Thursday, 1 July 1943
Dáil Éireann Debate
The Taoiseach: I am not prepared at the moment to do that. Their appointment is as members of the Government. According to the Constitution, the Taoiseach has to make the necessary allocations. At the moment, I am not in a position to indicate the Ministries to which the Deputies I have mentioned will be attached but, at the first possible opportunity, I shall do so.
Mr. Cosgrave: It would make a very real difference in the discussion here if the Taoiseach would give the information which has been sought. From a long experience of the Dáil, it seems to me to be unusual not to indicate the Ministries to which the members proposed are to be attached. If necessary, some adjournment should take place to  enable the Taoiseach to do as required. I do not want to interfere in any way with the convenience of the Ministry or to hurry the dispositions, but I do say that, if we had the information which is being sought, it would affect very considerably the course of the debate. As the matter stands, we are merely dealing with names. I am disposed to think that, on reflection, it ought to be clear even to the Taoiseach himself that it is scareely fair to the House to have the names of the proposed Ministry presented in this form.
The Taoiseach: I do not know about that. Members of the Government have to perform two functions. Their first and most important function is, as a corporate body, to take responsibility for policy, for proposals for legislation and for executive action. That is a distinct and separate function from the other function which they have to discharge—the administration of Departments. Deputies will, if they look up the Constitution and relevant statutes, find that it is as members of the Government that nominees have to get the approval of the Dáil, and that it is the duty of the head of the Government—the Taoiseach—to allocate the Ministries. I think that it is wise that the matter should be left in that form. However, I am prepared to indicate at this stage that there is to be as little change as possible in the Ministries held recently.
There is one case, the Minister for Lands and for Education. The Minister for Education has also taken the work of the Department of Lands. I think the work of the Minister for Education is so heavy that it is not right that we should carry on for a considerable period of time as we have done with one Minister trying to attend to both Departments. It is for that reason that there is an extra Minister, so as to give me an opportunity of making such adjustments as may be necessary. I think I could indicate generally to the House that my intention is to keep the Ministries pretty much as they are at the moment. There may be changes as time goes on. It is within the power of the Taoiseach to make reassignments  of Departments. He has not necessarily to get the approval of the Dáil for that particular act, but, naturally, when the Dáil comes to a question of Estimates or to particular matters dealt with by Ministers, the members of the House will have their say. However, I do not think it is constitutionally necessary that the Departments should be indicated.
The Taoiseach: It is set out in that particular form, and all I can say is that there are not likely to be many changes other than those brought about by the fact that I think it is not desirable, as the emergency has lasted too long, to allow the Department of Lands to be operated by a Minister carrying Education at the same time. I feel the Department of Lands will have a great deal of work to do in planning ahead for the time when we reach something like normal circumstances. I think I have given a fair indication to the House what the assignment of Departments is likely to be.
Mr. Davin: I would say that the Taoiseach is not treating the House fairly when he presents the Cabinet for approval in this form. Can he say now whether the same Minister for Supplies and for Industry and Commerce is to be retained?
The Taoiseach: There may be slight changes in that case. It is possible that I will ask the Minister to take  over the functions of looking after work now being done by the Parliamentary Secretary in so far as it is possible for the Minister to do it.
Mr. Davin: Unless we can get information, I do not think we can have any useful discussion and without any consultation with anybody, I think that if the Taoiseach wants to treat the House fairly and if we are to have intelligent discussion, it should only be carried on when the Taoiseach is in a position to give the House particulars of the Departments which are to be under the control of the different Ministers named.
The Taoiseach: There is one point that I want to put before the House clearly, and that is that I, personally, am putting these names forward as a team to be members of the Government. It has been the practice for a considerable time past to put them forward as a team and not as individuals to be voted on separately. That has not been done.
The Taoiseach: I say that I am putting the list forward as a team—it is in accordance with the Constitution that they be put forward that way —and I have indicated that I propose to make as few changes as possible. There are a few adjustments that will have to be made as a result of the inclusion in the Ministry of a former Parliamentary Secretary who was in charge of A.R.P. work, and he will be getting a Ministry which will probably not permit him to continue it. With regard to the other Ministries, they will remain as before, but the Minister for Lands will no longer be the same person as the Minister for Education. I propose to have the Minister for Education, Tomás O Deirg, carrying on as Minister for Education. The Ministry of Lands will have to be dealt with by another Minister. As I say, the time has not been sufficient for me to go into the finer points, but all the other Ministries remain unchanged.
Mr. Cosgrave: Well, we are not going into Opposition merely for the sake of opposition, but I might remind the House that on the first occasion on which Deputies opposite entered this House some 16 years ago, it was their very strong request that Ministers might be put up singly. It was not our practice—it has never been the practice—but it was the invariable practice even on the last occasion in 1938 to indicate the Ministry which each one of the Deputies proposed by the Prime Minister would take. Now, had there been an indication on the part of the Taoiseach to put forward the members of the Ministry to meet the present situation in a form which might not only commend itself to this House but also to the country, our attitude towards these nominations would be somewhat different.
May I make that point quite clear? There is, and has been throughout this country for a long time past, very serious criticism of the agricultural policy of the Government, that our agricultural production has gone down, that we have not during a period of emergency taken the steps which have been taken in other countries to get the maximum production out of the land, and that whatever may have been said about the disadvantages and disabilities under which the secondary industries of the State might suffer, we had here a unique opportunity of developing and expanding agricultural production. It has been done in other countries. The one closest to us, from all the information we have been able to obtain, has advanced in production something like 75 per cent. from the pre-war period. If we were in that happy position here, it is our view that the imports we need would be much more easily procurable, not only during the period of emergency but in the post-war period from those countries in a position to export goods which are needed. None are more vitally needed in the world to-day,  where there is a possibility of marketing them, than agricultural goods. That is the situation with regard to agriculture.
If I may take just one phase of it, it would appear from the information at our disposal that the yield of milk by cows in this country is very much under that of our competitors. We are probably capable of producing something like two-thirds of the quantity of milk that cows are able to produce in other countries. Milk production, as far as I am aware, has gone up in England and they buy our cows. There does not appear to be any reason why some special effort should not have been made to get a greater milk production, and the approach towards a balanced economy should be on those lines. Statements in connection with agricultural production were made by three Ministers nominated here before us, by the ex-Minister for Agriculture—I presume he is going to be the Minister in future—the ex-Minister for Local Government, I presume he will continue—and the Minister for Supplies. On different occasions they have committed themselves to statements which would discount any value that the people might assess on the agricultural industry in this country. That is, generally speaking, the position as regards agriculture.
The second case is the question of supplies. Now, in the three or four years during which we have gone through this emergency, this Dáil has decided on action to deal with shortages impending, in distribution and so on. The Dáil, rather than the Ministry, appears to have been taking the lead in that respect, but there has been very great dissatisfaction throughout the country in connection with the administration of the law, in so far as Ministers' power over the law has been exercised. We have taken the view, and it has been already expressed in this House, that the administration of the law in this country should be exercised only through the courts. If it be thought necessary to impose severe penalties, we should leave the question of the imposition of these penalties to an independent  judiciary, and power should not be taken to place in the hands of Ministers any discretion in such matters. In times of emergency such as this, it is most desirable that the maximum support should be behind the Ministry, that is that Ministers ought to have behind them the confidence of as large a section of the community as possible. The Minister's approach to such matters as the imposition or remission of penalties in any set of circumstances should not depend on the measure of influence that can be exercised on him.
