Friday, 14 July 1950
Dáil Éireann Debate
Mr. Lemass: Deputy de Valera raised in this debate yesterday the grave international situation which has recently developed and the possible consequences to this country if that situation should deteriorate for the purpose of securing, if possible, an indication of the Government's viewpoint  as to the preparatory measures which might now be taken in the interest of our security. I do not suppose that the Government have any information concerning the situation and its possible development which is not available to the general public through Press reports. Nobody is deceived, I hope, by the suggestion made yesterday by the Minister for Defence that the Government have available to them secret sources of information which enable them to come to judgments on the position and which are not available to the public. If any Deputy has been misled by that suggestion, I should like that the Taoiseach, in fair ness to the House and to the country, would correct that position. Certainly, no Deputy who had the responsibility of being a member of the Government during the crisis which preceded the second world war and during the course of that war can have any doubts on the matter or any illusions concerning the accuracy or the purpose of the Minister for Defence's statement. The Minister for Defence was, I think, attempting to bluff the House in an attempt to justify what appears to be the policy of inactivity upon which the Government have decided.
There is no likelihood that any deterioration in the international situation which might create a crisis for this country will be so heralded in advance that there will be ample time for the Government here to take preparatory steps of any value. It is very undesirable that in considering this grave matter Deputies should be not misled by childish statements of that kind. Whatever the Government may believe, there is no doubt that the general public believe that this international situation is likely to develop sooner or later into a general war unless something unexpected happens. It is similar in many of its aspects to the situation in 1938. It is, perhaps, even more grave than that which existed in 1938. The preparation of the national economy, the preparation of our defences against the consequences of a deterioration in the position, are such urgent matters that they must be the predominant aim of Government policy in all Departments at present.
I do not want to be taken as suggesting  that it is possible for us to do a great deal in a short time by way of preparation. Something can be done in the field of defence and something can be done in other fields, but it is beyond doubt that, if a crisis should develop quickly, it is already too late to do much that, on the conclusion of the last war, we thought should be done against such a situation developing in the future. In the field of defence, something can be done. Again, it is possible to exaggerate what can be done. We here have not attempted to urge upon the Government any course that would appear to be impracticable, or that would be suggestive of undue alarm. We think it is practicable to bring the Defence Forces of this country up to the strength which the Army Command deemed to be the minimum strength which would permit of the creation of an organisation capable of rapid expansion if the need arose. The Army is not at that strength now.
We have been treated by the Government, and particularly by the Minister for Defence, with contempt whenever this question of defence policy has been raised. Figures have been given by Ministers which are known to be inaccurate and contradictory statements have been made, according to the political needs of the moment. There is no Deputy who can feel that he can place any reliance upon a statement made by the Minister for Defence on important aspects of defence policy. The Minister endeavoured to represent the view of this Party as including the mobilisation of reserve and volunteer forces and the placing of these forces on a permanent basis in barracks and camps. We do not think that course is necessary and we have not suggested it. The fact that the Minister for Defence considered it desirable to endeavour to misrepresent the point of view expressed from these benches is itself a factor in the situation which we should take into account, because it justifies the conclusion that no serious consideration has been given to this matter by him or by the Government and that their sole concern, when the matter is raised, is to escape any political difficulty it may cause them. This policy of bluff and pretence is a poor  substitute for that for which the situation calls.
The Minister yesterday took a different line from that which he took upon the debate on the Estimate for Defence. On that occasion, he appeared anxious to advertise the weakness of our defence position. He spoke about driblets of armaments procurable from abroad. Subsequently, the Minister for External Affairs spoke abroad about the obsolete and inefficient weapons we were procuring, and generally he and his colleagues have taken a line which appears to suggest that they do not believe the defence of this country by its own citizens to be a practicable proposition. It may be that there are practical difficulties at present in procuring up-to-date armaments in adequate quantities; it may be that there are other problems in extending the size of the military organisations of the State; but more important than these matters is the promotion amongst our people of the will to defend our freedom, of the realisation that the obligation to defend it rests upon them. More important than these matters is the need to make it known abroad that it is national policy here to accept fully ourselves the obligation of our own defence.
The line taken by the Government appears to run counter to that idea and that is the reason why we are so seriously perturbed concerning it. After the speech made yesterday, it is obvious that the Minister for Defence is an unsuitable occupant of that post. If the situation should deteriorate necessitating action by the Government—the expansion of our defence forces and the calling to the defence of the country of its young men—then the enthusiasm that will answer that call will be considerably diminished by the highly partisan line taken yesterday by the Minister for Defence and the obvious incompetence which has characterised his whole administration.
I have said that outside the field of defence there is not much that can be done by way of preparation against an emergency that may come soon. But it may not come soon, and it is obviously desirable that we should begin now in the economic and financial fields, whatever preparations are possible, hoping  that either the crisis will not develop at all or that we will be given time to bring these preparations to completion. There are many respects in which our position now is better than it was in 1938. Let me confess that in 1938, the preparations made against the possibility of war proved in the event to be inadequate. We underestimated the magnitude of the conflict that was coming and its duration. We were perhaps unduly influenced by the views then held in many quarters that war, if it came, would be confined to the Continent of Europe and that modern armaments would make it necessarily of short duration. We made preparations, however, which were of value and there is available to the Government now all the experience accumulated by the officers in charge of these preparations. They know to what extent our arrangements proved satisfactory and to what extent they proved unsatisfactory, and that fund of experience available to the Government is of immense importance.
When the previous Government in 1938 was faced with this problem, it was something that was new in this country. It was the first time in our history that an Irish Government was given that task and it had to proceed largely by trial and error. It is not necessary to take that course now because the knowledge then gained is available to our successors.
During the course of the war, the then Taoiseach, Deputy de Valera, gave instructions to all Ministers who were charged with responsibility for any of the war-time arrangements to record the measures taken, with a brief account of their development and a note of the improvements that might be tried on another occasion. In preparing that war record for our successors, we hoped that it would not be opened for 20 or 25 years, at the earliest, and we were thinking that far ahead in placing our experience on the files. But, it is time now that it was opened. Perhaps it is being opened. Perhaps arrangements are in train which will ensure that unnecessary delay will be avoided when positive steps have to be taken but, if they are,  we want to know it. We think the people of the country would be reassured if they were so informed.
What must be the aim of Government policy in that matter? Clearly, we must try to secure by measures taken now that if an international crisis following a spread of war should develop quickly we will have available here essential supplies in sufficient quantity to maintain reasonable distribution of consumption goods on the one had, for a period, and important industrial activities, on the other hand. The Government has in existence the nucleus of a rationing scheme. I assume that it is not necessary now to go through the preliminary steps which had to be taken in 1940, the preparation of a national register and the compilation of the other particulars which had to be available before ration books could be put in the hands of citizens. Ration books are in the hands of citizens now. Presumably, therefore, the extension of rationing to any goods which should be necessary is practicable without delay.
We know that the area under wheat is larger than it was in 1938, that the knowledge of tillage and the implements necessary for tillage exist, or should exist, in wider areas of the country than was the case in 1938. The only thing that is in doubt is the attitude of the Minister for Agriculture and of the Government generally in relation to the general question of agricultural policy and its direction towards the primary aim of ensuring the food supplies of our own people.
It is desirable that we should have that minimum of essential supplies within the country, supplemented by arrangements, if possible, to procure additional supplies from abroad, not merely for the purpose of protecting the welfare of our own people in time of an emergency, but also to give us the necessary breathing space to consider any political problems that the outbreak of a general war might cause for us.
In the agricultural field, and particularly in the industrial field, any extension of activity which would increase our security in time of war  will take a long time. It is necessary that members of the Government and Deputies should face up to that fact.
I have already recounted here on another occasion the serious gaps in our industrial organisation which our war-time experience showed to exist and urged upon the Government that it should so direct its industrial policy as to close these gaps as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the Government have taken the course of farming out its responsibility for industrial policy to an outside authority, the socalled Industrial Development Authority. I warned the Government when they took that course that they were depriving themselves of the power to take speedy and effective action and experience during the past two years has shown that warning to be justified.
If there is to be a positive direction of Government activity in the industrial field, with a view to making our industrial organisation more secure in time of war, then the Industrial Development Authority will have to be put in cold storage until that emergency is over and the Minister for Industry and Commerce and his Department will have to take responsibility for direct action in that matter.
All the indication so far has been that, instead of directing industrial policy with the ultimate aim of creating a viable industrial policy that can operate in any international circumstances, the Government is doing the reverse. The specific instances in which Government policy has moved contrary to the national interests have been frequently mentioned here. The particular projects that were in train for the establishment under Córas Iompair Éireann auspices at Inchicore of a factory for the manufacture of motor vehicles, the proposed factory for the manufacture of aeroplane parts and for aeroplane construction, the proposed factory at Limerick for the manufacture of railway wagons, and numerous other projects, less important perhaps, but all necessary to the completion of industrial organisation, have been dropped by the Government for no good reason except that hasty decisions were taken during the first months of  the Government's office and they have not now the moral courage to admit that these decisions were wrong and to reverse them.
Deputy Corry raised here yesterday the practicability of extending the steel works at Cobh. Nothing is necescessary to effect that extension to include the manufacture of steel sheets which are necessary for a number of industrial purposes, except three things —the technical knowledge, which can be procured if it is not available—it is perhaps already available—the necessary finance and the decision of the Government. In that particular case, the co-operation of outsiders is not necessary. The industry is controlled by the Government under a board composed of civil servants. Why there has been the long delay in extending activities at Haulbowline, I am unable to understand.
In the textile field we know that the whole industry of weaving woollen goods and the spinning of woollen yarn was incomplete without the wool combing plant which had not yet been established before the last war and which is not established yet. In the other branches of the textile industry, cotton spinning, although a beginning was made in 1947 at Athlone, is still completely inadequate to maintain activity in the weaving mills.
In almost every industrial field there is some critical gap which must be filled before the industries in that field can continue to operate in circumstances in which supplies from abroad may be cut off or curtailed. The most important gap of all is in the chemical industry. We had, in recognition of the importance of the industrial chemical industry, enacted the legislation here in 1947 to establish, under Government auspices, a company, Céimicí Teoranta, specifically charged to facilitate the establishment of that industry and particularly to undertake the commercial researches necessary to enable decisions to be made as to the most practicable methods. I have mentioned here in the course of the debate on the Estimate for the Department of Industry and Commerce that the total expenditure shown in the accounts of that company during the past financial year  on that important aspect of its responsibilities was £600. That, however, is not the only field in which preparations are possible.
We entered the last war period with no shipping organisation capable of carrying on a regular service for ships over deep waters. We built up that organisation during the war and it was invaluable to the people of this country. For a period of three years no foreign ship entered our ports from across the Atlantic or from other distant countries. Before the end of the war, or shortly after it, the Government then in office took a decision that the fleet of Irish Shipping, Limited, should be extended to the size regarded as the minimum necessary to carry the essential imports of this country in circumstances in which other ships would not be procurable. That policy has also been reversed. The ships which were ordered in pursuance of it have been delivered. No new ships have been ordered since. During the last war our experience was that the only limiting factor in procuring essential food supplies was our ability to carry them in our own ships. Up to the end of hostilities, while a large part of the world was shut off from its normal sources of supply by military action, the supplies were procurable easily enough. The only restriction upon their delivery here was our capacity to provide shipping.
After the end of the war, that situation changed. With the opening up of Europe and the revelation of the appalling conditions that existed in many European countries, the demands upon the available supplies increased and, naturally, the proportion available to us was curtailed. Shipping became available but the supplies were not there and it was in that period after the war that we encountered our most acute difficulties. It seems to me to be wise policy at the present time to take that decision made in 1945 or 1946 to build up the Irish deep sea fleet to the size then decided to be the minimum size which would protect our interest and secure our minimum requirements in time of war, and to get on with it. We cannot purchase ships as one can purchase a  pair of boots simply by going into a store and selecting them. Ships cannot be built in any short period in the present state of the market. If there is to be a recognition of the need for the expansion of our deep sea fleet then action to order the construction of ships must be taken at once. Also, I think we should take more positive steps to develop ship building here. Now, that is going to involve Government assistance in some form. Ship building was undertaken here in the past and undertaken successfully. There is a book available by a former chief engineer of the Dublin Dockyard Company, a gentleman named Smellie, which is well worth reading. The directors of the shipyard companies have repeatedly assured me that they are fully equipped to undertake the building of ships of up to a certain size and that the only things they require are orders for the ships and Government assistance in procuring certain scarce materials.
Mr. Lemass: Up to the time I ceased to have responsibility in connection with these matters, these dockyard companies were fully employed upon ship repairs and overhauls. It would have been a waste of resources to have diverted their activities to ship building when they could make a larger tonnage available to us by continuing and extending their repair work. I did, however, intimate on behalf of the Government of which I was a member, at a function under the auspices of the Port and Docks Board in 1947, that we were most anxixous that the ship-building end of dockyard work should be developed and undertook, on behalf of the Government, to provide, if necessary, a tonnage subsidy on the lines of that operated in Australia, if it was required in order to get that development under way.
The extension of the activities of Bord na Móna is another advantage which we have now and which we had not in 1938. But it is necessary to recognise that the total output of Bord na Móna would be inadequate to maintain essential transport and industrial activities in circumstances in  which no other fuels were available and that there are still a number of problems—mainly administrative problems but some technical ones—to be solved before the Bord na Móna product can be economically utilised for transport purposes and for some industrial purposes. We never, in the last war, got to the stage where we had an output of turf adequate to enable it to be used for the production of town gas, and the maintenance of gas output was continued with considerable difficulty by diverting to that purpose a high proportion of the very limited coal supplies which were procurable. It is desirable, however, that the work of Bord na Móna should be speeded up and that, particularly, it should be encouraged to expend the funds made available to it for research purposes in the specific direction that will find solutions for these outstanding remaining problems.
Mr. Lemass: I do not want the Minister to misunderstand me. There are technical problems associated with the mechanical production of turf and also with the utilisation of turf for industrial purposes on which Bord na Móna is working. Over and above these problems there are others, which I describe as mainly of an administrative character, if that is the right word, associated with the use of turf for transport purposes and for certain industrial purposes. I do not think it was stated that these particular problems were having the urgent attention of Bord na Móna.
