Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Replies to Motions.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Monaghan Man's Complaint.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Fuel Shortage.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Compensation Claim (County Kildare)
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Waterford City Turf Supply.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Fuel for Gas Plants.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Wexford Labour Exchange Building.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Foster Parent and Means Test.
Order of Business.
Committee of Public Accounts—Report.
Supplementary and Additional Estimates, 1944—Leave to Introduce.
Estimates for Public Services.
Committee on Finance. - Supplementary and Additional Estimates, 1943-44. Vote 69—Supplies (Resumed).
Committee on Finance. - Vote 33—Gárda Síochána.
Committee on Finance. - Vote 61—Posts and Telegraphs.
Committee on Finance. - Vote 30—Agriculture.
Committee on Finance. - Supplementary and Additional Estimates, 1943-44—Reported.
Written Answer. - Building of Houses.
 Do chuaidh an Ceann Comhairle i gceannas ar 3 p.m.
Mr. Dillon: asked the Taoiseach whether he is aware that refusal by Ministers to answer motions moved by Deputies renders the proceedings of Dáil Eireann largely nugatory, and whether he will take steps to ensure that in future such motions will be replied to by the appropriate Minister on behalf of the Government.
The Taoiseach: If there were any general practice on the part of Ministers to refuse to answer motions by Deputies, I would agree that the value of the proceedings of the Dáil would be, to that extent, impaired. There is no such practice, however, as the Deputy is well aware. It may happen that the appropriate Minister is unable to be present at the debate on a private Deputy's motion. Apart from this possibility, if in an isolated case the Minister concerned, for reasons which to him appear adequate, decides to refrain from taking part in a debate on a private Deputy's motion, I am not prepared to interfere with his discretion in the matter.
Mr. Dillon: Arising out of the Taoiseach's reply, is he aware that on last Wednesday a motion was moved from the Clann na Talmhan Benches relating to a subsidy on tilled land, that the Minister for Agriculture was sitting on the Front Bench, and that, when the seconder of the motion sat down, the Minister took no part in the  debate: that, in fact, the motion was put to the House without any discussion or any expression of opinion by any representative of the Government? Will the Taoiseach agree with me that, for future guidance of the House, such action is either discourteous or ill-advised and should not be repeated?
The Taoiseach: I do not agree that it was discourteous. The wisdom of doing so is, as I have said, a matter for the Minister to decide in the circumstances. My information is that the debate collapsed—to use a word that has been used in this House more than once in reference to some debates of the kind. The debate unexpectedly collapsed. After the motion was moved and seconded nobody, apparently, was prepared to speak. Now the House is well aware that sometimes it happens that there is an attempt made to force a Minister to speak very early in a debate. When there is a Minister dealing with a motion, it is obvious that it would be desirable for him to refrain from speaking until an opportunity was given to reply not to one or two points made, but to listen to what other Deputies and other Parties may have to say, so that when he comes to speak his reply will be a more or less comprehensive one. That has happened more than once in my case: that there has been a long pause between speeches, and then some members on other benches began to speak, but they only did so when forced, so to speak, by the alternative of the debate collapsing. That is bound, in certain circumstances, to lead to a situation like that.
Mr. Dillon: May I take it, without unduly pressing the Taoiseach, that he is in agreement that, ordinarily, a Minister should reply to any motion proposed by a private Deputy in Private Member's time without regard to the merits or contents of the motion?
The Taoiseach: Well, I do not know that I would go so far.
Mr. Dillon: Ordinarily.
The Taoiseach: Ordinarily. I have indicated—in fact, I think the Deputy  himself when speaking on this matter indicated—that this was a very exceptional and rare occurrence. Whether a person should speak—whether any points have been made that should be spoken to—that, as I have said, is a matter that you will have to leave to the Minister concerned. For instance, if a Minister thinks that by speaking he is only wasting the time of the House, why should he participate in a debate? Deputies are here not merely to talk but to debate and to discuss matters that are worth discussing.
Mr. Dillon: Even in the case where a motion appears to the vast majority of the House to be of little value, is there not an obligation on the Minister representing the Government even to rise and say that, in the judgment of the Government, it is of so little value that the Government does not propose to reply, rather than purport to ignore the fact that a private Deputy had moved a motion? Will the Taoiseach not agree that, in default of that gesture, the situation might arise in which the public would be led to believe that Deputies had, in fact, no means of forcing the Government to provide redress by Constitutional representations made in this House, whereas if there is an assurance that a Minister will either say that the Government does not think it worth while replying or, in the alternative, replies, then the Deputy is at least assured of having his grievance spoken upon by the Government, and has remaining to him his remedy of going to the people with the answer if he thinks it unsatisfactory?
The Taoiseach: What we are dealing with here is a very exceptional and rare occurrence. Everybody in the House knows that. Why then should we go and try to form an absolute rule and not, as I have said, leave it to the wisdom of the Minister who is in charge? If the Minister had done what the Deputy has suggested, I doubt whether it would not be very much more discourteous than simply to let the debate collapse. I had a talk with the Minister, and I am inclined to  think that the whole thing happened inadvertently.
Mr. Dillon: And ordinarily Deputies may rest assured that when they move motions in the House——
The Taoiseach: That the usual practice will continue.
Mr. Dillon: And that ordinarily a Minister will reply on behalf of the Government?
Mr. Dillon: asked the Minister for External Affairs whether he is aware that Samuel White of Creighanroe, Castleblayney, County Monaghan, is alleged to have been assaulted by members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary within the territory of Ireland, and whether he will take steps to secure adequate compensation for Mr. White from those responsible for the conduct of his assailants.
Minister for External Affairs (The Taoiseach): I am aware of this case, but there is a conflict of evidence with regard to it.
Mr. White states that he was assaulted at a point which is about 55 feet on this side of the Border by two members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, who seized two of his cattle and his bicycle.
On the other hand, I am informed that, according to the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the incident took place in the Six County area at a point 50 yards from the Border, and the injuries which Mr. White received were the result of his having resisted arrest there. So far as I know, the occurrence was not witnessed by any person other than those concerned. In view of the conflict of evidence I am having the matter further investigated.
Mr. Dillon: Would the Minister for External Affairs consider having some local police inquiry between representatives of the Gárda Síochána and the Royal Ulster Constabulary with a view to determining what actually happened on this occasion and whether the conduct of the members of the Royal  Ulster Constabulary was proper or improper; or can he suggest any remedy that Mr. White may have in order to have his case independently investigated by somebody who he feels will secure justice for him?
The Taoiseach: The trouble is the conflict of evidence. Naturally, we have got in touch with the Gárdaí to find out what the situation is. As I told the Deputy, there still remains this conflict of evidence, and I am doing my best to have that cleared up, if possible. I have given thought to the matter as to whether there is any other way in which this could be adjusted, and I have not been able to reach any conclusion on account of the conflict of evidence—I have not been able to think of any way in which the matter could suitably be dealt with.
Mr. Dillon: May I expect that the Minister will communicate with me when he comes to a decision in this matter?
The Taoiseach: I shall let the Deputy know if there are any steps I can take.
Mr. Dillon: The Minister will let me know?
The Taoiseach: Yes, as soon as I can get anything definite.
Mr. Norton: asked the Minister for Finance whether he has received a request from persons resident at Kilworth, County Cork, for permission to purchase timber on the Moore Park estate at Kilworth, and whether, having regard to the shortage of fuel in the area, he will accede to the request.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance (Mr. Smith): A quantity of timber from Moore Park, weighing about 245 tons, was recently placed at the disposal of the Kilworth Parish Council for local distribution to the poorer section of the community. Representations have, however, been received from a number of persons that an additional quantity of timber should be made available from the  park. The Department of Lands (Forestry Branch) are being consulted as to whether this can be done at present.
Mr. Norton: We are still in the winter period, and will the Parliamentary Secretary see that this matter is attended to expeditiously in the hope that a favourable decision will be arrived at?
Mr. Smith: The Deputy will realise that I must be guided in what steps I may take by the decision of the Department to which this matter has been referred.
Mr. Norton: Will the Parliamentary Secretary indicate his desire to communicate a decision early to the persons who have made representations?
Mr. Smith: I am sure that so far as the Forestry Branch is concerned there will be no undue delay.
Mr. Norton: asked the Minister for Supplies if he will state what is the cause of the delay in paying compensation to Mr. James Grennan, Cool-carrigan, County Kildare, in respect of land acquired from him by the State for turf production purposes.
Minister for Supplies (Mr. Lemass): The lands in question have been utilised as a site for the erection of a camp for the housing of workers engaged on the production of turf and it is, therefore, proposed to purchase the lands. Agreement as to price has been reached and when the legal investigation of the vendor's title is satisfactorily completed the purchase money will be paid.
Mr. Norton: The land was acquired from this man in 1941, and is the Minister aware that he has suffered very considerable inconvenience by reason of its acquisition by the Turf Development Board? Will the Minister give an indication when this poor person, who is a very small farmer, is likely to receive compensation for the land that has been acquired? This matter has been going on for quite a long time.
Mr. Lemass: As soon as the person concerned can show he is the owner of the land beyond all question, payment will be made. State money cannot be paid out until the title is definitely established.
Mr. Norton: But this man is an allottee of the Land Commission and surely there should be no difficulty in ascertaining title?
Mr. Lemass: Apparently there has been.
Mr. Norton: Will the Minister say what the difficulties are?
Mr. Lemass: I could not say, but there are difficulties.
Mr. Norton: In view of the fact that this man is in poor circumstances, will the Minister cause a special inquiry to be made? Already a portion of his small holding has been taken. It is bad enough to penalise him by taking his land, but it is worse to leave him without any compensation.
Mr. Lemass: I understand the Chief State Solicitor is endeavouring to get this matter settled.
Mr. Norton: But this matter has been going on for years and it would not seem that there was any excessive amount of perspiration, seeing that the officials have taken at least three years to inquire into the case. This man is an allottee of the Land Commission and I would like to know what difficulty there is in ascertaining his title.
Mr. Lemass: It is up to the man concerned to show definitely that he is the owner. The Chief State Solicitor has no desire but to facilitate him. There is no question of money involved; it is only a question of establishing title.
Mr. Norton: I suggest that this man ought not to be put in the position of being up against all the machinery of the State in the matter of producing title deeds. The man is an allottee of the Land Commission and surely it should be easy to discover the title deeds. He is a poor person. Will the  Minister take special steps to have this matter investigated? I have made representations to the Department concerned on a number of occasions, but settlement of this man's claim seems to be as far away as ever.
Mr. Lemass: The person concerned is not up against any State machine, such as the Deputy has suggested. The land has been acquired, the amount to be paid has been fixed, and the only question is to whom that money is to be paid.
General MacEoin: Does that mean that the Minister can take a man's land, the land he is in possession of? Say I am in possession of a particular farm and I have the usage of it. Does this mean that the Minister can come in and take possession of that farm, take it from me? Because I cannot prove title, you are going to hold it?
Mr. Lemass: The State is under obligation to pay compensation only to the owner.
General MacEoin: Does it mean that if you are not able to get title you must get out of your farm?
Mr. Lemass: Is the Dáil to contemplate the payment of money to people with faulty title?
Mr. Norton: May I point out again that this man is a poor man? An offer to compensate him for the land has been made on the assumption that the land is his. The land has been taken from him for three years. Surely it should be possible to arrive at some settlement after negotiations have been going on for three years, particularly as this man is a Land Commission allottee? Will the Minister direct somebody to bring this matter to a conclusion?
Mr. Lemass: Every effort is being made to bring it to a conclusion as quickly as possible.
Mr. Norton: There have been three years of fruitless negotiation. This man cannot live on air. Will the Minister ask someone to bring the matter to a conclusion?
Mr. Heskin: asked the Minister for Supplies if, in view of the bad condition of the supply of turf available to the poor of Waterford City, he will give permission to Fuel Importers (Éire), Ltd., to open for sale firewood dumps to the extent of at least 25 per cent. of their requirements.
Mr. Lemass: The stocks of firewood in Waterford City are, as in other parts of the non-turf areas, held as a fuel reserve against a major emergency. It is not proposed to release the firewood at present. The quality of the turf being supplied in Waterford is being investigated in consequence of complaints received from consumers.
Mr. Heskin: Is the Minister aware of the condition of the timber there? It is deteriorating and if it is not used it will become a complete loss. Will he consider releasing 25 per cent. of the timber for use by the people of Waterford during the remaining winter months? The condition of the turf, I understand, is very bad. I have been asked by the Board of Assistance in Waterford to draw attention to this matter.
Mr. Lemass: The stocks of timber there have been built as a reserve against a major emergency. Those stocks will not be released. I do not think any of us can contemplate that the danger of the emergency against which these stocks have been created has passed. Circumstances could arise when there would be no fuel available for Waterford or elsewhere except these reserve stocks and they are being held against that contingency.
Mr. McCann: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he has received any representations to the effect that (a) inferior fuel gives better carbonisation when cooked in horizontal retorts, and (b) that such retorts are more economical and involve less risk to stokers and cleaners than the  vertical retorts in use in the majority of gas plants in use in Ireland.
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lemass): I have received no representations on the matters referred to in the question. There does not appear to be any substance in the point at (a). As regards (b), while there appear to be some grounds for the contention, little purpose would be served by examining the matter as it is not now possible to obtain any equipment of either type.
Mr. Corish: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he is aware of the unsuitability of the labour exchange building at Wexford, and if any steps are being taken to provide a proper one.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. O'Grady): I am aware of the unsuitability of the present employment exchange premises at Wexford. The question of securing accommodation of a more suitable type has been engaging the attention of my Department and the Commissioners of Public Works for some time, but up to the present it has not been found possible to secure other accommodation.
Mr. Hughes: asked the Minister for Local Government and Public Health if he is aware that in determining the amount of pension to which a widow who is a foster parent of a boarded-out child is entitled, the allowance received by her for the maintenance of the child has been and is being assessed as means; and if, in view of the weekly allowance of approximately 6/- per week granted by local authorities for such boarded-out children and to ensure that the full amount allowed is used in providing food for such children, he will take steps to exclude from the means test such allowances.
Minister for Local Government and Public Health (Mr. MacEntee): The question is based upon a misconception  of the position. The means test under the Widows' and Orphans' Pensions Acts applies only to non-contributory pensions. The Acts require that, in calculating the means of a claimant to a widow's non-contributory pension, there be taken into account all income in cash received by her and the net cash value of any income derived from her personal exertions.
In the case of a person acting as foster parent this is generally assessed at the nominal fraction of 10 per cent. of the allowance received in respect of the child.
I am looking into the matter to see whether a modification of this arrangement would be warranted.
The Tánaiste: It is proposed to take business on the Order Paper in the following order: Nos. 1, 3, including Votes 69, 33, 61 and 30, and then, Nos. 5, 6 and 4—in that order—No. 2 to be taken in its appropriate place.
Mr. L. Cosgrave: In what order will the Votes be taken?
An Ceann Comhairle: I presume they will be taken in the order as on the paper.
Mr. Norton: Is it proposed to sit to-morrow?
The Tánaiste: No.
Mr. Heskin: Would it be possible for the Dáil to sit four days every alternate week? It is very hard on some of us coming from the country. We lose a day coming and a day returning. If we came up on Monday and travelled back on Saturday, we could have a four day session every second week. This is a very busy time for farmers, business people and professional men, and I think it is only fair that, if possible, such an arrangement should be made for at least a couple of months. I would ask the Dáil to consider that matter.
Mr. Lemass: I suggest that is a matter that could be discussed with the Whips.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy had better discuss that matter with the Government Whip.
Mr. Dillon: In view of Deputy Heskin's suggestion, which certainly commands a volume of support in the House, may I suggest that the Government Whip might take the initiative in the matter? I believe Deputy Heskin belongs to the distinguished body of Independent Deputies in this House——
Mr. Norton: Extinguished bodies.
Mr. Dillon: Distinguished. Our Whip functions somewhat erratically. Therefore, I suggest the Government Whip should take the initiative and try to ascertain the feeling of the House generally in the matter and, if possible to meet the Whips later.
The Tánaiste: We should be quite willing to do that if we found any general desire in the House to have that matter considered.
Mr. Dillon: The Chief Whip can find that out by judicious inquiry.
The Tánaiste: Very good.
Mr. Heskin: I do not wish to have that arrangement carried out over a long period. This is a particularly busy time for the farming community and professional people and we are wasting a lot of time travelling. We must travel on Monday and if we sat four days a week—Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and half of Friday, we could easily leave the other week free to attend to our business at home.
Mr. Dillon: I move:—
That the Report of the Committee of Public Accounts do lie upon the Table.
Mr. Dillon: I also move:—
That the Report, together with the Minutes of Evidence, Proceedings of the Committee and Appendices, be printed.
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lemass): I move:—
That leave be given by the Dáil to introduce the following Supplementary and Additional Estimates for the services of the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1944, namely:—
41 (Local Government and Public Health).
76 (Children's Allowance).
Question put and agreed to.
Ordered that the Estimates be taken on Tuesday, February 29th.
Mr. Norton: Will the Minister say when we will see them?
Mr. Lemass: I think they are ready for circulation at once.
The Dáil, according to order, went into Committee on Finance and resumed consideration of Supplementary and Additional Estimates for Public Services for the year ending 31st March, 1944.
General MacEoin: I am not satisfied that the State or the consumer is getting a fair deal in regard to the production of turf. I take it that the sum we are asked for here is in excess of the fixed price of 64/-, which the consumer pays. When one considers the vast amount of good bogs that are in the country and the number of people available to cut turf, it is difficult to understand why turf should cost 64/- to the consumer and a further sum of approximately 28/- by way of subsidy. I should like to remind the House that when the Government began the turf campaign some years ago they fixed the price of turf at approximately 16/- per ton, delivered in bags along the roadside for lorries to pick up. I would remind the House that, at the particular time, I argued that 16/- a ton was not an adequate price. Several Deputies assured me that there were thousands of men in the country ready and willing and eager to work at the production of turf and put it into bags at that price. I challenged that and I said that 26/- or 28/- a ton would be a reasonable price and that a man or his family could not be expected to produce it at any less figure if he were to have a reasonable wage. In proof of that statement, it has generally been found that the cost of producing a ton of turf at the bog by the county surveyors and others is approximately between 28/- and 30/-. It is very difficult then to understand how  the cost becomes 64/- a ton, to which has to be added an additional 28/10 a ton. It shows that neither the consumer nor the State is getting value for their money. There should be a reorganisation of the whole matter.
A Deputy said yesterday evening that the Army were able to produce more turf and better turf than the county councils. That is true because when the Army is sent out to cut turf, everybody knows that they regard it as a sort of punishment to be taken from their barracks and sent to the bog. They work hard to get the work done, to produce the turf and get it out of the bog and return to barracks. The Army is able to produce turf because there is an incentive to do it. To get turf produced at a reasonable rate and to save this subsidy, it should be produced by what is known as task work, that is, most of the work should be task work and not work by the day. In that way, more turf would be got, and then, if a small bonus were paid for good turf, a better quality would be obtained.
On the question of saving the turf from the time it leaves the bog, I know scores of bogs in which the very best turf—black stone turf that it would do any man's heart good to sit at and which would well warm the hearth—is being cut. I saw that turf coming to Dublin a very short time ago. It was loaded into about 35 or 40 railway waggons which were drawn up under a canopy. At least 10 or 12 of these waggons were right under the eave of the canopy, so that the people of Dublin were paying 64/- per ton for the water which fell from that roof. With regard to the lorries, I saw lorries standing on the road while the drivers took refreshment and while it was teeming, as we say in the country, cats and dogs. I insist that to keep turf in good condition, county council workers, factors and everybody concerned in the handling of it must treat it as carefully as any farmer will treat his own turf when bringing it home from the bog. If that is not done, it is bound to be bad turf and in a wet condition.
Following on that, I think that any subsidies paid should be paid with a  view to making sure that the turf, when put into waggons and lorries, will be covered and kept dry, and that when the factors get it, or when it goes to the dump in the Phoenix Park, the men handling it will treat it with as much care as if it were their own. Farmers will tell you that the turf crop is the dearest crop they have. It is the most difficult crop, and the farmer, therefore, takes great care with it, but at no stage would it cost him more than 25/- per ton, when produced by himself and his family. No matter what happens, the haulage cost should not bring it up to this figure we have been given. I am aware that turf can be used for the production of gas and for the production of gas for driving cars, tractors and stationary engines, but I have not been able to get any information that any survey has been made of the possibilities of turf and we have not got at our disposal the information necessary to make a thorough examination of the matter here. I suggest that information should be made available in the Library as to what advance, if any, has been made in the matter of gas production from turf by engineers and others.
Further with regard to the care of turf, I have seen turf ricks left open, as we call it, and it was expected that the turf would resist the wet. It could not do so, and turf improperly ricked is a dead loss. It simply means that you get no turf of any value. Therefore, there should be proper sheds for the storage of the turf, or, if it is left out, it should be properly thatched and made waterproof. In that way, you will get turf in good condition which will be worth 64/- per ton, and, if it cannot be done more cheaply, the additional 28/- per ton. It is a huge price for the consumer to have to pay for bad turf which can be produced, in my opinion, at around 30/- on the bog, and there is no reason why the people of Dublin and the other cities and non-turf areas should not get the best quality turf at a reasonable figure, and I suggest that a reasonable figure would be much under £3 a ton.
Mr. Norton: I do not want to make  any extensive contribution to the debate, but there are some matters of which the House would like some further clarification and some matters which might be brought to the notice of the Minister. In the course of its activities, the Turf Development Board have, for reasons of its own apparently, found it necessary to acquire turbary from local holders, and, while to some extent that may be inevitable, although I do not think it is inevitable in all the cases which have come to my notice, I think its acquisition activities ought to be blended with some sympathetic understanding of the rights of local turbary holders.
As Deputy Harris knows, in the Robertstown, Allenwood and Kilmeague areas of Co. Kildare, the local people depend on turf for a livelihood. There is no arable land of any value in the area. There is no local industry and these people manage to keep the wolf from the door by the stern activity of producing turf as a means of livelihood. So far as they are concerned, the bog is the local factory. They produce turf there and sell it, and the Turf Development Board now has apparently found it necessary to go in on the bog to acquire turbary from local holders. I do not think that has been done with the understanding and sagacity which one would expect in a matter of this kind.
Mr. Lemass: It does not arise on this Vote. There is a separate Vote for the Turf Development Board; it is not covered by this Supplementary Estimate. The main Estimate for the Department, including the Vote for the Turf Development Board, will come before the House within a month.
Mr. Norton: If you look at the Estimate, you will see——
Mr. Lemass: It relates only to the subsidising of the price of turf.
Mr. Norton: The price of turf is obviously related to the manner in which turf is produced and the amount of enthusiasm it is possible to get into its production.
Mr. Lemass: There is a separate Vote for the Turf Development Board.
Mr. Norton: I am not raising the question of the Turf Development Board at all. I want to say this quite frankly: on the occasions on which I had to make representations to the headquarters of the Turf Development Board, I found the Turf Controller a very sagacious gentleman, willing to have the matter dealt with in the most expeditious way possible and most anxious to iron out any difficulties which arose.
An Ceann Comhairle: I notice that the Deputy made those representations to the Turf Development Board.
Mr. Norton: That was an old case and that case was settled.
An Ceann Comhairle: Similar cases would also be under the same jurisdiction.
Mr. Norton: What I want to put to the Minister, as the Minister responsible, is that, in these areas, when the board goes in to take turf from local people, for the purpose of national production of subsidised turf——
An Ceann Comhairle: Not for the subsidy, which is asked for here.
Mr. Norton: If you will bear with me for a moment, Sir, I do not want to dwell on the matter.
An Ceann Comhairle: It is the Turf Board that deals with the matter the Deputy is raising, I understand. I am not intimate with all the intricacies of the matter, but that is what I understand.
Mr. Norton: I want to put this to the Minister. This Estimate is concerned with a loss on turf.
Mr. Lemass: It is for subsidising the price of turf sold by Fuel Importers, Limited, which may be produced by the Turf Development Board or by private producers or by county councils. Most of it is produced by county councils.
Mr. Norton: There we are. If the Minister is right, I am clearly in order. It may be produced by the Turf Development Board.
An Ceann Comhairle: For which there is a separate Vote.
Mr. Lemass: Yes, a separate Vote. I would not raise the matter except that I understand that the main Estimate, upon which all these matters will arise, will be ready for discussion in the Dáil in the course of a week or two.
Mr. Larkin: Is the Minister justifying the subsidy?
Mr. Lemass: I am, on the price of turf.
Mr. Norton: I think, Sir, if you will hear me, and if the Minister will hear me, he will find I am on his side in this matter. I want to ensure that the turf is produced as efficiently and cheaply as possible, having regard to the observance of fair conditions of production. I suggest to the Minister, because he is responsible in the long run for the production of turf supplies, that where you go into an area to get turf you ought to have regard to the rights of the local people and to their feelings in the matter, and every possible effort ought to be made to fit in the State's scheme for the production of turf with the requirements and economic rights of the local holders. Having said that, I will pass from the matter, feeling sure that the Minister and the Turf Development Board will bear the matter in mind in future.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy was referring to it.
