Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Afforestation, Land Reclamation and Drainage.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - British Forces in Six Counties.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Salaries of Home Assistance Officers.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Industrial Exports.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Sale of Hotel.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Reopening of Branch Lines.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Bord na Móna Programme.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Fenit Harbour Viaduct.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Removal of Beach Material.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Wages of Turf Workers.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Conditions of Law Clerks.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Appointment of Factory Inspectors.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Improvement of Boat Train.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Reorganisation of Transport.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Disemployment of ex-Tuberculosis Patient.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Price of Knitting Wool.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Increased Tobacco Supply.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Tea and Sugar Quotas.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Increased Housing Grants.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Scope of Housing Acts.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - New Dublin Flats Scheme.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Killarney Fair Green.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Monaghan Water and Sewage Schemes.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Cork Water Scheme.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Farmers' Rates.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Leix Housing Schemes.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Committee on Sewage Disposal.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Committee on Piped Water Supplies.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Dublin Road Workers.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Road Fund Contributions.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Clare Road Overseers.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Motor Accidents.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Brosna (Kerry) Medical Officer.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Manorhamilton Hospital.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - East Wall Dispensary.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Lifford Hospital Equipment.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Tuberculosis Allowances.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Nurses—Conditions of Service.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Attendants at the National Museum.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Council of Europe.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Speech at Fermoy.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Sale of Unvested Land.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Afforestation.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Limerick Estate.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Galway Estates.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Mayo Estate.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Surplus Potatoes.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Tax on Dancing.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Communication to Organisation for European Economic Co-operation.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Budget Speech.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Garda Síochána Recruitment.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Road Accidents.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Medals for L.D.F.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Army Pensions.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Discharge Certificates.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - National Ex-Servicemen's Association.
Emigration Figures. - Personal Explanation by Minister.
Emigration Figures. - Questions on the Adjournment.
Emigration Figures. - Order of Business.
Emigration Figures. - In Committee on Finance.
Supplementary and Additional Estimates, 1948-49. - Vote 21—Stationery and Printing.
Supplementary and Additional Estimates, 1948-49. - Vote 75—Repayments to Contingency Fund.
Supplementary and Additional Estimates, 1948-49. - Vote 28—Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.
Supplementary and Additional Estimates, 1948-49. - Vote 61—Posts and Telegraphs.
Supplementary and Additional Estimates, 1948-49. - Vote 76—Organisation for European Economic Co-operation.
Supplementary and Additional Estimates, 1948-49. - Children (Amendment) Bill, 1949—Committee and Final Stages.
Supplementary and Additional Estimates, 1948-49. - Electricity (Supply) (Amendment) Bill, 1948—Second Stage (Resumed).
Private Deputies' Business. - Agricultural Costings—Motion (resumed).
Private Deputies' Business. - Ballinamore and Ballyconnell Drainage—Motion.
Private Deputies' Business. - Repair of Embankments—Motion.
Adjournment Debate. - Price of Flax.
 Do chuaigh an Ceann Comhairle i gceannas ar 3 p.m.
Mr. C. Lehane: asked the Taoiseach whether he is prepared to arrange for the publication every month beginning from the month of April next by the proposed central statistics office the following particulars in relation to the Government's new plans for afforestation, land reclamation and drainage (a) numbers of men directly employed by the Department of Agriculture on land reclamation and drainage in each county, and amount of wages paid; (b) amounts of direct grants made by the Minister for Agriculture to farmers for land reclamation and drainage in each county; (c) numbers of men employed on minor river drainage works in each county and amount of wages paid; (d) number of men employed by the forestry division in each county and amount of wages paid; and (e) number of acres acquired by the forestry division for planting purposes.
The Taoiseach: The Government's decision to establish a central statistics office attached to my Department is in process of being carried out. Certain formalities, such as the making of Transfer Orders under the Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Act, 1939, require to be attended to. When the office has been formally established, which will, I anticipate, be at an early date, I will have the suggestion contained in the Deputy's question considered.
Mr. C. Lehane: Can the Taoiseach give an assurance that before the 1st  May such information would be made available by the central statistics bureau?
The Taoiseach: I think I could give an assurance to the Deputy that the information he is seeking would be available, but I cannot give an assurance as to source from which it would be available. It might be available from the Department of Agriculture. I am not sufficiently familiar with the scope of the statistics office at the moment to say whether this particular information would be appropriate for that Department or for the Department of the Minister concerned, but the information will be put at the disposal of the Deputy.
Mr. C. Lehane: Is the Taoiseach aware that the publication in a periodical at short intervals of such information is essential if the public mind is to be set at rest concerning the twin evils of emigration and unemployment?
The Taoiseach: I fully appreciate that.
Dr. Maguire: asked the Taoiseach if, in view of the statement made in the Stormont Parliament to the effect that extra British forces are being drafted into the Six Counties and of the fact that this action implies that the British Government is giving effect to the assurance by its Prime Minister that the constitutional position of the Six Counties will not be altered, he will make an emphatic protest to the British Government against this gesture of force.
The Taoiseach: The information at my disposal does not support the suggestion that the strength of the British forces in the six-county area is being increased or that any recent movements of British troops into the area have been of other than a routine character.
Dr. Maguire: In view of the fact that there has been no official denial from Stormont or Westminster of this statement, does the Taoiseach agree that there must be some grounds for it?
General MacEoin: Maybe they brought in the Navy.
The Taoiseach: I have given my reply to the Deputy.
Mr. O'Leary: asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will state (i) when he will sanction the new rate of salaries to home assistance officers in County Wexford and (ii) what is the cause of delay.
Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. Norton): I am not yet in a position to say when the revised salaries for assistance officers in County Wexford will be put into operation. The proposals received in respect of those officers are at present the subject of correspondence with the county manager and I hope to have the matter finally settled in the near future.
 Consideration of material so far received in connection with the proposed revision of the salaries of assistance officers in all areas is proceeding without avoidable delay. It is expected that any increases granted will be paid as from the 1st June, 1948.
Mr. Larkin: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state the quantity and value of the principal industrial products exported to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland in 1947 and 1948.
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Morrissey): I propose, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, to circulate in the Official Report a statement giving the information asked for by the Deputy.
Following is the statement:—
DOMESTIC EXPORTS OF THE PRINCIPAL INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTS CONSIGNED TO (a) GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND AND (b) NORTHERN IRELAND IN 1947 AND 1948.
|DESCRIPTION||Unit of Quantity||1947||1948||1947||1948|
|(a)Great Britain and Northern Ireland||(b)Northern Ireland||(a)Great Britain and Northern Ireland||(b)Northern Ireland||(a)Great Britain and Northern Ireland||(b)Northern Ireland||(a)Great Britain and Northern Ireland||(b)Northern Ireland|
|Confectionery (except cakes, etc.)||cwt.||83,583||—||210,812||—||472,258||—||1,382,868||—|
|Ale, beer and porter||std. brl.||686,746||161,589||742,046||169,944||3,651,727||911,465||3,843,431||943,145|
|Spirits (whiskey, etc.)||pf. gall.||262,753||105,124||320,692||111,503||287,335||130,659||364,440||138,519|
|Non-ferrous metals, old and scrap||cwt.||19,329||—||24,479||105||71,084||—||94,166||304|
|Aeroplanes and parts (including repairs)||value||—||—||—||—||209,652||590||315,387||83|
|Cotton piece goods||sq. yd.||1,131,150||909,490||1,908,900||1,237,270||120,155||95,298||212,325||142,449|
|Linen ,, ,,||,,||479,470||476,610||934,890||934,890||102,372||101,734||179,084||179,084|
|Woollen and worsted yarns||lb.||885,594||100||568,289||5,636||286,008||37||240,745||1,709|
|Woollen and worsted tissues||sq. yd.||284,010||71,900||388,550||14,350||150,856||52,678||159,670||6,081|
|Paper and cardboard||,,||22,128||3,978||97,197||25,136||90,895||6,319||247,874||46,780|
|Books and other printed reading matter||,,||12,869||2,588||11,994||2,873||212,638||36,793||155,177||38,114|
Mr. Bartley: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state the reason for the decision to offer Ballinahinch Hotel for sale; if it is due to financial loss; whether he will state the amount of such loss on (a) the hotel trading and (b) the management of the property other than the hotel; and if he will say if the decision was made on the direction of the Government.
Mr. Morrissey: The Government has decided that the hotel properties operated under the control of the Irish Tourist Board are to be offered for sale. The Government has taken this decision because it does not consider it to be any part of its functions to provide State funds for the acquisition and operation of hotels. I am not in a position to furnish information as to the results of trading at Ballinahinch Hotel and the management of the property other than the hotel. Audited accounts have not yet been submitted to me.
Mr. Bartley: Will the Minister say if this principle of the Government's not interfering in hotel business will be applied in respect of other business activities such, for instance, as the manufacture of sugar, the provision of electricity, transport, etc.?
An Ceann Comhairle: That is a separate question. The question deals with hotels.
Mr. McAuliffe: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he is in a position to state when the branch railway line between Cork and Macroom will be reopened.
Mr. Morrissey: I would refer the Deputy to the reply which I gave on the 24th February, on the question of the reopening of branch railway lines generally.
Mr. T. Walsh: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if, having regard to the big demand there is for limestone flour manufactured at Ballyellen, County Carlow, and the excessive transport charges if conveyed by  road to farmers, he will recommend to Córas Iompair Éireann the necessity for reopening the Bagenalstown-Ballywilliam branch line.
Mr. Morrissey: I have made inquiry from Córas Iompair Éireann regarding their transport charges for the carriage of limestone flour traffic from Ballyellen Works, County Carlow, and am informed by them that a considerable reduction in the charge has recently been made. On the question of the reopening of this branch railway line I would refer the Deputy to the reply which I gave on the 24th February to a similar question relating to another branch line.
Mr. Lemass: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will furnish particulars of the plans for the acceleration of the programme of Bord na Móna for the production of machine turf, whether proposals for legislation will be necessary for this purpose; and, if so, when it is hoped to introduce them.
Mr. Morrissey: The programme for the production of machine turf by Bord na Móna, which was announced in 1946, is to be expedited so that it will be completed in about one-half the time originally estimated. In addition it has been decided to carry out a second programme for the development of additional bogs with a view to the production of a further 1,000,000 tons of turf per annum. Legislation will be necessary to provide for extra expenditure on the 1946 programme due to increases in the cost of material and wages, for the cost of a housing scheme for the workers on the bogs at present under development, for the cost of the preparatory work on the second programme and for other minor matters. This legislation is in course of preparation and will be introduced with the least possible delay.
Mr. Lemass: In view of the fact that the turf production season is now on, am I to interpret the Minister's reply as meaning that the further extension of the board's activities will not be practicable this year?
Mr. Morrissey: The Deputy is not to come to any such conclusion. Is the Deputy disappointed because we are going on with the scheme?
Mr. Aiken: It is our scheme.
Mr. Lemass: May I ask the Minister a reasonable question? Will the additional activities of the board take place this year?
Mr. Morrissey: I am informed by the board, and I presume they know their business in this matter, that this year they will be in a position to employ double the number which they employed last year, namely, 10,000, instead of 5,000 men. That would indicate that they seem to be able to go ahead with their work.
Mr. Lemass: May I again press the Minister for a reply? It has been announced by him that the enlargement of the scheme which the board proposed in 1947 has now been approved. That enlargement might have occurred last year, but it was not proceeded with. The Government is now proceeding with it. Can it take place this year in the absence of the necessary legislation?
Mr. Morrissey: Legislation, as I stated in reply to the Deputy, is now necessary to cover a number of matters. That legislation is in the course of preparation and will be introduced with the least possible delay.
Mr. Lemass: Is there any prospect of its being passed before the turf season is over?
Mr. Morrissey: Does the Deputy want us to proceed with the scheme without legislation?
Mr. Lemass: I am urging the Minister to hurry up the legislation so that the work can proceed this year.
Mr. Morrissey: May I assure the Deputy, in order to ease his mind, that there is no desire on my part to delay it? I am urging it to the fullest possible extent and I can give the Deputy  and the House an assurance that so far as I am concerned there will not be a moment's delay.
Mr. Pattison (for Mr. Spring): asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state whether the documents received by his Department in connection with the proposed new viaduct at Fenit Harbour and sent by him to the harbour board engineer have since been returned; and, if so, when it is likely that the work will be approved and begun.
Mr. Morrissey: The documents in question were returned to my Department on the 2nd March and examination is proceeding. It is not possible to indicate the date on which the works will be approved and begun.
Mr. Kissane: Will the Minister indicate what is the cause of the delay in carrying out the work?
Mr. Morrissey: Did the Deputy hear my reply: “The documents in question were returned to my Department on the 2nd March and examination is proceeding?”
Mr. Kissane: Can the Minister indicate when it will be carried out?
Mr. Morrissey: I replied to that also: “It is not possible to indicate the date on which the works will be approved and begun.”
Éamon Ó Cíosáin: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if the report of the inspector of his Department who conducted the public inquiry in the courthouse, Ballybunion, County Kerry, on the 22nd of February, 1949, into the removal of beach material from the Ballybunion foreshore has yet come to hand; and, if so, whether it has been considered, and with what result.
Mr. Morrissey: The report of the public inquiry held at Ballybunion on the 22nd February, 1949, into the removal of beach material from the  foreshore at Ballybunion has not yet been received.
Mr. Dunne: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he is aware of the dissatisfaction of the workers employed by Bord na Móna on turf schemes with the present wettime rate and ordinary time-rate, and if he will state what steps the Government proposes taking to remedy the present situation.
Mr. Morrissey: Questions relating to the rate of remuneration payable to workers to whom the Industrial Relations Act applies are matters proper to be dealt with by the Labour Court. The Act covers the workers employed by Bord na Móna.
The rates of wages and conditions of employment of turf workers employed by Bord na Móna have already been the subject of recommendations by the Labour Court.
Mr. MacEntee: Can the Minister say whether Deputy Dunne will now foment a strike?
Mr. Dunne: With your permission, Sir, I will raise the matter on the Adjournment.
Mr. Morrissey: Although I have no objection if you, Sir, think it proper that it should be raised on the Adjournment, I think I should point out that I have no function in the matter.
An Ceann Comhairle: If the Minister has no function in the matter it cannot be raised. He is not answerable.
Mr. Lemass: We will have the Bill now we hope.
Mr. Larkin: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether, in view of the fact that 1,524 solicitors are listed in his Department, and that only 24 inspections were made in 1948, and that eight breaches of statutory provisions were reported (that is 33? per cent.), he will state what steps he proposes to take to ensure that the  statutory Orders of the Labour Court in respect of decisions of the Joint Labour Committee for Law Clerks are being observed by solicitors to whom such Orders apply.
Mr. Morrissey: I may remind the Deputy (1) that the Law Clerks' Joint Labour Committee Regulations were first made on 28th May, 1948, and were only applied to the present range of employees in November, 1948, and (2) that the 1,524 solicitors mentioned are not all necessarily employers.
I consider that the steps taken to enforce the Orders are as satisfactory as can be expected bearing in mind the time during which these Orders are in force. If the Deputy has in mind any cases where infringements of the Order are suspected or where the unions concerned are aware of such cases, I shall be glad to hear of them.
Mr. Larkin: The Minister is aware that the main reason for having a Joint Labour Committee established was the impossibility of affording reasonable protection for these employees through the normal trade union channels. If, out of 24 cases inspected, eight breaches of statutory provisions were reported, surely there is need to improve the inspectorial work in order to ensure that this committee is assisted in doing its work?
Mr. Morrissey: I think the Deputy can take it that the rate of inspection will be speeded up.
Mr. Larkin: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will arrange without delay to appoint additional factory inspectors in view of the following facts: (i) there were only 12 inspectors engaged in active inspectorial duties in 1948 compared with 20 in 1939; (ii) according to his own statement the number of premises on the registers has increased; and (iii) since 1939 additional duties have devolved on the inspectorial staff following the passing of the Holidays (Employees) Act, 1939, and the establishment of joint labour committees for law clerks and for messenger boys (Cork Borough).
Mr. Morrissey: Arrangements have been made for the appointment of additional factory inspectors.
Mr. Larkin: Could the Minister state when he expects the additional inspectors to take up duty in view of the fact that we have only 12 inspectors now instead of 20 pre-war, and that since that date there have been two additional joint labour committees established and a new Holidays Act passed, all of which imposes additional duties on the inspectors, and we have fewer inspectors to do more work?
Mr. Morrissey: I expect they will take up duty in the very near future.
Mr. MacEntee: Is Deputy Larkin asking the Minister to appoint some more “pip-squeaks”?
Mr. Morrissey: Is the Deputy an applicant for the post?
Mr. A.P. Byrne: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if, in view of the approach of another tourist season and of the very unfavourable impression created in the past and still being created by the deplorable arrangements made for the carriage of passengers from Carlisle Pier to West-land Row, he will take immediate steps to see that a comfortable train with proper facilities will be provided.
Mr. Morrissey: As I intimated in a reply in Dáil Éireann to a similar question by the Deputy on the 4th August last, Córas Iompair Éireann are anxious to improve the rolling stock used on the service to which the Deputy refers as soon as it will be practicable to do so. I understand that it has not been possible to make as much progress as the company would have wished to make, but I am taking the matter up with them with a view to seeing what improvements can be effected before, or during, the coming tourist season.
Mr. MacEntee: Is this to facilitate the “flight of the locusts”, as one of the Ministers described tourists a couple of years ago?
Mr. Morrissey: He will not miss the particular train that is going out there anyway.
Mr. A.P. Byrne: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce when he hopes to introduce proposals for the reorganisation of the transport industry.
Mr. Morrissey: Proposals for legislation relating to the transport industry are in course of preparation and a Bill will be introduced as soon as possible.
Mr. A.P. Byrne: Could we have any indication, in view of the financial business coming along next month and in the following months, as to whether the transport legislation will be introduced before Budget time?
Mr. Morrissey: I can assure the Deputy that I am very anxious to get it here as soon as I possibly can and there will be no avoidable delay.
Messrs. M. O'Sullivan, Davin: and Keyes asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether his attention has been directed to the case of a clerical officer in the employment of Córas Iompair Éireann who contracted tuberculosis in the course of his duties and who, according to practice, was allowed six months' leave of absence, on the expiry of which the man concerned was refused re-employment by the company, despite the fact that a medical certificate indicated the patient was clear of his trouble; whether the Minister is aware that this attitude of the company is in direct conflict with the policy of the Government as enunciated by the Minister for Health; and, if so, whether he will indicate what steps he proposes to take to ensure that the anti-social policy of the company—as indicated by the facts of this particular case—is not permitted to continue, and that the officer, the subject of this question, is immediately reinstated.
Mr. Morrissey: The Railways Act, 1924, provides that the conditions of service of railway employees should be regulated by agreements made between the company and the trade unions representative of such employees. I have no statutory functions in a matter of this kind. When this case was first brought to my notice some time ago, I had inquiries made from Córas Iompair Éireann. The company informed me that the case had been sympathetically considered, but that they had been unable to arrive at any other decision than that which had been taken.
Mr. M. O'Sullivan: It is an exceedingly serious matter for the staff of Córas Iompair Éireann and I put it to the Minister now that his reply is exceedingly unsatisfactory. He mentions the fact that arrangements in connection with conditions of employment rest, under the Act of 1924, between the company and the trade unions. Might I, with the consent of the House, point out——
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy is making a speech.
Mr. M. O'Sullivan: I am putting a question to the Minister.
An Ceann Comhairle: Who says he has no responsibility.
Mr. M. O'Sullivan: I am putting it now to the Minister. In view of the fact that he is a member of a Cabinet which has pronounced judgment on the treatment of tuberculosis, will he not take steps to settle this matter, now that I have brought it officially to his notice—as was done by the trade union to which the man belongs—and also officially to the notice of the Government? A grievous wrong has been done to a man who contracted tuberculosis in the course of his service and is now definitely cured, as per the certificate of one of the most eminent specialists in this city; but for the last six months he has been walking the streets of the city unemployed.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy is making a speech.
Mr. M. O'Sullivan: May I put it to the Minister that this matter is too  serious to be trifled with in the way the Minister has done here, in suggesting that he has no official responsibility? I suggest that there is Cabinet responsibility in a serious matter of this kind.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy has made a speech in the guise of a question. If the Minister has no responsibility, it is not in order to appeal to the whole Cabinet on a question to one Minister. If the Minister has no responsibility, that ends it.
Mr. Davin: On a supplementary question to the Minister, we are told that the general manager of the company refused to meet a deputation representing the trade unions.
An Ceann Comhairle: That is a separate question.
Mr. Morrissey: May I, with your permission, say just this? There is no question of trifling with this case and I think it is unfair to suggest that. I have stated what the statutory position is, that I have no statutory functions in the matter. May I suggest to the Deputy and other Deputies concerned that they might take this matter up with the company again?
Mr. Davin: Would it not be the business of the Minister to see that the general manager carries out both the letter and the spirit of the 1924 Act and meets a deputation representing the trade unions?
Mr. O'Grady: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he is aware that the price of knitting wool has been advanced by 1d. per oz. recently; and, if so, whether he will state what steps, if any, he proposes taking with a view to restoring the price to the former level.
Mr. Morrissey: I am aware that the price of Irish-manufactured knitting wool has been advanced recently by ½d. per oz. for yarn manufactured from native wool and by 1d. per oz. for yarn manufactured from imported tops. I am satisfied that this increase is due  to the continued rise in the price of raw wool and that no increase in the marginal profits of distributors or in the profits of the manufacturers is represented in the new prices.
Mr. J.J. Collins: and Dr. Maguire asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will give an assurance that the proposed increase in the tobacco supply to manufacturers will result in increased supply to consumers.
Mr. Morrissey: I would refer the Deputies to the reply I gave in Dáil Éireann yesterday to a question on this subject.
Dr. Maguire: Will the Minister give an assurance that this increased supply of tobacco to the manufacturers is not going to result in an increased supply to consumers in Northern Ireland?
Mr. Morrissey: Perhaps the Deputy might be able to give us some assistance on that.
Dr. Maguire: I could.
Mr. O'Leary: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he has considered the position, from the point of view of tea and sugar quotas, of small shop-keepers without quotas in country districts where people are five and six miles from a town, and of persons who bought premises where there was no quota when the shop was purchased; and if he will state whether he is prepared to grant quotas in these cases.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Cosgrave): I would refer the Deputy to the reply I gave in Dáil Éireann on the 24th November last to questions on this subject. Although the position has since been reviewed, I regret that I am still unable to authorise the provision of quotas of tea and sugar in such cases.
Mr. O'Leary: Are we to take it that the supplies in the country are no better than they were during the war?
Mr. Cosgrave: The supplies are somewhat better, as the Deputy probably is aware. The tea ration and sugar ration is now higher than it was, but it is still not possible to de-ration these commodities.
Mr. Hilliard: asked the Minister for Local Government if, in view of the increased cost of building since 1938, he intends to introduce proposals to amend the Housing (Financial and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1932, to permit the payment of a greater grant or subsidy on loan charges to local authorities to enable them to let the houses at reasonable rents.
Minister for Local Government (Mr. Murphy): The subsidy referred to by the Deputy is at present supplemented by substantial capital grants from the Transition Development Fund to enable the rents to be kept at reasonable levels without imposing undue charges on the rates.
This is the most practicable method of affording extra financial assistance to housing schemes of local authorities during the present period of abnormal building costs. The ultimate adjustment of the problem of rents in relation to the general financial aspects of local authority housing will depend on a number of factors such as the possibility of a reduction in the present cost of building.
Mr. Byrne: asked the Minister for Local Government if he intends to introduce proposals for legislation to amend the Small Dwellings Act which at present only allows an 80 per cent. advance to be made in County Dublin and 90 per cent. in the City of Dublin on the market value of the houses offered as security; further, if in view of the fact that the valuation on the market value basis by the Dublin Corporation's valuer has caused considerable embarrassment to many persons anxious to make arrangements for the building of their own homes and that it does not meet with their requirements, he is prepared to take steps to have the matter remedied.
Mr. Murphy: New legislation would not be necessary to enable Dublin County Council to make advances under the Small Dwellings Acquisition Acts up to 90 per cent. of the market value of the houses, but at present borrowing by local authorities from the Local Loans Fund for the purposes of the Acts is permitted by the Minister for Finance on the condition that advances financed in this way are limited to 80 per cent. of the market value.
As to the second part of the question, I am aware that in some instances there is a considerable discrepancy between the valuer's valuation and the price the intending borrower was proposing to pay for his house. This matter is being dealt with by the local authority, but, as I explained in reply to the Deputy's question on 14th December last, the local authority is obliged to take all necessary steps to safeguard the funds they have to provide for this purpose. The difficulties referred to by the Deputy will best be resolved by builders' prices being brought into closer harmony with current market values.
Mr. Byrne: The Minister has stated that the Dublin County Council has power to advance 90 per cent. if they were allowed to do so by the Minister for Finance. Secondly, may I ask him if he is aware that in the City of Dublin at the moment there are at least 100 young persons who are anxious to build their own houses and who have been left £70 or £80 short to complete the deal because of the method of valuation on what is called the market value? Surely the Minister will see that the cost of the building will be taken into consideration? I express the hope that he will do so, because, though I am a member of the Dublin Corporation, I am not satisfied with the way they are administering the Small Dwellings Act.
Mr. Murphy: I would be glad to hear of any proposals which the Dublin County Council would care to make for the purpose of raising the permitted level of advances above 90 per cent. and the matter will get consideration.
Mr. Carter: asked the Minister for Local Government if he will consider the claims of applicants for the reconstruction of houses to whom the Housing Acts do not apply, such as self-employed people who do not work for hire, small business people in towns, old age pensioners, etc., and if he will introduce proposals for legislation to enable these applications to be granted.
Mr. Murphy: Applications for reconstruction grants under the Housing Acts from self-employed persons working in rural districts including towns with town commissioners, who do not employ any persons other than members of their own families, and from old age pensioners who, before the receipt of a pension, came within one of the eligible categories, have always received consideration. I am examining generally the scope of the eligible categories for these grants.
Mr. Carter: Would the Minister be prepared to accept any application that has been sent out? I have a good many applications which have not been considered but have been turned down, so to speak, and I would like the Minister to consider them in some way, as it is a great hardship on these people.
Mr. Murphy: The Deputy, from his experience, knows that in these matters there are many border line cases. It is very difficult for me to make any promise that would involve generally admitting those cases. All I can say is that all the cases will be examined on their merits and the intention is that they will be considered as sympathetically as possible.
Mr. Childers: asked the Minister for Local Government with reference to the flat dwellings scheme at Rialto, Dublin, which was opened by the Minister on March 4th, 1949, if he will state (a) when the corporation acquired the land; (b) when they decided to go on with the scheme; (c) when the flats were approved by the Department of Local Government; (d) when tenders were invited; (e) when contracts were placed; (f) when work began, and (g) number of men employed.
Mr. Murphy: The following is the information which the Deputy has requested:—
(a) The Dublin Corporation obtained possession of portion of the site for this scheme in October, 1937, and the balance in June, 1938.
(b) In October, 1937, the filling of the site was commenced and the construction of roads, laying of sewers and construction of foundations were put in hands in 1940. The corporation decided in 1946 to proceed with the building work.
(c) Plans for the scheme were approved by the Department in January, 1938.
(d) Tenders for the construction of foundations and for site work were invited in October, 1940, and approval to the acceptance of a tender was given by the Department in November, 1940. Tenders for the erection of the flats were invited in May, 1946, and the acceptance of a tender was approved in October, 1946.
(e) The contract dates were:— foundations contract, 8th February, 1941; building contract, 8th May, 1947.
(f) Work on the foundations contract began in February, 1941, and ended in July, 1942. Work on the building contract commenced in May, 1947.
(g) The number of men employed on the foundation contract averaged 11 skilled and 34 unskilled. The number of men employed on the building contract has more than doubled since this time last year and was 262 skilled and 230 unskilled for the week ending 3rd March, 1949.
Mr. MacEntee: The Minister claims credit for that scheme?
Mr. Murphy: The Minister claims credit for injecting some life into housing—a very considerable amount of it. I do not think the reply gives much comfort to the ex-Minister——
Mr. MacEntee: Does it not?
Mr. Murphy: ——considering that it took about ten years to get them going.
Mr. John Flynn: asked the Minister  for Local Government whether he is aware that recently the Kerry Cattle Traders' Association passed a resolution protesting against the new decision of the Killarney Urban District Council again to request his sanction for the sale of part of the Killarney Fair Green; and if, in the circumstances, he will give an assurance that the council's new application for sanction to sell will be refused.
Mr. Murphy: I am aware of the passing of the resolution. No proposal in this matter has, however, yet been received in the Department from the Killarney Urban District Council.
As I explained to the Deputy, in reply to his previous question on 1st December last, I would not be disposed to agree to any sale or letting which would be likely to interfere in any way with the holding of fairs and markets. He may rest assured that the matter will be carefully investigated by me if any proposal is submitted to the Department.
Dr. Maguire: asked the Minister for Local Government if he can state when effect will be given to the plans and specifications with his Department since 1945 relating to water supply and modern sewage schemes for Emyvale, Newbliss, Scotshouse, Rockcorry, Smithboro', Scotstown and Drum.