Mr. Morrissey: And not only that, if the Deputy will allow me, but the special engineers of Córas Iompair  Éireann have made considerable progress towards the design of a locomotive which will burn turf. Córas Iompair Éireann are also, so I am informed, concentrating to see if they can find a solution for the difficulties of transport.
Mr. Lemass: I am glad to hear it. Without encroaching too much upon the time available to me I want to refer briefly to one other problem which is bound to become acute if the international situation should deteriorate. It is a problem which was not as serious in the last war as it is likely to be in another. I refer to the methods by which such supplies as may be available abroad can be financed. The House is aware that by arrangement made with the British Exchequer in 1938 we were able to procure during the whole period of the war foreign currencies, particularly dollars, to sufficient extent to finance the purchase of all the goods we were able to get. That arrangement worked from our point of view very satisfactorily. The position of the British Exchequer is different now from what it was then. Our own position is different. It is possible that unless some special arrangements are made we might find ourselves in circumstances in which, even with supplies available and ships to carry them, we would have a financial problem in obtaining them and I think it is unlikely that a solution of that difficulty can be found easily or found quickly in the event of the emergency developing rapidly. In these circumstances we would like to be assured that the Government have that aspect of the matter also under consideration.
In the course of a speech recently the Taoiseach said that the Government were realistic enough to understand that if an emergency was likely to develop the country should be prepared for it. We want evidence of that. We got no evidence of it in the speech yesterday of the Minister for Defence. I am sure even the Taoiseach will realise that a realistic approach to our defence problem cannot be made on the basis of bluff and false figures, and that if there is to be in the field of defence, in the field of finance or  in the political field a realistic approach to the preparations required, it must be based upon accurately ascertained facts.
This Government have got an advantage which their predecessors had not got in similar circumstances. There is no political problem facing them in making preparations against a possible emergency, no problem in the spending of money upon these preparations because they are being urged to do it by the Opposition. When we were taking steps of a preparatory kind in a similar situation in 1938 there were many Deputies then in opposition who were urging that those steps were unnecessary, that they were a waste of money, even a political stunt. The record shows that the Estimate for the Department of Industry and Commerce was opposed in 1939 on a motion to refer back, on the specific ground of objection to a decision taken to store wheat against a possible emergency.
We had to carry through such preparations as we considered necessary against that political opposition and it must be confessed that to some extent the adequacy of these preparations was curtailed by our knowledge of the political hostility which they might incur.
This Government have not any such handicap. We assure them that any practicable and sensible measures which they take in that direction will have our approval and support. We promise them that if it fortunately proves in the event that these preparations were unnecessary, that the money was spent as an insurance premium is often spent without any ultimate need for it, we will not criticise them on that account. If they find themselves with a stock of coal in the Park or a stock of turf somewhere else over and above the immediate requirements of the situation when the crisis has passed, we will be glad of it because it will show that the preparations they made were at least adequate. They can, therefore, approach this problem—and it is a grave problem—in the knowledge that it involves no political risks or difficulties.
 I cannot understand why we have this indecisive, dilatory attitude; why, instead of announcements on policy, we get the rather fatuous statement we had by the Taoiseach at Mullingar and the extraordinarily dishonest statement made yesterday by the Minister for Defence. I hope the position of the Government will be made clear and that the national interests will be served by the statement the Taoiseach will make when he is concluding this debate.
Major de Valera: The thing that is worrying people at the moment more than anything else is this tendency to drift, drift, drift. In so far as there are favourable circumstances at the moment, of course you get some benefit from the drift, but the trouble about all drift is that it is uncontrolled and that it can bring you into circumstances from which you will find it difficult to extricate yourself. It is true at the moment that economically, in regard to cattle prices, the general trend of circumstances is such that our drift does not hurt us. These circumstances are such that benefits accrue.
But, what about the other side of the picture? Even on the agricultural side of the picture, to a Deputy like me, listening to what is said on all sides of the House, listening to the criticisms of Deputies who support the Government, it is patently clear, even from the narrow economic point of view, that things are not as well in regard to the over-all picture as they might be.
From the consumers' point of view in the towns, what is the position? A Government which would even sacrifice preparation for a possible emergency to work on the hypothesis of peace, which alleges it is working on the basis of peaceful economics to cut the cost of living and make life easier, a Government like that, drifting without a positive policy, what has it to say?
The latest returns are illuminating. Even the organ which supports the Government so strongly, in June of this year—3rd June, to be accurate— has an editorial on the cost of living. Here is what it said:—
What has happened in regard to the cost of living? About the same time the Government Information Bureau produced its statistics, the situation was such that apparently an explanatory note was necessary in regard to the cost of living. The cost-of-living figure was up in spite of promises. Why was it up? It was up simply because the drift was allowed to go on and nothing was done. They were hoping for the best and drifted. What is the result? The result simply is this:—
Normally, there is a seasonal increase of about 8 per cent. in the price of potatoes between February and May, but on this occasion there has been an increase of 34 per cent., while in the case of the price of eggs the decrease in the interval in question has been 6 per cent. as compared with the normal seasonal drop of 16 per cent.”
“The increases were offset to some extent by a decline in the prices of milk which, when corrected for seasonality, account for a fall of approximately one-sixth of a point, and of biscuits of approximately one-seventh of a point.”
It then goes on to point to increases in the prices of clothing. What I have quoted is a statement by the Government  Information Bureau and it appeared in the newspapers of 3rd June last. I think it will also be found in the Trade Journal.
Now, there is the situation and not-withstanding a long answer to a question which the Taoiseach gave here some time previously and in which he purported to show that the cost of living had gone down, it is clear on these figures that it had gone up. But you do not need figures to show that. You have only to ask the ordinary housewife about the position, about the price of bacon, and eggs around Christmas time, and most prices to-day. At any time you can pick a particular commodity. Take oatmeal, or take any commodity which is causing difficulty now and the net result is an over-all rise in the real cost of living.
It is particularly interesting from the point of view of milk. There was a decrease so far as milk is concerned, but even that was not an unqualified benefit to the community, because you have only to hear what the farmers are saying about milk to realise where you are in regard to that.
It is a peculiar coincidence that precisely on the day that the statement was reported in the newspapers there appeared in the same newspapers the report of a meeting of the Housewives' Association where the Minister for External Affairs, with his usual differing views when he speaks apart from the Government, made an apology and suggested action. The general tone of his statement was that nothing was being done, but on this particular occasion, since he had responsibility of Government, he said to the housewives: “Go and do it yourselves.” A report was produced by that organisation where it was stated that “the hope that the cost of living would show a downward trend this year had been shattered in recent months.” The report further stated that “small reductions on such items as subsidised flour, sugar, biscuits, margarine and soap did not compensate for the 10 per cent. to 33 per cent. rise in prices of oatmeal, bacon, eggs, potatoes, as well as gas, turf, and many items of clothing and footwear.”
 All that is outside the Government's device of an off-the-ration rise in the cost of living. Certain commodities, such as tea and even flour, can be had beyond a certain quantity if you pay luxury prices for them. Now, in all this we realise—any sensible man realises—that there are difficult problems for any Government. There are difficult problems of balance. Anybody coming into this House and listening to the debate on the Department for Agriculture and on the Taoiseach's Estimate or on the Estimate for the Department of Industry and Commerce can easily see that there are difficult problems of balance to be met. One can honestly and freely admit that a Government cannot work miracles; one can honestly and freely say that whatever solution is found it will be possible to criticise it. But the serious thing is that the Government—with apparently the elements within it neutralising each other—are simply drifting, letting the economics of the community be dictated by the over-all trend of events, by the currents in which the economics of this country are floating. That is a serious thing; it is a dangerous thing. Even though the cattle prices trend is favourable and we are getting the benefit, the serious consequences of the unfavourable aspects of the drift are another matter and nothing is being done to correct that.
That leads one very logically to consider where all this drift is bringing us and it is from that point of view, the point of view of prudent fore-thought, with the lessons of the last emergency before us, that some of us have found it necessary to point out the dangers of the present situation. It has not been a pleasant task for anyone to see the gloomy side, but with a Coalition Government, with its inherent weaknesses and its Ministers talking with divers voices on fundamental matters, with such differing views in the past as those held by the Minister for External Affairs, the Minister for Agriculture and the Minister for Defence, with all these combined in a Government at a period when we are facing conditions that  may very well lead to another emergency, it is necessary for somebody to point the moral.
The Minister for Defence came in here yesterday and tried to pretend that we were raising this matter as a scare, that we were trying to panic the country. The truth is that for two years many of us have been quietly trying to bring this aspect to the Government's notice without either alarming people or stressing the matter unduly. I ask any dispassionate Deputy to take up the records of the debates on the Estimates for 1948 and 1949 and see if my statement is not correct. But such representations, such suggestions, went completely unheeded and the drift was allowed to continue, while in the mean-time the world situation continued to deteriorate.
It was necessary to draw attention to these facts and now it might be opportune to deal with some points in regard to the Minister for Defence on this Estimate. The Minister for Defence, so far as I can see, was imported into this debate for two purposes. One was to attract the question of debate on defensive measures into a narrow discussion of Army strengths and the other was apparently to make the accusations and the irresponsible statements that only the Minister for Defence can make.
Let me deal with the first. Fundamentally, as was pointed out on other Estimates, in facing a possible defence crisis there arises the question of feeding our people, making sure that the supply aspect is catered for. This has been already referred to on the relevant Estimates. There is largely in that a question of co-ordination and so far as one can see no positive action has been taken by the Government.
The next aspect has been adverted to by Deputy Lemass, the industrial and supply aspect, and the problem of communications. Yesterday was the very first time any indication was given —and it was given by the Minister for Defence—that any of these problems was considered at all. He said that sub-committees were set up and that legislation was prepared. You want more than preparatory legislation. All  the lawyers' clauses in Bills, all the paper that can be accumulated in Departments will not feed one single individual if you do not take concrete and practical steps in conjunction with your legalistic planning——
Another matter that has been adverted to is the protection of the civilian population in a city such as Dublin and in the densely populated areas in this city. Out here on the lawn a deep shelter was demolished, and other shelters were recently demolished too. Shelters are only a minor part of the scheme but some organisation is necessary to ensure that in densely populated areas problems of hospitalisation, the care of the sick, the evacuation of children, the adequate feeding of infants and kindred problems are dealt with. We found out in the last war that these things have to be adequately planned and catered for in advance. That is a problem of co-ordination. These problems are not the sole responsibility of any one particular Department. There is a dovetailing between all the Departments very often involved in this and, as far as one can see, there is nothing being done. There was a token Vote for A.R.P., or something like that, and anybody who knows the value of money will see how far that will go to do anything. Now there is some suggestion about being ready with all our emergency services. What attention have our Red Cross got? What is the position of the Red Cross at the moment? They will tell you that they are rather perturbed about the situation and they are neither getting a hearing nor facilities to fit them for the job for which they would be needed in such circumstances.
Now these are the generalities of the Minister for Defence. I think it is time, with your permission, to inform the Minister specifically of some of his misrepresentations. I want to ask the  Taoiseach why is there a consistent exaggeration and misrepresentation that the Defence Forces which we have available are greater than they are? I know the Taoiseach made a mistake in Mullingar and I can understand the nature of the mistake in citing the establishment, as he did, instead of actual strength. I am not for the moment putting him in the same category as the Minister for Defence. But why does the Minister for Defence consistently and erroneously exaggerate and misrepresent the figures relating to his own Department where it is his responsibility to be correctly informed? Even if it was merely a mistake, then one would expect the error to be now one way, now the other; but the error is always in the direction of tending to exaggerate and represent to the people that all is lovely in the garden when it is not.
I take up this morning's papers and I find in the Irish Times,—and notice it is the Irish Times; the Taoiseach has good reason for remembering the Irish Times on the particular issue of the Republic of Ireland Bill and so forth —this headline: “Dáil told there is no shortage of trained men.” It is the Independent, of course, which has the statement that there are 40,000 men and 2,000 trained officers, and if anything can be taken from these figures it is simply that there are 42,000 troops available. The regular Army on his own figures is less than 8,000. His First Line Reserve less than 6,000. The last figure he gave on his Estimate for the F.C.A. is 21,500. It adds up to less than 35,500, and that includes the officers. That is very substantially less than 42,000. One would imagine that that type of error would not go on.
There is another matter in that regard where the Minister for Defence has been exaggerating and misrepresenting his figures. He talks about the men who were available during the emergency. There were a number of men who were demobilised after the emergency but many of them have gone out of the country and, in any event, the men who were of the optimum age in 1940 are older now and, in particular, the officer class of those days is ten  years older now. It is not a pleasant thing to have to advert to these things. The trouble is that the Minister for Defence comes in here to make these representations and ensures that in the Press sympathetic to the Government these representations are publicised to all and it is, therefore, necessary to correct them. Another favourite little misrepresentation of the Minister's is that he was budgeting for the same Army as we were budgeting for. You have only to take up the debates where on his own admission he budgeted for 1,000 less and in any event, as was pointed out before, this Party when it was in office, had planned to build up to the establishment. His first act was to cut it and to budget for something lower.
Now the Minister for Defence came in yesterday with something that was rather different from his usual tone. Heretofore he had constantly invited us to look for information. He would hide nothing. Deputies had only to ask the question and any information that was there would be at our disposal. Yesterday he starts complaining that we should not be asking for information of this sort at all. Where are we with the Minister for Defence? Where is the Taoiseach with the Minister for Defence?
Major de Valera: I wish the country were as happy because here is the difficulty. The Taoiseach and the Minister for Defence have pronounced a policy of neutrality for this country. To quote the Minister for Defence himself on it, in which he links himself with the Taoiseach, he said—I think it was on the debate on the Defence Forces (No. 2) Bill this year: “Those who have brains to understand words can read into that sentence what our policy and outlook is; that is, as things are, we have to rely on our own strength to hold this island against anyone who may be an aggressor,” and he expanded on that on another occasion. Very well. In all the circumstances of the particular case, the Taoiseach can make a case for his policy. But it is all right to pronounce a policy. What are you doing to make  it a reality? It is all right to say that you stand for a policy of neutrality and, again, to quote the Minister for Defence, to rely on your own strength to hold this island against anyone who may be an aggressor. But what are you going to do about it? You cannot do it overnight. What are we doing, for instance, to deal with the question of feeding our people and ensuring that our people are fed if such a crisis should arise so that we can produce the necessary foodstuffs at home and obviate any shortages arising from restrictions on the importation of foreign food? What are we doing about fertilisers, what are we doing about industries, what are we doing about power and the protection of power, and about civil defence?