Mr. Norton: You exercised a pincer's movement on me in the course of my effort. I think it is perfectly true, and I do not think it can be denied, that so far as consumers' turf supplies in Dublin and cities and towns are concerned, there is a very substantial volume of complaint that there is wet turf being sold and that there is a fair amount of turf mould in the turf delivered. I do not think that is wholly the responsibility of Fuel Importers,  Limited. I understand that they take certain steps to check the type of turf delivered to them. I think a large amount of this responsibility devolves on those who are fuel merchants and that no effective steps are taken by them, in many cases, to weather the turf, to rick the turf against the elements, with the result that, because of their inertia in providing proper protection for the turf, the consumers who must get turf are obliged to take brown turf and to take a fair amount of mould with the turf. I do not think that can be denied.
I have had turf delivered to myself and I said to the provider of the turf: “Come and take this turf back. A decent horse would not lie down in it for bedding. Leave me a couple of sods, as I want to present them to the Minister for Supplies to show what type of turf is being supplied in Dublin.” He said: “I will take the turf back but, for God's sake, do not show the sods to the Minister for Supplies because I will be in difficulty with the Minister.” That is perfectly true. It cannot be gainsaid. I would not mind telling the Minister privately the name of the vendor in the matter. On another occasion, a friend of mine said to me: “Will you come along to my garage and look at the type of turf I have got?” You could plant tomatoes in it. It was simply turf mould, the clearings of the bog. I am not blaming Fuel Importers, Limited, for that. I am blaming the turf merchant. He got this turf in and took no effective steps to weather the turf, with the result that the consumer who, as I said, must get turf, is compelled to buy a very inferior fuel. The turf merchant obviates any possibility of loss by working off old refuse on the unfortunate consumer.
I was in Carlow last week and strong complaints were made to me about the quality of turf supplied there. I took care to make adequate inquiries in the matter, and I was told that the turf sold is of poor quality. In any case, the bags are loaded with shovels, and once a turf merchant uses a shovel on the turf there is a fair quantity of mould going in with it. These gentlemen could use forks  just as easily. But you cannot get mould into the bags with forks, any more than you can take soup off a plate with a fork. What they do is, they use a shovel for the purpose of filling the bags, and I am assured, on the authority of about a dozen people whom I interrogated, that approximately 25 per cent. of the turf delivered there is mould. There again I say it is a case of the merchant wanting to say: “There is mould here. It was turf when I got it in the beginning. I have to get rid of the mould.” He simply fills a certain percentage of mould into the bags and says to the consumer: “You have to take that. I have it in the yard, and I have to get rid of it.”
Everybody knows, of course, that we are in difficulties in present circumstances in the matter of fuel production. I suggest to the Minister that, while we may have some type of investigation in large cities and some special type of investigators appointed, some steps should be taken to arrange for some inspection of turf supplies in the smaller towns throughout the country. I made inquiries and ascertained that there was no effective type of inspection in Carlow. As a matter of fact, the fuel merchant got the turf in. It was there in his yard unprotected. If you wanted turf to buy, you took your chance with what was in the yard and invariably you got a very bad return for your money. I suggest to the Minister that he ought to endeavour to arrange with the local authorities in these cases, or with the Gárda authorities if that is not practicable, to inspect turf supplies so as to ensure that they are adequately weathered, because the lazy fuel merchant who will not protect his turf is simply passing on to the consumer the liability which he ought to share in the way of erecting a proper shed or some kind of cover for the turf supplies which he sells to the people. I make that suggestion to the Minister because I think it will obviate a good deal of local complaint and because, if implemented, I think it will ensure that the merchants, who have the real responsibility in this matter, will not be allowed to ride lightly out of their  responsibility, but are compelled to conform to a standard of safeguard which it is not unreasonable to require in present circumstances.
I was surprised to learn that the subsidy on turf now sold at 64/- per ton amounted to as much as 28/10 per ton and that the economic price, therefore, of turf sold at present at 64/- per ton would, in fact, be £4 12s. 10d. Everybody will realise that, in normal circumstances, £4 12s. 10d, for turf is something which it is impossible to contemplate. I am rather surprised that £4 12s. 10d. should be the economic price of turf sold in the City of Dublin. I do not know whether the Minister has any regional figures. I should like, therefore, to ask him whether it would be possible for him to tell us, so far as County Kildare is concerned, what is the price of turf on the bog; what is the cost of loading the turf into lorries at the bog-side; what is the cost of transporting the turf to Dublin; what is the cost of clamping and storing the turf in Dublin; and what ratio of profit is allowed to the fuel merchants. Even if all these costs are taken into consideration, it seems to me that a price of £4 12s. 10d. for Kildare-produced turf is something that could not be justified.
I think the ordinary producer of turf to-day would probably produce it on the roadside at the bog for anything between 27/- and 30/- per ton. If that turf ultimately is costing £4 12s. 10d. to the State—64/- to the consumer and 28/10 subsidy—there is obviously need for some inquiry. Clearly, the consumer is not getting very much of the £4 12s. 10d. There should be some indication from the Minister as to the turf production costs in respect of turf produced in County Kildare. I realise, of course, that the Minister will say that he has also to take turf from Donegal and Mayo, and that the method of transporting it is very uneconomic, inasmuch as the lorries concerned have only one-way traffic and are doing about eight miles per gallon. Yet the Minister should endeavour to give the House some costings of turf produced in the various areas, so that the community as a whole may be  authoritatively informed as to what these production costs are.
I was inquiring the other day as to the position in regard to turf transported by rail to the City of Dublin and I was told, on very reliable authority, that waggons of turf come in to Kingsbridge or the North Wall and Fuel Importers, Limited, have representatives there who examine them. They reject some of the trucks as containing inferior quality turf and, in other instances, they select portions of the trucks and reject the remainder. It seems to be a very wasteful experiment if turf which does not come up to the standard of Fuel Importers, Limited, is transported over a long mileage to Dublin and is brought into a siding at the North Wall, there to have conferred upon it the special privilege of being condemned by a representative of Fuel Importers, Limited. I cannot imagine anything more wasteful than to transport turf from the provinces to Dublin and then to say in Dublin that it is no use. If there is to be any type of inspection at all, surely it should take place before the waggons are loaded at the places from which the turf is exported.
On probing the matter further, I was still more puzzled to ascertain what exactly happened to this rejected turf. I am told that it is dumped—in fact, that it is not used at all. I cannot understand what the purpose can be of bringing up turf from distant areas to Dublin in waggons and having it rejected in Dublin and its then being dumped as unconsumable.
General MacEoin: That is the 28/10.
Mr. Norton: Is the cost of that turf which is brought by waggon to Dublin and then rejected taken as part of the cost of producing turf? Who pays for that turf? Does the producer lose because the turf was not accepted, or is the turf merely discarded but its cost to Fuel Importers, Ltd., charged against the price at which turf is sold to the consumer? I am told that some of this unusable turf lies in waggons for a week. Whether we have sufficient railway waggons to indulge in that type of luxury I do not know, but it seems  nothing short of a scandal that, with fuel so scarce, unsuitable turf should be railed to Dublin, rejected there by Fuel Importers, Limited, allowed to remain in a waggon that is probably required elsewhere and then apparently dumped as useless. I would like the Minister to investigate that matter, with a view to ending that form of criminal waste. I would like the Minister also to tell the House where that type of turf was produced, and the cost of turf sold to the consumer at 64/- per ton and subsidised additionally to the extent of 28/10 per ton.
There is one other matter, to which I made reference some years ago and to which I would like to make reference again now. Turf is a commodity which does not stand up to long haulage. The various qualities that are produced make it a commodity most suitable for local consumption. It will not stand any rough handling or long transport. From the national point of view the best thing we could do is to produce turf for the cities and towns in the areas most contiguous to them. On previous occasions, I suggested that Kildare, Offaly, Meath and Westmeath should be regarded as a kind of turf reservoir for Dublin. If that were done, turf could not reach such an uneconomic price as £4 12s. 10d. in Dublin. There is still an opportunity to produce abundant supplies of turf in Kildare, and probably in other areas, though I speak of Kildare as I know the position there more intimately. The Department of Supplies and the Turf Development Board should call a conference of representative persons, to develop the turf production still further in Kildare, where there is an abundant supply of the best turf in the country to be found. There is also an adequate supply of persons available to cut turf there, given reasonable conditions.
If it is desired to produce turf for sale in the cities, at a price within the capacity of people to pay, the obvious thing to do is to exploit the fuel deposits closest to the city. I know that a good deal has been done already by the camp scheme in Kildare. If that scheme had been inaugurated under happier auspices, a better return  would have been got; but, even now, it is not too late to take steps to ensure that there will be even a greater production of turf in Kildare, to make it available to the people who are in need of it.
Mr. L. Cosgrave: I wish to put a few points to the Minister. There seems to be a general mystery as to how turf costs so much, but there is not much advantage to be derived from labouring it in the manner in which Deputy Norton has laboured it. I take it that the Minister has gone into it fully, but, if he has not, it would be advisable for him to do so, to find out why it costs so much and why the subsidy must be so large. Could the Minister say what increases, if any, have taken place in the freights by rail or by private lorry transporting turf during the last couple of years. Could he say the cost of the Army transport? I know that is now finished but, while I appreciate that soldiers are cheaper labour than private labour or county council labour, if he could compare the costs he would ascertain if it is possible to make a reduction in the case of the freight, so as to enable the turf to be sold more cheaply in cities and towns.
Certain towns on the borders of turf areas are regarded for the purposes of the Order as being in a non-turf area. The people there feel that they should be allowed to bring in turf themselves. One particular town within eight or ten miles from a bog is Lucan. The turf comes through Lucan by lorry or by rail into Dublin and comes out again to the town. The people there, without knowing the full facts, consider that it is waste, first of all, of time and energy and, secondly, of rubber and petrol, to bring the turf into the town and then bring it out again. Another point that I want to put to the Minister is that complaint is being made that a certain amount of wet turf is being sold. Quite a number of people are probably getting tired of complaining about it. Perhaps the Minister would consider the erection of shelters of some kind over turf stacked in city dumps. I have had complaints from the Minister's constituency that  small dumps there are unprotected from the weather. I do not know if they are private property or whether they belong to Fuel Importers, Ltd. The result at any rate is that the turf reaches consumers in a poor condition from the point of view of fuel.
Sir John Esmonde: From what has been said on this Supplementary Estimate, it appears to me that the production of turf has not only been a commercial failure but that it is not giving a proper quality of fuel to the people. I wonder if the Minister's Department has concentrated sufficiently upon the briquette end of the industry. Is it that they are thinking too much in terms of the raw material and not sufficiently in terms of the manufactured article—of briquettes manufactured from turf mould under pressure? It seems to me that sufficient attention has not been paid to that aspect of the matter. That type of fuel, I know, is satisfactory, and from the point of view of haulage in bulk would be cheaper than turf.
The Minister, in his opening statement, referred to the position with regard to tea which, as he knows, is a very important item in the lives of the people. I listened with interest to his statement with regard to the tea purchases made two and a half years ago in British India. He told us that a good part of it could not be shipped here and had to be resold. What did arrive had to be brought around the world—to New York, then to Newfoundland and eventually it reached here. Has he examined the possibility of purchasing tea abroad in view of the changes that have taken place following the opening of the Mediterranean? Will the Minister say if the real difficulty about getting tea is due to lack of shipping space or to an inability to make purchases? I realise that a large part of the tea-producing area has been overrun by war. But, has the Minister explored other places that are not actually in the war zone? I understand that large quantities of tea are now being produced in Uganda, in East Africa, and in other colonies along there. Has the Minister considered the possibility of making  purchases there? I have seen tea produced in Kenya and I consider that in taste it compares favourably with the tea that used to come from India.
Mr. M. O'Sullivan: On Tuesday last the Minister indicated, in reply to Deputy Dockrell, that all necessary precautions were being taken by Fuel Importers, Ltd., to correct the delivery of wet turf. The fact remains that there is still a large volume of complaint in Dublin so far as the delivery of wet turf is concerned. The trouble would seem to lie between the merchants' yards and the delivery of the fuel to consumers. Is there any system of inspection in operation for the actual filling of the turf in the merchants' yards so as to ensure that the turf is in good condition when delivered? I think that if more precautions were taken there that we would not have so many complaints. The Minister, of course, was right when he said that any individual was within his right in rejecting a delivery of unsuitable turf. The general experience, however, goes to show that the average householder does not desire to go to that trouble.
I desire to emphasise all that has been said about the quantity of turf mould included in deliveries of turf. That complaint is particularly true of the depôts set up in Dublin under the cheap fuel scheme. Having regard to the class of people who are being served by that scheme, one would expect that the very best turf would be supplied in them. The contrary, however, has been the case, and it is surprising the amount of turf mould that is included in their deliveries. Deputy Norton pointed, as one reason for that, to bad operational work: to the fact that shovels were being used instead of forks. I understand an improvement could be effected by the employment of forks. Perhaps the Minister would further look into the matter.
The absence of any delivery service, so far as the housing schemes of the Dublin Corporation are concerned, is a matter which has been agitating the corporation for a long time. I refer to the desire of the people in those areas to purchase turf in small  quantities at the fixed price. During the Christmas period they suffered great hardship because the bellmen were unable to give them deliveries. They had not sufficient supplies to go to places like Cabra and Crumlin. I am glad to say, however, that as a result of representations made recently to the Department by the corporation, eight depôts have now been opened in these areas to ensure supplies of turf for the people living in them. Structures are being erected, and the turf dumped there will be supplied exclusively to the people in those areas. I welcome that advance on the part of the Department, even though it has been a little belated.
Mr. O'Leary: When I made complaints at meetings of the Wexford County Council about the wet turf that was being sent to Enniscorthy, I was told by the county manager and the county surveyor that the turf was splendid. I find now that many members of the House have the same complaint to make about their areas. The turf that is delivered to the dumps in Enniscorthy is in a very bad condition. I agree with Deputy MacEoin that one remedy for that might be to engage some of the skilled men in the West of Ireland to build the dumps and cover them in such a way that they would be water tight. If necessary, they could be thatched. We have plenty of wheaten straw in the country now, and it might be very well used for thatching purposes. If all those dumps in the field, exposed as they are now to the weather, were thatched with wheaten straw, we would have the turf fine and dry.
With regard to the turf mould, I have seen people drawing it out and mixing it with the dung on the land. In my own town the poor people cannot get timber. The poor are the greatest sufferers. The people who have money can buy five tons of timber, but the poor cannot get any.
An Ceann Comhairle: There is no money for timber in this Vote.
Mr. O'Leary: The timber is the great difficulty. If we had the timber we  might be able to manage better with the turf. New houses built by the council had ranges in them and on a few occasions I had to get ranges removed in order to put grates in. The people who occupy these houses are suffering more than anyone else in the community. The people who have money can get some class of stove, but the poor have to depend on the turf. I have been advocating an improvement for the last 12 months and I have drawn the attention of the Wexford County Council to the wet turf. It is a terrible thing to see poor people taking the damp fuel away in half cwts. and cwts. The water can actually be seen dripping out of the bags. I was laughed at by the Wexford County Council, by the county manager and the engineer when I complained, but I am glad that my attitude is supported here, judging by the complaints that have been made.
I suggest to the Minister that the dumps in Enniscorthy should be thatched next year with wheaten straw, quantities of which are thrown around farmyards at the moment to make manure. If that straw were used to thatch turf dumps it would mean a great improvement. The turf is simply terrible in my town. The carters who draw it from the dumps do so on a tonnage basis. They are not going to pack only the dry turf. They throw in the wet as well. The merchants cannot help it because they are getting it that way from the dumps. I ask the Minister to ensure that the turf delivered to the merchants and sold to the poor people should at least be in a good, dry condition. They cannot send the cartload back; the carter is working on a tonnage basis and the quicker he loads up the better for himself. The Minister will have to intervene if the turf scheme is to be a success.
Mr. Larkin: I should like to know if this subsidy is for turf only?
An Ceann Comhairle: It is.
Mr. Larkin: This particular Department covers two commodities, turf and other fuel in the form of timber; it  covers the distribution of both turf and timber.
Mr. Lemass: This deals with turf only.
Mr. Larkin: I should like to bring some matters to the Minister's attention with the object of effecting a betterment of the scheme, a scheme which some of us hope will be of a permanent character. There was an agitation in this country for many years to the effect that we should use more of our own fuel and we have a historical record of a supply of turf from Kildare. The continuance of certain families in Kildare depended to the extent of 50 per cent. on the supplying of turf to Dublin, where it was distributed from house to house among the poorer sections of the community. I do not think it was such an economic proposition, but these men had nothing else to do and they were quite content to travel 30 miles to Dublin and back again. In the city it was their practice to sell the turf from door to door and if they got 20/- a ton for it they were very happy. Now we have prosecutions almost daily against these men for coming to Dublin and selling turf on the old system, so many sods for so many coppers. They are now compelled to sell by weight.
Mr. Lemass: That is not quite correct.
Mr. Larkin: But they were prosecuted for evading the regulations.
Mr. Lemass: They may sell any quantity under four stone in the manner suggested.
Mr. Larkin: It is true that, up to a certain amount, they are allowed to distribute the turf to certain people, but I think on examination you will find that at the present time it is not a question of 20/- a ton. I have investigated the figures and in one case the price worked out at £11 a ton. At one time a number of us waited upon the Minister and we pointed out certain inequalities in the distribution of this  valuable commodity, the most valuable commodity we have got. Despite what our friend Deputy MacEoin may say with regard to this being a wasteful proposition, I hold the contrary opinion and I say it is a sound proposition. I would not allow any coal into this country except what is absolutely essential, and I suggest that all our heating should be carried out with our own fuel. It is very easy for people to say: “We can soon turn back to the importation of coal.” For every ton of coal you bring in you are putting a dead weight around the necks of the people, whether you are selling it at the pre-war rate of £2 a ton or whether you are dealing with the slurry you are now getting at £4 or £5 a ton.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy will have an opportunity of dealing with that aspect on another Vote in the near future.
Mr. Larkin: I submit to the ruling of the Chair. This subsidy is to enable the Minister to get over difficulties created by himself and his Department. I suggest that there is no call for this subsidy and I will prove that. It is essential that you should make this fuel an economic fuel. How is the matter being approached? Let us go back to the beginning, to the crisis in 1939. Certain people waited upon the Minister and they pointed out the absurdity of taking this fuel from Donegal, Mayo or Kildare on hired petrol-driven lorries. These men were getting allowances of petrol and it is common knowledge among the people of Dublin that these men were selling half their petrol allowances. They were manipulating the road mileage to suit themselves. I make this statement and I am prepared to prove it. There was a wholesale market at the East Wall among the men engaged transporting the turf; they were selling petrol openly.
They were taking fuel right into the City of Dublin, down to the far end of the East Wall, almost out into the open sea. They brought clampers up with them, men who knew how to clamp turf. Others took a chance. As a matter of fact, not one of these men  was required in Dublin. Among the 540 men engaged in the first year in clamping and distributing turf, there were many who would have been better employed in the country, winning the turf. Instead of that they brought highly skilled men, many of them born on the bogs and more suitable for winning turf, up to the City of Dublin to clamp turf, throwing out the men who formerly built coal on the quays. These men were sent to the Labour Exchanges, where they drew unemployed money. Out of the 540 who were registered, there were many who would be more useful in their own areas, winning turf. They were only coming to Dublin on the first stage of the road to England. They could not get a permit to go away while they were on the bogs, but they got over the difficulty by coming to Dublin to do work which should be done by Dublin labour. There were many men here who were put out of work here because of the falling off in the shipments of coal. They were getting unemployed money. The next thing that happened with the men who came up was that they got permits to go to Great Britain and there was a regular flow of those men to that country.
The Minister was told that the whole policy was stupid, and I dare him deny that. Why should that stuff have to come right through Dublin, passing through Inchicore and Drimnagh, right down to the sea edge? It was bad enough in the rainy and windy weather to have turf clamped in the Park, but it was nothing but stupidity to put turf on the edge of the sea. No doubt some of it was properly clamped, but more of it was not properly clamped. The rain was driven in from the sea on top of it and in addition to that it was affected by the sea water. The clamps were caught not alone by ordinary rain, but by water from the sea, thus ruining the turf altogether. The turf there is being destroyed by the salt water spray from the sea. The Minister was advised to set up depôts in the different areas of consumption. A resolution was carried, on my initiative, in the corporation three and a half years ago asking the City  Manager to set up depôts, with the Minister's approval. The City Manager, under the direction of his engineer, drafted a scheme for 11 depôts. Not one of these depôts has been opened yet. The possibilities are that, with the Minister's good will, they will be opened in the near future. A Deputy mentioned Lucan and the practice of taking turf through Lucan to the East Wall and having to bring it back 12 miles to Lucan for distribution. There was never such an asinine policy.
We are not, in this democratic country, being governed by elected bodies any longer. A board was appointed. Surely the first interest that should have representation on that board is the consumer's. The consumer is not represented although I have been pleading for representation for the consumer for three years. The manager of the gas company was on the board and certain other interested parties who were distributing coal. They are all men of capacity. I am not questioning that, but after all, they must be actuated by their own selfish interests. All of the members of the board are employers. There is not one individual representing the consumers on the board, not even to-day, although there are three vacancies. I have asked the Minister, in this House and outside it, why does he not appoint somebody representing the corporation, for instance, which is the largest consumer of turf in the city, either directly or through their boards of assistance. Why should not someone representing the consumers as a whole be given the right to sit on that particular board? You have on the board the coal merchant, Carroll—a very able man, whose family have been two or three generations in the coal business. There are other people of that type on the board. These people are not concerned to make turf an economic proposition. I believe—I may be judging them wrongly—that they are not concerned with the efficient production of turf.
The Minister knows that during the last few months there have been continual  crises in turf distribution. The merchants say they are not going to handle it, that it does not pay, that their yards are occupied with great volumes of turf and that they do not get anything out of it. I suppose they are going to get some of this £170,000. I would not give them one red cent. They pay their men only what they are compelled to pay. Why should they get any of this subsidy? I am quite sure that this subsidy is asked for in order to give another handful of the national wealth to these merchants.
I suggest that the Minister should pay particular attention to this matter of turf production. The House will help him if he will be helped or if the men in his Department will only approach the question in a business way. What is the approach to it? Somebody should be appointed to represent the workers on the bog so that when any crisis occurs, such as complaints of bad food or bad bedding accommodation, lack of ordinary social contacts, the men's point of view can be represented. That is not the position at the moment. Militarisation for the camps is the order of the day. If a man attempts to agitate for improved conditions for the men in the camp, he is driven out of the area, under the emergency law: There is no proper approach to the problem. Men are being taken from various counties. Men are being brought in from Donegal who were accustomed to work on a piece basis. They are employed with men from the Kildare area, whose families have been engaged for generations in winning turf, on a weekly wage. You have these antagonistic ideas. There are other men from Mayo, a migratory class of workers, who usually go to Great Britain and work on a piece rate over there.
I am not objecting to a piece rate being paid for this job, but I say if you want to encourage men to do this work you should give the man who is working an ordinary day's work a decent wage and keep him in the bog to which he belongs and with which he is familiar. The town-bred man should be given the ordinary work which can  be done by any intelligent man after a lesson or two. Men are brought from County Kildare, Mayo and Donegal to Dublin. After a time they want to get away to England. They go, and another group comes up from the provinces. Everyone knows that, when the ordinary man from the provinces gets to Dublin and finds work, his next move is to send for his 41st cousin.
These men are coming into Dublin and the Dublinman is being deprived of work and is standing idle or is employed through the labour exchange to clamp turf. After five years we are still clamping turf. The turf that was brought into the Park has been reclamped four times. Deputies should go to the Park to see the absurdity. It has been admitted by the board that 22 per cent. of that turf has gone into mould. I suggest that 25 per cent. is a conservative figure. Twenty-five per cent of the turf that was brought to Dublin from the different counties has been woefully wasted. As Deputy Norton said, it has been criminally wasted. What can be done with this mould? It has been advertised for sale. How can it be used? Somebody suggested that it could be made into briquettes. You cannot make mould into briquettes. It would have to be mixed with slurry or something else to give it a body.
There was a contract entered into a few days ago at 3/6 a ton to lift this mould and carry it to James's Harbour, from where it would be taken to Carbury, 30 miles from Dublin, where it would be pressed into ordinary briquettes. The surprising thing is that the man who had that contract in the City of Dublin, and who employed Dublin men, was told that his contract was finished and a new contractor, who gets 5/6 per ton, goes in. Within four days, there was an increase of 33 per cent. in the cost of picking up this useless mould, some of which is being trodden into the ground in the Park. That mould is now being carted to James's Harbour and loaded into barges. I suppose the canal company is getting about 6/6 per ton and think of how many tons they can take on a 40-ton barge. Such a barge will take  seven tons, or ten tons at the outside, of this mould to Carbury to be pressed, and brought back to Dublin in the form of pressed sections.