The third matter to which I would draw attention for a very short period is the exercise of the censorship. There is grave dissatisfaction in connection with the exercise of that function. My information is that, although this is a country not engaged in the war, there is less news allowed to be published here in connection with the war and matters of that sort than in any other country. On an occasion when a man of Irish birth and patronage was mentioned in dispatches, to put it no more lucidly, I have been informed that the publication of such matter was not allowed. I have even been told that in certain cases, in the beginning, obituary notices were objected to because some such phrase as “killed in action” was inserted in them.
That is the general situation. I do not intend to delay the House except to say that in so far as presenting a united front in a time of emergency is concerned—I have said it before, here and all over the country—there is no question at issue. Not only this Party but I believe all Parties can be relied upon in this connection. I cannot speak, of course, for those who have come newly into the House and who will have to exercise their wisdom and judgment in the near future, but those Parties who were in this House before the dissolution were agreed upon the vital necessity of the maintenance of order and the observance of the rule of law. I do put it to the Taoiseach that, in order to encourage that respect for the rule of law, there is a very grave responsibility on him to ensure that there is fair play amongst all classes  and that there is no discrimination shown in favour of any citizens, irrespective of whatever political influence they may be able to command. That is the situation so far as the internal and external front is concerned.
We have never challenged a division heretofore on the Taoiseach's nomination of a Ministry. I believe that if there had been three or four changes I would have been able to persuade my colleagues to follow the practice observed on the last three or four occasions, but now, presented with a Ministry which is unchanged and probably unchangeable, we have no option, having regard to the dissatisfaction expressed throughout the country and to our knowledge of the imperfections of the Ministry, and to the general feeling that consideration is shown only where influence can be exercised, except to divide the House on this motion.
Mr. Norton: The Taoiseach has given us a list of persons who will constitute his new Ministry. In fact, in the main, it is a case of old wine in old bottles. I am opposed to this Ministry on one main ground, and that is, that it contains within its personnel Deputy MacEntee who, in my opinion, is unfit to be a member of any Government in a country where clean and decent administration is valued. Deputy MacEntee enjoys the distinction of having been fired out of the Ministry of Finance. He was put into the Department of Industry and Commerce, he was fired out of that, and public life in this country would be healthier and cleaner if he were fired out of the Ministry altogether. Nobody knows the depths of indecency in language to which the Deputy can stoop when dealing with political opponents. He has distinguished himself in the recent election by indulgence in the most slanderous language against his opponents, statements made without the slightest regard to truth, statements which we know were deliberately untrue. He carried on that indecent campaign in the last election and, apparently, could not be induced even by the example of some of his decent colleagues to pursue a clean line in the election. The Minister  seems to have gone berserk in the election. He accused the Labour Party of being a Communist Party. He accused members of the Labour Party of being members of Communist Parties, and with that characteristic flair for lying which is so typical of him he alleged that the Labour Party got money from Communistic sources.
Nobody expects a high standard of decency from Deputy MacEntee when he speaks from political platforms or in this House. The Labour Party, Deputy MacEntee said, were Communists and the associates of Communists. The Minister must have known that that was untrue. The Taoiseach also must have known that that was untrue. Deputy MacEntee was not concerned in 1932, when the Labour Party's votes, unfortunately, made him a Minister for Finance, whether the Labour Party was Communist or not, but the Labour Party will not help to make him another tragic Minister for Local Government.
The Minister's own speeches and his own filthy scurrilous vituperative advertisements would not be published by any paper except his own political rag. The other decent papers would not take them because they knew perfectly well that the language resorted to by the Minister was such as to be unworthy of publication in any decent paper, and unworthy of use in a general election which people wanted to be clean, decent, and conducted on a high level. So far as the Labour Party is concerned it has no use whatever for Communistic theory or Communistic ideology. The Labour Party has no connection with the Communist Party in Russia. The Labour Party's programme, which can be read by every person, is based on Papal Encyclicals, and it embraces the viewpoint of the Catholic Church in social and economic matters. I challenge anybody on the Government front bench to attempt to deny that. If it should be attempted, I shall prove within 24 hours, on the testimony of the highest ecclesiastics in this country, the sound Catholic character of the Labour Party's programme.
Who is Deputy MacEntee, in any case, to talk about Communism or  about Russia? The Party of which Deputy MacEntee was a member sent a delegation to Russia in 1925, to get Russian guns, and, if they could, to get Russian money and to try to get trained in Russian methods of warfare. For what purpose? Only that those guns, that money and that training in Russian methods of warfare could be used here in Ireland against Irishmen with whom Fianna Fáil disagreed——
An Ceann Comhairle: I would remind Deputies that this is a question of the approval of the nomination of certain Deputies to be members of the Government, and I suggest that the election campaign should not be fought over again in the House. If all the language used by a Deputy before being appointed a member of the Government——
An Ceann Comhairle: It is not orderly to interrupt the Ceann Comhairle. I suggest that what Deputies did, or are alleged to have done, in 1925, is not relevant to the present motion. They should be judged on their ministerial records.
General MacEoin: On a point of order, I think the Deputy is perfectly entitled to show reasons why persons should or should not be elected as Ministers, on their records. I think it is quite relevant.
Mr. McGilligan: I am quite certain that before we finish someone will go back to 1922. I am suggesting that, in a discussion on the people whose names have been presented to us, we can go back as far as we desire if it is  in any way relevant to the question as to whether or not those men will make good Ministers.
Mr. Keyes: Are we to assume that, in discussing the people whose names have now been presented to us, their history and records of suitability must start from this evening? Are we to be precluded from going back beyond to-day?
Mr. Norton: I am not going to pursue the matter further from that standpoint, but I suggest to you that this House is quite entitled to examine the characters of the people to whom it is asked to pay £1,700 a year as Ministers, with pensions of £500 a year after seven years' service.
Mr. Norton: The Deputy should make an intelligent speech instead of confining himself to ignorant interruptions. Deputy MacEntee, although he knew it to be a contemptible lie, accused the Labour Party of having association with Communism. I deny that; denial should hardly be necessary with people who have any regard for the truth, but it is apparently necessary to put it on the records of this House in order to show that, as far as we are concerned, we deny that detestable lie uttered by Deputy MacEntee during the recent election, and for which he apparently seeks to secure endorsement now by being nominated as Minister for Local Government to-day. He will not deny that his Party sent a delegation to Russia to get Russian guns and bullets to use against Irishmen. They did not care whether or not they were made by Godless Communists, so long as they  found billets in the bodies of the Irishmen who opposed them.