Major de Valera: It would be a good thing to build them and to fill them. But what are we doing about all these things? These are all positive necessary and concrete steps which must be taken to make any policy of neutrality a reality, to make it mean something more than words. The Government has not stated what it is doing in regard to them. It has a sacred duty to make sure that it will be in a position to implement what it says. There could be no greater betrayal of a people than to make protestations and leave them to feel that things were all right, and then fail in preparation, leaving them naked and open should an emergency come upon them. There could be no greater betrayal, I say, than to lull them with such promises and leave them open to dictation and want in circumstances when the need for implementing the promises arose.
Major de Valera: They need to be given a chance to do what they did before in circumstances such as we are talking about. One has cause to be anxious. Up to recently one simply felt that the Government was drifting, and just did not want to face up to this problem. We had great hopes when they started the recruiting drive last  Christmas to build up the Regular Army. They did get 1,000 men or more. We did think that we had seen signs at last, and we were prepared to applaud them for that.
The Regular Army takes a very big place in this picture, because we are a small country, in training defence personnel and because everything has to be built up on it. The nucleus there must be sufficient to do that. We thought we saw signs, but, after the Minister's Estimate was passed, the recruiting stopped. The later figures that we have got reveal that, while the recruiting drive got us 1,000 men or more, the Minister, as soon as his Estimate was passed, stopped the recruiting drive, and relied merely on the dribble that was coming in so that the strength remains static, and indeed is still well below establishment.
It is a disheartening situation, and one wonders. Now, coming to the question of the figures, the Minister for Defence suggests that he cannot get the men, that it would mean taking men out of employment. I answered the Minister for Defence on that before. Nobody suggests that you should mobilise your reserves at the moment. All we ask is that the reserve should be there and trained, the First Line Reserves and the F.C.A. and, if necessary, to build up the First Line Reserve as we did before the last war. Remember that, as regards the Regular Army and the Reserves, we are in a much worse position than we were in 1939. In 1939 we had approximately 20,000 First Line, that is between the Regular Army and the First Line Reserve, available for mobilisation, and 19,000 mobilised. According to the Minister's figures, we have now only about 14,000 between the Regular Army and the First Line Reserve. Even though we got through on the last occasion providentially, many of us thought that the number we had was insufficient.
There is also the F.C.A. numbering about 21,000. They are wanted for their own jobs and will not be available for mobilisation. In any event, they are not trained, a large number of them, in the first line sense, so that the Minister's  representations in that regard are completely misleading. The Minister for Defence, as I have said, talks about 42,000 being available, but that number would include the F.C.A. and would not be sufficient. The question one has to ask is, what does it all mean and why was the Minister for Defence brought in here, as he was yesterday? Why, as Deputy Lemass asked, is the Government so hesitant in this regard? Is it that the Minister does not believe in this policy? We cannot but reckon with the fact that here we have a Minister who said before the last war, in March, 1939:—
“As I said, I subscribe to the view that neutrality, no matter how desirable, is not to be expected in the next world war, except on the basis of our givinig up selling a pig or a sheep or a bullock or an egg to any outside country. We cannot afford to do that. We have got to face up to the fact that we are going to sell more of our agricultural produce during a war than ever we would sell during peace times; that we are going to get bigger prices and sell more. I agree with the Taoiseach that that—even if there were no other reason—is going to involve us in the war.”
That is what the Minister for Defence said in March, 1939, as reported at column 2227, Volume 74. Again, he said after the last war had started that he was never a firm believer in the feasibility or benefits of neutrality, and went on to say:—
“I was prepared to adopt it and to support it, however, as the policy that appealed to the vast majority and that at all events it was worth trying, but if the first result of it is to pile up costs, to panic the people, to interfere with the lives of the people in every second home and to mobilise an unlimited man-power against unknown and invisible dangers, then I think that we require to know a lot more about neutrality, its implications and its responsibilities, than we have been told so far in this Assembly.”
These statements were made by the Minister for Defence before the last war and almost immediately after the  last war had started—in September, 1939. In addition to that, when one reads what the Minister for Defence said on his own Estimate with regard to his difficulties and the feasibility of neutrality, one wonders exactly what the Minister for Defence is thinking. Why is the Government so slow to take prudent precautions here? No one is asking them to panic, but we are asking them to take certain prudent precautions that will not upset the economics of the community. They could, as Deputy Lemass has said, do that without any political repercussions. For two years we kept relatively quiet on the matter to give the Government every chance of facing up to the position. In every debate and on the Minister's Estimate, there was a constructive and a reasonable approach to it. I make that remark and ask to be judged by the records on this, in my own regard anyhow, and in regard to the people on this side of the House.
What then is the hesitancy, what is the delay and what is the explanation for such delay within a Government composed of people who, in the past, have expressed views such as Deputy MacBride, the Minister for External Affairs, and Deputy Dillon who was expelled from the Fine Gael Party during the war for his views on defence, because they could not face up to it politically, and in view of the statements of the Minister for Defence that I have given.
That is the situation which we have to face in an unpleasant position at the present day. We hope and pray that what is feared may not come. One can ever find a few hopeful signs at the present moment, but still prudence demands that we should look to the situation as we see it. We have focussed much attention on the Regular Army in this regard because, as I have already said, it is the nucleus upon which all our defence must be organised; it is the brain and the centre from which our preparations for such an emergency must be directed.
The Minister for Defence pretends that strengthening the Army would involve taking men away from their employment.  There are two answers to that and I gave them before. In the first place, we are looking only for a few thousand men. He said he could not get them. His own recruiting drive, while it was on, succeeded in getting 1,000 and you require only a few thousand more to get the Army up to establishment. If you allow things to drift, as they are drifting, you will not get even sufficient recruits to obviate wastage. Go out to the people, make your drive and you will get all you want. You already got 1,000 in a few months. Then as regards the pool of employment, your own unemployment and the figures in regard to emigration are an answer to that. The few thousand that would go into the Defence Forces would make no difference to the pool available. Is it not foolish to suggest that getting a few thousand young men into the forces is going to restrict the number available for employment elsewhere? Why, then, is some attempt not made to strengthen the Defence Forces? The sad part of the situation is that so much could be done while time is left to us. Some Deputies, for instance, Deputy Collins on the Estimate for the Minister for Defence, raised other questions but our happy position is that it is not necessary to resolve the problems posed by Deputy Collins to make certain important preparations to meet the crisis if it should come. No matter on what hypothesis you face the crisis, our people will have to be fed and arrangements will have to be made for that purpose.
Major de Valera: Deputy Collins can make his own speech. The point I want to make, and it is an important point in all seriousness, is that it is not necessary to be distracted or to face up to certain other problems that are there in order to tackle the question of defence. Important and urgent as the problem of Partition is, or as the problem which the Deputy has raised is, under any conceivable circumstances under which we have a face a crisis,  our people have to be fed and we have to organise industry up to a relatively self-sufficient standard. We have all the lessons of the emergency behind us to tell us what to do in that regard. The chemical industry and other matters were mentioned. All these things could be considered and action taken. In regard to the more narrow aspect of defence, civil defence, catering for evacuation, medical services and emergency services—all these could be adequately organised and prudent, though not extravagant, preparations made in their regard in advance without being stultified by the necessity for making a decision on the lines indicated by Deputy Collins.
In respect to the Defence Forces, whether we are involved or not, this country will have to be garrisoned. Whether we are neutral or not, local protection will have to be supplied. Even if you were involved, it would still be desirable that our own troops should discharge that essential duty of garrisoning our own country. That entails the organisation and development of a Defence Force to meet any situation that we can conceivably contemplate. For that reason I would press the Taoiseach to take this problem of co-ordination in hand. One has a good deal of sympathy with the Taoiseach facing such a problem. It is an extremely difficult problem for any Taoiseach, particularly the Taoiseach of a Coalition Government and, unfortunately, even in the last year the situation into which we are drifting has not improved. The warnings are there for us. We can do a great deal to prepare ourselves to survive. If we do not prepare ourselves to survive, we run a serious risk.
I could conclude with this but I know we are again going to be accused of scaremongering. Prudent preparations, not extravagant preparations, are possible. At the end of the period of office of the last Government, so far as the Department of Defence was concerned, I can with personal knowledge tell the House, as ex-Ministers have already told the House, that a basis was laid which needed only to be implemented that would go a long way towards solving part of the problem.
 Deputy Lemass has dealt with the problems such as they were from the point of view of supplies and much could be done in that regard too. The ground was laid in advance. In regard to agriculture, our experience was that a balanced tillage policy such as was put into force in 1937, 1938 and 1939 was likely to be the best for us in peace and war. That too is a fortunate factor for us in an unfortunate situation. It is fortunate that in the last analysis, the type of policy that in its fundamental principles is best for a small country in time of peace also happens to be the best which we can operate in time of a threatened emergency.
All things considered, there is little excuse now for allowing things to continue to drift, especially as that drift is not giving us the benefits which we were promised or the benefits which we might hope to get. As I have already pointed out in connection with the cost of living and its trends, that drift can continue to bring us to a position where the Government would virtually deprive itself of all power of making an independent decision in the interests of the people and could do no more than bow to the inevitable in any difficulty which might arise at a later stage. These are considerations which are agitating the country and all the talk about scares, and the continued misrepresentations of the Minister for Defence, cannot alter the facts. As I have said, although I have a lot of sympathy with the Taoiseach in his difficult task, he must know that the situation now being such as it is; in this matter at least he should step out, take the lead and set a headline for us in this country to move positively somewhere and not just go drifting along in Old-Man-River fashion as we have been drifting heretofore.
Mr. Sheehan: As I have stated, I was much impressed by the speech of the Taoiseach yesterday and by the very fine picture which he was able to present to the House of the progress of the country industrially and otherwise during the past year. When I turn to the other side of the House, I find a very different picture presented to us. We heard nothing from that side except rumours of war, war and more war. I think Deputies who indulge in talk of that kind are merely trying to terrify the people of the country. Personally I see no signs of any great emergency such as these Deputies portrayed for us. In my opinion it would be fitter for them to pray for peace and harmony amongst ourselves. That, I think, would be our best line of defence. They never seem to think of that; instead we have this continual bitterness and hatred. I think that the people of this country can confidently rely on men of the type of Seán MacEoin, Dan Morrissey and Dick Mulcahy to do all that is necessary to meet any emergency and that they should get the backing of the State in any steps they think necessary for that purpose.
Men like Seán MacEoin and the Minister for Industry and Commerce are all Irishmen, every one of them, and you can be quite sure that if the call is necessary they will make it. To listen to some of those speakers you would imagine they wanted every man in the country to join the Defence Forces to-morrow. Would it not be better to leave the men at work building houses for the country? You have people in Cork who have been living in back lanes all their lives and yet you hear all this talk about defence. It is time enough to bid the devil good morrow when you meet him.
There has been a lot of criticism of the Minister for Agriculture but I think the Minister for Agriculture is on the right lines. I heard him say in this House the other night that if the farmers of this country want to get out  of the rut they are in they should get milking machines and tractors. The farmers of this country have not been treated properly in the past. They have been kept down all the time, but now they are getting a better education and are being instructed by agricultural inspectors and are doing things on modern lines.
I did not intend to enter this debate and I do not intend to delay the House but I want to compliment the Taoiseach and all the Ministers. They are all working hard, doing their job and trying to make this country a country worth living in.
Mr. Colley: The Taoiseach intervened on the Estimate for Public Works on Wednesday to correct “misstatements”—he said—in connection with the cenotaph and he then proceeded to quote Deputy Colley and, presumably, Deputy Colley was the only person responsible for the “misstatements”.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: It is obvious that we cannot allow the administration of every Department to be dragged into this Estimate. Otherwise we would have the administration of every Department discussed on this. That cannot be allowed and Deputy Colley knows that. We could not have a discussion on the Board of Works, agriculture or local government. It is overriding policy for which the Taoiseach is responsible.
Mr. Colley: Am I not entitled to raise the question of the cenotaph and of the Garden of Remembrance and Government policy? The Taoiseach on Wednesday though it so important that he actually intervened.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Taoiseach did what every Deputy is entitled to do: raise a point of order with the Chair as to whether Deputy Colley was travelling on the right lines in respect of this Estimate. The Chair ruled that Deputy Colley was not entitled to raise the administration of the Board of Public Works. Deputy Traynor said after that, that the discussion is being stifled. That surely applies to the action of the Chair.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Deputy MacEntee cannot come into the House —because he was not present during the discussion—and ask if the Chair is going to allow the House to develop into a beargarden. The Chair has no intention of allowing the House to develop into a beargarden and such an allegation should not be made by the Deputy.
Mr. MacEntee: On a point of order, you said that the administration of a Department cannot be dealt with on this Vote but only general policy. May I call to your attention a question which I put down on the 9th May when I received a reply from the Minister for Finance in the course of which he said:—
“At a meeting of the Government held on the 14th May, 1948, when the question of effecting economies in the Vote for Public Works and Buildings was under consideration, it was decided to defer this scheme with a number of other projects.”
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I have ruled that the administration of every Department cannot be discussed on the Taoiseach's Estimate. The matter of general overriding policy may be discussed. Deputy Colley proceeded to deal with what is purely a matter of administration by the Department of Public Works. Deputy MacEntee rose in the House when Deputy Colley proceeded to do that—
Mr. Coburn: As one who was present during the debate on the Board of Works, I can say that when the Taoiseach made a certain statement and quoted from the Official Report, Deputy Colley was present and answered the statement. If he was not competent to give a proper answer, he has no right to introduce the subject now. I would have sympathy for Deputy Colley if he was not present.
Mr. McQuillan: On a point of order. Yesterday another Deputy tried to speak on a subject of great importance, namely, the subletting of land by the Land Commission. He asked to be allowed to inquire what was the Government policy on that and was ruled out of order. I cannot understand why Deputy Colley can get away with another matter when another Deputy was stopped from speaking on one of equal or greater importance.