Mr. Murphy: Detailed plans and specifications have not been submitted for approval in respect of any of the works referred to. Only outline schemes were furnished in 1945 as the basis of a programme of post-emergency works. The county council propose to proceed in the first instance with water supply schemes for Rockcorry, Newbliss, Emyvale and Millbrook, and have appointed a consulting engineer to prepare schemes for Rockcorry and Newbliss.
Mr. P.D. Lehane: asked the Minister for Local Government whether he is now in a position to state when the Donnybrook, Douglas, County Cork,  water supply scheme, which was approved by his Department in 1947, will be proceeded with, and whether, having regard to the great inconyenience suffered and the danger caused to the public by the lack of water in this area, he will take steps to expedite the matter.
Mr. Murphy: Proposals were received from the local authority on the 25th ultimo for an extension of the original scheme to serve a new housing scheme in the Donnybrook area and existing houses at Scart Road. These proposals, which involve a revision of the original scheme are being examined.
It is understood that the pipes ordered by the late contractor will be delivered to the county council in about six weeks' time, and accordingly, there should be no delay in starting the work when a new contract has been made.
Mr. S. Collins: asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state whether he is prepared to introduce proposals for legislation to permit farmers to claim a reduction of their rates where they have a man in their employment for 40 weeks or more instead of as at present where the man has to be employed for the 52 weeks of the year.
Mr. Murphy: I do not propose to introduce legislation on the lines indicated by the Deputy.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: asked the Minister for Local Government whether he can state the reason for the delay in carrying out the proposed housing scheme in Rathdowney, Leix.
Mr. Murphy: A site for 30 cottages at Rathdowney is included in the Laoighis County Health District Labourers (No. 9) Order, 1947, which is at present before me for confirmation. The Order provides for the compulsory acquisition of sites for 252 cottages at various places in the county. Consideration of the report on the inquiry had to be deferred until the services of our inspector were available for inspection  of all the sites proposed. There has been no avoidable delay in the carrying out of this work, and I am now in a position to have a decision on the Order conveyed to the county council at a very early date.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: In view of the fact that there is a considerable housing shortage in Rathdowney, will the Minister say when it is likely that sanction will be given?
Mr. Murphy: I would hope within the next week.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: asked the Minister for Local Government whether he can state the present position concerning the housing scheme at Borris Road, Portlaoighise, Leix, and when work will commence.
Mr. Murphy: A tender for the erection of 52 houses at Borris Road, Portlaoighise, was sanctioned on the 15th February. I understand that it is expected that work on this scheme will be commenced at the beginning of next month.
Mr. Madden: asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state: (i) whether the findings of the Committee on Sewage Disposal are yet available; and, if so, when such findings will be published; and (ii) whether his Department and the Department of Agriculture have carried out tests to ascertain the value of sludge as a fertiliser.
Mr. Murphy: (i) The findings are not yet available but I am informed that they are likely to be submitted soon. (ii) The Department of Local Government has not undertaken any tests of the kind referred to. I am not aware whether any such tests have been carried out by the Department of Agriculture.
Mr. Madden: asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state whether the findings of the Committee on Piped Water Supplies are yet available; and, if so, when such findings will be published.
Mr. Murphy: The investigations of the committee referred to were terminated early last year. The circumstances were fully explained in my introductory speech on the Department's Estimate on the 9th June last. I have also made it clear publicly on a number of occasions that the termination of the long-term investigations of the committee in no way affects the discretion of local authorities to plan particular waterworks schemes on a regional basis where this course is found practicable and economic and unlikely to cause undue delay in the provision of essential services, including the servicing of new housing schemes.
Mr. P.J. Burke: asked the Minister for Local Government whether he is aware that 11 road men have been sacked in the Tallaght area; and, if so, whether he will state what steps he intends to take to have them reemployed.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Local Government (Mr. Corish): The employment of road workers is a matter entirely for the local authority. I inquired about the cases mentioned by the Deputy and was informed that these men were taken on in a temporary capacity by Dublin County Council for road work during the summer period and that the work for which they were engaged has now been completed. I was informed that in the normal course their services would have been terminated some months ago.
Mr. P.J. Burke: Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that, as a result of the policy of his Minister, there will be more road workers sacked in County Dublin?
Mr. Dunne: Can the Parliamentary Secretary state whether or not it is a fact that there were more road workers employed last year in County Dublin than ever before in the history of Dublin?
Mr. MacEntee: Of course, there ought to be, because we made twice the grant.
Mr. P.J. Burke: In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I propose to raise this matter on the Adjournment, with your permission.
Mr. MacEntee: There are a great many fewer this year.
Mr. Childers: asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state the amount of Road Fund contribution announced by his Department in a communication to the Dublin County Council issued after the decision in regard to Road Fund grants; whether the grant has been confirmed or increased; and, if increased, whether the remaining areas will receive lower grants or whether a deficit has been thereby created and how it will be defrayed; the figure to be based on the assumption that the Dublin County Council provide the basic contribution.
Mr. Corish: No Road Fund contribution was announced to Dublin County Council after the decision in regard to Road Fund grants which was conveyed to all county councils on 7th February last. The remaining parts of the question do not, therefore, arise.
Mr. MacEntee: So Deputy Dunne has not yet got his price.
Mr. Dunne: Propaganda. More lies.
Mr. Childers: asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state whether it is a fact that a sum of £500,000 was authorised or earmarked for the improvement of County Dublin roads in the year 1947-48; whether this allocation was utilised and to what extent, and whether it represents potential liability upon the Road Fund; and, if so, to what extent.
Mr. Corish: The Dublin County Council were notified in November, 1947, that it was proposed to allocate a grant of £500,000 from the Road Fund for the improvement of arterial roads leading from Dublin. It was expected that the expenditure would be spread over a number of years. Progress to date has related entirely to the making of plans, surveys and other preliminary investigations. The full amount  of £500,000 is a provisional commitment of the Road Fund.
Mr. MacEntee: Are the funds which are to be provided for special road works during this year, in accordance with the undertaking given in this House to Deputy Seán Dunne, to be provided out of this £500,000?
Mr. Corish: Is the Deputy trying to be funny?
Mr. MacEntee: I am not trying to be funny, but it is no joke for the road workers.
Mr. Corish: The full amount of £500,000 is a provisional commitment of the Road Fund.
Mr. MacEntee: I am asking the Parliamentary Secretary if any part of the additional grant which was promised to Deputy Seán Dunne in this House by the Parliamentary Secretary is to be a charge upon that £500,000?
Mr. Corish: Would the Deputy mind quoting what I said?
Mr. MacEntee: You are running away from it now.
Mr. Corish: Quote what I said.
Mr. MacEntee: The Division is over.
Mr. Dunne: The Deputy is very worried about road workers.
Mr. MacEntee: Deputy Dunne was silenced.
Mr. Sweetman: The ex-Minister should tell the truth for once.
Mr. Hogan: asked the Minister for Local Government whether he will state (i) if representations have been made to him respecting pensions rights for road overseers employed by county councils; (ii) if representations of a special nature have been made to him respecting a limited number of road overseers employed by the Clare County Council whose salaries are a direct charge on the rates of the administrative  County of Clare and in respect of whom no charge is made on the Road Fund; (iii) whether the road overseers mentioned at (i) and (ii) are graded as county council officers; and, if not, on what considerations they are excluded from such grading; (iv) whether he is aware that rate collectors, whose offices were temporary and non-pensionable, were, by order, graded as officers of the county council and thus qualified as officers for pension rights under the Local Government (Superannuation) Act, 1947; (v) what considerations include rate collectors as county council officers and exclude road overseers from such grading.
Mr. Corish: I have received representations on this matter but I regret that there is no way open to me of admitting road overseers to any pensionable category other than that provided for in Part III of the Local Government (Superannuation) Act, 1948. The position is that the rate collector is graded as an officer while the road overseer is not, the distinction being based on the differences in the duties and responsibilities, including accounting responsibilities, attaching to the posts. There has been no regrading, by order, of the post of rate collector. Whether he is pensionable depends on the extent of his collection and on the terms of the tenure of his office.
Mr. Childers: asked the Minister for Local Government if he has given consideration to the number of serious motor accidents directly attributable to intoxication; and, if so, whether he is prepared to introduce proposals for legislation to control this menace.
Mr. Corish: Yes. The matter is under consideration in connection with proposals for amending the Road Traffic Act, 1933.
Mr. Pattison: (for Mr. Spring) asked the Minister for Health whether he is aware that the dispensary medical officer for Brosna, County Kerry, is residing at Abbeyfeale, County Limerick, seven miles away, which prevents  proper service being given to the people of Brosna district; and, if so, whether he will take steps to remedy this serious hardship on those who may require the services of the medical officer.
Minister for Health (Dr. Browne): I am aware that the medical officer of Brosna No. 1 Dispensary District resides in Abbeyfeale as, I am informed, it is difficult to obtain accommodation within the dispensary district. I do not regard Abbeyfeale as a suitable place for the medical officer to reside and I will request the local authority to report to me on the possibility of his obtaining a suitable residence within his district at an early date.
Mrs. Reynolds: asked the Minister for Health whether in view of the recent interview which he had with a deputation from County Leitrim regarding hospitalisation in the county, he will indicate when work on Manorhamilton Hospital is likely to be put in hands.
Dr. Browne: It is not possible at this stage to indicate with any degree of accuracy the date on which building work will commence, as contract documents, including bill of quantities, have yet to be prepared.
I am, however, hopeful that the actual building work will start before the end of the present year.
The draft working-drawings for the building work and the revised drawings of the engineering services are at present under examination in my Department. I can assure the Deputy that the Department's recommendations on these documents will issue at the earliest possible date and that every effort will be made to expedite the discharge of all documents for Manorhamilton Hospital submitted to my Department.
Mr. Colley: asked the Minister for Health when it is proposed to proceed with the provision of a dispensary for the East Wall area.
Dr. Browne: The acceptance of a tender for the erection of a temporary dispensary at Church Road was approved by me in January last. Owing to changes which took place in the firm whose tender was recommended for acceptance, before the actual contract was signed, it was considered necessary by the board of assistance to have the contract readvertised.
It is hoped that the actual work on the erection of this temporary dispensary will commence in the near future.
Mr. Friel: asked the Minister for Health if he will consider having an X-ray apparatus installed in Lifford District Hospital, County Donegal, in view of the fact that the surgeon in this hospital is badly handicapped for want of this apparatus.
Dr. Browne: According to the information available in my Department, a portable X-ray apparatus was provided in Lifford District Hospital in June, 1947.
If the local authority consider that the existing X-ray apparatus in Lifford District Hospital falls short in any way of requirements, any proposal which they may think fit to make to my Department with a view to remedying the position will receive sympathetic consideration.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: asked the Minister for Health whether he will consider making regulations to provide for the payment of allowances to or in respect of married women who have tuberculosis and who are dependent on their husbands.
Dr. Browne: Under the existing regulations an allowance is payable where a married woman is receiving free treatment in an institution and her husband is unable to make proper provision for the care of the family. This allowance is for the purpose of employing a domestic help to take care of the family in the absence of the wife.
 The question of amending the regulations to provide for the payment of this allowance to married women suffering from tuberculosis and undergoing treatment at home is under consideration.
Dr. Maguire: asked the Minister for Health if he will investigate the conditions of service of nurses employed in private hospitals, with a view to their improvement.
Dr. Browne: My functions extend only to nurses in the employment of local authorities and I am doing all in my power to improve their conditions of service. I have no functions in relation to nurses employed in private hospitals, but I would welcome any steps which the authorities of such hospitals may take to improve the conditions of service of their nurses, where such improvements might be considered necessary.
Dr. Maguire: Is the Minister aware that both in the matter of food and in the matter of hours of duty the services of nurses, in a number of institutions, are being exploited?
Dr. Browne: I have no function——
An Ceann Comhairle: As the Minister has no function, the matter does not arise.
Mr. C. Lehane: asked the Minister for Education if he will state (a) the weekly wage of attendants at the National Museum; (b) the overtime rate paid, and (c) if he is aware that there is considerable discontent amongst the attendants both in respect of their wages and working conditions.
Minister for Education (General Mulcahy): (1) I am not aware that there is discontent among the attendants in respect of their wages or of their working conditions.
(2) The present scales, which from the 29th May, 1948, have been supplemented by 11/- a week on every point on the scale, are as follows:—
 Established Attendants:
From the 1st April, 1949, scale (2) above will be abolished.
(3) In regard to overtime, certain attendants are required by the conditions of their appointment to undertake Sunday duty and night duty. Among these both the established and unestablished attendants perform Sunday duty, and the night duty is confined to the unestablished attendants.
Extra rates are paid as follows where such duties are performed:—
Sunday duty (a period of three or four hours): Established attendants—A flat payment of 12/-; and 14/- to the senior officer in charge. Unestablished attendants—A flat payment of 10/6.
Night duty (a period of eight hours; i.e., from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.): Unestablished attendants—A flat payment of 9/6.
Mr. C. Lehane: Does the Minister consider a rate of 1/2 per hour for night duty, compulsorily done by these unestablished attendants, a fair rate of remuneration?
Mr. MacEntee: Obviously he does, or he would not approve of it.
General Mulcahy: I do not know if the Deputy is aware that the night duty provided for here consists of just sleeping in the museum at night so as to be in attendance to assist the fireman in case there is a fire.
Mr. C. Lehane: Is the Minister aware that these men have to turn in and perform their ordinary duty on the following day—and they are paid at a rate of 1/2 an hour? I may inform the Minister that there is considerable discontent amongst these unestablished attendants.
General Mulcahy: I should like the Deputy to understand, firstly, that no  notification has been made in any way officially and, secondly, that as far as performing these duties after night duty is concerned, the understanding is that a man who is on this duty gets as good a night's sleep in the museum as he would get at home.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: asked the Minister for External Affairs whether any invitation has been extended to Ireland to send representatives to attend an international conference to discuss the formation of a Council of Europe and whether he is prepared to make a statement on the matter.
Minister for External Affairs (Mr. MacBride): As the House is aware, the concept of a European union has been under consideration and discussion since shortly after the first world war. Numerous organisations were formed and varying proposals in support of this proposition were made since the conclusion of the second world war. The proposals made varied in degree from proposals for a closely-knit federation to proposals for the formation of a Council of Europe of a much more flexible nature. On the Continent of Europe, and particularly in France, since the proposal was first formulated in concrete form by the late Aristide Briand, there has been a strong movement among all parties in favour of this plan. It was felt that such a plan would make for a more enduring peace in Europe.
Our Government has kept in close and sympathetic touch with the recent development of these proposals. I took the opportunity of discussing, informally, these matters with individual foreign ministers of European countries in the last year.
A growing volume of opinion, not only in Europe but on the American Continent as well, sees in a steady pursuit of the ideal of European unity, in whatever form appears possible, the best, if not the only hope of ensuring the economic and political survival of this area of the world.
In the economic field, with the  generous assistance of the United States, the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation has already achieved notable advances towards economic Co-operation. I have throughout attached considerable importance to the work of the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation, as I felt that co-operation on the economic plane must precede any co-operation on the political plane. The proposed new Council of Europe is a first step toward this development, and, just as we have played our part in making the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation an effective instrument of European economic co-operation, so, I think, it is in the national interest and in the interest of world peace that Ireland should play a full rôle in this development.
Accordingly, when the views of the Irish Government were sought through the good offices of Monsieur Schuman, the Foreign Minister of France, I indicated that we should be glad to participate and co-operate fully in the formation of the Council of Europe. Subsequently, on the 7th of this month, I received a formal invitation from Mr. Bevin, the Foreign Secretary of Great Britain, inviting the Government of Ireland to be represented at a conference to be held in London towards the end of this month. The Government have decided to accept this invitation and I hope to attend the conference myself.
The invitation was issued by the British Government, as the “host” Government, on behalf of the Governments of Belgium, France, Luxemburg and the Netherlands. The other countries invited to the conference, in addition to Ireland and the countries named, are Denmark, Italy, Norway and Sweden. I hope and believe that these countries will be represented at the conference. The question of inviting other nations to participate will, no doubt, arise for consideration at this preliminary conference when the scope and degree of agreement possible will have been examined.
Proposals defining the functions of the suggested Council of Europe will be considered at the conference.
 Two bodies are visualised: First, a committee of Ministers, consisting of one Minister from each of the participating countries, which would be empowered to discuss all questions of common concern, with the exception of matters relating to defence. The other, a consultative assembly, which would act in a deliberate capacity, and would make recommendations to the committee of Ministers. The latter body would have no legislative or constituent powers, and each Government would decide the procedure for appointing the representatives of its own country.
That is all that I can usefully say on the subject at this stage. In introducing the Estimates for my Department on the 20th July last (Official Reports, Volume 112, No. 5, columns 903-4) and in the Seanad on the 5th August last, I indicated my views generally on this matter. There are, of course, a number of points of detail to be considered, including the basis on which representation in the consultative assembly is to be distributed and the manner in which this country's delegates to it will be chosen. These and other points will, no doubt, be discussed at the forthcoming conference, and, of course, any convention or agreement which may result from the conference will come before the Dáil, in due course, for approval, when there will be an opportunity for a full discussion.
Mr. de Valera: I want to ask the Minister whether he agrees that it is highly desirable to give, in reply to a simple question, a statement of policy on which there is no opportunity for the Dáil to express its opinion.
Mr. MacBride: No. I think it would probably be more preferable to have an opportunity to make a full statement, and I would have made a full statement on the matter to-day had there not been a question down. Inasmuch as a question had been put down by a member of the House, I felt that it would at least provide an opportunity for Deputies to consider the position.
Mr. Allen: On a point of order, is the length of the answer read out by  the Minister to be taken as a precedent?
An Ceann Comhairle: I have no control over the length of answers.
Mr. Allen: It is more than an ordinary answer to a Parliamentary Question.
An Ceann Comhairle: Whether a statement of policy should be made on that is a matter for consideration.
Mr. de Valera: Is it not a question of the occasion on which this should be answered fully? I think the Minister will agree that an occasion to make a statement is highly desirable.
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: asked the Minister for External Affairs if his attention has been called to an allegation made by a member of the Oireachtas speaking at a public meeting in Fermoy on March 6th last, to the effect that a document submitted to the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation by the Minister for External Affairs was dishonest and calculated to mislead; and, if so, whether he will make a statement on the matter, having regard to the damage to Irish prestige and our case for Marshall Aid which such an allegation is likely to cause if not contradicted by a responsible person.
Mr. MacBride: I read the newspaper reports of the speech referred to, and, as the Deputy may have noticed, I issued a statement with regard to it through the Government Information Bureau on the 7th March.
The speech in question contained a number of allegations and suggestions which are quite unfounded and unjustifiable. It described the choice of the year 1947 for comparison purposes as “definitely misleading”. In fact, the year 1947 was chosen as the basic year for comparison purposes, not only by the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation itself in its instructions for the preparation of long-term programmes, but by practically all the participating countries which submitted long-term programmes to the  organisation. The choice was an obvious one because 1947 was, of course, the last complete calendar year before the European Recovery Programme entered into operation. Apart from that, our long-term programme was prepared in October, 1948, when the 1947 figures were the latest available figures. The suggestion made by Deputy Lemass that the year 1947 was deliberately chosen by the Government for its own purposes is, therefore, completely false and unjustifiable.
Another statement made in the same speech was that the rural electrification scheme is proceeding at one-fifth or one-sixth of the rate planned. As the long-term programme clearly states, it is hoped to increase the rate of completion of the scheme up to 10,000 kilometres of line per year, according as line materials and skilled personnel become more easily available; but, in the meantime, the value of Deputy Lemass's statements may be gauged from the fact that, in the last 12 months, 2,795 kilometres have been completed, as compared with 1,140 kilometres completed in the 12 months' period prior to that. In other words, the rate of progress within the last 12 months has been 140 per cent. faster than it was before.
Mr. Lemass: Are other Deputies going to be deprived of the right to ask questions by the length of these answers?
Mr. Dillon: His answer is most salutary and desirable.
Mr. Lemass: I can deal with that on the Estimate.
An Ceann Comhairle: There is a question on the Order Paper dealing with a specific matter. The answer of the Minister is now on a quite different matter to which the question made no reference.
Mr. G. Boland: He referred to the dangers of the civil war being responsible for the decision to engage in the Atlantic Pact. There should be an opportunity of debating the question.
Mr. Keyes: Surely if a statement is made by a Deputy at Fermoy which  contains a tissue of lies, the Minister is entitled to reply to it. (Interruptions.)
Mr. MacBride: On a point of order, have I the right to speak?
Mr. Allen: The Minister is making a speech.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Minister has the right to answer a question put down. The question should deal with one specific matter.
Mr. MacBride: It is a question relating to a speech made in Fermoy on the 6th of March last by a member of this House, in the course of which it was suggested that a proposal laid before this House, and communicated to other countries by me, was a dishonest proposal and calculated to mislead. I respectfully submit that I am entitled to inform this House that the long-term programme put forward by this country was not a dishonest proposal and was not calculated to mislead and surely I am entitled to contradict the false allegations made by a member of this House outside this House.
Mr. Dillon: Hear, hear!
Mr. MacBride: I have the speech here, and if the Ceann Comhairle wishes I shall read the relevant portions of the speech. I shall continue with my reply:—
Similarly, as regards Deputy Lemass's statements about Government policy in relation to acreages under tillage, in actual fact, the long-term programme aims at a higher production of cereals in this country than the four-year programme submitted to the Paris Conference by the former Government, of which Deputy Lemass was a member, in the year 1947. Other statements made in the course of Deputy Lemass's speech are on a par with those with which I have dealt——
Mr. G. Boland: I claim we are entitled to debate all this. The Minister is making a speech and I protest against that. We are entitled to reply to that statement. I claim that as a matter of privilege. Deputies are entitled to  reply to this statement, and we must insist.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Chair cannot fix the length of the reply to a question.
Mr. G. Boland: If the Minister makes that statement, we are entitled to reply to it.
Mr. Dillon: Deal with it on the Adjournment, if you like.
An Ceann Comhairle: It seems to me that it is not regular at Question Time to answer in full, in reply to a question relating to a speech, every point raised in the speech.
Mr. G. Boland: My submission is that if a statement like this is made, we are entitled to reply.
Mr. MacBride: I will proceed with my reply.
Mr. G. Boland: We will not listen to the Minister.
Interruptions. Bell rung for order.
Mr. Lemass: It is no use ringing the bell. We will not listen to the Minister.
Mr. G. Boland: If he carries on, I hold we are entitled to reply to him.
Mr. MacBride: Has a Minister the right to speak in this House?
Mr. G. Boland: If he has, we have a right to reply, and that is what we claim.
Mr. Dillon: Why not raise this matter on the Adjournment?
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: There are Deputies over there trying to sabotage this country.
Mr. Davern: Deputies on your side did their damnedest in the interests of John Bull to sabotage the country.
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: On a point of order. I asked the Minister for External Affairs to make a statement with regard to the damage done, or likely to be done, to Irish prestige.
Mr. Lemass: Let us have a ruling.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Minister is in possession.
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: On a point of order. The Minister has not yet had an opportunity, by reason of the antics of the Opposition——
Mr. G. Boland: That sort of thing is played out.
Captain Cowan: On a point of order. I think this Assembly is being brought into disrepute by the conduct of Deputies.
Mr. Lemass: It is being brought into disrepute by reason of the Government using that type of trick——
Mr. Blowick: You are trying to sabotage the country.
Mr. Davern: Do not mention that word.
General Mulcahy: Is the Minister for External Affairs in possession?
Mr. Smith: He is not.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Minister for External Affairs is in possession. There should, however, be some limit to the length of replies to questions, and——
Mr. MacBride: A question was put to me asking me to make a statement with reference to a speech made by a member of the Oireachtas at a public meeting (Interruptions). Have I a right to speak in this House?
Mr. MacEntee rose.
General Mulcahy: Is the Minister for External Affairs in possession, and will he be allowed to complete his answer?
An Ceann Comhairle: The Minister is in possession, but Question Time would never end if questions put down relating to speeches made outside are to be answered in full by Ministers. It is not consonant with the ordinary method of answering questions here and it is, indeed, an abuse of procedure on Question Time.
General Mulcahy: May the Minister complete his answer to the question?
Mr. MacEntee: On a point of order——
General Mulcahy: I asked a question on a specific point of order. Will the Minister be permitted to complete his answer?
An Ceann Comhairle: Yes.
Mr. MacEntee: On a point of order. The Minister for External Affairs has stated that he is making a statement. Has it not been the practice, when a Minister proposes to make a statement at such length, to make it after the conclusion of Question Time and before Public Business is taken?
An Ceann Comhairle: That has been the practice.
Mr. MacBride: A question was addressed to me——
Mr. Allen: By arrangement.
Mr. MacBride: It was put on the Order Paper, presumably because the Chair thought it was a proper question to be put on the Order Paper.
Mr. G. Boland: What I want to know is, if this type of answer is allowed, will we get an opportunity of replying?
An Ceann Comhairle: I have given an answer.
Mr. G. Boland: What has your answer been?
An Ceann Comhairle: If the Deputy did not hear it, I cannot help that.
Mr. G. Boland: I would like to know now. Surely we are entitled to reply to him?
An Ceann Comhairle: I said I would consider that a statement of that length, in reply to a question, is an abuse of ordinary Question Time. I want to hear the rest of this answer.
Mr. MacBride: I will proceed with it. It is: “They can only have been  made either quite recklessly or out of a deliberate disregard of the facts. That a public representative should have thought fit, on such a basis, to impugn the sincerity and good faith of proposals made by his own Government to the Governments and authorities of other countries must be almost without precedent. It certainly betrays a reprehensible degree of indifference to the national interest which I hope shall not be repeated in this House.”
Mr. Lemass: I have a supplementary. May I ask the Minister does he think it enhances the prestige of this country abroad to introduce into our international relations the propagandist methods of Clann na Poblachta?
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: More sabotage.
Mr. MacBride: I stated what the facts are. I repeat, with all the responsibility at my disposal, that the statement made by Deputy Lemass was a malicious statement, calculated to damage the credit of this country abroad, and it should not have been made.
Mr. Dillon: Hear, hear!
Mr. Lemass: Does the Minister not recognise that any document purporting to make a comparison between prewar and post-war agricultural productivity, where the post-war year selected is 1947, is bound to be misleading, and does he not think, whether the Organisation of European Economic Co-operation requested the preparation of the document based on 1947 or not, that the statement should have pointed out that that year was an abnormal year, that the yield of crops in that year was abnormally low, that all agricultural production was affected by adverse weather, and does he not agree that the publication of that document abroad, without any intimation of the abnormal conditions which prevailed here, was misleading? Does he not agree that the preparation of the document in that manner was primarily designed for home use as Government propaganda?
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: More sabotage.
Mr. Lemass: Does the Minister not agree that in any event——
Mr. MacBride: Is this a supplementary question or a speech?
Mr. Dillon: It is another effort to wreck this country.
Mr. Lemass: Does the Minister not agree that there was no likelihood of the American or any European Government being misled by the errors in the report—errors which I pointed out in my speech?
Dr. O'Higgins: Tell them not to give a grant.
Mr. MacBride: The year 1947 was selected, firstly, because it was the year with which we were asked to make the comparison; secondly, because the programme was prepared in the month of October, 1948, when the 1948 figures could not be available.
Mr. Lemass: But the 1946 figures were available.
Mr. MacBride: The comparison was on the basis of the 1947 figures.
Mr. Lemass: You were trying to trick the Irish people. Should you not have pointed out that that matter——
Mr. MacBride: Of course I am telling the truth. It is you who are trying to trick the Irish people.
Mr. Dillon: Do you want to injure the country?
Mr. Lemass: The injury has been done. It is published in this. You did not fool the Americans.
Mr. MacBride: The Deputy made consistently false and untrue statements in that speech. If he had any decency or any sense of responsibility he would now apologise for having done so.
Mr. Lemass: There was not a statement in that speech which was false or untrue or inaccurate and I shall raise the matter upon the Minister's Estimate and prove that.
Mr. Dillon: Why do you want to  injure the country? What good does it do you?
Mr. Lemass: Because I do not believe in these trick-o-the-loop methods in international affairs.
Mr. Dillon: You cannot help yourself by injuring the country.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: asked the Minister for Lands whether he is aware that it is the practice of the Land Commission to require as a condition for its consent to a sale of unvested land the refunding of the amount of any grant previously made to the tenant for the erection of a house and that in such circumstances the Land Commission obtain the construction of a house at the cost of the tenant; and, if so, whether he will have this practice discontinued.
Minister for Lands (Mr. Blowick): The practice referred to affects only land which has been acquired and divided by the Land Commission and on which buildings have been erected the cost of which has been met, in whole or part, by means of free grants. No question arises of requiring any refund of the kind referred to as a condition for the Land Commission's consent to the sale of an unvested tenanted holding not created by the Land Commission.
