where people have provided machinery which is serving a very useful purpose at the present time. When, however, the period of the emergency is over, that machinery will be just absolute scrap. While on that I would like to bring to his notice that at the present time the ordinary replacement of machinery is practically impossible, so that the average person is being forced to make all sorts of emergency repairs. He has simply to cobble up the machinery he has so that he may be able to carry on. I think the Minister ought to make some sort of provision so that allowances may be stored up to meet replacement expenditure in the post-war period. I am not suggesting that the revenue should lose anything over the period. It certainly would be a  very foolish thing to allow a number of firms to go on gaily spending the money that ought to be laid aside for the replacement of machinery, but I do suggest to the Minister that some provision ought to be made so as to enable firms to meet the enormous expenditure they will be faced with in that respect in the post-war reconstruction period.
That brings me to another point that the Minister did not touch on in his Budget speech—indeed, I do not know whether it is relevant to the present discussion—and that is how far the present duties have been taken off or merely suspended, because it is true to say that almost anything can be brought in now duty free. That, in my opinion, is not enough as far as the ordinary traders and manufacturers are concerned. Some lead ought to be given to them as to how long the Government think that will last, and as to what plans they ought to make for the future. The Government may say that the future is very obscure, and that they cannot make any pronouncement as to what their future policy is going to be. If that be their attitude, the ordinary trader or manufacturer may say that he is in the same position and cannot make any provision for the future. Countries that are a lot more occupied than we are seem to be giving very special care to the problems that will arise in the post-war period. The Government, I think, would be well advised to try to give the people some idea as to the conditions under which they think trade will be carried on in the post-war period. The Government are very anxious to develop employment. I am afraid, however, that, due to over-anxiety in a number of cases, they have sacrificed officials. For example, I would like to know the real cost of certain Government Departments.
In the case of the Department of Supplies, one notices that almost 250 people have been loaned to it from other Departments. Their salaries do not appear to be charged to that Department, nor is any information given as to the sum they might represent. The Minister, of course, may argue that their salaries have to be paid in any case, and that one may as  well pay up and look cheerful. I suggest to the Government that the analogy of a business firm starting a new department ought to be followed. I cannot imagine any business firm not charging to a new department the salaries of officials transferred to it so as to show to the board of directors what savings had been effected in the older departments, and what the true cost of the new department was. Even if it be not possible to give an exact estimate, at least an approximate estimate should be given showing the cost of the salaries of the transferred officials, with a view to showing what is the real cost of this new Department set up by the Government. It is an extraordinary state of affairs that while for years officials may be working in one Department which is almost shut down, owing to the emergency, we are left in the position that we do not know what the saving in the case of that Department is on the transfer of officials, or what the cost of the Department is which now has the services of those officials. I submit these points to the Minister for his kind consideration.
Mr. Cosgrave: The first thing that strikes one with regard to a Budget of this magnitude is whether or not anything approaching the services which the people would be entitled to get for this sum of money are being provided. On that, the case for this Budget would naturally stand or fall. If we examine the most prominent item that enters into the budget of every household, namely, fuel, on that basis, we find turf being sold at 64/- per ton in a place like Dublin. That is not value for the money. Some of it that I have seen and which has been bought by people whom I know, would not be used in any house in the rural districts. When we go further and examine what provision is made here in respect of turf, we find a sum in the Estimates amounting to over £820,000. In none of the appropriation returns which I have been able to examine have I seen any return in the shape of cash receipts for that expenditure of almost £1,000,000. If, then, the price of 64/- is to be added to by a  subsidy of this sum, one wonders what really is the price. Looking back over the last few years and some of the statements made by industrially-minded Ministers, we find the Minister for Supplies on one occasion stating that he looked forward to such an expansion of the turf industry that it would be a rival to agriculture. Certainly at that price it is not ever likely to be a success. Judged on that basis, one would say that there will be no value given for the money provided for in the Budget if the value of the rest of the items can be in any way equated to the value received there.
Let us take another item. In this sum of £44,000,000 there is provided a sum of approximately £9,000,000 for the Army. We have heard from many platforms and from almost every political Party in the State about the independence of the people of this country, their self-reliance and so on. There is another small nation in Europe which has been independent for a great many centuries and which at one time occupied an almost dangerously dominant position on the borders of Europe. That country has been supplied with and has taken supplies from America under the lease-lend provision. It is a neutral country just as we are; it is independent just as we are. But its independence and its neutrality have not been in any way interfered with by the acceptance of munitions under the lease-lend arrangement. It has made a treaty with one of the belligerents, and that has not in any way interfered with its neutrality. We seem at all times to be getting the worst of the weather; all the disadvantages and none of the advantages—and they are very few—that arise out of a situation such as we are living through at present.
In my view, and I think in the view of the vast majority of the people, the danger point for this country, if there was a danger point, since this war started, was somewhere about May or June, 1940. At that time we set up a defence machine to deal with that situation. It does not appear that the intervening two years have increased that  danger. While at that time we were satisfied to expend a sum of approximately £6,000,000 in the year to defend this State, we are now, in a less dangerous time, prepared to spend over £9,000,000, and that requires some justification. Therein would be at least a species of economy which could be justified if some of the savings that were made under that particular heading were devoted to providing some nutritious food, either free of charge or at a low price, for the people who by reason of the war are suffering from malnutrition. From the information which has been given to me, the case that was made by one of the Labour Deputies was not exaggerated. There is malnutrition, serious malnutrition, certainly in Cork City. It would be well if the Ministry would bend their energies towards dealing with that situation. It is held by quite a number of persons who have studied the matter that the casualties which resulted from the disease which made its appearance on the Continent somewhere about 1917 or 1918 far exceeded those which took place in the actual field of battle. Quite a number of professional men well versed in medicine are of opinion that the ravages of that disease were largely due to malnutrition, insufficient food, and the lower quality of the food that was consumed during the war and certainly towards the end of the war.
The Minister stated in the course of his Budget speech that it was not feasible to effect economies. We have read of the number of local authorities which have been suspended or abolished for one cause or another. I wonder if the Government were themselves submitted to an examination before any impartial body whether they would escape being abolished if they got a trial such as they have given to others. We have a Budget now of £44,000,000 and a debt, national and local, of approximately £112,000,000. The Minister's case is that it is a reproof to critics, that initiative has been shown. Certainly initiative has been shown in the matter of spending. But who, outside of the Ministry, would be satisfied with the value which has been received in respect of that huge expenditure of money? Surely any body of businessmen would have been able to  do better than that? After 20 years of independence in this country we have the largest expenditure ever we had; we have the highest rate of emigration ever we had, we have definitely arrested any expansion of employment, and that at a time when taxation is higher than ever it was.
Last year the Minister imposed a very high rate of tax on tobacco amounting to 5/6 per lb. He told us solemnly that he expected to get an additional revenue of £1,870,000 from that. He actually got £600,000, not £1,870,000, or one-third of what he expected. Apparently he is not satisfied with that. Why is it that the tax which was then imposed to bring in £1,870,000 succeeded in raising only £600,000? Obviously, the answer to that question is that people were not satisfied to pay the price—that there was a reduction in consumption due to the fact that value was not received. Everybody knows that if you exceed a certain point in connection with the imposition of taxes the result is unsatisfactory, and that is one remarkable example of it. There is scarcely any craze that has so captivated the taste of humanity as tobacco. Year after year the number of persons using it has increased, but here the Minister is disappointed to the extent of £1,250,000.
Last year, the Minister brought in a tax which he expected to bring in the sum of £900,000—corporation profits tax—but it brought in only £270,000. This year, for what reason I do not know, he expects to get £2,500,000, that is £1,600,000 over what he got last year. In the course of the Budget Statement, the Minister informed us that he has been impressed by the case which has been put to him by industrialists, and in this year's Budget he is making a modification of the tax which was imposed last year. He is giving a concession to firms that have been established since 1934. In all fairness to the industrialists who began their work in this country prior to 1934, it must be said that they were far more extensive, they gave far greater employment, and they invested their money with less security and less prospect of a certain return on it than  those established since 1934. I make no criticism whatever of the industrialists who began since 1934, but I should like to examine the Minister's proposal for dealing with this situation. He states that some of those firms have not yet discharged all the preliminary expenses. Mind you, it is a perfectly fair case. If they have not, the order of the concession this year should be to make provision for the proportion of their preliminary expenses which they were not able to make from 1934 up to 1939. It would not even be objected to if a slight increase in that proportion were made, provided that they were then put on a level with all other industrialists. This country still boasts democratic institutions, even though they may not now be as healthy or as wise as they always were. Let us see that we are not going to have an aristocracy in industry, or a privileged class in industry. To the industrialists who started since 1934, it ought to be quite as objectionable to be placed in a position in which they have to get the feeding-bottle as it is to those who are not getting the advantage of the feeding-bottle and are left only with the soother.
The Minister for Supplies favoured us with a long speech here the other evening, which may be divided into two parts, in one of which he practically takes up the line of the Minister for Finance and says: “There is the Budget. That is the best that human ingenuity could devise for this country at the present time. It is the duty of everybody to lend his aid towards stabilising conditions in this country, towards helping the Government in its difficult task, and towards impressing on people the wisdom of the Government, its foresight and the care that is taken to help everybody in this State,” even though the helping in some cases means emptying their pockets. We are not prepared to accept that particular description of the Government or its administration. We have very serious complaints to make in regard to the manner in which they have discharged their duties to this country in their time.
 The Minister stated in a later portion of his speech that he had thought we would escape the ravages of a black market in this country, but that he was now fairly well satisfied that it was a problem which had to be dealt with. It is rather a wonder that the Minister did not tell us when he first discovered that there was a black market in this country, what it was that gave rise to a black market, or whether in any respect either the Government or himself was responsible for the black market here. He went on to describe persons who purchased in the black market as criminals. The description is scarcely fair. It is not just at all, in my view. In certain cases there would not be purchasers in the black market if we had efficiency in the Minister's Department. There are cases in which no provision at all is made to enable people to get supplies at the present moment. Cases have been brought to his own notice which have had to be looked into and provision made for them, not very rapidly at that. In one case that came under my own notice the people who went into the black market had neither the money nor the desire to go into it; only necessity brought them there. I have heard of a case in which a bus driver paid 5/- for ¼ lb. of tea for a sick member of his household. That man is not, to my mind, deserving of being called a criminal. I have heard of another case, in which a man, being unable to buy bread, had to buy something else at a much more costly price. To say that those men should be branded as criminals in this country is a very grave mistake.
What gave rise to the black market? Some time ago, a secretary, I think it was, to an egg dealers' association wrote to me asking for co-operation in bringing to the notice of the Minister the desirability of issuing ration cards for tea. That was about two months ago. I informed him that it was some 15 or 18 months ago since we had first made that suggestion, but it had probably escaped his attention. In the course of the case which he made for it he said that certain traders throughout the country—he was in a position to know, because he had been calling on  them—were allotted a proportion of the amount of tea they got a year or two ago; their quota was based on the supplies they got a year or two ago. I forget the exact year—it may have been 1938 or 1939 —but I think Deputy Dillon would know very much more about that than I.
He went on to say that no trader in this country had to-day the same customers as he had two or three years ago. One or other of them died, and in some cases a trader might lose three or four. Then there would be removals, departures, changes of residence. His point was that certain traders in such circumstances had a surplus. He did not include them all, and it may be only a very small proportion of traders who would have it. At any rate, they would have a surplus of tea available for sale at an enhanced price and, if the rationing were enforced, that surplus would not be there. If there were surpluses, a certain temptation arose and the temptation would not be there if we had an efficient administration capable of dealing with such a situation.
If we look back over the past few years, we will find that the Minister, in 1938, offered an explanation to a group of industrialists that he had not been able to devote the same time to industrial expansion by reason of his energies being diverted in another direction—that he had to make provision for the possible effects of a war situation. One of the lessons learned in the last war was that ration cards had to be introduced, and they were operated in a very much larger country than this. In this emergency, ration cards have been functioning there with a certain degree of satisfaction. In a small country like this it seems to be difficult or impossible for the Minister to make up his mind. In such circumstances he is not likely to get the co-operation for which he asks.
He was recommended some 18 months ago to adopt the rationing system. We find that the cards are being delivered only this morning. The recommendation was certainly made in January, 1941, but it is only at this moment are  the cards being distributed. The Minister told us on one occasion that he hoped he would get suggestions as to how things might be done. He might get more suggestions if a little more attention was paid to the suggestions already submitted to him. Let us take tea as one example, and no graver dissatisfaction could exist in certain parts of the country, notably in the cities, than in the matter of bread distribution. That situation has lasted long enough to have found a solution.
Some 15 months ago I made a suggestion that smaller powered cars should be used by the State. The Government are now adopting that suggestion. From 1932 to 1938 we recommended the Government to settle the economic war. They made some lame steps in that direction, such as the Coal-Cattle Pact and taking the duty off horses, and eventually they settled the whole dispute at a cost which staggered the agricultural population. That seems to amuse the two Ministers opposite, but it is not by any means a laughing matter. The two Ministers may not have suffered by the economic war, but if they only realised the sufferings of the people, if they were aware of the numbers of people that they have driven to their graves or into lunatic asylums, they might have derived less enjoyment from my statement. In November I suggested there should be an increase in the price of wheat. The price was increased after a few days. In February I again recommended that the price should be increased and it was increased after a few days. Why is it that it is only when the Government are driven to do something of that sort that they do it? It must be with very great reluctance that they made those advances.
I should like to impress upon the Government that those recommendations were not made for the purpose of giving people a few shillings extra for what wheat they had grown. It ought to be obvious to Ministers that the wheat yield during the last 12 months was particularly low. I am speaking from recollection, but I think it was something like six and two-third barrels per acre, the lowest yield, perhaps,  on record. What has the Minister for Supplies to say to that? Speaking about the provision of a subsidy of £2,000,000 for bread prices as being open to question, he said:—
“I think that if we had not offset the obvious effect of the increased guaranteed price for wheat by providing that subsidy, members of the public and members of this House would have realised more clearly the exact significance and the exact consequence of the further demand which came subsequently for another increase in the price of wheat, a demand which was met.”
What are the facts? Any wheat we imported came in here at 80/- and probably up to 100/-. The Government asked the farmers to grow wheat so that we might have more shipping space for other things. They recommend wheat to be grown, and if we ask for 50/- it is because we know it would not pay people to grow wheat at any lower price. So long as I have any responsibility, I am not going to ask people to do things which will involve them in a loss. In order to get people to grow wheat it is necessary to offer them 50/-. As a matter of fact, it is cheaper at that price than at the price at which it could be imported, and I believe it was a perfectly justifiable attitude for us to adopt.
One of the things that are rather disconcerting at the present time is the shortage of commodities. We learn that it is very probable that unless paper pulp is imported, within the next couple of months newspaper production in this country will be obliged to cease. That would be a very serious thing for a large number of people who find employment in newspaper and printing offices. It is unlikely that the people so employed will get alternative employment in this country and they will have to go out of it. If the Minister could persuade his colleagues in the Government to make a special effort to import paper pulp, it might be possible in that way to save the State  a good deal of expense and to keep alive one of our important institutions. If the printing industry is affected by reason of a shortage of paper most of the operatives in the newspaper world will probably have to go across the water to seek employment and it would be a very grave thing for this country if we were to lose their services.
In the course of the discussion of this Budget, a reference was made to the small tax that is being put upon the banks, amounting to £1 per head. As I have said before, I have no brief for the banks, good, bad or indifferent—I have no shares in them—but it will be observed from the White Paper that it is estimated that the Minister will get £20,000 more from the Currency Commission this year than he got last year. The Currency Commission does not mint money; it has no means of making it, and it has no prospect of being able to provide £20,000 except from one source, and that is from the banks. The interest I have in the banks at the present moment is confined to two separate sets of persons—one, the depositors, and, two, persons seeking accommodation. I think that people who lodge money in the bank and get 1 per cent. on it are entitled to security for their money, and that those who find it necessary to get accommodation from the banks should be able to get it at a moderate price. The more this State goes into the pool to get what it can out of it, the less there is for the depositors, on the one hand, and the people who require accommodation, on the other. We have set up financial institutions in this country, and they are not yet and never have been able to compete with the advantages supplied by our banking institutions. A good deal of the industry and commerce of this country depends upon them, and the more there is taken from them the less prospect there is of their being able to provide it for industry.