That is the way this money is being wasted, and, yet, when we citizens, who pay these rates and are interested in this industry not from a temporary point of view to meet a crisis, but as a permanent feature of our economics, bring these matters up, we are told that it is not our business. I suggest to the House that it is our business, and if ever the House did a justifiable thing, it would be to vote down and to refuse to give this subsidy until it got an assurance from the Minister that he will turn his attention, as a business man, to these matters.
The extraordinary thing about it is that those who are less interested in this country than any other group seem always to be congratulating him and patting him on the back. Even Mr. David Coyle, the President of the Federation of Employers, has taken to eulogising him. He is almost an omnipotent person from the point of view of these people whose only interest is the making of profits. Yet those who know him well, who lived and worked with him and feel that he could do such useful service to this country, are supposed to be antagonistic to him. That is not true; he has more sincere friends among the working-class and among those interested in this nation than amongst the people who are interested only from the point of view of profit. I suggest that he turn his attention to these matters.
Take the position with regard to this mould of which there are tons and tons in heaps. It has to be moved two or three times off the road, because, as the men work into the face of the clamp, they have to move the stuff, and it is sometimes handled three or four times. It is pushed here and there in heaps, and is now being carted away to the canal banks and taken to Carbury. I suggest that before it gets to Carbury this waste material costs the State 11/- a ton, which is a low estimate. It costs more to take it to the machines, the  hydrogenation plant, and when it has gone through that process, it has to be pressed and brought back to Dublin.
When it has been pressed and brought back to Dublin, what happens? It comes alongside the canal bank as one of the finest fuels the world produces. A private company was selling this pressed fuel made in Carbury, under a subsidy from the Government, as a result of which they lost £96,000—that, of course, is nothing; it is just something one throws about here and there—in Dublin, in 1934, at 29/- per ton delivered to the Joint Grangegorman Board. That turf cannot be sold in Dublin at present under £3 4s. 0d., but are they selling those pressed briquettes? No—they are being taken across the city, at a cost of 5/6 or 6/- per ton, to Portland Row and stored there, and nobody is supposed to go near it. Yet, strange to relate, you will find shops selling this pressed turf and when you ask how they got it, or under what licence it was obtained, nobody knows. I saw a load going into a certain shop in Baggot Street and I asked the carter where he got it. He told me he got it from Portland Row. I asked another carter and he told me he got it from James's Harbour.
That stuff is being sold and distributed, and I suggest that the Minister should send somebody up to Portland Row to measure the quantity of pressed briquettes in the brewery there, and to find out how many tons went in and how many there are at present. I suggest that when that turf in Portland Row is weighed out, there will be 30 per cent. less than was put in. I further suggest that we should get from the Minister the tonnage of ordinary turf which went into the Park. I should like to know has anybody got any figures as to the amount of turf which went into the Phoenix Park and was clamped there, and how much has been distributed. I undertake to say that there is not one man in any Department knows anything about it. They neither know whether 100,000 tons went in or whether 100,000 tons came out.
The same applies to the position at  East Wall. There is not a man in a Government Department at present could say how much turf has been sold and how much remains. That is a problem which can be very easily adjusted, but it can be adjusted only by men with a full sense of responsibility, and I suggest that the Minister should turn his attention to that matter before he comes to the House to ask for another £170,000. It is a glaring and barefaced imposition to ask for money until there has been a full investigation of the business attitude and sense of responsibility of those charged with the duty of turf production and distribution.
I turn now to the question of distribution. I have some knowledge of this industry from the beginning. When Clonsast Bog was opened up, the men were paid on the basis of lineal measurement for the winning of turf. A bogman knows by looking at the ground, almost to the ton, how much he will get out and how much he can win in a day. Winning turf is a job for skilled workers and the man who wins turf on a bog is no unskilled worker. He is a skilled worker, and I could get men like Joe Connolly and others who would get more turf from a bog in half-an-hour than any man here would get in a week. But that is not the way they do it. They first had a German gentleman down there who was a great authority on turf. I do not suppose he had ever seen a bog in his life until he came to Ireland and we had another gentleman there under semi-Government control. He had £1,000 a year, and he walked about with a beret. Half his time was spent walking up and down the bog and one would think he was a landed proprietor. Inside the study owned by that company, subsidised by this Government, he had a picture of Hitler which would cover one of the walls of this House.
He was receiving £1,000 a year, and, when I examined his credentials, I found that he had never seen a bog. That man has another job now—a good secure job in the City of Dublin at £12 12s. 0d. a week, but the Government lost all that money in that venture.  The man we had on the bog at Clonsast looked on the Irish labourer, and more particularly the bogman, as something much lower than a human being. The men were being paid on the basis of lineal measurement and it was decided that they were earning too much. Some of them were making as much as £2 per week and one of these brilliant geniuses suggested that the men be put on metric measurement. I wonder how many Deputies here know anything about metric measurement? Just imagine a poor workingman with a national school education being paid on the basis of metric measurement—and that in a country which believes in decency and Christian conduct towards one's fellow-man.
That continued for some period and there were objections and repeated strikes. Now, Clonsast is working again, and so is Kildare, and all I ask the Minister to do is to see that these men who are engaged in this industrialised form of turf production are treated as human beings. These men have human rights and social rights.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy is now quite irrelevant.
Mr. Larkin: This is in connection with the subsidy. I will prove it to you out of your own documents.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy seems to be giving the alleged history of turf production.
Mr. Larkin: There is a sum of £25,860 to be voted for camps. For what? For men who are engaged in winning turf in an industrially organised capacity.
An Ceann Comhairle: For building camps.
Mr. Larkin: They are to house somebody. They are not building camps for a joke. There will be some people housed in these particular camps, I submit with all respect.
An Ceann Comhairle: There is no money in this Vote for paying turf workers.
Mr. Larkin: Some portion of this £170,000 must be used for that purpose.
An Ceann Comhairle: Not for wages.
Mr. Larkin: I suggest that it is for the production and distribution of turf.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy might remember that, within a few weeks, the Turf Production Vote will be before the House.
Mr. Larkin: We are preparing the Minister for what he will get when that comes on.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy might wait for that occasion.
Mr. Larkin: I will confine myself now to asking the Minister, with all the sense of responsibility that I can assume—sometimes I have a sense of responsibility, and in this matter I am deeply in earnest—to see to it, if he has not got the information in his possession or in the Department, that it is got. I ask that, before these people get this money to utilise, he should give the consumer, particularly in a city like Dublin, which contains one-third of the population of the country, some voice in this particular board as a corrective voice. Surely that is not too much to ask. I also ask that the Dublin Corporation, who are the largest consumers of turf through the board of assistance, should have a representative. There is room there for them. Surely we can get as good a citizen as Mr. Grey, the manager of the Gas Company, to represent the citizens of Dublin.
It has been stated here that it is not true that wet turf has been distributed in Dublin. My colleague, Deputy Byrne, made a statement on the authority of Mr. Fagan, one of our chemical experts, which has never been refuted. The statement of Deputy Byrne was that he gave Mr. Fagan a brick of turf taken out of turf supplies in Dublin City to analyse and that it was found that not less than 76 per cent. of that brick of turf was water. How 24 per cent. of solid matter could contain 76 per cent. of  water I cannot understand. To me it is almost impossible. But I do know that 10 per cent. of the turf distributed from house to house by bellmen and others, more particularly from the merchant places, is wet turf. I can prove that, if the Minister will come with me to any depôt. Again, as Deputy O'Sullivan and Deputy Norton stated, instead of using a fork to fill the turf into the bags, in the merchants' yards, which is the proper thing, they are using large shovels. Why? Because they could not put mould into the bags with a fork. You may get a certain amount of mould in with a brick of turf, but it would be very small. I know the men who fill this turf and they are instructed to fill in mould with the turf. I know the men who are filling the turf for the board of assistance and they are told to do the same thing.
Take the case of a blind man. We are giving turf to the blind at a very low rate, supposedly. What does it cost a blind man to get a bag of turf home? He gets a cwt. of turf for 1/-. He pays 6d. to somebody, perhaps a loafer, to take that bag of turf home for him. By the time the turf gets to the home in 99 cases out of 100 I am sure the bag does not contain the same quantity of turf. That is openly and unashamedly going on in Dublin. I suggest that is not fair and honest; it is not human or within the bounds of equity. Something ought to be done to prevent this. In conclusion I wish to say that I have not said anything with a view to criticising the Department unfairly or unjustly. I wish to bring to the Minister's notice and to the notice of the officials of his Department, one of whom is sitting beside him, and others engaged in the Turf Development Board, that something must be done to correct these abuses.
An Ceann Comhairle: There are no officials in this House other than officials of the Dáil.
Mr. Larkin: I have still got my sight. Some day I may lose it.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy may want me to put it more explicitly.  Reference to such officials is not in order.
Mr. Larkin: Physically they are present, but officially they are not present. I understand. I say we are all citizens of this State and we should not be offended if anything that is said will help the State through the crisis. It is in that spirit I offer my criticism of this policy and I intend to vote against the subsidy.
Mr. Corish: There is no doubt that complaints so far as wet turf is concerned are general. Like others, I believe that that is entirely due to the fact that the merchants are not taking proper care of the turf and stacking it properly. I think that the Minister for Supplies should have periodical inspections made. He should have inspectors in different areas with a view to securing that people will get proper turf. The Minister has repeatedly told Deputies that, if the turf is wet or of inferior quality, they can reject it. There is very little use in telling unfortunate people living from hand to mouth that they can do things of that kind. It is all very well to tell a person who can buy two or three tons of turf at a time that he can do that. But a lot of these unfortunate people are waiting for the turf. In a great many cases they find it difficult to get it sent to their houses. In some cases, as the Minister knows, where some blind woman or old age pensioner has to pay 6d. to a man or a boy to bring a bag of turf, that unfortunate woman has perhaps been waiting for the turf for two or three days. If that woman rejects the turf, she does not know when she will get it again. In the interests of these unfortunate people, it is absolutely essential to have inspectors in every area and inspections made at the merchants' yards.
I want to resent what Deputy O'Leary said when speaking as a member of a county council. He said he brought this matter up at the county council in Wexford and that he was laughed at. He was not laughed at for bringing the matter before the  council. He was laughed at for making the extraordinary statement that turf sold in Wexford was 100 per cent. water. Anybody would have to laugh at a statement of that kind. In fairness to my colleagues and myself, I want to say that the county council did not laugh at him because he brought up the matter of the turf supplies, but because he said the turf contained 100 per cent. of water, and we all wondered what kind of turf that would be.
Under sub-head I, there is an item for the erection of camps for turf workers. In some counties, as the Minister knows, there are turf schemes being worked by county councils. There is very little turf production in my county, but there is one comparatively large centre. Of course, it is under the auspices of the county council, but there are no shelters in those particular places. I am wondering if it is the job of the county council to erect them. I do think the Minister should help the local county councils in this connection, by some subsidy or other for the erection of shelters.
It is very hard for the ratepayers who are helping in this emergency to be called upon to find the money to erect shelters. I have one particular place in mind in North Wexford, at the foot of a mountain, far away from any habitation. During last season, which was a very wet one, the men were subject to wetting on various occasions, as there were no shelters. I have brought that matter to the attention of the county manager, who says he is trying to get something done this year, but it is a big job to ask a county council to undertake, especially when this scheme is helping the Government in a national emergency. I would ask the Minister for Supplies what the position of the county council is in this matter and if he, through the medium of this particular subsidy, can help the county councils in any way. Again, I would ask him to secure that inspectors are appointed and allotted to each area, in order to see that the poor people will get their rights as far as turf is concerned.
Mr. Byrne: I did not intend to join in this debate, without having written evidence in front of me, and without having with me the certificates which I got from the city analyst. A month ago, I got a letter asking me to visit Esmonde Avenue turf dump, controlled by the board of assistance, at Fairview. There were complaints about wet turf. I went down there and found they were delivering turf to people in bags and perambulators, at a very cheap rate, to unemployed, blind persons, those on poor law relief and those on small wages. As I went in, I said to the man—so as not to be accused of selecting—“Would you make me a present of that?” and I tipped with my foot a big sod of turf that was on his shovel. He said he had no objection and gave me the sod, which I rolled up in a piece of brown paper and tied on my bicycle. I went over to the city analyst with it and the following day received a certificate that it contained 77.7 per cent. of water. It was not a selected sod of turf at all—the man gave it to me.
Having received another letter, some time before that, I went to Parnell Street depôt and went in. There was some trouble: some women were in tears. A perambulator was being filled and, just out of the scales, as the man was putting the turf in—I did not select—I said: “Would you give me a present of one of those?” The man gave me a present of a sod of turf which was going into the perambulator for this poor woman. I brought it to the city analyst, who gave me a certificate that it contained 76 per cent. water.
Now I come back to the Fairview question. In this depôt there seemed to be something like a hay-loft, well packed with dry turf, but just at the door there was a lorry, evidently after coming from a wet bog in a storm of rain. I said: “Why do you not put that wet turf to dry and give these unfortunate people some of the dry turf which you have?”“Oh, Mr. Byrne, that is all very fine; it is coming in to me as six tons of turf and if I leave it to dry it will turn into two tons of turf, and my weight dockets will all go  astray.” There was an admission by the unfortunate employee that he was selling 66 per cent. water to the public. There were 14 people present and I asked them if they heard what he said. Those 14 people are prepared to come forward. I am not blaming the Minister. It was a very wet day and for a week before that it was wet. What I have in mind is this: if the turf is so wet and is half water, why not double the weight—if they cannot give dry turf—and give two stone instead of one, as the people would then be getting really only one stone of turf?
There is another point. I saw this unfortunate man with a pitchfork. I understand that, by some regulation, they are bound to use a fork, so as to prevent the mould going into the prams; but this was not a fork—it had been at one time, but there was a mesh of wire in an out through the prongs and, though it was called a fork, it carried all the mould. It turned out, according to their admission in another depôt, that for every three stone of turf they were selling— which was half water—they were giving a stone of mould. What the people were to do with the mould I do not know. The Minister is not to blame. If a storm comes and there is plenty of rain, those men should have some judgment and, if they know the turf is wet, they should not have to issue it while there is dry turf available, or else they should give double supply for the price they are charging per stone or per cwt.
I will produce the certificates when the original Estimate comes before the House, to show that, in many cases, these less fortunate people who have to buy turf in small lots are not treated fairly. I do not believe it is the Minister's fault. I know he would stop it if he could. When I went to complain to the Turf Board office about the Parnell Street depôt 12 months ago, they, to give them full credit, did everything possible. I was informed that they stopped the turf coming from the wet bog while it was not in condition and, for a few months in that depôt, the people got very good value, indeed.
Mr. Bennett: The Deputy has referred to wet turf and to the weight  of it. It appears to me that there is one obvious way out of the difficulty— a method that, perhaps, would prevent the sale of wet turf and give no opportunity to people to sell water by weight. I suggest that the old methods of selling turf should be adopted again—that is, sale by measure instead of by weight. Until a few years ago, I never saw turf sold by weight: it was always by measure. If it could be sold by measure under the old method of the kish, or by cubic feet, that would prevent merchants and others from taking advantage of its condition. It is obvious to a trader who is not absolutely respectable that it is better to sell wet turf by weight, as he will get a high price for the water, whereas if he had to sell by measure he would not gain anything by the water. The sale by measure would mean a better effort, and the consumer would be better treated.
Mr. Tunney: Like Deputy Larkin, I believe that the bogs of this nation are an asset to the nation, but I believe also that the turf question, as it is handled here, is a disgrace to the Department responsible. In saying that, I wish to cast no slur on the Minister, as I know he has handled other questions concerning the procuring of certain goods for this nation, and I believe there is no man who would have handled them better. The turf position is a national disgrace. I am sorry that the Minister himself is not directly concerned, as, if he were, I am satisfied the position would not be as it is. It is a terrible state of affairs that we are asked to vote a subsidy for turf, when the ordinary parish council in Finglas could have produced turf for the people of County Dublin and supplied it to them at less than £3 per ton, while at the same time giving a bigger price to the people who produced it; but we would not get a licence to do so. Where is the justification for that? I am speaking from personal experience. The parish council tried to get a licence to bring in turf which they intended to sell to the people in North County Dublin  at 55/- per ton. For the production of that turf they were prepared to pay trade union wages. I hope that I am normally intelligent, but this turf question is beyond my understanding. We are being asked to vote a turf subsidy while consumers are being forced to pay £3 4s. a ton for turf. The poor people in the County Dublin who are paying that are not getting a ton of turf at all. There is no regulation, so far as I know, of the bellmen. Poor people are asked to pay 2/- and 2/3 per bag for turf although there may be only a few sods in the bag. It may be asked, why they do not complain? The Irish people are decent-minded and do not want to act the part of the informer. The poor people who are obliged to buy from the bellmen are being treated in a disgraceful way. Instead of buying at the rate of £3 4s. a ton for the turf, it costs them £8, and certainly £6 a ton.
I agree with all that Deputy Larkin has said. The men who have to do the hardest work, those who are producing the turf from the bogs, are not being properly paid at all. I stand for the payment of a living wage to every man, but the position is that the men in the Phoenix Park who handle the dry turf are getting £3 15s. a week, while the men who have to go down into the bogs and cut the turf are not getting half that amount.
An Ceann Comhairle: There is no provision here for wages.
Mr. Tunney: I have only a few more words to say, but I desire to avail of this opportunity——
An Ceann Comhairle: On the main Estimate the Deputy will have another opportunity.
Mr. Tunney: I feel very keenly about this turf question.
Mr. Larkin: On a point of order, the White Paper refers to wages, salaries and allowances.
An Ceann Comhairle: For whom?
Mr. Larkin: I do not know.
Mr. Tunney: I have only a few more  words to say. It would take a lot to convince me that the turf position in this country is not a racket. I do not like to use that expression, but I have been forced to do so. Certain people seem to have a monopoly for the carrying of turf. In what way are the carrying contracts given out? Are they advertised? How is it that some people cannot get any petrol? There has been a lot said about wet turf, but you are bound to have that unless you thatch it, as Deputy O'Leary has suggested. Those who know anything about turf understand that you must have a certain amount of wet turf. There is no justification, however, for using railway waggons to bring to Dublin what is not turf. Even if it were dried, it would not be turf. Why not have fuel dumps set up?
On a previous occasion I asked that depôts be established in Balbriggan, Swords and Skerries. If that were done the local people could go to them and get their supplies. The people in the rural parts of County Dublin could not get any turf during the greater part of the winter. The bellmen were not able to supply them. They were kept waiting from 7 o'clock in the morning until 4 o'clock in the afternoon before getting a load. The position was such that they could not reach remote parts of the county such as the Ward.
I would ask the Minister to consider what a great asset the bogs of Ireland are to the nation. We are all familiar with the advice to “burn everything that comes from England except her coal.” In the present crisis, the bogs of Ireland should be giving employment to our men and to our girls, too. It would be far better to have girls employed in the bogs—from every point of view—at a good wage than to have them going out of the country. They could be employed spreading the turf, footing it and clamping it. It would provide them with a good, healthy occupation, and at the end of the day they could return to their parents' home where they would be carefully looked after. Turf development is now such an important industry that I would appeal to the Minister to take a personal interest in it himself. If he does, I am certain that our people will  not have the hatred they have for the bogs or for the turf that we are producing from them.
What puzzles me is why the Government will not allow the parish councils to get in supplies of turf for the people in their areas. If the Government allowed that it would be relieving itself of a certain amount of responsibility. It is well known that people in different areas are prepared to invest their money in the production of turf. If they were allowed to do so it would have good results all round. Why should any official of the Government be allowed to prevent such an undertaking? These are the only points I have to deal with. As the Ceann Comhairle has told me, I will have an opportunity later of speaking more fully on other aspects of this question.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Minister to conclude.
Minister for Supplies (Mr. Lemass): The Supplementary Estimate dealt mainly with two matters: tea and turf. The debate has centred mainly on the question of the turf subsidy. There was, however, a reference to tea by Deputy Esmonde, who inquired as to the possibility of purchasing additional supplies of tea, and asked if that possibility had been re-examined. The situation has, of course, been kept under examination continuously, but I should say that the prospect of getting additional supplies of tea in quantity is practically nil. It is not merely that shipping difficulties exist which are almost insuperable, but that in India, the main source of supply, the entire output of tea has been purchased by Great Britain for the United Nations. None is, in fact, available for purchase otherwise. Even if, however, tea could be purchased in that part of the world, I think it would be out of the question for us to send one of our ships to collect a cargo. The time it would take——
Sir John Esmonde: I referred to East Africa.
Mr. Lemass: ——the time it would take and the risk involved would not be justifiable in all the circumstances. Some quantity of East  African tea has been purchased by Tea Importers, Limited—all, in fact, that was offered to them. I think the Irish people may regard it as a fair substitute for the tea they were accustomed to, but there is a risk that they may not. However, anything is better than nothing, and whatever supplies of the East African tea become available, they will be purchased, dear as it is.
A great deal has been said upon this question of turf by Deputies who appeared to have examined only narrow aspects of the problem. I do not propose to give a comprehensive review now, because the business before the Dáil is the provision of money to make good to Fuel Importers Limited the difference between the price they pay for turf and the price they realise for it. The production of turf has been undertaken by various organisations and, in fact, up to the present, mainly by county councils. With the details of their activities the Department of Supplies is not concerned, nor is the Turf Development Board concerned. The organisation of Fuel Importers Limited buys the turf produced by the county councils at a price which repays to these councils the full cost of production—and that is a high price. Circumstances necessitate an arrangement of that kind.
If we could do as certain parish councils, such as those Deputy Tunney referred to, could do—pick and choose the areas of production or the circumstances under which production would take place—we could undoubtedly get turf much cheaper than we are getting it, but the quantity would be insignificant and totally inadequate to meet our requirements. Let me say in that regard that the figures given by Deputy Hughes from the Trade Journal do not relate to the turf produced by county councils under the Government scheme, or to the turf produced by the Turf Development Board. The figures given in the Trade Journal regarding turf production relate only to turf produced by farmers. They do not include the turf produced under the scheme, or for which this subsidy is required.
The quantity of turf produced under  the Government scheme and handled by Fuel Importers Ltd. since its inception, exceeds 1,100,000 tons. That is a huge quantity of turf. Deputies who have walked in the Phoenix Park and seen the huge dumps there will, perhaps, get some idea of the magnitude of the task undertaken in the production, transportation and distribution of that quantity of turf when I tell them that on the average the total quantity stored in the Phoenix Park has rarely exceeded 50,000, 60,000 or 70,000 tons. Last year alone over 500,000 tons of turf were produced under the Government's scheme. It is that quantity of turf we require.
Deputy Norton spoke about producing turf in Kildare and transporting it to Dublin. If our activities were confined to producing turf in Kildare and transporting it to Dublin, of course the costs which I have given would not apply. In order to get the quantity of turf we require—and the quantity needed for immediate consumption is large, but over and above that we are trying to build up reserve stocks—we have to go further afield than Kildare; we have to go wherever it is produced and average the costs of production and transportation.
In considering this question of the cost of turf there are certain factors that Deputies are inclined to leave out of account. In the first place, the cost which has to be met is not merely the cost of producing and distributing turf; it includes also the cost of maintaining in the non-turf areas a reserve supply of turf as an insurance against conditions in which the transport of further supplies would become impossible. We are not merely dealing here with an economic proposition, as Deputy Dockrell tried to suggest; we are dealing with an emergency situation, and one part of the plan for dealing with it involves the building-up and the maintenance, irrespective of costs, in the non-turf areas, of supplies which will be there as a reserve to meet the requirements of citizens if circumstances should arise in which further supplies could not be brought in
Further, the production of turf on a large scale had to be undertaken by county council organisations, by staffs  who had no previous experience of that work. The fact that they had no previous experience and sometimes made mistakes, that they used wrong methods or unduly costly methods can be quoted against them, but I do not think it is fair to do so. There was no other organisation available to tackle this job of producing in excess of normal quantities the huge quantity of turf needed to replace the coal formerly consumed in the non-turf areas and that had then ceased to be available.
The cost of the turf produced by the county council organisations was very high. It varied from district to district. To take an all-over average, the turf produced by county council organisations reached about 42/- per ton, loaded on rail or lorry or barge at the bog. Fuel Importers Limited, buy turf from private producers at a much lower price; the Turf Development Board produced turf at a much lower price, but the total amount to be got from private producers and the total amount produced by the Turf Development Board was completely inadequate to meet our requirements, and the turf produced by the county council organisations was essential if hardship was to be avoided, and it had to be produced and transported almost irrespective of cost. Nobody suggests that that figure represents an economic price for turf. It does not, but without that huge quantity of turf produced hastily by the county council organisations the situation in non-turf areas and in many parts of the turf areas during the past few years would have been very serious.
