Dáil Éireann



Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Dingle Harbour.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Investments in Britain.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Dublin Turf Production.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Imported Pedal Cycles.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Meteorological Equipment at Airports.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Cork Air Service.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Cigarettes—Retail Price.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Electricity Supply Board Employee.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Rural Electrification—Inniskeen.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Waterford Householders' Electricity Supply.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Unemployment in Rural Areas.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - New Factories for County Dublin.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Galway City Industries.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Price of Cars.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Central Bank Expenditure.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Holdings of British Government Securities.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Agricultural Credit Corporation.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Investments by Central Bank.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Investments by Agricultural Credit Corporation.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Reinstatement of Civil Servant.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Special Employment Schemes.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Reinstated Civil Servant.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Old Age Pensions.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Social Welfare Act.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Unemployment Figures.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Rates of Outdoor Relief.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Suidheaimh Aras an Gharda, Indreabhán, Co. na Gaillimhe.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Ireland's Membership of U.N.O.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Extxernal Affairs Bulletin.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Land Acquisition.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - National Flag: Procedure.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Refusal of Pension.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - F.C.A. Recruits.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Transport for Children.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Scoil Nua (An Cnoc).

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Travelling Allowances.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Council Officers' Duties.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Residence of County Council Officers.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Kerry Schemes.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Purchase of Houses in Dingle.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Housing of the Working Classes.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Bridge-Building in Dublin.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Galway City Dissatisfaction.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Telephone and Postal Facilities.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Provision of Creamery Facilities.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Price of Turkeys.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Provision of Seed Wheat.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Sugar Requirements.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Land Rehabilitation Project.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Artificial Fertilisers.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Supply of Superphosphates.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Pig Prices in Dublin and Donegal.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Tithe Gloine i gConamara.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Import of Fresh Herrings (Donegal).

Order of Business.

Grain Storage (Loans) Bill, 1951—First Stage.

Fishing Licences (Moville District) Bill, 1951—First Stage.

Supplies and Services (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1946 (Continuance) Bill, 1951—Second Stage (Resumed).

[1651] Do chuaigh an Ceann Comhairle i gceannas ar 3 p.m.

Mr. Spring:  asked the Taoiseach if he is aware that when the Parliamentary Secretary to the Government visited Dingle during his tour of the West Kerry Gaeltacht, one of the proposals put up to him was the dredging of Dingle Harbour; if he is further aware that the Kerry County Council provided money and had a survey carried out at the request of the Department of Agriculture some two years ago with a view to the dredging of the harbour; and, if so, whether he will now state if this proposal has been considered by the new inter-departmental committee and whether they have decided to allocate money for this work.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Government (Mr. Lynch):  The answers to the first two parts of the question are in the affirmative. With regard to the last part, I would refer the Deputy to the reply given to him on the same subject by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture on the 17th July last. I understand that the outstanding information referred to in that reply has not yet been furnished to the Department of Agriculture by the Dingle Harbour Commissioners, and, consequently, consideration of the possibility of providing a State grant for the work cannot be proceeded with.

Mr. Spring:  In view of the fact that the Kerry County Council provided money two years ago to carry out the survey, would the Parliamentary Secretary write to the Dingle Harbour Board and ask them to send him the information he requires?

[1652]Mr. Lynch:  The harbour commissioners were asked on two occasions to send the necessary information. The last request was made some months ago and the reply has not yet been received.

Mr. MacBride:  asked the Taoiseach whether, in regard to the answer he gave to Question No. 5 on the 22nd November, 1951, the Dáil is to take it that the Government has no knowledge, or even no estimate, as to the total (a) gross, and (b) net sterling assets held in Britain by firms, corporations and persons resident in Ireland (other than the Central Bank, Government and associated banks) and, if so, whether he will request the Central Statistics office to prepare such an estimate indicating the method of computation adopted to ascertain the net figure.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach (Donnchadh Ó Briain):  With regard to the first part of the question, no official estimate is available. With regard to the second part, the Central Statistics Office has been examining the practicability of making an official estimate of the value of sterling assets in the categories mentioned by the Deputy, and a good deal of preliminary work on the investigation has already been done.

Mr. MacBride:  Am I to take it that there is no estimate of the total sterling assets held by this country in Britain?

The Taoiseach:  There is no official estimate.

Mr. MacBride:  Are there unofficial estimates?

The Taoiseach:  There have been some—one in particular.

Mr. MacBride:  Could we have the unofficial estimates that have been prepared?

Mr. S. Brady:  asked the Taoiseach if he will state the quantities of turf (a) drawn from the bog by farmers and (b) produced by the Dublin County Council in County Dublin during each year since 1944.

[1653]Donnchadh Ó Briain:  I propose, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, to circulate in the Official Report a statement giving the desired information.

Following is the statement:—

Quantities of Turf (a) drawn from the bog by farmers and (b) produced by the Dublin County Council, in County Dublin during each year since 1944.

Year Drawn from the bog by farmers Produced by Dublin County Council
Tons Tons
1944 9,325 6,674
1945 15,447 4,039
1946 5,542 3,226
1947 5,017 2,050
1948 209
1949 785
1950 1,028
1951 *

*Not available.

†Production ceased after 1947.

Mr. Norton:  asked the Taoiseach if he will state the number and value of pedal cycles imported into the Twenty-Six Counties in each of the years 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950 and 1951 to date.

Donnchadh Ó Briain:  I propose, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, to circulate in the Official Report a statement giving the desired information.

Following is the statement:—

Imports of Bicycles and Tricycles completely or substantially assembled in the years 1947-1950 and in January to October, 1951.

Period Quantity Value
No. £
Year 1947 1,508 6,257
,, 1948 398 2,171
,, 1949 180 1,443
,, 1950 161 1,184
,, 1951 (Jan.-Oct.) 44 376

[1654]Mr. Lehane:  asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he will state (1) the total capital expenditure to date on the provision of meteorological equipment at (a) Shannon Airport, and (b) Dublin Airport, and (2) the annual cost of meteorological services at (a) Shannon Airport and (b) Dublin Airport.

Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lemass):  The total capital expenditure up to the 31st March, 1951, on the provision of meteorological equipment at Shannon and Dublin Airports was £9,184 and £8,300 respectively. The annual cost of meterorogical services is about £70,000 in the case of Shannon Airport and £34,000 for Dublin Airport. It will be understood that these costs have been rising over the last few years in common with similar expenditure, on account of increases in salaries and incidentals.

The figures given do not include capital expenditure on buildings and general office furniture.

Mr. Lehane:  asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he will say what it would cost to provide the meterological station at Cork airfield that he regards as necessary before scheduled air services can be operated from Cork.

Mr. Lemass:  The nature and extent of the meteorological facilities which it would be necessary to provide at an airport in Cork would depend on the nature of the air services which it was proposed to operate. The minimum meterological facilities would involve the provision of equipment costing about £1,300 and the employment of staff whose salaries would amount to about £1,500 a year. Other incidental expenses, such as staff transport and expendable equipment would probably amount to about £500 a year. Office furniture would probably cost a minimum of £500. If the construction of special buildings to house the equipment and staff were necessary the minimum cost would be £2,500.

[1655]Mr. Lehane:  asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he is now in a position to state whether his Department is prepared to permit a regular air service to be operated from the Cork airfield.

Mr. Lemass:  As I stated in reply to the Deputy's question on 4th July, 1951, I have the question of the operation of regular air services from Cork under consideration. I am awaiting a report from Aer Rianta in the matter, but the Deputy will appreciate that there are many factors to be examined in relation to the traffic available and the facilities which might be necessary at the airport.

Mr. Lehane:  Is the Minister not aware that Aer Lingus has adopted a dog in the manger attitude in respect to air services to Cork? They will not undertake them themselves and will not permit other companies or the Cork Airways Company to inaugurate their own services.

Mr. Lemass:  I do not agree altogether with what the Deputy has said. Aer Rianta have been asked to report on the problems involved in the operation of regular air services from Cork, but I should make it clear to the Deputy that I would strongly disapprove of any proposal to introduce regular air services by private companies on that route, at least until the possibility of operating those services by Aer Lingus has been fully explored.

Mr. Lehane:  Yes, but in this particular area an airfield which has been licensed for chartered services was established by private enterprises and they endeavoured for a number of years to get permission to operate chartered services from that field, and every obstacle which could be put in their way has been put in ther way both by this Government and the previous Government.

Mr. Lemass:  As far as I am concerned I want to be quite clear. As long as the present position continues I would wish to see all chartered services in this country and with Great Britain operated by Aer Lingus.

[1656]Mr. A.P. Byrne:  asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he is aware that the several increases since 1939 in the retail prices of cigarettes have now, because of the adoption on each occasion of the fraction of a halfpenny as a halfpenny, resulted in the price of the smallest sized cigarettes being increased by a greater proportion than the price of ordinary sized cigarettes; that the price was formely 4d. for ten as against 6d. for ten, and is now 8d. as against 10½d.; and, if so, if he will have the smallest sized cigarettes reduced to the fair price of 7d. per ten, which is the proportionate price.

Mr. Lemass:  The disproportion in prices to which the Deputy refers is affected by changes since 1939 in the respective weights of the two classes of cigarettes. My information is that at present prices the consumers of each class of cigarettes are obtaining approximately equal value.

Mr. Sweetman:  asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state whether it has been brought to his attention that a Mr. Percy Casey was dismissed from his employment at the erection of the Electricity Supply Board station at Allenwood, County Kildare; that Mr. Casey is an Irishman who had been working in England where he was a duly admitted member of the appropriate trade union; that, in response to the appeal to skilled Irishmen, he returned home and if, in those circumstances, he will take steps to ensure that Mr. Casey is not deprived of his employment.

Mr. Lemass:  The arrangements for the recruitment and discharge of staff for employment in the service of the Electricity Supply Board rest entirely with the board and I have no function in the matter.

Mrs. Rice:  asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce when the Electricity Supply Board will extend the rural electrification scheme to the Inniskeen area, County Monaghan.

[1657]Mr. Lemass:  I am informed by the Electricity Supply Board that the Inniskeen area has twice been considered for selection by the board. It has not been selected because the ratio of fixed charge revenue to capital cost would not, in the board's view, justify the expenditure involved. I am further informed that the area will again be considered for selection early in the year 1952 but it cannot be indicated at this stage as to whether it will then qualify for development.

Mr. Kyne:  asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he is aware that nine householders residing at Barrack Street, Tallow, County Waterford, have been repeatedly refused connection to their homes by the Electricity Supply Board although the distance to the nearest pole is only 12 yards; and, if so, if he will instruct the Electricity Supply Board to see that these residents obtain electric light in their homes, as is the case with the other residents.

Mr. Lemass:  I have made inquiries from the Electricity Supply Board and have been informed that the provision of supply for the nine houses at Barrack Street, Tallow, County Waterford, would involve the erection of 260 yards of low tension line from the nearest point of supply and that the board would, under its rules, require a contribution from each tenant towards the cost of making the supply available. I understand that the tenants are not prepared to pay the amounts asked for by the board, and as none of the houses is the property of the county council, the council is unable to make any contribution. All such extensions are made in accordance with rules framed by the board which, I am informed, are designed to ensure that the revenue will be sufficient to meet, in addition to the cost of electricity, the recurrent capital and maintenance charges. The board states that these rules are standard and of universal application throughout the board's areas of supply, except in areas subsidised under the rural electrification scheme.