This whole Budget is too expensive and too heavy an impost on the people. There is very little doubt but that the national income has been shrinking rather than expanding since the war started. As it shrinks, the demands made upon it become more and more  onerous. The Minister for Supplies stated that the Government in its wisdom divided up the people of the country into four classes. Income-tax payers are in the first class. They are taking more money from the income-tax payers, so they will have less to spend. It is an unhappy way to do it, because some income-tax payers give employment. That may be unknown to the Ministers and if the demands made upon income-tax payers are such that they can no longer give employment, then employment suffers. The second class are those who are fairly well-to-do —earning, I suppose, £5 or £6 a week. Their earnings may be sufficient for a non-war period, but the increasing costs of the last few years have placed them in a rather precarious position, and if taxation is kept at this level and prices rise, they must go short in certain respects. The third class are those whom the Government seek to safeguard by the operation of Order No. 83 and the subsequent Order No. 166. There is no such safeguard for them. Probably the persons getting the least luxurious food in this country are the prisoners in the jails, and Deputy O'Sullivan has already pointed out the increase that has taken place in the provision for the food alone of those prisoners. It has almost doubled—from £11 two or three years ago to £21 this year. The fourth class are those persons in receipt of unemployment assistance and so on. There is no class in that whole category—four different orders of the community—that is not worse off than it was two or three years ago. This Budget affords no relief whatever. The mere £100,000 down for fuel is almost a mockery. One would walk three miles of streets in the poorer class areas of Dublin last winter before one would see smoke coming from a chimney, and that is not to be wondered at if turf is sold at 64/- a ton.
On that £44,000,000 there is a possibility of economy. It should not be beyond the wit of man to find it. The Minister devoted three or four pages of his statement to a eulogy of the Civil Service. Nobody found fault with the Civil Service. It is highly appreciated in this House, but I may say this—and  I think the civil servants themselves would realise it—they owe much more to the State than the State owes to them. The Minister is rendering a grave disservice by bringing in such matters. When the Minister came into office the Civil Service cost £1,500,000 less than it does at present. Have the citizens got value for the extra £1,500,000? The Minister may think so, but I do not. They could get value for it if there were the economies that ought to be effected in this huge bill of £44,000,000. If the civil servants alone were left to settle that, they would probably make a much better success of it than the Minister has made.
Mr. Dillon: The Opposition have been trying to discuss the Minister's statement as though it were a Budget. Of course, it is not a Budget at all; it is merely a good electioneering stunt. This Budget does neither one thing nor the other: it does not try to bring expenditure within income, and it does not envisage a broad inflationary policy, designed to borrow all the available funds in this country and spend them on tangible assets, so that, at the conclusion of the present emergency, there may be something left. It does neither the one thing nor the other, but it gives expression to the fact that the old war-horse is pawing the ground and sniffing the air. He thinks there is a general election likely to become desirable next September, and that abstention from imposing any fresh taxation is calculated to placate the one section of the community that does not usually support him and bring some grist to his electoral mill. From that point of view, it is a most excellent Budget: it has intoxicated the Irish Times. Since it was published, Mr. de Valera has become their hero, and Mr. Lemass their “bonny fechter”— according to their leading article—who snatches the initiative and dominates the Dáil. In so far as I am concerned, Fianna Fáil is welcome to their new recruit. That publication has been wrong in the public life of this country for the past 82 years and it would be a shame to spoil its record now.
I must say that I could not forbear smiling when I heard Labour  and Fianna Fáil wrangling with one another as to what were the reasons why we did not import wheat in sufficient quantities before the war. Did anybody in this House ever hear of “Grow more Wheat” or of national self-sufficiency? When people suggested in 1936, 1937 or 1938 that we should import wheat, they were told they were “sabotaging the national effort” and “playing England's game.” Deputy Norton now wants to know from the Minister for Supplies why he did not bring in wheat when he could get it at 15/- a barrel and the Minister replies that they brought in all they could get, and as a result flour is not as dear to-day as it otherwise would be. Does anybody in this House believe that Fianna Fáil was bringing in all the wheat that could be got in September, 1939? Do they not know, as I know, that people would not be allowed to bring in flour or wheat in September, 1939, if they could stop it? What will these people think of the Minister for Supplies, acting the part of the Irish Times“bonny fechter”, getting up and telling Deputy Norton that he was bringing in all he could get, and that he could justify his present position by the knowledge that he did his duty by bringing in all the imported wheat he could buy? That at a time when he was preaching to the poor innocents of Fianna Fáil the doctrine of national self-sufficiency, and that it was a crime against the Irish agriculturist to bring in foreign wheat.
Then there is the black market. Who was the father and the mother of the black market? Seán Lemass, Minister for Supplies. I say deliberately here that the black market functions in this country, and derives its inspiration and existence, from the incompetence of the Minister for Supplies, and I will prove it. It makes me physically sick to witness the Irish Times and the Minister for Supplies patting one another on the back, and describing all those connected with the black market as criminals. Such a pair of warriors inveigh against a poor country woman because she goes to the black market to get a stone of flour for her children. What is a woman to  do who walks five miles into a country town four days in succession to try to get flour from a shopkeeper who has no flour? When she is going home on the fifth day to her hungry children somebody asks her if she got the flour, after having walked nearly 40 miles. She says “No,” and she is told that there is a fellow down the town who has flour at 7/- a stone and to slip down there for it. She goes back and for 7/- she gets a stone of flour for her children. Is that woman a criminal? Or is the man who made her do that a criminal? I say that the man who has been drawing £1,700 a year for the last ten years and boasting that he was Minister for Supplies for the last four years is the criminal, if there are criminals. Was he not asked two years ago to ration flour? Was he not told last January 12 months that if he did not ration flour a time would come when nobody but the rich could get flour? Was he not warned that if he did not ration flour a time would come when the poor would have to go without it? His answer was that he knew that rationing was not necessary and that an equitable distribution could be maintained without resorting to so expensive an expedient. He told us that he had not the paper with which to provide ration books, but now they are being issued. Was that poor woman a criminal because she discharged her duty to her children?
What do you mean by the black market? There is a very common habit growing up in this House, one that the Fianna Fáil Party introduced, to create dilemmas from which no man can escape with honour intact and then indulge in a fury of denunciation of people whom they themselves have forced into evil ways. What do they mean by the black market? I know what I mean by it. A man who trades in the black market, to me, means one who gets supplies allocated by the Government for distribution amongst his customers, who denies these supplies to his customers and sells them to other people at fancy prices. That man I would put in jail. Whether they are widows with orphans or people with large families, if they get supplies at Government fixed prices to distribute  amongst customers, and sell them to someone else at inflated prices, into Mountjoy they should go and in Mountjoy they would stay, whether their sons are in the Fianna Fáil cumainn or not. There is no reason to be sentimental about vampires who would suck the blood out of people in hunger or in distress. Let us define the kind of person upon whom vengeance should be visited. Let us not act like mad bulls charging around the country and striking down all and sundry without a thought of the true nature of the guilty. Do you know that if it were not for people who are charging fantastic prices for many commodities at the present time half the people might be hungry? Do you realise that a very large proportion of supplies being consumed in the west of Ireland and in our northern counties are being smuggled into this country, and that, if not so smuggled, the people would go hungry?
These fantastic creatures who masquerade as a Government get up and pretend that the supplies position is not so bad as a result of their machinations. The supplies position is indescribably bad as a result of their machinations. If the smugglers were not allowed to function, hundreds of people would now be hungry. You want to stop that. Do you want to stop the fellow who goes to Northern Ireland and who smuggles out food without which people here would go hungry? Do you want to put that man in jail? Do you regard him as a criminal? I know you do not, though many of you have not the courage to admit it. Go down the country and ask any reasonable person where he thinks the sulphate of ammonia came from. Was it out of the air? Where do you think the white flour is coming from? Where do you think the bread is coming from? Where do you think the cotton thread is coming from? Is it falling like manna from Heaven? Why do you think the Minister took the duty and the prohibition off imports of white flour? Was it that he thought it would come here through the Port of Galway? The same tulip will get up and denounce the people, whom he sent out to collect the flour, as  criminals for bringing it in. Surely, there is a limit to the codology and hypocrisy that can be carried on or are we such oinseachs that we will stand for it indefinitely? I do not mind an honest blackguard but I detest the whited sepulchre. Criminals! If they are criminals, they are criminals because they were sent out to commit the crime of trading in the black market. I challenge the Minister on the Front Bench to deny that his officials paid 2/- per stone for oats in East Donegal when the fixed price was 10/8 a cwt.
Mr. Dillon: I hope your denial will be accepted in East Donegal. I say that the Minister's officials paid 2/- per stone for oats, or 16/- per cwt., when the fixed price was 10/8. If they had not done that, they would not have got any seed oats to distribute. When that had been revealed, the Minister made the intelligent Order that those persons——
Mr. Dillon: I say that the price fixed for all oats purchased from a farmer was 10/8. The seed merchant might process that oats, bag it and resell it at 18/- a cwt. The Minister's officials went out to buy oats for processing and distribution in the congested areas and under Departmental schemes. They  found it impossible to persuade anybody to part with oats at 10/8. They paid 2/- a stone, and the Minister, discovering this situation, made a new Order, amending the original Order, permitting a person going to a farmer to purchase oats with the intention of reselling them as seed oats to pay up to 18/- a cwt. for these oats.
Mr. Dillon: I say that the Minister then made an order allowing the seed merchant to pay any price he liked for oats but constraining the seed merchant to go on selling the oats at 18/-. I say that that Order was made to cover up the activities of his own inspectors who engaged in procedure which, if indulged in by an ordinary merchant, would be described as “trading in the black market” and which would earn the epithet of “criminal” from the Minister for Supplies. Let us be as clear as crystal on this matter because it is vital we should be clear upon it. The person who gets supplies at a fixed price from the Government and sells them at an inflated price to customers other than those for whom they were intended is a criminal. He should be dealt with as a criminal and should be sent to jail without the option of a fine. But do not put down everybody who is selling goods at high prices at the present time as a criminal because, if these persons were not bringing smuggled goods into this country, the supply situation would  be ten times worse than it is. I say, deliberately, that the father and mother of black markets in this country is Seán Lemass, the Minister for Supplies. I say that because, through his inefficiency, through his incompetence and through his lack of foresight, he has created a situation in which it has become virtually impossible to segregate the man of goodwill from the black market profiteer, who ought to be in Mountjoy.
Nobody has a right to make that indictment of the Minister for Supplies if he is not prepared to point out where that Minister went wrong and to explain how that Minister can put things right. The Minister for Supplies went wrong: (1) because he had not the foresight to realise what was about to happen: (2) because, for at least two years, he was too lazy to do his work; he was simply not doing his job; and (3) even now he has not realised—the Labour Party have fallen into this error, too—that you cannot control the price of everything. The thing cannot be done—even under Hitler or Stalin. What you must do, if you want to avoid racketeering, is to pick out a restricted number of articles, an equitable supply of which is vital to all sections of the community, and control these articles right from the source of production up to the point of consumption. If you want to fix the price of flour and ensure that that flour will be sold at that price and equitably distributed, you should take over the flour from the wheat-field to the loaf and administer it all the way through. When you do that and, at the same time, establish a proper, centralised ration scheme, founded on ration books such as have been distributed during the past few days, then, and then only, will you get equitable distribution and adherence to the just price. The Minister for Supplies constantly shouts across the House: “Let Deputies not imagine that the issue of ration books is going to result in enough for everybody.” Nobody in this House is fool enough to think it will but what we all know is that the issue of ration books will mean that everybody will get the same share as his neighbour and that you will not  have one man getting too much and the next man getting nothing at all.
Many Deputies imagine that shopkeepers ought to carry out this business of rationing, and the object of the Government seems to be to try to fasten upon shopkeepers responsibility for the present chaos. How is a shopkeeper to ration flour? How is he to know how many people live in each customer's house? The best he can do is, possibly, to give a quarter-stone of flour to a family with no children, a half-stone to a family with children, and a bag of flour to people from the country who come in only every six weeks. But that is manifestly unfair when you consider it in detail. A man and his wife living in the country may be getting a bag of flour in this way, while a man, his wife and seven children may be getting only the same amount of flour. If a shopkeeper wanted to operate a proper and equitable rationing system as between his customers, he would ruin himself in endeavouring to maintain a proper system of records. Remember, the gross profit on a bag of flour is only 1/- or 1/3. You have nothing out of that wherewith to set up an elaborate rationing system as between one family and another. If you did so, you would lose heavily on your flour trade. My experience of the country shopkeepers is that in the vast majority of cases they are doing their best equitably to distribute the goods. There are a few blackguards amongst them, as there are amongst other sections of the community, who are trying to make hay while the sun shines. My advice to the Government is to go out after these individuals, put them in jail and keep them in jail.
Let me deal with another commodity before you begin throwing the word “criminal” about. The genius who is seated on the Government Bench has succeeded in producing a situation in which you cannot get a stone of oatmeal, and he is proud of it. He thinks it is wonderful. It is the first time that has happened since Brian Boru was killed at Clontarf.
I need not tell Deputies in this House who come from the country how  the complete disappearance of oatmeal has aggravated the problem of the flour shortage. If I had oatmeal to distribute amongst the people living around me I would not care so much about flour. I could give them half a stone a week and, if they had unlimited oatmeal, it would not be very comfortable, but they could get along all right, but there is not a tint of oatmeal to be got in any part of the country at the present time. Is it a crime for a small shopkeeper to go into the local market and buy oats from the farmers at 25/- a cwt., have them converted into oatmeal, and distribute them at a price based on 25/- for oats, plus milling costs? Or, would it be better for that man to say to the farmer who had the oats: “Take them down and get them crushed and feed them to the pig. It is legitimate to feed them to the pig, but Seán Lemass, Minister for Industry and Commerce, says that you are a criminal if you get oatmeal made of it and feed it to the children.” Do Deputies in this House agree that it is criminal to feed oats to children instead of to pigs? I do not, but I say that the people who have created a situation in which the bulk of the oats of this country is being fed to pigs instead of to the children might properly be described as criminals. Would it be any extravagant figure of speech to call them embezzlers for taking a salary for doing that? These are the people who should be arraigned, not the unfortunates down the country who are struggling to keep body and soul together. Sometimes when I come to Dublin and tell some of the gentlemen who make their living in this city the facts of what is happening down the country, they shake their heads and say: “He is always exaggerating.”
Mr. Dillon: You would have adorned one if you had. Here is a letter from  a woman, and I want to ask Deputies of this House would they deem her to be a criminal if she went out and paid 3/6 for half a stone of flour:—
“My household consists of 11 people, including eight children under 15 years. For the past three days, Saturday, Sunday and to-day, I have received from my bread supplier five 1 lb. pan loaves, which gives each of us an average of two-and-a-half ounces of bread per day. This is not an isolated instance but, with the help of some flour and buttermilk, I have been able to supplement the bread ration. Now I am unable to get either flour or buttermilk to bake and my bread supplier tells me that there is absolutely no hope of his being able to give me any more than he is giving me. I am sorry I cannot send you written confirmation of these facts but my supplier refused to put anything in writing when I asked him. If flake oatmeal was obtainable I could substitute it for the bread but I am only able to get a negligible supply of that commodity. I wrote to the Department of Supplies a fortnight ago about this matter and have not even heard an acknowledgment. Surely one is entitled to an equal share of what is available. Any assistance you would give me in getting this share would be deeply appreciated.”
Do you think that woman would be a criminal if she went to some person other than her supplier and paid 3/6 for half a stone of flour, or would you say the Minister for Supplies, who is receiving a salary annually to ensure the equitable distribution of essential supplies, was the criminal for leaving a woman with a household of eight children under 15 years of age with a bread ration of 2½ ozs. of bread per day?
I would ask the Minister for Supplies, and his patron, the Irish Times, to examine their consciences and the next time they wish to exchange bouquets on their respective capacity as bonny fechters, to ask themselves rather if they could not do their own respective jobs more efficiently than  they have ever shown any tendency to do them up to now because if they did, it would probably not be necessary for them to play the rôle of J'accuse either in the Press or in Dáil Eireann. The people only ask them to do their respective jobs and, when they do not, they should not blame the unfortunates who are driven to expedients for which they have no relish in order to remedy the gross failure of the responsible Minister to do his particular task. Does the House know we are going to have a black market very shortly for pony traps?