The cost of bringing that turf to the non-turf areas was high. Again, we are not dealing merely with turf from Kildare or with turf that could be produced in a bog near Finglas. In order to get the turf that was required, the major part of the output had to be undertaken where the bogs and men were, and that was in the counties on the western seaboard. The cost of transport was inflated by the need to bring turf from Mayo and Donegal— places which were very far away from the centres where the turf was required. As the situation developed, the Government tried to do what appeared  to be the only logical alternative to producing the turf where the men were, and that was to bring the men to where the turf was most conveniently situated for transport purposes.
That was the origin of the camp scheme. In so far as we could not get in Kildare the turf for the non-turf areas by reason of the fact that the men were not there, the camps were established and the men were brought there from the western counties, where there was a surplus of men and where previously they were engaged in local turf production.
In considering the cost of turf to Fuel Importers Ltd. it is necessary to explain the inflated item for transport by reason of the fact that during the period of its operation it had to get turf wherever it could and transport it into the eastern part of the country where there were no local supplies and where the surplus production of the turf areas was urgently required.
There is another consideration which, I think, was only incidentally referred to by some Deputies. We decided as a matter of policy to effect the distribution of turf produced throughout the country and handled by Fuel Importers Ltd. through the existing coal merchants' trading organisations. We did so because we were anxious to effect the least possible disturbance in employment and the least possible dislocation of existing trading organisations. These coal merchants were not organised to handle turf economically. There were far more of them than would be required for the operation of any economical scheme of distribution. They themselves regarded the distribution of turf as merely a temporary problem and, consequently, they were reluctant to spend money upon the procuring of equipment or to effect the reorganisation of their staffs which would be involved in the handling of turf as distinct from the handling of coal. The cost of distributing turf could be substantially reduced if the coal merchants were eliminated. An organisation specially designed for that one purpose could do that work much more cheaply than it is being done at  the moment but there would be considerable dislocation of employment; a very large number of workers would lose their employment throughout the whole of the non-turf area and a serious blow would be struck at the organisations which were previously engaged in the fuel trade.
That is a situation which arises not merely in relation to turf but in relation to other commodities. Deliberately, the Government decided upon the maintenance of methods of production and distribution which were more costly than could be devised, because of the desire of ensuring that the impact of the emergency upon our economic conditions would have the least possible effect upon employment and produce the least possible dislocation in trading organisations. Whether the Dáil would agree that we should now effect the change involved in taking this business out of the hands of coal merchants and establishing a specially designed organisation for the purpose, is very doubtful. Certainly, we would have to face the fact that it could not be done without a great deal of trouble.
In determining the cost of turf and in endeavouring to ascertain to what extent the cost of turf can be reduced, it is necessary to keep in mind that there is a wide variety of factors operating. Not merely is the cost of turf produced by every county council different but not all the turf that is available is produced by county councils. There are, in fact, three main sources of supply to Fuel Importers Limited, who handle turf. There are the county councils; there are the private producers, and there is the Turf Development Board. The cost from each source is different. During a great portion of the year, the turf is brought to the non-turf areas from the bogs direct to the distributors' yards. Turf delivered direct to the distributors costs much less than turf which has first to be stacked in dumps and then delivered from the dumps to the distributors during the winter months, when the transport of turf from the turf areas ceases and  when, for other reasons, the dumps have to be utilised.
The costs upon which the subsidy is based are the average of all the costs incurred by Fuel Importers Limited. Roughly speaking, the average cost of all the turf sold by Fuel Importers Limited, was 75/7 per ton. The average price they realised upon the sale of that turf was 46/9. The difference is the 28/10 to which reference has been made here. The difference between the average price realised and the 64/- at which the turf was sold represents the average allowance made for distribution. Again, that allowance varies from district to district, and as between one class of distributor and another. The bellman, the merchant, and the huckster each receives turf at a different price. They all sell it at the same price, but the allowance to cover their costs varies in each case. Again, I say, it is unfair to compare these figures with the cost of production in any particular area or in any particular bog. Undoubtedly, the private producer will produce turf and sell it at a much lower figure than that. Undoubtedly, if we were confining our production to the County of Kildare, or to any other county adjacent to Dublin or adjacent to Cork, we could get turf at a lower figure than that. That is the over-all average cost, and includes not merely the cost of producing in Kildare or in the vicinity of Cork, but also the cost of producing and transporting turf from Donegal, Mayo, Galway and far away districts.
Mr. Norton: Has the Minister any regional figures available?
Mr. Lemass: These are regional figures. There will be very considerable variation. Let me say, so far as county council turf is concerned, my Department is not concerned. Our obligation is to repay to the county council the cost of producing turf. What that cost is, is certified to us by the Department of Local Government. It is a high cost, but in so far as the Government has undertaken to recoup to the county councils who did this work the full cost of the turf produced by them—the cost whatever it is, we have to meet it, and that cost naturally inflates this average figure.
Mr. Norton: Could the Minister say, for instance, what the cost is of producing turf in Donegal and transporting it to Dublin? Could he give similar figures, say, for Kildare, Laoighis and Offaly?
Mr. Lemass: It would be much cheaper in Kildare.
Mr. Norton: I know that. Could the Minister give us the costs in each county?
Mr. Lemass: These are very detailed figures. I cannot give them now. It is the average figure which really matters. In so far as turf is produced in Donegal by the Donegal County Council at the Government's request, whatever it costs, the Government is under obligation to recoup the county council.
Mr. Larkin: Is it the Minister's Department or the Department of Local Government which checks the figures?
Mr. Lemass: The Department of Local Government. They are concerned with the finances. I do not think it is correct to assume, as I think Deputy Roddy assumed, that the costs of producing turf by the county councils are going to decrease. The indications are quite the reverse and I anticipate that next year it will be necessary for us to subsidise turf to a greater extent than has been necessary heretofore, that is to say if the present retail price is maintained unchanged.
The turf produced by private producers and acquired by Fuel Importers Limited from private producers is the least costly. Fuel Importers Limited is already operating the scheme which was suggested here by Deputy Roddy. They are arranging for the production of turf by contract by private producers. They, in fact, advertised for privately produced turf in local newspapers. They are willing to buy all that is offered to them and in fact during last year some 80,000 tons of such turf were acquired by Fuel Importers, Limited. I do not think it would be practicable to do what was suggested, namely, that we should make arrangements with groups of producers involving the advance of capital to  such producers. I do not say that it is impossible but the amount of organisation that would be involved in carrying out such an arrangement and in ensuring that the State got either the turf or its money back would be very considerable. There is no doubt about it that the most desirable thing is to encourage in every way the maximum production of turf by private producers, but Fuel Importers Limited must also be concerned to ensure that the price offered by them or the facilities offered by them do not induce private producers to sell that turf for transportation to a non-turf area to an extent that will create shortage of turf in the turf areas. Endeavours are made to estimate the turf requirements of each district and to limit the drawings upon the turf produced by private producers in each district so as to leave behind enough to avoid a fuel scarcity there.
May I say that all the calculations made by Deputy Dockrell appear to me to be beside the point? I have explained, of course, that the subsidy is required to make good the loss incurred by Fuel Importers Limited upon the turf sold by them up to this date. I think that statement will remove any fears Deputy Larkin has that this Supplementary Estimate involves a decision to give more money by way of an increased margin to fuel merchants.
We are merely now voting to Fuel Importers Limited the loss already incurred by them on turf sold. There is, of course, a contingent loss on all the turf they have still in stock, but the question of subsidy will not arise in relation to that turf until they sell it. It is only for the purpose of making good the difference between the amount they have taken in up to date and the amount they have paid out that this Vote is required. War-time costs of production have no relation to peace-time possibilities. I think that all the talk which has taken place here, suggesting that these experiences of recent years appear to imply that the original turf development programme was economically unsound, is complete nonsense. This is an emergency  scheme, undertaken almost regardless of cost in order to make good, and to make good quickly, the deficiency in an essential commodity created by the stoppage or curtailment of imports.
The long-term policy for turf, in my opinion, must be based upon mechanised production. Deputy Larkin may object to the use of what is known as the German method, but, in practice, we found that the method of mechanised production most suited to our circumstances was that which had been operated in Germany. We sent our experts abroad. They visited all the countries in which turf was being produced upon a large scale and in a mechanical manner. They visited Germany and they visited Russia. Different methods are adopted in Germany and Russia, but the circumstances of our bogs related more closely to those of Germany, and the machines designed to produce turf on the German bogs were considered most suitable to produce it here.
Mr. Larkin: Mr. Kennedy then was wrong in saying they never went to Russia?
Mr. Lemass: They did go to Russia.
Mr. Larkin: He told me definitely at the Vocational Commission that they did not.
Mr. Lemass: The Deputy is completely wrong. Let me say that the particular methods adopted in Russia were necessitated by the very high quantity of timber in the bogs. We assumed that no corresponding quantity of timber existed in our bogs, and consequently a different method of mechanised production would be possible. Whether that assumption is correct or not, I do not know, and maybe if it is found to be incorrect, the hydraulic method adopted in Russia very successfully would be equally suitable here. My belief, however, is that the future of turf production will be found to lie in mechanised output and in using the turf as near as possible to the bog and transporting the fuel, or the power it represents, by wire to the centres of population  in the form of electricity. The suggestion made here by some Deputy that the idea of developing electric power in turf-burning steam stations has been dropped is not correct. It has been suspended by reason of the fact that we cannot get the equipment, but one of the first steps in the post-war electricity generating development programme will, I hope, be the completion of the plans for a station adjacent to Clonsast bog.
A number of references were made to the turf camps, and may I say that the item of £25,000 in the Supplementary Estimate is mainly a re-vote? As I explained in introducing it, these camps were constructed some considerable time ago. The contractors were due to receive payment in respect of their work, and it was anticipated that they would be paid in the previous financial year, but some of them delayed submitting their accounts and consequently payment took place in the present financial year, and the amount must be voted again on this occasion. I think Deputy Connolly asked me—and some other Deputies also referred to the matter— whether conditions in the camp are suitable. I think the best indication I can give is that during last year there was a period in which the number of applications for employment in the camps considerably exceeded the number who could be accommodated, and that for the present year recruitment of workers for these camps is well up to expectations.
Mr. Larkin: How many strikes had you last year?
Mr. Lemass: Just one.
Mr. Larkin: Not at all. How many will you have this year, if you do not waken up?
Mr. Lemass: None, I hope. These camps are not like military posts which, for security reasons, have to be kept secret. They are there for anyone who likes to go down and see them, and I suggest that Deputies might consider it desirable to visit them occasionally. They will, I think,  find that the conditions are quite satisfactory and that there are in fact no general causes of discontent. There have been the ocasional rows which always arise when a large number of men are living together, seeing only each other from week to week, and having nothing to talk about but minor grievances.
Mr. Connolly: What I asked about was whether there was a form of inspection.
Mr. Lemass: There is a very complete system of inspection. Having mentioned Deputy Connolly's name, I should perhaps say a word about Louth. Deputy Connolly suggested that there might have been some discrimination against Louth. I think it is true to say that no area in the country got more attention from the Turf Board than County Louth, and particularly Dundalk and Drogheda. I should say also that there is no area in the country in which we got less co-operation from the fuel merchants than County Louth, and many of the difficulties which have arisen in that area from time to time would be reduced if we got there the same degree of co-operation—and that is not putting it very high—as we have got in other areas. Apparently the people of Louth are prepared to complain in circumstances in which other people would not do so, but whether that means that they are accustomed to greater luxuries, have a higher standard or are more prone to complain, I do not know.
Mr. Larkin: They are nearer the Border. That is the reason.
Mr. Lemass: Deputy Norton referred to grievances that exist in Carlow. Carlow is not in a non-turf area and, so far as Carlow is concerned, there are no restrictions on the fuel merchants there as to the sources of supply of turf and no limitations on the supply of turf. The turf supplied there is not the responsibility of Fuel Importers Limited. If turf of an unsatisfactory quality is being provided there, the responsibility is primarily, almost solely, that of the fuel merchants who are at liberty to draw turf from any source they like.
Mr. Norton: But if they do not do so, if they insist on supplying inferior and mouldy turf, surely the Minister has some responsibility?
Mr. Lemass: Throughout the turf areas, turf is a free commodity which can be sold freely in unrestricted quantities by persons who engage in that business. It is different in the non-turf areas where turf is provided by a Government organisation and sold subject to a fixed price, and subject also to a rationing scheme.
Mr. Norton: Might I suggest to the Minister that he ought to get a copy of a Land Commission map and tell me how many bogs there are in Carlow and where they are located?
Mr. Lemass: The point I want to make is that the Carlow merchant is free to draw turf from any place he can get it. The merchant in the non-turf area must take his turf from Fuel Importers Limited. He cannot get turf anywhere else. He is confined to the one source of supply while the Carlow merchant is not.
Mr. Norton: My point is: if the Carlow merchant insists on selling rubbish, has the Minister no responsibility, as Minister, for protecting the consumer?
Mr. Lemass: I should not like to answer that question without examining it. Normally, where there is a free commodity, the solution for the consumer who cannot get a satisfactory product from one merchant, is to go to another, and I am quite sure that there is more than one merchant in Carlow. If consumers exercise their right to go to the merchant who gives the best product, they will soon effect an improvement in the situation themselves. They must not leave it all to the Government.
Mr. Norton: Will you not do anything in the matter?
Mr. Lemass: I should like to have it established that the people of Carlow cannot do it themselves. They have the simple remedy open to every citizen.
Mr. Norton: Will you make inquiries?
Mr. Lemass: The function of Fuel Importers Limited, is to procure and distribute turf in the non-turf areas. They have no responsibility for turf supplied in Carlow. I want that clearly understood.
Mr. Norton: As Minister you have the responsibility.
Mr. Lemass: Where are you to draw the line? If somebody in the middle of the Bog of Allen sells a bag of bad turf to somebody else there, am I supposed to go down and rectify that?
Mr. Norton: Is that a serious contribution?
Mr. Lemass: It is a serious contribution.
Mr. Norton: Is that the answer to the people of Carlow?
Mr. Lemass: The answer is that the remedy is in their own hands. I am sure there are at least a dozen fuel merchants in Carlow. Some Deputy referred to the possibility of using turf for gas production. There are, of course, some smaller gas companies who are successfully using turf in gas production at present.
Mr. Larkin: In Limerick?
Mr. Lemass: I am not going to mention any particular place. But if there is an idea that the problem of gas supply, say in Dublin, could be modified or removed by utilising turf, I want to get rid of it straight away. The quantity of coal used by the Dublin Gas Company is roughly, I think, 5,000 tons per week.
Mr. Larkin: In normal times?
Mr. Lemass: In normal times. In so far as the rough method of assessing the value of turf in relation to coal is in the ratio of one and two, in normal times the production of gas required in Dublin by means of turf, assuming that the mechanical difficulties could be overcome, would involve a supply of 10,000 tons per week, or 500,000 tons per year, which is about the total production of turf for the non-turf areas.
 There is no real solution to the gas problem in non-turf areas by means of turf. All the turf being produced is, in fact, required either for domestic consumption or for reserve purposes, and very little, if any, could be released for gas production, and certainly could never make any appreciable difference.
Let me say a few words about the quality of turf. First of all, I think I should explain the precautions taken by Fuel Importers Limited, to see that only good quality turf reaches the fuel merchants. The turf is first inspected at the bog at the point of dispatch. Some Deputy, I think Deputy Norton, referred to the inspection of turf at the receiving point in Dublin. That is the second inspection. The turf is inspected initially at the point of dispatch, and any turf that is regarded by the inspectors as being unsuitable is rejected and not transported. There is transported such turf as is deemed to be suitable for immediate sale, and also turf which is deemed to be of such quality that, after a period in ricks, it will be suitable for sale. Every effort is naturally made to try to eliminate the transportation of material which will never be suitable for sale. That turf may deteriorate in transport.
There is a second inspection on arrival in Dublin. That inspection is carried out by the officers of Fuel Importers Limited, and is also carried out by the fuel merchants to whom the turf is delivered at seasons of the year when turf is suitable to be sent by a railway waggon right into the merchant's yard, where the merchant has facilities of that kind. He can, therefore, reject the turf if he regards it as unsuitable for sale to his customers, and the turf so rejected is taken to dumps and dumped. In time it is liable to dry out and become suitable for sale later. When the turf dumps are opened, and merchants are drawing supplies from the dumps, there is again a selective process. Every precaution is taken by Fuel Importers Limited, to see that the merchants get only good turf. The merchant is fully entitled to reject any turf which he regards as unsuitable.
 I think Deputies will agree that up to that stage the precautions taken to ensure that only suitable turf is in fact available for sale are as adequate as can be taken. There has been difficulty in securing the proper handling of turf by some merchants. I explained already that we are utilising for turf distribution coal merchants who are neither equipped nor organised for this particular business, and who regard it anyway as only a temporary matter upon which they should not incur capital expenditure. Many of these merchants do not keep the turf properly stored in yards, and do not deliver it under conditions which ensure that it reaches the consumer in a satisfactory manner.
Reference was made here to bellmen. I think that some Deputies know that one of the difficulties arising in Dublin at present is due to the fact that there has been a large increase in the proportion of the total sales of turf in Dublin effected by the bellmen. Deputy Tunney spoke as if the bellmen were the biggest offenders in the matter of the delivery of bad turf. I do not think that is true. I think the reason why a larger proportion of the total sales is being effected by bellmen is that in fact the bellmen are delivering turf in better condition than the merchants, who are losing trade.
Mr. Larkin: Because they are selecting it themselves. Deputy Tunney is not here. His point was the bad distribution—that they will not go into the far zones.
Mr. Lemass: I was not referring to that matter, but I will make some reference to it. I think it is necessary to emphasise that turf is not coal. Many problems that have arisen in relation to turf have been due to the fact that merchants and consumers have persisted in treating turf as if it were coal. Unlike coal, turf absorbs moisture. It will absorb moisture from the atmosphere. It will absorb moisture if exposed to rain. It will absorb moisture if not properly ricked. It will absorb moisture if it is placed on wet ground. A person who is living in a turf area and handling turf all his life will find it difficult to understand the  ignorance concerning turf and the methods of using it that exist among people who have never had any previous experience of it. It cannot be handled like coal. In turf areas, where turf is the normal fuel, it is produced with care. It is stored with care and care is taken to keep it dry. It is handled with great care until it is put into use. The technique of building a fire with turf is different from the technique of building a fire with coal. These facts are not fully appreciated and are the basis of a lot of the complaints one hears.
The Turf Development Board has been spending money upon publicity in the newspapers by way of advertisement trying to teach people who did not previously know it how turf should be stored and handled and how it should be utilised so as to get the best results. That publicity, plus the experience which has been gained in recent years, may help to improve the position in future. It is not enough to say that a sod of turf had 76 per cent. moisture in it. That sod of turf may have left the bog perfectly dry. It may have been sold to Fuel Importers, Limited, perfectly dry. It may even have reached the merchant's yard, or the depôt from which it was sold, perfectly dry. It still could absorb moisture, if not to that extent, at any rate to a considerable extent, if improperly stored and handled there. We cannot eliminate all causes of complaint, but we can eliminate most of them. If we were to try to do some of the things suggested, such as the thatching of turf ricks, or to take any other precautions, we could undoubtedly improve the situation, but we would also increase the cost very considerably.
Mr. Larkin: Putting tarpaulin over it would not increase the cost.
Mr. Lemass: I think the Deputy knows as well as I do that the provision of tarpaulin would be a matter of very considerable difficulty at present. I doubt if it can be got at all. These are physical problems. If we were to attempt in any of these ways to try to eliminate the causes of complaint, we would also have to face a very considerable  increase in cost. Turf can be kept reasonably dry if the ricks are properly made, and it should reach the consumers in a reasonably dry condition if the merchants exercise due care in storing it in their yards and in delivering it to the consumers.
It may be that we will have to devise some new system of dealing with merchants against whom complaints are made. I think the emergency has lasted sufficiently long to justify us in not being satisfied with the ad hoc and temporary arrangements which previously operated and, in order to obtain the best results, we may have to take more drastic measures to ensure that the merchants do their part of the business, if they are to be kept in business. In the last resort, the consumer is not under any obligation to take turf that is not suitable and, if he lodges a complaint with the Department of Supplies, prompt action will be taken to investigate and remedy it.
Mr. Norton: Does that apply in the turf areas as well?
Mr. Lemass: No. In the turf areas there is no supervision or control of sale. It is assumed that an unlimited supply is available for sale and there is full freedom of contract in relation to it.
Mr. Norton: Surely the Minister must realise that some areas which are described as turf areas are only nominally turf areas.
Mr. Lemass: If there is a suggestion that a certain area should be changed from being a turf area into being a non-turf area, that would have to be considered; but consequences follow from it—they include the rationing of turf and its sale at 64/- per ton. That is what happens in the non-turf areas to-day and, as a rule, most areas would consider it advantageous to be termed turf areas, as the supplies would be more freely available and the prices would be much lower. Deputy Cosgrave spoke about Lucan. I am familiar with the situation in Lucan. The story mentioned here sounds impressive—lorries  passing Lucan and bringing turf to Dublin, and turf being brought out again to Lucan. That story sounds convincing, but it is a phoney one. There is no reason why the people of Lucan cannot get all the turf they want, if they bring it by horse and cart. The story is built up by people who want petrol. The Deputy can take my word on that. The Deputy himself stated they have to bring it only seven or eight miles to Lucan from the bog. If they have only seven or eight miles to go, there is no reason why they cannot bring it by horse and cart.
Mr. Larkin: Why should the Minister not stack it in Lucan or put it in the tramway shed?
Mr. Lemass: The Deputy spoke about putting turf into a dump and was quite eloquent in drawing a picture of the refinery site. We have to store in Dublin 300,000 tons of turf and we have to store it in places so located and of such a nature that, when the turf is required by the citizens of Dublin, it is reasonably certain that it will be there. That involves locating it in some district where supervision is possible and, if the supervision is not to be unduly costly, it must be in relation to large stores of turf. Undoubtedly, it would be a great convenience for people in many districts in the suburbs of Dublin and outlying areas if there could be local turf depôts, but the establishment of such depôts would create a problem of supervision and protection which would be almost insoluble. The refinery site was selected because it was easily protected; the Park site can also be easily protected; but it is difficult to get other sites of similar dimensions.
Mr. Larkin: Why was the corporation stopped from putting up their own shops?
Mr. Lemass: The Deputy is mixing Fuel Importers, Limited, with the Dublin Corporation. The corporation fuel scheme is a separate matter. The responsibility of Fuel Importers, Limited, ceases when they deliver fuel to the corporation. The actual distribution  by the corporation through the various depôts is not a matter for the company. There is a problem, to which Deputy O'Sullivan referred, in the new areas, a problem which originated with the desire of the corporation to discourage the establishment of hucksters' shops in those areas. In other parts of Dublin, turf was sold from those hucksters' shops. The policy of the corporation to discourage that type of shop in those areas meant that there was, in fact, no local merchant selling turf. The bellmen who might have gone into that area found they could sell all the turf they would draw from the dumps nearer to the dumps. Consequently, the problem of distribution arose in regard to those areas which we hope will now be resolved by the corporation building turf stores, which will be rented by persons who will receive licences for that purpose.
Mr. L. Cosgrave: Are people free, in a non-turf area like Lucan, to bring it in themselves?
Mr. Lemass: Certainly. Let me refer now to a statement by Deputy Tunney in relation to Finglas parish council. The reason why we had to prohibit people in the non-turf area from going into the turf area to make their arrangements for the purchase of turf was that they would thereby use precisely the same men and precisely the same means of transport as Fuel Importers, Limited, would use to get turf from those areas—except that they would have the advantage of selective production in an area where the circumstances were good and, consequently, a supply of turf cheaper than the community as a whole could get it. Every time that any single individual or parish council or commercial organisation went into the turf area and cut, out of the available supply, the most attractive part of it, then, of course, the cost of the rest of the supply to Fuel Importers, Limited, would be increased.
Mr. Larkin: Why did the Minister allow one of his pets in Mount Street to do it?
Mr. Lemass: Any organisation is  allowed to do it, subject to certain conditions, published in the Press. For example, they must show that the labour that is employed is labour which would not normally be available for turf production. It must be supplied from the non-turf area or the turf must be for free distribution. There are certain other conditions, all of which I could not enumerate from memory.
Mr. Larkin: That applied to Finglas.
Mr. Lemass: I do not know the circumstances of the Finglas case but I am certain that nothing was done in regard to Finglas parish council which would not be done in similar circumstances in a case of any other organisation.
In regard to briquettes, the supply is limited to the productive capacity of the Lullymore works. These briquettes are brought to Dublin and are not being sold at present. They are in store as a reserve, except to the extent that some portion of the supplies is released to charitable organisations for free distribution.
Mr. Larkin: Ordinary commercial people are selling them openly in Dublin.