The purpose of the Land Commission in making, at considerable expense to the State, an allotment of land with buildings is to provide the allottee with the means of livelihood as a farmer. The allottee is required by statute to reside on and work his allotment. The Land Commission are not under any obligation to accede to an application for permission to sell the allotment and it is only in exceptional circumstances that a sale is allowed. The granting by the Land Commission of their consent to sell is a concession of much value and importance to the allottee and it is not unreasonable on the part of the Land Commission to seek a refund of the free grant or portion of the free grant which went in the provision of buildings on the allotment.  It is obvious that the existence of the buildings on the lands is bound to enhance very substantially the value of the allotment as a saleable commodity and, in effect, the refund—if any be required—is made by the new purchaser and not by the allottee.
It is not intended to make any alteration in the existing practice under which the Land Commissioners are free to exercise their discretion.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Arising out of the Minister's reply, do I understand him to say that this practice applies only in the case of vested holdings?
Mr. Blowick: No.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Is the Minister aware that under the practice at present obtaining the Land Commission, as a result of demanding the return of the grant, get both the grant and the fully constructed house?
Mr. Blowick: They do not get the grant and the house back. In the case of a vested holding, the owner of which applied for a grant to build a new house, the Land Commission never interferes. A refund is only sought where the Land Commission gives a parcel of land as a free gift and a free grant to build a house thereon, the construction of which enhances the holding very considerably. If that tenant subsequently seeks permission to sell before the holding is vested in him, naturally he is asked to refund the grant because the construction of the house has enhanced the holding beyond the amount of the original advance.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Is the Minister aware that in this particular case a house has been constructed as a result of a grant, and the Land Commission will get back the holding plus the money that was advanced?
Mr. Blowick: I am afraid I do not follow the Deputy.
Mr. Commons: There is a house there, anyway.
Mr. Blowick: I take it that the Deputy is referring to an application  for sale of an unvested holding. In that case we ask for a refund of the grant if we allow the sale of the holding.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: In two cases I have in mind at the moment allotments were made, grants were applied for and houses constructed. Subsequently an application was made to the Land Commission for a consent to a sale and the consent was given, provided the grant was returned. In that particular case, the Land Commission got a free house.
Mr. MacEntee: Is that a question or an assertion?
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: You would not understand it—it is ordinary English.
Mr. Moylan: asked the Minister for Lands if he will state (a) what was the acreage of unplanted land acquired for purposes of afforestation and in the hands of his Department on February 18th, 1948; (b) what was the estimated plantable acreage of this land, and (c) what acreage has since been acquired and what amount of this acreage is regarded as plantable.
Mr. Blowick: It would be difficult to give acreages for the middle of a month. On the 1st February, 1948, the area of unplanted land in the hands of the Department was 62,918 acres, of which 30,554 acres were plantable, the balance of 32,364 acres representing the accumulation of unplantable land acquired since the commencement of forestry operations by the State.
The acreage of land acquired from 1st February, 1948, to the end of February, 1949, was 3,712 acres, of which 3,382 acres are plantable.
Mr. MacEntee: Would the Minister repeat the last two sets of figures that he gave—that is, the figure for the acreage acquired since February, 1948?
Mr. Blowick: 3,712, of which 3,382 are plantable.
Mr. MacEntee: We are a long way from the 25,000.
Mr. Blowick: I agree with the Deputy that it is a long way from the 25,000, but it must be remembered that it was the Deputy's Party which prevented the acquisition of a considerable acreage of land suitable for forestry for a number of years past because of the fact that they would not consent to pay a proper price to the owners of the land.
Mr. MacEntee: Arising out of the Minister's very irrelevant reply, why did the Minister not give the price?
Mr. Blowick: The Minister is giving the price. That is the difference.
Mr. MacEntee: How many acres did you get?
Mr. Keyes: asked the Minister for Lands whether he is aware that the Hewson estate, Ballinvera, Adare, County Limerick, comprising approximately 120 acres, is advertised for sale by private treaty; and if, in view of the serious congestion in the locality, he will arrange for the Land Commission to acquire same for division amongst the local uneconomic holders and landless men.
Mr. Blowick: The Land Commission have no proceedings for the acquisition of these lands.
Mr. Beegan: asked the Minister for Lands whether the Land Commission have instituted proceedings to acquire the estate of Shaughnessy, lands of Coldwood, Moyvilla, Derrydonnell and Ballalinan, near Athenry, County Galway; and, if so, what stage in the proceedings has now been reached.
Mr. Blowick: Acquisition proceedings have not been instituted in respect of the estate referred to. The Land Commission are having inquiries made regarding the lands thereon.
Mr. Beegan: asked the Minister for Lands if proceedings instituted to acquire the estate of Enright and Palmer, Record No. U.4520, County Galway, have been completed; and, if  so (i) has a scheme for division been prepared, and (ii) when will it be put into operation.
Mr. Blowick: This estate was divided a few days ago.
Mr. Beegan: asked the Minister for Lands if proceedings instituted to acquire the estate of Lady Wallscourt, lands of Ardfry, near Oranmore, County Galway, have been completed; and, if so (i) whether a scheme for division has been prepared, and (ii) when it is likely to be put into operation.
Mr. Blowick: The proceedings for the acquisition of the estate in question have not yet been completed.
Mr. Beegan: asked the Minister for Lands whether he will state (i) if negotiations for the purchase of the estate of Mr. Richard C.D. O'Farrell, Record No. S.9698, County Galway, have been completed; (ii) whether a scheme for division is in course of preparation, and (iii) if it is likely to be put into operation this year.
Mr. Blowick: The proceedings for the purchase of this estate have not yet been completed. The preparation of a scheme of division is in hands but it is not possible to state when the scheme will be ready to be put into operation.
Mr. R. Walsh: asked the Minister for Lands if he will state whether the Land Commission intend to acquire the holding of land, the property of the late Dominick Kennedy, of Carnmore, Aghamore, Ballyhaunis (the Knox estate); and, if so, when.
Mr. Blowick: Proceedings for the resumption of this holding are well advanced.
Mr. Halliden: asked the Minister for Agriculture whether he is aware that many farmers are anxious to know if an export market will be available for our surplus potatoes of the 1949 crop; and, if so, whether he will state (i)  what the prospects of such a market are, and (ii) the variety of potatoes best suited to the British market.
Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Dillon): I expect that there will be an export market in Britain for 50,000 tons of ware potatoes of the 1949 crop at prices similar to those payable for the 1948 crop. Normally the varieties best suited to the British market are white main crop varieties such as Arran Banner, Arran Consul and Up-to-Date; Kerr's Pink is also a useful export variety.
Mr. P.J. Maguire: asked the Minister for Finance if and when he proposes to re-impose the tax on dancing.
Minister for Finance (Mr. McGilligan): In this, as in other matters relating to taxation, I cannot be expected to anticipate my budget statement.
Proinsias Mac Aogáin: asked the Minister for Finance what are the orthodox principles which the Government have promised to adhere to in the communication sent to the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation and which are referred to on page 25 of the White Paper on Ireland's Long Term Programme, where it is stated that budgetary policy has always adhered closely to orthodox principles and will continue to do so.
Mr. McGilligan: By “orthodox principles” is meant principles generally accepted by economic and financial experts as applicable to a particular set of circumstances. The reference made by the Deputy is taken from the paragraph headed “Finance” in the White Paper presented to both Houses of the Oireachtas in December last on Ireland's long-term programme, as part of the European Recovery Programme. In the course of the paragraph mentioned various examples are given of the application of these principles.
Mr. Aiken: Might I ask the Minister  what are the generally accepted principles of finance referred to? That is a fair question.
Mr. Dillon: A very broad question.
Mr. McGilligan: It is rather elementary, I think, even for the Deputy.
Mr. Aiken: Might I ask whether those principles would prohibit or allow the Minister to use borrowed money, for instance, to reduce the tax on cigarettes and wines as he did last year?
Mr. McGilligan: It answers itself. It is untrue.
Mr. Lemass: Of course, it answers itself.
Mr. Aiken: It is quite true.
Mr. McGilligan: It answers itself. It is untrue, I said.
Proinsias Mac Aogáin: asked the Minister for Finance whether he will now give the particulars of the services referred to in his Budget speech on 4th May, 1948, when he stated that he was also taking account of further reductions in expenditure totalling £1,122,000 which he was closely pursuing and confidently expected to capture but of which it would be premature to give particulars until they were safely in the net.
Mr. McGilligan: The services on which it was believed that the sum mentioned might be saved were spread over a number of Votes, including Agriculture, Fisheries, Local Government, Defence and Alleviation of Distress. While the savings envisaged have not all materialised it is now expected that the actual reduction in expenditure will amount to £915,000.
Mr. Aiken: The Minister mentioned agriculture in that connection?
Mr. McGilligan: Yes.
Mr. Aiken: Was one of the savings a saving on the farm improvements scheme?
Mr. McGilligan: No.
Mr. Aiken: Then on the Farm Buildings Scheme?
Mr. McGilligan: The former Minister estimated a sum for the Farm Buildings Scheme but the money was never intended to be spent by the Government.
Mr. Aiken: £40,000,000 was supposed to be spent by Tibb's Eve, but last winter the Minister would not spend 1/- on farm buildings.
Mr. Dillon: You are shameless.
Mr. McGilligan: Nothing was saved on farm improvements. Something was spent——
Mr. Smith: Not a bob was spent.
Mr. McGilligan: None of the money in the Estimate was saved by me as a matter of economy on farm improvements.
Mr. Smith: Not a shilling was spent.
Mr. McGilligan: Not a shilling on the Farm Improvements Scheme was saved by me as a matter of economy. That is the question that was asked. Not a shilling on that scheme was included in the economies. With regard to farm buildings, there was a certain amount saved for the reason, as indicated in a previous debate, that the Estimate was a complete fake.
Mr. Smith: That is an absolute untruth.
Mr. McGilligan: Deputy Smith, as Minister for Agriculture, was told by Deputy Lemass, the then Minister for Industry and Commerce, that the money was not there.
Mr. Smith: That is an absolute untruth.
Mr. McGilligan: Or, rather, that the money would not be spent because there was no cement there.
Mr. Lemass: There was a surplus of cement.
Mr. McGilligan: The note that was on the file——
Mr. Smith: It is an absolute untruth.
Mr. McGilligan: Am I not permitted to answer the question? The note that was on the file of the Minister for Agriculture on the 11th December, when he replied that a scheme had been prepared and that he hoped to be in a position to announce it soon, was to this effect: “The Department of Industry and Commerce has now replied pointing out that progress under the proposed scheme must be restricted to the rate justified by cement supplies which are expected to be barely sufficient in 1948-49 for the continuance of building and engineering work on the present scale.”
Mr. Smith: I did not accept that instruction.
Mr. Lemass: And in the event there was a surplus of cement.
Mr. Aiken: May I ask——
An Ceann Comhairle: Question No. 58.
Éamon Ó Cíosáin: asked the Minister for Justice if it is intended to reopen recruitment for the Garda Síochána this year; and, if so, when.
Minister for Justice (General MacEoin): I have no announcement to make on this question at present.
Mr. Childers: asked the Minister for Justice if he will state the number of persons (a) killed and (b) injured on the roads for the years 1939, 1947 and 1948.
General MacEoin: The figures, according to the Garda Síochána records of accidents are:—
|1939—192 killed,||4,989 injured.|
|1947—195 killed,||3,294 injured.|
|1948—201 killed,||3,836 injured.|
Mr. Childers: asked the Minister for Justice if he will state the total number of persons (a) killed and (b) injured on the roads in the Dublin Metropolitan and County Dublin areas for the years 1939, 1947 and 1948.
General MacEoin: The following are the figures according to the Garda records of accidents:—
|DUBLIN METROPOLITAN AREA.|
|1939—44 killed,||1,648 injured.|
|1947—41 ,,||821 ,,|
|1948—51 ,,||1,067 ,,|
|1939—18 killed,||374 injured.|
|1947—17 ,,||233 ,,|
|1948—7 ,,||198 ,,|
Mr. Childers: asked the Minister for Justice whether he is aware that the number of accidents on the Bray Road exceeds the normal; whether the Garda Síochána have instituted special supervision on this road after 10 p.m., and what observations he has to make in the matter.
General MacEoin: I am aware that the incidence of accidents on the Bray Road is high. The Garda Síochána are exercising special supervision over traffic on that road, and I do not think that anything would be gained by holding an inquiry.
Mr. P.D. Lehane: asked the Minister for Defence whether he will, if possible, arrange to have medals issued at Easter to persons who served in the L.D.F. during the emergency.
Minister for Defence (Dr. O'Higgins): The issue of medals to the various emergency services will commence at an early date. Owing to production difficulties, it will not be possible to have medals issued by Easter to all persons who served in the L.D.F. during the emergency.
A sample L.D.F. medal, complete with ribbon, was approved on the 9th March. The contractors have promised production at the rate of 10,000 per month. These will be issued in the following proportions:—
3,500 per month for the Defence Forces,
3,500 per month for the F.C.A.,
3,000 per month for remaining services.
Actual issue of medals will commence about the end of the present month.
Mr. Byrne: asked the Minister for Defence if any action has been decided upon in regard to the claim that the N.C.Os. and men of the Regular Army who completed 23 years' pensionable service during the period 1922 to 1946 inclusive and were discharged prior to 2nd September, 1946, on pension under the 1937 Pensions Act, be included in the award of increased pension granted under the 1947 Pensions Amendment Act to N.C.Os. and men who completed 21 to 23 years' pensionable service during the period 1922 to 1946 and were discharged on pensions subsequent to September 2nd, 1946; and if so whether he intends to introduce proposals for legislation to remove the injustice done to those who retired prior to 2nd September, 1946.
Dr. O'Higgins: The case of the pensioners referred to by the Deputy is still under consideration but I am not yet in a position to state when a decision will be reached in the matter.
Captain Cowan: The Minister will realise that this reply has been given for over a year now. Is there any likelihood that there will be a decision, say, within the next three months?
Dr. O'Higgins: I do not agree that this reply has been coming in for a year. A somewhat similar reply was given last June. Following that, an opportunity was given to the representatives of the persons interested to put their cases verbally and directly within the Department. That particular conference took place only within the last three weeks and the result is that the matter is under consideration and the decision will be given later in the year.
Major de Valera: Can the Minister say how many personnel are involved? This matter, I think, was raised two years ago, for the first time, on the Estimate. I appreciate that the Minister may not have the figures at hand.
Dr. O'Higgins: I may be completely wrong in the figure I am giving to the Deputy, but my recollection is that it is something in the nineties.
Mr. de Valera: It would, therefore, not be very expensive.
Mr. Madden: asked the Minister for Defence if he will state the number of discharge certificates endorsed—services no longer required, which have been considered by his Department since 1st June, 1948, and the action taken in regard to each such certificate.
Dr. O'Higgins: The information requested by the Deputy is in the course of preparation and will be forwarded to him at an early date.
Mr. Madden: asked the Minister for Defence if he will state whether officers of the reserve (1st Line) are precluded by regulations from taking part in the affairs of the National Ex-Servicemen's Association.
Dr. O'Higgins: I presume the Deputy refers to the National Federation of Irish Ex-Servicemen, in which case the reply is in the negative.
Minister for External Affairs (Mr. MacBride): At Question Time yesterday, in the course of a supplementary question, I stated in relation to a series of articles and photographs in the Irish Press that out of 17 names published and nine photographs, there were only three cases that could be regarded as genuine emigrants. I should, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle like an opportunity, in fairness to all concerned, of amplifying this statement.
In the articles in question 17 names of identifiable persons were published. In relation to these 17 names, the position is as follows:—
3 had applied for travel permits to work in Britain during the years 1943-1948 and had emigrated to Britain:
6 were residents of the Six Counties:
1 was going on holidays, intending to return within 12 months:
1 had first emigrated to Australia  in 1921 and then to the United States in 1929:
1 was joining her husband who was in the United States engaged in research studies in chemistry:
1 was in the Guards until he resigned on the 28th January for the purpose of going to New York:
1 was a schoolgirl going to reside with her uncle in New York.
In my view, the 14 named above cannot be classified as emigrants from this State in the ordinary sense.
The remaining three could properly be classified as emigrants.
In relation to the unidentified photograph of nine young girls: I received a letter from a high ecclesiastic enclosing a copy of a photograph and informing me that, to his knowledge, these girls were on their way to become postulants in a religious Order. As their names were not available to me. I had no information other than this communication. As this statement has been challenged, I feel it right to let the House know that I had no other source of information at my disposal. In the circumstances, with the leave of the House, I wish to withdraw the suggestion that these nine girls were postulants. I have no direct official information whereby I can identify these nine girls or to ascertain the reasons for their journey. The position in respect of the other 17 whose names were mentioned is as I have indicated.
Mr. Lemass: In view of the fact that the Minister's inaccurate statement concerning the articles in the Irish Press was widely published in the Press and on the radio I trust that the Government will take measures to ensure that the Minister's withdrawal will receive equal publicity in the Press and on the radio.
Mr. MacBride: I asked for leave to make this statement in this House at this stage so that it should receive the same publicity as the statement made yesterday.
Mr. Smith: Yesterday I gave notice of my intention to raise the subject-matter  of Question 23 on the Order Paper. You had received a prior notice and therefore my question was not taken. I propose, with your permission, to raise it to-night.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Minister for Agriculture asked me last night whether he would be free to go to a certain function to-night and I said that I thought so. Wisdom has taught me now that in any communication of a similar nature or any arrangements to be made matters will be left to Ministers and Deputies to settle between themselves. I thought that the Deputy might postpone his question. He is within his right under No. 20 of the Standing Orders to rise and give notice that he will raise on the adjournment any matter if the Chair considers such matter in order and proper to be then raised. I have, therefore, no power to prevent the Deputy raising any such matter. Deputy Smith desires to raise that matter to-night. I might say that I did not advert yesterday to the fact that the House is not sitting next week. He is within his right to raise it. I think the Minister gathered from me that he would be quite at liberty to go to that function.
Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Dillon): May I say that on Deputy Smith's mentioning the matter at Question Time yesterday I waited on you to have your direction as to what you directed us to do? You directed that the matter would not be dealt with to-night and that you did not expect that you would allow it to be dealt with. I then renewed my assurance that I was at your disposal. This morning I confirmed an appointment which had been left open. You personally rang me up. I renewed my readiness to place myself at your disposal, and you said that in view of the fact that I had entered into an engagement you wished me, on your say-so of the night before, to keep it and you would adhere to the arrangement. I assented to that.
I was subsequently rung up by your clerk, to whom I replied that the Ceann Comhairle had spoken to me on this  matter and that I did not propose to discuss it further. I was again rung up by an officer of the House, to whom I said the same thing. I think there is some error suggested that I sought to postpone this matter to attend a function. I asked you last night what your directions in the matter were. You gave them. Consequent upon your direction in the matter I entered upon an engagement. I now renew my readiness to postpone or cancel any engagement outside this House in order to meet any public duty attaching to my office which you, as Ceann Comhairle, consider it is appropriate to honour.
An Ceann Comhairle: I have nothing to say except that I regret having given any promise or interfering between the Minister and the Deputy as to the matter to be raised on the adjournment, the Deputy having the perfect right to raise it. In future all such matters will be arranged without my interference although the interference was very well meant. The only option I have is in a case where there are two or three questions raised. I decide which of the three will be allowed on that day. No Deputy has any right to pre-empt the time of the following day.
Mr. Smith: I have no desire at all to be awkward in this matter in so far as the Minister has entered into commitments in regard to a function. However, this is a matter of vital importance and I cannot see why the Government should not be able to give half an hour or three-quarters of an hour at some period before 10.30 p.m. which would enable us to discuss it. If that is not possible I cannot see why we should not be able to meet to-morrow morning in order to discuss this question.
The Taoiseach: The Minister has stated his desire to be here at 10 o'clock and neither he nor anyone would wish to depart from the usual procedure.
An Ceann Comhairle: The matter will be raised to-night at 10 o'clock.
Captain Cowan: That is not a very satisfactory conclusion in the matter.
An Ceann Comhairle: One conclusion is that the Chair will not interfere with any arrangements in the future.
The Taoiseach: Business will be taken in the following order: Nos. 1 (Votes 21, 75, 28, 61 and 76), 6, 5 and then Private Deputies' Business, Nos. 8 and 10.
The Dáil went into Committee on Finance to consider Supplementary and Additional Estimates for the year ending the 31st March, 1949.
Minister for Finance (Mr. McGilligan): I move:—
That a supplementary sum not exceeding £11,200 be granted to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 1949, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Stationery Office; for Stationery, Printing, Papers, Binding, and Printed Books for the Public Service; and for sundry Miscellaneous Services, including Reports of Oireachtas Debates.
The grants for the year included certain provisions for the printing of the general ration books. It was expected that the deliveries of this book would have taken place in such time to enable the payments to be made in the previous financial period. The books were delayed and they only came to hand just before the end of 1947-48. The money has now to be provided for supplies for this year. In addition there is certain extra expenditure which could not have been foreseen when the original Estimate was sent to print. That extra expenditure has now to be met. It has been occasioned in the main by demands for overtime because  of the pressure of work. There have been certain increases in printing costs. A van had to be hired and a new van had later to be purchased. Certain additional office machinery had to be supplied.
The numbers of books and periodicals have increased and there have been increased purchases of ordnance survey maps. The whole thing amounts to the sum mentioned.
Major de Valera: Does the question of printing for the Oireachtas come under any of these headings? Is any of the overtime referable to such official printing?
Mr. McGilligan: I find it hard to segregate the overtime.
Major de Valera: My point in asking is that there is a considerable arrear in respect of certain publications. For instance, only very recently has the bound volume of the 1946 statutes been published. Neither the 1947 nor the 1948 volume is yet available in book form.
Mr. McGilligan: If the Deputy will agree to take the statues without the translation, we could get them out very quickly.
Major de Valera: I am asking about the actual production of the volume which has been customarily produced since the beginning.
Mr. McGilligan: Although it is behind time, it is no more behind the time than is normal. It is the translation which causes the difficulty.
An Ceann Comhairle: Printing appears at Item H on the back of the sheet, but I can find nothing in it about Oireachtas printing.
Major de Valera: I am merely taking the opportunity to ask the Minister——
An Ceann Comhairle: If every Deputy takes the opportunity of raising questions which concern him, he will be very much outside the Estimate. I want to find out whether printing for the Oireachtas is likely to be included in Item H.
Mr. McGilligan: That deals with ration books.
Major de Valera: I assumed that it was included. On the question of the translation, however, the individual Acts have been published separately, so that the matter of translation cannot be the explanation.
Mr. McGilligan: Why not? It is surely the explanation.
Major de Valera: The translation is available in the individual Acts published for 1946.
Mr. McGilligan: When do you get the last of the 1946 statutes in single issue?
Major de Valera: The Rent Restrictions Act was an early one, but it is published in the two forms, and practically all the Acts for 1946 have long ago been published.
Mr. McGilligan: This discussion should wait over until next year's Estimate which does not arise on this Supplementary Estimate.
Supplementary Estimate agreed to.
Mr. McGilligan: I move:—
That a sum not exceeding £7,463 be granted to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 1949, for the repayment to the Contingency Fund of certain Miscellaneous Advances.
If Deputies will look at the Estimate, they will find that three items are detailed, the smallest of these being the triplets bounty. The other two have reference to stamp duties remitted on certain deeds. Where there are deeds or other instruments, leases or conveyances, in transactions on behalf of public departments, under the law, certain payments must be made. These payments are made, and it is merely a transfer from one section to another. The ordinary way in which it is done is that the payments are  made out of the Contingency Fund and met in this way. It is a remission of stamp duty in relation to public departments.
The second item deals with the remission of stamp duty on deeds and other instruments for representatives in Ireland of foreign Governments. On grounds of reciprocity and because of diplomatic status, it has always been the practice to remit or refund stamp duty paid by any foreign State representative where there is a transaction in connection with the leasing of premises. That has happened this year to the amount stated. The main item was a lease in respect of one premises.
Mr. Briscoe: Does the Minister include in the description “public departments” State-owned undertaktakings like the Electricity Supply Board or Bord na Móna? Do they also qualify for a refund from the Contingency Fund of these stamp duties?
Captain Cowan: I doubt if the question I want to raise comes within the Supplementary Estimate, but it is a matter of urgent importance. I refer to the decision given in the High Court recently in regard to stamp duties.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: What does the Deputy want to raise?
Mr. McGilligan: It does not arise.
Captain Cowan: I know it does not, although I probably should not put it that way. I have already said that I had difficulty in seeing how it could come within the Supplementary Estimate, but I want to ask if the Minister would take the opportunity of saying whether the decision given is accepted or whether it will be appealed against. It is a matter of urgent public importance and that is why I ask the Minister if he will make any announcement on this Supplementary Estimate.
Major de Valera: You want him to anticipate his Budget.
Mr. McGilligan: The remission provided for is in relation only to public departments.
Mr. Briscoe: To the exclusion of such State companies as I mention?
Mr. McGilligan: The Electricity Supply Board would not come within it. With regard to the other matter, I doubt if I have any authority with regard to an appeal—whether an appeal should go forward or not. It is on the Revenue side and the Revenue authorities have considerable independence and I doubt if it would even be prudent for me to express a view. Possibly the Deputy could guess my view.
Captain Cowan: The decision will probably create a revolution in the matter of the conveyancing.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: It would be better not to proceed to discuss High Court decisions.
Mr. McGilligan: The decision might not be so serious.
Mr. Little: He can mend his hand in the Budget. That is the usual trick.
Mr. McGilligan: Apart from mending one's hand later, it is a question of how far the decision goes and there are varying views on that. It might not go so deep as at present understood.
Captain Cowan: The Minister understands that it is a matter of very urgent public importance?
Supplementary Estimate agreed to.
Minister for Education (General Mulcahy): 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, 1949, for Grants to the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (No. 13 of 1940).
When the Estimate for the current year was being prepared, the School of Cosmic Physics had not yet got under way and provision was made for reconstruction and adaptation of buildings, etc., on a conservative basis. The work of the school developed with unexpected rapidity, and  the necessary works of alteration and adaptation at Dunsink Observatory and at the headquarters in Merrion Square have been pressed forward with such vigour that an additional sum of £10,000 will be required to meet the bills falling due this year. About £10,000 will be needed for Dunsink and £4,000 for 5 Merrion Square, a total expenditure of £14,000, as against the provision of £4,000 in the original Estimate.
The institute has, however, been able to effect considerable savings on the grants for administration and for the various schools, owing, in great measure, to the fact that a number of senior posts have not been filled. The purpose of this Supplementary Estimate for the token amount of £10 is to obtain the authority of the Dáil to apply these savings to the discharge of the additional liability incurred on reconstruction and adaptation.
Major de Valera: Will the Minister say what posts are being economised on, what the saving of practically £10,000 represents and in what school?
General Mulcahy: On the cosmic physics side of things there is a vacancy for an assistant professor in the cosmic rays section and one on the geophysical side, two clerks and one junior technical assistant. On the Celtie studies side there is a vacancy for two senior professors in the Celtic Studies School. Generally the savings of about £5,000 are made up: under administration, of which £850 is in respect of posts unfilled, £1,800; in the School of Celtic Studies, of which £3,300 is in respect of posts unfilled, £3,400; in the School of Theoretical Physics, of which £1,800 is in respect of posts unfilled, £7,000; in the School of Cosmic Physics, while certain vacancies exist there, the savings have been £2,000 on equipment.
Mr. Derrig: We are not to assume that necessary capital expenditure should continue to be provided on the basis of savings effected from the non-filling of important posts like senior professorships in the Celtic Studies Institute, for example.
General Mulcahy: It is the most unsatisfactory circumstance to have to  ask the Dáil to do a thing of this particular kind. I have had the greatest possible difficulty in understanding, particularly in relation to the Institute of Advanced Studies, why we should find ourselves in this position. I have had very great difficulty in understanding why this development has taken place, but I do not want to discuss the matter in any critical way. There have been reasons for it and the structural development that has gone ahead is a development which, if we are to have a School of Cosmic Physics, is particularly necessary. There has been a considerable amount of expenditure on construction in connection with Dunsink Observatory. Quite a considerable amount of work has been carried on in Dunsink which should be paid for from the vote for the Institute of Advanced Studies. Actually, Dunsink Observatory has not yet been transferred from the Board of Works to the institute and it is still in the hands of the Board of Works. A considerable amount of work has been done by the Board of Works but a considerable amount of work has also been done under the direction and control of the Institute for Advanced Studies. Deputies will understand the progress that has been made and particularly when I say that the following works have been completed:
(a) Re-decoration of residence and part of observatory;
(b) Re-decoration of Dunsink House as the residence of Mr. Butler, Chief Assistant;
(c) Re-decoration of the South Dome (the dome in the field);
(d) Replacement of cover of dome on the roof of the main building;
(e) Sanitary annexe to the main building completed;
(f) Most of basement re-plastered;
(g) Preparations made for erecting benches and shelves in the workshop and laboratory;
(h) Two sinks fixed in the darkroom;
(i) Re-decoration of lodge;
(j) Most of the observatory, and  also the dome in the field and the lodge, wired for electricity supply.
An amount of work is still outstanding, but a considerable amount has been done and the position at Dunsink Observatory is now such that the public can visit the observatory on the first Saturday of every month between 2.30 and 4.30 in the afternoon and between 8.30 and 9.30 in the evening, which in summer is extended to from 7.30 to 9.30. There will be professorial and other attendance to see to any laudable curiosity on the part of the public.