Mr. Norton: He was one of the people who sent that dastardly delegation from this country. Deputy MacEntee is one of the people who prate and prattle about law and order, notwithstanding his association with that delegation, and notwithstanding the association of another Minister with that delegation. Law and order can only be maintained to-day by forcing people into hunger striking on the Curragh as a protest against being interned without charge or trial. You forced them to go on hunger strike, pretending to justify law and order, although in 1925 you sent a delegation to Russia to get guns to wage another civil war in this country. Here is an example of some of the methods adopted by Deputy MacEntee and his half-witted agent in the recent election——
Mr. Norton: I will explain how a gentleman who was appointed by the Minister for Industry and Commerce to a part-time job at £2,500 a year was unscrupulously utilised to get this agent of Deputy MacEntee released from work in order to engage in the dissemination of Deputy MacEntee's lies and slanders during the election. Here is a letter from ex-Senator J.T. O'Farrell, a person with whom Deputy MacEntee had some controversy during the election. I am not concerned with the controversy at all; I am not concerned with the merits of the dispute between ex-Senator O'Farrell and Deputy MacEntee, but I am concerned with the scurrility that was employed to try to lower the reputation of ex-Senator O'Farrell before the public of this country. A fortnight before election day a loud speaker was set up on Aston's Quay, and, through the mouth of this election agent of Deputy MacEntee, a tirade of abuse was directed across the Liffey to Transport  House, near which 700 or 800 railwaymen are employed, stating: “J. T. O'Farrell, Labour candidate, is an agent of Freemasonry; has an arrangement with the British Labour Party to bring Éire into the war within a week if Labour secures a majority; has contacts with Communism, from which he also takes instructions.” On the day of the election, again by the manipulation of Deputy MacEntee, a loud speaker van toured the constituency, blaring out statements to the effect that Mr. O'Farrell is an agent of Freemasonry, an agent of Imperialism, an agent of Communism, and of various other “isms”. This van, hired by Fianna Fáil, stopped outside Mr. O'Farrell's house; his name was called out twice, and then there was a repetition of the charges formerly mentioned and a blasphemous appeal in the name of God to all those who valued the safety of their country to vote for Fianna Fáil, to give Fianna Fáil an over-all majority or otherwise the country would be involved in war.
It might be borne in mind, having regard to the character which Mr. MacEntee has given to Mr. J. T. O'Farrell, that Deputy Boland, when Minister for Justice, and his predecessor Mr. Ruttledge, when Minister for Justice, appointed Mr. O'Farrell as chairman of the Film Censorship Board for a number of years. Did they believe that he was an agent of Freemasonry, or an agent of Imperialism, or that he had contacts with Communism and took his instructions from them? The very fact that they appointed him chairman of the Film Censorship Board for a number of years is the clearest possible evidence that Deputy Boland-whose conduct in those matters I value on an entirely different basis from the conduct of Deputy MacEntee—and Deputy Ruttledge also obviously did not believe the lying statements of Deputy MacEntee. I do not think Mr. O'Farrell needs to apologise to anybody for the manner in which he loves this country. J. T. O'Farrell's name is an honoured name in this country. He need apologise to nobody in so far as his national effort to secure the unity of our people in the face of  external danger is concerned. J.T. O'Farrell, although a very busy man, was good enough to join the L.S.F. in June, 1940, and became a district communications officer in control of nine groups, which position he still occupies. That is not the attitude of a man who wants to involve us in war. It is not the attitude of a man who is the tool or the agent of Imperialism or Freemasonry. It is the attitude of a decent Irishman who can conduct an election campaign cleanly, and has not been initiated into the Sandy Row methods of electioneering which were brought down here by Deputy MacEntee.
During the election Deputy MacEntee spoke at Leinster Square, Rathmines. Of course, at Rathmines he cooed Imperialism to all the old darlings there, but when he went down the country, whenever the managers thought it safe to let him go out, he was a wild, roaring Republican, but he was the grandest Imperialist little chap you ever saw when in Rathmines, wanting to live in friendship with Britain, wanting to go hand in hand with Britain. There was no greater darling than Britain. He regarded his opponents as invaders, but had a passion for working hand in hand with Britain when in Rathmines. Here is what Deputy MacEntee said at Leinster Square:—
“Will the Labour Party publish particulars of the money received by them for propagation of the Labour Party propaganda? If so, it will be found that the bulk of their funds comes from trade unions with headquarters in Great Britain.”
The Taoiseach might take a note of this for decency and clean administration. “Strange as it may seem,” said Deputy MacEntee, who was Minister for Local Government, “I have had an opportunity of seeing the acknowledgments——” The public ought to know now the sort of secrecy there is in the post when Deputy MacEntee speaking at Leinster Square, Rathmines, could declare: “Strange as it might seem, I have had an opportunity of seeing acknowledgments from the Labour Party offices here to British  trade unions for the bulk of the money which,” he alleged, “came from the British trade unions.”
On that occasion Deputy MacEntee said that the Labour Party here received £12,000 from British trade unions. Later in the election it was said that £12,000,000 came from the Communists. I do not know what we spend £20,000 a year on the secret service for, or how we spend it, if the Government could not ascertain if money was coming to this country from Communist sources. The Minister for Finance will be able to ascertain whether the Labour Party, in fact, gets £12,000 a year from British trade unions. The balance sheet of the Labour Party is printed and circulated and is available for reading by anybody who wants to see it. The accounts are audited by a reputable firm in this city who were auditors for the old Dáil Fund.
They have certified the Labour Party balance sheet. Can anybody find £12,000 in that from British trade unions? Can anybody find £1,000? Not one halfpenny came from British trade unions. If the Labour Party receives any affiliation fees at all they were received from Irish members of organisations who may have their headquarters across Channel, and if aggregated the Labour Party would not get £250, all of which would come from Irish members. Yet, in the face of that information, which must have been available to Deputy MacEntee, he came out in this election campaign and indulged in a scandalous lie by saying that the Labour Party got £12,000 from British trade unions and, later, £12,000,000 from Communist sources. Annanias was a gentleman compared with Deputy MacEntee. Another example of clean Fianna Fáil literature comes from Limerick asking for votes for Fianna Fáil.
Mr. Norton: I think I am entitled to ask the Taoiseach if he stands over this deliberate statement, which is calculated to wreck the Defence Forces and any hope of co-operation for the maintenance of our excellent Defence Forces:
“Is it not a scandalous state of affairs,” said the five Fianna Fáil candidates in Limerick, “to have Labour canvassers and supporters carrying on a whispering campaign amongst the men in our Army that it is the intention of the Labour Party, if returned to power (which they will not be and consequently cannot be held to their promise) that they will disband the Army so that those demobilised can go to England to earn big wages? Surely that is treacherous propaganda—to attempt to create discontent amongst the men who are standing on guard to protect our liberty?”
Does not the Taoiseach know, does not the Minister for Defence know, does not the Minister for Co-ordination of Defensive Measures know, that that is a deliberate lie? I have gone from one end of the country to the other appealing to people to join the Defence Forces, to join the auxiliary forces and to do everything they could to present a united front in face of any danger that threatened us from without. Yet Government candidates can accuse the Labour Party, which is responsible for trying to unite and consolidate our Defence Forces, of threatening to demobilise the Army. The printer that printed that should be prosecuted because it is downright treachery, downright treason to the armed forces of this country. These are samples of the electioneering tactics we are asked to endorse to-day by the nomination of Deputy de Valera and some of his Ministers.
An Ceann Comhairle: The House has already approved of the nomination of Deputy de Valera as Taoiseach. If every Deputy discussed the election literature of his opponents it would be a long and irrelevant and unprofitable debate.
Mr. Norton: I am dealing with personal attacks made on me by Deputy MacEntee during the election. He made a similar attack here on a previous occasion, but as he was then replying I had not an opportunity of answering. Again, with that Billingsgate type of conduct and language he saw fit to repeat it during the election. Deputy MacEntee said that I was in the British service and that I was fed and clad by the British. The statements were published in the daily newspapers. I leave it to the good sense of the House to judge the type of delicate language used by this prospective Government Minister, but I want to tell the House the facts. On a previous occasion Deputy MacEntee said that I wore a British uniform. The House should know the facts about that, too. When I was 13 years of age, in fact when I was a week under 13; the eldest of a family of eight, my father being unemployed, I saw an advertisement at the Labour Exchange in Lord Edward Street stating that a telegraph messenger was wanted. I answered the advertisement and was asked to sit for an examination. I passed the examination and I was appointed a telegraph messenger at 3/6d. per week, and I got a uniform as well. After about 12 months I got 5/- per week. I continued in that position until I sat for an examination as learner which I passed and I subsequently became a sorting clerk and telegraphist. Deputy Little can consult the files of the Post Office which will confirm my statement. I occupied that position until 1923 when, at the unanimous request of my colleagues organised in an Irish Trade Union, I resigned from the Post Office service. That fact will also be on record.