Mr. Lemass: Only charitable organisations are getting any supplies—organisations such as the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Deputy Larkin says that some person is getting those briquettes irregularly. I do not know of it and I would be glad to have any information he has to give us on that matter.
Mr. Larkin: I am not a stooge. It is for the Minister to look after his own business.
Mr. Lemass: The total output of briquettes is brought to Dublin and stored in Dublin as part of our emergency reserves of fuel for Dublin. No portion of that should be released except to charitable organisations for free distribution. If people are getting briquettes for sale, they are getting them irregularly and I would be very anxious to trace that irregularity.
Mr. Larkin: What about the men working on Clonsast Bog under the metric system?
Mr. Lemass: They were always paid on that system and there has been no change.
Mr. Larkin: They were not. Check that up.
Mr. Lemass: I think Deputy Davin was completely incorrect in saying that private producers in his area get only £1 per ton for their turf. I do not think there was anybody in his constituency who got less than 28/- per ton and some of them got 35/-. Deputy Flanagan referred to a shortage of turf in Birr. If there was a shortage in Birr, there is no one to blame but the people in Birr. They are living in the middle of a bog, with bogs all around them, and they have facilities for producing turf which most people in Ireland have not got. They certainly cannot blame the Government if they have not got turf to burn. With regard to the Bellair Bog, to which the Deputy referred, the county council worked that bog last year, but all the men they could get to work it were 20. The only reason, therefore, why the bog was not worked more extensively was because there were no more workers available.
Mr. Larkin: How could they? They were all up here in Dublin.
Mr. Lemass: With regard to the industrial firms which the Deputy mentioned who would be glad to get turf from the bog, I see no reason why they should not do what numerous industrial firms have done in other parts of the country, and that is to organise the production of turf themselves. I think that I have dealt with all the matters that were raised.
Mr. O'Leary: The merchants in my area are anxious to give good turf to the people, but how can they do that when the turf landed in the dumps is in a bad condition?
Mr. Lemass: There is a turf dump in Wexford and no merchant need  take from it turf which he regards as being unsuitable. I am not aware that any Wexford merchant has said that he is getting unsuitable turf.
Mr. O'Leary: Suppose a merchant goes down to the dump with his carters what is he to do if he cannot get suitable turf? Will the Minister take action?
Mr. Lemass: If a merchant makes a reasonable complaint that he cannot get good quality turf it will be investigated.
Mr. Norton: The Minister has promised that if a merchant makes a complaint it will be investigated. Why will the Minister not investigate a complaint by a consumer that he cannot get good quality turf?
Mr. Lemass: We do investigate every such complaint in the non-turf areas.
Mr. Norton: Deputy O'Leary is not talking about a non-turf area.
Mr. Lemass: He is.
Mr. Allen: Is it not a fact that it is the merchants' own carters who take the turf out of the dumps?
Mr. Lemass: Yes.
Mr. O'Leary: They are hired carters.
Mr. H.M. Dockrell: I asked the Minister what was the total cost to the country of the turf that we are producing, and he dismissed that by saying that my calculations were irrelevant. Perhaps they may be, but I want to know if they are correct.
Mr. Lemass: No. They are completely incorrect.
Mr. H.M. Dockrell: I gave the figures: turf £3 4s. per ton; subsidy £1 8s. 10d.; loss on Turf Development Board £1, making a total of £5 12s. 10d. Will the Minister say what is wrong with that statement?
Mr. Lemass: I do not know what the Deputy means by the cost to the  country. The cost of turf to the country would be difficult to determine. I presume that he would not regard the money paid to turf producers as the cost to the country in the same way that he would regard the money paid to coal producers in England for coal as a cost to the country. We could follow that line of argument to infinity. What would be the cost to the country if we had no turf?
Mr. H.M. Dockrell: I want to know what is the total cost of a ton of turf?
Mr. Lemass: It varies from county to county, from district to district and from one time of the year to another.
Mr. H.M. Dockrell: I am suggesting that it is £5 12s. 10d.
Mr. Lemass: No. The total cost of all turf handled by Fuel Importers, Limited, including turf produced in all parts of the country and under all circumstances by county council organisations, by private producers, by the Turf Development Board and transported to Dublin, stored in Dublin and sold out of dumps in Dublin, is 75/7.
Mr. H.M. Dockrell: I do not know why the Minister will not correct my figure if it is wrong. I have given the details: turf, £3 4s. 0d. per ton; subsidy, £1 8s. 10d.; loss on Turf Development Board, £1, making a total of £5 12s. 10d.
Mr. Lemass: The answer is incorrect.
Mr. Linehan: May I have one point that was raised by Deputy Byrne cleared up? He mentioned that there was a 73 per cent. moisture in the turf. Can the Minister say what is the moisture content in a perfectly dry sod of turf?
Mr. Lemass: About 35 per cent.
Mr. Linehan: It is well, I think, to have that information made available for the people.
Mr. Larkin: I imagine that in first-class turf the moisture content would be under 20 per cent.
Mr. Linehan: Is it not a fact that, at Lyracrompane, they took steps to  reduce the moisture in turf to 18 per cent. and that is was a complete failure?
Mr. Lemass: Yes.
Question put and agreed to.
Minister for Justice (Mr. Boland): I move:—
That a supplementary sum not exceeding £18,264 be granted to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 1944, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Gárda Síochána (No. 7 of 1925, No. 10 of 1926, No. 5 of 1937, and No. 19 of 1941); and for certain Expenses of the Local Security Force including Grants-in-Aid (No. 28 of 1939).
The Supplementary Estimate is for the sum of £18,264. The gross additional sum required is £36,084, but bigger receipts from Appropriations-in-Aid and savings on other sub-heads take £17,820 off that sum.
Short explanations of the various items will be found on the back of the Estimate. It will be seen that under sub-head A (Salaries, Wages and Pay) the increase in the emergency bonus calls for an extra sum of over £10,000. A saving of over £6,000 on other items of this sub-head brings the required amount down to £4,000. Increases in the prices of clothing, equipment, furniture, bedding, etc., account for the additional sums required under sub-heads E and F. Subsistence Allowance (sub-head C) is responsible for the additional sum of £6,000 due mainly, as indicated, to claims arising from crime investigations and work on last year's Register of Population.
Under sub-head H (Transport and Carriage) there is an additional provision of £10,390. Most of this sum is required for the equipment of police cars with gas-producer units. It is proposed to fit some 80 cars in this way, at an average cost of about £100 per car. At the time when the Supplementary Estimate was prepared, it was hoped that this work would be completed  before the end of the present financial year and, therefore, the entire sum necessary was included in this Estimate, but it seems unlikely now that the work will be completed before the end of March and some of the cost will, therefore, probably be thrown into the next financial year.
An additional sum of £3,357 is necessary for Incidental Expenses (sub-head N). This is made up of two items as shown on the back of the Estimate, and I may perhaps explain that the item of £1,817 for ammunition and miscellaneous equipment is not in respect of recent purchases but is merely the settlement of a long delayed account between the Gárdaí and the Defence Forces. The equipment was handed over by the Defence Forces to the Gárdaí three or four years ago.
The increase under sub-head O is due to the fact that we have been able to do more than we anticipated in the way of providing uniform for the L.S.F., though still less than we would like to do. We have supplied about 30,000 uniforms and about the same number of caps, and hope to supply some thousands more and about 5,000 ground sheets before the end of the financial year. I may say, also, although it is not strictly within the scope of this Estimate, that after the end of the present financial year we hope to supply 10,000 overcoats and 1,000 serge uniforms, and to improve the position as regards the supply of boots. Under sub-head R (Appropriations-in-Aid) there is an increase of £4,830, mainly due to the high prices now fetched by the sale of old uniforms and stores.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: From this side of the House no opposition will be raised to this Supplementary Estimate. We understand that owing to the increased cost of living, owing to the increased cost of everything, the cost of maintenance of the Guards must be higher than it was. Indeed, if I were to criticise this Estimate at all I would think that the sum of £10,000 is a comparatively small sum for an increase of the  salaries of the Guards in comparison with the enormous increase that there has been in the cost of living. The total salaries and wages come to £1,701,076 and an addition of £10,000 strikes me as being extraordinarily small.
Mr. Boland: That was for less than three months.
Mr. Moran: In connection with the sub-head for which the sum of £6,000 is being provided, I understand that the allowance given to some of the men engaged in crime investigation is very small, considering their expenses, and I should like to ask the Minister, if possible, to increase it. There has been an increase in the work of some of these officers, and on occasions they are obliged to meet expenses that are not recognised by the Department. I should like also, in cases of special merit, where some of these officers get special recommendations from a court, that there should be some award in a financial way. It would encourage the diligent officers. Even diligent officers get tried after a number of years receiving just “Thank you” from the Department, particularly in view of the scales of pay of some of these men.
In connection with the section of the Vote dealing with the L.S.F., I might mention that there are complaints throughout the country that equipment is very slow in coming to them and that is particularly so in the area which I represent. I should like the Minister to speed up matters in this connection, if that is possible. I am also of the opinion that if there was a different control for the L.S.F., if they were under the Army authorities instead of under the Gárda forces, it would mean greater efficiency and better co-ordination. The L.S.F. in some places seems to be regarded as an unwanted baby by some officers in the Gárda forces, with the result that the men are dissatisfied and the organisation is not progressing as well as it should progress. There is a lack of confidence in that organisation so far as the Gárda authorities are concerned. I think it would lead to greater efficiency if the L.S.F. were controlled in the same way as the L.D.F., by the Army authorities.
Mr. L. Cosgrave: I think most Deputies will agree with the Minister, the first Minister for Justice of a Fianna Fáil Administration who has resolutely set his face against disorder and lawlessness. I should like to ask him if he is satisfied with the number of Gárda who are on crime investigation. There is a general feeling that the growth of crime is more or less uncontrolled and that the measures which have been taken are insufficient, particularly in this city, where a kind of gang warfare appears to be in progress. A good deal of it goes on amongst rival gangs, but at the same time it is doing considerable damage to citizens who are not members of any particular gang. If the Minister is not satisfied with the situation following the investigations of his police officers, it might be well if he were to augment that force.
The general complaint appears to be that the Guards are overworked, at any rate in this city and the suburban areas, in dealing with crime. If the Minister is not satisfied that sufficient officers are engaged on this work, he should transfer men from other work to carry on these particular investigations.
I should like the Minister to endeavour, if possible, to station married Guards in areas where it would be possible for them to get housing accommodation. I have had complaints from married men who find it impossible to get suitable accommodation. I know it is not very easy to interfere in the administration of the force to the extent that married men should be sent here and unmarried men there, but I think if the Minister made investigations he would find that in many cases it is impossible for the married men to get suitable accommodation.
Dr. O'Higgins: I am glad to see in this Vote that some further provision is being made in the direction of equipping and clothing the L.S.F. The L.S.F., so far, in the way of finance, has been treated as the Cinderella of the emergency forces. If any one of us was present at a State function during the past 12 months, the number of gorgeous uniforms would remind one of the glorious days of Potsdam, but the  poor L.S.F. are still there in whatever kind of calico was given them. I am very pleased to see this provision, slight as it is, being made.
I would be sorry to think that Deputy Moran's experience was in anyway general; that is, that the Gárda are inclined to look on the L.S.F. as a nuisance, or as an unwanted force. In the course of my functions as a member of the Defence Conference, I have visited a great number of constituencies in connection with reviews of the various emergency forces, and my experience is very different from that of the Deputy. I find police sergeants and other officers of the Gárda more or less resentful that most of the recruiting platforms are utilised for recruiting for the Army and the L.D.F. and sufficient enthusiasm is not thrown into the effort to build up the L.S.F. to greater strength. I think that the most important force of all the emergency forces is the L.S.F. In the L.S.F. we are building up an auxiliary police force, an unpaid, voluntary police force. Through them we are disseminating a knowledge of the law. There cannot be respect for anything that we have not knowledge of and the more we spread a knowledge of the law the more will respect for the law be developed. At some of the functions held by the L.S.F. I was amazed at the amount of knowledge of police work, police regulations and simple law that has been absorbed by the ordinary rank and file member of the L.S.F. I think any little tribute that this House could pay to that voluntary organisation is more than due. It is regrettable that so many regular attenders, men who attend one and two nights a week, who appear at every parade and carry out all the duties given to them, are unemployed. I think there is something heroic in the make-up of an unemployed citizen of the State who still finds the State worthy of his voluntary effort and support. I think we could give some kind of recognition to the value of the voluntary services of these people. Remember, it is really an unpaid part-time auxiliary police force that we have built up. We could give some  little recognition, pay some tribute, to what they have done for the State and on behalf of the citizens of the State, if some machinery were devised to give some small preferences to members of such bodies when it comes to employment directly out of State funds. If something of that kind were developed, it would at least show that we appreciate the value of their services and that we appreciate the example in citizenship which they have set for the rest of us. It is not asking much that when there is employment going, there should be a firm preference for a man who has shown himself a good citizen in spite of hard luck, unemployment and destitution and who comes along to give his time and thoughts and energy voluntarily.
Mr. Norton: The Minister mentioned a sum of approximately £10,000 required for the purpose of purchasing a launch and equipping police-cars with gas-producer plants. He said that that expenditure was not foreseen when the Estimate was prepared in the first instance. Has this work been carried out?
Mr. Boland: Not yet.
Mr. Norton: Does the Minister anticipate that it will be necessary to have a sum of £10,000 by the end of the financial year, which is only six weeks away?
Mr. Boland: I said that we would not be able to spend it by the end of the year. I do not think we will.
Mr. Norton: Is the Minister merely making provision for it because the liability originates in this year?
Mr. Boland: That is correct, yes.
Mr. Larkin: Has any provision been made against accidents to the L.S.F. resulting in disability or death?
Mr. Boland: There is a regulation governing that for the L.S.F. and the L.D.F.
Mr. Larkin: Is it the same as the provision for A.R.P.?
Mr. Boland: They are all on the same basis.
Mr. Larkin: I suggest that it is time a proper uniform was provided for the L.S.F. The dungarees at present provided are not fit clothing for outdoor wear in this inclement weather. Even if it cost a little more, I think the House would vote the money for it. I think the provision of a proper uniform would be an even greater inducement to men to join the L.S.F. and better appreciation of their services than the suggestion by Deputy O'Higgins. Why not give them proper clothing if the clothing is available?
Mr. Boland: That is just the point. Unfortunately, it is not available. It is not a question of money.
Mr. Larkin: In that case one can only suggest that when the time is opportune the Minister will see that a proper uniform is provided.
Mr. Boland: I can assure the Deputy that we are constantly watching the situation to try to get it, when available.
Mr. Larkin: In regard to the question of the housing of Gárda officers, is the rent allowance the same for all officers or is there a differential on account of area?
Mr. Boland: There is.
Mr. Larkin: Would it not be a good thing to put aside a sum of money and to acquire land from the corporation for the building of houses for these officers? There is a great burden upon us in providing housing accommodation for these men. Some of them are young married officers and I think provision ought to be made for that purpose.
Mr. Flanagan: I would like to make one request to the Minister, which is the request that has just been made by Deputy Larkin, that housing accommodation should be provided for members of the Gárda Síochána. In towns in the midlands where cottages are erected under the Housing of the Working Classes Act, members of the Gárda Síochána are applying for these  houses. There is a case in my constituency where the county manager gave a member of the Gárda Síochána a house, with the result that an ordinary labouring man, one of the persons for whom the houses were built under the Act, was deprived of the house. I think the Government should provide housing accommodation according to the number of Guards in each station. I would be very glad if the Minister would make a note of that suggestion and do what he can to have it implemented. Before I conclude, I wish to raise a very important matter. I think I am in order in doing so as this is a Supplementary Estimate for the Minister's Department.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy is in order in discussing on a Supplementary Estimate any item that is in the Estimate, but nothing else.
Mr. Flanagan: The Estimate deals with members of the Gárda Síochána, and I would just like to ask the Minister if he is aware that political influences are used in the Gárda Síochána? I am very sorry to have to say it.
An Ceann Comhairle: I fear the Deputy is now outside this Estimate. Perhaps he would indicate which item in this Estimate the point comes under.
Mr. Flanagan: With all due respect to your ruling, Sir, the money, of course, is for the Gárda Síochána and I am referring to the Gárda Síochána.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy appreciates what I said better than he pretends. On a Supplementary Estimate it is permitted to discuss the actual items of that Estimate, not the general administration of the Department or the policy of the Department. The recruitment of Guards is not in this.
Mr. Flanagan: Could the Minister state when the ordinary Estimate of his Department will be introduced in this year?
Mr. Boland: I cannot give an approximate date, but it will be in the very near future.
Mr. Flanagan: Then, Sir, I will not deal with the matters with which I was about to deal. I will keep them in store, but the Minister has got an inkling of what he will get on that Estimate.
Mr. Connolly: There is one sub-head —C—to which I think I can with propriety address my remarks. It mentions work done in connection with crime investigation. I should like to have from the Minister some indication as to the necessity for this provision for crime investigation, whether it has been in connection with crime against property or against persons or whether it has been political crime. I should like to know what has occasioned the extra expenditure of £6,000 under this sub-head. It may perhaps be, as I would expect, that the increase in crime spread over the whole year— because this Supplementary Estimate covers a period of only a couple of months—shows that we are rather a peacefully disposed nation and that crime in fact is decreasing. If this figure is evidence of a decrease in crime, I should like the Minister to make the fact public, because it will have an important bearing upon many things, even of a political nature, in this country.
With regard to crime investigation, although there may have been a decrease in crime generally, I think it has been admitted that there has been an increase in juvenile delinquency, and I should like to know whether any part of this additional sum is in respect of the investigation, correction and treatment of juvenile delinquency. Although it is a thorny subject, perhaps the Minister will address himself to the question which I raised previously of the appointment of full-time probation officers to handle this matter.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy has strayed again.
Mr. Flanagan: Might I ask if it is in order, arising out of crime investigation, for a district justice, a State solicitor and a superintendent of the Guards to “confab” before a certain case is heard? Where is the justice in that?
An Ceann Comhairle: The Minister for Justice would scarcely answer that.
Mr. Flanagan: If we are to have proper law in the country, surely a superintendent, a State solicitor and a district justice should not have a consultation before judgment is passed on the unfortunate victim, whose coffin, I suggest, is made before he dies.
Mr. Moran: They should consult the Deputy.
Mr. M.E. Dockrell: Before I became a member of the House, it seems to me that I read that the health of the Gárda Síochána was not what we would like it to be. I think it was stated that there was a higher incidence of tuberculosis amongst the Guards than there should be. We know that the work is laborious but one would think that it was healthily laborious.
An Ceann Comhairle: That would be a matter for the main Vote. The Minister might not be in a position to answer now.
Mr. M.E. Dockrell: Perhaps not, but I raise it in connection with the item for clothing, bedding, equipment and so on. Has the Minister got that aspect constantly before him?
Mr. Boland: I am not prepared to deal with that now as I did not expect the matter to be raised on this Estimate, but when the main Estimate comes up, I hope I shall be able to satisfy the Deputy on the point.
Mr. M.E. Dockrell: I will raise it then.
Mr. O'Leary: Is the Minister providing any money in this Estimate for extra bonuses for the Guards? The ordinary worker is getting 11/- bonus and the Guards have to keep up a certain standard and some of them have large families. I should like to know if this Estimate provides any money for bonuses for them.
Mr. Boland: If the Deputy reads the explanations on the back of the Estimate, he will see that the £10,000 is for emergency bonus payable to the Guards. I admit that it is a small item and I would like to see it much more, but it is only for a quarter of the year. The question of the L.S.F. was raised by Deputy O'Higgins, and I, too, should like to take the opportunity of paying a tribute to the work they have done. Everything Deputy O'Higgins said about them is correct. I have travelled around the country to a fair extent and I have been at several of these conferences. We always had complaints, and very well justified complaints, about the way they were treated in regard to clothing and equipment, but I have never yet heard any complaint of the kind to which Deputy Moran referred. I have not yet met any officer of the Gárda who expressed anything but appreciation of the work they are doing, and I never heard it suggested, although it may be so in his area, that their work was not highly appreciated by the Guards. I know that all the principal officers of the Guards speak very highly of their work.
I personally felt very much the fact that we had not been able to supply clothing and equipment for them, but it was not a question of finance. It was a question of getting the material, and, as soon as we can get the material for these uniforms, we shall do so. The Army and the L.D.F., as I think everyone will agree and as the L.S.F. men themselves agree—the L.D.F. would be expected to turn out with the Army in case of invasion or military action—had to get the first available equipment, but that does not mean that we did not fully appreciate the good work the L.S.F. were doing and we will do all we can to equip them as well as possible.
With regard to housing, although it may not be altogether a matter for this Estimate, I should like to say that one of the schemes which we have put before the reconstruction committee set up by the Government is a scheme for the provision of housing for married Gárda when the emergency  is over. I fully realise that it is very awkward for Guards when they are sent down the country and cannot get accommodation. It causes great trouble, and we are very well aware of it, but we have put our proposal before this reconstruction committee as one of the matters to be. tackled when the emergency is over. As everyone knows, houses cannot be built before then. I have explained that I cannot deal with the question of the health of the Guards as I did not expect the matter to be raised.
With regard to the point raised by Deputy Moran about the cost of investigating crime, this relates to the cost of investigating crime generally. There is one particular case, a murder case, which is being investigated, which has not been solved yet and which has already cost £2,000. That gives an idea of the cost of crime investigation.
Mr. Flanagan: Could the Minister say whether that is due to neglect?
Mr. Boland: It is not due to neglect at all, but to trying to bring people to justice for a murder, to trying to get evidence which will enable the Guards to bring the people responsible to justice. It is unfortunately not an easy thing to get people to come forward and help, and that is one item alone which cost £2,000. The amount here is for general investigation of crime. Juvenile delinquency is a big question which I think we ought not to go into now, but if Deputy Connolly is prepared to wait until the main Estimate comes up, we can debate the whole matter. To reassure the public, however, I am glad to be able to say that recent reports which I have got from the Commissioner tend to show that there is no increase in crime as compared with last year, but that it is still about twice as heavy as in normal times. Last year, when introducing the Estimate, I had to say that there was a very big increase in crime, but the Commissioner tells me that we have now passed the peak and are going down. I am glad to be able to say that, because I felt very bad last year when I had to say that it was still  going up. However, it has been halted, as I hope, permanently.
Mr. Connolly: How much of the money is devoted to the register of population—that very useful work done by the Guards?
Mr. Boland: I could not say.
Mr. Connolly: Do they get special allowances for that work?
Mr. Boland: If the Deputy will look at the back of the Estimate, he will get all the information I have. I could not give the exact amount.
Mr. Connolly: The Minister mentioned £2,000 in respect of a murder case, which leaves £4,000 for general crime investigation and work on the register.
Mr. Boland: What the amount is I could not say.
Mr. Connolly: Does it not seem very little in view of the value of the work?
Mr. Boland: I did not mean to say that the whole £2,000 was included in this particular amount. In one particular case, the amount involved to date is £2,000 and the case has not been solved yet. I mentioned it merely as an indication of what expenses may have to be incurred in the investigation of crime. This item is for general incidental expenses. I have not got the full details and I do not think it is usual to go into the full details on a Supplementary Estimate. The Deputy will have to pardon me if I cannot give the details because I have not got them here.
Mr. Flanagan: In what county was this crime committed?
Mr. Boland: I will not say anything about it.
Sir John Esmonde: Would it be in order to ask the Minister how long these investigations have been going on?
Mr. Boland: About two years.
Question put and agreed to.
Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Little): I move:—
That a supplementary sum not exceeding £80,245 be granted to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 1914, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (45 and 46 Vict., c.74; 8 Edw. 7, c. 48; 1 and 2 Geo. 5, c. 26; The Telegraph Acts, 1863 to 1928; No. 14 of 1940 (secs. 30 and 31); No. 14 of 1942 (sec. 23); etc.), and of certain other Services administered by that Office.
I should like to say that the general Estimate will be coming on very soon and I hope there will not be a general debate on the matters which I bring forward and which are very limited in scope.
The provision for the service of the Post Office for the financial year ending on 31st proximo, already sanctioned by the Dáil, amounts to a net total of £2,732,210. Due to causes which could not have been anticipated, this provision will be inadequate and, to cover essential expenditure up to the end of the financial year, an additional £80,245 will be required. The actual excess over the approved Estimate amounts to £126,235, but there are offsets of £14,115 from increased Appropriations-in-Aid and of £31,925 from general savings, leaving the net excess £80,245.
Emergency bonus payments account for £40,580 of the additional sum required. Of this amount £38,320 falls under sub-heads A (1) to A (4); £1,850 under sub-head I; £250 under N (1), and £160 under O (1). The causes of other increases are, broadly, as follows:—
Sub-heads A (1) to A (4), £33,975. The additional provision is in respect of extra staff to cope with increased telegraph, telephone and telegraph money order traffic which continues to grow as a result of emergency conditions; increased fuel voucher business; special customs examination of outgoing parcels; extra cost involved by the general election in June of last year, etc.