[1658]Mr. Kyne:  I take it that it would not be correct to say that the reason that these houses have not been connected is to obviate the necessity for having a resident collector? That is what is believed locally.

Mr. Lemass:  No such information appears in the information given to me by the board.

Mr. Dunne:  asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he is aware that unemployment is rapidly growing in the rural areas, particularly in the villages and small towns and, if so, whether he will state what steps the Government are taking, or propose to take, to remedy the position.

Mr. Lemass:  The figures of unemployment which I have obtained from the Department of Social Welfare do not indicate that the position this year is worse than the position on corresponding dates last year. The Government does not accept that the position last year was satisfactory and measures to improve it are being devised and will be announced from time to time.

Mr. Dunne:  Is the Minister not aware that in my own constituency in County Dublin there is abnormal unemployment this year?

Mr. Lemass:  Among agricultural workers?

Mr. Dunne:  Not entirely. Not alone among agricultural workers but among workers normally employed in certain classes of industry, also in the building trade and also in Local Authorities (Works) Act operations. In view of that fact does the Minister not now consider that exceptional steps are necessary to relieve that unemployment?

Mr. Lemass:  The information I have obtained from the Department of Social Welfare does not show that the number unemployed in rural areas this year is any greater than it was this time last year.

Mr. Dunne:  In view of the unsatisfactory nature of that reply I propose, [1659] Sir, to raise the question on the Adjournment.

Mr. Burke:  I am sure that the Minister is aware that Deputy Dunne's Party and the previous Government are responsible for that state of affairs.

Mr. Sweetman:  That is a most intelligent question.

Mr. Dunne:  asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he is aware of the urgent need for the establishment of new industries at Balbriggan, Skerries, Swords, Malahide, Blanchardstown, Lucan, Clondalkin and Tallaght, County Dublin, and if he will state whether he has any information as to proposals to establish new factories in any or all of these areas; and, if so, whether he will give details.

Mr. Lemass:  I am aware of the need for the establishment of industries in some districts in County Dublin. A number of proposals regarding the establishment of industries in some of the localities mentioned have been received. None of the proposals has reached the stage that would permit me to give details as requested by the Deputy.

Mr. Duignan:  asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he has received any proposals for new industries to be located in Galway City; and, if so, the nature of the proposals.

Mr. Lemass:  Some proposals relative to the establishment of industries in Galway City have been received in my Department. At the present stage of development of these proposals I do not consider myself to be at liberty to disclose their nature. When any of these proposals reaches the stage at which operations are about to commence, the private interests concerned will, no doubt, make their intentions known in Galway.

[1660]Mr. Kyne:  asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he is aware that it has been stated by motor dealers that British-made motor cars could be sold in this country at the present English price plus transport costs were it not for an Order requiring these car dealers to have the cars assembled here, and if he will state whether he has satisfied himself that the difference between the present Irish price and that charged in England (excluding purchase tax) is represented by the amount paid in wages to the Irish workmen engaged on assembling; and, if so, if he will explain how cars are sold so cheaply in England where the workmen engaged in assembly receive wages just as high, if not higher, than those paid here.

Mr. Lemass:  I have seen many statements by various persons on this matter. There are many factors besides wages which contribute to the differential between the basic British prices and the Irish prices for motor cars. These factors include (1) revenue duty payable on the chassis and body on importation, which averages 15 per cent. approximately, (2) freight on parts for assembly from British factories to this country. (3) the utilisation of parts and accessories manufactured in this country, the economic prices of which exceed the allowance made in respect of them by the British manufacturers, and (4) the higher unit cost arising from the relatively lower volume of output.

Mr. MacBride:  asked the Minister for Finance if he will state how much of the sum of £41,077 described in the Statement of Accounts of the Central Bank for the year ended 31st March, 1951, as “Salaries, wages and other remuneration” was expended on (a) salaries; (b) wages, and (c) other remuneration.

Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Aiken) (for the Minister for Finance):  As stated in reply to a similar [1661] question put by the Deputy on 22nd November, the particulars asked for are outside the scope of the information which it is necessary for me in the public interest to require from the Central Bank. The accounts of the bank are audited by the Comptroller and Auditor-General and presented to Dáil Érieann with his certificate. They contain all the information statutorily required of the bank.

The governor and board of the bank were originally appointed in 1943 and the governor and several of his colleagues were reappointed in 1950 or early in 1951. I feel that they can be trusted to administer the affairs of the bank without being subjected to petty accounting queries.

Mr. MacBride:  Do I take it that the Minister in effect declines to tell the House and the country how this sum is spent by the Central Bank?

Mr. Aiken:  The Deputy can only take it that it is not necessary in the public interest to ask for these petty accounting details. The governor and the majority of his colleagues were reappointed or appointed by the last Government and I think that the Dáil can trust the bank and the Comptroller and Auditor-General to take care of a sum of this kind, particularly when the Dáil has entrusted the bank with £80,000,000 or £100,000,000.

Mr. MacBride:  Will the Minister state why it is not in the public interest to disclose how these vast sums are spent?

Mr. Aiken:  If the Deputy were in charge of the Central Bank I might think it in the public interest to make the inquiries about the £41,000 referred to in the question, but I do not think that it is now necessary in the public interest to make them.

Mr. MacBride:  asked the Minister for Finance if he will give full particulars [1662] of the item described as “For Other Accounts, £8,610,867”, which is contained in the list of holdings of British Government securities by the Department of Finance referred to in his answer to a question on the 15th November, 1951.

Mr. Aiken:  The particulars requested are as follows:—

Savings Certificates Reserve Fund 5,542,960
National Loan Sinking Funds 2,100,000
Teachers' Pension Fund 715,535
Woods and Forests Fund 234,970
Sanatoria Fund 15,411
Escheated Estates Fund 2,000

Mr. MacBride:  asked the Minister for Finance if he will state the average rate of interest which the Agricultural Credit Corporation receives on the £33,527 7s. 0d. which it has invested in British Government securities and also the rates of interest it charges on loans it makes to farmers.

Mr. Aiken:  The rate of interest which the Agricultural Credit Corporation receives on its holding of British Government securities is slightly in excess of 3 per cent. These securities are held purely for convenience and are available as cover for the corporation's bank overdraft. Their existence in no way conflicts with the provision of credit for farmers. Since its inception the corporation has made loans to farmers totalling £3,800,000. The current lending rate is 4½ per cent.

Mr. MacBride:  Do I understand that the Agricultural Credit Corporation charges the Irish farmers more than it charges the British Government when it borrows money?

Mr. Aiken:  Deputy MacBride's question discloses the fact that he does not realise the difference between a claim upon Irish goods, Irish currency, and a claim upon foreign goods, British sterling or foreign assets.

Mr. MacBride:  Does the Minister really think that it is part of the function [1663] of the Agricultural Credit Corporation to invest money in England?

Mr. Dillon:  The Minister is talking through his hat.

Mr. Aiken:  If one Deputy at a time will ask a question I will deal with it. Deputy Dillon has been erupting.

Mr. MacBride:  Does the Minister consider that it is part of the function of the Agricultural Credit Corporation to invest money in England?

Mr. Aiken:  No. The function of the credit corporation is statutorily decided and announced. It is their function to make credit available to the Irish farmers, but the fact that they have a small sum of £33,000 available for quick liquidation if they want it in no way detracts from their ability to give loans to farmers and, in fact, as I have already indicated to the Deputy, they have given £3,800,000 in loans to Irish farmers.

Mr. MacBride:  asked the Minister for Finance whether the governor and directors of the Central Bank have taken any steps pursuant to the provisions of Section 3 of the Currency (Amendment) Act, 1930, and Section 64 of the Central Bank Act, 1942, to secure his approval and the approval of the Oireachtas for the investment in Ireland of at least a portion of the sterling assets lent by them on short-term and long-term loans to the British Government.

Mr. Aiken:  No request has been addressed to the Minister for Finance by the Central Bank under the statutory provisions mentioned.

In regard to the latter part of the question, many foreign central banks as well as foreign commercial banks keep large balances in London where funds can be held in liquid form and can at the same time earn some interest. The amount so held by foreign banks, currency boards, etc., is in the region of £4,000,000,000.

Further in reply to the Deputy's [1664] question, I may say that he does not appear to appreciate the difference between Irish £s and foreign currency, that is between claims upon Irish goods and services and claims upon foreign goods and services. Increased investment in Ireland by Irishmen and by Irish institutions is not impeded in any way by Irish holdings of foreign exchange reserves, any more than it would be if these reserves were altogether held at home in the form of gold or other internationally acceptable commodity. Indeed, I may point out that the possession of foreign reserves enables our community to sustain a capital investment programme necessitating the importation of goods and machinery for capital purposes.

A little reflection, coupled with a knowledge of finance, will enable it to be seen that some Irish residents, or Irish institutions, must hold the foreign exchange reserves of the Irish community, so long as they are fortunate enough to have any. When one Irish holder transforms his holdings of foreign assets, i.e., claims upon foreign goods or services, into Irish currency or bank deposits within Ireland the first effect is to increase by an equal amount the holdings of other Irish institutions or individuals. If Irish commercial banks, for instance, transformed all their foreign holdings into Irish currency, the foreign holdings of the Central Bank would be increased accordingly. If the Central Bank were compelled by law to hold part of its funds in the form of Irish securities the external holdings of the commercial banks would be increased to an equal amount. If an Irish individual translated his personal holdings of foreign assets into Irish £s or a deposit in an Irish bank the foreign holdings of the Central Bank and/or the commercial banks would be increased by the same amount. In short, we can only repatriate or liquidate the holdings of foreign assets in the hands of Irish citizens and institutions by using them to claim foreign goods and services, that is, by importing foreign goods and services in excess of our current foreign earnings from exports of goods and services.

[1665] Let me emphasise that it is not necessary for us—as a first step, at any rate—to liquidate a single £ of our external assets in order to make Irish currency or credit available for internal capital development or domestic consumption. For these purposes we could to-morrow, should the Oireachtas so decide, issue Irish currency or create Irish bank deposits or obtain Central Bank credits to the extent of £1,000,000 or £1,000,000,000. The only consideration that prevents many Governments and central banks from creating additional spending power by an expansion of currency, credit or debt is that they have the wit to realise that if the total amount of active purchasing power is greatly in excess of national production it disorganises the economic and social life of the people and imperils the productive development upon which an improved standard of living must be based if it is to be permanent.

General Mulcahy:  Did the Minister say £4,000,000,000?

Mr. Aiken:  £4,000,000,000.

Mr. MacBride:  Do I take it that the Minister's speech in reply to a simple question was intended to indicate that the Government approves of the policy of the Central Bank in investing all its money in England instead of investing it in Ireland?

Mr. Lemass:  You will understand it some time.