Mr. Dillon: Might I ask Deputy Belton who enabled the Jews to make a corner in them? I will tell him. Seán MacEntee, the present Minister for Local Government and Public Health, when he was Minister for Industry and Commerce, took the duty off horse-drawn vehicles to permit supplies to come into this country. Seán Lemass replaced him as Minister for Industry and Commerce, and the day after he got into office again he put on the duty again. When the black market in horse-drawn vehicles was well under way, when further supplies were no longer available, the genius took the duty off again, the day before yesterday. Did Deputy Belton know that? Supplies of these commodities were coming in. The Minister for Supplies, the scourge of black market criminals, created a black market in that commodity of all commodities, and then, when the ghost rose up to haunt him, he suddenly took off the duty when he discovered there were no more horse-drawn vehicles to be got. How many other commodities has the tariff been taken off when no supplies were available?
Mr. Dillon: Was he not asked in 1939 to take the tariffs off commodities? Would he do it? Over his dead body—he would wreck the Government  before they could do it. Now they are coming off like leaves in autumn from a tree. Vallambrosa is not in it with him. When supplies were available he was quite firm; but there are no restrictions now; he has taken them all off, when there is not anything to buy.
Mr. Dillon: Deputy Belton interjects: “There are no bicycles.” It would be quite unusual to find the Minister for Supplies fixing a price for anything of which there were supplies available. That would not be keeping up his record at all. I want to make this clear, before I depart from this extremely unsavoury topic of the Minister for Supplies and all his works and pomps: there is only one effective way to fix prices and equitably to distribute goods and that is to control them from the source to the consumer. It is physically impossible to do that in regard to every class of merchandise which moves in the market that supplies the community. A responsible Minister, therefore, should first determine a limited number of articles which it is essential effectively to control; secondly, he should take over the production and distribution of those articles from the beginning down to the consumer; thirdly, he should establish a central rationing organisation which would be rigidly applied to all the commodities determined upon; fourthly, he should fix prices wholesale and retail and any person acquiring supplies at the fixed wholesale prices, who sells them to any individual other than the rationed persons for whom they were intended at excess prices should go to jail and stay in jail until his offence is purged.
If you extend price control over the whole range of commodities in a haphazard way you can do nothing but evil, and I specially commend that fact  to the Labour Party. We should concentrate on the necessities. We should endeavour to control them and we can do that, but let none of us imagine that doing that will result in 100 per cent. supplies for everybody. We know it will not. But what we are concerned to ensure is that there will not be 120 per cent. for one person and 15 per cent for his next-door neighbour. Whether the ration be 80 per cent., 60 per cent., 40 per cent., or 20 per cent., we want to see everybody treated fairly. We want to see everybody in the big house and in the small house getting his 20 per cent., so that, in respect of all these essential commodities at least, the rich man and the poor man, the big man and the little man, will all be on an equal footing, and we in this House will be able to say that, acute as the crisis has been, so far as our resources permitted, we allowed nobody to become familiar with destitution.
To pass from that unsavoury subject, I read recently a topic that was a source of very considerable satisfaction to me. I find my vindication is coming thick upon me. In an unguarded moment, the tariff racketeers of this country invited the Taoiseach to dinner. Little they knew the Taoiseach or what an awkward customer the Taoiseach can be on occasion. Were it not for the fact that we know the Taoiseach to be so abstemiously temperate, one would suspect that the observations to which he gave utterance at that dinner were of a postprandial character. I would have given a fortune to be there. After he had risen and had been received with respectful applause, the head of the State, the Taoiseach, began to muse as he so frequently does, on economic problems. In the course of his musings the Taoiseach was heard to say in that holy of holies of the tariff racketeers: “Tariffs, he supposed, were a necessary evil.” I can picture the white ties and the gold watch chains sinking under the table. Just imagine, the source, the fountain head of economic self-sufficiency, the foster-father of all the tariff racketeers in this country, speaking of that holy institution of tariffs as a necessary evil.
 Well, I welcome the Taoiseach halfway on his conversion. We are at least at one in regard to the evil, and I trust that a very few months instruction may bring him to realise that the evil is not necessary, and that once we can bring that lesson home to him, he will cease to be as great a menace to this country as he has been for the last 25 years. But sometimes my zeal for his education flags, and I think, in fact, the antics of Fianna Fáil mean very little in the world in which we live. The future of this country is not going to be determined by the follies of Taoiseach de Valera or any other member of the Fianna Fáil Party. The political future and freedom of our people are being determined for generations in the Coral Sea, in Libya, and in the air over Germany. On the issue of these conflicts our future depends, and in the new world that will emerge from the democratic victory that may yet take a considerable time, there will be no room for tariffs, for Fianna Fáil “codology”, or for self-sufficiency— God save the mark. Therefore, to labour on at the attempt to educate this bunch is becoming a work of supererogation. Facts are going to educate them where precepts never could. Indeed, I suppose any intelligent man will realise that children seldom learn wisdom from precept. Experience is the only medium through which wisdom can be acquired, and since the children of Fianna Fáil got hold of the expensive toy of tariffs they have acquired some very salutary lessons.
I said when I first described this Budget that it was neither fish, flesh nor good red herring. One could understand the Minister for Finance saying: “We have got to raise revenue to meet current expenses; we have got to impose taxation up to the limit to prevent inflation. We have got to meet all outgoings from current revenue.” One could respect him then as an honest, if a misguided man. One could have said: “That is an honest man. There is a man who is prepared to face unpopularity, even hatred, in order to do whatever he thinks will promote the common interest.” One  could understand Mr. Blythe introducing a Budget of that kind. He was an almost masochistic type who was prepared to do what he thought was right, no matter what the cost. He would, in fact, I think, have been wrong. But suppose the Minister for Finance had turned his back on that consideration and said deliberately to his colleagues in the Government: “There is no use in encouraging the State to save at the present time because all the money it saves will go into the banks on deposit. The banks will lend it to the British Government because they have nobody else to whom they can lend it. The British Government, which at the present moment is spending £13,000,000 per diem, will gladly take it, and when they come to repay it at the end of the war they will repay it in currency debased in value to 6d. in the £.”
Therefore, one could imagine the Minister for Finance saying: “It is as well for us to borrow all the surplus money that is knocking about and spend it on some comprehensive scheme which will leave us some tangible assets at the end of this war and if there is to be any repayment of loans in a depreciated currency, we shall do the repaying in depreciated currency. We will at least have it to say that we secured for the community some tangible assets from those who are foolish enough to exchange goods for currency during the time of the war.” The Minister has not got the courage to face the problem in that way. At the moment he has brought in a Central Bank Bill and he is concerned to display himself as an exponent of conservatism and prudence in high finance. A very decent man he is, for whom I always had a great personal regard, but the truth is that neither he nor the Taoiseach has the faintest understanding of high finance or central banking. These two gentlemen are now engaged in the pretence of being the arch-priests of conservative and prudent financial administration. I think this is the shrewdest and cutest Budget they could produce.
I want to make the case, and I hope I shall not unduly shock the Leader of  the Opposition, that I think the Government would have been wiser, if they had the intelligence, to work out an intensive plan for utilising money at the present time. I think people are just daft to be saving money at the present time. I think money lent to our own Government at the present for the purpose of securing valuable, permanent, tangible assets is something infinitely better worth while than an accumulation of so-called savings in the form of currency, the value of which God only knows, in two or three years' time. Now, there are those who say that fixed-interest securities and Government loans are not the only things into which you could put savings, but so much savings are going to be put into these things during this period of trial that when the revaluation comes all those who have put their savings into British Government stocks, fixed-interest securities, and things of that sort, will suffer losses, and these losers will insist that all those who put their savings into real estate or tangible assets of that kind will not be allowed to go scot free, so far as their creditors in England are concerned, at any rate.
Therefore, I think that the time has come to use our resources boldly now and, mind you, I am going to call to my aid in defence of that proposition two men, one of whom, I think, commands the admiration of Deputy Mulcahy, and that is Mr. Geoffrey Crowther, and the other, Mr. Keynes, who is a director of the Bank of England, which should commend him to the conservative views of the Minister for Finance and the Taoiseach. Crowther was recently speaking at one of those grotesque Brains Trust corroborees where a lot of half-wits in England sit around a table and masquerade as wisdom personified. I must say, however, that Crowther was not one of these people and was there only as a guest, but the very fact that he was there at all tended to make me suspect his intentions. However, in the course of the symposium, somebody asked Crowther:—
“I would have no hesitation. I would introduce a Bill for the immediate establishment of a system of family allowances in this country, and I would consider that I had done the greatest possible service to England by the introduction of such a measure.”
Now, remarkably enough, Keynes, in his famous plan, which he advanced for compulsory savings, and which has been partly adopted by the British Government, incorporated in that plan a scheme for family allowances, but the compulsory savings part of the plan got so much publicity that the family allowance part of it was completely overshadowed. Keynes' plan, how ever, followed these lines generally: that a certain proportion of everybody's income should be taken and that, in respect of that portion, the individual would be deemed to be a creditor of the national debt, post-war. In addition to this arrangement, Mr. Keynes proposed that part of the money withdrawn from circulation by his plan should be allotted to a scheme of family endowment which should pay an allowance of 5/- a week to every child in the country under the age of 15. It will be noted that under this plan saving can be made in other directions: on unemployment allowances, income-tax rebate, pensions, and a variety of other services where money is specially appropriated for the relief of indigent families. Keynes estimated that that would cost, in Great Britain, about £100,000,000 per annum, and he agreed with Crowther that immense as are the commitments of Great Britain at the present time, no greater service could be done to the State than to embark on such a plan now.
Now, Deputy Mulcahy, when he was discussing the Central Bank Bill, directed attention to the fact that many people had lost sight of what was the real fundamental cause of slumps and the disastrous unemployment and sufferings that eventuated from them. I think I quote him correctly when I  say that he suggested to the House that, very often, a slump is precipitated not by any diminution in the volume of money but by a slowing down in the velocity of its circulation, resulting in the diminution of individual income.
Mr. Dillon: I shall give the Deputy something to reflect upon, and I venture to quote this remark by Crowther, from his book, An Outline of Money, which may be described as a very elementary primer with regard to money, but into the small compass of which he has managed to pack an astonishingly large amount of information. On page 136 of that book, Crowther says:—
“We must go in search of that mainspring. And we shall find a clue for our search in the observation that what is lacking in a time of depression is not so much money as incomes. It is easy to establish that there is often as much money in existence at the bottom of a slump as there was at the height of the preceding boom—and if there has been some reduction in the quantity of bank deposits, the reason is not to be found in any unwillingness of the banks to create money, but in an unwillingness of the public to request the creation of money by borrowing from the banks.”
The Taoiseach might bear that in mind the next time he starts talking about money, and he might realise that that was one of the things that tended to restrict the banks from creating money: that a bank desiring to create credit money, must not only be prepared to lend, but to find somebody solvent who is prepared to borrow. I continue with the quotation:—
“What is manifestly lower at the bottom of a slump than at the top  of a boom is not the quantity of money but the total of individual incomes. If people had the incomes, they would use the supply of money actually and potentially in existence; the velocity of circulation would increase and prices would rise. It is because money is not paid out in incomes that it languishes in stagnant pools.
Now, that is an illuminating passage, and I think it is perfectly correct. I re-inforce it with a further quotation from the same book, page 140. Crowther pursues that search, to which he refers in the last sentence of the paragraph I have just quoted, and then says:—
“The only conclusion, that it is reasonable to come to on the basis of the evidence is that the sudden lack of demand which causes a depression is due less to a lack of money than to a lack of income. It might be more accurate to say that it is due to a lack of spending; but we know that, in a depression, the reason why people do not spend more money is, in 99 cases out of 100, not unwillingness to spend income in hand, but sheer lack of income.”
Now that lack of income arises very largely in the homes of the comparatively poor, and it is the drying up of spending power in millions of humble homes rather than economies in a few wealthy households that creates the wave of depression which initiates a slump. It is this uncontrollable wave of depression which precipitates a slump. Now, I do not want to suggest to Dáil Eireann that a system of family allowances is going to abolish that evil development in a post-inflationary period. All that I am going to suggest is that it will do something to bring money out of the stagnant pools where it is lying into circulation, not for any unworthy or fictitious purpose but having,  as its primary aim, to ensure that no child will suffer from hunger in this country. That is only one minor justification, in the purely economic sphere, for the reform which I am going to suggest to the House might well be financed now from borrowed and tax-raised money, and might properly be maintained for all time in our community out of revenues to be raised by taxes and, preferably, by taxes levied on the incomes of the well-to-do.
Democracy is a queer thing. We have acquired in democratic countries an incomparable capacity for refusing to face disagreeable facts. I do not think there is a single Deputy in this House who would desire to see the situation continue in which the children of the poor went hungry. I think I could go around the whole personnel of every Party in the certainty that every Deputy would say: “Whatever the cost, we shall abolish hunger from every house in this country.” Now, I want to say most deliberately to the Deputies of this House that at this present moment there are children starving in this country. I may be answered at once that nobody in this country need go hungry: that they can go to the relieving officer. I want to submit to this House that there are two types of starvation. There is one, the starvation which gives rise to hunger and which evokes hunger pains. I admit that that type of hunger has been substantially met by the social services in this country. But there is another type of hunger which is deadly and infinitely more insidious, and that is the hunger which is characterised by malnutrition: by the filling of children's stomachs in poor homes with bulky food to still the hunger pains, but which does not provide the nutrition requisite to enable the child to grow up to be a healthy man or woman.
I want to tell this House, and I implore Deputies to wake up to the fact, that there are hundreds and thousands of children growing up in this country at the present time who will be invalids all their lives because they are hungry now, and the astonishing thing is that all the Deputies in this House, could  they but realise that fact, would be prepared to do all that is in their power to make an end of that. But it seems to be impossible to shake them out of the equanimity with which they walk through the streets of Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Waterford, and other cities, and see children dying under their eyes, growing up into cripples, because their parents have not got the wherewithal to nourish their bodies, as they must be nourished, if they are to become healthy men and women. There is not a Deputy in this House who would not hand over his dinner in order to give his children enough; but what astonishes me is that they do not realise that we in this House are the trustees of the poor. I cannot emphasise too often that it is not for the want of will, but rather for the want of realising that this very limited company that sits here in this House are the trustees of the poor that we have that situation in the country: that we here are the trustees of the poor who cannot defend themselves in this matter.
We sit here quietly and let that situation continue. I say that the type of starvation that exists in this country is due to the fact that the poor parents of large families are not able to afford the food necessary to enable their children to grow up to be healthy men and women. The only person who has attempted to controvert this case so far with me has been a bucolic individual who addressed a letter personally to me and to the Irish Independent saying that there were too many damn children in this country, and he could not see why Deputy Dillon was trying to facilitate the production of any more. If that gentleman writes another letter to me I shall publish his name. I did not answer the last one because, when I wrote a reply, I felt that I might be taken up under the Blasphemy Acts if I sent it through the post. I shall reply to him in public and by name if he addresses any more of his correspondence to me or to the Irish Independent.
Can I induce the Deputies of this House to realise what is happening in the country at the present time? I take the agricultural labourer as typical of  the hard-working man with an insufficient income. He gets, perhaps, at the present time 36/- a week. Now, when the first baby is born to that man's household, it is welcome. He is able to make both ends meet. When the second baby arrives, he views its arrival with some modest concern. The third baby is unquestionably a burden, and the fourth and fifth are disasters. That is the plain fact, and Deputies in this House must know of such cases. They must have seen many a young fellow marry and rejoice on the arrival of the first baby. They have seen the rejoicing becoming less and less demonstrative as the family grew, until eventually people were inclined to say: “My God, is Jimmy's wife going to have another? What will the poor fellow do?” Is that not true? Is that a desirable situation to obtain in what is described as a Christian country? It is certainly true. I have heard the comment made myself by people who had nothing but the warmest goodwill and affection for the married couple in question. What seems peculiarly shocking to me is that we in this House are, every one of us, aware of that problem, and are content to leave it there unsolved, more especially when there is a solution available to our hands—it is not the brainchild of some cracked-pot individual— which no one has ever attempted to put into practice. It is in operation in some countries which do not boast of being Christian countries at all, but rather countries which boast of being strictly materialist.
Compare the picture that I have drawn of the agricultural labourer with the man who is earning £1,500 a year. He goes to an income-tax adviser to have his income-tax return filled. The first question the income-tax adviser asks him is: “How many children have you?” When he is told that the number is seven, the income-tax adviser will say: “Glory alleluia, you will not have to pay a penny income-tax at all.” How does Dáil Eireann justify leaving a man with 36/- with his 36/- a week and his seven children, and leaving the man with £1,500 a year with his £1,500 a year and his seven children?