I then became secretary to a trade union. When I retired I could have done so under Article 10 of the Treaty and got a pension. I declined to retire under Article 10 of the Treaty, because  in order to do so I would have to say I was retiring because the British were leaving and an Irish Government was established here. I refused to do that and I walked out of the Post Office without any pension. That was my association with the British service. Deputies can see that it was not a very exalted one—a telegraph messenger at 3/6 per week. There are many decent men in the British service. Many decent men in this country were in the British service. I was a telegraph messenger in an Irish service. It is only the inferior and filthy mind of Deputy MacEntee that could regard a telegraph messenger in the City of Dublin before 1922 as being a British civil servant. He was an Irish lad serving the Irish people, and it is only the diseased outlook of Deputy MacEntee that would have put the construction that he did on that. Michael Collins was in the British Civil Service, and he was a thousand times a better man than Deputy MacEntee. Roger Casement was in it, Erskine Childers was in it and Robert Barton was in it, some of them wearing the British uniform and, in a military sense, took the Oath of Allegiance to British. I never did. These are the facts. I hope that Deputy MacEntee will, at least, have the decency to tell the truth about the matter the next time he talks. Maybe that is too much to expect from him.
In Deputy MacEntee's area during the election, the loud-speaker vans that I have indicated already were sent around blaring out exhortations to the people to vote Fianna Fáil and save from slaughter their wives and children, not to turn this country into a blood bath, and that only the return of a Fianna Fáil Government with an over-all majority could save this country from involvement in war. But these speeches make very hollow reading now. Do they not make mischievous reading now? Fianna Fáil got 225,000 less votes than all the other Parties put together. Does that mean that this country has abandoned neutrality? Does that mean that we are going to have a blood bath? Does that mean that this country is going to be involved in war? Of course it does not. There are as good Irishmen in the  other Parties in this House as there are in the Fianna Fáil Party. Every Party in this House wants to keep the country out of war. It would not matter if Fianna Fáil went out of existence to-morrow, this country would not be precipitated into war. This country will maintain its neutrality. Even if Fianna Fáil is a minority Party, so far as the entire electorate of the country is concerned, every Party in the country and every elector in it will rally behind any Government that is in power in order to keep this country out of the blood bath which is taking place in Europe to-day.
I do not want to delay the House further. I wanted to nail some of those lies—filthy, slanderous lies—that ought not to be uttered by anyone who has any regard for decency and any regard for truth. I feel sure that some of the decent members on the Fianna Fáil Benches must abhor these wild, reckless and irresponsible statements made by a prospective Minister whose only contribution to the affairs of this House has been to make similar reckless statements before. I am opposed to the Taoiseach's team because it includes, as I have said, the name of Deputy MacEntee. The Labour Party is opposed to the team because it includes the name of Deputy MacEntee. I think that the Taoiseach could render no better service to public life in this country than to get rid of Deputy MacEntee out of his Party—in any case out of the Government—and if he does elections in Ireland in the future will be conducted free of that Billingsgate type of conduct which Deputy MacEntee introduced into the last election and introduces into every controversy in which he is engaged in this country.
Mr. Donnellan: As one new to debates in Dáil Eireann, I feel that the discussion that is going on here is not the best for our country or for the first meeting of the Dáil. I regret that  things that happened during the election are being brought up here. If there is one elected Deputy that should feel sore of statements that were made, it happens to be the Deputy who is speaking now but, for the sake of the country and on account of the result of the election, I will not do so.
I want to make it plain that as far as our Party is concerned, we have come into being chiefly on account of the unsatisfactory attitude of the Minister for Agriculture in the past towards the rural population. As a body, we protest against the policy adopted by the Minister in that direction during the last ten years. We expect that for the future there will be a generous, an intensive, change for the betterment of agriculture. I want to make it plain that, as far as we are concerned anyhow, the support of our Party will be for the man who was selected as Taoiseach by the House to-day. On him lies the responsibility of government, and responsibility as regards the conduct, etc., of his Ministers. While that duty has been placed upon his shoulders, and because of the fact that we expect a change from the past, I want to assure the House that we will not take any part in voting against the nominations of the man who has been entrusted with the duty of forming a Government.
Mr. Byrne: The Taoiseach is entitled to select his own generals, but in my opinion he has not selected enough. I should like to hear him say that he proposed to appoint a food controller and a Minister for Mercantile Marine. I should also like to hear him say that he proposed to appoint a Minister for Employment, and to drop altogether the word “unemployment”. I think that in these three spheres there would be work for three new Ministers. In the past Ministers may have been overworked. If it was overwork that was responsible,  then the three matters to which I have referred were very much neglected in the past. We all know that in the future employment will be the biggest thing that any Government will have to plan for. We know that at the present time 100,000 of our people are earning their living in other lands. So far, I have not heard that any plans had been made to provide for them when they return home. Whatever Department will have that responsibility, whether it will be the Department of Local Government and Public Health or the Cabinet itself, I hope that it will abolish the means test that is at present being applied to widows' pensions, to old age pensions and to those receiving home assistance from boards of assistance. I ask that there should be a change of policy in that respect, and a broader mind and a bigger outlook when dealing with people requiring assistance either from the Government or from the public authorities. We have heard of cases of this kind. A son goes away and joins the British Army, leaving his mother an allowance of 7/- a week. That 7/- a week, or 3/- or 4/- or whatever it is, is taken off her old age pension.
I do not think the Taoiseach has appointed sufficient Ministers to deal with all these matters. It is not my intention to oppose his selection, but I would ask for a change of outlook on the part of most of the Ministers in dealing with matters which Deputies bring before them. If there is any man in the House who has reason to think that Ministers were hostile to him and made efforts to sneer at him solely because he brought cases that seemed small to their notice, I am that man, but I think the Taoiseach is entitled to select his own generals for the future carrying on of the country, and it is not my intention to oppose them. I do not propose to go into the details of the various complaints one had to bring forward in days gone by, but the Minister for Defence might deal a little better with soldiers' wives in respect of the allowances he gives them. The Minister for Education might also deal a little better with them in relation to the application of the free  schoolbooks scheme. The children of these people should not be deprived of them because their fathers are in State employment.
There is also the matter of censorship, of which I have myself been a victim. When I raised the matter of grievances which were worth while raising, in order to force the Government to remedy them, the censorship was immediately applied. I do not know the reason for that action, but every member of the House should have the right to bring forward the grievances of any individual in his constituency or outside it, without being treated in the sneering manner in which some Ministers deal with them at question time. Most of the older Deputies know that I do not indulge in long speeches and that I carefully prepare questions with a view to getting Ministers to remedy grievances. I hope there will be a change of front in this matter and that there will be a little more courtesy, which costs nothing, shown to the ordinary back-bencher, both in debate and at question time.
Mr. Cogan: This House in its wisdom, or lack of wisdom, has decided to appoint Deputy Eamon de Valera as An Taoiseach. On Deputy Eamon de Valera rests the responsibility now for the formation of the Government, and, as An Taoiseach, he has presented us with a list of Ministers whom he proposes to appoint as his Government. We have had during the past years experiences of the actions and inactions of these Ministers.