Mr. Aiken:  It is quite obvious that the Deputy does not even now understand the reply. If the Dáil so decides, to-morrow, we can pass a law prohibiting the Central Bank from holding one single £ of foreign assets, but then somebody else must hold them. If the Central Bank does not hold them, some individuals must hold them, or the commercial banks must hold them. I do not know whether the Deputy wants us to compel the Central Bank to hand over the holdings of external assets to the commercial banks, but the effect of his suggestion would be exactly that.

[1666]Mr. MacBride:  Would the Minister be in a position to inform the House what other country, if any, is by law compelled to back its currency with the currency of another Government?

An Ceann Comhairle:  That is a separate question.

Mr. Aiken:  That is a separate question but may I answer the question?

An Ceann Comhairle:  It does not arise out of this question and therefore should not be answered.

Mr. Dillon:  May I put a supplementary question to the Minister? I understood him to say that it was open to Oireachtas Éireann to legislate to compel the Central Bank to hold all its currency in reserve in Ireland. While that is undoubtedly true, is it not a fact that Oireachtas Éireann has legislated to the effect that, if the Board of the Central Bank should apply for leave to invest a part of the currency in Reserve in Ireland, it may do so on the Oireachtas signifying its assent and, if that has been legislated by Oireachtas Éireann, surely the legislation was made for some purpose and to meet some possible contingency or does the Minister for Finance suggest that it was legislated for no purpose?

An Ceann Comhairle:  The Deputy is making a speech.

Mr. Dillon:  I am asking a very important question, Sir. Will the Minister answer it?

Mr. Lemass:  What a Government we did have.

Mr. Aiken:  It is quite obvious that not only does Deputy MacBride not understand the question but that neither does Deputy Dillon.

Mr. Dillon:  I have forgotten more about it than you ever knew.

Mr. Aiken:  Deputy Dillon asked a question the other day across the House. He said he had tried to find out from the Department of Finance what was the technique of the Treasury deposit receipt over in England. But an official of the Department of Finance [1667] had already published a book about it. It is a standard book of reference in every Treasury throughout the world.

Mr. Dillon:  Where do we go from there? I never read the book.

Mr. Lemass:  Or any other.

Mr. Dillon:  And I do not intend to.

Mr. MacBride:  asked the Minister for Finance whether the British Government securities held by the Agricultural Credit Corporation were included in the grand total of £56,751,447 invested by Government Departments and agencies in British Government securities set out by the Minister in his reply to a question on the 15th November, 1951; and, if not, whether he will now indicate what other statutory and State-sponsored corporations hold British Government securities.

Mr. Aiken:  The answer to the first part of the Deputy's question is in the negative.

I have not the information sought in the second part of the question, and I do not propose to seek it, as some of the companies that would be regarded as statutory or State-sponsored corporations are engaged in competitive business and any holdings of British securities which they possess would not in any case be very considerable in relation to the variety and scope of their operations at home and abroad.

Mr. MacBride:  Would I be correct in suggesting that the amount is somewhere between £2,000,000 and £3,000,000?

Mr. Aiken:  The Deputy can only assume from what I said that as far as I can guess at the matter they are not considerable in relation to their operations at home and abroad.

Mr. MacBride:  Surely there is no reason why the Minister should not tell us what the amount is.

Mr. Aiken:  I have not got the information. If the amount is, as the [1668] Deputy guesses, £2,000,000, what is that in relation to £400,000,000 or £300,000,000 that we have invested abroad? It is a bagatelle.

Mr. MacBride:  It is no bagatelle.

Mr. Aiken:  The Deputy is simply upsetting himself about certain details of finance without knowing or understanding the fundamentals.

Breanndán Mac Fheórais:  asked the Minister for Finance whether, in view of the reinstatement in the Civil Service of Mr. D.J. O'Donovan, former Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare, who was dismissed for persistent failure to obey instructions from the previous Government, it is proposed to extend the decision in this case to all other persons who have been dismissed for insubordination or less serious irregularities.

Mr. Aiken:  The decision to reinstate Mr. O'Donovan in the Civil Service was made because of the peculiar circumstances surrounding his removal from office and because it was, in the opinion of the Government, desirable in the public interest to make his services again available to the Department of Social Welfare. Similar reasons do not, as far as I am aware, exist for the reinstatement of any other person who was removed from Civil Service employment. The question of extending the decision does not, therefore, arise.

Mr. Dunne:  asked the Minister for Finance whether, in view of the abnormal unemployment existing, funds have been specially set aside in the special employment schemes office for the provision of work during December and the Christmas period.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance (Mr. Beegan):  As the Deputy is aware, the funds made available in the Employment and Emergency Schemes Vote for the relief of unemployment are provided for the employment of unskilled labourers in receipt of unemployment assistance. [1669] Men in receipt of unemployment insurance benefit are not eligible for recruitment as unskilled labourers on employment schemes.

I am not aware of any increase in the number of men at present registering for unemployment assistance in the country as a whole, as compared with the number registered in November, 1950.

Allocations from the Vote have already been made for employment schemes to be carried out during the winter months in all areas in which the number of men on the unemployment assistance register warrants the sanction of such schemes, and many of these works are already in hands.

Mr. Dunne:  Does the Parliamentary Secretary seriously suggest that there is not an extraordinary amount of unemployment in the country at present?

Mr. Beegan:  I have only the figures which have been furnished to me. On 17/11/'51, 33,845 was the number on the unemployment assistance register and on the 18/11/'50, the number was 36,368, which shows a decrease of 2,523.

Mr. Dillon:  What about those who come under unemployment insurance?

Mr. Beegan:  They do not come within the ambit of the Unemployment Schemes Vote.

Mr. Dunne:  In view of the fact that there is undoubtedly a very large number of men unemployed in the country at present as compared with other years, will the Parliamentary Secretary not consider making exceptionally generous grants to the local authorities to relieve the situation between this and Christmas? I make that suggestion to the Parliamentary Secretary and I ask him to consider it for the good of the men concerned.

Mr. Beegan:  Relief grants have been made by some local authorities in urban areas but not from the special employment schemes office or the Board of Works.

Mr. Dunne:  Exceptionally large [1670] grants have been made by the special employment schemes office in the past.

Breanndán Mac Fheórais:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare whether any assurance was required from, or given by, Mr. D.J. O'Donovan, the former Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare, and now employed as adviser to the Minister, that in future he would carry out instructions given to him by the Minister and the Government.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Ryan):  The answer is in the negative.

Mr. M.P. Murphy:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he is aware that it is a source of grave annoyance to the wives of labourers earning approximately £3 weekly that they are not entitled to an old age pension, and, if so, if he will consider introducing proposals for legislation to rectify their grievance.

Dr. Ryan:  I am not aware of the existence of the grievance mentioned by the Deputy. I presume the reference is to the provision by which, in the case of a married couple living together, half the joint income is attributed to each in computing means for old age pension purposes. I do not contemplate altering that provision but proposals I have under consideration for presentation to the Dáil may provide for raising the statutory means limit for old age pensions.

Mr. M.P. Murphy:  Does not the Minister believe that these people have a justifiable grievance? The wife of a labourer earning £3 a week is not entitled to an old age pension while farmers with 20 cows have qualified for full old age pensions. I think that is very unjust. It sounds rather peculiar that the Minister is not aware of any great grievance on the part of these people. They have a very definite grievance.

Dr. Ryan:  Of course it depends on the interpretation of the word “grievance”. They may complain [1671] but there is no genuine grievance. It is contemplated raising the means test. As regards the farmer with 20 cows, he has divested himself of that property before he gets the pension.

Mr. Davin:  Is it not part and parcel of the 17-point programme that the means test is to be abolished?

Dr. Ryan:  No, it is to be raised.

Mr. M.P. Murphy:  I know of the case of a labourer's wife whose husband is only earning 55/- a week who is not entitled to an old age pension.

Dr. Ryan:  And was not for the last three years.

Mr. M.P. Murphy:  Perhaps the Minister will bring in legislation to give them what they are justifiably entitled to.

Dr. Ryan:  We are going to deal with the means test.

Mr. M.P. Murphy:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will consider extending the benefits given to farmers with valuations of less than £30 under the Social Welfare Act, 1951, to other sections with similar valuations.

Dr. Ryan:  The amendment brought about by Section 2 of the Social Welfare Act, 1951, in relation to small farmer claimants to old age pension was largely in furtherance of the Government's general policy of inducing young people to stay on the land by encouraging the old people to hand over to them. I do not feel that the desirability of the measure as regards other sections of the community exists, and I do not, accordingly, propose amending the section to extend its provision.

Mr. Davin:  Is it not a fact that the Minister and his colleagues issued a Press announcement on March 3rd indicating that this kind of case would be dealt with under their alternative proposals in the Social Welfare Bill?

[1672]Dr. Ryan:  No, we only dealt with agricultural holdings.

Mr. Davin:  With everybody?

Dr. Ryan:  No, agricultural holdings. The Deputy was far too impressed by our proposals.

Mr. M.P. Murphy:  Does not the Minister think it unfair that people like publicans and small business people with valuations of £30 are not entitled to any benefit under this amended legislation while farmers with similar valuations are entitled? I think it is the general consensus of opinion, as this benefit is given to farmers, that it should be extended to people like publicans and small business people in the provincial towns.

Dr. Ryan:  I suggest to the Deputy that when we bring in the legislation that can be argued out. It is not easy to do it by way of question and answer.

Mr. Browne:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will state the number signing as unemployed in the employment exchanges at Ballina, Belmullet, Achill Sound, during the month of October and up to the 15th November, 1950, and the month of October and up to the 15th November, 1951.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. Kennedy):  As the reply is in the form of a tabular statement, I propose, with your permission, a Chinn Chomhairle, to circulate it with the Official Report.

The following is the statement:—

Number of persons registered on Saturday Local Office of Department of Social Welfare at
Ballina Belmullet Achill
6th October, 1951 421 814 201
13th ,, ,, 423 781 189
20th ,, ,, 429 749 190
27th ,, ,, 750 956 270
3rd November, ,, 883 1,186 349
10th ,, ,, 969 1,178 381
17th ,, ,, 975 1,210 425
7th October, 1950 439 935 204
14th ,, ,, 465 911 198
21st ,, ,, 465 889 209
28th ,, ,, 833 1,060 294
[1673]4th November, 1950 1,027 1,322 357
11th ,, ,, 1,116 1,406 404
18th ,, ,, 1,154 1,444 449

NOTE.—The increases in the Register at each office subsequent to the third week in October each year are mainly due to the return to the Register of certain classes of persons residing in rural areas, following the termination of the First and Second Employment Periods.

Mr. Dunne:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will direct boards of assistance throughout the country to increase rates of outdoor relief payable to those suffering economic want, so as to enable them to cope, in some degree, with the increased cost of living.

Dr. Ryan:  Public assistance authorities are obliged by the Public Assistance Act, 1939, to give such assistance as appears to them to be necessary or proper to meet the needs of each particular case. The grant of home assistance is a matter entirely within the discretion of the public assistance authorities and I am not aware that they have failed to meet their obligations in the matter.