 How does Dáil Eireann justify the necessity of putting an extra tax on sugar in order to meet the revenue required to give a rebate to the man with £1,500 a year, when the family of the man with 36/- per week is paying for the sugar? That is what we are doing now. All I am asking for the 36/- a week man is exactly similar treatment to that which is afforded to the man with £1,500 a year. That is a simple proposition. That scheme of family allowances is in operation in New South Wales; that scheme of family allowances is in operation all through the Commonwealth of Australia; that scheme of family allowances is in operation all through New Zealand. A scheme of family allowances was in operation in France; a scheme of family allowances was in operation in Belgium; and, to our eternal disgrace, even the Nazis have operated a scheme of family allowances, while we, a professedly Christian country, express complete indifference to it.
Now in some countries the family allowance has been based on earnings or on the particular trade to which the parent belongs. I want to make an entirely new proposal for two reasons: (1) I want to remove all stigma of charity from the family allowances system in this country; (2) I want to eliminate all question of a means test. My idea of family allowances is to keep the bureaucrat outside the home. If you impose a means test, it means that you inject the bureaucrat into every home for the purpose of finding out what income the family has before the family allowance is assessed. I, therefore, propose that a family allowance should be made available to the mother in every family where there are children under 16 years of age, at the rate of 3/- per child after the first child, from the family of the richest man in Ireland down to the family of the poorest itinerant, thus giving to the comparatively well-to-do the income-tax concessions that they at present enjoy in another form, and to the poor, and the not-so-poor, an added amenity that they have never yet had; thus converting the unwelcome fifth, sixth and seventh child in a poor household  into a temporal as well as a spiritual blessing. I cannot dwell too long upon that. The truth of it is that, at the present time in Ireland, the fifth and subsequent children in a poor man's home are a visitation from God, and that that is a reflection which should bring a curse upon the community to which we belong. It is within our power to make such children not only a gift from God, but a temporal as well as a spiritual blessing.
I do not underestimate the cost of the proposal that I make. I have tried to get some figures together, and I am bound to assure Dáil Eireann that these figures are not reliable; but they are as near as I can go to what the possible cost would be, without all the technical information that might be available to a Minister of State. But, going as near to it as I can, I believe the proposal to give to the mother of every child after the first child a family allowance, let us say, of 3/- to begin with—we might be able to make it a little more if the scheme prospered— would cost approximately £4,000,000 per annum.
I believe that that figure can be reduced by the savings that would be effected in the disappearance of the necessity for paying for children under the unemployment insurance scheme, the unemployment assistance scheme, the income-tax allowance, the free food distribution scheme, the outdoor assistance scheme, the widows' and orphans' pensions scheme, the subsidised housing schemes, and through a variety of other channels where special State expenditure is at present being made in order to provide for the children of indigent men. Therefore, although the figure of £4,000,000 may seem a very formidable impost, speaking as an income-tax payer on whom the burden would fall as heavily as it would fall on most Deputies, I say that that scheme should be initiated now out of borrowed money, and, if necessary, out of such tax money as could properly be raised, with the firm resolution that it was going to be maintained post-war out of money raised by taxation.
I said on another occasion that I  could not contemplate a system of this kind unless we foresaw our way permanently to finance it out of revenue and I adhere to that view. But, in the situation in which we find ourselves at the present time, my prime concern is to turn currency into fixed tangible assets. We cannot buy the raw materials of building, we cannot buy the raw materials of roads, we cannot buy the raw materials of almost all the permanent things that would be valuable no matter what way currency went in the years that lie ahead. But we can buy one thing; we can buy health and strength for the generations of our people who are now growing and who are about to come into the world. What more tangible and enduring asset could we buy than that? For what expenditure might we more properly borrow money at present? Is there any economist, however orthodox, in this House, who challenges the proposition that a prudent man will convert cash and credits into tangible assets now? Will anybody say that it is better, wiser, more conservative to accept the I.O.U. of the British Government and the Government of the United States of America for currency now than to buy imperishable assets? I do not believe there is. Is there any man to-day who will take £1,000 in British war loan in preference to a house which was good value for £1,000 two years ago? Is there anybody who will take United States Government gold bonds to-day after the Gold Act has been passed in the United States of America in preference to 20 acres of rich land? I doubt it, because he would say: “The land will be there no matter what way the £ goes.” He would say: “Bricks and mortar are the safest place to put money when currencies begin to tremble.”
All I am suggesting to this House is that, instead of putting money into American gold bonds or British securities, we should put it into children, healthy children. What more enduring asset is there than that? It is an asset, the value of which will be apparent not only in this generation or the next generation but in countless generations to come, and without it the  whole future of this nation may be put in jeopardy. For that reason, and that reason only, I say: “Here is an asset that we can buy now by putting purchasing power into the hands of indigent families through a scheme of family allowances of this kind, and thus avoid the dispatch of our nutritious food to Great Britain, there to acquire in exchange credits which we cannot use now and which post-war might be valueless, not through the fault of Britain, not through the fault of the United States of America, but because they are pouring out their wealth in order to keep us free.”
I would give them all we had to help them in that fight, in every sense of the word, in the profound conviction that it is a fight for the survival of Ireland, as well as a fight for the survival of every free people in the world; in the profound conviction that it is a fight for the survival of the right of every man to render unto God the things that are God's and unto Cæsar the things that are Caesar's. But I cannot control foreign policy in this country. What one can do, I have done it, and failing my ability to get my country to their aid with all that I had, or to induce my fellow countrymen to do it, I face the fact that here is a great reform, here is an opportunity to purchase with our money an imperishable asset, and to establish, with a view to maintaining it for all time out of national income and as a first charge upon it, a social reform which for the first time would confer true freedom on all our people, economic freedom, the knowledge that no combination of power, however great, could grind any citizen of this country into subjection by threatening his children or his wife with hunger; an assurance to the smallest tenant farmer, the humblest working man, the striker or the worker, whoever had a wife, wherever there was a woman anxious for her children, that there would be funds to enable her to buy them food and to cover their nakedness, and that, so long as she had the right to call herself an Irishwoman, the children she had brought into the world for the Irish nation would be cherished by the community to which she belonged  as prizes, treasures, and gifts from God, and not despised, as they would appear to be, as merely new nuisances and problems and afflictions visited upon an unhappy married couple.
Bring this thing down to its lowest basis of justification. If a manufacturer had bought spare parts for his machines, and laid them by in storage, would he suffer those spare parts to rot and rust away while his machines were working themselves into such a condition that the employment of those spare parts would be necessary for the maintenance of his business? I do not think any sane businessman would. I think he would spend whatever money was necessary to house and lubricate those spare parts, so that when the time came that he had to employ them they would be good and strong and effective for the work for which they were intended. Surely this nation is accumulating spare parts now in the children that are being born. Those are the spare parts which will fit into the body politic of this State and make it function in the years to come. Thousands of them are rotting and rusting away under the corrosion of malnutrition which arises from the fact that the mother of many in this country has not the wherewithal to buy them food. All I am asking this House is that we should here determine that in the future a first charge upon our national income will be a provision to ensure that whoever is born into an Irish home will be guaranteed not luxury, not an easy life, but just the bare minimum to keep body and soul together in health and strength, whether it be the house of a poor man or a rich man, and let the individual effort of the father add amenities to that provision if the opportunity presents itself to him. That seems a simple thesis. The cost of that is going to be in the order of £4,000,000 a year. No better investment could conceivably be made in this period of the declining value of currency and credit. Borrow the money now, and for the duration of this period of crisis, provided that, post-war, we here and the people we stand for are prepared to shoulder the burden of taxation  necessary to maintain that scheme out of revenue down through the ages.
I am profoundly convinced that if this case is put to the income-tax payers of this country, formidable as the burden may be, they will cheerfully face it rather than that they should go on enjoying luxury while their fellow citizen's children literally starve. Instead of producing this unholy thing which is neither fish, flesh nor good red herring, but the plumes for a battle helmet for the old warrior getting ready for the hustings, if the Minister for Finance had had the courage to come in here and act the part of Ernest Blythe, with an honest austerity and something supremely admirable in the indifference to public opinion, or if, on the other hand, with imagination and vision he had come in here and said: “I have been casting about for a safe repository for the savings of our people in those troubled times. I have been rebuked that the proceeds of our foreign sales are taking the shape of idle credits which we cannot convert into enduring assets, and I have resolved to employ that surplus money now in the purchase of the most enduring asset imaginable by the mind of man,” then I would be put in the horrible dilemma of voting for him. I have only done it once before in my life, and I have often wondered if I was justified. I would have had to face that deplorable duty again, but, as usual, Fianna Fáil has fallen down on the job. It could not do the big thing.
Now, let me conclude by saying that I do not want to suggest to anybody that they failed to do it because they were indifferent. I do not want to raise any political hare and declare that the Fianna Fáil Party are becoming the bankers' children or servants or anything of that kind. I do not attribute their failure to seize this magnificent opportunity to any evil in them. They have not the vision, the wisdom or the courage to do things like that. Is there any use hoping that the Minister might acquire these virtues and, before the election comes along, announce that he is going to embark upon this greatest and most  urgent of social reforms? If he were to do that, unworthy as his Party's record has been in the history of this country. I think the name of O Ceallaigh would be well and favourably remembered not only in the houses of the poor in Ireland, but in the houses of the poor in every country that would follow Ireland's example when they saw the results of the experiment that I advocate to-day.
Minister for Agriculture (Dr. Ryan): I want to deal first with one matter Deputy Dillon spoke of before he proceeded to speak of family allowances. He accused the officers of my Department of paying more than the legal price for seed oats in Donegal. I told him that that was not true, but he persisted in the statement, simply because he is very much more interested—and it is not to-day that I learned that—in making his case, whatever the facts underlying it may be, than he is in the truth. He did not accept what I said. I suppose it does not matter very much whether he does or not. He said later that when he told these things to his friends in Dublin they told him he was a gross exaggerator. Obviously his friends did not like to hurt his feelings by telling him what they really thought of his statement, and I expect the Chair would not allow me to say what I really think of it.
Dr. Ryan: The Deputy said my officers went to Donegal and paid more than the legal price for seed oats and, finding that they had to pay more, they came back and made an Order to legalise the price. That is not true, and if the Deputy persists in making that statement we know what to think.
Dr. Ryan: I tried to correct the Deputy, but he would not allow me, because his case was made on a false assumption and he went on with it. There was one other thing in Deputy Dillon's speech with which I wish to deal—I have no desire to reply to all the raiméis we heard from him. He accused the Minister for Supplies—and he was again saying something that was not true—of not bringing in all the wheat that could be brought in at the end of 1939. The Minister for Supplies said we brought in all the wheat for which storage could be found.
Mr. Dillon: I do not want to interrupt the Minister, although he interrupted me, but I argued that he and the Minister for Supplies made an Order in September, 1939, forbidding us to get supplies of flour. I was trying to persuade him to shove the flour out of the mills into the merchants' stores so that the millers could take in more wheat. The Ministers made an Order forbidding any merchant to get flour from a mill.
Dr. Ryan: I am not in a position to deal with that matter now. I do not know if that is absolutely correct, but I do know that what the Minister for Supplies said was true; he did his best to get wheat into the country in 1939, and did actually bring in whatever there was storage to take. Our own crop was coming in at the same time and, naturally, that also took up a certain amount of room. Deputy Dillon went on to say that the reason why the Minister did not permit wheat to come in at that time was because it was regarded as a crime against Irish agriculture to bring wheat in here. That is only the greatest nonsense, and Deputy Dillon knows it. I am greatly surprised he did not go back to the fantastic argument he put forward here about it being pure “codology” to grow wheat in this country. He did attempt here to make a defence of that fantastic statement that he made some years ago.
Dr. Ryan: The Deputy stated that those who did not grow wheat at that time could now grow more than those who did grow wheat then, and that they would get a better crop. It was an ingenious sort of defence, but there is really nothing in it, as was pointed out in the discussion on my Estimate. There is more wheat grown in what were regarded as the wheat-growing counties in 1935-36 and the yield is as good, if not better, in those counties than in the counties Deputy Dillon speaks of, where no wheat was then grown. I do not mean to deal in detail with Deputy Dillon's speech,  because it would take too long to do that.
We have not got anything like an agreed criticism of this Budget either from the Opposition or the Labour Party. One criticism was that it was a cowardly Budget because the Minister did not bridge the gap between expenditure and income by taxation. That criticism would lead one to believe that the Minister should have raised a certain amount of money— the £4,500,000 necessary—to meet certain expenditure in the coming year. In addition to that, Deputy Dockrell said he thought the Minister was hardly justified in placing certain items of expenditure on the capital expenditure side. If Deputy Dockrell's opinion were to be taken on this, the deficit in the Budget would be more than £4,500,000, and would have certain items that, according to Deputy Dockrell, could not justifiably be taken from borrowed money. On the other hand, we have had Deputies here speaking about the burden of taxation. We have had some who talked about this failure on the part of the Minister to balance his Budget, and we have had some talking very often about the burden of taxation, saying it is more than people can bear. It is very hard to reconcile one view with the other. The only possible way to reconcile the two views, if held by one person, would be to say that the expenditure side was too high.
I have been reading and listening to the speeches made here, to find suggestions for a reduction in expenditure, but none has come. As a matter of fact, there was only one definite suggestion that I know of. It came from Deputy Cosgrave to-day, and it was that there might be some saving on the Vote for Defence. That is at least a suggestion, a concrete suggestion, but everyone will admit it is one that we will not all agree upon. Apart from that, there was no suggestion as to where any saving could be made. Therefore, as far as the Opposition and the Labour Party are concerned, and as far as I can find from the speeches made, we have the position that it is generally considered that the gap of  £4,500,000 should not be there and that, if the Minister for Finance had done his business properly, he should have found some way to avoid showing such a deficit. In addition to that, as I have said already, some Deputies would go so far as to say that, looking at the present Budget as a balance sheet, the deficit should really be more than £4,500,000, as there are certain items that should not be put to capital expenditure.
We have no suggestion for saving but, strange to say, of the Deputies holding the views I have already given, some have pointed out the necessity for further social services. Some members of the Labour Party, in talking about this Budget, spoke of the inadequate social services—unemployment assistance, for instance, and old age pensions. In Deputy Dillon's speech to-day we had the suggestion to spend another £4,000,000 on children's allowances. It is true that Deputy Dillon pointed out that a good part, if not the greater part, of the £4,000,000 would be saved on other Votes like the children's allowances in unemployment assistance, the food vouchers for orphans treated under the Widows' and Orphans' Pensions Act and in income-tax allowances. No one—not even Deputy Dillon—will deny that a substantial amount would be added to the £44,000,000 to be found by the Minister for Finance if this scheme of family allowances were brought in. It is rather a usual thing for members of the Opposition and of the Labour Party, whenever a Budget comes before the House, to find fault on both sides in that way. They say too much is being spent and not enough is being raised by way of taxation to meet what is being spent. At the same time, no indication is given as to where any saving may be made, and pressure is used at the same time to enlarge our social services.
I intended to devote myself principally to some of the speeches made on the agricultural industry. They are to the general effect that farming is in a very bad way. We hear that very often here. I suppose it is a general sort of statement that is true in some degree at some times and in a very  small degree at other times. We all know that farming never has been a really prosperous career for any person and, what is more, probably never will be. On the other hand, it is a reasonably secure form of existence, particularly in war times if not so much in peace time. There is no use in taking as an example certain men at the lower end of the scale and proving, from their incomes or outgoings, that farming is in a very bad position; there is no use in taking the worst in the farming community. As in every other occupation, some farmers under the most favourable conditions will be unable to make ends meet, and others, no matter how bad conditions may be, will not only make ends meet but succeed in putting a little aside.