Mr. Cogan: We know their shortcomings and we know their faults. We know how the Department of Agriculture, under the guidance of Dr. James Ryan as Minister for Agriculture, has succeeded in completely, or almost completely, destroying the main branches of the agricultural industry, We know how the Minister for Supplies, the man who is also Minister for Industry and Commerce, has failed ignominiously to make provision for the needs of our people in this emergency. Knowing these things, we cannot but feel bitterly disappointed by the team which the Taoiseach has selected. We  feel that if he had gone to his extreme back bench, he would probably have found a more efficient body of Ministers to carry on the government of the country, but on the shoulders of the Taoiseach now rests responsibility for the success or failure of this Government. On his shoulders that responsibility will be firmly placed by our people and it is his funeral if these Ministers fail as they have failed in the past.
We have listened to-day to an embittered debate arising out of things said and done during the election campaign. I am one of those who had hoped that when the results of the election were known to the public, the election campaign would be over. We all, as responsible citizens, realised fully the danger of holding an election in this time of serious emergency. We all, as responsible citizens, felt rather happy that the election had passed over without any serious trouble. We all, as responsible citizens, hoped that with the end of the election and with the election of a new Dáil, we would all settle down together to work for the upbuilding of the country. Having placed on the shoulders of the Taoiseach the responsibility for carrying on the Government of the country, we do not propose, as a Party, to interfere with his choice of Ministers. We leave it to him to select the men who he thinks will assist him and to bear the responsibility if they fail to give him the assistance to which he is entitled.
As a new Party, coming into this House without any feelings of hatred, spite, malice or bitterness, we appeal to the older Deputies to forget these feelings. We appeal to each and every Deputy to do his part in contributing to the solution of the economic problems which face us. We have been taunted here that we are afraid to vote on this question. We are not afraid to take a decision on any question which comes before the House. Whatever decisions we take will be taken with calm deliberation and not in any heat or passion. We shall weigh and take into consideration not only what people will say about us and what  attempts may be made to misrepresent our attitude, but the more important issue also-what effect our decision will have on the carrying on of the administration of the country. That is, and shall be, our main consideration, and on any and every occasion on which we are called upon to vote in this House, we shall frankly and freely consider all the issues involved, and not only the immediate issues but the more far-reaching issues which concern the welfare of our people as a whole. We are not going to have this country upset or plunged into dissension and division in order to score any party strategic advantage. We shall at all times place the interests of our country first and, because we intend to do so, we are not opposing this motion.
Mr. D. Morrissey: It has been my privilege to be a member of this House for about 21 years. During that time I have had to listen to a great many speeches from various parts of the House, but I do not think I ever listened to two speeches more full of humbug and dishonesty than the two speeches we have had from the Leader and the Deputy-Leader of the new Farmers' Party. We have been told: “We will place on the shoulders of Deputy de Valera the responsibility for Dr. Ryan's sacrificing of the agricultural community.” That is the very thing you have refused to do. You refused either to place the responsibility upon his shoulders or to take it off them. Deputy Cogan denounces Deputy Dr. Ryan and he denounces all the other Ministers. He tells us here that agriculture has been ground under their heels and that he has been protesting for a number of years. He said that if the Taoiseach had gone to the back benches and took the first dozen members there he would have got much more efficient men than the men he proposed. Did not Deputy Cogan know well, will he deny that he knew, when this House was considering who was to be the head of the new Government, that Deputy de Valera was going to put back the very Ministers whose names he has put before the House? Did not Deputy Cogan and his Leader know, when they refused to take any part in appointing  the Head of the Government here, that Deputy Dr. Ryan was to be the new Minister for Agriculture, if Deputy de Valera was elected as Taoiseach? “We have the courage to take decisions.” Deputies on the benches over there said: “We are putting forward sufficient candidates to form a Government. We are asking the people to give us their support. If they give us their support, we will form a Government.” They came into this House, having got the people's support, and they were faced with the first and most important task any Parliament can be faced with—the formation of a Government—and they immediately set out to disfranchise completely the people, who sent them here by refusing to vote one way or the other. They washed their hands completely of any responsibility and told us: “Deputy de Valera can go ahead and appoint Deputy Dr. Ryan, and Deputy Dr. Ryan still can go on trampling on agriculture and ruining the main industry, but you cannot blame us.” They did not tell him to do it, but they made it possible for him to do it; they made it inevitable.
Other Deputies on the Farmers' Benches, or indeed on the Labour Benches, talk about Deputy Dr. Ryan and Deputy MacEntee as inefficient Ministers. But the Labour Deputies knew that Deputy MacEntee was to be a member of Deputy de Valera's Government. Still they would not vote against its being made possible for Deputy de Valera to appoint a Government which would include Deputy MacEntee. It is all humbug. It is hypocritical to talk in that way. You are either for or against. If you are against Deputy Dr. Ryan, Deputy MacEntee, Deputy Lemass, and all the others, you should start at the beginning. You should be against the man at the head whom you knew was going to appoint them.
I suggest to Deputies on the Farmers' Benches and on the Labour Benches that in the recent campaign they went out against Fianna Fáil and that Fianna Fáil went out against all the others. Is not that so? Deputy Cogan shakes his head. Deputy de Valera and the other Ministers and the  people on the back benches said: “There is no use in having any Government except a purely Fianna Fáil Government headed by Eamon de Valera. The Farmers' Party is no good; the Labour Party is no good; the Fine Gael Party is no good; the Independents are no good. The only Party which will do any good for this country will be the Fianna Fáil Party.” The Farmers' Party, the Labour Party, the Independents, and Fine Gael said to the people: “If you want really to blast any chance of this country surviving you will send back the Fianna Fáil Government again.” The Farmers' Party and the Labour Party, having secured the people's votes by false pretences, come in here and refuse to carry out the first responsibility they are faced with, to vote either for or against Fianna Fáil, to vote for a Party Government or a national Government. They refuse to vote either one way or the other. That is all nonsense and humbug and will not get one Party or the other very far, either inside or outside this House.
Mr. Cafferky: Listening to the Deputy who has just sat down, one would believe that the Farmers' Party went out in the election against Fianna Fáil and only against Fianna Fáil. Coming from South Mayo and as one of the men who contested that election, I should like to make it quite clear that we went out against Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, both together. Indeed the administration of Fine Gael or, as they were known as, Cumann na nGaedheal, was certainly no credit to this country. The same applies to Fianna Fáil. Looking at the result of the election, every sound-thinking man must realise that the people put back Fianna Fáil as the strongest Party. They did not achieve a majority, but they went very near it. For that reason we felt that it was on them the responsibility must fall for forming a Government and not on Fine Gael. Anybody who looks at the Fine Gael Benches can see that the best men have been defeated. Where are there any men capable of forming a Government? They accuse us of being afraid to vote either for or against the  Taoiseach. They voted against him because they knew that they would not be responsible for their actions. We have something more than that on our shoulders. Not only have we a responsibility in this House, but we have a responsibility to the people who put us here. The people who put us here want a stable Government. It is only another catch-cry when they talk about forming a national Government. They have no programme, they have no policy. If they were really in earnest would not they have come to us and come to some agreement before coming in here? How could we know their minds or how could they know ours? They who talk about a national Government never approached either the Labour Party or Clann na Talmhan. The obvious conclusion that any sensible man would come to was that they were going to allow the Taoiseach to carry on.