If the Deputy can give me particulars of any cases in which inadequate home assistance is being paid I will have the matter brought to the notice of the authority concerned. Section 5 (2) of the Act of 1939 precludes me, however, from directing the giving of home assistance to any individual person.


Peadar Ó Duigneáin:  den Aire Leasa Shóisialaigh an bhfuil fhios aige go bhfuil Aras an Gharda, Indreabhán, Co. na Gaillimhe, 7 míle ó Ros a' Mhíl, 10 míle ó Dhoire Coill agus 15 mhíle ó Sheana Phéistín; go mbíonn aistir ó 14 mhíle go 30 míle ar dhaoine sna ceantair sin más áin leo an Cúnamh Dífhostaíochta a tharraing; [1674] agus an gceapfaidh Sé ionad deimhnithe i Ros a' Mhíl le haghaidh na ndaoine sin.

Seosamh Ó Cinnéide:  Ní tugtar áird do cheist d'ionad deimhnithe spesialta do bhunú i leith lucht dífhostaíochta a bhfuil cónaí ortha aistear fada ón Oifig Áitiúil is goire dhóibh ach amháin i gcasanna fíor-annmha agus annsan nuair a bheadh sé ró dhian ar iarratasóirídul go dtí Stáisiúin an Gharda. Níl Ros-a-Mhíl ach cúig mhíle ó Stáisiúin an Gharda ag Indreabháin. Níl aon iarratasóirí in aon chur ag cruthú fianaise dífhostaíochta ó Sheana Pheistín agus níl ach seacht iarra tasóirí ag síniú ó Dhoire Coill. Dá mba indéanta féin ionad deimhnithe do bhunú dos na daoine seo atá na gcónaí thar sé mhíle ba ró mhór an costas a rachadh leis agus a luighead iarratasóirí atá ann.

Mr. Dunne:  asked the Minister for External Affairs if the Government have recently considered reapplying for membership of U.N.O. and, further, if he will state what responsibilities would devolve upon our country in the event of our becoming a member of U.N.O.

Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Aiken):  There is no question of reapplying for membership of the U.N.O. The position is that the application made in 1946 remains blocked by an objection in the Security Council.

As regards the second part of the question, I would refer the Deputy to the debate which took place in this House on the 24th and 25th July, 1946, during which the Taoiseach explained the commitments assumed by members under the U.N.O. Charter.

Mr. Sweetman:  asked the Minister for External Affairs if he will state why the bulletin published by his Department on 12th November, 1951, only mentioned his own speech and that of the Minister for Education at the Ulster Gaelic Executive Jubilee, and [1675] why the name of no other speaker was mentioned.

Mr. Aiken:  It has been customary to publish in the bulletin extracts from ministerial speeches dealing with important matters of policy. This was the reason for publishing extracts of the speeches made by the Minister for Education and myself in regard to the Irish language at the Comhaltas Uladh Jubilee. Unfortunately, the other speeches were not reported at sufficient length to enable extracts to be made from them by the editorial staff, which would be interesting to readers abroad.

Mr. Sweetman:  Is it not a fact that prior to the change of Government extracts from speeches of members of the Opposition were frequently published in this bulletin and that extracts made by Deputy de Valera, as he then was, were also frequently published?

Mr. Corry:  They were the only ones worth publishing.

Mr. Sweetman:  I am very glad of the interruption. Does not the Minister think that the fact that there were there, in addition to his colleague and himself, His Grace the Archbishop of Armagh, the President of the Gaelic League, the Chairman of Connradh na Gaelige, the Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, the Professor of Modern Irish in University College, Dublin, and the President of Fine Gael, who was a former Minister for Education, that at least some notice might have been taken of their presence and their remarks unless he wished to make this a political bulletin?

Mr. Aiken:  I regret to say I have not yet had time to alter any of the instructions given to the editorial staff by my predecessor.

Mr. Sweetman:  Does the Minister say that it took him five months to reach on a small little matter of politics like that?

Mr. Fanning:  asked the Minister for Lands whether the Land Commission have any proceedings for the acquisition [1676] of the lands at Kilfadda, Kilcommon, Borrisokane, County Tipperary, at present owned by Miss Grubb.

Minister for Lands (Mr. Derrig):  Proceedings are well advanced for the resumption of Miss Grubb's holding in Kilfadda.

Mr. Fanning:  asked the Minister for Lands whether the Land Commission have any proceedings for the acquisition of the lands at Ballymacegan, Borrisokane, at present owned by Mr. Malcolm Willington.

Mr. Fanning:  asked the Minister for Lands whether the Land Commission have any proceedings for the acquisition of the lands at Gurteen, Borrisokane, at present owned by Mr. Malcolm Willington.

Mr. Derrig:  With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle I will take together Questions Nos. 34 and 35.

Following an inspection of the lands held by Mr. Willington the Land Commission have instituted proceedings for the acquisition of his lands in Gurteen and have decided to take no further action in respect of the lands in Ballymacegan.

Mr. Fanning:  asked the Minister for Lands whether the Land Commission have any proceedings for the acquisition of the lands at Sraduff, Borrisokane, at present owned by Mr. Peter Darcy.

Mr. Derrig:  The Land Commission have no proceedings for the acquisition of these lands but are having inquiries made.

Mr. S. Brady:  asked the Minister for Defence if he will say when he hopes to publish directions as to the proper procedure to be adopted in flying the national flag.

Minister for Defence (Mr. Traynor):  It is anticipated that the booklet containing directions to the public will be issued early next year.

Mr. Kyne:  asked the Minister for Defence whether he is aware that Mr. [1677] Patrick Kearns, Ballinamult, County Waterford, a holder of an I.R.A. service medal, who has been certified as totally incapable of work for the past 18 months, has been refused a disability pension and if he will state the grounds on which the decision to refuse the application for a pension was based.

Mr. Traynor:  Applications form Mr. Patrick Kearns, Curradoon, Ballinamult, County Waterford, for a special allowance under the Army Pensions Acts were rejected on two occasions— once in November, 1949, and again in July, 1951.

The applicant was medically examined on both occasions by the Army Pensions Board who found that he was not incapable of self-support by reason of permanent infirmity.

As it is a statutory condition for the award of an allowance that an applicant be incapable of self-support by reason of permanent infirmity, no award could be made to Mr. Kearns.

Mr. Kyne:  Is the Minister aware that this man is in receipt of disablement benefit from the national health insurance for the last 18 months? Is he aware that he has been examined by the medical referee and is in receipt of a regular weekly certificate for the past 18 months? He has been examined on eight or nine occasions and found totally unfit for work. Is that not a strange position?

Mr. Traynor:  In the course of the reply which I have just read I stated that the applicant was medically examined on both occasions by the Army Pensions Board who found that he was not incapable of self-support by reason of permanent infirmity. Two-thirds of the personnel of that board is composed of medical men and I am pretty sure the Deputy does not want me to become a disputant with the board on a purely technical medical matter.

Mr. Kyne:  I agree, but is not the position unique in so far as this man has medical certificates which cannot [1678] be challenged? Yet, when he comes before another set of doctors they say that he is fit to work. I cannot understand that.

Mr. Corry:  Is the Minister aware that previously the same board decided that a man with one leg——

An Ceann Comhairle:  That does not arise.

Mr. Corry:  ——could qualify as an agricultural labourer and was not entitled to a pension?

An Ceann Comhairle:  That does not arise on this question.

Mr. Corry:  It is a fact.

Mr. O'Donnell:  asked the Minister for Defence if he has issued instructions to recruiting officers that residents of the six north-eastern counties should not be accepted as recruits in the F.C.A.

Mr. Traynor:  No specific instructions on this point have been issued to recruiting officers as the matter is covered in the relevant Defence Force regulations which prescribe that a man ordinarily resident outside the State, other than a man who is residing temporarily within the State for the purpose of attending a course of education, is ineligible for enlistment or service in the F.C.A.

Mr. O'Donnell:  Would the Minister ensure that area officers, particularly in the Eastern Command, are reminded of this Army regulation?

Mr. MacBride:  Do I take it from the Minister's reply that an Irishman living in the Six Counties cannot join the Defence Forces?

Mr. Traynor:  He can join the permanent Defence Force if he so desires, but this question is raised in respect of the F.C.A.

Mr. O'Donnell:  Surely they have been accepted up to the present.

[1679]Mr. Traynor:  If they were ordinarily resident, yes; but if they are resident in the Six Counties, no.

Mr. O'Donnell:  Is the Minister aware that at least a lorry full of F.C.A. members motors down from Enniskillen every Sunday for drill purposes in halls in Cavan?

Mr. Traynor:  I am certainly not aware of that.

Mr. MacBride:  I think that is so.

Mr. Maher:  asked the Minister for Education if he will consider providing a transport service for the children of the Kyle, Dunmore and adjoining districts who are at present experiencing great hardship travelling to Durrow school.

Donnchadh Ó Briain (for the Minister for Education):  I have received no representations in regard to the question of providing a transport service for pupils attending this school and, in the absence of particulars of children who, it is stated, are experiencing great hardship travelling to the Durrow schools, I am not in a position to say whether State aid could be granted towards the cost of a transport service.

On receipt of an application from the manager of the Durrow schools or from the interested local parties giving the names and ages of the children in question and the distances of their respective homes from the nearest national school, I shall have the matter investigated.


Peadar Ó Duigneáin:  den Aire Oideachais an dtig leis a rá cén uair a tosnófar ar an Scoil Ghairm-Oideachais a thógáil ag An Cnoc, Cois Fairrge, Conamara.

Donnchadh Ó Briain:  Tá suíomh le haghaidh scoile ar an gCnoc (Cois Fhairge) ceannaithe ag Coiste Gairm-Oideachais Chontae na Gaillimhe. Tá cead ag an gCoiste dul ar aghaidh leis na réamh-shocraithe .i. pleanna &rl., is riachtanach sar ar féidir tosnú ar obair thógála scoile Gairm-Oideachais ach níl siad san réidh fós. Mar sin ní féidir aon tuairim chinnte a thabhairt [1680] faoi cathain a cuirfear tús leis an obair seo.

Mr. Sweetman:  asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state the basis upon which travelling allowances are payable to those officers of local authorities who do not reside within their functional area and, in particular, whether such allowances are payable from their residence to their place of duty.

Minister for Local Government (Mr. Smith):  Travelling expenses are payable in respect of official journeys to and from fixed headquarters within the area in which the officer serves. No expenses are payable for journeys between an officer's residence and his headquarters. The fact that an officer resides outside his area does not affect the question of travelling expenses.

Mr. Sweetman:  asked the Minister for Local Government whether, by regulation, condition of appointment or custom, the senior officers of a county council (meaning thereby county manager, secretary, accountant and engineer) are expected to be on call for duty in an emergency at any time not in ordinary office hours.

Mr. Smith:  There is no regulation or condition of employment requiring senior officers to be on call for duty in an emergency at any time not in ordinary office hours. The custom depends on local arrangements, but I am aware that in many cases such officers attend meetings and conferences connected with their duties, outside office hours.