There is, of course, a great discrepancy between the conditions in the country and in the towns. At first sight, it does appear that the agricultural labourer who gets only 33/- a week is very badly treated compared to the tradesman in the city; but there are certain things we must keep in mind when making comparisons of that kind. Every urban worker is not an artisan in receipt of £4 or £5 a week; there are many urban workers whose wages are very much lower, and there is a great deal of unemployment—intermittent or more general— amongst the urban population. Again, one must keep in mind, in comparing the two classes, that the rural worker has certain advantages on the expenditure side: he has a very much cheaper house than the urban worker and, in the purchase of such things as fuel, milk and vegetables, he is in a position to buy more cheaply. If these things are kept in mind, it is quite possible—I am not denying it at all— that by weighing them up and comparing the rural worker with the urban worker at the present time, one may find that the rural worker is not as well off as his brother worker in the town. As far as we can, however, especially in the Dáil and in places like this, we should try to keep facts in mind when talking about farming or any other subject. It only gets a bad name for agriculturists in general when the type of speeches made here  by members of the Opposition are published. It is often said by people in the towns that the farmers are always complaining. I do not think that is true at all—the farmers do not complain nearly as much as those who speak on their behalf here, and those who speak here and in public places on their behalf are giving the farmer the bad name of being a habitual growler. If the farmers themselves took much notice of what is said here, or if they read the papers, it is quite possible they may get a persecution complex.
I do not wish to go into figures very much, but I want Deputies to realise a few facts about the farming situation at the moment. If possible, what I want to find out is this: how does the farmer stand, comparing his position pre-war with that of other classes? The best thing to do I suppose is to take the Agricultural Price Index with regard to the farmer's income and to compare 1941 and the first three months of this year with 1938, the last complete year.
Dr. Ryan: The economic war was over. If the Deputy wishes I will take 1939, but it does not make much difference. I am trying to give figures. The Deputy wants to make capital out of this. I want to give real figures so that we may see how farmers stand. I am quite prepared to agree with Deputy Morrissey that the farmer is not as well-off as he might be, but I do not think it will do any good to work on false premises. In 1938 the farm price index was 111.9 and in 1941 162.3, in other words, it went up 45 per cent. It is some what higher for the first three months of this year. I am not sure if farm prices might not be much higher for the first three months than for the rest of the year, and therefore it would be wrong to draw any conclusion from the first three months. For the complete year 1941 the index figure went up by 45 per cent. Against that, let us take the costs to see how they increased. It  has been stated by some people who evidently had not the full facts, that in whatever way the farmer's prices increased his costs increased much more. Whatever may be the case that is not true.
Take the items of farmers' outgoings: rent and rates. Rent has not altered since 1938. The total amount of rates payable on agricultural land for the whole of this State, 1938-39 up to 1941-42 increased from £3,900,000 to £4,490,000 and, in each year, might be deducted £1,860,000 as a State contribution towards the relief of rates, an increase over the period of £590,000. That means that rates in that period increased by 15 per cent. Prices went up 45 per cent., and rates only by 15 per cent. Rent did not go up so that there was no increased expenditure there. The next big item that farmers have to contend with is wages, which increased by 6/-. I should say that these were minimum wages. It is probably true that the general wage has gone up more than that. It is possible that in 1938 practically every farmer was paying the minimum wage, while many were paying more than the minimum. The minimum wage went up by 22 per cent. Even if wages went up by half that amount, or by another 3/-, the increased cost to farmers would not have gone up by more than 33 per cent. or 35 per cent., whereas the income had gone up 45 per cent. Then there is the cost of seeds, manures and feeding-stuffs. I will not deal with feeding-stuffs because that is the farmers' business. If one farmer pays another farmer gets the benefit. If a farmer pays too much for feeding-stuffs he has his remedy by growing them for his own use. The same applies to seeds. To the extent of 90 or 95 per cent. seeds are grown in this country, and it is an inter-farm problem as to how they are produced and charged for. It is impossible to deal with manures because we only use about one-fifth of what we were using pre-war, and although the cost is higher, the farmer has not paid any more than he was paying for them. That is not his grievance. His grievance is that he is not getting as good yield as he would get if he had all the artificial manures he required.
 On the other hand, apart from farming requisites, the farmer, like the urban dweller, has a household to maintain and has to buy clothes and groceries. These should be covered to some extent, I suppose, by the cost-of-living figure, which in 1938 was 173, and in 1941 226, an increase of 30 per cent. Whatever the farmer may have to buy it has not gone up to the same extent as his income, or as the price he gets for what he sells. Probably the cost of living has gone up, principally owing to the increased cost of food, but the other things have not gone up so much. That is his position as compared with pre-war.
Dr. Ryan: They are important, but comparatively of little importance if the total amount spent on farm machinery and repairs is taken into consideration. It is really only a very small percentage compared with the amount spent on rent, rates, wages and other things. What applies to machinery applies to artificial manures that are unprocurable, and therefore hardly in the picture.
Dr. Ryan: I will admit that to be true but, even so, the farmer who employs two or three men has a wages bill every year of from £100 to £130. A farmer would only have to purchase a dray every six years so that that would be a small item against him. On the other hand, I want to compare the farmer's position with other classes in the community. It was stated here over and over again that the farmer has not been treated as favourably as other classes. I will preface my remarks by saying that, perhaps, that is true, but I want to show that however badly he may have been treated as compared with other classes, he is certainly comparatively much better treated than he was treated pre-war. Take civil servants, for instance, and other people paid out of Government  funds. They got no increase to cover the increased cost of living, while the farmer's income is gone up by 45 per cent. Take manufacturers and business men whose incomes have been limited to a great extent as regards salaries, and absolutely as regards dividends. As far as dividends are concerned, the owners can only draw the same amount as they did before the war.
So far as the companies are concerned, a very big amount is being taken off them by way of income-tax, corporation profits tax and so forth. There is, then, the urban labour class. The Labour Party and others have pointed out, time and again, that there has been no opportunity for urban labour to get an increase of wages since the war broke out. These three classes —the civil and public servants, the manufacturers and business men and the urban labourer—cover practically everybody outside agriculture, and they have not been permitted to expand their income since the war commenced, as the farmer has been permitted to do. I want to make very clear—I do not want to be misrepresented—that I am not saying that the farmer is in as favourable a position as he should be compared with these other classes. What I claim is that his position has improved appreciably vis-a-vis these classes since the war commenced.
Apart from the farmers' position generally, the point was made by a number of Deputies that we had, in individual items, poor prices and that, as a result, we had decreased production. Deputy Bennett, speaking of the butter position, said we had a reduction in the output of creamery butter of 200,000 cwts. during the past four or five years, that that meant a reduction of 150,000 cows and that that involved a reduction in employment of 50,000 men. Deputy Bennett is probably wrong in his figures. If he is right, he has in mind 350-gallon cows. Our cows are, I think, better than that. If he is right, then I am sure he would not have admitted in this House in 1936 that, because our creamery butter output had gone up from 1930 by 250,000 cwts., our cows went up in  number by 200,000 and that rural employment had increased by 20,000. If Deputy Bennett's contention be true in one way, then it must be true the other way. I do not think that it is true either way. If employment has altered as a result of the ups and downs of the output of creamery butter——
Dr. Ryan: It shows how the Deputy gets a prejudice into his mind which neither facts nor anything else will remove. It is good propaganda and, as long as it suits the Deputy, he believes it. As we are dealing with butter and the Deputy thinks that the slaughter of calves has something to do with the shortage, perhaps I should deal with the matter. In 1928 and 1929, there was no slaughter of calves under the Cumann na nGaedheal Government. Why was there a reduction in butter output then? The production in 1930-1931 was 15,000 cwts lower than it was last year or the year before. There was no slaughter of calves then. To what was the reduction due?
Dr. Ryan: I can give an opinion regarding it. If I give an opinion, it will not be a prejudiced, political opinion such as Deputy Morrissey gives. It could not be, seeing that the same thing occurred under the two  Governments. Deputy Morrissey did not think about that when he talked about the slaughter of calves. When discussing the shortage of butter, keep these facts in mind: last February— three months ago—the consumption of creamery butter approximated to almost 2,000 cwts. per day in this country. That was double what it was ten years ago.
Dr. Ryan: Yes, The second point is that our production in 1940-41 was 650,000 cwts.—higher than the year 1930-31 by about 50,000 cwts. We cannot afford at present to export any butter. We should not have allowed butter to be exported last year. We know that now. We allowed only 11,000 cwts. out last year while, with a lesser output in 1930-31, this country could afford to export up to about 300,000 cwts.
Dr. Ryan: The facts are there and there is no use in Deputy Mulcahy or Deputy Morrissey trying to deny that people are consuming twice as much butter as they did under the Cumann na nGaedheal Government. I am quite sure that they would eat more butter under the Cumann na nGaedheal Government if they could afford to do so.
Dr. Ryan: That was what I thought the Deputy's question related to and that is why I said it had not much relation to it. The figure for farmer's butter given in 1926-27 by the Statistics Department was revised eight or nine years later when they realised that they had, probably, made a very big mistake. The figure for farmer's butter was corrected to a considerable extent. It shows that, if anybody attempts to take a figure like that, they can only make a very close guess, at best. Since 1930-31, certain districts have developed into creamery districts which were previously producing farmer's butter. Again, certain creamery districts have gone back to farmer's butter. On balance, I think that there are, probably, a larger number of farmers going to the creameries now than there were in 1930-31.
Dr. Ryan: One can only guess. I shall not attempt to do what the Statistics Department could not do accurately. One could not make a guess at the cause of this shortage without going into the matter to some extent. Now, I come to what, I think, may be part of the cause of this decline in creamery output. There was a very big increase from 1931 to 1936 because the price of creamery butter was better, comparatively, than that for dry cattle. Possibly, the price of dry cattle is better now, comparatively, than that of creamery butter.
Dr. Ryan: That may be one cause. How are we to remedy it? We, as a Government, did our best for creamery-butter production for about ten years. We subsidised creamery butter. We gave more than the export price would warrant. We thought that, when this war came along, we were finished with that subsidy and that the  British Government would give us what it was costing to produce the butter. The British Government gave us 131/-. When the cost of transport to Great Britain and the cost of manufacture in the creamery were taken out of that price, the creamery could afford to pay the farmer only 4½d. per gallon for his milk. That is too little. There is no use in talking about that being in any way a remunerative price. The farmer could not possibly afford to carry on 4½d. per gallon. So that the decline in the creamery industry, if it has taken place because prices were not as favourable as they were for other farm products, is aggravated by the fact that the export price of butter has become impossible. The remark was made in a recent debate that whenever we were in a difficulty, we blamed the British Government. I am not blaming the British Government. I am only stating the fact. If the British Government states that our butter is not worth any more than 131/-, that is their business. I do not want to go into it further, but I say our farmers could not produce butter at that price and, as a matter of fact, are going out of production and we are now down to the point where we have practically only enough butter for ourselves.
Another suggestion made by Deputies was that we should give more to the farmer for his butter here. We must keep certain facts in mind. We must remember that there is no other fat now on the market available to the consumers in this country and, however we may regard the case of the better-off families who could afford to buy butter even if it were a bit dearer, the working-man who has a very fixed wage, and perhaps nothing to spare, must buy less if the price of butter is increased to him. That would be all right if he could buy other fats in substitution. It would be all right at a time when he could purchase margarine, dripping, lard and so on, but he cannot get them now, and if the price of butter is too high he must purchase less fats in the aggregate, and that is not good for the health of himself or his family. These things must be kept in mind. I do not want to go further into that at the moment.
 I want to deal with one other commodity, because it was raised here also, that is, bacon. It was alleged, I believe—I was not here at the time— that the Government had killed the bacon industry. That is a very easy statement to make, but there is no possible support for it, and the person who made the statement did not try to support it in any way. It is easy to make a statement of that kind without trying to prove it. As a matter of fact, I think probably the Deputy who makes that statement or who believes it to be true, has in mind the legislation that was passed here dealing with the bacon industry. That legislation was necessary in the first instance because the British Government had rationalised the bacon industry in Great Britain and also the import of bacon and had laid it down as a condition that there should be some authority in the exporting country to deal with the bacon that was produced there and exported to their country and that it should be done on a quota basis.
Some machinery was necessary. There was a commission set up to deal with this question. The Bill was, more or less, drafted on the recommendations of the commission, and then there was a Parliamentary Committee appointed to go into the Bill. It was generally agreed that it was the best that could be done under the circumstances, and it went through. I am not surprised—I did not expect anything better—that when that Bill turned out to be unfortunate so far as the farmers were concerned, Deputies of the opposite Party, more or less, disclaimed responsibility, although they had sat on that committee—it was a Select Committee—and had a hand in rearranging the provisions of the Bill to their own satisfaction as much as to ours. But, when certain provisions were rather resented by producers and so on, they disclaimed all responsibility. I want to show, however, that, whatever Deputies may believe and whatever anybody else may believe, the board that was set up under that Bill was successful. The worst year we had in the pig industry in this country, going back, say, 20 years, was the year 1933. If we take the balance of trade  in bacon and pigs and so on, that is, deduct whatever we imported from what we exported, we only had a balance of £1,600,000. That was the lowest we ever reached—1933. It began to improve from that year. In 1935 it had slightly improved. It had not gone up to more than £2,000,000, but in 1935 this new board was set up, and from that until 1941 there was a gradual but sure improvement in the pig industry, and in 1941 we reached an aggregate figure in our trading in bacon and pigs which was the highest for about 16 years, going back to, I think, either 1926 or 1925. Therefore, it is unfair really to say that the machinery, and the personnel that were put into control as a result of that machinery, have been responsible for a great disaster in the pig industry.
Dr. Ryan: I am quite sure the home consumption in 1925 and 1926, when pigs were very dear, was not as high as it was in 1932 or 1933, when pigs were cheap and bacon was cheap. That is only to be expected. I am talking of quantity. I suppose the Deputy means quantity?
Dr. Ryan: I am taking the total, because there was a very big diminution in the live-pig trade, naturally, on account of the building up of the bacon industry rather than live pigs but, after all, it does not matter very much to the farmers in the aggregate  whether the trade is in live pigs, bacon or pork. What I am taking is the total income, as far as the pig industry is concerned. Again, I do not want any Deputy to think that I am in any way blaming the British Government. I am only stating the facts. Remember, we had reached in 1940 the best year that we had in the pig industry for about 15 or 16 years. In 1941 we had a quota of, I think it was, 500,000 cwts. of bacon allotted to us by the British Government, at 131/- per cwt. Our pigs were on the increase at that time and we asked to have that quota increased. That was refused. As a matter of fact, we had eventually, towards the end of the year, to sell an additional quantity, over and above the 500,000 cwts., to the British Government at about 98/- a cwt. In order to meet that, a levy had to be put on all pigs, which levy was passed back to the producer.
That had a very bad effect on production here. In addition to that, there is no doubt that a big factor in reducing pigs was the want of feeding stuffs, and I believe that is the big factor now because the price is much better now than it was at the end of 1940, the time I speak of. We could not possibly send bacon to Great Britain at the price offered now, that is, 131/2d., merely taking the raw material, because if a pig is killed, the dead-weight of that pig will only produce 75 per cent. of bacon. Taking the raw material to make 1 cwt. of bacon, the factories could only give about 95/-, dead-weight, for pigs. Of course, we have gone long beyond that now, because at the moment we have a good deal of bacon in store but we are not receiving enough pigs from the factories to meet our own home demand and, were it not for the fact that we have a certain amount of cold-stored bacon, there would be a scarcity.
Dr. Ryan: I do not know. I think at the moment it is perhaps just as well if it did not. Those who advocate an increase in the number of pigs must clearly see that they are advocating an increase in the number of animals  which are in direct opposition to human beings in the consumption of food. After all, a pig consumes grain to a great extent, and we scarcely have enough grain for human food at the moment. I think, however, if we get a good harvest this year, if we get good crops of potatoes and if we can devote a certain quantity of grain to animal feeding after human needs have been met, an increase in the number of pigs will come then, and we shall get at least, I hope, the number necessary to meet the home consumption of bacon.
Before I leave agriculture, another point that was raised had reference to credit facilities. It was touched upon also by Deputy Cosgrave. While I hold no brief for any particular form of credit in this country, I do think that we should be in this instance also truthful. It is not true to say that if a person gets a loan from the Agricultural Credit Corporation he has to repay twice as much before the loan is fully wiped out. As a matter of fact, I have a handbook here which gives details of the total amounts repayable on loans. Any Deputy who writes to the Agricultural Credit Corporation can get a copy of this handbook. Taking one particular class of loan, if a person borrows £100 for ten years and pays that back in half-yearly instalments, over the ten years he repays a total of £128 6s. 8d. Therefore, it would be only in a case where a person got a loan for 35 years, which I think is the maximum period for which loans are advanced, that he would actually pay back double the amount that he might have borrowed. However, as I say, for a ten year loan, which is a very common type of loan, on a principal of £100 he would pay back a total of £128 6s. 8d.