Mr. Traynor: Is any modern equipment being added to the observatory?
General Mulcahy: I understand that there is every up-to-date equipment in the observatory.
Major de Valera: This is not the time for a complete statement on that, but anybody who visits Dunsink—as I have done recently—can be quite satisfied that good work is going ahead. If I have any criticism to make of the Minister's statement I would say that the word “redecoration” gives a wrong picture. The equipment, some of it of a valuable type, was in a bad state of repair and was neglected for years. The work of the staff in reconditioning that equipment was very notable and great credit is due to Dr. Bruck and the other gentlemen concerned in the rehabilitation of the place. Nobody can have any worry about expenditure which is, having regard to modern values, relatively small expenditure for work of the size involved. I take it that the question of accounting between the Board of Works and the institute is merely a matter of accounting for such work which would be more properly charged to the institute than to the Board of Works.
General Mulcahy: It is all charged to the institute.
Major de Valera: And properly so. There are two matters, however, that are perturbing. I wonder would the Minister say, regarding the reductions in staff, whether the keeping of these posts vacant is to continue or whether it just happens that during the past recent period they became vacant and are an incidental saving. It is too  familiar a device in certain other State Departments, one of which I was associated with myself, not to fill appointments in order to secure economy. I am not making any such suggestion here, but I will be pardoned for my suspicions having experience of other State Departments in that regard. I am glad to hear that the Minister will fill these posts if the institute is to be an institute.
The Minister, I think, said that a junior technical assistantship was among the posts unfilled. If there is one thing that has hampered our universities and our research people generally, it is the inadequate provision of clerical and technical assistance for the men on the job. I have myself seen in the physics department in University College where a man whose ability and knowledge should have been applied in another way found himself devoting his time to building with his own hands pieces of apparatus which could equally well have been built by a competent technician if such were available. Financial circumstances at the time precluded his having that assistance and consequently the research upon which he was engaged was held up. A very valuable paper which he subsequently published, for that cause alone to my certain knowledge, was delayed for a year when a delay of that kind is important having regard to questions of priority. The good name of the country and its academic institutions are involved in this so I would like to stress the importance of such posts and ask the Minister to press that these facilities which have already been provided for statutorily and officially should in fact be there. The institute has work to be done but it will be slowed up.
I gathered from the Minister that he is not satisfied in his own mind about these matters and I do not press him to make a statement at this stage as we will have the opportunity shortly of talking about the institute. I just take this opportunity in advance, so to speak, to mention these points and ask this assurance from the Minister if he can give it: that it is not intended permanently to effect economies of this nature and so deprive the institute of  the means of functioning efficiently. If he is able to tell us just that to-day it will be sufficient, I should imagine, and we can discuss the other matters on the main Vote. But it does strike one as an extraordinary large saving, a matter of approximately £10,000, at the expense of the technical and professional members of the institute who in fact are its working members and without whom it cannot operate. I should imagine that there should not be very much difficulty in filling some of these posts. There may be some reasons, such as waiting for some one who is studying abroad. I have no information on the matter, however. If it is temporary, one can accept it but, if such savings are designed to be permanent, it is a very serious matter indeed.
Mr. Derrig: I should like to say also that I believe that if the situation were to continue that the posts were not to be filled through a belief that the institute should not be supported as is necessary if the country is going to get full value from its functioning, then it would seem to me that that would be a very serious issue. I join with Deputy de Valera in asking the Minister to let us have an assurance that that is not the position, that so far as he is concerned he will do what he can, in so far as it lies within his function, to ensure that the vacancies will be filled and that there will be no question that economy will be sought at the expense of starving the institute of necessary professors, assistants and technical assistants also.
General Mulcahy: Strictly speaking, the Department of Education and the Minister for Education are responsible for primary education, secondary education and vocational and technical education with a number of such science responsibilities as the National Museum and places like that. Under the Act dealing with the Institute for Advanced Studies the Minister has a very peculiar and rather unaccustomed responsibility for supervising and directing, in a way that I do not yet fully understand, the institute's studies, which I understand are supposed to be at a higher level than those normally  carried on in the universities, so that I find myself as Minister for Education in a rather difficult position with regard to the Institute for Advanced Studies. I do, however, undertake to Deputies that to the fullest extent of our responsibilities in the matter these will be exercised and the function of the various schools in the Institute for Advanced Studies will be thoroughly and fully understood, and, in so far as there is an important and useful function to be served by these schools in this State, that function will be made clear and that function will be safeguarded.
I have had occasion to consider and to discuss whether some or all of the schools attached to the Institute for Advanced Studies might not more properly be associated with the National University. That is a matter that will come up some day for discussion, because some day there will come up for discussion the function of our universities on the one hand and the function of all our advanced studies institutes on the other. That is a matter that we can all join in discussing and considering on the understanding that we are seeking for the best possible results that can be obtained from any of these institutions.
I do not think that the Deputy need be alarmed at the fact that there has been a considerable amount of saving on the administration and staffing side in the institute, because you have to take that in relation to the total sum that was voted in the beginning of the year for the Institute for Advanced Studies, namely, £53,000. Now that £53,000 can compare with the grant to, say, University College, Cork, of something like £67,000, and as there was a certain amount of margin there for saving it was deliberately saved. There has been saving in respect of two senior professors in the School of Celtic Studies, but we know what an unhappy history the School of Celtic Studies has had and how in one way or another it has operated to take some of our most talented and valuable workers in Irish studies out of the university into the Institute for Advanced Studies and then to leave them quite unattached in any kind of systematic way with work  connected with the advance of Irish studies. We have a Celtic school in the institute; we have the Royal Academy; we have the Irish Manuscripts Commission, and some day or another somebody will question whether co-ordination might not be brought about between the three of these bodies. It may be perfectly clear that there ought not to be amalgamation of them; it may be perfectly clear when the matter is thoroughly looked into that there is a satisfactory coordination of the work that is being done through these three bodies for the higher Irish studies. But I should like Deputies to understand that so far as the Department of Education or the Government is concerned, there has been no deliberate saving in any of these appointments. If it may appear to Deputies that it is as unsatisfactory to have a saying there as to have a spending on the constructive side that was not estimated for, that to my mind is really a reflection on the organisation of control in relation to the institute itself. That is unsatisfactory, but I hope all these matters may be rectified and that it will not be necessary when we pass through the next year's work of the institute to have a Supplementary Estimate of this particular kind coming before the House.
If there are any theories or plans with regard to the better organisation or the better arrangement of the Institute, then those who are in touch with it can perhaps make suggestions to us when we come to discuss the main Estimate next year as to what is wrong in the organisation of the place that can and should be remedied in order to see what saving is required and what spending is really required and that that saving is got and that such constructive work as is required will be systematically and properly envisaged at the beginning of the year before that work is gone ahead with so that there will not be expenditure undertaken in any year that has not been systematically foreseen, because expenditure which cannot be systematically foreseen is seldom well directed.
Vote put and agreed to.
Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Everett): I move:—
That a supplementary sum not exceeding £104,780 be granted to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 1949, 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.
The Estimate for Posts and Telegraphs already approved by the Dáil for the financial year ending 31st March, 1949, amounts to £4,524,840. Owing to causes which could not have been foreseen, this provision will be insufficient, and an additional sum of £104,780 will be required to cover essential expenditure up to the end of the financial year.
The gross extra expenditure on sub-heads for which the original provision is insufficient is estimated to total £128,780. On the other hand, savings amounting to £24,000 will be available from other sub-heads, leaving a net excess of £104,780.
The causes of the increases are briefly as follows:—
Sub-head A (3): The increase of £80,000 is due to adjustment in salaries of sub-postmasters (including arrears from 1/11/46); to staff required to meet increased telephone and parcel post traffic and to higher national insurance contributions.
Sub-head E (1): The increase of £35,780 is due to payment to Córas Iompair Éireann in respect of increased services, and to payment to the Railway Clearing House in respect of the increased volume of incoming parcel traffic.
Sub-head E (5): The increase of £13,000 is due to increased volume of air mail traffic.
Mr. Little: I hope I will be forgiven if I express my pleasure that the decision arrived at by the government in 1946 is now being completed. Does  the amount now being devoted complete the payment to sub-postmasters of all that is due to them under the decision of 1946? There was about £50,000 devoted in 1947. Out of the £80,000 here, how much constitutes the amount for sub-postmasters?
Mr. Everett: £34,500, for 2,100 sub-postmasters.
Mr. Little: It is very satisfactory to see that that is settled. There were so many sub-postmasters and the case was complicated. With reference to air services, how much of the money being expended will go to foreign countries and how much to Aer Línte or Aer Lingus?
Mr. Briscoe: Aer Línte is dead.
Mr. Everett: The bulk goes to the American companies.
Mr. Little: Alas:—that is a final commentary on the abolition of our own services. At the same time, I must congratulate the Minister in having completed the schemes for the four stamps, which are a credit to the Department.
Mr. Everett: We will have two more soon.
Mr. Little: Two more air stamps?
Mr. Everett: No, more important ones.
Mr. Little: I cannot claim any share in those. With reference to sub-head E (1), is the increase there due to the fact that we are getting back to more normal conditions with the railway company after the starvation of fuel there was in 1947, or does it also register a development of the services? I would be anxious to know. Perhaps I am asking questions that are a little too difficult to answer right off, but it would be a matter of interest to know how far it is due to a return to normal and how far it might be due to further development.
Mr. Briscoe: On sub-head E (5), I think everyone is very pleased with the additional possibilities of utilising air services for mail, but I would like the  Minister to examine, for the main Estimate, a certain complaint which arises from it. I think the carrying of mails, which was a recent innovation with Aer Lingus to England in particular and to other European countries, is going to be availed of very extensively. There is, however, this difficulty and I would like him to have his staff look into it. If one sends a letter by air, the object is to get it to its destination as soon as possible, but if we send letters by air to the Midlands of England, they get there two, and sometimes three, days later than if sent by ordinary post. In many cases, I find that people, in order to get the service they require, have to add an extra charge for express delivery. I congratulate the Minister in seeing that this air carrying of mail has been extended from its previous stage, but I think that, by assuring people who use the air service for mail that their mail will get to the destination reasonably quickly, he will encourage them to avail of it much more often. The charge is not unreasonably high. I do not expect the Minister to be able to deal with this particular difficulty to-day, but I would like him to have it looked up, so that by the time we come to the main Estimate he may be able to deal with it.
Micheál Ó Cinnéide: Ar an meastachán seo tá cúpla rud agam le rá i dtaobh ceist na telefóna. During the year, the Minister made a speech—I cannot tell the particular place, but I think it was in Limerick—in which he said that trunk calls would be speeded up.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Would the Deputy say under what heading that comes?
Micheál Ó Cinnéide: It is on the back of the page A (3), “additional staff necessary for increased telephone and parcel post traffic.” The Minister told us we would get a call in three minutes to any part of the State. From where I live, you could travel to Dublin sometimes and do your work before the telephone call would come through. Not alone this year but for several years past, I have pointed out  on this Vote that County Meath might as well be in Brittany in its relations with County Westmeath, there is such delay in telephone calls. I live ten statute miles from Oldcastle, a town with which the place I live does a considerable amount of trade, and I have never known a call, last year or in any other year before it, within two hours.
The call has to go through Dublin, down through Navan and Kells and eventually to Oldcastle. I have been appealing in this House since I came into it for a direct service, in vain. I avail of this opportunity to put the case again. I know the red tape in his Department as well as in every other Department. We had been advocating for a telephone in the village of Rathowen for years. It was a technical impossibility according to the Department. Yet, within two months of the formation of the L.D.F., a telephone was provided there. I want to indicate, through the Minister, to the heads of his Department that the same thing can happen in the case of linking up County Meath with the adjoining county and giving us a telephone service.
I would recommend to the Minister not to be too optimistic in his forecast. He told us—I hope it may be possible at some stage—that a trunk call should be available within a few minutes. We give the Minister credit for the fact that his Department installed a number of private telephones during the year but I would ask him to see to it that the installation of telephones in small sub-offices is carried out immediately. It is very necessary to provide such facilities for people who may require the services of a doctor or priest or veterinary surgeon. The Minister should make an effort to establish telephone services in villages and outlying offices. Above all, he should try to implement his promise to provide a quick telephone service.
Captain Cowan: It is right to avail of this opportunity to congratulate the Minister on the substantial improvement in telephone facilities that has taken place during the past year. There is no doubt that anyone who has to do extensive telephoning finds a remarkable improvement. The Minister is to  be congratulated on that and he is also to be congratulated on the improved postal service. I know the Minister is giving his personal attention to that matter and that it is his intention to have a satisfactory postal service in all areas. There is also an improvement in the service as a whole and better feeling amongst sub-postmasters, sub-postmistresses and the staff generally. In these circumstances, it would be ungracious if this House did not express its appreciation of the work done by the Minister. I congratulate the Minister on a splendid job of work.
Mr. Lynch: I want to make a few remarks under sub-head A (3). Some time before this Government came into power work had been in progress converting the Cork Telephone Exchange to the automatic system. Some time ago I asked the Minister if he would indicate whether any of the staff serving there on the telephone service might be transferred as a result of the change. The Minister replied that in so far as it could be avoided there would not be any unnecessary transfers. I want again to appeal to the Minister to ensure that there will not be any unnecessary transfer and even to make sacrifices, if necessary, in order to maintain the existing Cork telephone staff in Cork when the new system begins to operate. Opportunities of getting posts in the Civil Service in Cork are very limited, particularly in the case of young girls.
Many of the young girls now serving in the Cork Telephone Exchange would not have entered the service if they had envisaged transfer away from their homes. For that reason particularly, since it was really no part of their original contract of service that they might have to serve away from home. I would ask the Minister to do his best to ensure that none of these people will be tranferred. There is the further consideration that in many cases the parents and relatives of the girls are depending on the income they receive there.
As regards the change over to the automatic system, I would ask the Minister to expediture it as far as possible. A few kiosks were erected in  Cork but they have not yet been fitted with telephones. I can appreciate that the reason for that is that it would be rather stupid to fit them with the old fashioned telephones if the automatic system is to be installed within a few months. I would ask the Minister to speed up the provision of telephones and not to have this most perfect example of white elephants in the form of shells of kiosks minus telephones.
Deputy Cowan was able to congratulate the Minister for the better service that he seemed to be experiencing on the telephone exchange. I regret to have to inform the Minister that that does not apply in Cork. The Minister is not to blame but, for a long time past, telephone facilities in Cork are such that people wanting to communicate with offices some distance away in the city at times find it far more expeditious to leave their offices and call personally on the person with whom they want to speak. That is a positive fact of which I can give the Minister ample proof if he so desires. From that point of view, again, I would ask the Minister to proceed with all expedition in this particular matter.
All over the country people are applying for telephone services for their homes, offices and surgeries. In Cork, owing to the delay in installing the automatic exchange, people who have very good claims are being refused and are suffering considerably in their professions and businesses as a result of that. Admittedly the Minister is giving telephone facilities to doctors and people who have a certain number of employees but he must also keep in mind persons other than doctors and employers who require telephone facilities in their homes and offices. I would ask the Minister, if he envisages undue delay in installing the automatic exchange in Cork, if he would consider giving some interim service, even on the old system, to such people.
Mr. C. Lehane: I merely want to ask the Minister to clarify two points. First of all, I understand that prior to the Minister's period of office, and I think for some time subsequent to his taking up office, there were fairly  general complaints about the slowness of the service from the Dublin exchange during the hours after 7 o'clock. I do not think I can claim that I have ever heard it stated officially but certainly the rumour was current that that was due to part of a deliberate “go slow” policy on the part of some employees of the Post Office due to the fact that they were dissatisfied with the existing conditions of service and wage rates. I should like the Minister to indicate to the House whether, in his opinion, that position has now ceased to exist.
My second point is that I, in common with other persons who have had reason to send telegrams over the telephone in the Irish language, have, from time to time, experienced considerable difficulty and delay while an operator was found who was competent to take down a telegram in Irish and transmit it. That is something to which the Minister should direct his attention. It is not right that persons who wish to use the Irish language for the purpose of sending telegraphic communications should be under any disability thereby or should have to suffer any delay. I should like the Minister to direct his attention to that important matter too.
In common with other Deputies, I should like to congratulate the Minister on the job he has done in the last 12 months, particularly in regard to the installation of new telephones.
Mr. J. Flynn: I regret I was not in the House when the Minister made his opening statement but, like other Deputies, I appreciate the work he has done. There are, however, one or two matters which I should like to raise on this occasion.
I tabled a Parliamentary question in regard to a telephone service from Cromane to Killorglin. That particular proposal has been before his Department for the past seven or eight years, and I suggest that it is one of the most urgent matters in the programme. We have an important fishing industry in that area. There is a local sub-post office but, on the whole, the people are practically isolated from the local towns. The installation of a telephone  system there would enable the people to get in touch quickly with the local Garda station in regard to medical assistance and so forth.
May I again suggest that that matter be regarded as urgent and important? It has certainly been left over for the past seven or eight years, but I have every confidence that the Minister will now assist us in this connection.
Mr. Bartley: I should like the Minister to indicate, if possible, when the new office in Galway City will be begun. I should also like him to indicate if he has any information as to an improvement in the telephone service between Dublin and the West. I think the Minister is well aware of these two points and I should like him to give us the latest information available about them.
Mr. Everett: In reply to Deputy C. Lehane, may I say that the question he raised in regard to the sending of telegrams in the Irish language over the telephone will be investigated. I feel sure that it is the wish of the Department to have operators who are competent in that respect.
Deputy Lynch raised some points in regard to Cork. I feel sure that my predecessor in office had headaches from receiving complaints from Cork. I would point out that there is an automatic exchange there which is in full working order. There are, however, complaints still because it is one of the worst places in the whole of the Republic at the present time. We are expediting, as quickly as possible, the work in regard to the exchange, but it will probably take longer than the Deputy would wish. It will be well over 12 months before it will be completed.
Deputy Bartley must be aware that the provision of the new office in Galway City will take some time. Apart altogether from the fact that a Government Department is involved, there is also the question of private individuals who are involved. Agreement has yet to be reached about the property in Galway, as there is a dispute in regard to title. I think it will be some time before agreement will be  reached in that regard—not to talk about the erection of the building.
Mention was made of mail services. Mail trains are now running from the West and from the South each day. That was the cause of the expense. We were unable to have the same delivery in the Eastern area but I hope to reach an agreement very soon in that connection.
I would say, with regerd to the airmail service, that we are unable to devote all our time to Aer Lingus. The best part of the large number of letters goes by the United States Service. When we consider that there has been an increase of 1,250,000 letters this year over last year we can get some idea of the amount of work carried out. We shall have some discussion on that subject on the main Estimate.
I shall endeavour to meet the wishes of all sections of the House in connection with the provision of telephones. I would point out that in 1948 alone 7,000 fresh applications for telephones were made. I am very keen on having telephones installed in rural post offices and if we have gangs working in a particular area we shall try and have these call offices connected—but, again, only where we have a number of applications for telephones. The excuse is often made that a telephone is required for the purpose of getting in touch with a doctor or a clergyman. I suggest that the medical man or the clergyman should first have telephones installed themselves and then, if they make the application in the ordinary way and if a gang of men goes to the area, not alone will we instal a telephone in the office but it will be able to connect with the clergyman or the doctor. However, every Deputy, and particularly rural Deputies, must realise that all that will take some time because of the large number of applications which we have received. Nevertheless, I should like to say that we are trying to meet the demand from the rural areas. We have received a large number of applications from rural areas and where we have a gang of men working—provided it does not involve an extra distance of six or seven miles—we shall instal a telephone in the call office. As my predecessor  in office knows well, the question of poles has to be considered. We are doing our best, and I am glad that what we have done has met with the approval of the House.
Mr. Lemass: Can the Minister indicate when the scheme for the transportation of the British mails by air is likely to come into operation?
Mr. Everett: Not yet.
Mr. Lemass: Is it not likely to be soon?
Mr. Everett: We have not yet had time to discuss all the proposals.
Mr. Little: I gather from what the Minister has said that he is not pursuing the scheme of the former Government of putting a telephone into every sub-post office.
Mr. Everett: I am only too anxious to have them all connected.
Mr. Little: Have you a comprehensive plan to do that the same as the Electricity Supply Board and of decentralising so much of the country?
Mr. Everett: It is not my desire to take a gang out of one particular place and send it to another for one pole. Where we have a large number of applications from a rural area, I think the Deputy will agree that it is better to complete the area with a call office and not bring a gang 20 or 30 miles for one pole.
Mr. Lynch: Can the Minister give any indication as to the difference there is between the number of staffs which operated the automatic exchange, Cork, as compared with the existing numbers?
Mr. Everett: Where there would be any unnecessary hardship in connection with the transfer of staff, we try to provide work for everyone of them.
Mr. Lynch: What do you anticipate?
Mr. Everett: There will be a less number.
Vote put and agreed to.
Minister for External Affairs (Mr. MacBride): I move:—
That a sum not exceeding £19,500 be granted to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 1949, for contributions towards the expenses of the Organisation for European Co-operation.
The Organisation for European Economic Co-operation, of which Ireland is a member, was established by the Convention for European Economic Co-operation which was ratified by the Dáil on the 1st July, 1948.
The convention provides for the expenses of the organisation being borne by member nations in accordance with the scale approved by the council of the organisation. In the case of Ireland the rate of contribution approved is .89 per cent. of the annual budget.
The ordinary financial year of the organisation commences on the 1st July and ends on the following 30th June and the Secretary-General is required to present an annual budget to the council for approval. The initial budgetary period, however, covers the period between the 16th April, 1948, when the organisation was first set up, and the 30th June, 1949. An estimate has been prepared for this period and approved by the council at 1,461,730,308 French francs. On the basis of our assessed contribution the amount which we are required to contribute towards this estimate is about £12,280 and provision for this sum is made under sub-head A of the Estimate now before the House.
I should perhaps mention that the sum of 1,461,000,000 odd francs includes the sum of 485,000,000 francs which represents the cost of the acquisition by the organisation of real estate and property which will remain the property of the member nations and can always be realised on their behalf subsequently. The proportion of our contribution in sterling towards this 485,000,000 francs is approximately £4,100.
 Under sub-head B the sum of £7,220 is provided as a contribution towards the working capital fund of the organisation. The necessity for this fund arises from the fact that there is a timelag between the assessment of member nations' contributions and the payment of those contributions. This time-lag arises from the necessity for them to be voted by the Parliaments of the member nations. It naturally creates a certain delay and leaves a certain deficit.
The total amount of the working capital fund is assessed at the counter-value, in the currency of the member countries, of a sum of 700,000,000 francs calculated on the basis of the rates of exchange obtaining prior to the recent devaluation of the franc. Here again our contribution is assessed at .89 per cent. of the fund, or 6,230,000 francs, the equivalent of which in sterling at the pre-devaluation rate is £7,216. The slight excess between our actual contribution and the amount provided for in the Estimate is to meet the bank charges on the transfer of funds. All contributions to this fund remain the property of the contributing nations and are refundable on the termination of the organisation or on the earlier withdrawal of a member nation. By arrangement between the organisation and the French Government contributions to this fund will be refundable at the same rate of francs to the contributing currency as the rate at which they were originally paid, that is, in the case of sterling, at the rate which obtained prior to the recent devaluation.
At the urgent request of the organisation we paid part of our contribution towards this fund in December last, the amount involved—£5,753—being advanced from the Contingency Fund. The £7,220 now proposed is made up, therefore, of this £5,753, which will be refunded to the Contingency Fund, and a balance of £1,467 to cover the amount which remains to be contributed by us.
Mr. Lemass: As this is an Estimate for a new service, I do not know whether the Chair intends to apply to the debate the same limitations as would ordinarily operate in the case  of a Supplementary Estimate. I am particularly anxious to know if I can raise on this Estimate a report sent by the Minister for External Affairs to this organisation to which we are now proposing to vote money.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: That would be policy.
Mr. Lemass: To an extent it would involve policy, I agree, but all we know about this organisation, so far, is the information which was given to the House by the Minister when the resolution for approval of the agreement was submitted here, the statement he has now made and the report which he sent there. It is difficult to discuss anything in the Estimate if one cannot refer to the one administrative act that did arise, so far as we know, between the passing of the resolution and the submission of the Estimate.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The practice, of course, has been that a Minister's action, in respect of policy, can be discussed on the Estimate on which his salary appears.
Mr. Lemass: I understand that, but the Chair appreciates that this is a new Estimate. It is not a Supplementary Estimate in respect of which the Dáil has already had an opportunity of discussing the general service on the main Estimate for the year. It is a service for which an Estimate has not already been submitted to the House.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy will appreciate that the matter which he wishes to discuss will normally arise on a main Estimate on which the Minister's salary will appear.
Mr. Lemass: I thought you would so rule. I am looking forward to that discussion.
Mr. MacBride: So am I.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Minister is responsible to this House, and any matter in respect of his action arises on the Estimate on which his salary appears.
Mr. Lemass: I bow to your ruling.
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: May I take it  that the same ruling would apply to the desire of a Deputy to refer to a matter which was the subject of a question to-day?
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Absolutely.
Mr. Lemass: If you get away with that, I will.
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: As regards the Estimate before us, I take it then that the only subjects open for discussion are the two purposes set out under sub-heads A and B—that is, the amount of the contribution towards the expenses of the organisation and the contribution to the working capital fund of the organisation. As Deputy Lemass has said, I do not think it is possible to discuss these in any great detail. I think that it would probably be in order for a Deputy to say that the general feeling in the House and in the country is that the Minister and the Government have properly represented the views of the people by participating in this conference, and in making these contributions towards the membership it would be a matter of very great regret generally in the country if anything were done to sabotage that work.
Mr. Lemass: You got the word in, anyway.
Vote agreed to.
Supplementary and Additional Estimates reported and agreed to.
Section I agreed to.
Minister for Education (General Mulcahy): I move amendment No. 1:—
In sub-section (1), page 2, line 17, before the word “enactment” to insert the word “any”.
This is just a drafting amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
Section 2, as amended, agreed to.
Section 3 agreed to.
 SECTION 4.
Mr. Derrig: I move amendment No. 2:—
In sub-section (1), line 34, to delete the word “and” and substitute therefor the word “or.”
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Amendment 3 is the main amendment and I take it the other two are consequential?
Mr. Derrig: Perhaps it is. I suppose I will be allowed a little latitude in trying to explain the purpose of the amendment. Section 4 says:—
(a) a court may, under any sub-section of Section 58 of the Principal Act, order a person to be sent to a certified industrial school, and
(b) the court has previously ascertained that the managers of the school are willing to receive that person,
the court may, in lieu of ordering that person to be sent to a certified industrial school, order that person to be sent to the school.”
Section 58 of the Principal Act is Section 58 of the 1908 Children Act. As regards this type of legislation, it is perhaps unfortunate that we have two Departments, the Department of Justice as well as the Department of Education, dealing with this matter. For adolescents there is no doubt that the Department of Justice, having control of the juvenile court and probation officers and having to deal with the medical issues that may arise there, must have a great deal to say to this legislation. I appreciate, therefore, the difficulties that the Minister for Education has in dealing with this matter comprehensively.
A particular issue has arisen now and that is the question of legislation to deal with the cases of girls who are described as being sexually contaminated and whom the ordinary industrial school might not be prepared to receive. There is a special institution which has been established with the sanction and initiative of the ecclesiastical authorities to deal with this problem and the point is to make the  necessary legislative provisions to see that the object in view, of having girls who are morally contaminated, or who are, I think I might extend it to say, in grave danger of such contamination, placed under proper supervision and control.
As I said yesterday, I have a feeling that if this matter could not be dealt with, as possibly it cannot entirely be, by voluntary means, after the actions of charitable and religious organisations, or cannot be dealt with through the agency of the Department of Health as a medical problem, in all these questions of delinquency the Department of Health must have something to say. Whatever type of moral defect has a bearing upon mental deficiency—and very often these particular offences are connected with intellectual troubles or mental deficiency—it does not seem that the Minister was able to secure a solution in that way. Although I would have preferred that either of these two methods, the purely voluntary method or the method of dealing with the matter as a medical problem, could be utilised, I can see that in the long run some legislation will be necessary, and in order to put my view before the House I have submitted this amendment, which is based on legislation elsewhere and is more up to date than the 1908 Act.
What will happen now is that a person, in order to be sent to the school must be brought before the court and that person must be charged with an offence under Section 58 (1) of the 1908 Act. This is the main section in the Act and there is a large number of clauses, (a) to (g), dealing with begging, wandering, destitution, lack of parental control due to drunken habits on the part of parents, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, offences in the family, bad company and, finally, lodging or residing in immoral surroundings.
I think that clause (g) really emphasises that question of the surroundings in which the young person is living, because it says:
“is lodging or residing in a house or the part of a house used by any  person for the purpose of prostitution or is otherwise living in circumstances calculated to cause, encourage or favour the seduction or prostitution of the child.”
It seems to me the emphasis there is on the actual environment, the actual living conditions, and that in order to establish a case for the detention of the young person, if charged under clause (g), it would be necessary, of course, to prove to the satisfaction of the justice that the conditions are such as would lead to the seduction or prostitution of that person.