Mr. Sweetman:  asked the Minister for Local Government if there is any regulation or condition of appointment by which officers of county councils are required to reside within the area in which they have to carry on their administrative duties.

Mr. Smith:  In so far as those officers of county councils, for whom I am the appropriate Minister, are concerned, [1681] there is no general regulation or condition of appointment by which they are required to reside within the area in which they have to carry out their duties.

Mr. Sweetman:  Does the Minister not think it desirable?

Mr. Smith:  I do not.

Mr. Spring:  asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state what is the cause of the delay in carrying out the proposed water and sewerage schemes in the village of Annascaul, County Kerry.

Mr. Smith:  I was informed by the sanitary authority on 30th October, 1951, that arrangements were being made for the invitation of tenders for the water supply scheme for Annascaul.

Preliminary proposals for the provision of a sewerage scheme have been approved in principle.

Mr. Spring:  asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state the present position of the proposed sewerage scheme for the village of Lixnaw, County Kerry, and if he will further state when work is likely to commence on the scheme.

Mr. Smith:  As indicated in reply to the Deputy's question on the 17th July last, a sewerage scheme for Lixnaw cannot be proceeded with until a satisfactory water supply has been provided. Tenders are being invited for the water supply scheme and, meanwhile, certain technical aspects of the sewerage scheme are being further considered by the county council's technical advisers.

Mr. Spring:  asked the Minister for Local Government if his Department received proposals from Kerry County Council for the purchase of two houses in Dingle town; and, if so, will he now state when he proposes to give sanction to the purchase.

[1682]Mr. Smith:  Sanction was given on November 24th to the purchase by the Kerry County Council of two houses in Dingle town.

Mr. Dunne:  asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state (a) the total number of working-class houses (urban, rural and municipal) estimated as having been required in February, 1948, in respect of the entire State; (b) the total number built from February, 1948, to date, and (c) the estimated total of present requirements.

Mr. Smith:  The number of dwellings required to be provided by local housing authorities to meet the needs of members of the working classes and agricultural labourers at the 1st February, 1948, was estimated at approximately 69,000; (b) the total number of dwellings completed by local authorities between 1st February, 1948, and 30th September, 1951, was 19,187; (c) it appears from the available estimates that approximately 50,000 additional dwellings are required for the classes mentioned by the Deputy.

Mr. Dillon:  Can the Minister state how many houses are in process of erection in addition to those which he has mentioned as having been completed?

Mr. Smith:  I have not that information now.

Mr. Byrne:  asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state (a) the cause of the delay in proceeding with the scheme for the replacement of the Metal Bridge, Dublin, in view of the fact that it was stated two years ago that materials would be available within six months, and (b) the present position regarding the erection of a new bridge over the Liffey, east of the Custom House; and whether, in view of the increasing unemployment and the fact that some hundreds of unemployed men have made application to the Dublin Port and Docks engineer for employment, he will speed up the building of the bridges before the workers emigrate to England.

[1683]Mr. Smith:  The planning of new bridges over the River Liffey in Dublin City is a matter for the Dublin Corporation and the Dublin Port and Docks Board. There are no current proposals before my Department. Works of the nature indicated would require considerable preliminary investigation before the planning could be put in hands.

Mr. Duignan:  asked the Minister for Local Government if he is aware that there is great dissatisfaction in Galway City owing to the fact that it is proposed to build fixed bridges across the canal, thereby preventing navigation from Lough Corrib to Galway Bay; and, if so, what steps he proposes to take in the matter.

Mr. Smith:  In response to a resolution of the Lough Corrib Navigation Trustees and after public notice of the proposal, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, by the Lough Corrib Navigation Act, 1945 (Section 13) Order, 1949, authorised the trustees to abandon the Dominick Street, New Road and Presentation Road bridges, and the navigation thereunder. The position, so far as the county council and the Minister for Local Government are concerned, is that there is now no right of navigation under these bridges, and that they are in a dangerous condition necessitating weight restrictions which present serious impediments to heavy main road and local traffic. I am not aware that there is dissatisfaction with the county council's proposal for their replacement by fixed bridges.

Mr. Kyne:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs whether he is aware that there is a demand for a daily postal delivery in the postal areas of the Nire and the Skeheens, Ballymacarberry, County Waterford; and, if so, if he will arrange to have the question of a daily delivery examined with a view to meeting the demand.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Childers):  I will have the question of giving a daily delivery in the [1684] Nire and Skeheens areas examined when the general reorganisation of the postal services in the Clonmel district is undertaken.

Mr. O'Donnell:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he will provide a telephone service to Townavilly, County Donegal.

Mr. Childers:  The provision of a public telephone at Townavilly where there is no post office, would not be warranted.

A telephone will be provided at Barnesmore Post Office which serves the Townavilly area and in this connection I would refer the Deputy to my reply of the 15th November to similar questions by Deputies O'Hara and Blowick.

Mr. Spring:  asked the Minister for Agriculture whether he is aware of the fact that strong representations have been made for the provision of an auxiliary creamery at Currans, Farranfore, County Kerry, to replace the former creamery which was dispersed many years ago, and whether, having regard to the fact that there is a peak supply of milk of over 2,100 gallons, he will take steps to accede to the demand of the local farmers for the provision of the creamery.

Mr. Smith (for the Minister for Agriculture):  I am not aware that strong representations have been made for the provision of a cream-separating station at Currans, Farranfore, County Kerry. The needs of the district appear to have been met by the provision of a travelling creamery.

Mr. Spring:  asked the Minister for Agriculture whether he is aware that the farmers of Glena district, Listowel, County Kerry, who have to travel several miles at present to the nearest creamery, are demanding that an auxiliary creamery be erected in that district; and, if so, whether he will now take steps to accede to their demand.

Mr. Smith:  If the Deputy refers to the district of Glenoe, I am not prepared [1685] to issue a licence for the erection of a separating station in that district as a recent survey indicates that the milk supply which would be available would not enable such a station as well as the existing separating stations to operate economically.

Mr. M.P. Murphy:  asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will state the present position regarding proposals to provide creamery facilities at Sherkin and Hare Islands, County Cork.

Mr. Smith:  The question of the provision of creamery facilities for the farmers of Sherkin and Hare Islands was examined some time ago, but a solution was not then practicable. Arising out of recent representations, the matter is at present being investigated afresh by my Department.

Mr. Dillon:  Since you are sending a travelling creamery out to Whiddy, you might as well send one out to this area.

Mr. Smith:  I might do that, too.

Mr. M.P. Murphy:  asked the Minister for Agriculture if it is correct that the wholesale price of exported Irish turkeys is 5/6 per lb.; and, if so, if he will indicate how that sum is apportioned between the producer, exporter and any other interests.

Mr. Smith:  The answer to the first part of the question is “No.” As the export of turkeys for the Christmas season has only just begun, it is too soon yet to say what wholesale price our turkeys will make on the British market over the season.

Mr. Lehane:  asked the Minister for Agriculture whether, in view of the very high price of good quality seed wheat and in order to encourage wheat growing in the country, he will take steps to make available to farmers good quality disease-free seed wheat at an attractive price.

Mr. Smith:  If the Deputy's suggestion is that seed wheat should be made available at a price less than that at which it can be economically assembled and sold by the seed trade, I wish to [1686] make it quite clear at once that I have no intention of providing any form of subsidy for seed wheat.

Farmers proposing to sow wheat should therefore not postpone the ordering of their requirements in the hope that cheaper seed than that now available in substantial quantities may be obtainable later.

Mr. Corry:  asked the Minister for Agriculture if, in view of the increased cost of sugar to the consumer due to the price of imported sugar, he is prepared to call a conference of representatives of the Beet Growers' Association and the Irish Sugar Company so that an all-out effort may be made to get an acreage of beet grown that will supply the nation's full requirements of sugar.

Mr. Smith:  I do not see that any useful purpose would be served by such a conference. The Irish Sugar Company and the beet-growers' organisations have been dealing with the problems of the industry for many years now and there appears no reason why they should not continue to do so.

Mr. Corry:  The Minister will be glad to learn that I have already taken steps to have such a conference called, and what I am anxious about is ——

An Ceann Comhairle:  The Deputy is making a speech and not asking a question.

Mr. Corry:  ——that the decision of that conference will not be turned down by the Minister as a previous one was by his predecessor. (Interruptions.)

Mr. Dillon:  The junior Minister.

Mr. Smith:  My forecast was fairly accurate.

Dr. Browne:  asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will give an estimate of the total number of men employed directly under the land rehabilitation project.

Mr. Smith:  It is assumed that the Deputy wishes to have an estimate of the total number of men employed in [1687] cases where the Department of Agriculture has been requested to carry out the work under the land rehabilitation project. The number of men at present employed directly by the Department is 835 and the number employed by contractors working for the Department is approximately 565.

Mr. Dillon:  Am I to understand that the employment figures just given take no account of the individuals who are carrying out the work on their own behalf, or of the persons who are employed in the manufacture of pipes and other materials used in the drainage operations conducted under the land project?

Mr. Smith:  I was asked a question that was not very clear to me, and I have endeavoured to reply to that question as fully as it was possible for me to do so.

Mr. Dillon:  I was trying to help by clarifying the questioner's intention.

Mr. Smith:  I am very grateful to the Deputy who is always very helpful.

Mr. Sweetman:  asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will state in respect of the 1st November, 1950 and 1951, the comparative prices per ton of the various types of artificial fertiliser.

Mr. Smith:  As the reply is in the form of a tabular statement, I propose, a Chinn Chomhairle, with your permission, to have it circulated with the Official Report.

The following is the statement:—

Comparative prices of certain classes of Fertilisers

(1 Nov., 1950) (1 Nov., 1951)
Superphosphate 35% £8 10 0 £13 0 0 (a)
Ground N. African Phosphate £5 15 0 £10 0 0 (a)
Semsol £6 10 0 £11 0 0 (a)
Special Potato Compound £13 15 0 £19 10 0 (a)
Sulphate of Ammonia £15 15 0 £21 7 6 (b)
Nitro-Chalk £15 15 0 £20 8 0 (b)
Potash 50% Muriate £15 10 0 £17 15 0 (c)
Basic Slag £9 5 0 £11 2 6 (d)

(a) Price per ton ex works, Dublin, Cork, Drogheda and Wicklow (Galway 15/- per ton extra).

[1688](b) Landed price per ton main East Coast ports (West Coast ports 12/- per ton extra).

(c) Price per ton ex store Dublin, Cork and Waterford.

(d) Price for main East Coast ports. (Other ports extra).

Local prices to farmers are not comparable as they include internal transport costs, merchant's profit, etc.

Special discounts are available for early purchases of Superphosphate.

Specially favourable terms for bulk purchases can be had from Comhlucht Siúicre Éireann. Teo., for certain classes of fertilisers imported by them.

Mr. O'Donnell:  asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will make available to the small farmers in the congested areas of West Donegal a fair percentage of the 48,000 tons of superphosphates in stock in July last at the price of £9 10s. 0d. per ton.