Apart from all that, I should like to emphasise that we are not at all satisfied with the present Ministers, particularly the Minister for Agriculture, Deputy Ryan. He was down in my county during the election campaign and he tried to make a case for the killing of the pig trade, the paramount industry in Connaught, the only industry on which the people in the West of Ireland had to depend for a livelihood, apart from having to emigrate and seek one in Great Britain. He told us that the scarcity of food forced the Government to take the high hand and reduce the pig industry, not only in Connaught but throughout Ireland, in order to save the food for the people. It is my belief, and the belief of every man, young and old, that the Government did not go about things properly during their ten years of administration. The same blame can be put on the shoulders of Fine Gael who held office for ten or 11 years. Both of them failed to place the men on the land. They failed to distribute the land of this country amongst the men capable of working it. If they had done that, if they had divided the land into 30 or 40-acre farms and given it to the men who are to-day emigrating in hundreds  to Lincolnshire and Yorkshire to work for farmers there, they would be able to use the laidhe and the spade and the plough; they would need no tractors or oil. We would have the material. They are Irishmen who would give it to us and there would be no need for tillage inspectors and for waste of money on a lot of paraphernalia and red tape. The land would be cultivated and we would have wheat and beet and all the necessaries of life, not only for human beings but for animals.
The facts are quite different. The land is there yet. In my own county we have the lords and the noblemen, the marquis of this and the marquis of that, the lord of this and the lord of that. What have they done with them? Who is to be blamed? The Minister for Lands, the man responsible for the division of the land, the Government in general. When I say the Government, I attach the same blame to you, gentlemen, and to your colleagues who have been removed from this House, because you and they failed in an obvious duty. You cannot deny it.
This is not a time for making rash statements, and neither is it a time for laughing. You may think I am a novice, but I may assure you that I have come from the country, from a farm of land. My father earned his living on the land and he brought me up on the land and I know what I am talking about. I know the conditions which confront the Irish people, those of them who have to live on the land. I know what they need. I know what the Government of this country could do for them and, if you only did it and ceased bickering among yourselves, there would be less discontent among the farming population.
What are you drawing your salaries for? What are you taxing the people for? You are drawing your £480 a year from them and you should do something for them in return. Are we here merely to talk about what happened in Limerick, in South Mayo or across the Liffey? I know we all flung mud in the election campaign. I did it, and so did Deputies on the other benches. But we are here to work in the interest of every citizen in the country and not in the interest of any group or party. I submit that it is our duty to get all  the available land divided and put our people into comfortable holdings. It is our duty to keep them at home, to give them some incentive, some encouragement, to remain here. Give them the food they require and the wages necessary to keep them in reasonable comfort.
What are the conditions under which some of our people are living to-day? If I go to sell a pig in the local fair or market and the buyer offers me 2/- above the controlled price, that will not be permitted. The Government have officials on the alert and those officials will tap me and the buyer on the shoulder and prosecute us if I get 2/- or 3/- above the controlled price. I would have to bring that pig to the factory and sell it for a little over 1/- a pound. At the local shop you would pay 2/6d. a pound for the bacon from that very same animal. Is it any wonder that Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael Deputies have not been returned with a mandate to rule the country? The reason is that the people of Ireland are fed-up with both your Parties. They feel that you are not alive to their interests, that you have cut yourselves adrift, that you do not understand what they want. By your actions must we judge you.
Listening to Deputy Byrne talking about the need for a Minister in connection with a mercantile marine, I felt that we would much prefer a Minister for Forestry. I believe that such a ministry would be much more valuable in an agricultural country such as ours, at the present time, anyhow. I am sure that Deputies Ruttledge and Kilroy will bear me out when I say that between Ballina and Belmullet there are thousands of acres of little use for anything except afforestation. Just look at the employment that afforestation would give. Would not our youth be better employed planting trees that, some 30 years from now, would be extremely valuable? Those trees would furnish employment in our saw mills; the timber could be used in many ways, and in this connection unemployment would be considerably relieved. Instead of the land being utilised for tree-planting purposes, it is allowed to remain idle.
 In the County of Mayo there are at least 100,000 acres of unproductive land, and I suggest that that land would be well employed growing trees. Taking Ireland as a whole, there are 5,000,000 acres suitable only for afforestation. If some of our young men were employed draining these areas and planting them, it would be far better than watching them going over to John Bull to live in barns and to pull beet, gather wheat and pick potatoes. We see them every day going over to the country that many of our people still look upon as our only enemy. Do you not think that it would be much better to encourage them to remain at home?
Our Ministers should shoulder their responsibilities. They claim to know all about the problem and they told us at one time that they had a plan to solve it. They told us in South Mayo, through their press and radio, that they had a plan, and yet they have not made any effort to operate that plan.
Acting-Chairman (Mr. F. Lynch): The Deputy should address the Chair. When he is speaking of a Minister he should address him as the Minister for such-and-such a Department, and, when referring to a Deputy he should address him as Deputy so-and-so.
Mr. Cafferky: I am grateful for the guidance of the Chair. The longer I live the more I shall learn. I feel bound to register a protest as regards the failure of the Minister for Agriculture. I also must protest that we have not a Minister for Forestry. That position could be coupled with another Department.
Mr. Cafferky: The reason I did not know there was such a Department is that I have not seen any report from it. We have been told that there is only one-eighth of 10 per cent. of our land under forestry. If that is so, I feel that the gentleman who is responsible for that Department is taking public money under false pretences. If one looks around in order to see what he has achieved during the past ten years, one cannot but be disappointed. I am not trying to hurt the gentleman who is responsible for the Department. I could go back to the time of the Cumann na nGaedheal Administration and point out that they did not do anything very effective either. I am not here to blame the Minister of this Party or the Minister of an earlier Administration. As a matter of fact, the two Parties are very much alike and they merely want to have an occasional argument—that is my conclusion. There is one other point with which I should like to deal, and it relates to old age pensions.
Mr. Cafferky: We will get it, with the help of God. I was listening to some Fianna Fáil Deputies and also to the Taoiseach in Ballyhaunis some ten years ago—when I was a bit of a gossoon. I certainly thought that when I would grow older Ireland would be a fit place to live in—a land fit for heroes to live in. I made a mistake. I think a man would need to be a hero to live in it now. There was great propaganda then against Deputy Cosgrave, that naughty man. We were told how he started economies, by taking 2/- off the dear old age pensioners.
Mr. Cafferky: We were told that Fianna Fáil would restore the cut. How did they go about it? They applied what was called a means test. They appointed numbers of officials who ran around to every house in my county, knocked at the door, entered and were asked to sit down at the table. Of course, the best chair was given to the official and there were apologies if it was not a good one. All sorts of questions would be asked. “Have you a son in England?”“Yes.”“Does he write to you?”“No.”“Why?” Those are the questions they were asked. They were then asked if they had any money in the post office, were the hens laying, how many pigs and cattle were there on the land.
Mr. Cafferky: The means test is introduced and the result is that they cut down the pension by a few shillings. Surely an old age pensioner, who has given such long service to the country, is entitled to better consideration? I suggest that the old age pensioners have given service far beyond any Army officer or any Minister, who is put in for five years and is then chucked out by the people; far beyond any post office clerk or any civil servants. I suggest that the man who tills the soil and who works 10 or 11 hours a day from Sunday to Sunday is certainly worthy of at least 10/- a week in his feeble days. If such a man is not considered worthy of 10/- a week in his old age, then I say our so-called national Government is not worthy of the name. In such circumstances we should have no Government here at all, and we should hand back our administration to an alien Government, because they had some respect for the aged when they gave them 10/-.