Mr. Colley: My attitude in this matter was to criticise the action of the Government on the line they took about the cenotaph and, on the other hand, the line they took about the Garden of Remembrance. I think I made that perfectly clear, but the Taoiseach seemed to think that I misrepresented altogether the Government's attitude about the cenotaph. He went on to quote the statement I made in which I said:—
“So far as I am aware, all that the Fianna Fáil Government undertook to do was to replace the previous temporary memorial which had to be taken down as dangerous and which was put up by the former Government. They did not undertake to build an elaborate monument such as that which is being put up at the moment. I want to correct the belief which, apparently, Deputy Cowan holds about the matter.”
I should like to point out, as I think was pointed out by Deputy Traynor at the time, that the key word in that statement is “elaborate”. I did not object to the building of the cenotaph.  I was only answering the statement made by Deputy Cowan—I forget the exact words—but it was to the effect that it was the result of the previous Government's decision.
The Taoiseach set out to give a history of the whole matter and somewhere in his statement said that Deputy Cowan was quite right and Deputy Colley was wrong. He said in that statement that on the 15th August, 1939, the former Taoiseach announced that the temporary cenotaph would be taken down as it was in imment danger of collapse and would be replaced by a more permanent memorial. After reciting certain things which happened over the following few years about designs, he told us that on the 16th September, 1947, it was decided that a new sketch design in the form of a column or obelisk should be submitted. I had better read the Taoiseach's own words so that there will be no misunderstanding:—
“Subsequently, as I have stated, on the 16th September (that is 1947) the Government decided not to go on with these plans but to have a new sketch design of a monument in the form of a column or obelisk including provision for a cross and for portrait plaques. These were then to be submitted to General Mulcahy and to my colleagues and, in fact, were also submitted. That having been done, the architects of the Board of Works were directed to proceed with the making of designs for a column or obelisk. The preparation of the new design was delayed in the Office of Public Works owing to the pressure of work on the architectural staff of the office. Mr. Raymond McGrath, the principal architect, then submitted plans and in the meantime a change of Government had taken place. Mr. McGrath submitted plans to me and to my colleagues following this decision for the erection of a column or obelisk. We approved of the present column or obelisk with some changes and additions. It will, therefore, be seen that Deputy Colley has done something which might be a great public disservice and which could have caused very  great bitterness had I not taken the opportunity here to-day to correct it.”
I submit that that shows plainly that the previous Government ordered the execution of a design, but that that design had never been submitted to them before they left office and that the whole responsibility for the approval of that design and the carrying out of the work is the responsibility of the present Government and not of the former Government. I cannot see, therefore, how the Taoiseach claims that Deputy Cowan was right and Deputy Colley all wrong in his statement. It was quite possible for the former Government to have changed their mind, as apparently had been done a few times earlier, with regard to the plans and designs for this memorial. I think it is very unfair that the Taoiseach should, by the whole tone of his statement and the line he took about the statement I made, try to put the responsibility on the former Government. His own words show that it was the present Government approved of the plans and carried out the work. The farthest the former Government got was the ordering of the designs.
“Much propaganda has been made in regard to the project for the Garden of Remembrance. Deputy Colley, in a most unworthy speech, said that we were reviving the civil war spirit because we did not proceed with that project and because we were proceeding with the memorial on Leinster Lawn. I hope we have convinced him that that is not so and that, in fact, it was his statement that was a deliberate attempt to revive the old civil war spirit.”
The Taoiseach did not give us any further details about the Garden of Remembrance. I propose to give more details about it, as he did about the cenotaph, and I want to quote from Volume 120, column 1917 and 1918 of the Official Debates of 9th May, 1950, where, in reply to a series of questions by Deputy MacEntee about the Garden of Remembrance, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance said:—
“The proposal was initiated in September, 1935. The site is the northern part of the Rotunda Gardens and is, approximately, one and a half acres in area. The site was acquired in fee simple from the governors of the Rotunda Hospital on the 20th October, 1939, in consideration of a sum of £2,000. The decision to hold a competition for a design was taken on the 15th March, 1940. The first advertisement appeared on the 26th January, 1946, and the 31st July, 1946, was fixed as the closing date. The result of the competition was announced on the 20th August, 1946. In accordance with the published conditions of the competition, Mr. John J. Robinson, M.Arch., F.R.I.A.I., F.R.I.B.A., acted as assessor, and selected the design submitted by Mr. Daithi P. Hanly, B.Arch., M.R.I.A.I., A.R.I.B.A., A.M.T.P.I. The design comprises a sunken garden with a pool in the form of a cross, the main axis running east to west, the principal entrance laying at the east of the site and a large sculptured monument at the western end. The cost of the scheme was estimated at £23,000, but this did not include the cost of the sculpture, of which no estimate was made, pending a decision as to the actual design of this feature. The following provisions for the scheme were made in the Vote for Public Works and Buildings:—
At a meeting of the Government, held on the 14th May, 1948, when the question of effecting economies in the Vote for Public Works and Buildings was under consideration, it was decided to defer this scheme with a number of other projects. There has been no decision not to proceed with the execution of the winning design. As the Deputy has already been informed, the scheme has been deferred and the temporary use of the site has been granted to the Rotunda Hospital authorities, who made urgent representations for it for infant welfare purposes.”
I want to draw attention to the fact that this project had proceeded to the stage at which the whole plans had been prepared and approved, a design had been selected after public competition and, I understand, a money prize given for the best design. Provision had been made in the Estimates. The site was acquired in fee simple and was available at the time, but, on the ground of economy, according to the Parliamentary Secretary, on 14th May, 1948, a couple of months after the Government had assumed office, the work was not proceeded with. Subsequently, apparently, it was handed over to the Rotunda Hospital for children's clinics. In or about the same time, the question of the cenotaph, for which, according to the Taoiseach's own statement, a design had not yet been approved and for which £2,500 had been included in that year's Estimate, was apparently pushed forward judging by the stage it has reached, but the Garden of Remembrance, the memorial to the real founders of the State, the men of 1916, was postponed on the grounds of economy, although £5,000 had been provided in the Estimates by the former Government. Let us hear no more about the baby clinics. It was postponed on the ground of economy two months after the Government went into office. That is the statement of the Parliamentary Secretary. Subsequently, apparently to make sure that it would not proceed in any  reasonable time, it was handed over, temporarily, moryah, for clinics.
“To ask the Minister for Health if he will state the total estimated cost of the buildings now being erected on the site of the Garden of Remembrance at the Rotunda Hospital; and if he will indicate the period for which it is intended to use this site for a children's clinic.”
“I am informed that the estimated cost of the buildings as requested by the Deputy is £39,734. It is intended to use the site for an infants' unit until the accommodation has been provided elsewhere in permanent form. Proposals, and details of preliminary planning for the erection of such buildings, on an alternative site, received from the Board of the Rotunda Hospital are under consideration in my Department.”
The Taoiseach said—I drew attention to it when reading—that the project is going ahead. A site, the fee simple of which had been obtained, and which was vacant at the time; the plans, and a £5,000 provision in the Estimates, were handed over to the present Government. They decided to defer it and, to make sure that it would be deferred, they handed over the site for children's clinics that will cost practically £40,000 for temporary buildings. If the plan is going ahead and will be pushed ahead, as the Taoiseach said, is that £40,000 to be thrown to the wind? £40,000 is to be spent on temporary buildings to be pulled down in a few years. That, from the Government of retrenchment and economy. Is there anybody in this House who does not know that, even with the present high cost of building in Dublin, permanent accommodation, quite adjacent to the site, could have been secured if the Government were prepared to spend £40,000, or even a much lesser sum, for its acquisition, and the Garden of Remembrance could have been proceeded with?
Mr. Colley: If the Government had been prepared to spend £40,000—it is only for the cost of building, according to this reply—there is nobody but knows that much more commodious property in a permanent form quite adjacent to it and quite as convenient as these huts that are now being built, could have been secured. The Government's official attitude in statements here is their own greatest condemnation. It is quite evident. It is because it is so obvious that the people are saying and that I said that this Government looks like trying to recreate the civil war spirit. Where plans are not ready, they set out to push the memorial to the founders of a partitionist State. They had everything ready for the memorial to the men of 1916. Everything there was ready for them and they postponed it and they then took steps to see that it cannot be done, without a huge loss, in any reasonable time.
The Taoiseach in his statement here disclaimed any such intention on the part of the Government and said that was far from their minds. These may  not be his exact words but that is the meaning of them. If that is so, if that aspect has never occurred to his mind before, I suggest that he has that excuse no longer, that everybody, around Dublin at any rate, has been able to see it. I suggest to him that if he is in earnest that he does not want to create that bitterness and antagonism again, he will take steps immediately to proceed with the Garden of Remembrance. Deeds will speak louder than words. We have had a lot of words from the Taoiseach, for instance, his election promises, the value of which we know. Let us have deeds, if he wants us to believe, in view of what has happened up to this, Any difficulties that there are in the way now are of the Government's own making. Let them unmake them. Then we will believe them.
Mr. MacEntee: I am wondering how the time is going. Would it be in order to ask the Chair to give some indication to the House as to how the balance of time now remaining is to be divided as between the Government and the Opposition?
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Chair is endeavouring to adjust the time so that the agreement arrived at will be kept. That is the reason the Chair looks constantly almost at the Opposition side of the House. I think that is a clear indication to Deputy MacEntee of how the time is running.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: ——that a certain number of hours was to be allocated to the Opposition. That agreement was communicated, I understand, officially to the Chair and the Chair has since been endeavouring to adjust the hours so that that would be kept. The Chair will, therefore, call on a member of the Opposition if a member of the Opposition offers himself.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Chair has no option but to call Opposition Deputies as they offer, within the terms of the agreement. If Deputies wish to repudiate the agreement, that is no concern of the Chair.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: ——and the House agreed. The House accepted that agreement. If Deputy Flanagan feels aggrieved, he should have made himself felt when that agreement was being reached by the House. Under that agreement, a certain number of hours is being allocated to the Opposition. The Chair is endeavouring to keep the terms of the agreement.
Mr. P.J. Burke: The people of the country, generally, are disappointed that the Government has failed completely to implement the promises they made, individually and collectively. The Government has failed completely to implement their promise that they would find employment for everybody. All they did, in that connection, was to set up a Commission on Emigration —and we hear nothing whatever about it now. Miracles were to be worked overnight but when the present Government came into office they forgot about their promises. Their short-sighted policy in regard to national development has retarded national progress. They have stymied a number of projects which the Fianna Fáil Government were endeavouring to put into operation. Does the present Government intend to carry on with that short-sighted policy in regard to this young nation? Are they going to continue to retard progress as they have been retarding it for the past 2½ years? This is a serious national matter. We are a young country with a young Parliament. Is it merely the policy of this Government, which is composed of so many different groups, to carry on, and no more? Is that just the policy? Of course, I cannot expect a great deal when I hear the members of the Labour  Party, the members of the Clann na Poblachta Party, the members of the Fine Gael Party and the Independents tell us about their policy in this House. It is obvious that their policy is short-sighted.
Fianna Fáil, on the other hand, made every effort possible for the good of this country but this present Government is undoing a lot of that effort by Fianna Fáil. Take, for example, the attitude of the present Government to the tourist industry. They told us that Fianna Fáil's methods of dealing with hotels were small parish pump methods. They said the same in respect of a site that was taken over for a hotel. What, therefore, could one expect in the way of national progress from a Government of that type of mentality? The answer, very obviously, is, nothing. The short-sighted policy of the Government of slowing down development and misrepresenting facts is bringing the running of this country to a standstill. Of course, when they go out and talk to the people of the country they are very glib; so glib that they are capable of misrepresenting facts. The Government has now an opportunity of following in the footsteps of Fianna Fáil, if they want to, and carrying on with the work of national development which was started by Fianna Fáil. That work was put on a sound foundation with a good deal of foresight and understanding and, taking the broad national view, in the long run it is the only policy for the development of our country.
Before the present Government came into office circulars were issued in connection with unemployment by the then Leader of the Labour Party, Deputy Norton, who is now the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Welfare. He was critical of the number of people who were leaving this country year after year. He was going to stop emigration overnight. He had a plan and everything was ready to put it into operation. What, in fact, happened? All we got was the establishment of the Commission on Emigration. The Government has been in office now for the past two and a half years and we fail to see any national advance in that respect. Our people are still emigrating  and, in particular, they are emigrating from rural Ireland. The policy of the present Government has had the effect of expediting their exit from rural Ireland. The policy of the Minister for Agriculture is slowly killing tillage farming in this country and trying to put the tillage farmers out of existence. That policy is being pursued by the Minister for Agriculture in spite of the lip service which was paid over the years to the tillage farmers by people who are now supporting the present Government. Fianna Fáil encouraged the tillage farmers of Ireland in their work and, because our tillage farmers are not now getting the encouragement they deserve, the industry is failing.
There has been a great deal of misrepresentation of the Fianna Fáil Government in respect of air development. We were told that Deputy Lemass, the then Minister for Industry and Commerce, was a spendthrift Minister. My God, are we so blind that we do not realise the importance of progress? Do we want to go back again to the donkey and cart? The Government misrepresented the work of Fianna Fáil in respect of air development in general, in respect of the purchase of Constellation aircraft and in respect of our sound outlook on the development of our airports. When you hear public representatives referring to that, what can you expect in the way of national progress? The roads, from a national and international point of view, are essential, but they are far behind what they should be in repair.
Mr. P.J. Burke: Every industrial project for development that we tried to carry on, taking the long national view of things, was grossly misrepresented by the Parties making up the present Government. If that outlook is persisted in, we will go backwards instead of forwards. It looks like that, considering the statements made by Ministers and their lieutenants. In every line of Government policy, they remind me of the old farmer who had been digging the garden, when his son brought in a tractor. The father said it would destroy the ground and that he would go back to the methods of his grandfather. Deputy Cowan and his colleagues are anxious to carry on in the same old way. They seem to be devoid of an interest in national development and progress and a good strong national view. They are going back to the methods of their grandfathers, but I hope there will be a change to enable the country to carry on with a good national policy.
Donnchadh Ó Briain: I wish to bring to the Taoiseach's notice what might be regarded by him as a matter of insignificance but which I regard as very important, from the point of view of the restoration of the language, which was mentioned in this debate by a few speakers yesterday. I have been trying to induce the Minister for Finance to undo his action in following the economic policy with which he started off. The action has had serious repercussions in regard to an undertaking started at the end of 1946, the Place Names Commission. It was suggested —I hope it is true—that we are all here at one regarding the necessity to take steps to ensure the restoration of the Irish language eventually as the spoken tongue of the Irish people.