Since 1908, when the first Act was passed, we have gone through two major wars and we do not fully realise the social effects of those wars on young people. There has been a loosening generally of parental control. Even in our country parental control, guidance and discipline have been affected. Added to that, there are all kinds of developments and amusements and ways of spending money. Money is more plentiful. Motor cars are very popular. Young people have more access to money to-day than they had heretofore. All these things tend to break up family life. The young people are tempted into paths upon which they would never have entered 30 years ago. In some places it looks as if family life will suffer a complete break-down.
It is true that we have not suffered very seriously as a result of the war. It is true that the more vicious forms of crime are comparatively rare amongst us. There is, nevertheless, a certain apparent weakness in regard to parental control and discipline. This is particularly serious in the case of girls. If young girls are allowed to frequent bad company or make evil associations the results are going to be very dangerous from every point of view. Young girls particularly need the care and protection of their parents. The problem is a very special one in their case. I think the problem is one which should be viewed from the point of view of the child's need for care and protection rather than from the point  of view of environment alone. If a district justice is satisfied in a particular case that there is an absence of care and protection and an absence of parental control or guidance so that the child is in danger of entering into bad associations or is exposed to moral danger, or beyond control, he should have power and discretion to send such a child to this special type of school. The only alternative to that in my opinion is to wait until an offence has been committed against the girl when everybody will be satisfied that the conditions under which she is living are practically those of public prostitution. I think it would be very hard to establish that in this country except in a very small number of cases where there is evidence of deliberate professional immorality. But the possibility is that cases will arise, or probably have arisen, where because of lack of parental control and guidance a young girl has freedom to associate with evil companions. In such cases if a responsible authority is prepared to go before the court—say, a Garda superintendent— and state there that he believes there are sufficient grounds for the district justice to take suitable action, then it should be possible to send the girl to the particular type of school envisaged. If action can only be taken where there is evidence of positive immorality I do not think it will be easy to convince the court that the persons with whom the child associates are a grave source of danger to her. The amendment I have put down makes the issue somewhat wider and gives a greater discretion to deal with border-line cases. It is no way unfair because lack of parental control or suitable guardianship has to be proved to the satisfaction of the justice. I do not think our justices would be likely, except for a very good reason, to send a girl away to this school. I do not think I need put it further than that.
General Mulcahy: It is true, as the Deputy says, that his amendment is rather wider in its scope than what is suggested here. I thought I made it clear yesterday what this proposal was and the particular problem with which I wished to deal. The 1934 Children's Act was introduced by the Department  of Local Government and Public Health. The Minister for Justice could equally well introduce an amendment to the Children's Act; that is, an amendment affecting the basic Act of 1908 which was, I take it, introduced by somebody analogous to the Minister for Justice. The Department of Health, the Department of Justice and the Department of Education have their own responsibilities in relation to children. The fundamental law that gives us power to detain children is contained in Section 57 of the Act of 1908 together with the amendments subsequently made thereto. That is the basic statutory authority under which children may be apprehended and committed to a reformatory. Section 58 of that Act and the subsequent amendments thereto and the School Attendance Act is the statutory authority under which children may be committed to an industrial school. There is no legislation of any kind outside of Sections 57 and 58 of the Act of 1908 and the School Attendance Act under which any statutory authority or power exists for dealing with children in the way suggested by the Deputy. One of the objections I have to this proposed amendment is that it goes outside the four corners of the statutory basis upon which we have been acting up to the present. This amendment would introduce an isolated piece of legislation giving additional powers for additional circumstances, never considered before, for taking young children away from their homes or environments and sending them to either an industrial or a reformatory school. I think that is undesirable.
The Deputy has indicated that we have had a couple of wars. He has pointed out the tremendous social effects of these wars, of one kind or another. He has adverted to the dangers of motor cars and money and the possible increase in prostitution. As Minister for Education. I am not concerned with that. It is quite true that when the problem, with which this Bill proposes to deal, arose—that is where there had been sexual contamination of one kind or another—we found ourselves in the position that there was no place where these girls could be put  for guidance, education or spiritual care of any kind.
The purpose of this Bill is to provide the necessary statutory authority to have cases of that particular kind dealt with in suitable surroundings and under a suitable authority. It was inevitable, no doubt, when the discussions were taking place on that problem that the Department of Justice and the Department of Health should be consulted. It is a fact, perhaps, that the Department of Health at that time, with its special outlook and its own responsibilities in connection with the matter, had the idea that a particular problem arose, leading to contamination and to moral dangers of this kind and that these should be regarded as matters with which some kind of legislation should be devised to deal. It was suggested that it was weak-mindedness or unstable mental balance that was responsible for some of the troubles that were revealed before the District Courts. I am advised, however, medically and ecclesiastically, that that is not so, that we are dealing here with normal people who are led into difficulties, dangers, and along wrong paths, through circumstances of environment so that even if I were Minister for Health and had to consider this problem, I would have to advise the Minister for Education to do what he is doing now and that questions of health or weak-mindedness did not arise in connection with the matter. If I were Minister for Health I would also have to say that I should be very glad if, in dealing with cases of this kind that come into educational institutions, special attention were paid to the question of whether it was weak-mindedness or mental instability that was largely responsible for cases of this particular kind. I feel perhaps that some information could be provided from the authorities of the institutions that we now speak of that might be of use to the Minister for Health, but I am fully convinced and advised that these cases are not cases for treatment in a mental institution. I would ask the Deputy, therefore, to accept it from me that on the side of health or weakmindedness, there is nothing that should dictate that we should proceed in a different way or  use a different kind of machinery from that which is now proposed.
So far as the Department of Justice is concerned, in the discussions that have gone on with the Department of Justice, in facing up to the solution of the educational problem, there did not arise to the minds of the authorities in the Department of Justice the considerations of which the Deputy speaks. If these matters had arisen, it might have eventuated that the Department would have considered the whole details, if not of Section 57 at least of Section 58 of the 1908 Act, and that they would proceed to amend Section 58 by extending the circumstances and the conditions under which persons could be brought before a District Court and committed. I can only simply state again that the proposal in this Bill is to enable it to provide for an institution so that when either under Section 57, young girls are committed to a reformatory, or under Section 58 they are committed to an industrial school, and when it is found that there has been sexual contamination or contacts of one kind or another and the manager of the new school is prepared to take these children, they may be committed to that school, it being understood that the ordinary reformatory authorities and the ordinary industrial school authorities are unwilling and have in fact refused to take persons committed to their schools when circumstances are such that they are liable to be a source of contamination and disturbance in their schools. That is the simple object of the Bill. I would ask the Deputy not to press me to undertake the functions of the Minister for Justice in trying to ascertain to what extent there are unsatisfactory conditions of this kind in society or to ask me to take on the mantle of the Minister for Health by considering what other kind of institution or what kind of machinery should be evolved for finding out these cases and dealing with them in a statutory way.
Mr. Derrig: If the Minister's idea is that he can only deal with cases of persons who would, in any event, have been committed to an industrial school  and that it is merely a question then of amending the law to have provision made for the accommodation of those who would not be accepted in the ordinary school, that certainly is one aspect of the problem which seems to be covered by the Bill. I had thought that opportunity might have been taken to try to deal with the class of person who, while not having committed an offence under Section 58 (1) of the 1908 Act, might nevertheless be in danger of sexual contamination. I realise that it is a very difficult matter if an offence has not actually been committed, to convince a court. The court will naturally lean, and rightly so, on the side of the liberty of the individual. It is for that reason that I regret that this matter could not be dealt with otherwise than through the courts. I do not contend that all these cases are cases in which there might be questions of mental deficiency but they are cases on which up-to-date medical advice—psychotherapy and other branches of science dealing with the treatment of the mind—might afford some guidance. To that extent, at any rate, it could be claimed that the Department of Health should have a say in the matter. In any case, I think there was a question of the Department of Justice definitely having a medical officer attached to the juvenile court for the purpose of giving general advice and I believe that in cases of this kind the medical advice would be very important. If the Minister feels that he is not prepared to accept the amendment I suppose I have no option but to withdraw it. I do not want to press it to a division. I simply put it down for consideration. This section is taken out of the Young Persons and Children Act passed in Great Britain in 1933. It is the law in Britain for the past 15 years and it simply means that over there they have extended the definitions contained in the 1908 Act. I believe it would possibly not make a great deal of difference in the end if the Minister accepted the amendment, but I feel that we would be more up to date regarding the care and protection of the young person. We would have given the court a greater discretion, perhaps, to deal with the ordinary cases.
General Mulcahy: I doubt that it would help us if the Minister for Education started to do the work of the Minister for Justice, even in a small way.
Mr. Derrig: Get the Minister for Justice to do his own work.
General Mulcahy: There may be something in that and the representations the Deputy has made can be brought before the Minister.
Major de Valera: There is a point arising from that. I feel that Deputy Derrig is to some extent under a misapprehension here. From what I have seen in the courts and elsewhere many of the cases which I think the Minister designs to cover are perfectly normal ones. There is no question of any medical or psychological abnormality in these cases.
General Mulcahy: I think Deputy Derrig will accept that.
Major de Valera: I merely mention that the Minister has suggested a recommendation to another Minister in that regard. We are dealing here with perfectly normal girls who, pretty often through lack of parental control, find themselves seduced or in danger of being seduced. That is the plain situation there. If this matter is going to be referred anywhere else I, personally, would be chary of following the English precedent. There has been a constant tendency there for the State to take more and more control of the child. I wonder if suggestions are being passed on to other Ministers whether it could be suggested that the kind of parent be looked into rather than the arrest of the child. Since suggestions are being made I am throwing out just another suggestion. In regard to this section I think it is adequate to provide a separate place for such children who are committed to a State institution. I take it that the Minister visualises the need of special extra provision for committing girls who are in fact children.
Mr. Derrig: I think cases have arisen where they would not, perhaps, have been committed by the court in the ordinary way.
Major de Valera: They come under the discretion of the court there. I do not think there is any change in the law in that regard.
Captain Cowan: I should like to make it perfectly clear that I have grave grounds for objection to the amendment suggested by Deputy Derrig. I want to tell the Minister that the suggestions made to him should be conveyed to the Minister for Justice. I thought that the Minister suggested that the principle of this particular Bill was simply to give the Minister authority to overcome a very small difficulty. I thought that was made perfectly clear but the amendment suggested here widens the scope so much and is such a danger to the ordinary liberty of the individual that I wanted to make my own opinions clear. I would find no grounds whatsoever for sympathy with or support of any suggestion contained here.
Mr. Derrig: The Deputy, I suggest, is talking absolute rot in saying that there is danger in an amendment to a law which has been in force for the past 15 years.
Major de Valera: I would object to the law in many respects as it is in the neighbouring country.
Mr. Derrig: Do you object to the protection of young people?
Major de Valera: It is the method by which it is done.
Mr. Derrig: The lawyers will have their say.
Amendment No. 3, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment No. 4 not moved.
Section 4 agreed to.
General Mulcahy: The intention of Section 5 may be obscure. No person will be sent to a school that will be repugnant to their religious feelings.
Section 5 agreed to.
Mr. Derrig: I move amendment No. 5:—
 In line 19 to delete the word “seventeen” and insert the word “eighteen”.
The intention is to enable the Minister under the section, as it stands, to direct that the period of detention of a person who has been committed to the school should be until he—which presumably means she—attains the age of 17 years. As the age has been raised up to 19 years elsewhere, in the case of the Minister deciding, on the recommendation of the managers of the school, that a further period would be necessary to enable the young person to receive proper training and proper care, I think that 17 is rather low having regard to the particular type of case we have in mind. Seventeen years is the existing limit all right but I suggest that, having regard to the nature of the offence, it is not too much to leave to the Minister the discretion which he would have of extending the period until she becomes 18 years of age if the school manager made a recommendation to that effect and if they were satisfied that it was in her interests. In doing so I have in mind the fact that, although we have a probation system here, I think the practice of putting such young persons out under supervision or under the control of guardians after they leave the school has not been carried to the point where we can be absolutely satisfied if we let them out at 17. I do not know whether the Minister could say that he is satisfied there would be that supervision over a discharged girl who would be released at 17 that she is not likely to be brought back again to the school. From my own experience I know how difficult it is to maintain supervision in the cases of young people who are discharged from these institutions. I think it would be particularly difficult in the case of girls who possibly leave the country altogether. I had such cases myself. I think it was while in this actual institution that a girl received an offer of marriage from a neighbouring country. A young man came along and wanted to marry her and take her away, and perhaps that was the best solution. It possibly worked out all right because I think the ecclesiastical authorities had  some interest—I forget the full details —as naturally they would have been called in on this side of the water at any rate in such a matter. But that will not happen normally. Then, in that particular case, the question of possible desertion and so on would arise. There is the question of finding employment for these people and so on, and I have the feeling that, once they are discharged, there is very little one can do. Some of the social organisations do their best to maintain contact with these discharged girls and to do what they can for them, but it is entirely voluntary and it is almost impossible to keep contact with them, unless they are prepared to play their part and unless they wish the contact to be maintained. Having regard to the special circumstances, which are very serious from a public point of view and which can have very serious repercussions, the Minister would be well advised to seek to hold them as long as he reasonably could in circumstances such as I have described, circumstances in which it was felt by all the authorities interested that such a course was necessary.
General Mulcahy: I have indicated already that, where a child is committed to an industrial school, she can normally be kept there until the age of 16, but that may be extended to 17 years on application by the manager of the school, but even that is subject to the consent of the parent. In the section, we are arranging that, in the case of a person detained in such a school without the consent of the parent, there can be a detention, where the manager applies and the Minister agrees, for an extra period of a year. I think that is a sufficient extension against the consent of the parent for the present. No experience of this matter up to the present has indicated, nor has it been suggested to me by the ecclesiastical authorities, justices or health authorities with whom I have been in touch that there should be an extension beyond the age of 17 years. Where people have been committed to industrial schools, there is a power of supervision when they leave and certain powers to bring them back for a period of three months, if that is thought  necessary or desirable. I suggest that the Deputy should agree to the proposed extension for one year as contemplated in the Bill and allow us to have the experience, as well as the pressure and enlightenment of that experience, before encroaching further on the liberty of people of this kind. I ask the Deputy to withdraw his amendment.
Mr. Derrig: Perhaps the Minister would say for what period the supervision is likely to continue?
General Mulcahy: It may extend up to the age of 21 years.
Mr. Derrig: If satisfactory arrangements are made, although it is very difficult to make them, I suppose it would be better.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 6 agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill received for final consideration and passed.
Question again proposed: “That the Bill be now read a Second time.”
Major de Valera: Last night, I followed irrelevancies or what I considered to be near irrelevancies—the Chair graciously ruled them in order— and I propose to confine myself at this stage to what I consider to be strictly relevant. One section of this Bill, Section 7, has called forth considerable comment. The background for that comment was that there was a dispute in the offing concerning certain employees of the board and the suggestion was repudiated by the Minister that the Bill was now being hurried through in order to meet that dispute. It was pointed out to the Minister that it was a peculiar circumstance that the Bill comes in now, while this dispute is pending, and also peculiarly coincident with a motion regarding pensions yesterday. Be that as it may, the factual position is that it is a pity that this Bill was not introduced earlier because we would not then have the  difficulties of the moment. I do not know why the Bill should have been delayed. I understand practically from the Minister's mouth that the bulk of it was drafted before he came into office, that there has been very little change; but a whole year has elapsed, and, if the timing of this Bill is unfortunate, it is due to the fact that there seems to have been unexplained delay.
It is suggested by some people that if this Bill is passed it will operate as a break on a proposed strike. I do not propose to go into the merits or demerits of this dispute or any proposed strike, but, on the wording of the section, it appears to me that it cannot affect any action taken prior to its passing. This point was made by Deputy Con Lehane yesterday and I think his case is quite arguable on the face of the section. Supposing this dispute, which, we understand, is in progress at the moment, should result in a strike, then this section as it stands cannot affect the position unless that strike takes place after the Bill becomes law because of the wording of the Section 7 referring to a break in the period of service:
“Any period of service of the employee in the employment of the board, prior to a break after the passing of this Act.”
It seems to me that the plain and fair English meaning of the word “break” is “break”, that is, the commencement of the break in employment. Therefore, unless the break takes place after the day the Act formally becomes law, which is a date usually considerably later than the date on which it is passed in this House, as it has to pass through the Seanad and be signed by the President, I fail to see how the Bill can have any effect, good, bad or indifferent, upon the present situation except that it holds out to the employees what appears to me to be a very equitable means of dealing with a dispute, namely, the setting up of a tribunal.
I have not the actual report and I quote from memory subject to what appears in the report, but I think Deputy Larkin said that he doubted if the time had come for the mass of the workers—I think that is the phrase  he used—to submit themselves to the decision of three men, in other words, that time was not yet ripe for people to submit themselves to a tribunal. My only comment to that is that if the rule of law is to prevail, if social relations between individuals and groups is to be governed by order and law, then human experience seems to show that the only practical way of securing a balance between all parties is a tribunal. The alternative to that solution is simply might against might and if you pit might against might, whether in a physical brawl or riot or in war or whether it is moral force, the net result for all parties is chaos. I fail to see how you are to settle disputes except by such mechanism or by giving power to somebody else in a tribunal which is applicable where one person is directed to conduct and another is directed to carry out the orders of that person. If that is so, I can see nothing wrong in the proposals for arbitration here. It has worked out efficiently in other cases and has been sought for by many bodies. In practice it gives a reasonably sure prospect of smooth working. You have got to consider that in the case of the Electricity Supply Board you are dealing with what is virtually a State service and the employer is virtually the State, in other words, the people as a whole. The remedies usually available to individual employers such as the remedy of quitting which Deputy Larkin mentioned last night are not readily available, in fact they are not available at all, to the mass of the people who are faced with dictation in regard to an essential service. For that reason I think it is very reasonable to have the control that the Minister has here with regard to disputes. Deputy Larkin pointed out that private employers had the remedy of going out of business if they did not like it and that workers should have the right to strike. Supposing I grant that argument to Deputy Larkin, let me put the State in the position of a private employer. If a private employer is paid a pension while he is in business and his employees go out on strike and he goes out of business, liquidates, he loses that pension and why should the ordinary taxpayer and  consumer be put in a different position with regard to this? Some sanctions are very often necessary in human affairs if only as a brake. I can find many arguments in support of this section as it stands. I think that this is a useful bit of legislation as a whole, particularly as it was acceptable to other groups and is, I understand, a case of merely extending machinery which is already available to other workers to the non-manual workers.
There is one further comment which I would like to make. In extending it to non-manual workers the Minister is now extending something to a grade of people in the State who have tended in modern times to be sufferers in times of economic difficulty, a group of people, the so-called white collar workers, who have not been as highly organised and who have not had the homogeneous numbers that manual workers have had and who, therefore, have not been able to make their claims felt in a varying economic situation to the extent other workers have been able to do. In fact, both in State service and out of it, many workers in this white collar grade are virtually at the mercy of their employers. They had very little redress in the case of a claim for a wage increase with the changing times, of arbitration in a dispute or of settling a dispute. They have had practically no redress compared with the highly organised workers in the manual and skilled craft grades. In all equity then, I think that the extension of this tribunal to them is an advance.
It at least ensures an opportunity of redress to these harassed members of the community. Many people in these non-manual grades were hit harder by the rise in the cost of living and other economic factors of the day than many other sections of the community and it is only fair that they should have the same opportunity of having their grievances heard and their disputes decided as other people in what is virtually the same employment. The only pity is, as I say, that it was not a little earlier.
An undertaking like the Electricity Supply Board, which is largely technical, requires a high degree of skill  in its operation. Even its administrative and clerical staffs must border on the technical. They are doing an essential service to the State. The body is statutorily composed equally with any Government Department. There is a very strong case indeed to be made for treating these employees on the same basis as employees are treated in the State service as a whole. There is a very strong case, in other words, for clerical and non-manual workers, particularly clerical workers, to be treated on the same basis as civil servants.
Mr. Morrissey: The Deputy, of course, knows that that is the point at issue at the moment outside?
Major de Valera: No, I was not aware of that. I do not think I have stated what the Minister may anticipate. I am glad that the Minister pulled me up for that. The point I was leading to in making this statement is that if you have a tribunal set up you are equating the dispute machinary and you are providing the means of solving such disputes and deciding the relative merits of claimants. Setting up a tribunal under this Bill will bring things into line, I understand, with other State performances so far as the determination of claims is concerned. I think I am correct in that. It is a further argument for doing what the Minister is doing in this case.
There is only one point which I should like to make in regard to the non-manual grade. Would that definition include such people as junior engineers and technical people as well as merely administrative clerks? I wonder if at this stage I could ask the Minister is the definition of non-manual grades wide enough to cover people such as these?
Mr. Morrissey: I think so.
Major de Valera: That gives me the opportunity of saying something that I think should be stated and that is the importance of the technician, that is the engineer, the technical man on an installation. I think technician is the best word to describe him. It is hard to describe exactly what I have in mind. It means the professional  engineer and people in lower grades engaged on the same type of work. These people have a particular value to the country. They have a particular skill and they need a particular aptitude. They have normally in the course of employment a particular responsibility. The engineer, for instance, not only is a skilled adviser, but he has to take the responsibility of running his plant and the responsibility for maintaining very often a certain portion of equipment in working order and maintaining its output. There you have not only skill but skill and responsibility combined. I take this opportunity of mentioning the claim of these people for consideration over and above what are merely clerical duties. The traditions which we inherited are largely administrative traditions. We have been perhaps slow in this country to appreciate the importance in modern times of the technical man. That he should have the same security as other workers to me goes without saying. I simply add to that that I think he has a prior claim and that in regard to questions of pension, remuneration or anything else, because of the fact that he undertakes responsibility and because his training requires a certain skill, aptitude and time beyond what are required for merely clerical workers, he should take precedence accordingly.
Some question has been raised on another section with regard to the acquisition of land. I suppose in the case of the Electricity Supply Board as in the case of other undertakings there is always a certain amount of danger in any provisions for acquisition. On the other hand, such provisions are absolutely essential. Care should be taken, however, to see that unnecessary encroachments on private property are not made or that sites for other purposes are not unnecessarily acquired. In that connection—I think it has been already mentioned—I wonder is it necessary to concentrate everything in Dublin. There is this constant tendency to concentrate everything in Dublin and the excessive growth of the city has been a consequence of the housing and other problems involved. It is, perhaps, wide of the mark on a  question merely as to the acquisition of land, but still there is room for thought and wondering whether the activities of the Electricity Supply Board could not be decentralised. This may seem completely irrelevant and I am sure the personnel involved who are living in Dublin will take great exception to my saying it. Nevertheless, I have often wondered if there is not a case for the headquarters of such a body as this being located in some other city or town or some place in the country other than Dublin. The board is there now, however, and I suppose what would be involved in shifting it is another day's work. Perhaps if we are establishing similar undertakings in the future that thought should be there. To my mind it would be better if institutions such as this were centred in some other place where possible and give Dublin a chance of coping with the expansion it has already suffered. These are the matters mainly arising on the Bill.
So far as Section 7 is concerned, all the contest centred around that section, which appears in a peculiar perspective at the moment. I do not think Section 7 can affect any situation other than a strike which commences after the passing of the Bill, commences, mind you, and not continues after. It seems to me that this Bill cannot affect any dispute, stoppage or break in service that does not commence after its passing. Secondly, the precedent referred to yesterday was, I think, that for the remainder of this debate one can consider this Bill without reference to an existing dispute, but merely with the thought that, if it had been introduced a little bit earlier, it might have saved a lot of trouble and I hope it will work as satisfactorily as other provisions have worked.
Mr. Keyes: I find myself in agreement generally with the principles underlying the Bill, with the exception, perhaps, of Section 7. I do not find myself in agreement as to the necessity for the penal nature of that section. We recognise at once that it is re-enacting for the general workers what has already been enacted in the 1942 Act for manual workers. The precedent that has been set may be  alleged as a reason to justify its continuance, but as the precedent in itself was unjustified I do not think it should be held to be a good argument for a continuance and extension of the principle. The men concerned under this section are responsible citizens who are responsible to the board and to the community as a whole. They are skilled and educated men and, it is to be presumed, men of responsibility and common-sense who have served the board and the country for years and held the confidence of their employers and the country. Yet it is alleged that they will lose their sense of responsibility if circumstances ever compel them, through the medium of their organisation, to make an attempt to improve their conditions and they find themselves, progressively or otherwise, forced to the point of a withdrawal of their labour and therefore they will be penalised by this section. In this country there are certain rights vested under the trade union laws, amongst them being one whereby a worker is entitled to withdraw his labour. I do not for a moment stand for lightning strikes and never have stood for them. They are complete anathema to me. I do not put these lightning stoppages in the same category as a considered withdrawal of labour by a trade union after due consideration. Knowing the type of men we are dealing with, I am sure they would not lightly embark on such a procedure, and I feel that the penalty inflicted under this section is utterly unnecessary and unjustifiable.
In effect, it means that they have a tribunal to go to with their appeal and it may be argued that both sides would be easily pleased on that. I say that the bargaining powers of the workers are rather prejudiced by going into this tribunal with the knowledge beforehand that, if they have an unsatisfactory decision, they have not the right to go further to the final arbitrament of strike action, as other workers have. If they do, they will lose pension rights for all the years they served before that and the contributions they had made in conjunction with those made with the employer will be deducted and put back into the funds. That is a bad and unjustifiable principle. I  believe that something easier than that could be done. I can understand penalising workers for going on strike, by deducting the period of strike from the pension, but to go back over the years, may be 20 or 30 years, because of one break for perhaps a day or two, would mean imposing a drastic penalty, as they would lose all the pre-breakage period of service plus the contributions they had made to it.
We in the Labour movement are opposed to that. We find it growing up in various types of legislation and repeatedly here this Party and other Parties have had to take steps to try to undo the hardship on other sections of the community by similar clauses. Why should we continue to re-enact a clause which is outmoded and out of date at the present juncture? If the Minister would put his mind to it, he could readily design an instrument on the Committee Stage that would secure compliance with the board's wishes, compliance with the needs of the community and justify and warrant the rights of the men at the same time. There has been continual wrangling over this question of non-manual workers and this is adding to it. It has been mentioned that they are somewhat akin to civil servants. I am not arguing against civil servants being penalised, but I am not going to widen the scope more than is necessary. These are not civil servants—they are employees of the board, reasonable men, skilled men, giving of their best competently. The punishment is absolutely unfair, since a man may have 20 years' service when, in the wisdom or at the dictation of a union, if he is unjustly treated, it may be found necessary to withdraw his labour. The punishment inflicted is too grave. It will hamper and hinder their efforts in negotiating at the table of the tribunal for the rights and conditions they hope to secure, if the people at the other end of the table know that they are dealing with a set of workers who are manacled and will have to suffer and will not have the right to withdraw from a settlement, as the penalty would be too great and too drastic. I would ask the Minister to make an amendment to that drastic section. If such a regrettable thing happens as a strike,  we would have in the House here someone—I hope there will always be someone to make the request—seeking to restore these rights. That has happened in the case of public servants generally successfully. We are doing that with one hand and enacting this with the other. I am in general agreement with the principles of the Bill, but would ask the Minister before the Committee Stage to try to secure what he is aiming at without the introduction of this old penal clause.
Mr. Morrissey: I suppose it is inevitable, having regard to the nature of this Bill, that the discussion on it should be more of a Committee Stage discussion than a Second Reading one. Most comment centred around Section 7 and, to a lesser extent, around Section 12, while the other sections did not call for much questioning. There were some matters raised, particularly by Deputy Lemass, which I would like to make clear. There was a suggestion in the Deputy's speech—more than a suggestion, a positive statement—that he was afraid the hand of the Department of Finance was withholding from the board moneys necessary to enable them to proceed at full speed with development work. I want to make it quite clear that there are no grounds whatever for those fears. No money has been or will be withheld from the board which is necessary to proceed at the greatest possible speed with the development of electricity. There was also a suggestion from Deputy Lemass which, from my experience, I think was not quite fair, the suggestion being that the board was inclined to take things easy and would only proceed to do their work at the pace at which they would be expected to do it when the Ministerial whip was driving them from behind. In fairness to the board, I must say that that has not been my experience.
I find that the board are anxious to go ahead with their work as quickly as possible and any delay in reaching the targets originally set, in rural electrification or in any other aspect of the operations, is consequent only on the difficulties in getting the necessary materials, the shortage of skilled operatives and, particularly in the case of  rural electrification, the difficulty in getting in certain areas contractors to do the necessary wiring. The House will appreciate that that difficulty, instead of lessening, is likely for some time to grow, as the operations and activities of the board expand. I want to make it quite clear that, as far as I am concerned and as far as the Government is concerned, the Electricity Supply Board have been given the green light in respect of all their operations and that it is quite clear to them that any financial or other assistance they require from the Government will be forthcoming.