Dr. Ryan: I think the Agricultural Credit Corporation fulfilled a very useful purpose in many ways. It was possible, for instance, for certain  farmers to make settlements of certain bank debts by offering cash to the bank. They owed so much money to banks and by getting money from the Agricultural Credit Corporation, they were able to settle with these banks for a percentage of the original loans.
Dr. Ryan: Here is a common case. A farmer owed, say, £5,000 to a bank, a sum which it was absolutely beyond his capacity to repay. He went into the bank, told them all his circumstances and the bank manager said to him: “Give me £1,000 cash, in settlement.” He then went to the Agricultural Credit Corporation, who found that his holding was good for a loan of £1,000. The corporation thereupon advanced him the £1,000 and he went and cleared off his debt to the bank. As long as he owed money to the bank, he lived in dread that he might be evicted at any time. Now he had got a loan on different terms from the Agricultural Credit Corporation repayable in ten or 15 years, and so long as he paid his instalments on that loan he was quite safe. He was in a much better position to settle down to serious farming again.
I know a number of farmers myself who settled their affairs in that way and who have now made good, farmers who never could have made good while the old debt on the bank remained. There is that advantage with the Agricultural Credit Corporation, that the loan is repayable over a number of years on an annuity basis, and as long as the farmer pays the annuity he is not pressed. On the other hand, if he owed money to a bank he was pressed by the bank, asked to take something off the loan or to renew his bill.
Dr. Ryan: Oh, no. Of course I should not be defending this corporation because whatever restrictions were put upon it—and I think they were too many—they were put on by the Party opposite. However, as long as it is dealing fairly with the people I shall defend it, and in fair play I say that it has given a lot of credit.
Dr. Ryan: I do not. I am not as agile as the Deputy in these things. Deputy Norton threatened that if we exported any food not surplus to our requirements, he had a way of dealing with it. I do not know what secret weapon Deputy Norton may have, but I do not think it will be necessary to use it for, as far as we can, we mean to see that no food leaves this country if it is wanted here. I am prepared to say here and now in the Dáil that no bacon or butter will be exported during the coming year, though I shall have to qualify that statement in a moment. Neither will any potatoes be exported, except seed potatoes. There are certain farmers in this country who built up their whole economy practically around the growing of very high-class seed potatoes. It would be a terrible thing if we stopped these men from exporting seed potatoes unless it is absolutely necessary. It is not necessary, because we have more potatoes than we want.
Dr. Ryan: I quite agree. With regard to butter, this is the qualification I had in mind. First of all, I am not sure that all the factory butter will be required in this country. We shall encourage, as far as we can, manufacturers, bakers and confectioners to use farmers' butter, so as not to put an undue burden on creamery butter supplies. Even then, we may not find it possible to absorb all factory butter and, if so, some of it will have to be exported. In addition to that, in the case of butter and bacon we have a contract with the Isle of Man. I am not sure what we may yet do in that case.
Dr. Ryan: It is a very small contract. As a matter of fact, the whole contract with the Isle of Man would not represent more than one-and-a-half days' supply for this country. I should say that they are paying the same price as we charge our own people, so that in that respect they are in a different position from the British market. I cannot say definitely yet what may happen so far as that contract is concerned. Deputy Cosgrave and Deputy Dillon spoke about malnutrition.
Mr. D. Morrissey: Before the Minister leaves the question of agriculture, would he give some indication to the House as to the information at his disposal regarding the probable sowings of beet for this season? I think it is a very important matter and the Minister should now be in a position to say something about it.
Dr. Ryan: I cannot tell the Deputy what the exact acreage is. The last figure I obtained was some days ago and there were still a few contracts to come in. At that time it was somewhere in the region of 53,000 or 54,000 acres, I think.
Mr. D. Morrissey: Does the Minister propose to attempt to get any information as to what extent the contracts which have not been returned will be fulfilled? It is quite a common opinion in the country that people who have not returned contracts will not fulfil them, and that a man who contracted to grow, say, five acres, having regard to the fact that the manure upon which he had been relying is not forthcoming, will only grow two acres instead of five.
Dr. Ryan: As a matter of fact, that was exactly where the acreage fell: a number of farmers who at first said they would grow five acres, under the new conditions, when they could not get manure, and so on, had to go back to two or three acres. However, I think that these contracts to which I have referred—the 53,000 or 54,000 acres—have been actually confirmed.
Dr. Ryan: I am only saying that that is what they expect to get. The only other point was one that was made by Deputies Cosgrave and Dillon with regard to malnutrition. Now, malnutrition is one of those things also that is a very wide term and is very relative in its application. I suppose there are Deputies in the House to whom we might refer as suffering from malnutrition, although you could not say that about Deputy Morrissey or myself, but it is a very relative term and it is very hard to deal with it. All we can do is to deal with it in a comparative way, if there is malnutrition, and I suppose there is always a certain amount of it, but whether or not it is of a very serious nature I would not be prepared to say, although I  would not be inclined to agree that it is.
Dr. Ryan: I know that it exists, but there are two things that I want to mention. Firstly, everybody will agree that, as far as malnutrition in children is concerned, the most important thing of all is milk, or milk products. Now, the consumption of milk, wherever we have figures for that, as we have in places where milk boards are operating, is going up steadily; in fact, it went up very much last year, on account of the big number of people who have been taken on the free list, but apart from that, there was a certain increase all the time in the consumption of milk. To that extent, I suppose, it looks as if something is being done to meet this problem of malnutrition, as far as it exists. Secondly, there is also, as I said already, an increase in the consumption of butter, and there has been an increase also in the consumption of fresh meats. I do not know about vegetables and fruits, it would be very hard to find out if there is any increase there, but there is an increase, at any rate, in the consumption of these essential foods, and to that extent we may have relieved the situation somewhat. Another point that I want to refer to is that over the years—I do not know for how many years, but going back, at any rate, for a good number of years, and every year during those years—there has been an improvement so far as infantile death rates are concerned. I think there is nothing so satisfactory as that because, after all, if the infantile death rate is improving, it shows in a general way that nutrition amongst children is improving all the time and we may be dealing with the problem, perhaps not satisfactorily, but at any rate to some extent.
Mr. Hurley: Many opinions have been expressed on this Budget, and I think they can all be summarised into two different types of opinions: one, from those who have benefited by the  Budget, and the other from those who have not. Now, we saw in the papers that this Budget was characterised by some of those people, who are called industrialists, as a damned good Budget, and that it was a step in the right direction to help industries, and so on; but we have not got that opinion expressed in the Press from the other people—the wage-earning class, the people who are unemployed, the people who are casually employed, the people who have to exist on very small incomes, or the people who have to emigrate to earn a living in a foreign land. We have tried to put the point of view of those people before the House, and in that regard we have tried to show that this Budget does not, in any way, give any relief to those people, and yet they are the big majority of the people of this country. The wage earner has had his wages pegged down by Order No. 83. He cannot get any increase in wages, no matter how the cost of living has gone up, and according to the official figures it has gone up by over 37 per cent., since the outbreak of the war. That Order has pegged his wages down. No matter how difficult his circumstances may be, he cannot get any increase in his wages. Contrast that pegging down of the workers' wages by Order No. 83 with the treatment of the people on the other side of the scale: the industrialists, the employers, and the people who have money invested. These people have got a definite relief under this Budget. Under the last Budget £750,000 was to have been got from them, but under this Budget £150,000 has been put into their pockets.
We are told from the Government Benches that Order No. 83 applies to profits as well as wages, but that Order has been definitely smashed as far as profits are concerned. We can read in the newspapers the balance sheets of certain concerns, where it is shown that they pay 10 per cent. dividends with a bonus of 2½ per cent. Surely, that is a definite breach of Order No. 83, as far as breaches of an Order can go. Yet, there is no prosecution, or anything in the nature of anybody being indicted for that  breach of the Order. The object of the Order, definitely, is to peg down the wages of workers. Now, mind you, Order No. 83 was brought in ostensibly to regulate, or control, prices, but the general complaint is that prices have not been controlled in any way, and where prices have been controlled we have the issue of the black market immediately. The black market has been operated very much by people in all parts of this country, and particularly in certain commodities. I shall return to that in a few moments, but I want to show the House and the Minister, that the Minister has not acted fairly in his implementation of Order No. 83.
It is true to say that he brought in Order No. 166—the double of Order No. 83—which, as far as the ordinary layman is concerned, is impossible to understand. It is so mixed up with regulations and with semi-legal jargon that no ordinary layman can understand what his rights are at all. It would require a decision of the High Court really to interpret what is meant by Order No. 166, which is supposed to be a relaxation of Order No. 83. I want to put this to the Minister. Under this Budget, what relief is given to the old age pensioners, what relief is given to widows and orphans, what relief is given to the unemployed, except this £100,000 for turf which, at the present rate of £3 14s. a ton, would not mean more than 30,000 tons of turf? I do not know on what basis that is going to be allocated. It will be very difficult to allocate 30,000 tons of turf among 100,000 unemployed people.
With regard to malnutrition, it is no wonder that it is prevalent, considering the extent and the ravages caused by unemployment and considering the position of old age pensioners, of people living on home assistance and of widows and orphans in the rural areas who have to try to exist on the miserable amounts given to them. Would the Minister say what is the real reason for the differentiation made between old age pensioners and widows and orphans living in urban areas and those in the rural areas? I suppose the Minister will claim that the food vouchers will mean a definite  increase for those classes living in the urban areas, but why have not the benefits of that scheme been extended to similar classes in the rural areas who very often have to buy the necessaries of life in the neighbouring towns and cities and at the same prices as those charged to the people in the urban areas? When speaking a moment ago the Minister for Agriculture made the point as a kind of explanation, I think, that rent and milk and a few other things were obtainable at a cheaper rate in the country. But, even in the case of these few items, that is not so. I want to put it to the Minister that food and clothing and, in many cases, rent, are as high in the rural areas as they are in the urban. In Cork City, for example, we have the position that under corporation schemes you have houses which are partly in the city and partly in the county, with the result that old age pensioners and widows and orphans living in the houses outside the city boundary are not entitled to food vouchers although they are part and parcel of the city life. I do not know why this differentiation is being made. I think it would require a stronger case to be made for it than that which the Minister for Agriculture tried to make. I am very anxious to hear the views of the Minister for Finance on it.
With that, you have the position in both rural and urban areas that there is a certain scale of unemployment assistance for a family in which there are five children. I think one can only interpret that as being definitely anti-social. As a rule, the families in receipt of unemployment assistance are large families. Very often there are six, seven, eight and nine children in them, but no provision whatever is made for the sixth, seventh, eighth or ninth child. How can we claim that we are acting on any kind of Christian or social principles while that state of affairs exists? No provision whatever is made in the Budget for these families while provision is made in it to give assistance to industrialists. We have had the position in this country for the last 20 years that unemployment, poverty, hunger and misery have become a normal feature  of life here. It is about time, I think, that the outlook of the ordinary citizen towards that should be changed. In that situation, how can you expect to have any kind of stability in the State? You certainly cannot have the kind of progress that we would all wish to see. As some Deputy has said, this House is not doing its duty while such a state of affairs exists.
Side by side with that position, and as a result of it, you have a very large flow of emigration from the country. That is only to be expected since we have so many unemployed, and since pretty good wages are being offered on the other side. But, surely it ought not to be beyond the capacity of Government institutions to devise a scheme whereby the people could be kept at home and put into employment at decent rates of wages. Is there not a social principle underlying all that? If we are constrained to allow our people to emigrate to foreign countries and become part and parcel of them, even for a time, then I think irreparable damage will be done to our nation. The Government have made no provision whatever for any scheme of employment, or for any kind of an easing off of the position with regard to emigration. The emigration is going on day after day. When the Labour Party brought forward a motion, over 12 months ago, proposing to deal with the unemployment problem we were told that it was being considered by an inter-departmental committee. But we have heard nothing since from that inter-departmental committee. But seems to be a new way the Government have of dealing with very pressing problems such as unemployment—to refer them to an inter-departmental committee. If I may digress for a moment, we had another example of it to-day when questions were asked with regard to the position of 1916 men. That, also, has been referred to an inter-departmental committee. In fact, this procedure would now appear to be the fashion. The old method of referring things to commissions seems to have gone out of fashion.
Would the Minister say if he has received an interim report from the inter-departmental committee set up to deal with the question of unemployment  indicating what progress, if any, has been made? I am anxious to know, because no provision whatever is being made for it in this Budget, in the same way as no additional provision is being made for those in the rural areas in receipt of unemployment assistance, or for old age pensioners or widows and orphans. As I have already said, something is being given by way of food vouchers to those classes in the urban areas.
Those familiar with conditions in rural Ireland will know that the standard of living among the people there is abnormally low, even in the case of those in employment, the reason being that you have a very low standard of values in the rural areas. Farm labourers are now receiving a minimum wage of 33/- a week, but the fact is that everybody regards that as the maximum. What I find is that it is very hard to get some employers, especially the large farmers, to pay even that minimum. From time to time I have had to get an inspector from the Agricultural Wages Board to visit some of those employers, with the invariable result that they have had to refund in wages to workers sums varying from £4 to £7. You have that position in the rural areas, and yet this Budget holds out no hope of improvement for these workers.
It is true, as the Minister claims, that there is no provision for additional taxation in the Budget. With the present high cost of living, and the position that the workers in the towns and cities and in the rural areas find themselves in, I venture to say that, if any new taxes were put on, coupled with the fact that Order No. 83 has only been relatively relaxed effectively, you would have riots. Therefore the Minister was wise enough to avoid that position for the time being at least. The cost of living has gone up over 37 per cent., but there has been no compensation for the workers. That high level of prices still exists. When this Order was brought in we were told that the principle underlying it was that prices, wages and profits were to be controlled. The Minister cannot tell the House that either prices or profits have been controlled  or that any attempt has been made to control them, while there has been a definite and rigorous enforcement of Emergency Powers (No. 83) Order with regard to the workers who have to meet the high cost of living, which is not controlled.
I listened with great interest to the Minister for Agriculture when dealing with the position of the farmers. The working farmers in my constituency and in Cork County generally are a very hard-working, industrious and thrifty people. Some of them are very often in serious difficulties with regard to credit for seeds, manures, and the other necessaries for increased tillage. I say definitely that the Cork County Council have made it difficult for farmers who are not credit-worthy to get any advance for seeds or manures. I have a definite reason for saying that.
Mr. Hurley: First of all, a non-credit-worthy farmer must get two solvent sureties. I am not questioning the wisdom or otherwise of that procedure; I am stating the facts. When these sureties are got, the secretary of the county council informs them that Mr. so-and-so owes so much for rates and asks them if they are still prepared to go security for him. I am giving concrete examples that I heard of myself. Naturally, the proposed surety will say: “That is a different proposition; that man is not credit-worthy; he is not a person who, according to the information given by the county council, should get this credit because he owes so much already.” I am not suggesting that the county council should provide this credit. I am suggesting that the Minister should deal with these people by some scheme in this Budget or in some other way.
Mr. Hurley: The people I speak of did not get it. I have gone to the secretary of the county council about cases where people could not do the required amount of tillage, although some of them had the land prepared, because they were unable to get the seeds or manures or whatever else was necessary. My argument is that the provision of seeds and manures is a national question, because it is on the return from the tillage and from the work of the farmers that the safety of the nation will depend. I want to say again that I am not blaming the county council for this. That is their scheme. The Minister should have some system of credit—facilities for farmers who cannot get facilities through the ordinary channels or even through the county council. If there were some system like that, it would make things much easier for those farmers who are not credit-worthy for some reason or other. It may have been that they were badly hit in past times or that they were always struggling along and a struggling farmer is one of the greatest objects of pity that I know of. That is the position with them to-day. They cannot make the effort that is required of them because there are no facilities to enable them to do so.
We have had a great deal of talk about family allowances both for urban and rural families. A motion was put forward in the other House that family allowances should be introduced by making provision for families in rural areas. Probably a very good case could be made for the provision of family allowances in rural areas; but the need is as great in the urban areas. As I have stressed, the standard of living in rural areas is very low and the provision of family allowances would have a very beneficial effect in rural areas. But I am suggesting that the whole question of family allowances should be considered from the point of view of the nation as a whole. Lip-service has been paid to Catholic social principles both inside and outside this House, and the basis of those principles is the family. The family is the unit on which the State is built. If we have families both in urban and rural areas, as we have, who have not sufficient food and  clothing, and in some cases proper shelter, then I think that we are only paying lip-service to those principles which we talk so much about. One way in which families can be helped, especially large families, is by the provision of family allowances. That matter has been referred to an inter-departmental committee, and I ask the Minister to let us know if any interim report has been received from that committee and, if so, what its findings are.