Mr. Smith:  It would not be possible to make superphosphates available at the price referred to without payment of a subsidy and it is not my intention to pay such subsidy.

Mr. O'Donnell:  Does the Minister admit that this 48,000 tons does exist?

Mr. Smith:  It does not.

Mr. Sweetman:  Where has it gone?

Mr. Smith:  I do not know.

Mr. Dillon:  Will the Minister be good enough to tell the House was there not left, out of the departmental importation from Holland, with the sugar company last spring 48,000 tons unsold at the end of June of this year, or on the 14th of June when we left office?

Mr. Smith:  I have been searching all the morning for these 48,000 tons as I have been searching for a number of other things which the Deputy claims to have left after him but which I cannot find.

Mr. Dillon:  Will the Minister consult the chief inspector of the Department of Agriculture and the general manager of Comhlucht Siúicre Éireann, and I will be bound by the answers they give to him?

Mr. Smith:  I would not feel like replying to the question as I have replied to it if I had not already consulted these gentlemen.

[1689]Mr. Hickey:  Arising out of the Minister's reply, not only would the members of this House but other people outside would like to know which of the people concerned are telling the truth.

Mr. Smith:  According to my information, there were 27,000 tons of the superphosphates referred to available.

Mr. Hickey:  All that we are asking is to get the truth.

Mr. Smith:  I have given you the truth.

Mr. Sweetman:  Will the Minister say on what date?

Mr. Smith:  In July.

Mr. Dillon:  I asked about the 14th of June.

Mr. Smith:  It is July as far as I know.

Mr. Dillon:  A transfer may have taken place——

Mr. Lemass:  You did not know what you were talking about.

Mr. Dillon:  I think the sugar company may have got a transfer of 21,000 tons to be used in compounds for the beet growers this year, but when I left office, there were 48,000 tons there. In July, there were only 27,000 tons, and God knows how much there is there now.

Mr. Smith:  In the question addressed to me, I was asked to state what the position was in July. Naturally, I went back to the date that was mentioned in the question addressed to me, and I have given the House, as far as I have been able to discover it, correct and accurate information.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Question No. 62.

Mr. Dillon:  Find out where the other 21,000 tons are.

Mr. O'Donnell:  asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will state why is there [1690] such a large discrepancy in the prices paid for pigs in Dublin and in County Donegal.

Mr. Smith:  My information does not confirm that there is an unduly large discrepancy between the prices paid for pigs in Dublin and in County Donegal. Such discrepancy as exists at present is not abnormal and arises mainly from the relative local incidence of supply and demand.

The prices in other parts of the country besides Donegal are also normally somewhat lower than in Dublin.


Peadar Ó Duigneáin:  den Aire Talmhaíochta an bhfuil ar intinn aige tuilleadh tithe gloine a thógáil i gConamara; agus, má tá, cén uair a tosnófar ar an obair.

Rúnaí Páirliminte don Aire Talmhaíochta (Gearóid Mac Pharthaláin):  Níl sé ar intinn cur leis an 95 (nócha a cúig) tithe gloine atá san aonad atá déanta cheana féin i gConamara faoi Scéim na dTithe Gloine sa Ghaeltacht. Má bítear le tuilleadh tithe gloine a dhéanamh ní mór tús breithnithe a thabhairt do cheantair eile sa Ghaeltacht nach bhfuil aon aonad tithe gloine iontu. Tá an ní seo faoi bhreithniú ag an Coiste Eadar-Roinne i dtaobh cúrsaí forbairte na Gaeltachta.

Mr. O'Donnell:  asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will state for what reason a permit to import fresh herrings was granted to a fish merchant in County Donegal for the week ending 3rd November, 1951, when ample supplies of prime fresh herrings were available at Bunbeg.

Mr. Bartley:  Two licences to import fresh herrings during the week ended 3rd November were issued to fish merchants in County Donegal on Saturday, 27th October, subject to the condition in each case that the licence would be used only if the licensee failed to secure his full requirements from home landings. Landings of herrings were [1691] made in Donegal in the week ended 3rd November and the licences were not used.

Mr. Breslin:  asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will state what arrangements there are for marketing gluts of herring landed at Donegal ports and in particular whether licences to import fresh herrings are granted when there are ample supplies of home-landed herring available.

Mr. Bartley:  The Sea Fisheries Association are arranging to market fresh herring to the greatest extent possible and, also, to purchase quantities for kippering, curing and cold storing. It is hoped that the purchases made by the association, with those of the other buyers, will enable the landings in Donegal to be cleared. As to the second part of the question, licences to import herring are not granted when home landings are available.

An Tánaiste:  It is proposed to take business in the following order: Nos. 3, 4 and 8. I understand it is agreed that the debate on No. 8 will conclude this evening. I will be called upon to reply not later than 9 o'clock, and the division will be taken not later than 11 o'clock. Private Members' time will not be allowed this evening but tomorrow instead.

Mr. Norton:  The Minister indicated yesterday that he hoped to be in a position to say to-day what measures the Government wished to put through before Christmas.

An Tánaiste:  The work which we propose to get through before Christmas is as follows: First of all we will introduce the Undeveloped Areas Bill. I should perhaps mention to Deputies that it is undesirable that a Bill of that kind should be delayed in passing. Under this Bill it is intended to introduce industrial development in the West of Ireland which would be delayed for the time being until it comes into law, and I hope we can get the facility of getting it passed through [1692] the Dáil this Session. Then a Supplementary Estimate will be introduced for Córas Iompair Éireann under the charge of the Department of Finance. Three other supplementaries will be introduced, Votes Nos. 72 (Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCúng), 23 (Miscellaneous Expenses) and 71 (Increases in Remuneration). There may be one other Supplementary Estimate. The Minister for Health will introduce the Pharmacy Bill, 1951, and the Medical Practitioners Bill, 1951, which are not likely to be controversial. There is the Expiring Laws Bill, which must be passed before the end of the year. The rights under the agricultural Fishing Licences (Moville District) Bill, 1951, which is retained in order to keep the position there right pending the enactment of the measure. Another Bill which is to be introduced is the Grain Storage (Loans) Bill. There may be one or two formal matters for the approval of quota Orders and, of course, a number of First Readings. The Government thinks that with this programme it will be possible to adjourn the Dáil for the Christmas Recess about 13th December.

Mr. Norton:  For how long?

An Tánaiste:  I could not say that.

Mr. McGilligan:  Is there to be no mother and child legislation this Session?

Mr. Lemass:  That is the programme which we hope to have completed this Session. That is the information I am giving.

Mr. McGilligan:  There is to be no Social Security Bill this Session?

Leave granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to provide for the grant of loans for the provision and equipment of storage for grain.—(Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture.)

Second Stage ordered for 5th December.

[1693] Leave granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to prohibit the issue of certain fishing licences by the Board of Conservators for the Moville District and for purposes connected with that matter.—(Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture.)

An Ceann Comhairle:  When will the Second Stage be taken?

Mr. Bartley:  The Second Stage will be taken on Tuesday next. It will be circulated conjointly with the Bill from the Belfast Government. I think that will be some time towards the end of the week.

Mr. McGilligan:  Will Deputies have it before the week-end?

Mr. Bartley:  Yes.

Mr. Dillon:  Is this a Bill to protect fisheries pending permanent legislation?

Mr. Bartley:  Yes.

Mr. Dillon:  I feel that every facility should be given to the Government in this matter.

Mr. McGilligan:  Last night in my few preliminary remarks I endeavoured to point out the beneficial effect already felt by the tabling of the two amendments, one in the name of Deputy Costello and the other in the name of Deputy MacBride. We started off this debate in an atmosphere of crisis, a crisis indeed which was going to endanger the whole economy of the country. The mere tabling of the amendments drove the Tánaiste to change his mind and to say that there was no crisis but merely a problem. I think there has been a further decline as regards these surrounding circumstances. In the meantime, what we are now faced with is: will it be possible to struggle through without increased taxation? That will be the last point with which we will have to deal in this important matter. I hope the cry and the order will go [1694] forth from the Dáil that there is no necessity for any increased taxation for the country and certainly the Deputies who compose the inter-Party Government will strenuously resist any attempt to impose fresh taxation on an already overburdened community. Let me, however, get the frame of mind of the Deputies, and also of the Minister, who were putting forward their views when the debate opened. Quite early before the change of Government had taken place the man who was later to become Minister for Finance said that the country's finances had been irreparably damaged. He said that there had taken place in this country a distortion of money values such as had never been experienced before in the history of the State. He continued:—

“Irreparable damage had been done to the finances of the country by the Government's policy of borrowing, and whether the cost of the Supply Services comes from taxation or inflation it is money taken out of the pockets of the people.”

After that there was a period of quietude when, presumably, the irreparable damage to the country's finances was being pondered on by the present Minister for Finance and his colleagues. After that the apprentice to the undertakers' mutes' procession, the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, was sent out in September. He made a round of the country's post offices and he stopped some place on the way to say that the country had been very badly fooled by every type of wild promise, by the misinterpretation of appeals for annual subsidies for certain schemes, by the launching of improperly planned schemes and by the reckless use of American money, so that the people had been led to think that schemes need not be paid for and that money could be printed ad lib. In October, the Tánaiste took up the running. In the Irish Independent of 8th October the Tánaiste is reported as saying at the annual dinner of the Irish Conference of the Professional and Services Organisation:—

“So great was their need to increase total production that it was no exaggeration to say that failure to [1695] achieve it within a comparatively short space of time would create a major economic crisis.”

Later on in the speech he said:—

“When the Minister for Finance had the financial position disentangled and could give a full picture to the public there would be many who would get a severe shock. As matters now stand, before the end of the present year the Exchequer will be in difficulties in finding the cash to meet even normal outgoings.”

Further on in his speech he said:—

“The amount of money which could be borrowed, in the ordinary way, by different public loans would not be enough to cover the Government's capital programme, much less to meet a large Budget deficit as well. The nation, therefore, had to face either the cutting down of Government spending or the raising of the tax revenue. Either course was unpleasant for any Government to contemplate.”

Later he patted himself on the back, as he is in the habit of doing on such occasions, saying:—

“These things may not be the recognised route to public popularity but somebody has to say them, and responsibility rests on the members of the Government.”

Four days later he was at it again. At the Publicity Club of Ireland, he made a speech reported on the 12th October which made the Irish Independent put the headline: “Nation's Economy Endangered.” His narrative ran this way:—

“If we did not soon get into a position to maintain our standard of living without drawing on our financial reserves, the painful process of lowering living standards would sooner or later be forced on us....

The time to give serious notice to that situation was overdue....

We are able to do so for the time being because the external assets accumulated in the past are not yet exhausted; they are, however, [1696] rapidly nearing the point of exhaustion.

That is £400,000,000 worth. Later he said, warning the people:—

“If we did not soon get into a position to maintain our standard of living without drawing on these financial reserves to keep up the present level of consumption, then not merely would these capital reserves be wasted, but the painful process of lowering living standards would sooner or later be forced on us.

Whether that took the form of rising unemployment or increasing emigration, higher prices or higher taxation, it would represent the defeat of all our hopes for the future of our country.