It might be of interest to Deputies to have some particulars, in addition to those which I gave last night, in regard to the board's programme for additional generating capacity. The position at the moment is as follows. The estimated date of commissioning the Dublin (North Wall) station, which will be a coal or oil station, is the spring of this year; Leixlip hydro, summer, 1949; Portarlington (turf), No. 1 set, autumn, 1949; Cliff station No. 1, Erne hydro, summer, 1950; Portarlington (turf), No. 2 set, spring, 1950; Cathleen Falls, Erne, No. 1 set, winter, 1951; Cathleen Falls, Erne, No. 2 set, spring, 1952; Allenwood (turf), No. 1 set, spring, 1952; Allenwood (turf), No. 2 set, spring, 1952; Dublin, Ringsend (coal), late in 1953; River Lee hydro, summer, 1954; and the final one there is expected to be reached towards the end of that year.
Mr. Lemass: Would the Minister say what is the Ringsend coal station to which he refers, what is its capacity?
Mr. Morrissey: I do not know if I have that here just now.
Mr. Lemass: Is it proposed to build another coal station, using steam, at Ringsend?
Mr. Morrissey: Yes.
Mr. Lemass: I think that is a mistake.
Mr. Morrissey: It is another station.
Mr. Lemass: I think it is a mistake to build a coal station at Ringsend. In  1938 I told the board that from that date forward they had to plan upon the basis that all future steam stations would use turf as fuel and the only departure from that was the North Wall station, to which the Minister refers, which is being constructed on the basis of the boilers that were built for the oil refinery. I think it is retrogressive to authorise the establishment of another coal burning station in the Ringsend area. Before there is a further concentration of electricity generating capacity in the Ringsend area, the military authorities might be consulted, since there is a security aspect of the matter.
Mr. Morrissey: We need all the turf and coal stations we can get. As the Deputy knows, the original intention was to have this station at the North Wall.
Mr. Lemass: But there is a station at the North Wall, too, on the refinery site.
Mr. Morrissey: It is a small station, but this one will be very far down the South Wall. However, it is thought necessary to go ahead with that in addition to the turf and hydro stations, since the demand is increasing all the time.
Mr. Briscoe: Since the Minister has given a complete list of the projects, would it be possible for him to give also the productive capacity of each of these stations?
Mr. Morrissey: Deputy Lemass referred also to output and demand. I have some information which may be of interest. The output of electricity in 1948 was 620,000,000 units and the board estimate that by 1955 the annual demand will be increased to 1,000,000,000 units. The existing stations, plus those to which I have referred, are estimated to provide a total capacity by 1955 of almost 1,300,000,000 units. We do not suggest that that margin is sufficient.
Mr. Briscoe: Saleable units?
Mr. Morrissey: Yes.
Mr. Briscoe: Not generating units?
Mr. Morrissey: If Deputies require more information on the Committee Stage, I will try to give it. There was a point raised by Deputy Briscoe and Deputy Vivion de Valera, which has been raised also on practically every Electricity Bill introduced here, that the board should be directly under the Minister and the Minister responsible here in the House in the ordinary way. No more than any of my predecessors, I do not think that would be desirable or would help towards the efficient working of the board. It is undesirable that the board should have to answer for every detail of its daily administration to a Minister and, through the Minister, to the House.
Mr. Briscoe: The Minister might permit me to give an illustration, so that he may think it over between this and the Committee Stage. Take Dublin Corporation. Dublin Corporation plans a new area. The Electricity Supply Board, irrespective of what the Dublin Corporation may say with regard to overhead transmission lines coming through that new area, say: “We do not care what powers you have to restrict the individual from doing that, we have powers superior to yours.” Again, if we take over a whole area for slum clearance and have plans ready to erect flats or groups of buildings, the Electricity Supply Board can come in and say to us: “You are also affected by this Bill.” That is why I say there should be in the Minister's hands powers of control to which we can appeal. I give that merely as a single illustration of what is happening.
Mr. Morrissey: The Deputy knows it would be likely to be carried to the other extreme, that the Minister and the board, through the Minister, would be called upon here from day to day to account for every little detail of administration. However, I think the best answer I can give the Deputy is that the basis on which the board was originally established and on which it was decided it should function is the basis still in existence, and for a period of 22 years successive Ministers for Industry and Commerce apparently considered that this is—shall I put it, to  meet the Deputy?—the lesser of two evils.
Mr. Briscoe: The Minister does not consider that he is a pioneer for change?
Mr. Morrissey: I sometimes make changes but I do not believe in making changes merely for the sake of making them. I have a certain amount of sympathy with the Deputy's point of view about giving the board what would appear on the face of it to be powers that should be given only very reluctantly, powers to operate within a very limited time, particularly in the case of the acquisition of business premises or private houses. There is no doubt that anybody who knows anything about the City of Dublin and who looks at the streets of houses which have been acquired and are being utilised by the Electricity Supply Board and who thinks of the number of families that could be accommodated in those houses must look with a rather jaundiced eye on the board receiving powers which will enable them to proceed along that line more expeditiously than they have been able to do up to the moment. As far as I am concerned, I would expect that the board, particularly in relation to business premises or residential property, would exercise these powers very sparingly and would insist on the time limit only in the most extreme cases where it was quite obvious that there was deliberate stalling in order to create a position where the owner of the property would get an unduly high price.
On the other hand, it is well known that over the years the board has been hampered in acquiring property, often occupied property, and that every device that could be thought of was used to delay the operations. As I explained when I was introducing the Bill, periods up to as much as three years elapsed. This is a great national undertaking. This is an undertaking which is sure to bring benefits to the community generally.
Mr. Briscoe: Surely the Minister does not suggest that that happened in Dublin with regard to property?
Mr. Morrissey: I should be surprised if it did not.
Mr. Briscoe: I do not know that it did, but I know that it happened in rural and in urban areas in connection with lands.
Mr. Morrissey: I think the Deputy may take it that those powers are not sought so that they can be used wrongly or in any autocratic way. They are sought because they are necessary.
Mr. Briscoe: Would the Minister consider, for the Committee Stage, an amendment of that section with a view to getting a reasonable limitation of such powers?
Mr. Morrissey: The Minister is a reasonable man. He is prepared to consider anything.
Mr. Briscoe: That is good enough.
Mr. Morrissey: I do not know whether there is any other point outside Section 7 that I need deal with now. The points raised were mainly points for the Committee Stage and they can be raised again if necessary.
Mr. Lemass: It has been stated in the White Paper that, in regard to regulations made by the board under Sections 33 and 34 of the 1927 Act, there was no specific provision for publication. Checking that up since, it seems to me that Section 34 provides definitely for publication. I am not sure what regulations were made under Sections 33-34 in that regard.
Mr. Morrissey: I have taken a note of the Deputy's remarks in that connection and I shall have it looked up. On Section 7—this is what Deputy Larkin and Deputy Keyes referred to as “a penal clause”—I should like to make my position clear. Personally, I am not very keen on the principle that is enshrined in that, any more than I was keen on the principle enshrined in the corresponding section of the 1942 Act. But it is in the 1942 Act. The tribunal is there and the “penal clause”, as it has been described, is there. The people who claim to have and who I believe have the right to speak for the employees who are being covered under Section 7 of this Bill have asked very clearly and very specifically  for the tribunal and for a clause similar to the clause that was in the 1942 Act to be included in this Bill. In a letter which was written to the Secretary of the Department of Industry and Commerce on the 22nd November, 1946, and which is headed: “The Electricity Supply Board Engineers' and Clerical Staff Committee”, they said that: “The Electricity Supply Board Engineers' and Clerical Staff Committee is composed of all members of the salaried staff of the board who are not eligible to apply to the tribunal established for manual workers under the Act of 1942.” Further on they say that the executive committee of this staff committee is composed of representatives of five trade unions concerned with the employees who were not covered in the 1942 Act. They say, further, in the course of the letter to the Secretary of the Department of Industry and Commerce that “The general staff of the Electricity Supply Board decided by a large majority that the form of arbitration machinery they required should have as a model a form of the tribunal established under the Electricity Supply (Amendment) Act, 1942.” That is what the people concerned appear to have asked for. That is what is here in this Bill, and that corresponds to what was included in the 1942 Act when the tribunal to deal with the manual workers' grievances was set up.
The principle did not appeal to me in 1942 and it does not appeal very strongly to me now. But I do not think Deputies are putting the matter as clearly or as fairly as it should be put when they say: “You are depriving the workers of something which is guaranteed to them under the Trade Union Acts, namely, the right to strike.” When the right to strike was conceded, it was conceded in circumstances and to meet conditions entirely different from the conditions which are set out in Section 7. The right to strike could not be denied when it was a question of the employees or the representatives meeting the employer and the employer refusing to grant the fair and reasonable request of the workers. The workers, of course, had only one remedy. Here you are setting up a tribunal and mark you how it is  established. It consists of three persons—one nominated by the representatives of the employees, one nominated by the Electricity Supply Board and a chairman appointed by the Minister on the recommendation of the two appointed by the employees and the employers. That, I suppose, is a somewhat different position. I do not think it is stating the case fully, either, to say that you are tying the hands of the workers or of the employees before they go before the arbitration tribunal if you say that you are going to penalise them if they go on strike and if they do not accept the award of the tribunal. Remember the board's hands are tied also. The board must accept the award of the tribunal whether it likes it or not and it cannot go on strike.
Mr. Keyes: They have no “penal clause”.
Mr. Morrissey: The board cannot go on strike. The board must accept the award. That must be conceded. I must be frank. I was never in love with it. I never was and I could not be in love with a clause like that. But I want to put the matter before the House as fairly as I can so that everyone will realise that there are two sides to it. It was introduced by Deputy Lemass in 1942. There is no doubt that strong exception was taken to the part of the section which sought in the event of a strike, to take away from a man his entire service for pension purposes—but the tribunal itself was welcomed and accepted and, so far as we know, it has worked up to the moment very successfully. I think we should all be gratified if we could get similar tribunals to work generally throughout the country. I think the likelihood is that they would——
Mr. Keyes: Will the Minister not consider the position of the Labour Court, which performs a very useful function, while allowing the workers the right to strike eventually?
Mr. Morrissey: Do not bring the Labour Court into it.
Mr. Lemass: Breaking the Labour  Court recommendations would not override the agreement between employers and employees involving pensions.
Mr. Morrissey: I am satisfied that the idea of the tribunal is a good one, but frankly I am not in love with the penalty clause in the Bill. Speaking from my own experience of workers and of trade unions, I am satisfied that in the case of employment of the type given by a body like the Electricity Supply Board where wages and conditions, generally speaking, are fairly good and where the employment is permanent, that men in that type of employment are not likely to go on strike in a light-hearted way. I also feel that if, after their case has gone before a tribunal such as this—a body which, I think, would without question be an impartial one—they are in such a mood or feel such a sense of injustice that they want to go on strike, then I do not think that this penal clause, or any similar one, will stop them from doing so. As I say, that clause is in the 1942 Act. I take it that the former Minister's intention in putting it there was not that he wanted to penalise people, but rather that he hoped and believed it would act as a deterrent against strikes. In employment of this kind, most of the men will have had long years of service with the board, and in circumstances or an atmosphere which would tempt them to go on strike, I doubt if they would regard this as a deterrent. What concerns me is whether this would act more as an irritant than a deterrent.
Mr. Lemass: There is some difference between the manual workers and the clerical workers in so far as that the manual workers are remunerated on the basis of national agreements, to which other employers are a party, whereas the clerical workers' rate of wages is fixed by the board in relation to these workers only.
Mr. Larkin: That does not apply to all manual workers.
Mr. Lemass: I think it has been the practice of the board.
Mr. Morrissey: In any case, I think that is immaterial because there is a principle there. We have got to make up our minds as to whether we are going to have the clause in this Bill as we have it in the 1942 Act, or whether we are going to take it out of both. There is no room here for a compromise or for a half-way measure. I am trying to state the position as clearly as I can. I think Deputy Lemass knows what my views are about this. Frankly, I am not in love with it, but the factor which influenced me in leaving it in the Bill was the fact that it was already the law in relation to the manual workers, and because in the letter which was sent to the secretary of my Department by the representatives of those employees on the 26th November they requested the setting up of a tribunal on the same basis as that which was provided for under the 1942 Act.
Mr. Briscoe: Have they since intimated withdrawal of that?
Mr. Morrissey: Not officially to me, but it has been represented to me that quite a considerable number of them are against it. I am putting all the information I have on the matter before the House. As I say, apart from the fact that I do not like the idea in principle, I must confess that I am not satisfied that it will prove the effective deterrent that it should if it were to justify its existence at all, either in this Bill or in any previous Act. However, I think that is a matter which we may discuss further in Committee. I think these were the main points that were raised. It is mainly a Committee Bill, and if there is any desire to discuss it further in Committee we can do so.
I should like to say, in conclusion, that I appreciate very much the way in which the members of the House approached the discussion of the Bill. I can only assure the House and Deputy Lemass that, as far as I am concerned, every encouragement that can be given, or that it is necessary to give to the Electricity Supply Board to proceed at the quickest possible pace with their work, will be given.
 Question put and agreed to.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: When is it proposed to take the Committee Stage?
Mr. Morrissey: Shall we say Wednesday week?
Mr. Lemass: I do not know what the Government's programme is, but if it contemplates taking the Vote on Account in that week it may not be possible to reach this Bill. In that event, I assume the Minister will leave the Committee Stage over until the following week.
Mr. Morrissey: I am afraid I overlooked the fact that we will probably have the Vote on Account on Wednesday week. That being so I am prepared to leave the Committee Stage of this Bill over until Wednesday fortnight.
Committee Stage order for Wednesday, the 30th March, 1949.
Debate resumed on the following motion:—
That Dáil Éireann is of opinion that, in order to ascertain costs of production in agriculture with a view to ensuring that the efficient farmer will get his cost of production and a reasonable profit, one or more medium-sized farms should be acquired by the Department of Agriculture in each county, and under the direction of the county agricultural officer should be run entirely by hired labour employed at the minimum rate of wages fixed by the Agricultural Wages Board.—(Patrick Cogan, Patrick O'Reilly.)
Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Dillon): I am in possession. I am not sure how many minutes are left for the discussion of this motion.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Twenty.
Mr. Dillon: How many will Deputy Cogan require to conclude?
Mr. Cogan: Fifteen.
Mr. Dillon: In that event, I must deal as quickly as I can with some observations which Deputy Cogan made when opening the discussion. He envisaged the establishment of a demonstration farm which would be operated in the spirit of the Department's schemes by saying “Here is the Department of Agriculture setting out to teach us how to farm.” That is a function that I completely disclaim. I do not believe that the Department of Agriculture is competent to go into any man's land to teach him how to run his own farm. I have emphasised that in public repeatedly. Our job, it seems to me, in that sphere is to experiment on the grounds that it is not reasonable to ask a farmer in the ordinary course of his business to lay out considerable sums on experimentation. It would not be reasonable to ask farmers to try out experiments which, of their nature, must be expected not to yield them perhaps a 30 per cent. success, but when we have established, by experimentation, that certain processes, operated in suitable conditions, are successful, then it becomes our duty to report on them. Certain farmers may find that under the conditions in which they operate these processes suit their husbandry while others may not. It is not my job, or the job of the Department of Agriculture, to go in on the farm of any farmer and tell him, whatever his knowledge of his own holding may be, that we know how to run it better than he does.
Furthermore, it is not the costings that are carried out on a sort of idealised farm that matter, but rather the costings that are carried out on the sort of farms that we have. I may take the view, among others, that we ought to mechanise the whole operation and that we ought sacrifice everything to efficiency where we are running a farm, but an equally intelligent citizen of this State may not share my view and may legitimately take the view that farming is not exclusively a money-making business. It is a way of life. He may perfectly legitimately say to me “I know that if I run this farm like a machine shop, I may be able to screw 5 per cent. or  10 per cent. more out of it, but I do not want that. I want to lead a reasonably happy, contented life and earn an honest living. I am not like an industrial worker, who goes to his factory and when the bell rings goes home. My home is my factory. I want to have my home run in the way that suits me and in the way my wife wants it, not the way the chief inspector of the Department of Agriculture wants it. I am not one bit grateful to the chief inspector if he wants to walk into my kitchen and tell me how I ought to run my house. I am grateful, of course, to him if he shows me that this is a procedure which has succeeded elsewhere and he thinks it worth my while to try it out. While I am grateful to him for telling me all that, if he goes beyond that I would regard it as an intrusion.
If Deputy Cogan will remember, it was stipulated that when the manager for this farm was to be picked he was to be the most efficient man that could be found. I do not agree altogether with Deputy Cogan. I do not think we should be inclined to base our conclusions as to what is an economic price for the product of an Irish farm by determining what it costs to produce that product on the most highly mechanised, most perfectly equipped, most radically efficient farming unit that it is conceivably possible for unlimited capital to initiate.
I will repeat that there is no difficulty about providing credit. There is abundant credit available for agriculture and I will put it again perfectly seriously to Deputy Cogan, Deputy O'Reilly and other Deputies: will they sit down with me in my room and work out any effective system for segregating the man to whom credit will do good and who intends to pay his debts, from the man who, if he burdens himself with a mass of debt, will wreck his whole economy? If there is any machinery conceivable to the mind of any Deputy that will effectively do that, I know what I am saying when I tell the House that there is abundant credit for any farmer or number of farmers who can be so served.
Deputy Cogan spoke of demonstration farms. I want demonstration  farms, but I do not want them run on methods which are neither accessible nor desirable for any farmer in this country. The way I want a demonstration farm worked is to go to a farmer like Deputy O'Reilly or Deputy Halliden or any farmer Deputy on the Fianna Fáil benches who wants to run land well and who says: “If the Department will come down and lay out a programme for my holding and say to me that, with their knowledge, this is the programme that will give the maximum yield from my holding, taking into consideration the type of man I am, I will try it out.” We would be permitted then to go and make a suggestion and say to him: “If you will adhere rigorously to this programme, working it the way you work your farm, yours will be a model farm.”
Are there some farmers who will give us that measure of co-operation? We shall be delighted, if there is such a farmer, to collaborate with him, to review his circumstances and, if there is something he is short of, to put him on to the Department's scheme to remedy the shortage from which he suffers and help him in any way we can. We believe if any farmer seeks our counsel and if he has an economic holding in any part of the county, we have the knowledge and capacity to be able to tell him there is a programme of a four or three-year rotation, with live stock injected into it, and if he follows that we will be glad to help him in any way we can and we guarantee that if he follows it he will have a decent, comfortable livelihood out of his land and he will have a farm he need never be ashamed to invite his neighbours to come and see. In so far as we may be advised by competent advisers, we are going to try out costings, but it may be by stages.
Mr. Cogan: I am sorely disappointed that the Deputies who spoke in this debate did not more enthusiastically support this request made by Deputy O'Reilly and myself. This motion asking for demonstration farms is a replica of a motion that was before the House in February, 1945. It was in my name and it was seconded by Deputy Blowick, now Minister for Lands. It  was then sought to have a farm of this type established in each county. The motion was supported by every Party in the House that is now supporting the Government and Deputy O'Reilly and myself felt that this present motion would be enthusiastically supported by all these Parties now. I cannot see what happened in the past four years to change the views of some Deputies who supported the motion at that time. Deputy Giles, for example, spoke strongly against this proposal, but if we look at the Official Reports we will find amongst the Deputies who supported the motion four years ago, Deputy Giles. Why should Deputies who change from one side of the House to the other change their views and their entire policies while doing so? I am one who believes that Deputies should adhere to certain guiding principles and I do not believe in Deputies running from left to right, from one direction to another.
In putting forward this motion I am adhering strictly to the proposal we put before the House four years ago, a proposal which was supported by every Party that now supports the Government. There is nothing wrong with the Department of Agriculture acquiring farms through its committees in the various counties and working them as demonstration farms. I do not see how any Minister could object to that. The agricultural committees at the moment take demonstration plots and hold them up as an example to the farmers. Why not take a small farm?
Mr. Dillon: Do they operate the plots themselves? Is it not the farmer on whose land the plot is who operates the plot?
Mr. Cogan: That is so, but the plot is operated according to the ideas of the Department of Agriculture.
Mr. Dillon: And that we are very glad to do.
Mr. Cogan: That raises another point. Why not, as the Minister said, get a farmer to co-operate with the Department in carrying out a demonstration? In that connection one is up against the difficulty that the  Department cannot dictate to any farmer how he is to run his farm and, therefore, cannot take full responsibility for the demonstration that is carried out. That is a very important point. But the county committee of agriculture could run a farm exactly according to its own idea and could take full responsibility for the results.
Mr. S. Collins: Would you prefer the county committee of agriculture to own the farm rather than a farmer?
Mr. Cogan: As usual Deputy Collins is talking nonsense. The man who will work his farm for the Department of Agriculture will be a deserving man. He might be the son of a farmer who will steward the farm. He will work such a farm in return for a decent living. I can see nothing wrong with that. There is everything in favour of the Department making such a demonstration for the benefit of the farming community and for their own experience in relation to costings.
Mr. S. Collins: You have not told me yet where the nonsense is.
Mr. Cogan: I have only ten minutes at my disposal and I do not find it easy to deal with these interruptions.
Mr. S. Collins: I asked you a fair question. You suggest it is nonsense.
Mr. Cogan: Does not Deputy Collins know full well that there are 380,000 holdings in this country. We propose to take only 20 or 30 small holdings in the whole of Ireland and operate them as demonstration farms. That will not interefere in any way with the private ownership of land. Deputy Moylan referred to this matter also. He said that in some ways I was an extreme conservative and in other ways I was an extreme socialist. The same charge has been levelled against the Catholic Church for 1,900 years; some say that it is socialistic and others say that it is reactionary. The fact of the matter is, my proposal here is one of pure common-sense. The Minister for Defence made two suggestions in relation to this matter in opposition to this proposal. One suggestion was that the Department of Agriculture could not  run a farm efficiently and that the Department of Agriculture is so corrupt that it would crowd such a farm with scores of job hunters.
Mr. Dillon: The Minister for Defence never said that.
Mr. Cogan: The Minister's words are on record and they can be quoted.
Mr. Dillon: I have them here, and I can quote them.
Mr. Cogan: The Minister can get them for himself.
Mr. Dillon: On a point of order, surely it is going beyond the limits of propriety, without quoting the exact words or referring the House to the particular paragraph, to allege that the Minister for Defence stated that the Department of Agriculture would fill such a State demonstration farm with corrupt job hunters?
Mr. Lemass: The Minister for Agriculture is a new authority on propriety in this House.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy has not transgressed the Rules of Order at the moment so far as I am aware.
Mr. Cogan: I have not the actual words before me, but I can get them. The Minister stated that political pressure would be such that they would be compelled to employ scores on this farm whereas on a similar farm in private ownership only two or three would be employed. That was a most damning indictment of Government administration and the Department of Agriculture. In addition to that the Minister stated that a demonstration farm of this kind might show that the farmers were making excessive profits out of their land. As a farmer I state unequivocally now that we are not afraid of any investigation into costings. I think the suggestion made by the Minister for Defence that we are making excessive profits, or that a costings inquiry might show that we are making excessive profits, and that we are afraid to face such an inquiry is an insult to the farming community. The farmers are producing food. Food  is the essential to life. We do not want to profiteer on the production of food. All we ask for is the bare cost of production plus a reasonable margin of profit. That is all any farmer expects and to that he is entitled.
Mr. Dillon: And the Minister for Defence said it was a slander on the farmers to suggest they wanted anything more.
Mr. Cogan: You can quote his words now.
Mr. Dillon: “I agree with Deputy Cogan that it is more or less a slander to refer to farmers as people who are making gross profits.”
Mr. Cogan: That is not the particular quotation I have in mind.
Mr. Dillon: You said they were afraid to reveal their profits.
Mr. Cogan: All I am afraid of is that the Minister is trying to waste my limited time. The Minister did say definitely that an investigation into costings might react against the farmers inasmuch as it might show that they were making excessive profits.
Mr. S. Collins: I think the Deputy is hedging.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I think the Deputy ought to be allowed the three or four minutes left at his disposal without interruptions.
Mr. Cogan: I would like to deal now with the statement made by the Minister last night. I am glad that he has at last decided to set up an inquiry into costings. I appreciate that the Minister went into the matter of fair prices very fully and dealt with it in a reasonable way. I would like to follow the arguments he advanced in detail but I presume there will be further opportunities later. I would like to convince him that his arguments, while put forward in a convincing way, are utterly unsound. The Minister claimed that you cannot assist agriculture except at the expense of the farmer because this is a purely agricultural country. He claimed that in Britain it is possible to guarantee prices  to the farmer because those guaranteed prices come out of the resources of industry and other branches of national economy. The fact of the matter is that guaranteed prices in Britain do not fall on any particular section of the community but come out of the increased agricultural production which that policy has brought about. If the Minister's contention were correct there would be no case for land reclamation and drainage. The whole justification for the State spending money on such projects is that they will in time bring about an increased output in agricultural production; and the cost that the State will incur in carrying out that policy of land reclamation and drainage will eventually come out of the increased production in the agricultural industry.
Mr. Dillon: That is quite true. It is not a subsidy.
Mr. Cogan: The same principle applies to guaranteed prices. Guaranteed prices are not a subsidy either.
Mr. Dillon: The Deputy knows the English farmers are getting £400,000,000.
Mr. Cogan: We are often told that the Irish farmers are getting £10,000,000, £15,000,000 or £20,000,000 but when we examine the position we find that this represents a subsidy to the consumer and not to the farmer. Does the Minister not realise that farmers are compelled to pay their workers a minimum fixed wage? Does not that establish a case for the farmer getting a fair price for his produce to enable him to pay that wage? The Minister is quite wrong when he says it is impossible to guarantee a fair price to the farmer. In respect of such commodities as wheat, barley, sugar beet, dairy produce, pigs and bacon, for which there is a big home market, a fair price can be guaranteed to the farmer. You could base that price on the cost of production. It is impossible to deal with this matter fully now. I am sure the Minister will appreciate that I am rushed and have not sufficient time to deal with the various  points that have arisen in the debate. Let me put this consideration. Suppose we increase the production of bacon to 105 per cent. of the requirements of the home market, that is to say, that production exceeds our requirements by 5 per cent.——
Mr. Dillon: Say we exceed them by 100 per cent.
Mr. Cogan: Let us start with 5 per cent. and see how it works. Would it be right or proper if we had to accept a lower price for that 5 per cent. on the export market, that that price should be allowed to disrupt the home price for bacon and pigs in order to bring the price down to the export price?
Mr. Dillon: It is not a matter of ethics; it is a matter of economics.
Mr. Cogan: Take the case in regard to butter. The Minister does not seem to realise that ever before there was any State interference with agriculture, we were engaged in producing butter and we had to sell it at an utterly uneconomic price. Does the Minister want that state of affairs to arise again?
Mr. Dillon: No, siree; never as long as I am here.
Mr. Cogan: Should it not be the Minister's policy to guard against that?
Mr. Dillon: I am taking effective measures to guard against it.
Mr. Cogan: We do not know what the future holds. Some people may say: “You will never face an agricultural slump again such as you had in 1932 or 1933,” but anything which happened in the world before may happen again and it is our duty to guard against the recurrence of such a slump. If it is suggested that the Government cannot guard against it I would point out that they can provide protection for the farmer in the same way as they have provided protection for the industrialists. They can provide against the impact of a world depression on prices here.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy has now exceeded the time allowed to him.
Mr. Cogan: I am very sorry that I have not time to deal with the various issues that have been raised in the course of the debate. I should like to have gone into detail but I shall conclude by asking the Minister to accept the motion. I would ask the Minister that any county committee of agriculture which wants to set up a demonstration farm should be allowed to do so.
Mr. Dillon: If any farmer wants to do it, he will have my closest collaboration.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 15; Níl, 70.
|Blaney, Neal T.
Collins, James J.
Kitt, Michael F.
Maguire, Patrick J.
Rice, Bridget M.
Browne, Noel C.
Byrne, Alfred Patrick.
Coburn, James De Valera, Eamon.
Dillon, James M.
Dockrell, Maurice E.
Doyle, Peadar S.
Esmonde, Sir John L.
Halliden, Patrick J.
Kyne, Thomas A.
McFadden, Michael Og.
Connolly, Roderick J.
Crotty, Patrick J.
Crowley, Honor Mary.
Desmond, Daniel. Madden, David J.
Mongan, Joseph W.
Murphy, Timothy J.
O'Gorman, Patrick J.
O'Higgins, Michael J.
O'Higgins, Thomas F.
O'Higgins, Thomas F. (Jun.).
Palmer, Patrick W.
Pattison, James P.
Redmond, Bridget M.
Timoney, John J.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Cogan and P.O'Reilly; Níl: Deputies P.S. Doyle and Keyes.
Motion declared defeated.
Mr. B. Maguire: I move:—
That, in order to reduce the damage caused by external flooding in the Ballinamore and Ballyconnell drainage and navigation areas, which has been to some extent due to neglected navigation construction now many years in disuse, and having regard to the fact that the said navigation imposes a financial burden on the county councils concerned in the area, Dáil Eireann is of opinion that the navigation rights should be abolished and, accordingly, asks the Government to take the requisite action.