This Place Names Commission was established, after a good deal of delay, to compile proper lists of place names all over the country, giving them their Irish form, having them on record for all time, and putting them into official use in their proper Irish form. I will read the statement made by Deputy Aiken when Minister for Finance when he introduced the Supplementary Estimate for this purpose, as given at Volume 104, column 1227 of the Official Debates for the 25th February, 1927:—
The Commission on Place Names consists of a salaried director and 15 unpaid members, of whom one is chairman. Their task is to institute  a comprehensive investigation into the original Irish forms of Irish place names and to authenticate and record them for publication and official use. This will involve an examination of all the published work on Irish place names down to and including townland areas, as well as investigations and researches in unpublished manuscripts and elsewhere. I should explain, perhaps, that this matter had been under consideration by the Government for some time before the war but action was suspended at the beginning of the emergency. It is obviously desirable that the work should not be further deferred. The Government are much interested in the work and they are very grateful to the eminent gentlemen who consented to act on the commission. The success of their efforts will be no small contribution to the Gaelicisation of our people and should prove of considerable importance in awakening a fuller appreciation throughout the country of the historical background of the nation. As somebody has said, our place names record not only historical events but the whole social life of our ancestors.”
In passing, I might mention that when the Vote was put to the House there was a division. It was opposed by the then Opposition, for reasons stated at the time, not connected with the subject of the Supplementary Estimate.
When Deputy McGilligan became Minister for Finance, he decided as an economy to suspend the work. A great deal of preliminary work had already been done when the suspension was enforced. Work had been done in eight counties of the 32 and the machinery had been prepared to continue it in the other counties. The proposition was that the work would be completed in five years and that all our place names would have been saved from extinction. A good deal of the obscurities that exist with regard to the meaning of certain place names would have been cleared up and the work would have been completed at a cost altogether of between £25,000 and £30,000. That was the amount estimated. It was a tragedy that that work was held up more or less in the middle of it.
 There was a body of men, very distinguished in the cultural life of the country, who had consented to act. The chairman was Pádraig Ó Siocfhradha. There were also Risteárd Ó Foghludha, stiúrthóir; an tAthair Tomás de Bhall, S.P., Canónach; an tAthair Eric Mac Fhinn, an tAthair Pádraig Mac Giolla Cheara, D.D., S.P., Canónach; an Cornal Niall Mac Néill, an Dochtúir Séamus Ó Ceallaigh, Seorsa Ó Ceallaigh, an tAthair Mícheál Conalláin, S.P.; Séamus Ó Dubhghaill, Mícheál Ó Duigeannain, Séamus Ó Duilearga, an tAthair Pádraig Ó Fearghail, an tAthair Donnchadh Ó Floinn, an tAthair Eoin Ó Riain, C.I., and Seán Ó Súilleabháin. Tomás Ó Muircheartaigh was secretary to the commission. They were as distinguished a body of people as could be got together, distinguished in regard to their work for the restoration of the language. Some of them I know personally have spent their lifetime at it.
In view of the reorientation in regard to the economy proposal which has since taken place, I now appeal to the Taoiseach—it is a matter for the Government, as the commission was established by the previous Government—to have the suspension on that body removed and to get it working again to complete the important national work that it had undertaken. The Taoiseach was approached about this matter before and did not show himself as unsympathetic. In view of the danger of the loss that would be occasioned by further delay, as many who could be helpful in clarifying the meanings and the actual Irish rendering of these place names all over the country are passing away day by day, it is vital that this work should be put in hands again without any further delay.
In the last century, there was an effort of the kind made, but it was an uncompleted one. The great John O'Donovan was employed by the then British Ordnance Survey to do this very work I am talking about now. At that time, it was calculated that there were 144,000 names on the maps. O'Donovan had travelled the country,  all over the east, west, north and south, investigating these place names and he had recorded 62,000 townlands names and satisfactorily fixed them, when in the year 1842 the then British Government unexpectedly stopped the grant for the Historic Department of the Ordnance Survey of Ireland and O'Donovan and his fellow labourers, just when they were prepared to arrange to give to the world the mass of materials collected with such study and investigation, were left to seek occupation elsewhere. This is a question of history repeating itself, only this time, unfortunately, it is an Irish Government that has done it. One would expect that from a British Government, but certainly it should not happen under the aegis of an Irish Government.
I appeal to the Taoiseach and urge that the Government reconsiders this matter and have the Place Names Commission called back to do the work for which it had been established. If it had been allowed to continue, it would have finished by next year. The cost would have been infinitesimal, in view of the vital importance of the work.
Mr. Fagan: I listened to Deputy Aiken's speech. I felt it a duty to intervene as representing the fathers and mothers, and I want to assure the Taoiseach that the people, 99 per cent. of them, support him in the policy advocated by the Minister for Defence. The fathers and mothers do not want the young boys brought into the barrack squares to be forming fours as Deputy Aiken wants them. It is better to have them in the shops, on the farms and in the factories, to build up a supply of food and materials to bring us through a crisis. As the Minister for Defence pointed out, there is no need to gather them in for drilling, as we have numbers of young men already trained and they are willing to go back and fight for the country if necessary. We all know that those young boys who were in the barrack squares during the emergency have been destroyed. At the age of 20 they spent four or five years at that and their whole life career was stopped. I know these young  lads joined during the emergency and ruined their lives. They were brave and good men to do it, but the Government did not treat them well. When Deputy Aiken was Minister in 1938-39, he gathered those boys in, when it would have been better, as the farmers were broken after the economic war, if he had strengthened the farmers to produce the food we required. If we had had more butter and bacon, there would not have been such a scarcity.
The Taoiseach's policy and the policy of the Minister for Agriculture is to build up the country so that in a crisis we will have fields of plenty, leaving our young people on the farms and in the factories. If the Taoiseach wants to spend money for a crisis, let him get in all the artificial manures he can and get all the raw materials into store. Let him get in fuel, not muck, for future use. That is better than gathering the boys into the barrack square. Let him get in artificial manures and give them to the farmers at low prices, to build up the fertility of the soil. As regards wheat, the better policy is that advocated by the present Minister for Agriculture. We see by the returns last year that we have more wheat out of less land than we had during the emergency. If the Government wants wheat in a crisis, the farmers will grow it without compulsion, if they are given the cost of production and a fair margin of profit. They will also grow any other foodstuff necessary. Compulsion is of no use. The farmer who tills properly is the best person. I am surprised at the Leader of the Opposition falling into the trap about militarism. He ought to have more sense in his older days. I do not mean Deputy Vivion de Valera, as I compare him to a little child playing with soldiers. He seems to have gone military mad. As I say, I do not mind him; but I am very much surprised at the Leader of the Opposition falling into the same trap and going out inveigling our young men into war. We are a Catholic country and it would be much better if we preached peace. The whole world is mad. Why not preach peace instead of putting these ideas into the heads of our young people?  God knows, we had enough of it: two generations of our boys reared up to be slaughtered. Why should not we, as a Catholic nation, try to change all that? The Leader of the Opposition should change his tune. Just as I do not pay very much attention to Deputy Major de Valera, neither do I pay much attention to Deputy Aiken. There was another Deputy—I call him the “Deputy of the Voice” since I cannot remember his name. I know he comes from Tipperary.
Mr. Fagan: He made a speech last night and he criticised our Minister for Defence because he went to foreign countries—he mentioned England—for information. Why should the Minister not go to England? Does the “Deputy with the Voice” want him to go to Soviet Russia? Where else would he go but to a neighbouring country?
Mr. Fagan: He criticised our Minister for Defence because he went to England to get information. If I were the Taoiseach, remembering the speech that Deputy made last night, I would bring in an emergency Order and anyone who made speeches like that I would put behind bars so that they could not lead our people astray.
I congratulate the Taoiseach on his policy. I congratulate the Minister for Defence on the speech he made here yesterday. I can tell the Taoiseach that the views I have expressed are the views of the majority of the fathers and mothers in the country and of the people as a whole.
Captain Cowan: Before Deputy MacEntee speaks, might I draw attention to the fact that there was an arrangement made that business would, if possible, be finished this evening, and, if not this evening, on Tuesday. There is a very heavy programme still in front of us and I cannot see how business, which includes the very important Housing Bill, can  be finished either to-night or on Tuesday.
An Ceann Comhairle: No. Financial business must finish to-day and, as a matter of fact, the Taoiseach said that the Housing Bill might be on Tuesday; but if it is possible to reach it to-day, it can be taken to-day.
Mr. Fagan: Do you begrudge it to me? I have four sons for it and you  will not get a perch of it. I worked and paid for it. Deputy Fagan has his land and he earned it and you do not say anything about it now.
Mr. MacEntee: I am replying to the speech which has just been made. I do not believe for a moment that Deputy Fagan is a member of the Comintern, as I have already said and as he himself denies. He is obviously proud of the fact that he is an extensive landowner.
Mr. MacEntee: I am coming to it now. The speech which Deputy Fagan has made is exactly the type of speech which the agents of the Comintern are making in every democratic State in that portion of Western Europe where there is freedom of speech. It is the Kremlin which is preaching peace at any price while it prepares for war. How they managed to get hold of and corrupt Deputy Fagan and seduce him into following the Party line in the manner in which he has done here this morning will, I suppose, remain one of the mysteries of history.
Mr. MacEntee: Certainly not, and I am not suggesting that; but I should hate if my words only registered themselves in Deputy Fagan's recollection as “a voice”. I would prefer that the thoughts which I am endeavouring to express would make some impression upon his brain or upon his intelligence.
Mr. MacEntee: The matter to which I want to devote some further attention—other speakers have referred to it in the course of the debate—is the policy which the Government have pursued in relation to a projected national memorial. That policy was finally determined at a meeting of the Government held on 29th July, 1949. I do not want to be rude, but I do hope that I shall be permitted to make my speech with some consideration for the fact that it is not easy for a speaker to maintain his trend of thought and that he should not, therefore, be subjected to distractions. I was saying that the question to which I wish to refer is a matter of Government policy which was finally brought to fruition at a meeting which the Government held on 29th July, 1949, when it was decided to hand over the site which had been secured for the projected memorial to the officers and men of the Dublin Brigade to the Governors of the Rotunda Hospital. That, I think, puts the matter in order, and I trust I shall not be interrupted on points of order while saying what I propose to say now.
Yesterday, the Taoiseach made a long statement regarding a cognate project—the project for the erection of a cenotaph to honour the memories of the late Michael Collins, the late Arthur Griffith and the late Kevin O'Higgins, men distinguished in Irish  history and men who had played a particularly prominent part in the events which followed the signing of the Treaty. I do not wish in any way to disparage their memory. I do not want to be taken as denying them the honour of the remembrance which is due to them for the services which they rendered to the Irish nation. I was bitterly opposed to the later development of their policies. I thought they were likely to be disastrous to the Irish people, but I knew that everything they did, they did in good faith, and, as we are all fallible men in these matters, I think that the good they did to this country entitles their memory to our honour and respect. And, therefore, it is not out of bitterness towards them, it is not because I in any way wish to condemn them, that I feel called upon to speak in this debate and refer to the statement which was made by the Taoiseach yesterday.
I would have wished that that statement had been somewhat different. I would wish that it had been a statement designed to give credit to the magnanimity and to the sense of decency of the Taoiseach's predecessors in office. Unfortunately, I think it was not designed for that purpose. It was designed to transfer to his predecessors the major share of the responsibility for a decision that was taken by the Government on the 7th May, 1948. That decision was to proceed with the erection of the cenotaph. I do not question that decision. Had I been in their place and in the Government, I should have agreed with that decision as I did when, with my colleagues, we did decide that the intentions of our predecessors in office should be honoured and that there would be erected here, on the site which had been originally chosen by our predecessors, the type of memorial which they wished to have. If we did that, some of us, for reasons which appeared good to me and all of us— knowing that there was a substantial section of our people, perhaps almost half of our people and a majority on some occasions, who would have liked to see that memorial there—we did it because, despite Party differences, we recognised that the Irish people and  the Irish nation is one, and that there has to be an element of give and take in these matters; so that what is dear to one heart, not so dear to another, nevertheless might be realised in order to preserve the essential unity of our nation.
It was in that spirit that men whose brothers who had been done to death, that men who had been deprived of the right to earn a livelihood because they would not take the test under the old Free State Constitution, decided to give effect, as I have said, to the decision of the Cumann na nGaedheal Government which they had displaced in 1932. It is regrettable, and that is the reason I am raising it now, that our successors were not inspired with the same feelings, because on the 14th May, 1948, the Government decided, as has been pointed out to the House by Deputy Colley, on grounds of economy to abandon the memorial to the officers and men of the Dublin Brigade who died to maintain the Republic which had long been projected.
Mr. C. Lehane: On a point of order. Is it in order for Deputy MacEntee to state that the Government decided to abandon a project in respect of which the Taoiseach gave an unequivocal assurance that it had not been abandoned?
 I was saying that, on the 14th May, 1948, the Government, according to a written reply which I have here, decided on grounds of economy—not because they wanted the site for any social purpose, not because there was any question of providing a clinic for children, not for any charitable or worthy object—to abandon this project. That is the conclusion to which I have been driven.
People may say that the Taoiseach has promised, at Tib's Eve, that the Garden of Remembrance will be made, but can anybody tell me in this House, in this the legislature of the Republic of Ireland, why a memorial to the men who signed the Treaty should take precedence over a memorial to the men who died faithful to the Republic?
Mr. MacEntee: We gave it no precedence; we took the matter as we found it, and when, having beaten the Blueshirts in 1935, some of us had time to devote attention to other matters, one of the first projects that we discussed was the creation here in the centre of the City of Dublin of a memorial so that every man who came to the city as a visitor or as a tourist or from the country districts, might see that Dublin had not forgotten its republican dead.