The simple facts tells us what has to be done. We must reduce imports. The current output figures for our normal exports rule out the possibility of any large increase in the volume of exports in the near future.”

Later he said that one of the things that would operate against us was that this was a high-cost country compared with other suppliers of the European market. In the end, he wound up this particularly gloomy statement by saying:—

“This is a real crisis which we are facing and it will not be easy for us to escape it.”

He gave himself a ten days' respite and then, speaking on the 25th anniversary of the founding of Fianna Fáil, he warned:—

“Unless there was in the very near future either an expansion of our exports or a contraction of imports the country would be facing an economic crisis for which we would pay heavily by rising unemployment, rising emigration or a very serious lowering of the standard of living.”

A day later he said:—

“The result was that the provision made in the Budget for the money to meet anticipated expenditure was so inadequate that in a couple of months' time there would be no money at all left in the Exchequer, [1697] even to pay Civil Service salaries, unless the Exchequer is replenished by borrowing or otherwise.”

That was from the man who said there was no crisis, only a problem. The Irish Times of 13th October took up the running.

“There is no other way. Mr. Lemass foresees a day when, if the present rot is not stopped, the Government may be compelled to borrow money abroad with which to pay for those imports without which the national economy cannot continue to exist; and, in this respect, he makes a point which ought to be pondered by every thoughtful member of the community. ‘Should the Government have to seek foreign loans,’ he says, ‘it might find political conditions attached. A small country dependent on foreign loans rarely is free to follow an independent line.’ This point of view is far too often ignored in this country.”

Finally, the Irish Times, accepting this point of view, says the Government has every right to insist on a policy of austerity in order to bring these matters under control. Some days later there followed another wail. The Irish Times published the famous article headed “Ancestral Voices” in which they joined up the Tánaiste's statements with the Central Bank Report. They spoke of the Report of the Central Bank which explains to some extent the gloomy speeches made recently by Mr. Seán Lemass. They talked about those external assets of ours and wound up by saying:—

“They can go on as they are going, enjoying a false standard of living while, as it were, the going is good, and end up in the national bankruptey court. That way madness lies. The alternative is to pull in their financial horns, and settle down to a period of relative ‘austerity’.”

Later, the Times was at it again. In regard to the new British Government they said:—

“Under the new Government, the British Cassius probably will continue to have a lean and hungry look [1698] for some little time to come. His Irish counterpart is still waxing fat in his fool's paradise.”

The Evening Mail followed with an article headed: “The Rake's Progress,” and even Dublin Opinion was moved to make the joke of the month out of all this gloom—a picture of the secretary looking in at the Tánaiste and saying: “It is the wolf, sir. He's called again.”

A correspondent of the Sunday Times, who, I understand, is also correspondent of the Irish Times, was so much enamoured of the Tánaiste that he wrote in these terms:—

“An unexpected ally has come to the help of Government spokesmen in their efforts to make our flesh creep. The warnings were ridiculed by the former Premier, Mr. Costello, who claimed that they were no more than a ruse to hide the Cabinet's blushes at its own mismanagement.

Last week, however, the Central Bank issued a report on the economic situation by contrast with which even the ministerial moans sounded cheerful. The Central Bank is a State-sponsored concern set up a few years ago to act as a financial watchdog for the community. Securely chained by the sterling link, it has little power to do more than issue an occasional melancholy bark.

Its report covers all-too-familiar ground. The nation, it suggests, is spending more than it earns and inflationary habits are becoming ingrained. To reverse these trends it suggests reduction or removal of food subsidies, restriction of credit and rejection of new wage claims. Even purchase tax, as yet shunned in Budgets, receives a favourable nod.”

He continues, and this I would like you to ponder over:—

“The only immediate repercussion from the report was a slight improvement on the stock exchange. This was not an impolite thumb-to-nose gesture by the brokers, but simply a reflection of their belief that such reports do not make a ha'porth of difference. So long as Ireland's [1699] financial hub remains in Threadneedle Street they bear as little relevancy as the croak of Edgar Allan Poe's raven.”

The result of all this gloom and these scares for which the Tánaiste, helped by the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs is responsible, has been to cause unnecessary suffering to people in this country. They caused a restriction of credit and a calling in of reserves. They have caused something in the nature of recession if not a slump in trade. They have caused a set-back in our whole economy and when the damage is done, the Minister can slip in here and say to us that there was no real crisis, that there was just a problem. What is the problem?

Before I come on to that, let me say that it is no new thing for the Tánaiste to preach in the way he did for the last three months. For three years back, he has been the guest of honour at an insurance dinner that takes place each year, somewhere between Christmas and the New Year. The only thing he ever did at these dinners was to change the metaphors in which he pictured the condition of the country. For two or three years he has been going up dark roads but Prosperity Corner was always just ahead. One day the clouds of gloom were lowering upon him but there was always the little break that let the light through and once he inevitably moved to the darkest hour before the dawn. He told us after the war that some day he would have to pull aside the curtain and the country would then realise the almost hairbreadth escape it had from disaster. All this was his method of excusing himself for the growth of the restrictive policies in regard to wages and wage conditions generally.

He was joined by the Minister for Finance who, on one occasion in University College at a meeting of the Commerce Society, proved to his own satisfaction that full employment could never exist in any country because under conditions of full employment, the workers would have the whip-hand [1700] and they could demand such excessive wages that the products they had achieved would be so dear that people could not buy them and there would be no export market for their goods. He was also joined by the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs who on one occasion privately circulated a stereograph in which he said that one thing that was required was a stern scrutiny of the wages and salaries of all those engaged in industries catering for the export business.

There is a problem and there are four points facing the Government. One is that they say the present Budget will not balance and that that is my fault. The second is that they have told us that these schemes in regard to what we call national development, which were financed partly out of the savings of the people and partly by moneys out of the counterpart loan, were not proper schemes for that type of financing. The Minister for Finance has called them his predecessor's folly. The Tánaiste will enumerate how many occasions we attempted schemes that can be described as folly. The third point is that the conditions under which we had to finance these particular measures of borrowing are causing danger to the community, as, for instance, by what is called the gap in the balance of payments. Finally there is another difficulty, the Government say. Even if these schemes are worth while and even if they are proper to be met by borrowing and not out of year to year taxation, how is the money to be found for them? I want to deal particularly with these four points.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Before the Deputy proceeds further. I want to regularise the position. It has been proposed that the House will sit late to conclude the debate and that the division will be taken not later than 11 o'clock.


Mr. McGilligan:  It is said that the present year's Budget is unbalanced and figures have been variously put on the shortage by the Taoiseach. He first stated that the shortage was [1701] £8,000,000; later at a meeting in Cork he raised the figure by £2,000,000 to £10,000,000, against which there would be certain offsets amounting to £5,000,000. That would leave a £5,000,000 deficit.

First of all let me state last year's position with regard to the Budget. Last year's Budget as the figures show, was balanced and left a £350,000 surplus. The fact of the matter was that the Budget was balanced last year and left £2,250,000 surplus but I carried out £1.9 million which I previously carried in. I had intended to reduce that sum of money because it seems nonsensical to carry forward such a sum each year.

I asked questions to find out the necessity for it but I got no adequate reply. In the last four weeks of the financial year, Supplementary Estimates were launched on me for which I had to find something short of £3,500,000 in the year. I knew I was going to be short £500,000 of the estimated revenue to be derived from income-tax owing to the bank strike. I was £500,000 short but notwithstand ing that £500,000 shortage under one heading of revenue, we found that the revenue position was so buoyant that I decided to throw into last year's expenditure a sum of £400,000 in connection with the agricultural Supplementary Estimates which, in the normal course of events, would only have come in the course of payment this year. Added to all the others, we had £3,500,000 of Supplementary Estimates to meet. Part of that was for Córas Iompair Éireann, but there were other sub-heads.

I was budgeting at the beginning of last year, not to carry forward the £1.9 million into next year, but to reduce that figure in successive years by £600,000 twice. That would have left £750,000 and we would decide later whether we would carry forward £750,000 into the new year. The revenues were so buoyant and the economies which the Department of Finance were able to make in the Estimates, were so great, that we met the £3,500,000 Supplementary Estimates in [1702] the last two or three weeks, we saved the shortage of £500,000 in the income-tax returns and we ran out with a £350,000 surplus, made known to the public and £1.9 million not made known to the public.

This year I was given the usual forecast of still greater buoyancy in revenue. Those figures come from one quarter and they are challenged in other quarters and in the end a figure is arrived at. I announced some figure in the Budget speech but it was by no means a figure that I felt would represent the buoyancy of the revenue this year. I had again made up my mind that this £1.9 million was not a carry forward I was going to permit as it had been permitted for many years before. I had asked for information in regard to that matter and I found that the previous Government borrowing over an average of ten years was about £130,000 and only once did the carry forward go over £200,000. I found that the Fianna Fáil Party from 1932, until the war started, when they did carry over over £250,000, never exceeded that sum.

On one occasion the carry forward went up to £300,000 but this matter of accumulating this enormous sum of money to be carried forward had only developed during the war period. I had wondered what was the reason for it and I made inquiries as to the expenditure that could occur in the first four weeks of any financial year and the second four weeks taken as a group. I made an inquiry as to the ordinary revenue in each group of four weeks and I saw no reason whatever for this enormous carry forward of £1.9 million. I have had it put to me that towards the end of the year there might be a very peculiar type of emergency, which might cause a lean period so far as revenue was concerned. There might be an emergency, for instance, such as occurred this year, when the Government might be defeated in the early part of the year before the financial legislation could be carried through and you would then have a period in which the collection of taxes would be technically illegal.

[1703] Of course, the technical illegality occurred this year but the people did not matter about it. The matter was remedied by the legislation which was passed the moment the Dáil met again. This year I decided not seriously to regard that £1.9 million carried forward as essential. I budgeted for what was against me, as far as I could see the items. I provided £1,500,000 not for general emergencies but for certain matters. I stated in the Budget speech the matters appropriate to be met out of that £1,500,000 reserve. Now I am told that I failed to meet the money for the fuel losses. These fuel losses are amusing. I first heard of the overdraft of Fuel Importers in 1948. It was £5,680,000. It was the promise or the gift that the Tánaiste left to the incoming Government. By degrees, we lessened that by certain sales but I knew that there was going to be a deficit. I do not think I ever heard it to be higher than £2,750,000. I never regarded that as something to be met out of the tax-payer's pocket in one year and out of the ordinary revenues to be gathered in in one year.

I remember gibing the Tánaiste, when he was in these benches, with regard to that fuel. Somebody referred to it as “the mountains of stuff in the Park.” I confess I felt a certain agony in looking at them because to me they represented mountains of debt—I was aware of the £5,650,000 at this time. The Tánaiste's reply on that occasion was:—

“Add it to the national debt— and you are better out than any country that went through the war.”

I took it that that was his proposal at the time. I took it that he intended to add it to the national debt—and that is where it is going to land at the end of this year. It is going to be an addition to the national debt.