I want to point out that in the area in question navigation was established as far back as the years between 1846 and 1856 by the then Government. Its purpose was, as stated by the then Government, to improve navigation, drainage and to give work to the unemployed at that time. The proposal therefore had three objects in view, i.e., inland navigation, drainage and employment for the unemployed workers. How far that purpose was served under the different headings, I am not able to say. I assume that it served its purpose fairly well so far as employment was concerned. A sum of approximately £250,000 was spent on the works during the five or six years of their development. So far as its purpose of navigation was concerned, it seemed never to have attained the initial stage of being a navigable area at all. The construction itself would appear to have been faulty, so far as very few boats ever travelled over the canal, due largely to the fact that the canal was intersected by a number of small lakes which made navigation by horse-drawn vehicles impracticable and was consequently only useful where steam was used. At that time, the internal combustion engine was not available and, accordingly, the usefulness of the canal was very limited.
When the work was completed in 1860, it was controlled by two bodies of trustees, namely, trustees representing the navigation and trustees representing the drainage. It was handed over at that time by the Government to the Grand Juries then operating in Counties Fermanagh, Cavan, Leitrim and Roscommon, these four counties being beneficiaries under the navigation scheme and the drainage scheme. It was handed over completed at a cost of £250,000 and there was charged to the four counties concerned a sum  of £30,000, apportioned as follows: Leitrim, £12,700; Cavan, £10,000; Fermanagh, £2,500; and Roscommon, £4,000. The Grand Juries were given full power to collect tolls and other benefits which they might be able to secure from the navigation and drainage works and they were also made liable for any charges, which would fall due in respect of maintenance, if the tolls or other collections did not reach the maximum required for maintenance. It would appear that at no stage were the tolls collected for the few years the navigation was in existence sufficient for this purpose, with the result that, a very short time after being handed over—they were subsequently handed over to the county councils of these four counties—the condition of the canal became very bad.
In 1882, a commission appointed by the British Government to inquire into the matter reported:
The canal is now out of repair and quite unnavigable. The receipts for five years ended in 1880 were nil. The annual expenditure on navigation account, apparenty for lockkeepers' wages, was about £80. It is alleged that the navigation was originally badly designed, badly made and passed over to the trustees in an unfit state. Evidence was given to us that the navigation works were, up to 1865, kept by the trustees in the order in which they received them but that since that time, there being no trade, nothing has been done to keep them in repair. The canal was navigable, and no more, when given up by the Commissioners of Public Works, and there being no traffic worth mentioning upon it, was allowed to go from bad to worse, until it has reached its present position of absolute uselessness as a navigation. We have been informed by competent engineers that by the expenditure of £7,000 or £8,000 the canal could again be made navigable but when it was navigable no use was made of it, and the trustees advertised in vain for persons to establish boats upon it. In 1865, while the canal was still in working order, the Grand Jury of County Cavan expressed  their unanimous sense of the utter inutility of this navigation and earnestly hoped that Commissioners of the Public works would not continue to exercise the powers vested in them of obliging the trustees to maintain (save so far as might be necessary for drainage purposes) any of the works connected with this navigation, which had been in operation for some years....
Notwithstanding the report of that commission set up in 1865 to examine the condition of the navigation in this area, a report which spoke of the utter inutility of the scheme, the Board of Works here, being charged with the responsibility of maintaining that navigation, have since continuously exercised their power to extract from the county councils of Roscommon, Cavan, Leitrim and Fermanagh an annual tribute for a navigation which has long ceased to be of any use. Its only utility for many years has been that, in its decayed condition, the weirs built across to create the necessary sluice gates have caused obstructions to the flow of water by reason of catching trees and other obstacles and the passage of water has been made so difficult that flooding in the area has been substantially increased. That has been the only effect of its maintenance by the Board of Works for all these years. During these years, each of these county councils has been compelled to make an annual contribution for maintenance and what the maintenance of that navigation is, I do not know. The people are not allowed to remove the obstructions in the shape of solidly-built weirs which are a continuous and obvious cause of flooding.
This matter is not one which has suddenly come before the Board of Works. It has for many years been a burning question and the county councils concerned have made representations to the Board of Works with a view to getting rid of this impossible levy and have asked the Board of Works not merely to stop taxing them to pay for a navigation which does not exist but to allow them to remove the obstruction in that navigation and so lessen flooding. A case was brought by the Leitrim County Council a few years  ago and it was defended by the Board of Works who relied upon the Act which established that navigation away back between 1846 and 1856, an Act which was passed during the reign of Queen Victoria. That was their answer —that Act and the various other Acts concerned with the navigation scheme. Because that Act was in operation, the Board of Works felt it was their bounden duty to continue to extract this toll each year from the county council, the only result of it being to increase flooding for the farmers in the area.
Each of the councils involved has the right to appoint three trustees to a board which determines the responsibility for collecting the charge for the navigation from the counties concerned. It also makes a levy for drainage purposes which that board collects. The set-up of this board is that any three trustees may legally form a quorum of the board representative of four county councils. In an effort to get rid of the absurdity, some years back the County Councils of Leitrim, Cavan and Roscommon refused to appoint any trustees at all on the board. Fermanagh County Council did appoint their three and these three people continued to legislate and extract charges which the ratepayers in Cavan, Leitrim and Roscommon had to pay. It was an absurd thing that three men outside our territory should interfere, levy taxes and collect them. That was the absurdity on top of the absurdity and it happened five, six or seven years ago. I can understand the attitude of the men appointed as trustees from Fermanagh County Council in carrying through religiously Acts of the British House of Commons, but I cannot understand that our Government in this late year would allow people from the Six Counties separated from us to legislate to the extent of passing taxation which our citizens would have to pay. Yet that happened and that is not the worst of it. What was the answer of the loyal trustees in County Fermanagh who taxed the ratepayers of Leitrim, Cavan and Roscommon who have to abide by that taxation when last year the board was reconstituted representing again Roscommon, Cavan  and Leitrim? Since there was no redress they decided against taking part in the absurdity and these county councils decided to reappoint trustees. Drainage rates were struck and notice was sent out to those concerned in the drainage areas of Fermanagh to pay the drainage rates, but they said that they would pay no drainage rates to us. They said they had their own Drainage Act in the Six Counties to control the whole position and that they no longer recognised the Victorian Drainage Act. Where can there be respect for a Government which says it exercises full authority here—we have the Republic of Ireland now—and which yet allows that form of inconsistency to prevail? If the Board of Works is so steeped in old documents of 1846-56, respect them more than their religion and impose an injustice by adhering rigidly to the letter of the law, they should learn from the respect the Six County people have for their own Government and say they have legislation for drainage and no longer respect the Act passed in the British House of Commons. It is scandalous that the Board of Works was quiet for so long and has only woken up now— if it has woken up—even when the Six County people so respect their own Government that they will not allow us to legislate for them since they are not in our jurisdiction. They do not allow this absurdity because of Acts passed a hundred years ago and which should have been destroyed years ago since they were only passed for the purpose of making ridicule and absurdity in the administration.
This is not the first time this matter has been raised before the Board of Works. I myself on many occasions have discussed it and I will read some correspondence I have had regarding it. I received this on February, 18th, 1935, from the Parliamentary Secretary's Office, St. Stephen's Green:—
“Ballinamore and Ballyconnell Drainage and Navigation District.
With reference to your letter of the 14th January last to the Parliamentary Secretary, with which you enclosed correspondence from Mr. Patrick Horan, P.C., I am desired  by Mr. Flinn to state that the Commissioners of Public Works had an inspection made of the above-named district by one of their engineers in 1927. From his report it appears that to make the Drainage Act effective the navigation must be abandoned and the water-power attached to the mills at Bawnboy and Ballyconnell must be either removed or altered.
The Woodford River is the main outfall for the district, and for approximately six miles it forms the boundary between Counties Cavan and Fermanagh. The river discharges into Upper Lough Erne and from the outlet to Caracoul, a distance of four miles, it is backwatered by the lough. Consequently any scheme for the improvement of the drainage must depend for its success on the carrying out of works on the Lough Erne scheme which is at present, and has been for the last few years, under consideration by the Government of Northern Ireland. Complete control of the sluice gates at Beleek was given for a period of a year—which has now expired— by the Lough and River Erne Drainage Board to the Northern Ireland engineers, who are now engaged in working out the result of their investigations. In the circumstances, consideration of any proposals for the improvement of the drainage conditions in the Ballinamore and Ballyconnell district has been deferred until it is learned what steps may be taken to reduce the levels of Upper and Lower Erne.”
I sent on that letter to Mr. Cahir Healy, M.P., who took the matter up with the Minister responsible at Stormont, and I will read the reply to Mr. Healy:—
“I have your letter of the 25th inst., with enclosures, on the subject of the drainage of rivers in the Ballinamore and Ballyconnell districts in the Irish Free State. The rivers in this area discharge into Upper Lough Erne, and the question of a scheme of drainage for the area depends greatly on the position in Lough Erne; this is recognised by the Board of Works in Dublin. We have been experimenting, as you  know, with the Lough Erne levels by taking over control of the sluice gates at Beleek, and, while this control ceased on the 24th December last and the gates were handed back to the Lough Erne Drainage Board, our Director of Works wishes to have a further period of 12 months for observation of the lough before coming to a decision as to the possibility of amelioration of flooding.
We have been constantly in touch with the Commissioners of Public Works in Dublin regarding the difficult situation on Lough Erne, which is not likely to be rendered any easier by the fact that the Dublin Department is carrying out a big drainage scheme in the Lough Oughter area—a scheme which our engineers fear will have adverse effects in County Fermanagh in flood time.
I can assure you that the whole situation in the Lough Erne catchment area is being carefully watched, but it must be treated as a whole, and for the reasons which I have given above it will not be practicable to come to any final decision for at least another 12 months.
That was in February, 1935. It was for some years under consideration by both Departments and at that stage a further 12 months was asked before they could come to a decision. They seemed to expect that something would have happened but this is March, 1949, and nothing has happened. If the Board of Works and the Minister responsible are satisfied with the position as it stands, then I feel disappointed, but we will have to accept the position and carry on. It is time, however, that those concerned, those grievously concerned, should put an end to this piece of absurdity, this Gilbertian situation of having trustees, assessors, appointed under a Victorian Act actually legislating and passing a charge on the revenue of citizens of this State and this is silently accepted by the Government here. If they are satisfied they had better tell the people that that is so. On the other hand, if  the Government now, with all the extended powers they have got by the declaration of a republic for the Twenty-Six Counties, are prepared to take the necessary steps to end this situation, then it will be good news for us, even if it comes in a belated way and far too tardily to get any respect from the people concerned. In any event, I want to know what is the attitude of the Minister to this scandalous condition.
Mr. J. Flynn: I formally second the motion.
Mr. P. O'Reilly: As a representative of one of the counties concerned, I support the motion. I do not propose to delay the House by going over the ground so ably covered by Deputy Maguire.
Mr. Beirne: As one of the Deputies interested in this matter, I beg to support the motion of Deputy Maguire. I do not wish to add anything to what he has said.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Cosgrave): Deputy Maguire has given a factual and a historical representation of the position in connection with the Ballinamore and Ballyconnell navigation and has set out the position fairly and fully. It is true that under the Act of 1846 and the later Act of 1856 the trustees appointed originally by the Grand Jury and subsequently taken over by the county councils were responsible for the maintenance of the navigation concerned. At a later stage, however, three of these counties ceased to appoint trustees and the only trustees appointed were, as Deputy Maguire stated, trustees representing Fermanagh, and the anomaly to which he referred has existed for a number of years. As the Deputy mentioned, the matter was brought before the courts by way of an action by the Leitrim County Council in 1943, and judgment was delivered which indicated that the Fermanagh representatives, who were the only trustees functioning, were legally entitled to discharge all the obligations of the trustees in the absence of trustees  being appointed by the other county councils. Subsequently, the other county councils, realising the anomalous position under which the trustees representing County Fermanagh and also the shortest portion of the navigation were in fact discharging the entire responsibilities, decided that they would reappoint trustees for the other county councils and in recent years the Counties Roscommon, Cavan and Leitrim have, I understand, exercised their functions.
The position is that under the Act of 1856 the Minister has certain functions for the repair and maintenance of the navigation, but any sum so expended is recoverable from the county councils concerned. This power is discretionary and not mandatory. Consequently, as the navigation concerned has not been used for a number of years, the Minister for Industry and Commerce has never carried out any repair work. It is even possible that the fact that repairs were not carried out has to some extent lessened the flooding. The strange fact is that the dilapidated condition of this navigation has lessened the flooding, but other unsatisfactory results have accrued and complaints have been received from time to time.
Mr. Maguire: Did the Parliamentary Secretary say that no collection has been made in recent years by the Board of Works from the county councils concerned for navigation?
Mr. Cosgrave: I am saying that if the Minister for Industry and Commerce did exercise his repair functions the amount so expended by him would be recoverable from the county councils. The Board of Works have received from the county councils concerned sums each year in respect of drainage.
Mr. Maguire: And also in respect of navigation.
Mr. Cosgrave: I am not aware that the Minister has carried out any navigation repairs. I think it does not matter very much from the point of view of the effect on the county councils. They have paid money and it  does not matter much to them whether it is spent on navigation or drainage.
Mr. Maguire: They are two separate items. Drainage is separate and is payable for by the parties concerned. Navigation is decidedly separate and a levy has been made each year and collected each year by the Board of Works from the county councils concerned, although not one single penny has been expended on navigation nor has a boat sailed up that canal for the last 80 years. Still the debt is there.
Mr. Cosgrave: The position is that the Board of Works has collected from the county councils in respect of drainage. It may be a subtle distinction, but from the point of view of the ratepayers it does not matter. The point I wish to make is that under the law at the present time the abandonment of the drainage work would require complementary legislation in Northern Ireland in respect of drainage, because this particular drainage work is partially carried out in Northern Ireland and, under the 1945 Drainage Act, where an area is partially outside the State, we have to get their sanction for the carrying out of the drainage work.
Mr. Maguire: Could the Parliamentary Secretary say if the North of Ireland Government sought the consent of this Government here when they passed their Drainage Act and absolved themselves from the liability which they had under the Act?
Mr. Cosgrave: I cannot say that at the moment, but the position is that, if we wanted to do anything about it now, we would have to discuss with the Northern Government the question of legislation to abandon this particular work, short of deciding ourselves to abandon it. The effect of abandoning part of the work, without having effective steps taken to drain the other part of it which is outside the State, might lead to undesirable results from the point of view of flooding both here and in County Fermanagh. The position at the moment is that, under the Lough Erne scheme and the development of that catchment area, arterial drainage is necessary before any effective steps  can be taken to drain this Ballyconnell and Ballinamore district.
The other proposal which was considered some years ago was that legislation would be introduced here, and discussions took place between the Department of Industry and Commerce and the Commissioners of Public Works on the matter. As a result of these discussions, it was obvious that the only effective steps that could be taken were possible under new legislation. At that time, it was not decided to proceed with the legislation because the powers which are conferred on the Minister for Industry and Commerce are discretionary powers and are not mandatory. If the Deputy feels that that matter should be reconsidered, I should be glad to meet him on it and have it reconsidered, without undertaking to bring in legislation. It is possible that the mere abandonment of the work here would in no way alleviate the problem of flooding and that the work will have to be carried out, either by the Commissioners of Public Works under an Arterial Drainage Scheme or by trustees appointed, as they have been in the past, in collaboration with the work which will be undertaken when the Erne catchment area is developed for arterial drainage. That, of course, is at present dependent on the full implementing of the Arterial Drainage Act.
The problem of arterial drainage is a big one. Vigorous efforts are being made, and substantial headway was made, during recent years to operate the Act successfully, but the problem of securing machinery, equipment and so on, has up to the present prevented it from being carried out everywhere. I can undertake to the Deputy to have the matter examined again, to see if it is possible to take any effective steps; but I think the mere abandonment of the navigation area at the moment would not effect any substantial improvement.
Mr. B. Maguire: I must say that I am very disappointed in the Parliamentary Secretary's statement. He probably has not had time to have the matter examined as thoroughly as he should. His whole story is one of  further procrastination. Eighty years of misuse of this canal has caused severe damage to the people to whom he is responsible, or to whom any Government is responsible. After all those years, it is the same old story that is trotted out—that certain things must be done. You would imagine it was something casual—as immaterial as, in the case of someone walking on a fine summer's evening, whether he took an umbrella or not. It is not at all casual. It is a standing disgrace to any Government that tolerates this or allows it to go on all these years.
The Parliamentary Secretary seems to mix up two things. The canal in question was originated with three purposes in view—inland navigation, drainage, and employment for the unemployed during the period 1846-56. There are two separate and distinct things remaining—drainage and navigation. The Parliamentary Secretary is as wrong as could be when he says the navigation has fallen into a sort of help to drainage. That is absurd. Anyone with an elementary knowledge of the kind of constructive thing the canal is, with big buildings across it for the purpose of holding up the water, but with sluice gates attached that can be useful even for drainage, can understand that when these have gone out of use it is obvious that trees, ricks of hay, and so on, carried away in times of flood are held up by that obstruction and they intensify the flooding. His statement is absurd and complete ignorance of the subject is the only way I can describe his statement.
Mr. Cosgrave: Would the Deputy like to know that I am giving him the report of the engineer who investigated in 1927?
Mr. Maguire: That makes no difference to me. If the Parliamentary Secretary were to examine the place for himself, it would be obvious to him that an obstruction that is strongly built must hold every piece of obstruction that comes down in time of flood and will create further flooding. The engineer who made that report probably considered that if the area  were maintained clear of obstruction, the fact that it was allowed to go into disuse for navigation purposes would mean that its condition from a drainage point of view might have improved. I assert, with full knowledge of what I am saying, whatever the engineer's report may be, that the existence of that navigation in its derelict and uncared for condition has increased flooding substantially.
It is easy to sit back and say that we have to negotiate with the Lough Erne owners, that that is the catchment area through which we must find an outflow for the water. Again let me come back to the existence of the canal and the navigation. What explanation is forthcoming from the Board of Works? In spite of the fact that that navigation has gone into disuse over 80 years, in spite of the fact that there is increased flooding, will they explain to me why they continue to take a levy on four counties? What have the Six Counties to do with that? What has the Lough Erne level to do with it? Why are you accepting £80 a year from Leitrim for the alleged maintenance of navigation on the Ballinmore-Ballyconnell area and, from other county councils, similar amounts? Will the Parliamentary Secretary answer that? If he separates drainage from navigation, he will be answering the question intelligently. The position is absurd.
Why should they wait until they negotiate with the Six-County Government about their levels? I have read correspondence dating from 1935-6. The Board of Works were then in close touch with the Six-County Government. What has resulted? Having carried out an investigation in conjunction with another Government, it was your duty to follow that up and not to allow 12 years to elapse and to wait until the question was raised in the Dáil before taking further steps. What is your Department doing in this matter? What are you doing about it?
An Ceann Comhairle: The Parliamentary Secretary.
Mr. Maguire: What is the Parliamentary Secretary doing about it? Is  it not waste of public money and is it not completely disregarding the pressing needs of the case? You are pressing down on the ratepayers of Leitrim, Cavan and Roscommon without displaying the smallest regard for their interest. The Parliamentary Secretary says he must wait until he negotiates with the Six-County Government about the level of Lough Erne. I have evidence of correspondence for over 12 years with the Stormont Minister then responsible, Mr. Pollock. He set out his views. Did the Northern Government consult this Government when they passed their Drainage Act, as a result of which they refuse to recognise any charge that is made for drainage by the Act of Victorian age which controls and hampers us? They rid themselves of it because it did not suit them. If they did not consult us, why should we wait until we consult them? The Board of Works have been in consultation with the Six-County Government on this problem for many years. Surely it is your duty, Sir——
An Ceann Comhairle: The Parliamentary Secretary's duty.
Mr. Maguire: ——the Parliamentary Secretary's duty, to see that this thing is terminated. It is the duty of whoever is responsible for the Board of Works to terminate it. There is no use in coming to this House with that glib story that the level of Lough Erne must be determined in consultation with the Government of the Six Counties and that nothing can be done to remedy this outrageous and scandalous condition that has prevailed over all these years. That glib story will not do. If we have not a statement as to what it is intended to do, the public will know that we are inept, incapable and too timid and that despite our declarations of independence, the Six-County Government have guts to determine their own will and to provide the needs of their own people, that we are still wobbling and depending on their goodwill, while they insult and ignore us where their interests are concerned. It is time the matter was brought to a conclusion. I am very disappointed with the Parliamentary Secretary's reply.
An Ceann Comhairle: Is the motion withdrawn?
Mr. Maguire: There is no use in calling for a division.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
Mr. J. Flynn: I move:—
That, in view of the extensive damage caused by the breaking of the sea embankments in the areas of Calinafercy, Gurrane, Douglas, Cromane, and Rossbeigh, County Kerry, and having regard to the fact that hundreds of acres of arable lands are rapidly being destroyed and the livelihood of 100 families endangered, Dáil Éireann is of opinion that the Government should regard this matter as of urgent public importance and take action at the earliest possible date.
Almost 12 months ago I put down this motion with the object of drawing the attention of the Government, and particularly of the Minister for Lands, to this problem, which is a very serious one for County Kerry. I would like to emphasise that the Minister did make an effort, which we appreciate, but it was only a gesture having regard to the magnitude of the problem. Some of the estates mentioned in the motion are old Congested District Board estates. Others were handed over in recent times. Unfortunately, the trustee funds which were established at that time are almost exhausted. I have made it my business to check up in regard to these estates the amount of money now available as a maintenance fund. In the Marshall estate there is a sum of £350 available. In the Godfrey estate there is no fund available. In the Wynn estate there is no fund available. In the Wrenn estate there is a sum of £200 available.
Minister for Lands (Mr. Blowick): Where is that money coming from?
Mr. Flynn: This is the money in the trustee funds in respect of these estates.
Mr. Blowick: Are the trustee funds exhausted?
Mr. Flynn: I am giving the capital that remains at the moment. The problem is so colossal that it is beyond the capacity of the tenants to bear the levy that should be put on them. In connection with the Marshall estate, which was under consideration for at least seven years before the Minister came into office, he allocated a grant of £7,500 for the carrying out of this work on the condition that the tenants subscribed £1,500, approximately. I am giving the Minister full credit for that. Unfortunately, nearly all this £1,500 was levied on five or six tenants who would directly benefit by the work. That is the snag. As far as I can see, if the Minister were to allocate moneys for the repair of these embankments, it would have to be done on that system and we would be back where we started, because the people cannot pay the levies and the Government cannot give a free grant.
This is a national problem, which should be inter-related with the drainage scheme to be carried out by the Minister for Agriculture or with the scheme to be carried out by the Minister for Local Government. Why should we embark on these elaborate programmes which will cost millions of pounds and allow this question of embankments to remain an isolated problem? I suggest to the Minister that it is not good business and does not make sense to treat this problem on its own and to levy the unfortunate tenants in order to build up the embankments. It has become a colossal and an acute problem and should be dealt with on a national basis.
When Deputy Palmer and I put down this motion we realised the seriousness of the position. The position is worsening. The motion refers to hundreds of acres of arable land that are rapidly being destroyed. I mentioned the 100 families and I said that was only a fraction of the people affected and of the farms affected. The landlords repaired these embankments at their own cost in these areas 50 or 80 years ago. Why? Not for the sake of the tenants, but to safeguard their  own property. They did so in order to preserve the fertility of the land adjacent to these rivers and they could recoup their expenses by way of rent from the tenants at a later date. Why should some cognisance not be taken of the fact that these people, on their own, cannot pay this levy and that in some way it should be inter-related with the scheme proposed by the Minister for Agriculture or—pending the carrying through of the arterial drainage schemes—with the scheme for which the Minister for Local Government has money available. We realise that this particular backward district is practically at the end of what is described as the Maine catchment arterial drainage area—but when will that come along? As far as I can see at the moment, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance is doing his utmost but, with the best intentions in the world, it would probably take us another year or two at least before we could hope for this arterial main drainage scheme. Pending the operation of that scheme, I would suggest to the Minister for Lands in all earnestness that this question of embankments is not a patchwork question. It is not to be settled by giving £100 now and £100 in six months' time, and patching up one gap in a bank now because the next time you come along you will find another 1,000 acres flooded out in some other section. We have reached a stage in our county and, I suppose in every other county as well, when this must be looked upon as a major undertaking. It must be looked upon in the same light as the Minister for Agriculture looks on the question of field drainage and the Board of Works looks upon their arterial drainage schemes.
I refer to these Congested Districts Board estates. In part of this proposal reference is made to the Wynn estate, Rossbeigh, County Kerry and the Cromane, Ventry estate. There is no maintenance or trustee fund available for these two estates which are in congested districts. In one case, as a result of a breach in the embankment, 200 acres of land are now useless. These 200 acres were divided into the arable little holdings of 30 tenants  adjacent to that embankment who had, on an average, ten to 12 acres each. The land adjacent to that seaboard is now useless and how can this levy be enforced under the Minister's present system? The tenants pay a certain proportion of the amount allocated, and the Government pays the rest. How can you put that into operation in these districts? Not one of the holdings on these two estates is over £3 valuation. Deputies might be surprised to learn that in Kerry there are 20,000 farmers whose holdings are under £5 valuation. How can the Minister expect a levy from these people to repair these embankments?
I give every credit to the Minister for what he has done in regard to the major question of the Marshall estate. He tackled that problem which was left for seven years and I would point out that other problems, even though they may be on a smaller scale, are just as vital and just as important. In fact, they are more so because in these congested districts the numbers of people on these two estates are great and the holdings are very small. They have nothing left to live upon. I make that case in all earnestness. I am giving the facts as they are. Deputy Palmer can bear out everything I have said. He has been in the district and has travelled through it. I have every confidence the Minister will meet us in that matter.
Mr. Palmer: I second the motion proposed by Deputy J. Flynn. It is rather difficult for anybody who has not seen the district or seen the construction of these embankments to understand their importance. In fact, it was only after my election as a Deputy that I visited Lisheen so as to find out for myself the damage that was being done by the breaches in these embankments. The present embankments were built in 1914. I understand that, as Deputy Flynn has pointed out, the old landlords, in years gone by, built certain embankments. Gradually they wore away and the land was being eaten up until, eventually, in 1914, the Congested Districts Board built these embankments right along the banks of  the Maine, from Firies for miles down to Rossbeigh along the shore to Dingle Bay. They were not of very good construction. They were rather narrow and too low. However, they served their purpose for the time being. In fact, the first real breaches occurred when a drainage scheme was carried out in a tributary of the Maine. I referred to it here the other night in connection with the motion on arterial drainage. The Brown Flesk was drained and when that was done the floods came down the Maine valley. So far as I can understand, that was the first real cause of the breaches which have occurred in these embankments. It was a very strange way of carrying out a drainage scheme. Anybody with ordinary sense would know that whatever drainage should be carried out in connection with a river or stream should be begun at the mouth, and carried out progressively until the source is reached. The reverse happened in this case. There are thousands of acres of land flooded because of those breaches.
Some time before Christmas I was called specially to see what had occurred on the River Maine from Castlemaine to Firies Bridge, a distance of about six miles. All that beautiful valley, where you have some of the richest land in Ireland, was one immense lake. That situation continued for weeks. Further down the river the same thing frequently occurs, especially when there are spring tides. In several cases the floods created by these breaches in the embankments surround the people's houses, and the people have lost their stock. If the breaches, when they occurred at first, had been repaired, the work would have cost only a comparatively small amount, but month by month and year by year the breaches were being enlarged, so that to-day it will cost thousands of pounds to put them in a proper state of repair.
All those tenants living along the River Maine, and along the banks of Dingle Bay where the floodings occur, are very poor. Their farms are small, and yet they have to pay high rents and rates. In fact, they must be a patient and strictly honest people since  they meet their demands in that respect and I am informed they do so punctually and regularly. As Deputy Flynn has said, all credit is due to the present Minister for Lands. Very soon after he came into office he went down to see for himself the damage that was being done. At any rate, he saw a great portion of it and he saw the system of drainage that I have mentioned. He understands, I am sure, the damage that was done lower down the river. Work is proceeding in the repair of the breaches in the Calinafercy area, and farther down the river where you have breaches at Cromane and Rossbeigh. Now, it is absolutely necessary that further sums should be voted for the repair of these embankments. As I have said, if that had been done some years ago when the breaches first occurred, the cost would have been little, but now I am afraid the Exchequer will have to open its purse strings wide in order to carry out the repairs referred to in this motion as well as in the embankments between Castlemaine and Firies. I want to direct the Minister's attention to that. In fact, I am sure he has already seen the damage that has been done in that rich valley.
Now, people have to live in those areas. The land they have is their only means of support. The Minister for Finance lives out near the sea and the Minister for Lands somewhere near Howth. Suppose the foundations of their houses were undermined by the sea, one can imagine the turmoil that would be created in this House and all over the city, and yet the poor people who live down in this area are having their way of living destroyed by the sea and the waters of the lake.
Anybody who goes down there and sees the damage that is being created by these floodings would certainly do everything possible to get the necessary funds to put the embankments in a proper state of repair so that the people may be put in a position to get on with their work. There are several farms in those areas which, at one time, supported as many as ten or 12 cows. To-day the people can only keep  three cows, because their land is being destroyed, wasted and flooded. The curious thing is that they still have to pay the same rates and annuities as they did before the damage was caused. That is hardly fair.