A scheme of family allowances if adopted would, I suggest, have very big reactions on the whole social and economic life of this country. It would definitely get us away from that very obnoxious system of only making provision for five children of an unemployed man. It would benefit the nation in very many other ways. I think it would be worth the Minister's while seriously to consider the introduction of such a system, especially at the present time when the effect of the growing unemployment will be very much felt, especially by the children.
I think it is a tragedy to see a child handicapped through the unemployment of its father, handicapped in such a way that, very often, the effect of that handicap remains during its whole lifetime. I think the Minister would be doing an excellent social service to this nation if he gave attention seriously to this question of family allowances. It would certainly meet with the approval not alone of social workers, and people interested in social principles, but of the nation as a whole. It is definitely one of the topics that are now very much in the minds of people who give thought to the position of this nation, and to the dangers that beset it in the way of unemployment, emigration, and the other evils which are a very serious menace to the life of this community. Of course, I will be asked: where is the money to come from? I think an effective answer to that is that we are spending over £9,000,000 a year on the Army. I do not know whether or not that amount is justified, or whether or not we are getting value for it, but I am very sure that, if it were necessary to increase that amount or even to double it, we would not have anybody in this country very actively opposing  it. We have made that provision in order to preserve this nation from invasion, and at the same time the homes of the unemployed workers and of the poor people in the country are being invaded by poverty, by starvation and misery, but we are doing nothing whatsoever about it. As I have already said, we simply take it as the normal state of affairs. How long that state of affairs is to continue will depend on the patience of the people, and on their good sense, if I may so say, but surely we cannot expect that position to remain for ever. Surely we may anticipate that the people who are ignored and forgotten in this Budget and by this House will at some time bring their grievances very forcibly before the public. I would ask the Minister then to give this House an indication of what he intends to do with regard to those very important matters. He has told us there was never a scheme—I think he qualified it in some way—which was turned down because money was not available.
Mr. Hurley: That is what I am talking about. I should have said “no scheme of employment”. A few schemes suggest themselves to my mind. I do not know whether they would be considered by an inter-departmental committee as being sound propositions, but surely schemes for afforestation and re-afforestation of the country would be very acceptable from an employment point of view, and from a national and economic point of view. Then we have in this country a large number of school buildings which have been condemned as unfit for human habitation. Many of the children of this nation have to spend a good portion of their young lives in those very unhygienic and insanitary buildings. A large amount of money would be required to build new schools and to provide decent conditions under which to educate the children of this nation.
I am sure that a scheme like that would be approved of by the nation. It would certainly benefit the health  of the nation, because I can definitely say that, in those unhygienic and insanitary buildings, are sown the seeds of future diseases, which have to be treated perhaps at the expense of the nation or certainly at the expense of the parents. That is a scheme which could be undertaken very usefully by a Government that has no difficulty in getting money for good schemes of employment. Very many other schemes which come to one's mind could usefully be adopted for the provision of employment. I have yet to learn the advantage that the nation derives from exporting our people instead of using our best efforts to provide employment for them at home. I think that definitely shows a want of initiative or a want of energy on the part of the Government, because the Minister tells us that it is not due to want of money. Surely, if there is no lack of money, there are very many useful schemes which could be utilised for the provision here of the employment which our people now have to leave the country to find.
The Minister said that he has allowed £200,000 for the reopening of the steel works at Haulbowline. I put down a question last week to the Minister for Industry and Commerce as to when he expected the work to start. Could we get from the Minister for Finance, when he is replying, the conditions under which he gave that £200,000 to reopen that industry? Was there any time limit in regard to the commencement of work, or were any conditions laid down with regard to the employment they should give or to the rate of interest to be paid over a period? I should like definitely to get those particulars from the Minister. This factory has been closed now, I think, for over two years, and during that time a good deal of the material which could be used in that factory has been exported. From time to time, I have given figures here—my colleague in the constituency, Deputy Corry, has also given figures—with regard to the amount of scrap iron which has been exported. We were told that our information was not correct, because it was scrap steel that was being exported.
 I am still of the opinion that the information which I was able to procure, both from the harbour authorities and otherwise, was correct, and that this material has been exported and is still being exported. The Minister will get very little return for the £200,000 if, when the factory is ready, there is no material with which to work. I would ask the Minister, in the interests of his investment, to look into the points which I have made about the export of this material. I am informed that no later than last week a good deal of it was exported from Cork Harbour. The conditions under which this money was given, the purpose of it, and the date on which we may expect the work to start, are matters that concern the Minister and this House. When I say “the work”, I mean the actual production. On every hand, we have people crying out for what we may expect to be the products of this factory. The farmers think that there will be a certain amount of iron which can be used for agricultural implements, for the shoeing of horses and so on. That is very badly needed at the moment, and we would like to know when production will start.
The Minister for Agriculture referred to the Agricultural Credit Corporation. I do not know very much about that body, except that on a few occasions, when I submitted cases to them, they turned them down. I do not know whether they were very bad cases, whether they were not credit-worthy, but, at any rate, that was my experience of the corporation. I think they endeavour to strike a very hard bargain, and it is difficult to get money from them. That seems to be the experience of the farmers who want money. It may be that there is a tightening-up of loans on the part of the Agricultural Credit Corporation.
Mr. Hurley: They are the type of people you are talking about—people  who are not credit-worthy. My criticism of the Budget has been from the point of view of the people who did not receive any relief. I have tried to show the House that in the Press we see expressed the opinions of the people who got the £150,000, together with the £750,000 last year. I want to give you the opinions of people who have not got anything under the Budget. I believe that this Budget helps to rivet more firmly than ever on the people the foreign economic system that is putting thousands of our people in exile, and that threatens to destroy the whole fabric of this country. That is my summing up of the Budget.
Mr. McGovern: On the whole, this is not an unpopular Budget. The people one meets in the country consider themselves very safe in escaping additional taxation. They know it is not quite right to have a gap of £4,500,000 between revenue and expenditure, but they content themselves by saying that the responsibility is not theirs. The average person one meets does not seem to allow his conscience to be very much troubled over the Budget. One would suggest that the Minister for Finance, who assumes a big responsibility in such things, would be very concerned about the balancing of the Budget. I do not want to give my own opinion upon this aspect, but I will give the opinion of an ex-Minister for Finance, who was speaking in 1934. He was then delivering his Budget statement. In a statement of that sort a Minister does not speak lightly. I am sure he is very careful about everything he says, and I will read to the House what he thought at that time about unbalanced Budgets. The present Minister for Finance can then draw his own conclusion as to the opinion of his predecessor. The statement from which I shall quote appears in the Parliamentary Debates, Vol. 52, col. 617. The present Minister for Local Government and Public Health, who was at that time Minister for Finance, said:
“There is scarcely anything more damaging to the credit of a State than the realisation of a Budgetary deficit, scarcely anything which so generally injures the citizen in his  own private affairs, making it more difficult for the State to fulfil its obligations to him, and for him to fulfil his obligations to the State, his creditors and his fellow-citizens.”
If that was true in 1934 it must be equally true in 1942. That was the last Minister's opinion about unbalanced Budgets. We have now been presented with a Budget unbalanced to the extent of £4,500,000, but the Minister for Finance does not seem to be very worried over it, and, indeed, nobody is. We are hoping for better days, but they are a long time coming.
Another rather disquieting statement that the Minister for Finance made when presenting this Budget was that the dead-weight debt, national and local, was £111,000,000. That is a rather tidy sum. I will read what the Minister for Finance, in 1934, said with regard to the dead-weight national debt:
“Now take the position at the 31st March last. Our direct liabilities then stood at £44,523,000, our offsetting assets at £27,495,649, and our net direct public debt, after allowing for these assets, at £17,027,000— a reduction of £5,460,000 in two years.”
Had the Minister for Finance continued to reduce that £17,027,000 at the same rate as was done in the two years preceding 1934—that is, at the rate of £5,460,000—the debt would be completely wiped out and instead of £111,000,000 we would have nothing unless the debt from the local bodies.
It seems that we are not progressing in the best direction. If our main industry were prosperous we could say that the country had built up some assets against the dead-weight debt, but unfortunately the people are leaving the land, which is the source of our principal industry. Our new industries are idle for the want of raw material. Taking things generally, the picture is not very rosy. That is a state of affairs which calls for very serious consideration on the part of the Government, and especially on the part of the Minister for Finance, who has the chief responsibility in a matter of shortage of finance.
 I do not believe we can get over difficulties of this sort by printing paper money and issuing it, as it would be of no benefit whatever. The central bank cannot cure our economic ills, whatever they may do to improve credit and reduce the price at which credit may be obtained. Certainly, the issue of cash will provide nothing, and will not improve the standard of living. Anyone of common sense knows that. Production must be increased before the standard of living can be improved, and production must begin at the principal industry of the State. Unfortunately, the position of that principal industry is anything but good at the present moment.
Speaking on the Vote for Agriculture a couple of weeks ago, I gave some comparable figures regarding conditions here and in the neighbouring portion of this country, Northern Ireland. These figures are very illuminating. They show the terrible depression that exists. When you examine them and compare the position of farmers with that in which they were during the last war, you wonder how they are existing at all. While the principal industry is in that condition; the prospect of being able to balance Budgets in future is not very rosy. Unbalanced Budgets have the tendency to go on in that direction at an increasing rate. After all, when you are adding to the burden year after year, you are adding to the services required to meet the interest upon borrowed money. That is a very serious matter, and the sooner some steps are taken to economise the better. Unfortunately, the Government, instead of trying to economise when it could have economised, went on with scheme after scheme, appointing more and more officials where they were not necessary at all. They went on from one scheme to another and the country is now unable to meet the burden.
I regret I was not present during the whole speech of the Minister for Agriculture. He referred to the position of credit and the Agricultural Credit Corporation. Speaking on the Central Bank Bill, the Minister for Finance said the reason the corporation could  not give credit to so many farmers was that the farmers were not credit-worthy. He was quite right: I agree with him. There is no use in giving credit to farmers who are not credit-worthy, but whose fault is it that so many farmers are not credit-worthy? It is certainly the fault of the present Government and the policy in operation for the last ten years. It is a sad commentary upon the policy of that Government that, at the end of so many years, so many farmers are not credit-worthy that the Agricultural Credit Corporation—started for the purpose of giving loans to farmers— found it impossible to do so.
When the question was put to the Minister for Agriculture a few moments ago, as to how much money the corporation had loaned, he was not able to answer. I do not think it mattered very much, as the amount they have loaned is negligible. Whether the charges are high or not does not make so much difference, as the services are very restricted, and if farmers were dependent on them they would often be short of money. He also said that, if £100 were borrowed from the corporation it was made repayable over ten years in instalments, and £128 would clear that £100. That would be practically 3 per cent. for £100 over the whole time. We know the average amount would be nearer £50 than £100. £28 should cover the whole interest for ten years, whereas it is payable in ten instalments.
The Government has the responsibility to provide farmers with credit for the production of the nation's food, at 3 per cent., at the outside, at least for a time like that of the present emergency. We do not expect that the banks could do that, and I would not say they should be asked, or that the Agricultural Credit Corporation should be asked. The Government could go to the banks or the corporation and guarantee that this money would be repaid by the farmers or that the corporation would repay it. If the farmers generally are in that condition, it is the Government's duty to see that the nation's food supply is not held up for want of the necessary credit, at a  reasonable charge which a struggling industry could bear. If agriculture were more prosperous I am sure farmers would not mind very much, if they could afford to pay 5 or 6 per cent.—all they want is to get the money. A struggling industry, however, must be and should be provided with money at a rate of interest which will not be a serious burden when added to the principal.
The Minister for Agriculture tried to justify the lowering of the price of pigs by saying that these animals were in direct opposition to human beings in the consumption of food, and yet he had no idea as to what was to be done with the surplus potatoes. Everyone knows we have a surplus of potatoes which people do not know what to do with. His remedy was, through the Pigs and Bacon Marketing Board, to fix the price of pigs over 12 stone at a reducing rate. The pig that crosses over 14 stone is to be sold at something like 80/-. Instead of doing that, he could have given the top price for all pigs up to 16 stone, and even over it. There would be a market for heavy bacon and the majority of our people would prefer a heavy bacon. There is a shortage of pigs in the State at the present moment. We cannot change that overnight or in time to consume the surplus potatoes, but by increasing the price of the heavy pig, the pig we have at present could be kept over until the surplus potatoes are consumed, and in that way the surplus would be used to the advantage of the people concerned, to the advantage of the State as a whole, and to the advantage of the Minister for Finance. Potatoes cannot be used economically after a couple of months; they simply go to loss. People have got into the habit of putting them into silos, but I do not think that is a practical proposition. A good deal of labour is involved. By making it possible for the people to keep pigs and by having prices maintained until the animals are bigger, it will be easier to maintain supplies of bacon. I hope the Minister will consider the matter and that he will find my suggestions satisfactory.
The whole trouble about agriculture is that everything produced on the  land, generally speaking, is produced at a loss, and there is such a tight fit to make ends meet that nothing is left to provide for the future. Farmers cannot pay workers a living wage, simply because they and their families are not getting a living wage. Where labour is employed it is very often being paid more than would be considered prudent in other businesses, except by men, professors and others who have no interest in agriculture. The sooner the Government casts about to find out how things can be improved the better it will be for all concerned. What is wrong with this country at present is that there is over-expenditure in various directions. We are taking a headline from wealthy countries like the United States and Great Britain and trying to maintain Departments on a similar scale. I doubt if an agricultural country can afford to continue doing that.
I think we should take an example from smaller countries similarly situated to Eire. The present policy cannot be maintained, and any attempt to do so would result in the standard of living of everyone going down. The Government should change that policy drastically and try to cut expenditure at the top. I know that it is unpopular to suggest where economies might begin. I referred to this matter on other occasions. My recommendation is to begin at home. If we want a good example we should begin on the Front Benches and then go around to the other benches.
Mr. Kennedy: I wish to support Deputy Hurley's plea for an enlarged scheme of afforestation. Owing to fuel requirements last winter there was an abnormal felling of timber. I have no regret for that, because it was necessary, and if more timber is needed this winter let it be cut, but there should be a national policy of replacement. I  submit that our forestry scheme has not been able to deal with that situation, as the amount we are spending this year is much below the normal and will not replace the heavy felling of timber that is taking place. In addition, the rule about the replacement of fuel has not been observed. The Government should consider taking immediate steps to speed up afforestation.
I want to refer to another matter, and that is the position of wholesalers in the distribution of goods. A number of wholesalers have retail shops. They also supply a number of small shops with goods, and I contend that they have collared everything for their own retail shops. They began by collaring tobacco, then tea, sugar and butter during the spring. There are reputable firms that endeavour to supply small shopkeepers with their quotas, but there are great numbers of others who look after their own shops at the expense of small shopkeepers. The Government should take steps to get after these firms. Whenever I pointed out misbehaviour on the part of certain firms to the Department of Supplies action was taken, but the procedure took months and in the intervening period these wholesalers got off with the swag, and in some places small shops were closed.
I have always advocated, in my Party, the registration of shops. It would stand to us very much in this war. I heard small shopkeepers saying that when this war was over they would never deal with certain wholesalers again, but direct with Dublin houses. What will happen when the war is over is this: small shops will spring up at the cross-roads again and be financed by local gombeen men from the nearest towns and the old position will be repeated. That is a good argument for the registration of shops. The small shopkeeper is being crushed out by the wholesaler with a chain of retail shops. He is collaring everything. In my constituency a number of public-spirited citizens have gone out of their way to make war on the black market, but the Press has not given them the publicity they deserve. Two L.D.F. men went into  shops where there was a black market in cigarettes. They brought the cases to court and a fine of £25 was imposed in each case. After three weeks the Dublin Press gave that instance a small paragraph. I am not accusing the Press. I am sure the fault must lie with the reporters or somebody else, but I am sure that, if we get the help of the Press in this campaign, an inroad will be made on the black market up and down the country.