The negotiations in that matter were formally opened by me in September, 1935. They were finally closed by the acquisition of the site in October, 1939. They were four long years of difficult negotiations when, it is not unfair to say, every obstacle that could be raised in the ceding of the site was raised. It took less than four months to give that site back. We bought it and we had to pay every penny of what it was worth, and it was given back for an indefinite term at a rent of 1d. a year. In October, 1939, the war had broken out, but, despite the fact that we were then in a parlous position because we had not had time to build up our Defence Forces, we did not abandon that project. We decided in March, 1940, that we would hold a competition for the design because we thought that  the subject would be an inspiration to our young artists, our architects and our young sculptors, to produce a memorial that would be worthy of the tradition and culture of Ireland. Matters got worse and we were placed in the same position in regard to the Garden of Remembrance, as that in which, as the Taoiseach has told the House, we stood in relation to the cenotaph. But, as soon as hostilities ceased in Europe, our proposals to hold a competition, in order to secure the worthiest design, were proceeded with. The competition was advertised in January, 1946. Those who have been suggesting that we did nothing during that period, mark that date.
Mr. MacEntee: Mark that date. Immediately the war was over, immediately it was possible for the artists and creators to devote themselves to the work we held the competition. The closing date of the competition was the 31st July, and so anxious were we to get ahead with the project that the result was announced on the 20th August, 1946. Those who remember the description of the memorial that was given in the House here by Deputy Colley, and which is printed in the Official Reports, will remember that it was to be a sunken garden with a pool in the form of a cross—a garden with a cross where weary feet might rest and little children play, where the youth of our city might realise at what cost their freedom had been bought and learn to honour the memory of the republican dead.
Mr. MacEntee: Thank goodness that I have at least endeavoured to preserve the level of debate on this subject, no matter how my speech may develop later. That is the sort of memorial that we had envisaged. That is what we hoped to see in the Rotunda Gardens, which have great historical associations with the Irish nation. It was to front Charlemont  House, the home of the founder of the volunteers—perhaps not a wholly worthy figure in Irish political history but still a figure of some significance. It was in the Rotunda Gardens that the Irish Volunteer Movement of 1913 had been launched. It was in the Rotunda Gardens the men of 1916 had been confined following the surrender of Easter Saturday. It had other associations as well.
It was, as I have said, in the centre of our city fronting the Art Gallery which attracts so many visitors. It was not as extensive a sight as we had wished, but it was not an unworthy site. We had hopes that there would be in that garden a worthy memorial, and that on that memorial there would have appeared some names dear to us. There would have appeared the names of the signatories to the 1916 Proclamation because they, too, were associated with the Dublin Brigade. There would have appeared the name of Cathal Brugha. There would have appeared the name of Harry Boland. There would have appeared the name of Rory O'Connor.
Mr. MacEntee: There would have appeared the name of Liam Mellowes, the name of Joe McKelvey, a townsman of my own, of Dick Barrett, and other names of men less known but their equal in courage and devotion to the republican cause. That is the sort of memorial we had hoped to erect there.
Mr. MacEntee: If they are worthy to take their place. I do not know who they are. If they are worthy to take their place with the names of those to whom I have referred, I hope they will go on it, but they must be in the eyes of the people of Ireland worthy to be put there.
Mr. MacEntee: I do not wish to create any bitterness, but there have been in this House suggestions that we are endeavouring to make political propaganda out of this. Would people who have been so intimately associated with this proposal as the members of this Party have been, be human if they did not resent what is done to their comrades, to their dead? The Taoiseach has told the House how his predecessors had respected the desires and wishes of those who had supported him and his colleagues. He has told you how we had been meticulously careful to consult them as to the type of design they wished. He told you that no consideration of economy, even during the period when they were telling us that the people were groaning under taxation, even when we were fighting the economic war, even when we had to deal with the menace to the peace and security of this country, prevented us from doing what we thought a large section of the Irish people wanted. Why could not our successors have honoured the memory of Cathal Brugha, of Patrick Pearse and his comrades, of Rory, Liam, Dick and Joe, in the same spirit as we were prepared to deal with their dead? That is the question that has to be answered.
If we do feel strongly on this, we feel strongly, not because we are politicians, but because we are Irishmen. These were our friends; these were our comrades; these were men with whom we had chatted and joked, with whom we had stood side by side on other occasions. It is not because we want to make petty Party political capital out of this; no, it is because we feel that it is due to the stand they took, due to the sacrifices they made, we stand here to-day, in the Twenty-Six Counties, a free and independent State, as we have stood since 1937. That is why I raise this matter and, surely to God, if bitterness has crept again into the hearts of Irishmen, if there is any attempt to recreate the old feelings of the civil war, it is being done by those who have pursued the  republican dead with malevolent hatred even beyond the grave. We do not want to deny any honour to the men to whom the cenotaph is erected but, in the words of another Irishman, who died in a cause in which we did not believe but in which he thought he was fighting Ireland's battle, we, in relation to these men, “keep the past for pride”. We do not keep it because we want to condemn or in any way dishonour the memory of other men. It does not matter how humble the men were whose names should be inscribed on that memorial; we will stand for their memory and venerate it and we expect any Government that purports to speak for the Irish people to give them the veneration that is their due.
I want to come to another aspect of this matter. I say that there was no occasion why that particular site should have been handed over to the Rotunda Hospital even if the establishment of a clinic of the type which has been mentioned was as urgent as has been suggested. The total area of the site now being used is, according to figures given to me, 86,800 square feet; the total floor area of the buildings is 10,431 square feet. I know that within the grounds of the Rotunda Hospital space enough was found adjacent to one side of Parnell Square to afford a site for a concert hall of very much larger dimensions. I know that the preliminary negotiations with regard to the acquisition of that site from the Rotunda authorities had reached the stage at which it, with other buildings and appurtenances, was going to be conveyed to the Government for a rent of £6,000 a year. If the Rotunda Hospital authorities have in their grounds, in their possession and under their control sufficient space to afford the erection of a concert hall, sufficient property to bring in a rental of £6,000 a year, can anyone tell me what justification they had for approaching the Department of Health and securing this site for the Garden of Remembrance in the circumstances in which they did? I cannot suggest that I can give any answer to that question, but when we remember that the Government  took its first decision not to proceed with the Garden of Remembrance in May of 1948 and that the acquisition of the site for the authorities of the Rotunda Hospital was not broached, I think, until some time in February in 1949, perhaps even later, and that the Government took its decision in relation to the matter on the 29th July of 1949, it seems to me that there is a very awkward question there that the Government must answer. I say that this clinic could have been built inside the grounds of the Rotunda Hospital without taking one square foot of the site acquired for the Garden of Remembrance. With Deputy Colley, I think that even if there were not that alternative site for it inside the Rotunda, at least the Garden of Remembrance should have been regarded as sacred. Even if it would occasion the authorities of the Rotunda some little inconvenience, just as suitable a site from the point of view of the public—the people who were going to have resort to the clinic—could have been obtained somewhere else within the neighbourhood.
The Taoiseach has given us a sort of indefinite promise that we will get the site back when the hospital indicates to the Minister for Health that it has no further use for it. I would like the Taoiseach now, having had the case put before him as I have endeavoured to put it before him, not perhaps objectively but subjectively as expressing the feelings of a very great number of our people, to realise that a complete mistake has been made. Even if it does cost £40,000, £117,000,000 is being spent this year, while it is proposed to spend some £40,000 on the memorial outside and I do not know what we spent on the platform which—I cannot say “graces”—but which occupies the space in front of Leinster House. We are spending money in other ways, so surely even if that £40,000 has been earmarked for this clinic, the Taoiseach now, realising that even the members of the Opposition, even almost half the people of the Twenty-Six Counties who voted for Fianna Fáil, have a right to have their views, their feelings, considered in a matter of this kind, will decide that before this  year is out alternative accommodation will be provided for this clinic and that these temporary buildings which now deface it will be removed.
The Taoiseach yesterday said something else and it is apparently going to be—I hope it is not but on reading the text of his statement one would conclude that it is intended to be—a sop to the feelings outraged by what has been done in connection with the Garden of Remembrance. He said that they were going to undertake, in addition to the Garden of Remembrance, the erection of a proper memorial adequately to commemorate the long struggle of the Irish nation for its existence and freedom. That is published to the people as if it were something that had been initiated by the present Government and as a substitute for, and in order perhaps to allay the anger and ill-feeling which has been caused by what has happened to the memorial to the Dublin Brigade. I want to say that the proposal for a national memorial was discussed by the Fianna Fáil Cabinet following the centenary commemoration of Thomas Davis and that sketch plans had been prepared for it and submitted to the Cabinet. If they had not got to this stage at which a definite decision could be taken as to the nature of the memorial, we had the project in mind and it would have been realised as soon as we had a staff available.
In connection with memorials of that type it must be remembered that not every architect has the capacity to design one. We were fortunate in having in the Board of Works one or two architects who, because of their artistic talents, their creative talents, could have provided us in the course of years, if God had spared them, with a series of memorials that would have been worthy of the Irish nation. But we can only take these things one at a time. We cannot carry on a great number of projects simultaneously. We had hoped, as soon as the Garden of Remembrance was completed and the cenotaph was completed, that we would be able to provide in some of our public places a memorial of the nature which the Taoiseach outlined in his statement yesterday.
I had some other criticisms to make  on the Vote, but I prefer to confine myself to the one which I have submitted to the House. It would be wrong for me to say that I do not feel very deeply about this matter. I feel hurt; everybody on this side of the House feels hurt; but we do not wish to make it a political matter and we hope, as it has now been ventilated, the Government will see their way to meet our views in opposition as we endeavoured to meet theirs when we were the Government.
The Taoiseach: I should like at the outset to thank those who, in the course of their observations on this Estimate, paid tribute to the officers of the Central Statistics Office. As I have stated, that office is one that is independent in the exercise of its functions; one that is available from the point of view of the results obtained by its work for all who wish to make use of its efforts. Last night, Deputy Killilea asked me to give him some assurance as to the rights of private Deputies in reference to going to Departments. Just as every Deputy is entitled to get, and will get, from the officers of that office all the information and every facility they want, so, in reference to every other Department of State, every Deputy will get the same facilities, irrespective of the Party to which he belongs or does not belong.
In opening the Estimate, I gave what was hoped to be a reasonably objective outline of the economic and financial policy of the Government. The best tribute to the policy that the Government have been pursuing during the last year has been the speeches that have been made in this House yesterday and to-day. There was practically no criticism of any of the various items of policy referred to in that speech. There was no discussion of the various aspects of the financial and economic policy. But matters such as the Garden of Remembrance, the Army and the letting of land on the 11 months system were brought into or endeavoured to be brought into a discussion of this kind. The fact that there was no criticism offered or constructive suggestions made in the course of the discussion  of this Estimate from Deputies opposite, from the Leader down, is the best tribute, as I say, to that statement which was made objectively, and the conclusion clearly emerged that the results of our policy were beneficial to the people in bringing about a condition of peace in the country and a condition of comparative prosperity.
Deputy de Valera, in opening the debate on behalf of the Opposition, rather set the kind of headline which appears to be the guiding line for Opposition tactics at present. Many of them in the course of the debate have reiterated claims that we should be doing something which they during 16 years failed to do. They asked: Why do you not do this and why do you not do that?—things which they had the opportunity to do during their 16 years of office, and which they failed to do. Typical of that attitude was the query put by the Leader of the Opposition in the very forefront of his remarks. It is a small minor detail, but it does typify the outlook and tactics of the Opposition in carrying out the duty which they have to perform in this House. Deputy de Valera asked us to consider whether we would not make the financial year coincide with the calendar year. That matter was raised and considered by the last Government, of which he was the head, and on the 23rd January, 1947, just a year before the general election which brought about the downfall of that Government, as reported in the Official Reports, Volume 104, column 199, Deputy Davin asked the Minister for Finance:—
“If he will consider the desirability of making the financial year coincide with the calendar year; and whether he is prepared to have the matter examined by a committee representative of the various interests concerned.”
“The question of changing the financial year to coincide with the calendar year was examined within recent years in conformity with an undertaking given in my predecessor's reply to a parliamentary  question by Deputy Mulcahy on the 16th July, 1942. Departments, local authorities and commercial, insurance, accounting and banking interests were consulted as to whether the change would be desirable. The inquiries showed that the weight of opinion, private as well as official, is, for substantial reasons, against a change and in favour of retaining the present financial year. The reply to the second part of the Deputy's question is, therefore, in the negative.”
That is a mere detail, as I say, but that is the sort of criticism to which we were subjected; why do you not do this, that or the other things which they themselves failed to do when they had an opportunity of doing them.
Another remarkable claim was put forward as a headline to this debate by quite a number of speakers. While they could not disagree with the results we had achieved, while they could not point to anything wrong with our policy or the results of it, they said: “You are carrying out the Fianna Fáil policy.” That is a most remarkable phenomenon in political history, for here is a Government which replaced another Government two and a half years ago and which succeeds in carrying out, as was practically admitted in speech after speech, certainly many aspects of the former Government's policy, because they said: “That is the Fianna Fáil policy.” That is a most remarkable phenomenon in political history, that a Government which replaced another Government carries on its policy successfully and more successfully than the previous Government carried it on. That is the only criticism, apart from the question of the Army and Deputy Cowan's volunteers, that has emerged in the course of the discussion.
We listened to long speeches on the subject of national defence and the national emergency. Word was passed round last night that the Minister for Defence (Dr. O'Higgins) was to be made the principal subject-matter of this debate. Epithets were hurled at that Minister. Statements were made about the viciousness and the bitterness of his speech and other comments  of that kind were made. Phrases such as “bluff” and “false figures” came trippingly off the tongue of Deputy Lemass. That is the way he spoke of the Minister for Defence's speech. These words “bluff”, “false pretence” and “false figures” come very trippingly off the tongue of Deputy Lemass.
“Viciousness”, “false pretence” and other epithets and phrases of the kind which I cannot recall at the moment were words applied to the remarks of the Minister. I listened to the Minister's speech and when I heard Deputy Lemass this morning, after having given a number of reasons, or alleged reasons, drawing the conclusion that the Minister was unworthy of his position for the reasons he had stated—“bluff”, “false pretence” and “false figures”—I sent for a copy of the speech the Minister made yesterday. I had listened to these words and epithets being hurled around here last night and early this morning and I wondered had I taken a different impression from the speech, because when I heard him making that speech —and the Minister intervened on his own in the debate for the purpose of making clear our policy on defence—I felt that there was nothing I could add, or ought to add, to it when I was winding up the debate; that, on matters of national defence, he had covered the ground adequately and had covered it well.