Imagine any national Government here selecting the old age pensioners in order to start economies. Those on  both sides of the House who did so should be ashamed of themselves. Is it any wonder that patriotism, sound civic spirit and regard for duty cannot be found in parts of Ireland to-day? That would not be the case, I suggest, if our people were properly treated, if they were looked after in their old age, fed and clothed, and if the workers were paid a living wage. If all the available land were divided, if we had proper drainage and forestry throughout the country, suitable pensions for the aged and infirm and reasonable allowances for widows and orphans—not the miserable pittances that are now being given them—then there would be a hopeful future. As things are, Deputies should be ashamed to put out their hands for the £40 a month—if they have any shame at all. My firm conviction is that they have not any shame.
Mr. Dillon: I must say that I sympathised with Deputy Fagan when he rose in wrath to inquire if it was conceivably possible that the farmers of this country had sunk so low as to vote for the Minister for Agriculture, Deputy Ryan. Really, it is fantastic, having listened to the very proper remonstrances of Clann na Talmhan during the election campaign because of the outrage perpetrated on the farming community by the Department of Agriculture, to hear the leader of that Party saying that he puts the whole responsibility over on the Taoiseach's shoulders. Has the leader of Clann na Talmhan read the resolution that is before the House?
Mr. Dillon: The Deputy said that he is putting all the responsibility over on the Taoiseach's shoulders. Has he read the motion? The motion is to the effect that Dáil Eireann approves of the nomination by the Taoiseach of, amongst others, Deputy Ryan as Minister  for Agriculture. The leader of Clann na Talmhan and his associates are members of Dáil Eireann. We are a sovereign Assembly and ours is the power. The Taoiseach does not run this Parliament. The purpose for which the Ceann Comhairle sits in the Chair is to ensure that every Deputy will get his constitutional rights as against the Executive, that we shall be free to say and do what each one of us thinks right without any regard to what the Executive may think.
Deputy Cafferky, in a very eloquent speech—and I think Deputies will join with me in congratulating him—dwelt at some length upon the shortcomings of the Minister for Agriculture. I quite agree. I think the Minister for Agriculture must be one of the worst Ministers the world has ever seen. He is unique in that respect. As a museum exhibit I would be glad to give him £1,700 a year if he would sit in the museum; but he will not go there; if you let him loose he will continue to sit in Merrion Street and play havoc with our agricultural industry. All that Deputies here are asking Clann na Talmhan is that they will do their part in preventing this man from running berserk in agricultural matters.
He began his Ministerial career by slaughtering calves. Now he has slaughtered all the pigs, and if you give him another five years he will finish the fowl. There are a few still clucking around the country, but if you give Deputy Ryan another five years I think we may confidently assume that fowl in Ireland will be as rare as an auk, and we will be told, as the last fowl goes down the drain, that it is all being done to preserve foodstuffs for the people.
I have no doubt the bulk of the members of Clann na Talmhan agree with what I am saying. Deputy Cogan used to spend hours telling us of the iniquities of Deputy Ryan and he would be all hot and bothered if there was any danger of getting squeezed out of the debate when Deputy Ryan's Department was under discussion. Now he is the deputy-leader of the Party and, by my halidom, he is afraid to vote against him. What is  frightening this valiant man? This is a free country and Deputies can vote as they wish. Nobody will trip you up when you proceed to vote. Anybody will show you the way. We have ushers and every modern convenience, and we have “Níls” and “Tás” there. Do not take example by the Labour Party. The farmers are a cut above them. They have been wobbling Here a long time, one day on de Valera's band wagon and the next day off. The members of Clann na Talmhan should make a better show than the Labour Party. On one issue they ought to be above suspicion, and that is their stand for agriculture and for those who live by it. Is there a single member of Clann na Talmhan who believes that it is in the interest of agriculture that Deputy Ryan should be Minister for Agriculture? Does any one of them believe that?
Mr. Dillon: Here is the issue—the proposal that Deputy Ryan be nominated Minister for Agriculture. Have the members of the Party the courage to vote against it? These are the men who talk about professional politicians. At least we hard-bitten chaws are not professional weathercocks. Professional politicians! I have learned more about the basest kind of politics from the leader of Clann na Talmhan in the last four hours than I ever learned in my whole life. I am a politician; I am proud of being a politician, and I do not apologise for being one, nor do I apologise for getting £480 for giving service to the people as a politician. I give darned good value for every pound, but if the leader of Clann na Talmhan is going to go on, afraid to move out of his bench, then he ought not to draw a single cheque. But he will draw it punctually every month—and more power to his elbow. Let him come out of the rabbit hole, and be a man and not a rabbit. Does he stand for putting in Dr. James Ryan as Minister for Agriculture? That is what I want to know. If he does, it does not matter whether he sits there or trots into the division lobby after Taoiseach de Valera, but if he does  not, let him come into the other division lobby, and show that he does not approve of Dr. Ryan as Minister for Agriculture. We do not, never have, and never will, approve of him.
I could go down the whole string of Ministers. They are a poor lot. What else do you expect? Sometimes I am a little impatient when I hear Deputies on this side wax eloquent on the poverty of the material the Taoiseach has to dispose of. But, the position is that no man with an independent mind could work with Taoiseach de Valera, and the Taoiseach knows it, and that is why he announced to-day that he would not sit in a national Government. The first pre-requisite for membership of a government under Taoiseach de Valera is that you are a yes-man. In the heel of the hunt, whatever you say does not matter. What Taoiseach de Valera says is what you must do. Look at them! A poor lot, but as good as you will get on that basis. Any honest or dignified man would not be prepared to give a preliminary undertaking that in the last analysis he will do what he is told. Honourable men will co-operate up to the limit of their capacity. If an honourable man cannot see eye to eye he will go to his leader and get a sympathetic hearing, always assuming that you have a reasonable leader, but if you serve under Taoiseach de Valera, he will have his own way. As I said, they are a poor lot, but the poorest of them all is to be saddled on the farmers. Yet Clann na Talmhan are afraid to vote against him. Why are you afraid to go on record as saying that you do not believe James Ryan is fit for the position of Minister for Agriculture? Is it because Seán T. O'Kelly is the grandest Minister for Finance in Europe, or that Seán Lemass is Minister for Supplies-the man who this morning took the taxes off 20 articles of which there are no supplies available, but who prevented the articles from coming into the country when supplies were to be had freely— the man who refused to allow in agricultural machinery, and now when there is not a wheel rake or agricultural machine to be got, when everybody except Seán Lemass knows there is not one to be got, tells you to go and  buy all you can? Is it Frank Aiken you have so close to your hearts? Do you admire his administration of the censorship? Do you think the country could not get on without it?
Is it Deputy Thomas Derrig you do not want to lose? Deputy Cafferky did not know he existed, so is it for that shadow you want to vote? He has been functioning so peacefully that he never registered in Deputy Cafferky's mind at all. Do you think you could survive without Deputy Boland? And Deputy Traynor—the Army would still function if you got rid of him, and Deputy Little—the telephone wires will not fall down if he goes. Deputy Seán Moylan has not got there yet. As for Deputy MacEntee, the Labour Party has said mouthfuls about him, and Deputy MacEntee will, no doubt, have other mouthfuls to say about them.
I rather agree with Deputy Cafferky —I do not believe in rehashing the abuse that went on at the election. Personally, it rolls off my back like water off a duck. In Monaghan, Deputy Ward said that whoever voted for me voted for bloodshed in Ireland, yet Deputy Rice and myself sailed peacefully through the constituency, and when it is all over it does not cut much ice. But here, what we are voting for is whether Dr. James Ryan is going to be Minister for Agriculture. Now, there you are, the whole lot of you. I expected to see volcanoes of energy in Clann na Talmhan—are you all going to die so early in your career? Come, do not get extinct before your first eruption.