 Sub-head I (1), £10,000. This is due to curtailment of telephone construction works, the cost of which falls on telephone capital, in favour of maintenance and renewal works the cost of which is borne on the Vote.
Mr. O'Leary: I wish to call attention to the fact that a quorum is not present. This is a very important Estimate that is going through and there is no one on the Labour Party Benches.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy formally calls the attention of the Chair to the fact that there is not a quorum present.
Notice taken that 20 Deputies were not present; House counted, and 20 Deputies being present,
Mr. Little: Owing to difficulty in obtaining supplies of engineering stores new construction work is being restricted as far as reasonably practicable.
Sub-head I (2), £3,500. This is due to increased rates of subsistence allowance for engineering staff. Sub-head R £16,885. This is due mainly to replacement of plant, etc., destroyed in one Post Office factory fire in November, 1942. Sub-head N (1), £1,750. This is due to payments in respect of death and marriage gratuities being greater than anticipated.
Sub-head N (3), £2,500. This sub-head provides for payments on behalf of the British Government to Post Office pensioners under the agreement dated 27th June, 1929, interpreting and supplementing Article X of the Treaty of 6th December, 1921. The amount involved is recovered from the British Administration and taken credit for as an Appropriation-in-Aid under sub-head T (12). The increase is due to higher cost-of-living bonus.
Sub-head O (1), £4,035. This represents increased staff costs in the Savings Bank due to the growth of business. Sub-head Q (2), £13,060. This is in respect of additional wireless equipment required for the Shannon Airport. The Post Office acts as agent for the Department of Industry and Commerce in regard to civil aviation and meteorological wireless services.
 As already mentioned, receipts under sub-head T (Appropriations-in-Aid) have increased by £14,115, due to additional services performed for other administrations, for the Savings Bank, etc. Against the excess expenditure there are savings totalling £31,925, made up of £24,425 under sub-head E (1), due to decreased payments for the conveyance of letter mails by rail following curtailment of train services; and £7,500 under sub-heads G (1) and G (2), due mainly to delays in delivery of mail bags, cycles and uniform clothing by contractors.
Mr. Dillon: I always find difficulty in criticising the Post Office, because my experience with that Department is one of unfailing courtesy and a desire to assist any citizen of the State who wants assistance. It is always available to anyone who goes to the G.P.O. or the Minister's Department. Nevertheless, I notice that the Minister speaks of the sub-head of the Supplementary Estimate relating to telephone supplies. I do not think we can let any Estimate pass this House referring to telephone supplies, without reminding the Minister how gravely remiss he has been in failing to make adequate provision for the telephone traffic and without expressing the hope that, if and when supplies become available again, the telephone problem will be approached, not on the old basis of waiting for the demand before creating the supply, but intelligently anticipating the demand and keeping the supply of telephone facilities at least 12 months ahead of the existing demand.
I appreciate very warmly the resource and the energy with which the Department has sought to provide telephones in isolated cases where real necessity has been shown, albeit we all know the Department is labouring under very great difficulties at present. Whether the defect in the trunk system to rural Ireland is capable of further remedy than has already been done, out of the limited resources, is a matter on which I would like information from the Minister. Time and time again in this House, I remember Deputy Boland when Minister for Posts and Telegraphs—and that is long  enough ago—saying most blandly that, if I ever had to wait for more than 10 minutes for a trunk call, he would like to hear about it, as he would regard that as excessive delay. I never got a trunk call in my life since then within 10 minutes—except once, when I was not ready to take it. The average delay on a trunk call is 20 to 40 minutes and, sometimes, when traffic is heavy, you may have to wait over an hour.
My main experience of trunk calls is from Roscommon to Dublin. I gladly testify to the fact that, when this delay was brought to the attention of the Department of Posts and Telegraphs, they provided an additional line from the town where I live to Sligo. That has relieved the congestion but, while we can get in a hop-step-and-jump to Sligo, there we stop and sit waiting to get on to Dublin, as I say, for periods ranging from 20 to 80 minutes.
If that is not remediable, I think that the Minister should have a guilty conscience for his failure to have anticipated that demand. More especially, I think the Minister should have a guilty conscience when he thinks what might happen to the communications of this country in times of emergency, if they are breaking down so badly in the times of comparative normalcy that obtain at present. I know that military requirements put a substantial additional burden on the equipment, but the burden would be far greater if anything like warlike activities were going on in the country. Therefore, not only for reasons of commerce and not only for amenity reasons, but for strategic reasons, the telephone trunk service of this country should always anticipate the demand by at least-one year, and preferably by five.
I would like to take this occasion to reassure this second Minister for Posts and Telegraphs whom. I have addressed on this particular subject, that no fault will ever be found with the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs for providing excessive telephone services; but, unless and until adequate services are supplied, recurring complaints must be heard on the floor of this House, notwithstanding  the unfailing courtesy of the staff over which he presides.
Mr. L. Cosgrave: I have only a short reference to make to two matters which were raised before the Minister. Can he say whether he has done anything to improve the existing supply to Balbriggan? I told him on one occasion that there were only two lines and one of them was nearly always choked by military usage because of the large camp near the town, the telephone traffic coming directly through Balbriggan. Secondly, could he do anything to improve the hours of postal deliveries in semi-urban areas like Clonsilla and Templeogue, where the post is not delivered until about 10.30 in the morning? If you want to collect letters before going to town you have to call at the post office or waylay the postman on the way in.
An Ceann Comhairle: That is a matter for the general Vote, there being no reference to it on this Vote.
Mr. Kennedy: I have officially drawn the attention of the Department to the fact that it takes an hour and a half or two hours to make a telephone call from any point in Westmeath—say from Castlepollard—to a nearby town. I have asked for a remedy for that but the people have not got it. There is a big business connection between the two towns.
Mr. Connolly: I am sure we will all be interested to know, in reference to this Estimate, whether the Minister is making any special provision to handle the very increased volume of work, particularly at local post offices, which will occur as a result of the implementation of the Children's Allowances Act. I wonder whether he would give some information as to whether he is taking this matter into consideration particularly in regard to rural districts where perhaps the ordinary resident in drawing the allowances has quite a distance to go.
An Ceann Comhairle: What item in the Vote does that come under?
Mr. Connolly: I was trying to find it.
An Ceann Comhairle: I failed and would like some assistance. It is a matter of general administration and does not arise.
Mr. Connolly: I will leave that to the main Estimate. I would like the Minister to give some information regarding sub-head T (11)—Appropriations-in-Aid—receipts from the British Administration for staffing the wireless stations.
Mr. Norton: The Deputy wishes to know why the British pay us.
Mr. Ó Clérigh: This Estimate provides for an additional bonus to post office workers, and I take it that some part of that bonus will go to the lower-paid grades particularly rural postmen and part-time postmen. I would like the Minister to consider their position at the first available opportunity. Owing to present difficulties, the wages paid to post office workers, such as part-time postmen, who are full-time workers, are scandalously low and, if at all possible, an early opportunity should be taken to give them a further increase in the bonus now being paid, in order to give them a reasonably decent wage for the laborious work they have to do at the moment.
Mr. Little: I am sorry that Deputy Dillon has left the House as I would like him to have heard in propria persona the answer to his query. Our position was very strong at the beginning of the war. We had a three years' supply. I was really very much impressed by the work done by our officials in connection with the amount of supplies and their quickness off the mark, even up to the last minute, when it was possible to bring in supplies.
If it had not been for that ability we would be in a very grave plight to-day for supplies, as a great deal of them were taken up with our emergency services all over the country. Lines had to be laid at all points along the coast, and so on, which took up a great deal of our material. The trunk system has improved considerably, indeed. I do not know when Deputy Dillon last tried the trunk calls, but I have heard nothing but praise since  we opened the new trunk centre in Exchequer Street. The position now is that there has been a very great increase in trunk call traffic.
In the past few years, due to the emergency conditions affecting supplies, transport, etc., the total number of trunk calls last year—1943—was 5,944,000 as compared with 3,297,000 in 1938, an increase of 80 per cent. Increase of traffic would, under normal conditions, be met by additional trunk lines throughout the country but, owing to shortage of line construction stores and exchange equipment, it is not possible to provide all the lines required. Considering the difficult conditions, however, the trunk service is reasonably good and delay is not excessive, except on cross-channel calls and on some of the long-distance internal routes such as Cork, Limerick and Sligo during the peak hours of traffic. Possibly Deputy Linehan was referring in particular to the Sligo line. The recent opening of the new trunk exchange has resulted in a considerable improvement of service in Dublin. The speed of answer on calls to “0” for Trunks and to “31” for Inquiries has fallen to an average of about four seconds and, when lines are free, trunk calls are connected at once without the caller leaving the telephone. This condition obtains throughout the greater part of the day on most of the routes from Dublin except on certain long-distance routes to which I have already referred. Delay also occurs at times on point-to-point traffic in various parts of the country owing to inadequacy of lines, but every effort is being made to give as good a service all round as conditions permit.
Deputy Cosgrave raised two matters. One was in reference to Balbriggan. The position now is that there are additional circuits from Dublin to certain places from which complaints were coming, including Newbridge and the Curragh Camp. There is a circuit from Dublin to Balbriggan. This extra circuit accommodation, together with the improved conditions following from the opening of the new exchange in Exchequer Street, has resulted in the almost complete elimination of  delays to the places mentioned even during the busiest hours of the day.
The Deputy also made a complaint on the main Estimate last year in reference to deliveries in places like Castleknock. I have before me a list of the changes made due to emergency conditions. Previously the deliveries at Castleknock were at 7.40 a.m. Now they are at 7.50 a.m. At Chapelizod they were at 7.35 a.m., and they are still at that hour. At Clonsilla they were at 7.55 a.m. and now they are at 8 a.m. At Templeogue they were at 7.50 a.m. and now they are at 8 a.m. As the Deputy will see, the difference is not very great.
Mr. L. Cosgrave: In giving the time, does the Minister mean the time of delivery from the General Post Office, or the hour of the delivery of the mail to the people?
Mr. Little: The hours that I have given refer to the actual hours of delivery at the Post Office. The deliveries to the people should commence within a quarter of an hour or so later.
Mr. L. Cosgrave: The postmen are very efficient.
Mr. Little: If there were any reason for complaints, it would be well to get people to make them to the Department. Deputy Kennedy raised the question of trunk calls. I have already answered that in reply to Deputy Dillon's question. Deputy Connolly raised the question of certain Appropriations-in-Aid. These are telegraph services in which, I think, the British have always co-operated. They are at Malin Head and Valentia.
Deputy O Cléirigh raised the question of the bonus and remuneration for sub-postmasters. It would be well to bear in mind that these officers' employment is not of a full-time character. In fact, they do not in practice depend on the Post Office for their sole income. In practically all cases they are engaged in business of one kind or another. Moreover, the  numerous applications for sub-office vacancies and the energy with which they are pursued do not suggest that sub-postmasters regard the remuneration offered as being inadequate. In cases where there are exceptional circumstances, special consideration is given to the amount of remuneration to be paid. It is unnecessary for me to mention again what the general scale of the bonus is. That is a matter which has already been dealt with.
Mr. Connolly: Will the Minister say who employs the staff at Malin Head and Valentia?
Mr. Little: We employ the staff and pay a certain amount. There is a certain amount of inter-communication.
Mr. Norton: I congratulate the Minister on having all the answers ready before the questions were asked. It was excellent.
Vote put and agreed to.
Minister for Agriculture (Dr. Ryan): I move:—
That a supplementary sum not exceeding £10 be granted to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 1944, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Agriculture, and of certain services administered by that Office, including sundry Grants-in-Aid.
Under sub-head G (3)—Fertiliser Schemes—we are asking for a sum of £10. There is a subsidy payable on fertilisers, bringing their price down to what it is at the moment, namely, £13 a ton. When framing the Estimate the internal sources of pyrites were not taken into account. We are now using pyrites from Avoca, and it is expected that in this financial year the sum necessary to pay the subsidy on 2,200 tons will be about £3,000. But, as there are savings on phosphates and so on, £10 will be sufficient to cover the sub-head. The next point  is the Tully Stud, for which we are asking £9,267. After negotiations with the British Government, the stud was taken over on the 1st January. There will be paid to the British Government for the stock, machinery and so on a sum of £6,960. Of that sum, £5,182 was for farm stock, cattle and working horses. The thoroughbred stock had been removed before that date and, therefore, none of them came over. As against that, the British Government have agreed to pay to the Irish Government a sum for use of the premises since 1922. That is still, the subject of discussion and I cannot state definitely what the amount may be.
The farm is, as Deputies know, adjacent to Kildare town and comprises about 870 acres. It has been used as a stud farm since 1916 and the Government have decided that it will be used as a stud farm again, as soon as we can proceed to stock it. In the meantime it must be carried on as a farm, and this money is necessary to pay for the stock, to buy more cattle and also pay wages up to the 31st March. The amount due for wages up to 31st March will be approximately £922. There may be some proceeds from the farming, but that will not be very much because we will not be selling any of the stock, it is expected, before 31st March.
Then there is a temporary scheme in connection with farm improvements under sub-head M (9). The sum required is £8,690. This is to pay the staff for a longer period than was anticipated in the original Estimate. In that Estimate we thought that these men would work for only 35 weeks, but in fact, they will be working for 45 instead of 35 weeks during this financial year. They commenced operations much sooner than was expected and they will go on to the 31st March. The money is entirely for the purpose of paying the staff.
Sub-head O (10) deals with Emergency Powers (Tillage) Orders. Here there was an increase in the staff. We provided for a staff of 52 inspectors and 51 supervisors, but the numbers have been increased to 62 inspectors and 200 supervisors. The reason for  the increase was the change in the tillage Order, the necessity for enforcing the tillage Order on account of the increased percentage prescribed, and on account of compulsory wheat growing. Also, the administration of the Order is a bit more difficult because of the inclusion of first crop meadow as tillage.
Then there is sub-head Q, dealing with the additional emergency bonus, and the amount is £2,900. That has cropped up in all the other Departments; it is the bonus that was given to the staffs from January to the 31st March.
As regards the Appropriations-in-Aid, there are changes in some of the headings there under the Agricultural Produce (Fresh Meat) Acts, the Pigs and Bacon Acts, and the Slaughter of Cattle and Sheep Acts. In the case of fresh meat, the export of meat is very much smaller. There is very little meat going out now as dressed meat, and therefore the fees collected on that fresh meat are considerably reduced. The same applies to pigs and bacon. The fees collected in pig and bacon factories are very much smaller because there are fewer pigs being killed. In the case of the Slaughter of Cattle and Sheep Acts, the business done there is canning. Canning had become a fairly big business and it was estimated, when the main Estimate was drawn up, that we would deal with 30,000,000 1-lb. cans of stewed steak, and there was a levy of 1/12th of a penny per can. We found we could deal with only 22,500,000 instead of the 30,000,000, so there is a reduction from the receipts there.
The Appropriations-in-Aid are increased, on the other hand, by a receipt from Vote 67—relief schemes— and the sum payable in connection with farm improvements. The amount is £8,690. There is also an increase under the Agricultural Produce (Cereals) Acts by way of receipts from licences to deal in wheat and barley and receipts from threshing set licences. The fee for the licence to deal in wheat and barley is £3 and the fee for a threshing set licence is 10/-. There will be a small receipt from the national stud. It is put down here at  £10, a token amount. We do not know what it may amount to. There is also a sum here recoverable in respect of the salaries of officers seconded to the Dairy Disposal Company, Limited, the Dublin District Milk Board, the Sea Fisheries Association, the Pigs and Bacon Commission, etc. These officers were lent to these various bodies and that amounts to £5,000. All that arose through a change in the administrative system. Since the 1st April, 1943, the administrative expenses of the Dairy Disposal Company have been defrayed from their own funds and the salaries of the officers seconded to the company are recoverable from the company, and hence there is a receipt for the Appropriations-in-Aid.
Mr. Hughes: I take it the £10 in regard to fertilisers schemes is a token Vote?
Dr. Ryan: The amount would be £3,000. There was a change over from imported pyrites to national pyrites.
Mr. Hughes: The House has provided a very substantial sum by way of subsidy. This is the biggest problem we have to face, particularly in the old tillage areas, because there is severe hardship where you have not some reserve of fertility such as they had in the old grass districts. It is essential we should make every effort to provide artificial manures. Although that substantial sum was in the main Vote, artificial manures are at a very high price still, £14 a ton. I take it that is the emergency compound. What is the price of superphosphate?
Dr. Ryan: It is £13 and £14.
Mr. Hughes: As the Minister informed us, there is an increase of £3,000 by reason of the change from imported pyrites to native pyrites from Arklow. What effort, if any, has been made by the Research Bureau towards devising new methods of treatment for phosphates? The Minister, I am sure, is aware that the German method is to roast the phosphate rock with alkali and at a certain heat the fluorine and the alkali combine, leaving you the phosphate. We all know  the Clare phosphate is very hard and insoluble. It is now pretty well known that even in the superphosphate form it is still fairly insoluble and it requires different treatment from that given the North African and the American phosphates. I think the Minister should direct the attention of the Research Bureau to experiments of this sort, because it is very important, from the food production point of view, that we should continue to experiment with a view to cheapening the cost of production. The Clare phosphate is of such a hard nature that it requires a tremendous amount of sulphuric acid and pyrites are required for that purpose. If the German system can be adopted, and I believe that it can be, then we ought to switch over to it as soon as possible.
There is an extra sum here in respect of the Farm Improvements Scheme. I think the House will approve of this and of any sums the Minister requires for farm improvements. It is an admirable scheme and will undoubtedly reflect on the national scheme. The House is now considering a Drainage Bill, but that will be of very little use if we have not an effective system of field drainage.
Here is a method of providing field drainage and encouraging people to open up field drains and to link them up with the main arteries that will be opened up under the Arterial Drainage Bill. The Minister ought to keep that point in mind.
There is a tremendous increase in the number of staff required for tillage supervision—an increase over the original estimate for inspectors of 11 and an increase from 52 supervisors to 200. The Minister evidently intends to see that the people till the prescribed quota in the present year, and I think the House generally will agree that it must be done. Hardships occur here and there in the dairying districts. It may reflect on dairying production and that is a rather serious matter. However we cannot go into that now.
I should like the Minister to tell us how his Department has arrived, without inspection, at the amount of arable  land on each holding. Many farmers have been notified of the amount of tillage for which they are liable under the Act, without prior inspection. I do not know how the figure was arrived at except by reference to a map. It is a good thing that, as far as possible, farmers should be informed at an early date as to their tillage requirements. To do that properly, of course, inspection should be made. I suppose with the present staff it is almost impossible to do that in detail throughout the country and that the method of calculating it in some other way has been adopted as the next best thing.
The Minister has informed the House as to the taking over of the Tully Stud from the British Government. I thought the Minister would take this opportunity of indicating to the House the policy of the Government in regard to the stud.
Dr. Ryan: I meant to add, of course, that, necessarily, I will have to come before the Dáil with either a Bill or an Estimate. It is under consideration at the moment, but it will come before the House.
Mr. Hughes: I am very glad to know that because I think the House will agree that horse breeding is a very important and valuable industry in this country. We should maintain the National Stud here in at least as good a condition as the British Government maintained it in the past and, if at all possible, improve and expand it. I am sure the House will not be niggardly in providing whatever moneys are required for the provision of the best possible stock for stud purposes, and in providing expert advice and direction, with regard to the stud. Anything that will enhance the value of the Irish horse will be a great national asset. I look upon the acquisition and development of that stud and the provision of the best type of stock that money can buy as a very important national work I think the country is fortunate in having some excellent studs at the present time. They may prove to be a valuable asset in the post-war period when first class horses will be required. A great deal of credit is due to certain Irishmen  who have given great care and attention and have gone to great expense in providing in this country some of the finest studs in the world. I think the aim of this House and of the Government should be to make the National Stud second to none in the world.
In connection with Appropriations-in-Aid, there is just one thing I should like to put to the Minister. Receipts from threshing set licences amount to £1,050. I should like to know what value the country is getting for that, what type of inspection of threshing sets is carried out, and whether the people making the inspections know their job and are capable of deciding whether a threshing set is in good and fit condition or not, and what provision is made to ensure that the existing machinery is maintained. We all know how difficult it is to secure new machinery and how badly in need of such machinery are some areas in the country. It is vital to ensure that whatever machinery we have is kept in a fit and proper condition for threshing purposes. If the Minister is collecting a sum of over £1,000 in licensing certain plant I should like to have his assurance that that plant is maintained in the best possible condition and that the inspectors that he is sending out are qualified to inspect the machinery and to make recommendations to threshing set owners as to what is required to keep them in proper condition.
Mr. Beegan: I wish to get some information from the Minister for Agriculture in regard to certain matters. I notice under sub-head G. 3—Fertilisers Schemes—an additional sum is required. Does that mean that there is to be an increase in the amount of fertilisers available this year? If that is the position, I should be very glad because in part of my constituency fertilisers are very much needed—that portion where they go in for the growing of certified seed potatoes. Recently I was informed—not officially —that 150 tons of fertilisers, in addition to the usual amount, would be made available to that area through the Department of Supplies. I shall  be very glad if that is the case but I should like to know what machinery will be set up to distribute it. Will it be distributed through the usual channels, the merchants, or will it be sent direct to the individuals using it? In view of what the Minister has stated in reply to Deputy Hughes, that the price of fertiliser will be in or about £14. I should like to know what is the analysis of it. I heard that the price would be £18 a ton. If the manure is of good quality, I know that the farmers will be very glad to get it at almost any price. I should like to ensure that it will be equitably distributed and that it will not be confined to one particular area. As the Minister and the inspectors of his Department know, there are more areas than one in Galway where certified seed potatoes are grown.
In connection with the farm improvements scheme, which has been mentioned already by Deputy Hughes, I am very glad that additional money is being voted for that purpose because it has proved to be a very useful scheme. A grant under the Farm Improvement Schemes is made in some cases to persons to provide a fence across their holding. In that connexion the fence has to be erected to a certain specification. It has to be four feet six inches in width and five feet three inches in height. In the small holdings in the west of Ireland that is not suitable and I think it would be better if that provision were not enforced. I hold that a fence properly erected, three and a half feet in height, if it is sown with thornquick, is a much better fence and will not waste anything like as much land as the big fence that must be erected according to the specification set out. I hope the Minister will give that point consideration.
Mr. Norton: I should like some information as to the Minister's intention with regard to the National Stud at Tully. This stud was originally donated to what was then described by some people as the United Kingdom, and, on the change of Government in 1922, the British Government, for administrative reasons, apparently desired to continue control and administration  of the stud. The matter has been allowed to drag on in that way since 1922. Recently there was apparently an intimation from the British Government of their intention to forego their interest in the stud and to take the bloodstock back to England. I think it is the desire of everybody that there should be a national stud in the country which is so renowned for the bloodstock industry, and I think the whole House would welcome a decision by the Government to continue the National Stud at Tully.
I am rather anxious to get from the Minister some more information about the Estimate which he has brought in. I understand that all the bloodstock, with the exception of perhaps two yearlings, have gone back to England, and it might very well be claimed for us that we had an interest in the bloodstock which was exported. I take it that we have also an interest in the lands there—in fact, a national interest in those lands, even though they might have been at one time temporarily owned by the person who donated them to this country. I should like to learn from the Minister what claim exactly is being made on the British Government. Is any claim being made in respect of the bloodstock being removed to England and is any other claim being made on the British Government in respect of the use of the Tully lands by that Government since 1922? Has any claim been made for expenses in respect of the repair of the stud, because I understand that there was necessity for repairs due to the fact that, knowing they were leaving, the British did not carry out their normal expenditure on the stud?
I should also like to know whether it is intended to retain the existing staff of the stud. The stud has given very valuable employment in the past. It is the desire of the local people, and, I think, of the public representatives as well, that the stud should continue to provide employment on the former scale, and it would be reassuring if the Minister would tell the House that it was intended to retain  the existing staff for farm work at present, and later on for work normally associated with the stud.
I understand that certain persons were interested in having the stud acquired and divided by the Land Commission. If that should happen, it would be a national tragedy. The place at present gives very valuable employment, and, as a matter of fact, it is the cradle of our bloodstock industry. There is an abundance of land in the area, and elsewhere in the county and the country, for division, without impinging on the Tully Stud.
I should like the Minister to say definitely that it is not the intention to permit the stud or portion of it to be taken over for division, when there is an abundance of other land available. The stud is a very valuable Irish asset and ought not to be dissipated by being acquired and divided in any kind of thoughtless way. These are matters which affect not only those employed locally in the stud but those interested in the bloodstock industry, and I should be glad if the Minister could see his way to amplify the statement he has made.