Then, of course, a scapegoat had to be got and the Minister for Defence was deliberately made the scapegoat. Whispers were sent round the galleries and corridors: “Attack Dr. O'Higgins. Make him the target”, and that of course was the real keynote of this debate—“defence”, “lack of preparedness”, “Dr. O'Higgins' bluff”, and “false figures”. That is an old dodge. It is centuries old among politicians and political tacticians—keep the people's minds distracted and disturbed; get them off the figures produced here yesterday, coldly and calmly and accurately; keep their minds away from the results achieved during the past 12 months by the economic, financial and agricultural policy of this Government. Let them  think there is going to be a war. Insidiously, under the guise of national defence, prey upon the people's fears so that they may forget the achievements of the Government and may think that the Government is unprepared for this war which Fianna Fáil alone have discovered. That is a political dodge and the Minister for Defence characterised it as such yesterday.
I heard that Minister's speech and I read his speech this morning. I agree with every word he said, and, were it not for the concentrated effort which has been made on the Minister, I would not have thought it right to add anything at all on the subject of preparedness for national defence. But the whole keynote of the debate from the Opposition Benches was national defence—“You are unprepared. What are you going to do?”
Deputy M. O'Higgins, speaking on behalf of the people with whom he is in contact, the ordinary plain people of the country, and Deputy Fagan, speaking as an agriculturist knowing the country people, gave a clear, simple and definite answer to all the stuff we have been listening to on the subject of preparedness, defence and the attitude of the people towards it.
We are not going to be dragged by political tactics of that kind from the work we have set ourselves to do, nor are we going to allow the minds of the people to be clouded or their vision to be obscured from what has been done, by the efforts of the Fianna Fáil Party to turn the minds of the people on to war, to prey upon their fears and to create a condition bordering upon mild panic in the country. It is a wellknown trick to try to divert the attention of the people from financial, economic and agricultural matters on to something else when it does not suit a political Party that the people should concentrate their minds on these financial, economic and agricultural matters.
If the Party opposite was able to discuss our economic policy, our financial policy, our agricultural policy or general Government policy, item by item and line by line, comparing achievement with achievement and  objective with objective, and to criticise what we have done and are doing in the way in which an Opposition with the interests of the country at heart would be expected to do it, we would have had a far different debate. I recognise that it is the right, and, I would even say, the duty of the Opposition in present circumstances prudently and calmly to call attention to any matters they think should be attended to in connection with defence or national policy in connection with the defence of the country or preparedness for any emergency. I think the matter has gone too far, however. It has been dragged across this debate, as it has been dragged across speeches in the country for some months past, for the purpose of trying to distract public attention from the achievements of this Government and from the beneficial results of Government policy over the past two and a half years.
It is not by reason of the Korean incident that this matter of national defence has been brought up. Before the Korean incident occurred at all, before many people in this country ever heard of Korea, the Leader of the Opposition and members of his Party were going around the country preaching about the necessity for having a big standing Army, the necessity for preparation against an international emergency and telling us that we were not spending enough money upon national defence, upon armaments and upon bringing our young people into the barrack squares, as the Minister for Defence said, to knock sparks out of the cobblestones of those squares, instead of doing what they have been doing, bringing back the soil of the country to fertility, producing the crops our people want, building the houses our people so urgently need, building the hospitals which our tubercular patients want and building up the moral, spiritual and physical strength of this nation against the possibility of another emergency. Deputy de Valera, junior, this morning repeated that they had been doing this for two years, so that it is not the present situation in Korea that has made the Fianna Fáil Party interested  in getting us to spend the taxpayers' money on armaments and on bringing our young people up for military service.
What they want to do, and what they have been endeavouring to do for years past, is to get us to spend on an unproductive Army and on taking our men away from the factories and the fields and putting them into barracks, the money we are spending productively, so that they may thereafter say: “This is an extravagant Government. While they were right to spend a certain amount of money on the Army, they spent too much.” If we did tax the people for a higher standing Army and for the purchase of more and more costly equipment, we would not have the same amount of money to spend on productive enterprises and on the forward economic, financial and agricultural policies on which we have been spending money and we would not have the story we have to tell, a story of which we are proud and which we are happy to be able to tell.
That is what is at the back of all this. I will give the Leader of the Opposition and some of his Party credit for the fact that they do not want to make political capital, but there is a very large element of endeavour to make political capital out of this. We are accused of being unprepared. I suppose that, if we indulged in histrionics, in dramatics, we could pretend that we were prepared, as a small nation, to beat the world.
Deputy Lemass sneered at me this morning, in his characteristic way. He spoke about the “fatuous” speech I made in Mullingar and he referred in that sneering tone to the statement I had made in Mullingar about our being realistic in regard to this matter. We have been realistic but we have not been indulging in histrionics and dramatics. We have taken the view that we are a small nation. We do not want to indulge in the ridiculous posturing that the people opposite, in Fianna Fáil, would have us indulge in, a small nation talking like a big nation and pretending that we were able to beat the whole world and the biggest nations in the world. We realise our own limitations and we  have a very real appreciation of the difficulties in which we would stand if there was an emergency in the future.
We also have, what Deputies opposite have not got, a genuine appreciation of the fact that if there be a war —and God forbid that there should again, in our time, be a war—but, if there be a war, that war will be fought in a different way and the pattern of that war, the methods that would be employed in that war, will be of an entirely different character from what they were during the last war.
If I may make a criticism of all the speeches that have been made on the subject matter of defence in this House yesterday and to-day, from the Leader of the Opposition, through Deputy Lemass, down to some of the back-benchers, they are all asking us to prepare for the next war as if we were going to have conditions precisely similar to what we had in the last war. Deputy Lemass and the other people who spoke on this matter overlooked the conditions created by the A-bomb, the H-bomb—the hydrogen bomb. Are we going to get our scientists to waste their time trying to do better than the hydrogen bomb? Are we going to get a loan of an A-bomb from the Americans in order that we may, if the Americans invade us, drop that bomb on them; or get a loan of a hydrogen bomb from the Russians in order that, if the Russians invade us, we will drop that bomb upon them; or will we get a loan of an A-bomb from the Russians and of a Hydrogen bomb from the Americans in order that we may drop them on both of them or on the British in the unlikely event of the British invading us?
What is the use of talking nonsense? They say that we ought to have 12,000 men filling this vacuum, as Deputy Aiken said last night, and, having filled this vacuum, we can stand with our rifles facing hydrogen bombs, A-bombs, jet-propelled aeroplanes and all the rest of the terrible paraphernalia of war and pretend that we are going to get away with that. We have to be realistic.
The Taoiseach: We are being realistic and we know that, while we have taken steps, as the Minister for Defence said yesterday, within the limits of our capacities and our powers, there are other things that have to be done besides collecting arms. There are other influences that we can bring to bear, and which we hope to bring to bear in order to save this country from the terrible consequences of any future war.
We are told by Deputy Lemass that we should be prepared in this, that and the other, that we should be getting ships and, by Deputy de Valera, that we should be preparing to have food, fuel and all the rest of it. I may have some apprehensions as to whether or not we would be able to defend ourselves against attack. I may have some apprehensions about our lack of modern equipment. I may have considerable apprehensions about our manpower but, whatever apprehensions I have or that my colleagues have about the difficulties facing us, we have no apprehensions about our food situation and the situation of the farmers, our land and our supplies position in general. We are better off that ever we were under Fianna Fáil at the present moment.
We are told by the people who always talk about tillage as if tillage was the one thing that was necessary to heal all our economic ills in this country, that we ought to have more tillage, that we ought to revert to the position of compulsory tillage, which was, apparently, the panacea for all ills of the Fianna Fáil Government, when they were in office. This is the recent, up-to-date position of the food supply in this country now; we have here in store or growing, wheat, an estimated amount of 512,000 tons. I am told that the total consumption of wheat in this country is 3,000,000 barrels. There are eight barrels to a ton. Therefore, 3,000,000 barrels are equivalent to about 400,000 tons. We have, according to these figures, 100,000 more tons of wheat than a year's supply. As the Minister for Agriculture pointed out when winding up the debate on his Estimate, more wheat has been got out  of less land in this year, and better wheat, without any compulsion.
The Taoiseach: We have in store in farmers' premises, or coming up this year in the ground, 750,000 tons of oats. We have, similarly, in store, in the hands of brewers, distillers, maltsters or farmers, or growing, 210,000 tons of barley, and we have 3,150,000 tons of potatoes either growing or available. That is the contribution of the Minister for Agriculture to a possible emergency here.
Is there any justification whatever, therefore, for the effort to put into the minds of the people panic that we are not prepared or that, because we have not been indulging in ridiculous and futile histrionics, of which we were given an exhibition here by Deputy MacEntee a short time ago, that we have been neglecting the nation's interest or doing nothing? Because we are not shouting from the house-tops is not to say that we are doing nothing. The less noise there is about a person, the more work he is going to do, and the more flap and flapdoodle that you get and the more people like Deputy Lemass, spinning their words around about people like the Minister for Defence, about bases, of bluff and false pretence and all the rest, the less work and the less sincerity there is behind it.
We have, as Dr. O'Higgins said, appreciated the position from the very moment we came into office. Deputy Lemass spoke sneeringly about this “fatuous” speech that I made in MuHingar last week, and I will have occasion to refer to some of the matters that I have said there in order that Deputies may have the opportunity of judging whether that speech was fatuous or whether it was sound common sense where it epitomised the policy which has been in active operation for the past two and a half years and which has brought great and lasting good and prosperity to the people of this country and which has given us a buttress against any possible difficulties that we may experience in the event of an emergency.
 I spoke in Skibbereen on 24th July, 1948, nearly two years ago. I had not to wait for Deputy de Valera, Deputy Lemass or anybody else to tell me, or for my colleagues to be told, that there was an international situation which might at any moment develop into difficulty. One of the first decisions we had to make in the Government was how were we to direct our policy, on what basis were we to build. Were we to stultify our efforts by keeping our eyes on the ends of the earth, fearful lest at any moment, at the ends of the earth, something might blow up that would cause a war and bring us into the whirlpool: Deputy de Valera, yesterday, in his opening remarks on this topic, spoke about the ordinary prudent person who insures his house against conflagration. The ordinary prudent person insures his house, but he takes very good care that he gets the maximum cover for the minimum premium. That is prudence. That is what we did, and I believe we can say now, at the end of two and a half years, that we have got the maximum cover for the minimum cost to the community. Deputy de Valera and Deputy Lemass would have the fire brigade sitting in the house of this prudent man all the time. That is the policy they are advocating here. Spend the money to have the fire brigade and the Army sitting on your doorstep all the time. Spend the taxpayers' money instead of taking out a proper insurance policy adequately to cover yourself with the minimum premium. In 1948 I announced at Skibbereen that the Government had taken that decision. I said:—
“Peace and order have since the change of Government reigned over the land, and we earnestly hope that they will continue to do so. Abroad the war clouds are lowering over the world. Nevertheless, the Government has decided that it must face its plans on the hypothesis of peace. Otherwise, we would be stultifying our efforts and putting a brake on the economic progress that the country so much desires, and which the Government is confident of achieving. In addition we are keeping a watchful eye on developments  abroad, and we intend to ensure that whatever developments occur our national and economic security will be maintained.”
That was two years ago. We have achieved the economic progress the country desires inside that two years. We have, as far as it can possibly be done, also kept a wary and a watchful eye on the situation abroad, and kept our country ready, so far as it can be ready, for anything that may happen in the international field.
“While hoping for peace, we are at the same time sufficiently realistic to know that the affairs of our own country must be so conducted that if war were to come we should be reasonably prepared for it.”
We had, in October, 1948, established a Cabinet committee to watch the matter all the time and steps have been taken all the time to do what I had said should be done. Let me now continue the “fatuous” speech in Mullingar:—
“When the Government assumed office two years ago it decided the best way of safeguarding the liberties and welfare of our people against the contingency of war was not by merely adopting the wholly negative and unproductive method of building up a large standing Army and equipping it with costly armaments which would absorb so much of the country's resources. We decided that Ireland's cause could best be served by developing our land and restoring to the soil the fertility it had lost during the period of the last war; by improving and enriching the productive capacity of our economy by investing the largescale capital that was so long overdue;  by improving the health, strength, and resistance of our people by undertaking an energetic campaign to provide them with the houses and hospitals they so urgently require; by pushing ahead schemes for electrical development from water and turf and so making the country more independent of imported fuel. The result of that policy is that with the productive capacity of our people and our land much greater than it was three years ago, we are all the better equipped to meet any dire contingencies that might arise. It would have been mere futile stultification to have diverted from productive purposes the money and the resources which have been used and are now being used to build up the strength and resistance of the country.
Had national revenues been so diverted, we should still be with exhausted and undeveloped land, grossly inadequate housing, rapidly increasing death rate from tuberculosis and insufficient social services.”
For not one word of that do I apologise. I put that in this House, with emphasis, as a proper premium to pay for what we have got in the past two years. We are as well prepared to-day as ever we could be for any emergency that may arise from war or rumours of war. Deputy de Valera and Deputy Lemass would have us pay, from the taxpayers' pockets, money for armaments and armies that we have put into houses and into the land. We have a productive soil here now. We have our agricultural industry on a proper basis and we have it on a firm basis, on which it did not stand in the 16 years of the Fianna Fáil régime.
Let me state briefly some more of what I said in this “flamboyant” speech. I repeat it with confidence and pride as an expression of what was done and what I believe was right to have done and submitted to this House as a proper policy to meet the situation we had to meet at home and abroad in the past two and a half years.
 requires to be done and has been done in the interests of economic and social betterment in recent years that events have proved that it would have been irresponsible folly to have diverted to unproductive purposes the limited money and resources available. A large Army is of little use if there is insufficient economic strength to nourish it.”