I understand that certain sums of money were set aside as a capital fund and put in charge of trustees. The interest on that money was to be devoted to the repair of the embankments. So far as I understand, the position is that the trustees have no power at all to interfere with the capital sums, but only with the interest, for the repair of small breaches. The trouble is that the interest which accrued from the trust funds on the various estates was not sufficient to repair the breaches when they became too enlarged. I would ask the Minister to look into the matter and see if the funds are still intact. I am not sure that they are. At any rate, I see no reason why the money could not be used now for the proper repair of the breaches that have occurred.
I do not intend to delay the House further. If Deputies could picture for a moment the great destruction that has been done to the land of the farmers in that area, if they could see the beautiful land that is being rendered useless, I feel sure they would do everything possible to alleviate the distress of those people and ensure that the embankments were put in a proper state of repair.
Minister for Lands (Mr. Blowick): Deputy Flynn and Deputy Palmer have made a very excellent case for the repair of these embankments. As far as I am concerned, the two Deputies are pushing an open door. At the outset I think it is only right to inform them and the House that the Minister for Lands is not responsible for those embankments. The misunderstanding that has arisen is, I think, explained by the fact that the Land Commission did undertake liability for the repair of certain embankments in Calinafercy last year.
I think it might be helpful to Deputies in the future if they were aware of the fact that, once farmers are vested  in their holdings on any particular estate, the liability of the Land Commission ceases on the vesting. The responsibility of the Land Commission exists only up to the time the farmers are vested. The Land Commission has no wish to shirk the responsibilities it takes over from landlords on the purchase of various estates, but, as I have said, once the tenants on an estate are vested, then all further responsibility passes from the Land Commission, either to the farmers themselves or to some other Government Department.
The work that both Deputies referred to, Deputies Flynn and Palmer, at Callinafercy, was undertaken by the Land Commission because the Board of Works were overburdened with the Arterial Drainage Act. There is also the point that the Land Commission officials have more experience in the maintenance and repair of embankments than perhaps any other officials. It is a highly technical job. The embankments were established many years ago, in most cases by the landlords. By the time the estates were taken over, some embankments were in good repair, but others were broken down and useless and these were repaired by the Congested Districts Board or the Land Commission, according to the area in which particular estates were situated. At any rate, the Land Commission and the Congested Districts Board maintained them, while the responsibilities of landlords existed in their hands—that was, up to the time of vesting. After that they passed out.
In the case of Calinafercy, I am informed that that is not a river embankment; it is a sea embankment. A breach occurred there in 1942. It was a pity the then Minister for Finance did not grant a small sum when the breach was only 14 or 15 feet wide. The sum mentioned by Deputy Flynn was granted some time last Fall and a considerable amount of the money has now been expended in the work of repairing that embankment. The work had to be suspended during the winter months. It went on very easily at first, but you cannot expect men to repair an embankment with the sea on both sides of them, as it would be during the winter months. As soon as the fine  weather sets in the work will again get into full swing and we will try to save that huge peninsula.
I walked over that place, I saw those embankments and I am fairly well acquainted with the difficulties there. Deputies know as well as I do that you cannot rush such a job as this. You cannot rush in machinery and you cannot rush in gangs of labourers to do the job in a hurry. I am informed that it is the type of job that must be well done. I went to the trouble of seeing those places and I have some experience, not perhaps of the type of flooding with which the Deputies are familiar, but of flooding in general.
Deputies know quite well that the Government have given serious consideration to the subject of relieving land of flooding. The Government are deeply interested in drainage, especially field drainage. We have taken more than an active interest in these matters and we are determined to do all in our power to bring about an effective system of drainage. There are many rural improvement schemes and field drainage schemes about to be initiated by the Minister for Agriculture. We know there is a vast amount of land all over the Twenty-Six Counties subject to flooding. A vast amount of that land is under permanent flooding. The important point is that the flooding is not remaining where it is, it is encroaching, stealing a few more acres year by year. We are determined to put an end to that. The Arterial Drainage Act cannot come into operation in the 107 catchment areas all at once. It would not be wise to do it. In the first place, it would cost a lot of money, and again, it would use up all the available labour — indeed, it would require more than all the labour that could be procured. As it is, we are getting on pretty well.
The River Maine embankments, to which this motion also applies, are in reasonably good repair, except at Rossbehy. That is a job that will soon be completed, and I have no doubt an excellent job will be made of it when the Arterial Drainage Act is applied— and that is not very far away now.
The question of trustee funds was  raised to-night, and on other occasions also. Trustee funds were established in most cases where the liability of embankments lay on the Congested Districts Board and the Land Commission in connection with estates taken over and a sum was set aside out of the purchase money. The interest on that sum was to keep the embankments in repair. In some cases some of the capital has been used. That was according to the damage done by storm and high tides and exceptionally heavy rainfall. I suppose the interest accumulating on these trustee funds was not sufficient to meet all the requirements. It appears, however, that the fund was not left intact and the interest was not supplemented from Government or other sources.
It is just as necessary to keep embankments in good repair as it is to establish them. We all know the damage rats or rabbits can do. Farmers, through carelessness, allow their stock to wander along the embankments and that is extremely damaging, because once water pours through even a small hole, as wide as a fountain pen would make, a breach is gradually made. The earth slips away and soon the opening becomes formidable. Apart from that, the banks themselves are sometimes built on alluvial soil. This is found along the banks of many rivers. From the day the embankment is made it is gradually sinking. As Deputy Palmer said, some banks were not made high enough. I think they may have been made high enough in the beginning, but they are constantly settling down into the soft alluvial soil and they must be kept in repair frequently.
The embankments mentioned in this motion are not the responsibility of the Land Commission, but I do not want Deputies to think that we are shirking any responsibility of maintaining them. The farmers there are suffering considerably; they are absolutely robbed because of the broken down embankments. They have my full sympathy. I was not very long in office, as Deputy Flynn stated, when I granted £7,700 for the repair work at Calinafercy alone. The area thus  saved from the sea is a considerable one. I understand that two or three hard-working farmers are being flooded out in that particular peninsula. I was only too glad to be able to come to their assistance.
I am not making any hard and fast promise, because this is a matter which will have to be taken up by the Board of Works, which perhaps might hinder or impede the Board of Works people when they come along to do the main job of arterial drainage. It is possible that their engineers might set the banks further in. It is possible they might want more room between the embankment and the brink of the river in order to put their dredging machines to work. Naturally we do not want to have two Government Departments impeding each other in the one job.
I assure the Deputies that I would like to do this work now and that money would be no object as far as I am concerned. But in a space of a year, or two years, these people will have the benefit of arterial drainage and I am sure the Deputies who put down this motion would not ask me to spend £18,000 to £30,000 on this job when they know that on some future occasion proper arterial drainage will be carried out there. Patching up is of very little use because a sudden storm or bad weather may undo all the work overnight. Embankments would cost anything up to £30,000 to repair now and the possibility is that the Board of Works might subsequently have to remove these in order to carry out their main scheme. Speaking now as a layman, I understand that they will have to remove anything from four to eight feet of silt which has accumulated in the bed of the river Maine over the last 25 or 30 years. That silt will be dumped on either side to make an embankment, such an embankment as will never cause any worry to the farmers in relation to repair during their lifetime or in the lifetime of those who come after them. The Brosna scheme is well under way and the job of work that is being done there is far beyond the expectations of even the most critical of us.
This is not a case of having my hands  tied by the Minister for Finance. I could to-morrow go ahead and repair the embankments, or build new ones. Repair or replacement would have to be carried out on the site of the existing embankments because the foundations are already there. It would be foolish to do any work of that character now because the Board of Works might subsequently have to wipe away all that work in order to carry out their particular scheme. That is the situation. I would like to come to the rescue of these farmers. I know what it is to have flooded lands. I know what it is to have flooding because of heavy rainfall in the months of August and September with potato crops ruined overnight.
I know what it is to have a beet crop ruined by flooding or to have stooks of corn washed away. I know the despair and despondency that can strike the heart of a farmer when he sees the results of his labours floating around in several feet of water. That is why the Government is so anxious to carry out arterial drainage, plus the scheme announced by the Minister for Local Government some time ago and the reclamation scheme announced by the Minister for Agriculture recently. We know these are absolutely essential. We know that you must first tackle the main river and then the tributaries; when that is done we shall do the field drainage. Until that is done agricultural production cannot be stepped up to the proper level, and the prosperity of our farmers will remain in jeopardy.
Mr. J. Flynn: I admit that the scheme announced by the Minister for Agriculture in relation to field drainage is an ideal one. So also is the scheme announced by the Minister for Local Government. But can we leave this problem of the embankments alone? Is that not related to the fact that if you drain the land on either side of these embankments you will be creating another problem? Then you have the sea breaking in and the backwash of the field drainage at the other end.
Mr. Blowick: I am quite aware of that. That is why you must first tackle  your outfall. It is only the Board of Works people who can do that. Then you can proceed upstream and clean your channel. Your outfall may be either the open sea or an inland lake. Whichever it is you must first prepare your outfall. Where the tide rushes back up the river for three or four miles the silt taken out by the dredgers will form an embankment sufficient to safeguard the possibility of any future flooding. In some cases field drainage cannot be put into operation because there is at present no outfall. I believe that some of the field drainage schemes will have to be left aside until main drainage is carried out. But there are hundreds of thousands of acres which can be drained under the field drainage scheme. We are going to go ahead with all the drainage we can in that connection. We are taking steps to ensure that such drainage will not cause flooding. We know exactly where we stand and we know our capacity in relation to drainage generally. We know what we can do upstream which might cause damage lower down. We shall undertake no work upstream which might cause damage lower down. It is no use taking flood water away from one section of the farmers and inundating some other section lower down. That is what would happen if there was not a proper outfall. Any money we might spend now on repair work would be money wasted to a great extent. There is no use spending £30,000 on a job which will be rendered useless when the Board of Works comes along to do a proper arterial drainage scheme.
I would ask the Deputy to withdraw the motion for the reasons I have stated. The Government is sympathetic in the matter, but it must act judiciously and wisely. Deputies have my assurance that the farmers in this area have the sympathy of the Government. We know what is happening. Rome was not built in a day. We have only been 12 months in office, but during that 12 months we have done more in relation to drainage than has been done in the last 25 or 30 years.
Mr. Kissane: Is it proposed to finish this debate before 10 o'clock?
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: A period of three hours is allowed for the discussion of the motion.
Mr. Kissane: If Deputies opposite have in mind the conclusion of the debate to-night, I do not think there are many more speakers. It is a matter for the House. Of course, according to Standing Orders, three hours are allowed for the debate.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Yes.
Mr. Kissane: I was just suggesting that if there were not many more speakers, it might be possible to finish the debate to-night.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: It cannot be finished. There is not sufficient time.
Mr. Kissane: I shall not be long. It is a question for the House.
Captain Cowan: What is the point?
Mr. Kissane: The point is that there are two hours of this debate still to go, but, seeing that it is a local matter, I do not know whether there will be any more speakers. If there are no more speakers it might be possible to conclude the debate to-night.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Deputy Kissane is entitled to speak as long as he wishes.
Mr. Kissane: I shall start off then by asking a question of the Minister. Reference has been made to the carrying out of the Calinafercy scheme both by the Minister and by Deputy Flynn. I should like to get the date on which the Land Commission sanctioned that scheme.
Mr. Blowick: The 5/10/1948.
Mr. Kissane: 1947.
Mr. Blowick: No, 1948.
Mr. Kissane: There is something wrong with that.
Mr. Blowick: It was some time during the month of October.
Mr. Briscoe: In 1947.
Mr. Blowick: No, in 1948, some time about last November.
Mr. Kissane: If my memory serves me right, that scheme was prepared by the former Minister for Lands.
Mr. Blowick: In this matter I do not want to take any of the honour or kudos that is due to the former Minister, but the facts are: representations were made time and time again. I do not know all the steps the former Minister had taken to get this matter going, but what I do know is that representations were made in the last session about the matter. Deputy Flynn and Deputy Palmer pressed me very hard all during last summer, but the sanction was not given until some time in the Fall. I am not sure whether it was on the 5th of October the work commenced, but it was definitely last autumn the final details were arranged. I do not want to take any of the credit due to my predecessor in this matter.
Mr. Kissane: Deputy Flynn suggested that no schemes of this kind had been carried out by the Land Commission for the seven preceding years. The fact of the matter is that the Calinafercy scheme was one that was prepared by the Land Commission before the present Minister took over.
Mr. Donnellan: But not sanctioned.
Mr. Kissane: It is not right for Deputy Flynn to state that nothing had been done during the seven years before there was a change of Government.
Mr. Blowick: I now find that sanction was definitely given only on the 5th October, 1948.
Mr. Kissane: Was the scheme prepared before that?
Captain Cowan: Seven years before that?
Mr. Kissane: No.
Mr. Blowick: I cannot say offhand whether the scheme was prepared, but I do know that representations were made both before I took office and after I took office, but a scheme had  not been sanctioned when I took office. It was not sanctioned even last July when the Dáil rose because Deputy Flynn was hot on my heels about the job. I must give him that credit.
Mr. Kissane: My submission is that representations had been made and were being made by other Deputies prior to the month of October, 1947, and that a scheme had actually been prepared long before that date for the purpose of carrying out repairs to the embankment at Calinafercy.
Mr. Blowick: If the first breach in 1942 had been attended to then, £120 would have repaired the breach which will now cost £7,700 to repair.
Mr. Kissane: There were many cases like that.
Mr. Blowick: Not many of them.
Mr. Kissane: The Land Commission did carry out repairs in that constituency and in other constituencies during that period. What I want to impress upon the House is that it is not right for anybody to suggest here that nothing had been done for seven years prior to the taking over of the Land Commission by the present Minister. I do not want to refer to these matters at all because it is a narrow policy to follow and it does not matter in the end who does the work.
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Was anything done during these years?
Mr. Kissane: It was done.
Mr. Blowick: There was no plan necessary except to give the engineer the “O.K.” to go ahead and let him employ gangers who knew the work that was to be done. There is no need for a plan any more than there is to repair a broken down sod bank on an ordinary farmer's holding. There is no plan needed.
Mr. Kissane: There is a very elaborate plan.
Mr. Blowick: The inspector in charge  could be given the money and told to go ahead with the work.
Mr. Kissane: If my memory serves me right I had communications with the Land Commission about this job at Calinafercy. I am sure if the Minister would look up the file he would find that that is correct. Other Deputies had a hand in the business also. It was not left to Deputy Flynn or to anybody else to come along to put the final touch to it.
Mr. Donnellan: He has done no harm, anyway.
Mr. Kissane: The Minister said that the Land Commission were not accepting responsibility for the upkeep and maintenance of river embankments where the land is vested in tenants. I do not know what the mover of the motion wants, whether he wants the Land Commission to accept responsibility in cases where the land is vested in the tenants.
Mr. Blowick: That is what he is asking in this particular case, that the Land Commission should accept responsibility to carry out the repairs.
Mr. Kissane: I did not gather from the Minister whether he is acceding to that request or not, whether in future there is going to be a change as a result of the motion tabled by Deputy Flynn and Deputy Palmer.
Mr. Blowick: There might be.
Mr. Kissane: If there will be——
Mr. Blowick: There might be, not “will be”.
Mr. Kissane: ——we shall know where we are. If responsibility will not be accepted by the Land Commission for the upkeep and maintenance— first of all, for the repair of the embankments, because the repair and maintenance are two different things— then we are not getting away from the status quo and it would be as well for the Minister to tell the mover of the motion that that is the case, that we are not getting away from the status quo—in other words, that the position  will be the same after the acceptance of this motion. I move the adjournment of the debate.
Mr. Smith: When I announced through the Chair last evening my intention to raise the subject matter of Question No. 23 on yesterday's Order Paper I was met with the statement by the Minister for Agriculture that in doing so I was guilty of a shameless act. I must say, before I proceed to develop this case, that I made this decision following the announcement on behalf of the Minister by the Government Information Bureau of what was, at least in part, a history of the discussions which had taken place between himself and the Six-County spinners. In that statement the Minister admitted his failure to reach agreement with that organisation and advised the farmers who were previously engaged in the growing of this crop that if they were to grow the flax crop in the year 1949 they would do so at their own risk. Will the Minister give me his assurance before I proceed to develop this case that, in spite of the announcement which he has made, he will now reopen the discussions with the Northern flax spinners with a view to effecting an understanding with that body as to the conditions under which the flax crop of 1949 will be disposed of? Will he give me the assurance that he will make a reasonable effort to effect such an agreement?
Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Dillon): On what terms?
Mr. Smith: If he will give me that assurance, I will not proceed to develop this case further.
Mr. Dillon: On what terms?
Mr. Smith: If I do not get the assurance, I will deal with the question that is now addressed to me by the Minister. Briefly, the history of these negotiations, according to the information that has been supplied by Parliamentary questions and through the  statement to which I have referred issued on behalf of the Minister by the Government Information Bureau, is this. Last June, following the decision of the British Board of Trade not to take any responsibility or part in the fixation of the price of flax for 1949, the matter became one to be handled by the Flax Spinners' Association and the Minister for Agriculture here representing the farmers. Members of that association came to Dublin to the Minister and made their offer to him. The offer was one of their willingness to take from our growers 4,000 tons at the price of 31/3. The Minister, apparently not being satisfied with that offer, parted company with these gentlemen on the understanding that the whole business was to be reconsidered by them, when, I presume, a further offer would be expected. According to the information which we have obtained in one form or another, we now find that nothing further was heard from these gentlemen who were speaking for the Six-County flax spinners until some time in December. They then informed the Minister here they had reached an agreement with the Six-County growers under which they had undertaken, not as the Minister claims in reply to a supplementary question to-day when he stated they had agreed to take unlimited quantities from Six-County growers, but to take from Six-County growers 4,000 tons of flax at 32/8½ per stone.
Captain Cowan: What is the Six-County production?
Mr. Smith: After they had reached this agreement with the Six-County growers they returned some time later with a renewed offer to the Minister which was an advance from 31/3 per stone to 32/- but with the new condition that not 4,000 tons of flax would be accepted by them but half that quantity. Apparently they were told that this would not be acceptable and the Minister has since then proceeded to make what I suggest is an effort on his part to confuse the real issue which exists as between the Northern spinners and our growers. I know enough about the flax crop to admit  that it is the duty of any man charged with the responsibility of negotiating a price on behalf of the growers to do everything in his power to secure for them the most attractive conditions. I myself had the responsibility of negotiating the 1948 price and while I do not want to make any extensive reference to these discussions I can say that, as the Minister admitted here yesterday, because of the hardship which is associated with the growing and the handling of flax it is an industry in which, when you come to know it well, any man charged with this responsibility must naturally endeavour, on behalf of those who handle it, to obtain the last possible penny. The attitude which the Minister has taken up in order to justify his own failure is, I suggest, one of endeavouring to confuse the issue. The Northern growers are going to receive a price of 40/- per stone for flax grown by them of the grade that is mentioned in the agreement, 32/7½ of which will be paid by the spinners and 7/4½ by the Northern Government. I suggest that it is not fair for the Minister to confuse in the course of the discussions in this House the offer that is made by these spinners to our growers through him, with the price that is being paid to the growers in the Six Counties, which represents not only the price of 32/7½ per stone but an additional sum of 7/4½ per stone which is given in the form of a bounty by the Northern Government.
I say further that if the Minister wants to make a case—and I admit that it is his duty to make the strongest possible case on behalf of the growers —how, as I attempted to show in my supplementary questions yesterday, can he justify demanding from Northern spinners a price for our growers which would represent part of the subsidy which was paid by the Northern Government, either from the taxpayers' money in the Six Counties or Great Britain, while, on the other hand, he comes in here and in regard to other agricultural produce, such as beef and eggs, says he is not prepared to make a case for or lay a claim to any portion of the bounty paid by Great Britain on what are termed in Britain home-bred cattle? If he is not entitled to make a  claim for any portion of the bounty which Great Britain pays to the farmers not only of Great Britain but of the Six Counties on cattle which are described as home-bred cattle, what case can he make for asking the spinners of the Six Counties to pay part of the bounty which the Northern Government has taken responsibility for?
If the Minister has any case to make against the Northern spinners, I suggest that that case must be reduced to the difference between either the 31/3 which they offered to take our flax at or their subsequent offer of 32/- and the price of 32/7½ which they are giving to the Six-County growers. If the Minister feels that he should get that price from the Six-County spinners, that otherwise the farmers here would not have sufficient compensation to grow the crop, he should do, I suggest, as the Northern Government have agreed to do on foot of the agreement made between the spinners of the Six Counties and the growers in the Six Counties—give a bounty which will bring the price up to the same level as that paid to the Six-County growers and, in addition, as the Six-County Government have agreed to do, that is, to take from the growers any flax grown in excess of the amount stipulated in the contract.
Mr. Dillon: Pay the Northern Ireland spinners to buy our flax.
Mr. Moran: He could also resign.
Mr. Smith: There is no use quibbling about this. There are Deputies here who do not understand this crop.
Captain Cowan: They understand logic.
Mr. Dillon: They do not understand it from Deputy Smith.
Mr. Smith: Here is the position. The Minister has allowed this question to hang for a very long period. The first offer was made to him in June last. He is the man who, when sitting on these Benches, lectured us on the way business matters should be dealt  with by business men, the man who told us of the wonderful results which could be secured by Ministers discharging their responsibilities properly and making contacts as business men. He is the man who, on getting an offer in June last, allowed this whole situation to develop up to December when the new offer was made. What has happened in the months that have elapsed? Surely the Minister knows that, when December came, in his own constituency, in mine, and in Donegal, conacre flax ground was being taken and had been taken by people working with flax for a living, by men, in some cases, without any property whatever, but who have a knowledge of flaxgrowing and were able, year after year, to make money out of the crop.
These negotiations have been allowed to dribble on to the point when all these commitments have been made by growers and we get, at the end, the bland statement that an agreement with the Northern spinners was impossible, and warning farmers not to have anything to do with the crop, that, if they did, they did so at their own risk. What right has the Minister, what right has any Minister, and especially a Minister who claims all the rights and privileges and freedom for the farmers which we so often hear from the present occupant of the office of Minister for Agriculture, to close down on a matter of this kind and prevent farmers from growing a crop to which they have been accustomed without consultation of any kind? Was there no means by which the Minister, when he was about to admit his failure to effect an agreement, could have made some contact with these people whose living he was about to fritter away in the fashion in which it has been frittered away by this announcement? I have not got much time left.
Mr. Dillon: You have had time to say plenty.
Mr. Smith: Whether that offer made in June last by the Flax Spinners' Association was regarded as satisfactory or not, I say here in the most deliberate fashion that I would regard that offer as a suitable basis on which  to be able, if I had the responsibility, to reach an agreement with that association on behalf of the growers, and I charge the Minister with unjustifiable failure in that regard. I further charge him with frittering away these people's rights without any consultation and without giving them any opportunity of expressing what they thought of the position as it existed. In fact, it may be that the course the Minister should have taken, when the British Board of Trade drew out of this whole matter, was to endeavour to get representatives of the flax growers and scutchers and charge them with the responsibility of making an agreement with the Northern spinners. Since that has not been done, and since indeed the Minister has failed so lamentably in this matter which is so vital in the area from which I come, I appeal to the growers here; I appeal to the millers here and I appeal to the good sense of the flax spinners in the Six Counties to come together and arrive at some understanding that will enable our farmers, who depend so much on this crop, to be assured that they can grow the crop, get a reasonable price for it and that their crop will be taken from them when it is grown and harvested.
Mr. Dillon: I am a long time in Irish public life but I have never believed that I would witness so disgusting a spectacle. I was warned in the middle of these negotiations that I must be ready to be betrayed and harassed by the Opposition if the Northern Ireland spinners tried to blackmail me into accepting for our people an inequitable arrangement and I dismissed that possibility. I said that the members of Dáil Éireann were pretty trenchant and vigorous but that there has long been an understanding here that if you are negotiating with an outside authority on behalf of our people the most trenchant politician in Dáil Éireann would not line himself up against our people with the people who are seeking to insult us.
Mr. Smith: Nonsense.
Mr. Dillon: Let us be clear on this.
Mr. Kissane: What about the economic war?
Mr. Dillon: Is there a Deputy in this House who says that it was a just thing for the spinners of Northern Ireland to propose to me that on one and the same day as they had reduced the price of flax for the growers in Ireland by 2/6 a stone they should raise the price to the growers in Northern Ireland by 4/-?
Mr. Smith: They did not. It was the Northern Government who did it. That is misrepresentation.
Mr. Dillon: If success was to bow my head and say that it was good enough for the peasants in Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan to take 2/6 reduction while the dignified farmers of Northern Ireland are to have 4/- increase——
Mr. Smith: From whom?
Mr. Dillon: Let me state my case. If it was success to grant that, then God grant that I will never know success in the public life of this country. Why should the spinners of Northern Ireland gratuitously approach our people but not for the purpose of saying, “We will leave your price at what was agreed to be a fair price last year by your Minister for Agriculture and we are making certain adjustments in Northern Ireland”? There would have been a shadow of justification in that, but they say, “We are going to bring your price down and at the same time increase the price in Northern Ireland.” I know the 32/- a stone is a comparatively remunerative price.
Is there any Deputy in this House who is likely to suffer more in his personal interests as a politician than I am, who represent County Monaghan, where more flax is grown than in any other county in Ireland?
A Deputy: And where there are more Unionists.
Mr. Dillon: More flax growers voted for me than were in any other area except in the area of the other two Deputies in Monaghan. Would it not have been very much easier for me to make a settlement enabling these farmers to carry on their customary  practice at a price which was not grossly insufficient than to face the problem of saying to my constituents: “You will have to make a very considerable adjustment or submit to the proposals, the irresponsible proposals, made by the spinners of Northern Ireland”?
The British Board of Trade which dealt with us throughout the war habitually stated their price and took whatever quantity was produced. The Northern Ireland spinners, however, come along and say to us: “We will take 2,000 tons from you and it is on your shoulders to ration that around. If you grow any more we will not buy it from you. We will buy it from our own growers in one quarter of the territory. We will buy 4,000 tons from them and if there is any surplus the Northern Ireland Government has consented to buy it at a composite price of 40/- a stone.”
Is there any Deputy in this House who is so foolish as not to realise that if we accept once from the Northern Ireland spinners the principle of limited acreage while the Northern Ireland farmers can have in effect unlimited acreage——
Mr. Smith: They have not.
Mr. Dillon: ——next year I will be told “1,000 tons and be grateful for it” and in the following year “500 tons and be grateful for it” and I will be asking our people to submit to a process of slow strangulation?
Dr. Maguire: Why did you not consult them?
Mr. Dillon: Does the Deputy from Monaghan think that in any circumstances the Government of this country should accept from the flax spinners of Northern Ireland a proposal that on the self-same day as a price of 40/- was fixed for unlimited acreage for their own growers a price of 32/- should be fixed for our growers? Is it equitable that on one side of the road in Donegal a field of flax should be grown for which 32/- will be paid by the Northern Ireland authorities, while on the other side of the road in County Derry there is a field of flax for which there is a  proposal to pay 40/-? If you want to get into a position where you are prepared to accept that kind of treatment which is, as I have described it, grossly and offensively inequitable on behalf of our people, you will have to get somebody else to do it.
Mr. Smith: God help the flax growers, that is all I can say.
Mr. Blowick: You want to make slaves of them. You are talking through your hat.
Mr. Dillon: Negotiations have been carried on with the Northern Ireland spinners continuously from the day they approached me. The basis on which I was prepared to settle was that the price should remain the same and the acreage should not be submitted to control imposed by them. I expressed my belief that our people would accept the proposition that if the price paid last year was left unaltered we would raise no demur at any bonus that they proposed to give their own people and that we would not seek artificially to unload on to them a high tonnage or artificially to increase it if that soothes their conscience. Their reply was: “You will take 32/- a stone for 2,000 tons and if you do not accept that within seven days the offer will be withdrawn.”
I told them to go to blazes, but I do not want any Deputy in this House to imagine that simply for the satisfaction of telling anybody to go to blazes I acted precipitately or tried to raise the temperature of our discussion. On the contrary, every device of forbearance, argument and persuasion I could  use I used, not only in the interests of the flax growers, but in the interests of avoiding this kind of offensive affront by members of our own people against members of our own people. I told them that we were ready and willing on an equitable basis to help to produce the raw material of an Irish industry as we did not regard it as a foreign industry, but that we were not prepared to revert to the position that a certain section of our people should esteem the remainder of us an inferior breed. I want to assure the House of this, that no device of persuasion, forbearance or patience I could employ, no representation of reason I could invoke, was omitted and that it was only when I was told “You will take it or leave it” I gave them the answer I described. If that is failure I am proud so to have failed. If it is failure to tell people that they may not and shall not offensively affront our people, proud or simple, then I am very glad to have failed. If it would have been success to submit to an ultimatum of that kind and gratefully acknowledge the equity and justice of paying the growers of Northern Ireland 40/- a stone on the same day as our people were to be paid 32/-, I would be ashamed of success. If Deputy Smith represents the outlook of our people that such an attitude should be adopted by a Minister on behalf of our people, then the people should get rid of me and restore Deputy Smith.
Mr. Smith: That is the truth.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Tuesday, March 22, 1949.