Mr. L. Cosgrave: There are one or two matters to which I should like to draw the Minister's attention, one of which is the National Stud. Could the Minister give an indication of what steps he proposes to take to run it, now that we have taken it over? I suppose he wants to wait until the Bill comes in, but I should like to know if he proposes to set up a board or committee to run it. He is probably aware that there is at present a shortage of first-class bloodstock, or at any rate that the numbers available are not as great as they were, and that the price of suitable quality bloodstock is going up fairly rapidly. Last year, the price of Irish bloodstock in England reached a very high level. It is, of course, possible to derive foundation stocks from a couple of the studs here, but I desire to impress on the Minister that there is a certain degree of urgency in the matter of the setting up of whatever system he proposes for running the stud in order that stock may be put into it immediately, or as soon  as it is possible to get them, because the quality and quantity are comparatively limited, and, if hostilities cease, there is likely to be an unprecedented demand for the stock which would be required. I do not know whether the Minister is aware that in County Dublin there is a good deal of dissatisfaction with the owners of threshing sets and tractors in regard to the rates which they are charging.
So far as one can see, there is no regulated rate either for the employees, the men who follow the threshers and tractors, or in respect of what the owners of the mills and tractors for ploughing and harrowing charge. In most parts of the country, they start by getting as high a price as they can, and, having done two or three farms, they put up the price by 2/- or 2/6 a day. Last year, tractors were charged at a rate of 22/6 a day, and it is quite likely that the price will start at 25/- this year, and then rise. The Minister should consider carefully the question of fixing a price which they will be allowed to charge, and similarly fixing the rate which the men who follow them will get, because there were strikes on numerous farms last year, and I am sure he is aware that at present, or certainly up to a fortnight ago, a great many farmers had not threshed. The mill was only going to their place and it was not solely due to the amount of work which the mill owners were doing.
Mr. Cogan: I am happy to support this Supplementary Estimate, particularly as portion of the money is to be utilised in connection with the production of pyrites from the Avoca mines. I should like to ask the Minister if there is any prospect of this production being increased in the future, and what are the prospects of production being put on a permanent basis. The industry is giving considerable employment and is of immense benefit to the area as well as being of immense national benefit.
So far as farm improvements are concerned. I note that the staff are now working 45 weeks out of the 52. It has become practically an all-year round service. I should like the Minister to  say if it would be possible to bring the scheme for the coming year into operation somewhat earlier than last year. My reason for so doing may sound rather strange to some Deputies. My contention is that the scheme should be in operation almost as soon as harvest work begins. That may seem a very peculiar policy to advocate, but I have found from practical experience that the best way to ensure that the harvest will be properly saved is for each farmer, or as many farmers as possible, to have an additional man or two on the farm engaged perhaps in improvement work during broken weather and available for the saving of the harvest when the opportunity offers. That is particularly desirable in the event of a wet or unfavourable harvest.
There is another aspect of this question to which I think the Minister should devote his attention. Farm improvement was rather a new experiment a few years ago but now, in the light of the experience of a couple of years, I think an effort should be made to see that an improved standard of work is demanded and an increased estimate is made for the work by the inspectors. The general experience is that the inspectors under the Farms Improvement Scheme estimate the cost of the work too low. In addition to that in many cases they are satisfied with a standard of work which is not as high as I think is desirable. There is no use in constructing a new fence, or reconstructing and improving an old fence, unless it is put in a proper and permanent condition, unless the work is done thoroughly, and unless, as Deputy Beegan pointed out, the fence is sown with quicks. In some cases that is not demanded by the inspector and I think it is a fault which will become more noticeable as time goes on.
In connection with drainage also it is desirable that the work should be thoroughly and completely carried out, otherwise the money expended on the improvement works may produce very little result. There is a general complaint that the inspectors estimate the cost of the work too low and are also satisfied with a fairly low standard of  work. I think that general improvement would be desirable in view of the experience gained over the past couple of years.
In regard to tillage, I have been wondering, like Deputy Hughes, how the arable acreage on each farm is calculated. I have had complaints from a number of people that the acreage calculated on their farm is too high. In my own case I found the acreage calculated is considerably below what I estimated it to be. I am not regarding that as a personal insult, but I am anxious to know by what system the acreage is calculated. I would be very anxious to know if the Minister could tell what is the total arable acreage of this country as calculated by his Department under the tillage scheme. From time to time various estimates have been given as to the arable acreage of this country, but most of them appear to be only guesswork.
There is another matter which, I think, arises on this tillage estimate and that is, in connection with the inferior type of arable land. Considerable hardship is being inflicted on some farmers in the poorer districts, where the land is inferior and is on a high altitude, in connection with the wheat quota. I know that some farmers have brought their cases to the notice of the Department, but there are many others suffering grave hardship. I know one particular case of a farmer who had to purchase 20 barrels of seed wheat to sow on his land, and I am extremely doubtful, having regard to the nature of the soil on his farm, whether he will reap 20 barrels of wheat next harvest. That is a matter which should be the serious concern not only of Deputies but of the Department of Agriculture. It may be possible by some arrangement to devise a scheme by which people who are given partial exemption on account of the inferior type of their land can contract to grow an increased acreage of potatoes, or in some other way compensate for the fact that they are not growing their entire quota of wheat.
I should also like to know, in connection with this inferior type of land, whether any serious steps are being  taken to promote rye growing. I do not know whether my information is correct, but I am informed that the reason why the production of rye has not been extended in this country in recent years was the objection of the millers to rye as grist for their mills. There may be serious objection to that from the millers, but that may be merely due to the fact that they have not the necessary plant for the production of flour from rye. In view of the large areas of inferior land in this country, I think it would be desirable——
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: There is nothing about that in this Supplementary Estimate.
Mr. Cogan: I quite agree, but we are dealing——
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy can deal with the matters contained in the Estimate.
Mr. Cogan: I have made a suggestion to the Minister which I am sure he will take up and ensure that for the coming year an effort will be made to produce at least sufficient rye seed to assure that the acreage next year can be considerably expanded. I quite agree that it is desirable, when we have a tillage Order in operation at all, that it should be enforced universally and that no person should be allowed to escape from his liability, because the fact that in many areas there are people who have evaded their obligations in the matter has had a bad effect and has caused grave dissatisfaction to people who have been complying strictly with the terms of the Order from the outset. I welcome the fact that the staffs have been increased and I hope, now that the staffs have been increased that a thorough investigation and survey will be made in our areas of arable land and of the nature of the arable land, and that we will come through this emergency with a clearer picture of our agriculture and soil resources, and will be able to know in the future how to plan our agricultural policy with a better knowledge than we had in the past.
General MacEoin: This is a supplementary estimate for a very large sum of money, and it is very important that the country should get good value for the expenditure. On the question of the Tully Stud, I wish to say a few words.
It is true to say that the best bloodstock in Europe was in that stud. I would like to know if any effort was made by the Minister to retain that stock here before it was removed by the British Government. If the Minister came to this House and asked for any amount of money to purchase and retain that bloodstock, I am satisfied that we would gladly give it. It would be very hard to replace that quality. As the stud was probably subject to the law in this country, the question of an export permit and so on applied to it, just as it would to my horses or anybody else's.
It is imperative, of course, that the bloodstock be re-established on the stud, but it will take years; and while there is an opportunity now of buying some of that blood strain, the Minister should move very quickly in the matter and the Bill be proposes to introduce should not be delayed. He should get on with the work in that particular connection in the fastest possible manner.
On the question of increased inspectors for tillage, it is true to say that 98 per cent. of the farmers are making the effort required to comply with the tillage regulations. There are some irritating pin-pricks to the farming community, which should be eliminated as far as possible. Complaint has been made, very properly, by some speakers here, of an estimate of arable land in a farm which is non-existent, made without inspection or by inspections at certain times of the year. Owing to the lack of drainage at the moment, what was arable land at the time of the Griffith valuation is, in some cases, now no longer arable, but is a swamp. There should be some accurate survey.
The people do not realise they have a right of appeal to the Minister against the assessment of arable land, if they feel that it is over the mark. The inspectors should be diplomatic  with the farmers and should not assume that a farmer is trying to evade the law. They should not convict the farmers themselves there and then, but should first assume that the farmer will do his duty and, only after wards, when they see there is no effort made, should they assume a belligerent attitude. Many of them are young fellows and, coming out fully armed from the Minister with very great powers, there is a danger of slight abuse. I would ask the Minister to see that they get a fair drilling before they are sent out, that they are paraded for a while first and given instructions as to what they should do.
Some cases have come to my notice in which action was taken by the inspector where, by very simple investigation, he could have found that he should not have taken action. There is a case of a widow-woman having a farm of land which she was unable to till herself. She has two nephews in another county on a good farm of land. She writes to the two nephews telling them of the difficulty and they agree with her that they will come and do her tillage, and they do that. There is no investigation made by the tillage inspector, but the power of the Order is invoked and the Department goes in and takes over that woman's land. They set it to another person and, as a result, there is a double quota of tillage done for that particular farm. If that were a hefty fellow like Deputy Cogan or Deputy Hughes, the inspector would not do that, as he would not be let, and there would be a row about it. But, because a poor unfortunate widow is in difficulties, the double tillage is done.
In another county, a widow was non-resident on her farm this year through illness. She was there last year and did the required amount of tillage. This year, she went to reside with her sister during the illness and, a fortnight ago, she gave the auctioneer instructions to put up the farm for tillage letting, and the announcement was in the paper last Saturday. An inspector walks out with a tractor and ploughs up the holding without any notice to her, good, bad or indifferent. It is only a  small farm of 35 acres and the amount of tillage to be done on it would not make or break anybody. When she was not there, there was nobody to meet the tillage inspector.
No notice was served on her, although the people in the district used to plough her land in previous years for her and they knew where she was resident at the moment. I have a letter here, in which the auctioneer says that he went to make the letting and found the place ploughed up. Again, in that case, if it were Deputy Hughes' farm that was not tilled, the tillage inspector just would not run his tractor into it so quickly.
Reason must be instilled into these tillage inspectors. If they are going to attack somebody, let them attack the strong; there is no necessity to attack the weak. If they have to compel the weak to comply with the Order, that should be done at the least possible expense or loss to the person concerned. The farm is that person's source of income and only livelihood and there should not be pellmell rushing in. I know that a farm of land without tillage being done in it is not good in a district but, at the same time, there are so many petty jealousies in this country that neither the Minister nor the Department should listen to the petty stories told to them. The Minister should investigate the matter, have someone meet the people involved and find out the facts. This is a very small amount for the tillage supervisor—100/- a week—but, little as it is, I would not agree to pay it, if he had not the little bit of courtesy that he should have.
On the question of farm improvements, I do not understand the mentality of the Department in some cases. Some farm improvement can only be well done in the summer-time. Some drainage work and shoring can only be done when the winter floods have run off. It is when it is at its highest that the farmer really sees that, if he is to do tillage in a particular field, he should do a bit of drainage there in the summer.
 If he applies now for the grant he cannot get it. I cannot think of the exact months within which the farmer must make his application. If it is made one hour or one day after the fixed date the grant will not be given. The matter is very important, especially where there is low-lying land and where the water is stagnant. It is only in the summer time that really good work can be done and, as we say, that the bottom of the drain can be shovelled. As regards the bonus, I presume this is provision for the bonus payable to the inspectors.
Dr. Ryan: It is provision for the general bonus.
General MacEoin: With regard to the Tully Stud, I would ask the Minister not to delay in the introduction of the Bill that he has mentioned. If he gets into the stud as good a strain of bloodstock as was there in the past, he will, I suggest, be creating an asset that will be of benefit to the people of this country for a long time to come.
Mr. O'Donnell: I come from the County Tipperary, which one may say has its finger in every pie. I want to renew an appeal that was made to the Minister when he was in our county recently. He received a deputation courteously, as he always does. He is most approachable. Deputies know that our part of the country is steeped in the dairying tradition. The appeal made to the Minister, which I renew now, is that 35-acre farms in that area should be exempt from the Tillage Order. Bread without butter is not pleasant. We fear that there is going to be a great shortage of liquid milk. The people are now down to six ounces of butter per week.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: There is nothing in this Supplementary Estimate about milk.
Mr. O'Donnell: Except that it comes into farming.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Chair cannot permit a discussion on any matter other than the matters referred to in the Supplementary  Estimate. The Deputy will have an opportunity on the main Estimate of discussing all matters relating to agriculture.
Mr. O'Donnell: With regard to the question of the mapping of arable land on a holding, I have about 55 statute acres. I take some conacre as well. My neighbours and myself feel that some method of appeal ought to be allowed from the decision of the tillage inspector. The maps of our farms are in the Land Commission. The tillage inspector might be asked to map out portion of our land that is arable. When that is done the right of appeal should be given to owners. On some farms the limestone may be within four inches of the top. If tractors are put in on that class of land the parts of them will get broken very quickly.
With regard to superphosphates, I was down in Lahinch and gathered that the raw material that is there will not last more than a year or two. The only remedy that I see is to try to increase our shipping and get in rock from North Africa. I have spoken on a previous occasion about the effects of wheat growing on land. I have seen land offered for £2 an acre that was good land a couple of years ago. The point that I want to make is that we cannot get increased tillage without artificial manures. There is also the question of tractors and machinery for farms. My experience has been that some of these threshing machines are not threshing-worthy.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: There is no reference in the Supplementary Estimate to machinery.
Mr. O'Donnell: Everything that borders on agriculture can be said to be closely connected with it.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: But, according to the Standing Orders of the House, the only matters than can be discussed on this Estimate are those which are set down. I am sure the Deputy appreciates my position.
Mr. O'Donnell: I do. A couple of my friends spoke on various matters, and perhaps I have been following the bad example which they set. I am quite in agreement with Deputy Hughes, Deputy MacEoin and others with regard to bloodstock. We have already dealt with the tractors and the other machinery necessary in our food-production campaign. I think we have something like 100 threshing machines in our county, and I suppose the same applies to other counties. Mowing machines and threshing machines are a very important factor in an emergency such as this.
Perhaps a more important factor is labour, and I think some attempt should be made to utilise town labour. It is unfortunate that so many young people are leaving the country. I saw the trains packed with them last August and September. The Government must do something to provide adequate labour this time. I feel you want some form of dictatorship, so that you will be able to provide all the labour required in the bogs and in the fields. That subject was drawn to the Minister's attention in Clonmel and he admitted that it presented something of a problem. I quite appreciate his difficulties. The conditions are quite different in England. The day before you require labour you communicate with the labour exchange and give the officials notice as to the number of men required for harvesting potatoes or beet or any other crop. The next morning you have all the labour you require. In this country something along those lines is required.
The farmers in Ireland have been working ten and 12 hours a day, sometimes well into the night, in order to assist in producing food. It is nothing less than white slavery. This is not a free State; it is a slave State. Eight hours a day is the recognised period for most workers, and it is considered a long enough period for a horse. In these circumstances, why should the farming community be asked to work 12 or 13 hours each day? We are told we must get on with the work and we will be blamed if the people starve. That has come to us from pulpit and platform. We have worked very hard  to keep the whole crowd going, and if you want to save the next harvest you must supply the labour.
Mr. Tunney: So far as compulsory tillage is concerned, the only fault I have to find with the Minister is that he did not go so far as he has gone, much sooner. The land of Ireland should be used to the full to feed the population. Why should large farms lie derelict, or raising bullocks for a foreign country when many of our own people have not sufficient bread? I congratulate the Minister on the stand he has taken in connection with increased tillage. The farmers are bound to produce a certain quota of wheat. When you ask the farmers to do that, you are merely asking them to do their duty. I am a farmer's son and my sympathy goes out to the farmers but, nevertheless, the Irish people have the first claim on the nation's soil.
Deputy O'Donnell made a rather important statement when he mentioned the need to provide all the labour possible for the harvest. I am proud when I go through County Dublin and portions of Meath to see all the land broken up, in many cases land that was not broken up for many years. No Deputy need be afraid that the fertility of that soil will run out for at least six or seven years. We are lucky to have land of such a type that has a store of fertility which, with God's help, will take us over the crisis. The labour problem is a serious one. If there is a scarcity of labour it is because those engaged in farm labour do not get sufficient wages to encourage them to stay on the land. Do you think farmers' sons would have any anxiety to work in Britain if they got a living wage here? I believe I would be in order on this Estimate in raising a matter with reference to the Agricultural Wages Board.
An Ceann Comhairle: That does not arise on this Estimate.
Mr. Tunney: I understood the Minister  to say that the bonuses were general.
Dr. Ryan: For civil servants.
Mr. Tunney: If the Agricultural Wages Board is included in the bonus scheme, I should like to raise a question relating to the wages of agricultural labourers. I would first like to deal with the way the Agricultural Wages Board is set up.
An Ceann Comhairle: Not on this Vote.
Mr. Tunney: The Minister referred to a general bonus scheme and he has not told me if the chairman of the Agricultural Wages Board or any of the staff is exempt. I feel I have a right to raise the matter.
An Ceann Comhairle: Not the constitution of the Agricultural Wages Board—that does not arise.
Mr. Tunney: Perhaps some of the officials come under the bonus. I appeal to the Minister, when he is appointing the Agricultural Wages Board——
An Ceann Comhairle: The constitution of the board is not relevant.
Mr. Tunney: All right, I am accepting that. As regards increased tillage, I do not think there are any cases of hardship. If a person is not in a position to till, his neighbours are ready to take the land in conacre and I am sure there are very few cases of hardship—they would be few and far between. I hope there will be no going back in the case of the farmer who has so many acres of arable land; he should be compelled to till his quota. I can quite see that there will be a scarcity of farm labour next harvest unless some precautions are taken. The proper precaution is to give the farm labourer a living wage—enough to induce him to stay on the land.
Mr. Flanagan: I supported the Government wholeheartedly on the compulsory  tillage question. I was in favour of compulsory wheat-growing, but in my opinion the ordinary farmer at no time needed compulsion to grow wheat. The source of the trouble was the rancher, and there is a terrible difference between the farmer and the rancher. There are many members of this House and many people outside who are inclined to mix up the farmer with the rancher. That is where I admire the Minister for Agriculture, for having the courage to make the ranchers grow wheat.
I submitted a case to the Minister some weeks ago. I asked him to send one of his inspectors to inspect two farms in Offaly. One farm is quite convenient to the village of Cloghan and the other is quite convenient to the village of Cloneygowan, near the town of Portarlington. It was pointed out to the Minister that up to six weeks ago the barley on those farms was still lying in the ditches and hedges, while there were people in the district who could not get a rood of ground in which to sow potatoes or a perch of grass to graze a cow. I would like the Minister to take note of that and request at least one inspector to meet me. I will go in on the farms with him. It is comical to say that there is no inspector sent around a district like that.
I wrote yesterday to the Minister for Agriculture, giving the names of two persons with whom I had arranged to meet the inspector, to make sure that he would inspect these lands. I assume that my letter was at the Minister's office this morning and I ask the Minister, as a personal favour, to see that the matter is attended to next week and that these two farms are inspected and reported on with the least possible delay. The reason why I am so interested in the farm near Cloghan is that there are cottage tenants and landless men there who are unable to secure land for the growing of potatoes and vegetables for their families, while there is a large farm in connection with which, in my opinion and in the opinion of the local people, the tillage Order is not complied with. I would ask the Minister  to ensure that his inspectors report on these two cases as soon as possible.
I should like to pay tribute to the work that is being done under the farm improvements scheme. Thousands of acres of land that had been covered over with furze and bush have been made arable. It was a good scheme, one of the best that the Government introduced, and I am glad that the farmers have taken advantage of it. I did not know that it was a Laoighis man who was responsible for introducing the scheme until I heard the other night, in my constituency, that it was Deputy Gorry who was responsible for it.
I must say I am proud to be a representative for the same constituency with a man who is responsible for the farm improvements scheme. I had thought that it was the Minister for Agriculture and the Government who were responsible, but last week I discovered that a Laoighis-Offaly Deputy is responsible. I am very pleased to know that and I hope that Deputy Gorry will remain in that constituency. With other Deputies I wish to refer the Minister to the shortage of labour. There will be a great shortage of labour during the coming year and I should be very glad if some steps were taken to meet the difficulties that I believe will be met. There is one difficulty that I am sure can be surmounted. I may not be in order in raising it now but before the Chair rules that I am not in order, I would like to mention it. I would be very glad if the Minister for Agriculture would get in touch with his colleague, the Minister for Defence, with a view to releasing farmers' sons from the Army. I am tired making representations to the Minister for Defence to grant periods of indefinite leave to soldiers serving in the Defence Forces who have land to till. I think it is the duty of the Minister for Agriculture to make strong representations to the Department of Defence with a view to having these men released, because, I think, the work they could do on the land is far more important even than the work they would be doing in the Army.
 In my opinion, it is essential that the Minister for Agriculture should exercise some of his powers in seeing that a little more of the Curragh is tilled. If the officers and soldiers of the Army were allowed to till so many acres, for instance, if half of the Curragh were tilled, it would produce enough wheat for half of Leinster.
I think the Minister said, when introducing the Compulsory Tillage Order, that he had the right to make some provision for exemptions. The reason I ask for exemptions is that in Portlaoighise we have a typical case of the mental hospital farm. The manner in which that farm has been worked is a credit to the R.M.S. and to those in authority but now, because a certain percentage of the land must be sown in wheat, the institution will have to go short of potatoes, turnips and other essentials. In cases of such institutions the Minister should very sympathetically consider giving exemption in this matter. Where a large amount of tillage is being carried on, growing potatoes, turnips and other necessary crops, surely the mental hospital committee of management are complying with the Tillage Order.
I should be very glad if the Minister for Agriculture would let me have an immediate reply to the communication to which I have already referred and which I assume arrived at his office this morning. I can assure the Minister that I will make it my business to go with the inspectors to visit the farms.
Mr. Heskin: The first matter with which I shall deal is the power of inspectors appointed by the Minister for Agriculture. I think the inspectors should be well instructed before they leave the Department as to the terms of the Tillage Order. It is a well-known fact that in certain mountain areas, and so on, even though the people are willing to comply with the Tillage Order, they may be forced to sow wheat on land that is not suitable for that crop and where an attempt to grow wheat would be a very uneconomic  proposition from the national point of view. I know many places where wheat has been grown for a few years past and where the yields are very low—two and three barrels per acre—whereas the same land would produce ten to 12 barrels of corn per acre. I would ask the Minister to instruct his inspectors to use their discretion and to be very careful in such areas not to enforce the Tillage Order to the letter.
Another point that was raised in the discussion is the inspection of machinery. It was suggested that there is a considerable amount of waste. All I have to say in regard to that is that if the people who grumble about the inspection of machinery that is used for the threshing of wheat, inspected the crops before they were harvested, there would be very little waste, because I hold that many crops, particularly wheat, are being harvested much too soon, when no thresher, no matter how well made, can get the wheat from the straw.
In connection with the farm improvements scheme, I hold that it should be an all the year round scheme, particularly in wet land. There were several persons last year who were late in making application. At the particular time, even if they were in time with their application, they could not go on with the work if they were to proceed with tillage. I think such a scheme should be an all the year round scheme so as to give people an opportunity of starting earlier, particularly in connection with drainage in wet land. When the spring months are over, many farmers could do a certain amount of drainage in the months of May and early June. I suggest to the Minister that he should make the farm improvements scheme an all year round scheme, so as to meet these points.
What would also be a great help to farmers would be an extension of the scheme to farm buildings. We all know that very few farms, particularly in view of the intensive tillage programme at present, are able  to provide accommodation for seed wheat, corn, barley and other crops, for the simple reason that there is a great shortage of sacks. Furthermore, if the scheme were extended to farm buildings, it would give an opportunity to many farmers to hold over their seed wheat until the spring months, and I consider that a farmer who holds over his stocks of seed will be much more careful about the condition of that seed than many of the stores in the country would be. I suggest that a farm buildings improvement scheme is as essential and as important to the country generally as the farm improvements scheme as it is operating at the moment.
With regard to machinery, to my mind, the distribution of machinery is handled from a very wrong angle. So far as I can learn, it is the managers of co-operative societies who have the allocation of machinery in their own areas. We know very well that where a co-operative concern handles machinery, they employ men to cut the crops of the shareholders in a particular area, but we also know that, when evening comes, such men are anxious to get home, and the farmer will not get from these men the returns he will get from private owners who are out to do as much as they can in the matter of hiring and who will do twice as much as the co-operative men have done in the past.
I pointed out previously one particular case to the Minister in which the machinery was used to cut corn for shareholders in a co-operative society, while they had binders idle in the stores and horses idle in the fields. I also knew of corn being lost in a locality for want of machinery to harvest it, and I suggest to the Minister that, when dealing with machinery in the future, if there is any hope of importing it, if there are suitable applicants coming forward, good hiring men who are able to put up the money, they are the first men who should be considered and not the co-operative societies.
With regard to manures, I suggest that whatever manures are available should be equally distributed, particularly  for the growing of beet, potatoes and green crops and that farmers generally should get an adequate supply for the growing of such crops. As farmers, we all realise that we have a duty to perform to the nation and there is no honest-minded man in the country who objects to doing his share in providing food for the nation. As farmers, we also realise that, no matter whether we agree with the Minister or not, the Minister and the Government have a duty to the people and we do not propose to obstruct them. We will do our best, but Ministers have a duty to perform to the country and to the farmers as well.