Is there anything “fatuous” about these statements? Does Deputy Lemass, now that he has heard this, still persist in saying that it is a “fatuous” speech and a “fatuous” policy? If he does I say to him that I am proud of that policy and confident that I and my colleagues adopted a proper policy when we set out on the task two and a half years ago of bringing this country to a better economy and saving it from the agricultural ruin in which we had found it when we took office in February, 1948. We had not our eyes to the ends of the earth to the exclusion of our own people. We kept our eyes on the ends of the earth to ascertain if there was likely to be danger and, if so, when it was likely to occur, but then we kept our energies directed to building up the health and strength of our own people, to restoring the fertility of the land, to making this country strong and capable of meeting any emergency that Providence, in His will, might send upon the world and this country to afflict it, if such should occur. A large Army is of little use if there is insufficient strength to nourish it. We now have sufficient strength to nourish whatever size of Army we may have to maintain in this country. If there is an emergency arising out of this Korean situation, we have our country now far better able to meet that emergency than if we had exhausted our resources and wasted the time of our men in armies and in buying equipment and costly material that would have been out of date a few months after it had been purchased, if we were able to purchase it. We glory in that policy. It may have been a “flamboyant” speech, but it is one for which I have no apology to offer. I say—and I use, perhaps, a flamboyant  word—that I glory in it because it shows that we took the proper course two and a half years ago. We did not stultify our efforts thinking about war and rumours of war. We set ourselves to get houses for our people and hospitals for our sick. We set ourselves to give our farmers the right to live and to earn a decent living.
I was able to announce yesterday that, as a result of our agricultural policy—as a result of what the present Minister for Agriculture has done— the one section in this country that really has definitely and decidedly benefited from the increase in the national income is the farming community. That would not have happened if our farmers' sons and labourers were standing around the barracks to keep up the strength of the Army—“filling the vacuum”, as Deputy Aiken referred to it last night.
Another person, this morning I think it was, sneered at the talk of peace. We are a small nation and we must remember that; we must keep that in the forefront of our minds all the time and in the forefront of our policy. We must talk of peace. The strongest hope we have is not in our 12,500 men and our rifles to defend ourselves against attack from the air or anywhere else; the strongest hope we have, or any small nation has, is in peace and in continued peace, and our greatest security is to give whatever contribution we can give in the international field to secure that there will be peace, peace at all costs. That is the only way that a small nation can serve itself or can maintain its integrity and sovereignty. We must preach peace, we must give a spiritual contribution towards peace. That is what our nation can give and that is what our people are in a position to give, and that our kith and kin abroad in practically every country in the world can give in the cause of peace.
We are not to talk about peace. I suppose to talk about peace would be flatulent and fatuous, if I were to use Deputy Lemass's verbiage. May I refer to what the Pope said in the course of his Christmas message in 1948?
“Nations should be careful of the use of threats by armies in support of claims, even if legitimate, in view of the risk of starting a conflagration, with all its tremendous consequences, spiritual as well as material.”
We have some little influence in the world. Our policy, as carried out by our Minister for External Affairs, has given us some little standing, even as a small nation, in the councils of the nations. He has played a good part, an honest part and an influential part in many of the councils and in many activities in international affairs. Through our influence, and through his activities, we may give our contribution towards endeavouring to secure peace. We must talk about peace, although certain Fianna Fáil spokesmen think it would be fatuous and flatulent to talk about it. We must try to get our point of view known to the nations and now, as a result of what has been done in the past two and a half years, we have greater influence. Our case is known, our difficulties more appreciated than ever before—that is one of our contributions towards the defence of this country in the event of an emergency.
We escaped invasion during the last emergency, and I am in no way detracting from the work done or the sacrifices that were ready to be made by the people in the Defence Forces at that time when I say that we were saved from that invasion, not by the force of our armies but by the forbearance of the warring nations during that time. It may have been expediency, it may have been decency, it may have been some little respect for international morality that prevented the invasion of this country; it was their forbearance, and what we have to see is that we make friends amongst the powerful nations and the small nations who will help us if we are faced with any trials in another emergency.
These are the ways in which we can help to defend this country and build up its resources and its defence, and it is not by bringing young people into barracks, organising an army of 12,500 soldiers with so much arms and equipment and spending millions of  the taxpayers' money. There are other ways, tangible and intangible, in which you can defend this country. I will repeat what the Minister for Defence said: such steps as we are able to take have been and are being taken—they have been taken during the past two and a half years—to meet any emergency which may result from the international situation. I think it is deluding the people and misleading the people to tell them otherwise and, if there is any false pretence lying around this debate, it lies on the side of those people who are trying to get it into the heads of our unfortunate countrymen that we are in a position, from our own resources and by our own strength and with our own men and materials, to defy the world and to meet all-comers. We are not, and the sooner that is realised the better.
That is why I am realistic; that is why the Government are using their best endeavours in various ways to secure that there shall be peace, amongst other things, by taking steps to ensure that the economic and financial structure of this country is strengthened and by ensuring that we have food supplies adequate to meet all emergencies and that we will have such other supplies as we may be enabled to obtain to meet any situation that may arise.
I have spoken at far greater length on defence that I intended. I believe it is largely, I do not say entirely, a political trick to get us talking around the country about defence, to get our people to follow on the tail of Fianna Fáil speakers, to swing after them and talk on defence questions. Apparently, members of the Fianna Fáil Party have come to the conclusion that if they talk about defence and create a panic by saying that the Government are unprepared to meet an emergency, it will divert attention from such important questions as economics and finance and making known the wonderful results that we have achieved during the past two and a half years and what we hope to achieve in the next two and a half years.
I do not propose to deal at any great length with the various points  that were raised in the course of the debate. I want to end the question of defence by saying this, that I drew the conclusion from Deputy de Valera's speech last night that the idea was that we will have X-thousand men and so many guns, with whatever equipment that we may have, and we will fight anyone who comes and, having been wiped out, we will settle down for another 750 years of war. I do not want the country to fight another 750 years war, nor do my colleagues. We want to give the ordinary people a chance to continue doing what has been done, and to try to do even better in the future, utilising our unutilised resources, employing the people of the country, getting more wealth out of our land, and giving our people an opportunity to enjoy the rights they have and realising the genuine prospect they have of achieving within our lifetime real peace and prosperity.
Deputy Lemass said we were farming out our industry. He spoke about the Industrial Development Authority and said we had allowed that particular authority to usurp our functions in the matter of industrial policy. The best answer and the most succinct answer I can give is to refer him to the results achieved since that body was set up. I want to pay them this tribute to-day, that since they have been set up they have been a conspicuous success and a complete justification of the policy of the Government. I was able to announce it in cold figures yesterday when I was opening this discussion on this Estimate. There has been the highest volume of industrial employment on record. We have less unemployed in this country now than ever there were before, and at the same time we have the highest volume of industrial production on record. In the year 1949 we had 60 new factories. That is a fair piece of achievement for that body, which was set up only a short time ago. That is the body whose activities Deputy Lemass here did his best to torpedo and cripple in the speech he made when the Industrial Development Authority was set up.
 Deputy Lemass also asked what provision we were making in face of our financial commitments in the event of an emergency. I gathered he appeared to suggest that his Government had made some wonderful arrangement in 1939 about dollars. This country was a member of the sterling group in 1939, as it is a member of the sterling group at the moment. We have the same right as the last Government had in 1939, the right to draw on the sterling pool for our dollar requirements. We do not require to take any steps against this mythical war that Deputy Lemass thinks is coming. Our position in that respect is amply safeguarded. For some years past we have not, in fact, effectively drawn on the dollar pool at all, but we have the right to draw on it as soon as Marshall Aid is over, if we want it. We have been endeavouring to increase our own dollar earnings without drawing on the pool, but we have the right to draw on it if the occasion requires. That right will not be denied to us if emergency conditions descend on us and require us to exercise it in order to provide us with dollars.
The Taoiseach: I listened to it quite clearly, as he was the only one who appeared to me to make that admission. He stated that money should be expended on schemes such as we contemplated only in the event of there being a return——
The Taoiseach: What I can do is to quote from my own notes. The money you expend— I do not give this with complete accuracy and if I am wrong the Deputy can correct me—the fundamental principle for the spending of money—and I put this in inverted commas—is a reasonable prospect of paying for its use. I take it that if my recollection is wrong the Deputy will correct me. He mentioned houses and schools and mentioned schemes which produced an annual return for the expenditure and he said you could spend the money on them.
Mr. Derrig: I referred to the £12,000,000 which is being borrowed this year and which hitherto was provided out of revenue. I pointed out that in previous years housing grants and provision for schools had been met out of revenue.
The Taoiseach: I do not know that the Deputy has answered the point I had made. I still repeat, and can be corrected if I am wrong, that he said the fundamental principle—those were the words used by the Deputy—was that there must be a reasonable prospect of paying for its use.
The Taoiseach: ——between expenditure, capital expenditure on houses and schools and capital expenditure on other purposes that produced revenue,  the fundamental principle being, as I took it down, “a reasonable prospect of being paid for its use”.
Mr. Derrig: Does the House object to a Deputy correcting a misrepresentation of what he said? The criticisms of the borrowing policy of the Government from this side of the House have always made a clear distinction between the ordinary provision for borrowing by local authorities and the housing grants, which up to the present had been paid from revenue. It is now proposed to borrow for housing grants.
The Taoiseach: I have informed the Deputy that I did not purport to quote —I could not—but I quoted from my notes, the sentence being in inverted commas in the notes. If I am wrong, it can be corrected. As the Deputy has said that my interpretation of his speech is incorrect, I will pass from it. It can be dealt with at another time.
A large portion of my opening address yesterday on this Estimate dealt with capital expenditure. In the entire debate, taking everyone from the Leader of the Opposition down to the last speaker, adding all the time they spent in their speeches, I do not suppose there was a quarter of an hour  spent on this capital expenditure of £12,000,000. I think it was Deputy de Valera who said they were not supposed to pick out of the £12,000,000 the items of capital expenditure that they objected to, that the onus was upon us. We have taken that onus. In every single instance, in matters on which we intend to spend our capital, we have given details of expenditure and the objects on which we are going to spend the money. We have not got one single constructive criticism upon any single item of all those proposals for the spending of the £12,000,000— and that in itself is a complete justification of the programme which we have set out to carry into effect.
We are told we are carrying out Fianna Fáil policy. Deputy de Valera started that yesterday and Deputy Little continued it yesterday, but even Deputy Little had to sit down smiling and laughing at the ludicrous situation into which he had landed himself by saying that the present Government was carrying out Fianna Fáil policy. Was land rehabilitation Fianna Fáil policy? Was the Local Authorities (Works) Act Fianna Fáil policy? Was the policy of the Minister for Agriculture, which has been so severely criticised, Fianna Fáil policy? Was the Industrial Development Authority, which has been criticised to-day by Deputy Lemass, Fianna Fáil policy? Is there any single item of our policy that was Fianna Fáil policy? If there were, I would not have been able to get up here yesterday and point to the wonderful results and achievements of this Government in the last two and a half years.
Deputy Derrig will not let me give my interpretation of what he said yesterday in case it might be incorrect. I think I am correct in saying this, that my interpretation of the general policy of Fianna Fáil is that we ought to go on with the new Government buildings, in respect of which they made a provision of £200,000 in the Estimates which we found when we came into office. They have criticised the land rehabilitation policy of the Minister for Agriculture. They have criticised our capital expenditure.  They want us to go on with the £2,000,000 for Government offices in Dublin Castle. The only comment I make is: if the ancient Egyptians had gone in for a Dillon scheme of land rehabilitation and drainage, instead of building the Pyramids, their civilisation would probably be alive to-day.
Deputy C. Lehane asked me for certain assurances on forestry. I think I can readily give those assurances. The gentleman to whom I referred yesterday, perhaps somewhat facetiously, as our very competent and comfortable Minister for Lands and Forestry is as big an enthusiast about forestry as the whole of the Clann na Poblachta Party put together; and I am content to say that he has a far more practical outlook and knows more about forestry than the whole of that party put together. I think, therefore, that we will leave forestry in the very competent hands of my colleague, Deputy Blowick, Minister for Lands.
The Taoiseach: There was imported into this House this morning a subject which, I think, might very well have been left undealt with. The day before yesterday I gave to the House specific assurances on the subject of the Garden of Remembrance and of the Government's intention in that respect. This morning we listened to the histrionic and hysterical speech of Deputy MacEntee with fictitious sobs in his voice. I explained the day before yesterday the Government's intention. I do not intend to revive any more bitterness or controversy. I have given the most specific assurances and I have explained the Government's intention in regard to the general memorial.
Finally, I want to say—and I think this must be said and can be said— that at the end of nearly two and a half years of government, at the end of a period during which every possible obstacle was placed in the way of this Government achieving the purposes which it set out to achieve by the operations and speeches of the Fianna Fáil Party, by lying and insidious propaganda, and by a whispering  campaign throughout the country in an attempt to torpedo the efforts and the solidarity of this Government, to-day, after two and a half years, we are able to say that this Government, which was sneered at and about which it was said that it would not last six months, is solid, lasting and united, and is able to put before the country in the calm and cold objective statement that I read yesterday a history of achievement in the agricultural, financial and economic spheres of Government activity, such a history as no other Government was ever able to put before the people after such a short lapse of time.
We have every confidence that, given the opportunity and given peace, when we come to submit our record and our story at the next general election, it will be a record of achievement that will commend itself to our people, not  because of anything we may say, but because we will have, in every aspect of financial, economic and agricultural life and in every section of the community, brought hope and happiness and some degree of prosperity.
The Taoiseach: I am speaking now from recollection: the Tánaiste, the Minister for Finance, the Minister for Defence, the Minister for External Affairs, the Minister for Agriculture and the Minister for Industry and Commerce. I am speaking from recollection.
Blaney, Neal T.
Childers, Erskine H.
Collins, James J.
Crowley, Honor Mary.
Davern, Michael J.
De Valera, Eamon.
De Valera, Vivion.
Gorry, Patrick J.
Kennedy, Michael J.
Kitt, Michael F.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick J.
Lydon, Michael F.
Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
Rice, Bridget M.
Ruttledge, Patrick J.
Ryan, Mary B.
Brennan, Joseph P.
Browne, Noel C.
Byrne, Alfred. Cosgrave, Liam.
Costello, John A.
Crotty, Patrick J.
Dillon, James M.
Dockrell, Maurice E.
Doyle, Peadar S.
Flanagan, Oliver J.
Halliden, Patrick J.
Kyne, Thomas A.
Lehane, Patrick D.
|Byrne, Alfred Patrick.
Connolly, Roderick J.
Corish, Brendan. MacEoin, Seán.
McFadden, Michael Óg.
Madden, David J.
Murphy, William 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.
Sheldon, William A.W.
Timoney, John J.
|Last Updated: 20/05/2011 13:53:33||Page of 17|