I want to come back to the point about the wholesalers. Beer, stout and other beverages are becoming scarce. These are very necessary for the community and for revenue purposes. Again, we have wholesalers with retail bars in various parts of a county. So far as I can observe, and from the information I have for April and May, these wholesalers with the chain shops are punishing the small publicans throughout the country and keeping supplies for their own retail shops. That is a matter the Government should look into. Very often, the small shopkeeper pays on the nail and does not keep books or accurate accounts. Therefore, he does not know exactly what his 1941 supplies were. Then, in the midlands this time 12 months, foot-and-mouth disease was rampant. In some parts, no fairs or markets could be held and the result was that supplies to shopkeepers in these areas were very small. They have not got supplies in this particular month and they are two or three days without any stuff on their shelves. If anything could be done to relieve that situation, we should feel very grateful.
So far as I understand, the paper industry, generally, is one of the largest industries we have. Nothing very practical has been done in the country in organising the collection of waste paper. I suggest that the county councils should take a hand and that, through the parish councils, they should establish depots on the same principle as the Legion of Mary depot in the centre of the city. People in the parish could bring their waste paper to the depot at certain fixed times. The amount contributed by each individual might be very small but the total  amount for a county would be very considerable. I suggest to the Government that, through the Ministry of Local Government, an effort should be made immediately to organise the collection of waste paper through parish councils, urban councils and other bodies.
Last week, Deputy Morrissey referred to a surplus of potatoes. The same state of affairs obtains in our county. There is a surplus of potatoes which cannot be disposed of. The Government should examine that surplus in the light of the next harvest and see what can be done. These potatoes will have to be dumped in the ditches within the next five or six weeks. I do not know how far the pig industry reacts on that. I am fairly conversant with that industry but not conversant enough to enter into criticism of the Pigs Marketing Board. We have been trying to co-operate with that board for the past five or six months and, when we try co-operation for a few more months, I may be in a position to offer criticism. One thing I do know is that there is a surplus of corn in various granaries and barns up and down the midlands. There was a prosecution in Meath the other day for the stealing of oats from a farmer, and it came out in court that he had 450 barrels of oats. It was pointed out to me that another man gets 250 barrels of wheat turned once a week in the hope that he will earn an extra 10/- when the price goes up in the autumn. I am told by experts that he is going to lose by the transaction. Whether he is going to lose or win, the wheat is needed and action about this surplus should be taken immediately by the Government, now that the sowing season is over. This surplus should be released for human consumption.
Mr. O'Reilly: It is a consolation to us that we are able to discuss the Budget in peace and security. It is also a consolation to most of our people that we had a Budget of the nature that we now know. It came as a big surprise to almost all the people. Deputy Hurley expressed the opinion that the Budget helped everybody except the worker. There was no increase in either direct or indirect taxa-  tion. To have no increase in indirect taxation must be some consolation to the workers. They are, certainly, assured that none of the commodities they use, which are really the necessaries of life, is taxed by this Budget. That, in itself, is some advantage. Notwithstanding that Deputy Dillon pronounced it an election Budget, I think that it is quite a common-sense Budget. Under the conditions in which we have to live, it is a Budget which has satisfied the whole community. The conditions under which we have to live are not different from those we expected. In discussing this matter a couple of years ago, a Labour Deputy intervened and, I think, agreed with me, that if we got through this ordeal without actual starvation we ought to be quite satisfied. If we have starvation or hunger here or there up to the present, we, certainly, appear to have the means of preventing that starvation. At that time, we agreed that food could be produced in abundance here but that transport might be difficult. I think that we have reached that stage now. We have an abundance of potatoes. Deputy Kennedy and Deputy McGovern referred to the surplus of potatoes in the Counties of Westmeath and Cavan, respectively. We all know that there is an abundance of potatoes in many counties. I am quite sure that there are places where they are wanted, and I am not sure that they are not wanted in greater profusion in the City of Dublin. I am not sure, however, that the people, generally, in the City of Dublin are prepared to go to the trouble of cooking potatoes. I think that is part of our education that should not be neglected. As far as I know, potatoes are not wanted and, from information that I could gather in the city, even cold bread or stale bread is not wanted.
Mr. O'Reilly: That is part and parcel, I suppose, of the democratic principle, and it is a good thing if we can accept it as criticism, but it may be a bad thing for the community in general. In my opinion, there is no necessity for half the grousing that goes on, provided always that an effort is made to educate the people up to procuring their needs and providing food. It is extraordinary that many Deputies have made the statement that there is plenty of potatoes throughout the country, that there is danger of their decaying and that at the same time there is hunger in any part of the country. There is something wrong in that.
Mr. O'Reilly: Quite so. Whether it is the transport system or the distributive system or something else that has caused that situation, that matter should be examined. It may be because people in the city do not want potatoes and that, consequently, potato factors do not want to bring them in. I am not able to prove that. That may be the case. Certainly potatoes are not too costly. They have been sold last week in the County Cavan for 50/-. We have reached a stage where we are satisfied that there is food enough to prevent hunger but that, for one reason or another, we are not able to transport or distribute that food. The problem is one of transport and distribution.
Mr. O'Reilly: Unfortunately. Money is another thing that is being talked of lightly, and how it can be made available. There may be innocent people who believe that the Government or the Dáil can turn on a machine and produce any amount of money and distribute it through the country.
Mr. O'Reilly: Germany and Italy— countries that possibly one might imagine to have the newest ideas— when they were faced with a problem of unemployment, which was one of the first difficulties they had, solved the problem almost entirely by manufacturing more materials. That was one of the solutions. The Labour Party in Great Britain, when they got into power, stopped the manufacture of munitions to a large extent.
Mr. O'Reilly: When they got into office. Their policy was to stop this nonsensical thing of arms and spend money on something else. They did not succeed in that and they did not remain there very long.
Mr. O'Reilly: That created a great amount of unemployment. We have people going through the country now  stating that there is roughly £270,000,000 lying in the banks on deposit, that that money should be taken out of the banks and handed round to labour and other people who are in need of wages to the extent of £3 or £4 a week.
Mr. O'Reilly: It took a lot to convince me that it was made, but I am convinced now, after several people have repeated it. That statement was made down the country to agricultural workers and turf workers. It was not made in the City of Dublin. There was another statement made there, a totally different one.
Mr. O'Reilly: Where the statement was made in the country to any foolish individual who might be inclined to believe it, it certainly started the idea. The man in the City of Dublin who was expecting to be unemployed in a day or two, where raw materials were running short in his factory, wondered to himself what was he going to pay for the stuff that was produced in the country. There was some slick explanation given of how he was going to get over the difficulty. Statements of that sort should not be made at this stage. Some indication should be given to the workers in the City of Dublin of what would happen if the cost of production in the country increased. Every one of us would be glad to see the working community getting a full wage. I am not one who agrees that 33/- a week as a minimum for the agricultural labourer is sufficient, but the point is can any more be procured for him? We appreciate that quite well in County Meath. We made an effort through the  county committee of agriculture to help the labourer to produce vital and necessary food. For 5/-, we gave him five stone of wheat to sow in his garden, and I am glad to say that some 1,200 cottiers have availed of that opportunity and the wheat is growing. It will give them three or four barrels of wheat each anyway, which corresponds to about three or four barrels, of 20 stone each, of flour. We did that because we were satisfied that it was one of the ways in which we could help. We did not think it was right or proper to tell the labourer that he could get more than could be given to him or that such a wage would be given to him as would cause inflation.
Deputy McGovern spoke about the plight of the farmers. We had a discussion on the Agricultural Credit Corporation and how it relieved many farmers in the matter of frozen debts. The bank made an offer to a farmer to settle his debt for so much cash and the Agricultural Credit Corporation, when they were satisfied that the conditions were satisfactory, advanced him the money and helped him to start again. That was all a heritage from the late war. Inflation occurred then and the people who were caught in that inflation were the farmers and their workers. No man suffered more heavily or more seriously after the last war when deflation commenced than the agricultural labourer.
Mr. O'Reilly: Well, I suppose the war was run by politicians and the policy of those politicians was inflation. It is not their policy to-day. Their policy to-day is the very opposite. In fact they are making every effort to control prices, and the price of the bulk of our export commodities is controlled. That is a clear indication  that in Great Britain, anyway, the politicians do not want inflation. It is a clear indication to us that we cannot have any great increase of costings in this country if we are to sell at a profit under these fixed prices. It is true that our exports are now limited. We are exporting only cattle, poultry and eggs. Neither butter nor bacon, I take it, will be exported, and these two commodities are very vital to the community, but the cost of production of these commodities is limited and consequently the bald statement that farmers could easily pay a higher wage than 33/- without interfering unduly with the prices to be charged to the community, especially the wage-earning section of the community, is highly misleading. The great danger that exists in that connection is that we might be plunged into another period of inflation.
I have some criticisms to offer to the Government, too. It is not so easy for me to understand why oatmeal is not regarded as a vital food. I think every Deputy will agree with me that if our standard of living has increased so much in recent years that oatmeal, either in the form of porridge or bread, is looked upon as something that genteel folk will not consume, that is not a proper viewpoint. I believe that oaten bread and oaten porridge could be utilised to a large extent to replace the flour which is in short supply now. For one reason or another, millers do not appear to have any oatmeal, but I trust that in the coming year some steps will be taken to ensure that oatmeal will be available. We might not then be so worried in regard to the question of the amount of wheat available because oatmeal could go a long way towards making up any deficiency in the quantity of wheat.
I agree with Deputy McGovern in his remarks in regard to pig production. I suppose in this connection also our tastes have been very highly developed or perhaps over-developed in recent years. At all events I notice in the shops in the City of Dublin that the leanest possible bacon is the type that is most in demand. Some people will not buy fat bacon. That little prejudice is invading the country too, and  it is really very hard to persuade oneself that there is any actual want when one goes into a shop and sees the type of bacon that is being sold—quite dry stuff. I think that the Minister for Agriculture and the Pigs and Bacon Board should devise some scheme by which a larger number of fat pigs would be absorbed in the trade. Fat is a very necessary commodity nowadays, and it is very desirable that people generally should be educated into using more of it. If there was a bigger demand for fat pigs it would go a long way towards solving the question of disposing of our surplus potatoes and of producing pigs at a profit. In recent years there has been a tendency to concentrate on the lean type of pig, but to-day there is a shortage of fats. There is a widespread butter shortage and practically every place I go I hear complaints about that shortage. That shortage is due, to some extent at least, to the foot-and-mouth epidemic last year, but it is due also to the fact that many farmers having disposed of any good cows they had, because of the high prices prevailing, replaced them with very mediocre heifers. The result has been that on many farms at present there is no milk for butter production.
It is true also that because of weather conditions there is a marked shortage of grass. Weather conditions favourable to the growth of grass would be even a greater boon at the present moment than a good Budget. I know that matters are beginning to look rather serious in the country in that regard, but that is a thing over which we have no control. I hope the Government will seriously consider firstly, the question of providing more oatmeal for the community and, secondly, the question of bringing about a change in the type of pigs put on the market in an effort to see that more fat bacon is made available. School-going children can make great use of fat bacon as everybody knows. There is nothing vulgar in speaking in that way although I am sure there are certain classes of people who would count it vulgar. An effort should be made to popularise the use of fat bacon because there is no more suitable  food for young children, specially now that there is a shortage of butter. We have no guarantee that that shortage may not be more acute next year. The shortage is in part also due to the fact that people are now consuming more butter than formerly, but every effort should be made to induce them to use fats in other forms. One thing upon which we can congratulate ourselves is that in this third year of a terrible war there is no danger of starvation provided we can keep the machinery of transport and distribution sufficiently oiled. No matter what anybody says, I think the Budget surprised everybody and satisfied the people in general.
Colonel Ryan: While the Budget has been a matter of consolation to the masses of the people, I can see nothing in it to cause any undue elation. When we consider the fact that the Budget will not balance, that we shall have to borrow between £4,000,000 and £5,000,000, and when we think of what is likely to happen at the end of the year 1942 or 1943, every one of us must wonder where we are going eventually to land ourselves. A Budget of £45,000,000 represents a taxation of £15 per head of the population—rich and poor, the infant and the crippled old age pensioner. It seems, therefore, an extraordinary Budget. Not so many years ago we heard from the rooftops, the cross-roads, and the public houses everywhere, about the terrible burden that was placed on the country, how the country was ruined by other men before this Government came into office, and how they were going to improve the lot of the labouring man, the poor man and the farmer, but now we come along and find that the burden placed on the people is just twice the amount it was then, and at a time when hunger is threatening the people. We heard long discussions about it here to-night, but in the Budget very little provision is being made to build up the foundations upon which our people might live, and continue to live, if this war continues for a few years more. In fact, instead of these foundations being built up, they are dwindling away bit by bit and month by month.
 We had a discussion here to-night about milk, oats, wheat and other necessaries, and I think it is admitted by Deputies in all parts of this House that there is a scarcity of bacon, that there is a danger of a scarcity of milk and butter, and oatmeal is not to be had at all. That is pretty well known. Nobody can understand what has become of the oats in this country. Although a price, beyond which nobody could buy oats, was fixed, oats have disappeared. The last Deputy who spoke on the opposite side talked about the benefits of oaten meal. I admit that, certainly, it is one of the staple foods of the country —something that even the poor people of Dublin might use, where they would not use potatoes—but no oats are to be had, nor is there any provision in this Budget to see that we will have oats next year, or any of the other foods to which I have referred. No provision is made to put agriculture in such a position that oats will be available to the people in the ordinary way.
Milk, which is another staple food, has been decreasing year by year, especially during the time of the present Government. The numbers of our cows are decreasing, and the yield from cows is not increasing. We had a scarcity of butter last year, and another scarcity this year. Even now, in the middle of May, there is a scarcity of butter, and the likelihood is that next year we will not have half enough butter. Yet nothing is provided in the Budget to encourage the people, who are engaged in milk production, to produce more milk and more butter. One of the essential things, especially during this period of emergency, is that the agricultural community should be placed in such a position as would enable them to produce the necessary foods for the cities and towns.
We heard a good deal here about wages. Some of the Deputies opposite talked about 33/- a week, and said that the farmer could not pay more. If the farmer were placed in the position that he could get a proper price for his produce he would be quite willing to pay more. He is paying the 33/- a week willingly at the moment,  but what are the Government or the county councils, or the other bodies that are controlled by the Government, doing in that regard? They are trying to reduce wages during this time of emergency, and thus causing friction all over the country. There is hardly a county in the midlands of Ireland in which the Government has not brought about friction as the result of some kind of cutting and paring, where it would not make an iota of difference. In each and every county we have friction of one kind or another going on, especially over turf-cutting wages. The farmer pays a man to cut turf much more than he pays for the ordinary farm work. In fact, when a man is cutting turf, the farmer gives him an increase in wages. The man working on the bog gets an increase in wages from the farmer, but the Department of Local Government and Public Health seems to think that, instead of an increase in wages for work on the bog, a man ought to be cut in his wages. It should be remembered that these men have to go to the bog and to cook a meal on the bog while at the same time keeping the house at home. I think it is a shame and a disgrace, and I think that the Minister for Finance should see to it that such things do not happen in the matter of the production of fuel, because there is waste and loss of time, and, as I say, friction is created, which is no good for production and which is going to stop production. As a matter of fact, production of fuel is stopped already in my county and, I think, in many other counties, as a result of this friction over a very small sum of money. Every day, in the newspapers, we read about the scarcity of fuel in Dublin and the other cities and towns, but because of Order No. 83, or something else, these men are tied to a certain wage. I think that that, in itself, is very bad, and it certainly is not helping us out of the trouble caused by the present emergency.
Now, surely, something could have been saved in connection with this Budget, even if it were only for the purpose of devoting the money saved in one Department to the use of something else. Take the Civil Service itself. It seems to me that there  ought to be some saving in some Departments, but there is not. Some Votes have already been discussed, including the Vote for Lands. We find that, in connection with the Vote for Lands, the amount for administration has been increased. It is very hard to understand that, seeing that much of the staff of the Department has been practically taken away and put somewhere else. Surely, there could have been some saving there on the Budget, and surely there might be some saving on Defence also. It is almost impossible to understand how the Department of Defence can cost £9,000,000, no matter how it is taken, and I think there certainly was room for some saving there. I wonder did the Minister for Finance go into that matter at all? Defence is costing almost £2,000,000 more than last year, and surely there was as much danger  to the country last year as there is this year. In fact, in my opinion, that Department should not be costing so much as last year, because the danger signs are less in the West than they were last year. I cannot see why after 12 months we should have to pay £2,000,000 more for that Department, because it seems to me that the danger signs are going to the East and not coming this way, and unless there is something that is unknown to this House, or that nobody in this House knows about, I cannot understand why the Vote for the Department of Defence has increased at all, or why, in fact, it should not be even less than last year. I move to report progress.
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