Mr. Dillon: If I am guilty of any disrespect, I apologise, but I have brought one of them into eruption at any rate. All I want from Clann na Talmhan is that they should justify the expectations that the country has of them and demonstrate that they really have the interests of the farmers at heart. No man who has the interests of the farmers at heart could  vote for Dr. James Ryan as Minister for Agriculture or would——
Mr. Dillon: We are talking now about Dr. Ryan. Deputy Cogan knows that we will have a discussion on foreign affairs. I hope then to discuss neutrality with him, and make a hare of him, but this is scarcely the time. We will have the Taoiseach's Estimate, and we can discuss it then, and please God we will, at length.
Mr. Dillon: What I am talking about now is not concerned with neutrality —the Deputy will be as dumb as a mouse when we come to that. I am simply asking Clann na Talmhan to tackle Dr. Ryan. How many of them are there? Thirteen of them.
Mr. Dillon: Is there a single man in that Party who believes James Ryan ought to be Minister? I do not think there is. I am asking their leader to stand for what he believes in and to make his position clear on this, without trying to shake off the responsibility that sits upon his Party, to tell us, yes or no, are they for or against Dr. Ryan as Minister for Agriculture? I am against him without reservation or qualification whatever, and I speak from ten years' bitter experience of his disastrous career. I will vote against him. What is Clann na Talmhan going to do? Is it conceivably possible that they are going to sit silent and do nothing? I find it hard to believe it. I find it hard, after Deputy Cafferky's  speech, to believe that they are disclaiming responsibility for five years. They cannot get out of it. They have their duties to this House, and to the country, and the question is: are they for or against Dr. Ryan? The Division Lobby will tell.
Mr. Fagan: I am disappointed at the Farmers' Party to-day, because I had some hope they would come out for the farmers. Some of them complain that they listened to dirty speeches all day —nothing but mud-slinging. There was no mud-slinging from this side of the House. Deputy Cosgrave opened the debate by plainly pointing out that he would be agreeable to the Taoiseach's selection of the Ministers if he would make a change. I think that was an easy way out, and that the Taoiseach could have met him in that way. I know the Farmers' Party are new and will have to be forgiven a lot of things, but I am greatly afraid they are tied on to the tails of Fianna Fáil. Their leader I never saw until to-day, but I heard during the election campaign that he was a supporter of Fianna Fáil up to 1938, and, therefore, I concluded he was one of the men who subscribed to Fianna Fáil all during the economic war, and by doing so, left the farmers of Ireland in a position they will never forget in this generation. I am afraid he is branded still with that tar brush, and I hope for the sake of the Farmers' Party, the men behind him, that they will get rid of that tar brand because if they do not, it will be a poor day for the farmers of Ireland. One of their speakers complained to-day that he did not agree with either Party, either Cumann na nGaedheal or Fianna Fáil. He says that Cumann na nGaedheal did a lot of damage to the country and to the farmers' position. I say that if the Farmers' Party are able to put up a man as Minister for Agriculture fit to walk in the shoe-prints of the late Paddy Hogan, Ireland will never forget the Farmers' Party. The policy of the late Paddy Hogan was “one more blade of grass, one more sow, one more cow and one more acre under the plough.”
I think that any member of the Farmers' Party should be ashamed to  criticise the efforts of the late Mr. Hogan as Minister for Agriculture. It was a sad day for Ireland when Deputy Dr. Ryan was appointed Minister for Agriculture. He has left agriculture in a position that it can be said that not since Cromwell has it suffered more damage. He did more damage to agriculture than Cromwell ever did to this country. If the Farmers' Party support the nomination of Dr. Ryan as Minister for Agriculture they are doing a poor day's work for the farmers of Ireland. Nobody who knew the condition of the farming industry in 1930 or 1931 would imagine that the day would come in Ireland when the City of Dublin would be without butter, bacon and potatoes. Dr. Ryan was to blame for all that, but yet they say they will vote for the Taoiseach's nominations. They have now a chance to make the Taoiseach change his Minister for Agriculture. I say in no bitter way that I implore them to take action now while they can. They have their chance now. Not for five years again, if they are going to be tarred with the same brush as their leader, will they get the chance to change these Ministers, and I implore them now for the farmers' sake to act when they have the opportunity of doing so.
Mr. Anthony: I had the privilege of serving under two Prime Ministers in this Dáil—Mr. Cosgrave and Mr. de Valera, the present Taoiseach—but never in all my experience of these two administrations did I feel so deeply humiliated as to-night at the exhibition made by the new Farmers' Party. The Party which made its entry into this Dáil with such high hopes, the Party from whom so much was expected, appears to be a Party of negation, and of negation only. I do not know whether the farmers in County Cork or in County Kerry are a more intelligent body of men than the farmers from other parts of the country. My association with farmers. I may say, goes back a long way. I am almost in daily contact with them, but I must say I was amazed at the speeches to which I listened to-night from three members of the present Farmers' Party, one a deputy leader,  the other occupying the position of vice-chairman, or some office of that kind, and the third an ordinary backbencher. I say again that I have never heard a worse exhibition in my life than that which I heard to-night from the new Farmers' Party. Is it a fact that during all these years the farmers have been telling “fibs”, when preaching to the whole of us that they had been robbed right, left and centre by the Minister for Agriculture? I ask Deputy Halliden—he knows very well what I am saying—is it not a fact that farmers generally have been complaining that the policy of the Government and the Minister sponsoring that policy were ruining agriculture? Yet we have the spectacle of these men coming in now to support the nomination of Dr. Ryan as Minister for Agriculture. I feel that there will be opportunities at a later stage for criticising the policy of the various Departments and then, of course, we shall see what the farmers will have to say to that, but so far as I have listened here this evening, I can only say that the Deputies of the Farmers' Party who have spoken are a disgrace to the farming community.
A lot of matter concerning the recent elections campaign has been introduced into this debate but I do not propose to go into that. I cannot help reiterating that I had great anticipations that we would hear something of a constructive character from the Farmers' Party but, so far as I have seen from the contributions here to-night, they are a Party of negation. We have the Department of Lands and Fisheries which is also in control of afforestation; yet we have a Deputy coming into this House as a farmer who, apparently, did not even possess that knowledge. In my view that Party does not at all represent the farmers of this country. I have seen Farmers' Parties come and go in this country but this is the worst lot that ever came into this House. Agriculture, as has been often pointed out, is the main industry of this country and one of which we should all feel proud. I have met farmers from different parts of the world, French farmers, Scandinavian farmers and Polish farmers, and I always found that they were a  body of intelligent men, men who were proud of their calling. Having listened to the speeches here to-night, I can only say that I do not blame the far mers in this country for having an inferiority complex when this is the type of representative they send in here. These are their picked men. I do not wonder at all at the poverty inflicted on the farmers when these Deputies are supposed to be the picked men of the farming community sent in here to represent agriculture. After hearing them to-night, I can only say that they are the most inept and the most fatuous lot of men I ever came across in the whole of my life. The Farmers' Party will get ample opportunity at a later stage to discuss the various Departments of Government. I do not propose to follow the example of some other speakers who referred to these various other Departments, but I think some indication should be given by the Farmers' Party as to their future policy concerning the Department in which they should be mainly interested. I came into the House full of anticipation that I would hear something constructive from the Farmers' Party but as far as I can see they are a Party of negation, who are not likely to be of any great assistance in restoring prosperity to agriculture.
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