Mr. Lynch: I want to say one word in reference to the request by Deputy Flanagan that an inspector should be sent down to inspect some farms and to meet him. I think that is a most objectionable practice. It has happened, to my knowledge, in the past that inspectors going out from Government Departments have been met by Deputies, mainly of the Fianna Fáil Party, and have been “toted” around the constituency by these Deputies. I think a general order ought to go out to all inspectors, instructing them not to go out with any Deputy, whether Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour, Independent, or any other Party. It is a scandalous practice, because it is obviously intended to convey the impression that the particular Deputy has the inspector in his pocket.
Mr. Flanagan: I think I made it quite clear that I wanted to see that the inspector would visit the farm. I also referred to the fact that I had written to the Minister and had given him the names of two ordinary individuals whom the inspector could meet. I do not think I would have a whole lot of influence with any of the inspectors at present.
Dr. O'Higgins: You might—monetary reform, you know.
Mr. Cafferky: I notice that the Minister is asking for an extra sum of £34,275 which, due to savings in other  sub-heads, he reduces to £10. I have a particular interest in one of the items, namely, the temporary scheme in connection with farm improvements, for which I see he requires an additional £8,000. It is a scheme which I feel is of particular importance to that part of South Mayo in the Swinford electoral division. That is an area which could not be considered arable, in the proper sense of the word. The holdings there are from seven to fifteen acres, including grazing, bog and tillage land. The fields in size are about three roods to an acre, and on some of these fields which are generally cultivated, an oats and barley crop is grown, and then they are let out and broken up again every three or four years. Due to the smallness of the farms, they cannot rotate their crops and leave the land in grass or pasture for a number of years.
In the case of many of these little farms, the land is what we call moory land. It has not got a deep soil or rich fertility. It is land which has been reclaimed after, I suppose, 100 years of hard labour by our forefathers. I hope I am not going outside the Estimate by asking the Minister to see that, during the spring tillage, his inspector operating in that area will not be too hard on the people there. Other Deputies from Mayo who represent that area will agree with me that the farmers there, and in the greater part of Mayo, are industrious and never fail to till not only in war time but in peace time, because they look at it not so much from the point of view of the benefit to the State, but of their own benefit first and then the benefit to the State.
I ask the Minister to see that his inspector operating in that area will be as lenient as possible. The farmers there generally sow oats and potatoes and a certain amount of barley. Last year, the barley was sown, but, due to weather conditions, many farmers lost the crop. We had about an acre of barley sown. It was stocked up loose and left for a week. It fell to the ground, was turned over, stooked again and tied, and eventually put into cocks like hay and thrown into  the dung heap as a result of weather conditions.
Barley and wheat are not suitable crops for the Swinford electoral division. Potatoes and corn are generally grown, and if the farmers there are willing, as I am sure they are, to increase their tillage by putting in an extra rood or half acre of corn and potatoes, I ask the Minister to see that his inspector will be as lenient as possible. So much for compulsory tillage, but, before leaving the point, I should like to say that I am in full agreement with the Minister, or with any Minister representing any Government, who stands for compulsory tillage in a time like this if the farmers fail to respond otherwise. Some Deputies have pointed out the necessity for providing labour. I believe, of course, that the Minister should try to provide the necessary labour, but only on condition that the labour that is provided is paid an economic wage. At the moment Mayo and parts of Galway are what are called scheduled areas. A lot of young men from 18 to 19 years of age will be prohibited from emigrating to England. They are to be employed here in cutting turf and helping in agricultural work, such as putting down seed and reaping and saving the harvest.
The Minister may not be aware that for 50 or 60 years or more there has been a tradition that young men go to England at a certain period of the year in order to earn money to help their fathers and mothers and the younger members of the family. Now that such young men are to be kept at home, I want the Minister to see this point. They are to be kept at home under an Emergency Powers Order. The wage they will receive for working on a farm or in a bog will not be sufficient to enable them to allocate a part of that to help to maintain a father or mother or the younger members of the family. It will be only barely sufficient to maintain themselves. That will cause grievious hardship and dissatisfaction in Mayo. I am in full agreement with the compulsory tillage scheme, but I would ask the Minister to consider the question of the areas I have indicated.  There are other parts of South Mayo, such as around Ballyhaunis, where the land is better.
The farm improvements scheme has bestowed great benefits in my area. The assistant agricultural overseers and the supervisors carry out their duties very efficiently. I understand that an agricultural overseer gets about 60/- per week inclusive. It is a small wage considering that these young men have a lot of cycling to do. The man who lives in the little town of Kilkelly has to cycle to Swinford. That is a big area to cover. Considering that bicycle tyres are scarce and hard to purchase and that a man has to pay 30/- a week for his board and lodging, that wage is a very small one.
Mícheál Ó Cléirigh: He is getting at least one and a half times that.
Mr. Cafferky: If that wage could be increased by 10/- or a £1 it would help a lot. These are industrious young men and they are fulfilling their duties in the letter and in the spirit. I have been requested by some farmers who have taken advantage of this scheme to put this point before the Minister. If a farmer undertakes to reclaim, say, two acres of land, he may have two sons who have returned from England. The weather may not be very suitable for the work and when spring comes along he may only have had time to break it up and shore it. He may not have had time to fence it, but during the summer or later on he may be able to complete the fencing. I think that the grant or portion of the grant should be given to that man even though he has not completed the work within the time allotted, due to the weather or other causes. These farmers have asked me to put that before the Minister so that the period for the completion of the work may be extended to give them time to do the fences and the other minor matters which would not prevent them from putting the seed in the land which they had broken up. As regards seed potatoes, in my area the seed potatoes supplied are Kerr's Pinks, which they do not grow very much in my area and which are not very good for table use.
An Ceann Comhairle: Will the Deputy say what sub-head of the Supplementary Estimate that comes under?
Mr. Cafferky: I am sorry. I agree that it is not in the Estimate.
Mr. Linehan: You could raise a great controversy about the value of Kerr's Pinks.
Mr. Cafferky: I am only talking about my area. Deputy Linehan can talk about Cork if he wishes. We generally use Champions or other types in my area and in many other parts of South Mayo. I shall leave that for the time being. I should like to say that the farm improvements scheme is worthy of all praise, and I would advise the Minister to make it permanent. Farmers have been very pleased with it. It is helpful to the farmers whom I have described. Many of them have asked me if it would not be possible under the scheme to give a grant for the erection of glass houses. A grant is given for manure pits, water tanks, private roads to dwelling-houses and for the reclamation of land.
From inquiries which I have made, however, in the Department I find that no grant is given for the erection of glass houses. Even if it were to be given, I suppose the Minister would tell me that there is no glass available. That may be a good point, but many people who have asked me about it have glass available, if a grant could be given. It would be a great encouragement for the growing of tomatoes which at present have to be imported in large quantities.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach (Mr. Kissane): Is this debate to be concluded to-night?
An Ceann Comhairle: I have not been so informed.
Mr. Kissane: If it is not concluded to-night, I am afraid we shall have to sit to-morrow.
Mr. Corish: The Minister for Finance gave an assurance that the House would not sit to-morrow.
Mr. Kissane: That was on the understanding that all the Supplementary Estimates would be finished.
Mr. Corish: That was not the understanding.
Mr. Flanagan: Would it not be possible to sit beyond 9 p.m.?
Mr. Linehan: Personally I do not mind, as I can say what I have to say in one minute, but there are other Deputies who are anxious to speak.
Mr. Flanagan: Could we not sit until 9.30 p.m.?
Mr. Corish: Could not the Minister conclude when the Deputy has finished?
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy has asked whether the House could sit until 9.30 p.m. Yes, but for unopposed business after 9 p.m.
Mr. Corish: Will that suit?
An Ceann Comhairle: Is it likely that the Vote will be finished to-night?
Mr. Corish: I think we ought to make an effort to finish it.
An Ceann Comhairle: It must be understood that there can be no division taken after 9 o'clock.
Agreed to sit until 9.30 p.m.
Mr. Linehan: I was very interested in Deputy Cafferky's pronouncement on the question of agricultural labour. He indicated that he was quite prepared to say that the young boys would be kept in his area for work on  the farms provided they were paid an economic wage, but that a prohibition on boys of 18 or 19 travelling to England would give rise to great hardship, as the income they would receive from the present standard wage in this country would not permit them to give as much aid and assistance to their families as was possible by their working in England. It is a very easy thing to say that any Government in this country should not prohibit the export of agricultural labour unless prepared to pay an economic wage at home. That is something that sounds very popular, but I would like Deputy Cafferky, on some other occasion, representing the Farmers' Party, to indicate what he considers to be an economic wage for a farm labourer. It is entirely unfair to the House in general to make a statement that prohibition of agricultural labourers going to England should be removed unless we are prepared to pay them an economic wage here in Ireland. That is a principle everybody would agree with—the paying of the highest possible wage to the agricultural labourer. At present, people would stretch their pockets a little, even beyond a wage they felt ought not be paid.
However, what I would like to hear from Deputy Cafferky is what he considers to be an economic wage for a farm labourer. The Deputy and his Party recently introduced other motions in this House, something like the £3 for tillage motion. When they show their sheer anxiety to see that the agricultural labourer is remunerated as well as possible and are asking for concessions by way of subsidy or otherwise for one section of the community, in order to retain people here, and suggesting they are at great loss in not being allowed to go abroad, they should say whether they are satisfied that the present wage is inadequate and, if it is, what they consider to be an adequate wage.
Mr. Browne: Could the Minister let us know the stocks of seed wheat? I am informed the stocks are practically all cleared and that there is not very much hope of building up fresh stocks. A number of people will be requiring  seed—Spring wheat, particularly April Red—and none of it at all available. That may be right or wrong, and I hope the Minister will tell us what the position is.
Dr. Ryan: I think, from Deputy Hughes' speech, that he misunderstood a remark I made in introducing this Estimate, where I said that £3,000 would be required for subsidy on Avoca pyrites. Deputy Hughes thought that that was additional. It is not: as a matter of fact, it is a big saving. The subsidy on Spanish pyrites was £14 15s. per ton and the subsidy on Avoca pyrites is only £1 7s. per ton, so on every ton of Avoca pyrites we save £13 8s. If we use 2,200 tons of Avoca pyrites this year, we will have saved about £30,000 on the original estimate. In reply to Deputy Cogan, I may say it is hoped that this will be developed more as time goes on, and become a permanent source of pyrites in this country. He also asked about the system of conversion of phosphates into superphosphates by sulphuric acid —as to whether we are investigating other methods—and he referred to the German method of heating. The Scientific Research Bureau has been working on that, with Clare phosphates. I do not know whether they have met with success or not, as I have not had any report. The Bureau has already given some very useful information with regard to the Avoca pyrites, and we have investigations going on as far as possible.
In connection with the national drainage scheme, Deputy Hughes said we should keep field drainage in mind. That is covered by the farm improvements scheme. There is an intermediate stage between field drainage, done by the farmer on his own land, and the drainage of the small arteries —you have the rural improvements scheme whereby farmers can join together for drainage purposes. Deputy Hughes also asked about the object in licensing threshing sets. There were two objects: one was to have a register of threshing sets for the purpose  of checking up on the distribution of fuel—oil in the case of threshing sets and coal in the case of steam sets. Secondly, we hoped, in respect of some of these threshing sets, to see if they were capable of doing good work and threshing properly.
We have not succeeded in making very many inspections, but we are investigating the question, with a view to doing more inspections during the coming year.
Deputy Beegan asked what the supply of fertilisers in general would be like. I think I gave that answer here before. I expect that the supply of fertilisers will be somewhat the same as it was in 1943. Every farmer who got a supply last year may expect to get the same this year. Farmers get a certain quota based on the quantity they were in the habit of purchasing in previous years. Specialised farmers get a special allocation of manure for the growing of beet, root seeds, certain seed potatoes, and a few things of that kind. Allotment holders get some artificial manure and, in the congested districts, in addition, there is a certain allocation over and above the particular allocations I have mentioned. I think it will be the same for the coming year.
Deputy Beegan asked if it was true that 150 tons of fertilisers had been allocated specially to North Galway through the Minister for Supplies. That is not true, as the Department of Supplies does not interfere in the distribution of manure at all. It is distributed under a special Order by my Department. I do not think that any special manure reached North Galway, but I do know there was a firm here in Dublin negotiating for the sale of manure in that area. It was not a very reliable kind of fertiliser, in the opinion of the Department. I do not know if it had any very regular analysis, so I could not give it; and the price, I understand, quoted for it was £15 per ton. When we got to hear of it in the Department of Agriculture, we pointed out the charges that could be brought against the proprietor  of manure which had no regular analysis.
I think the negotiations fell through for the sale of that particular manure. Since then we have made an Emergency Order dealing with manufacturers of this kind and it will be necessary in future to have such manufacturers registered and the business carried on in a more regular way.
A question was raised by Deputy Beegan with regard to fences. He pointed out that, under the farm improvements scheme, the fences must conform to a certain specification, and he holds that the specification is not suitable to the West of Ireland. All I can undertake to do in that case is to examine the position and, if we agree that there is substance in that argument, see if we can make it right.
Deputy Norton asked some question about the Tully Stud. First of all, he wants to know if all the bloodstock were taken away. They were. I was not very long in the Department of Agriculture before the file dealing with the Tully Stud came before me. I found that the argument had been going on between the two Governments for many years principally on the point, who owned the bloodstock. That argument continued, as long as I have been in the Department, up to last year, and it would have continued, I think, for another 40 years or so if we had not tried to reach some finality, because neither side was inclined to give in. A compromise was suggested. It was easier for us to agree to the compromise because the bloodstock had all gone by this time and we were only arguing an academic question. The compromise was that we must regard them as being tenants since 1922 and, therefore, that a rent from them would be due for that period. That is the principle on which we took over the stud farm in the end. We have not yet decided exactly on what amount is due to us, but the principle is there, at any rate, that they will pay as users of the place since 1922. There is no  claim, therefore, being made for bloodstock because, as I say, it was already gone.
In answer to Deputy Norton, there is a claim for using the place. There is not any claim made for repairs due to the place. I do not think we could claim very much there. I think that there would not be any more repairs to be done than would be done by any farmer going into a place that had been sold to him. Nothing excessive, I think, anyway, could be claimed under that heading.
The existing staff will be maintained. Twenty-six grooms, labourers, stud hands, and so on, have been taken over. Some of the employees were rather old and elected to retire. They were given some form of compensation by the British Government before they withdrew, so we had no responsibility for those who elected to go out. The remaining 26 decided to stay on and we have taken them on under the ordinary terms of employment. I can assure Deputy Norton that no land will be given away to the Land Commission for the purpose of division or anything else. It is intended to keep the farm as it is and to use it as a stud farm.
I was asked how do we intend to use this farm, under what machinery and so on. I cannot answer that exactly. It could be run as a company. That would mean setting up a board and giving the company the necessary capital to carry on. It could be run by a committee under the Department or it could be run, on the same lines as an agricultural farm, under the Department, by appointing a principal officer to run the place. I cannot say at the moment how it will be run because the only thing that the Government has agreed to so far is that it will be a stud farm and, having got that decision from the Government, I am now preparing a scheme to put to the Government of how the place will be run. Then, of course, it will come to the Dáil. At the moment I cannot say whether it will come to the Dáil by way of Estimate  or by way of a Bill but, in any case, it will come to the Dáil for discussion.
I think Deputy Cosgrave raised the point that there was dissatisfaction in the County Dublin with regard to charges for the hire of machinery, tractors, ploughs, binders, and so on. We have had this point under consideration on many occasions. As Deputies know, we did fix a charge for threshing. We found it impossible to get a basis on which we could fix a charge for tractors, in ploughing, harvesting, and so on, and we had to leave it to settle itself. I am afraid the more Deputies go into that matter the more difficulty they will find in doing anything. The question was raised at a meeting of the Consultative Council in the Department which was held only a week or two ago, and I think I can say that the members of the council agreed that it would be impossible to do anything further than what we had done with regard to threshing.
Some Deputies referred to the Farm Improvements Scheme and welcomed it. I think the suggestion made by a number of Deputies was that it might be kept in operation throughout the summer or, at any rate, that it might come into operation earlier than has been the case for the last two or three years. I am very anxious to move in that direction. I am very anxious that the scheme should come in earlier and, in fact, I think we might consider seriously having the scheme in operation practically the whole year round. There are, of course, certain difficulties with regard to accounting, and so on, if we do not take the scheme year by year, whatever time we might start or whatever time we might finish. It is rather difficult to work unless we make it a yearly scheme. It may be possible to get over these difficulties and our tendency is to lengthen the period every year. We have gone as far as 45 weeks, which is very close to the 52.
I was asked what is the estimate in the Department of the arable acreage of the country. I do not think I can  answer for every member of the Department who is dealing with this question; I think there might be different opinions from different officers; but I would say that there is an impression in the Department that the arable acreage is lower than we had thought. It used to be generally accepted, I think, that the arable acreage of this country was 12,000,000. I think it is lower than that. It is probably nearer to 10,000,000, possibly 10,500,000. I think our deduction from the experience we have gained from the compulsory tillage Order would be that the arable acreage is about 10,500,000.
Mr. Flanagan: Before the Minister leaves the question of the Farm Improvements Scheme, does he deny that an individual member of this House is responsible for the introduction of that scheme or does he say it is the Government that is responsible?
Dr. Ryan: I will have to do some research into history to answer that question.
Mr. Flanagan: That is not a straight answer to my question.
Dr. Ryan: It is.
Mr. Flanagan: I want to know, is an individual member of this House responsible for the introduction of the scheme?
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy may ask a question, that is all.
Mr. Flanagan: I have asked it. All I want is “yes” or “no”.
Dr. Ryan: Yes.
Mr. Flanagan: An individual Deputy is responsible for the Farm Improvements Scheme?
Dr. Ryan: It is quite possible. Somebody must have thought of it first.
Mr. Flanagan: That does not do the Minister much credit.
Mr. Linehan: What difference does it make?
Dr. Ryan: I cannot think of everything—I never claimed to.
Mr. Flanagan: Is an individual member of the House to be held responsible for a scheme?
Mr. L. Cosgrave: On a point of order, should a Deputy be allowed to continue interrupting after he has been given an answer?
Mr. Flanagan: I have not been given an answer. The Minister merely said he did not know and that he would make inquiries.
Dr. Ryan: I shall make inquiries.
Mr. Flanagan: I will put down a question to the Minister on this subject.
Dr. Ryan: I was asked about rye growing, and if any steps were taken to promote it. We did help in a small way—I can claim that for the Department—to make more seed available this year than in previous years and, as a result, we may have a fairly extended area of rye next season. I do not think there is any foundation for the suggestion that the millers object to it. I think they would prefer rye to barley. They would have objected to rye in pre-war days when they were turning out 72 per cent. extract of white flour, but now when we have to put some diluent into the wheat, I think they would not object to rye.
With regard to the tillage inspectors, what Deputy MacEoin and other Deputies said is quite possible, that young men appointed to a responsible job like that may not be as careful in dealing with the public as they should be. In the Department we bring these  men in after appointment and give them a week's drilling telling them the points they must keep in mind when inspecting land and giving them general instructions. We give them three or four days' instruction in the technical part of their duties. I have never given those men a lecture—I do not feel competent to do so—but they are always warned about being as careful as possible in dealing with the public—being courteous, for instance. I must say that for the one complaint I get about these inspectors being too severe, I get ten complaints that they are too lenient. I have been told that these inspectors are far too lenient in dealing with farmers.
Mr. Carter: And that they are reasonable.
Dr. Ryan: I cannot understand the complaint made by Deputy MacEoin, that an inspector ploughed up a place without giving prior notice. As a matter of fact, notices are issued before we take over and I think there must have been some mistake in this instance. I do not know where it happened, and I should like Deputy MacEoin to let me know the circumstances, so that we can investigate that case.
Deputy Flanagan mentioned two cases. I did, as a matter of fact, investigate one of these cases, which was reported to me by an individual from Leix. The report was that on one fairly large holding there were 105 acres classed as arable. The quota would be 26¼ acres in 1943 and actually there were 47 acres tilled, but only 30 acres were properly cultivated, so that there were 17 acres neglected, as it were. We did not feel in the Department that we had power to take action against the person concerned as long as the quota was tilled. There may be a defect in the Order, which I mean to investigate further. But, if a person cultivates the quota properly, and even attempts to till a little more than the quota and is guilty of a little negligence in that connection, we could not take action for bad husbandry. I am having the other case investigated.
Mr. Flanagan: That is good.
Dr. Ryan: I agree with Deputy Lynch that it would not be an advisable practice to ask the inspector to meet a Deputy from any Party. It would be better that the inspector should investigate cases on his own. I know that Deputy Flanagan's anxiety is that the inspector will call out and do his duty. I will try to make sure of that, so far as I can.
Mr. Flanagan: I think the Government should adopt the same principle when dealing with land division, and not have the inspectors calling only on Fianna Fáil supporters. I was a secretary of a Fianna Fáil club at one time and I know things from the inside.
Dr. Ryan: I am not responsible for that. So far as I can do it, I shall see that the inspectors will act independently, but they will act, nevertheless.
Mr. Hughes: Can the Minister say whether the inspectors inspect land held by the Land Commission, and do they determine the amount of tillage?
Dr. Ryan: I do not think that the inspectors visit lands held by any Government Department, but we do ask Government Departments to give us an assurance that they are doing the requisite amount of tillage.
Mr. Hughes: Why should it not be done? Is it not desirable that there should not be an exception made under the Order? Is it not proper that you should make no exception?
Dr. Ryan: There is no exception made.
Mr. Browne: Perhaps the Minister will answer the question I put to him? The matter is important, because people have been informing me that they cannot get the seed.
Dr. Ryan: There is a good supply of spring seed wheat and if the sowings of winter wheat are as good as we think they will be, there should be no shortage of spring seed. I could not say if there is much April Red, but there is a good supply of Atle and a fair supply of Diamante. There is, too, a supply of Red Marvel, but I am not sure about April Red.
Mr. Browne: The position in my area is that we grow nothing but spring wheat, and if the people cannot get spring wheat a certain difficulty arises.
Mr. Corish: I did not catch the Minister's reply to Deputy Cosgrave about controlling threshing prices.
Dr. Ryan: I said we had control of threshing charges and on many occasions we examined the possibility of controlling charges for ploughing, harvesting and so on, but we found it impossible to get any good basis on which to go, because the conditions vary. We did consider the matter at the meeting of the Consultative Council and the members agreed that it would be difficult to arrive at any decision.
Mr. L. Cosgrave: They are charging more in County Dublin than elsewhere.
Dr. Ryan: The County Dublin charges are much higher than anywhere else.
Mr. O'Donnell: I should like to mention the position of the dairy farmers in my area. Some of them waited on the Minister at Clonmel. I forgot to mention that the dairy farmers are quite prepared to till a reasonable proportion of the land, but they wish to retain as many cows as possible so that there will be no shortage in the supply of liquid milk. They are quite prepared to devote 10 per cent. of the  arable land to wheat, but they ask the Minister to waive the compulsory percentage.
Question put and agreed to.
Progress reported, the Committee to sit again on Tuesday.
 Votes 69, 33, 61 and 30 reported and agreed to.
The Dáil adjourned at 9.20 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Tuesday, 29th February.
Mr. P.S. Doyle: asked the Minister for Local Government and Public Health if he will state in respect of each county and county borough the number of new houses completed up to the 30th September, 1943, under the Housing (Financial and Miscellaneous Provisions) Acts, 1932-37—(1) in urban areas (a) by local authorities, (b) by private persons, (c) by public utility societies, and (d) the total number of new houses so completed in urban areas; and (2) the number of new houses completed in rural areas by (a) local authorities, (b) private persons, (c) public utility societies, and (d) the total number of new houses so completed in rural areas; also the gross total of new houses so completed.
Mr. MacEntee: The following tables show the number of new houses completed up to 30th September, 1943, under the Housing (Financial and Miscellaneous Provisions) Acts, 1932-42, (1) in each urban area by (a) local authorities, (b) private persons, and (c) public utility societies; (2) in each rural area by (a) local authorities, (b) private persons, and (c) public utility societies; and (3) a summary of totals of new houses so completed.
 HOUSING (FINANCIAL AND MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS) ACTS, 1932-42.
New Houses completed in Urban Areas.
|District||By Local Authorities||By Private Persons||By Public Utility Societies||Total|
|Tipperary (N.R.) Co.:|
|Tipperary (S.R.) Co.:|
*Including 249 houses built by Local Authorities which do not qualify for subsidy under the 1932 Acts.
HOUSING (FINANCIAL AND MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS) ACTS, 1932-42.
New Houses completed in Rural Areas.
|County||By Local Authorities||By Private Persons||By Public Utility Societies||Total|