In this Estimate they pretend there is a legitimate charge on the people of the country in one year to pay all the fuel losses in respect of the five or six years in which they accrued, knowing well that there is not going to be any money there to meet it and that nobody would ask to meet it in a particular [1704] year. Therefore, it will be one of these Budget deficits to be met by borrowing and it will be in the national debt where the Tánaiste always intended it would be and where, personally, I always thought it would be.

Mr. Dillon:  I think it used to be referred to as “Briscoe's coal”.

Mr. McGilligan:  There was a parody at one time to the effect that Seán Lemass's coal goes a mouldering in the park but his debt goes marching on. Does anybody pretend that that is a legitimate charge on the revenue of the country, on the taxpayers of the country, in one year? Does anybody expect that we shall have to pay in one year the £3,000,000 fuel losses which were accumulated over a number of years? This, of course, is only a pretence. These figures had to be got ready because certain vague statements were made with regard to a heavy Budget deficit—and it did not look heavy enough unless you added the £3,000,000 in respect of fuel losses.

The second big item was the Personal Payments—payments to civil servants, in the main. Allied to the Civil Service payments there were other payments—payments to the Gardaí and to the Army. Coincident with the arbitration which we established for the Civil Service, a conciliation body was set up with regard to teachers. The teachers got an increase as well as the civil servants. That sum amounts to £3.6 million. I am supposed to have budgeted wrongly because, in May, I did not budget for the £3.6 million. When I was budgeting, I did not know what the sum was going to be. I do not know if anybody on the Civil Service Arbitration Board really believed there would be any payment dated back to the middle of January—two and a half months outside the financial year in which we were—or that the award would be so high. However, whether they did or did not think so, undoubtedly it is suggested that I should have thought of a sum and put that on the expenditure side of the account this year and signalled to the people who were then negotiating that that is what I would do for them. I wonder if arbitration was ever conceived of under such ludicrous circumstances? [1705] A sum of £600,000 would represent the two and a half extra months that were added to the £2,500,000. My Budget would have carried it.

I am told that there is a sum of £2,000,000 as a first charge by way of Córas Iompair Éireann deficit. I never heard of £2,000,000 being required for Córas Iompair Éireann. They had, at one time, talked about what they called “the hard core of their deficiency”— and the hard core of their deficiency I never saw placed above £1,000,000. I may say I never believed it would be £1,000,000 because I was not satisfied and would have made further inquiry to discover the method by which Córas Iompair Éireann were depreciating their goods and chattels so soon. I felt they were asking too much in that regard. If I had any figure of possibility in that regard it would be somewhere in the region of £750,000.

Now I come to the Great Northern Railway losses. The Tánaiste will have to get legislation very speedily through the Dáil and spend even faster than that in order to get a situation in which any charge in respect of the Great Northern Railway will be a legitimate charge on the people of this part of the country in this financial year. I do not believe the account can so be squared as to present a due deficit by the people of this part of the country in respect of the Great Northern Railway for losses on our part of the line in this particular financial year. Certain charges have to be met and I believe the finances of the State are so good that they will be met.

In his speech in Cork some time ago the Taoiseach said he thought there would be savings to the amount of £1,500,000. He thought he could count on an extra £2,000,000 by way of increased revenue—and there is the sum of £1,500,000 which I left. That adds up to £5,000,000. The last Exchequer returns I received were those for about a week ago. I had thought the figure I mentioned for the revenue this year would show an increase of £3,000,000, or something near that—£2.9 million—over last year. The Exchequer returns up to the 17th November last [1706] show that the revenue is £3,750,000 over last year.

Three and three-quarter million pounds have been achieved instead of the money I thought might be achieved by way of a surplus over the whole year. As Deputy MacEoin has said, the second half of the year is always the better half. I do know that before I left office a table was given to me showing returns to the Exchequer up to the 31st of May. Over the whole year the increase that we had counted on in revenue was £2,992,000. By the 31st May an increased revenue amounting to £1,679,000 had been achieved in two months.

Mr. Dillon:  Hear, hear!

Mr. McGilligan:  We got nearly £1,750,000 out of the near £3,000,000 that had to be got over the year. I shall be very definitely surprised if the buoyancy of the revenue does not go far more than the £2,000,000 of which the Taoiseach spoke. He spoke of economies which he thought they could achieve. Lest it may be thought that he is claiming any merit for revenue may I put it this way? As far as I am concerned, in the three years I had to do with budgetary arrangements, I doubt if there was a single year in which the Department was able to get within £2,500,000 of what they asked to be provided for in the Book of Estimates. They just could not spend the money provided. As far as I know, the ordinary economies achieved by the exacting and efficient methods of the Department of Finance brought about that the original Estimates were never fulfilled.

Again, I would be surprised if the savings, the economies that ordinarily occur, should sink to £1,000,000. To my mind they are £1,000,000 below what they have been running on an average. They said I provided £1,500,000. I have provided nearly another £2,000,000 as a carry forward as well. You have that against this gathering of every item of expenditure. I have no doubt that the Budget will balance.

Mr. Dillon:  And you have not left a rag of decency on them.

[1707]Mr. McGilligan:  I want to point out this. It is amazing how these debates have gone on. It is becoming clearer and clearer that as regards the £1,500,000 which I had attached to such things as the mother and child service, the social security scheme and tourist development the present Government does not intend to spend in this financial year a single penny on mother and child services. In the speech made by the Taoiseach on the 19th of November at Cork he wound up with what I across those free for all merchants in this House. He said:—

“They must make up their minds that they were going to live within their means, that if they were going to have Government services they must pay for them. They had got, in other words, to see that if responsibilities were taken from the individual and placed on the community in the shape of increased State social services, increased health services and so on, the money must be given to do it, and the only way of doing that was through taxation.”

You can have your free for all gentlemen if you want what is going to be taxation for all in return—and a heavy taxation it will be. That is the budgetary situation as I see it. On that reckoning, there is no excuse for anybody pretending to the community that there is any requirement for extra taxation in this financial year. I dare the present Government to come forward with a proposal for taxation. If they proceed to do it, it is not political guidance they need but a mental specialist.

Mr. Dillon:  Hear, hear!

Mr. McGilligan:  They cannot make a case to the community on these faked expenditures for the raising of any extra taxation on what they call the overburdened community.

The other matter that apparently worries the present Government is the service we call national development service. We will certainly have to get our terms better defined if this argument is to be conducted with any hope of getting a result by the process of [1708] reasoning. These national services are investments when Fianna Fáil want to boost anything but they are otherwise when they are to be degraded. In a sense, there is not much difference. It has been pointed out in a book on economics that when you say a person is credit-worthy you really mean that he is entitled to go into debt to a certain amount and when you say that a man is in debt if he is making good use of the money he borrowed you say that is the investment programme he is taking on his shoulders and the debt is a measure of his creditworthiness as properly applying.

During the election and even more recently, the man I referred to as being the “junior banshee” spoke of the waste of moneys on these shockingly and recklessly thought out schemes. We are here now in the quiet of a debate without any public alarm outside. The moneys that we have borrowed and spent by way of capital development have been spent on very well-known objectives such as the building of houses, the building of schoolhouses, the reclamation of land, the provision for subsidies for rural electrification, a programme of afforestration, a programme for the development of harbours and a programme for the development of the telephone system of this country. Deputies can get out their pencils and strike out whatever one of those objectives they think is not a good national scheme. I suggest they are all good.

The Tánaiste last year, when he was speaking and looking through the programme we had, could not find anything except some trivial matter in connection with the Irish News Agency. Any economy he could suggest would be of a trivial type and not worth bringing forward in debate. The schemes are good and worthy. Possibly, there might be a debate to see whether they might not be financed in a better way, but if the money can be got by revenue or borrowing, then the schemes in themselves are good. When we produced this scheme first, we produced it in an ordered way so that ultimately there would be no addition to the national debt because of what we were doing. We provided, by a special [1709] clause in one of the pieces of financial legislation of the year, that each year there was to be built into the expenditure side an annuity which would, over 30 years, repay whatever was the capital sum which had been borrowed in a special year. The provision is, I think, unique.

I doubt if the financial legislation of any other country contains a restrictive clause of that type binding those who run the Government in any year to get sufficient money to pay yearly, over 30 years, the annuitants required, with the result that, in the end, after all these schemes had been financed in this way, there is ultimately no addition to the national debt. We also very openly paraded the schemes on which we proposed to spend money, and, in debate here and in speeches through the country, we challenged the economists of the country to tell us whether there was anything they could find fault with in this as a proper objective and a proper matter for financing by borrowing, as we proposed to do. I do not remember that any economist of standing uttered one word of criticism of either the schemes themselves or the methods of financing them, and I suppose it is only what the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs describes as the economic illiterates of the Dáil who are being found to criticise them, either from the point of view of their being good objectives or properly financed in the way we did it.

We are told, however, that by borrowing in this way and by running so many of these schemes at the same time, there has been something in the nature of a crisis caused in the finances of the country. We have been told that the borrowing has had this result, that, as it has put a considerable amount of purchasing power in the hands of a very big number of people employed upon these various schemes and as they naturally spend that money, there is therefore a terrific demand for goods, and, as the ports are still open and imports can, to some degree, come in, we have inflation not of the money type but of the type that has caused what is called the gap in our balance of payments. Here again [1710] the terms will have to be defined. I used to try, so far as I could, to restrict any phrases I used of this type to describing the matter in this way, that it might be said that the people were living beyond their current income. I do not like the phrase: “The people were living beyond their means,” and I certainly do not like the phrase that indicated that people were indulging in an orgy of expenditure on more or less luxury goods to the detriment of these precious sterling reserves.

The Minister for Health at some banquet recently said that the one thing everybody was agreed upon was that we were all living beyond our means. That phrase is now current and I want to deny it, and I want to return to this point later, because, if taxation is to be imposed, it will presumably be aimed at those who, more particularly than others, are living beyond their means. Who is living beyond his or her means at the moment? Let us think of the categories into which people are divided in the ordinary statistical returns. The first big division is that of the people gainfully employed and amongst the others are pensioners of different types. First, there are those who depend on the State's bounty and pensioners who depend on their own savings. There is the old age pensioner, the widow, the pensioned schoolteacher, the pensioned Guard, the pensioned civil servant, the pensioned Army man—are any of these living beyond their means? Let us move on then to the gainfully employed. Is it going to be asserted that the agricultural labourer is living beyond his means? Is the industrial employee living beyond his means? When we come to the employers or owners of property, are the farmers living beyond their means and is it going to be said that the magnates who control industry in this country are living beyond theirs?

What does the phrase mean? I do not believe that anybody is living beyond his means in the country and I do not believe that that is what the Central Bank really signifies by its phrase in this connection. What the Central Bank means and what Ministers have been deluded into saying is [1711] that people ought not to have the means they have, and that it is because they have such means and are living within what the Central Bank would call these extravagant means, that the whole difficulty is falling on the community.

Is it believed that we are exhausting what are called capital reserves? Again, the term needs more definition. One would imagine that the phrase was used to denote money derived from either sale or, say, insurance of assets of a capital type that are being dissipated on consumer goods, such as eatables, drink, tobacco or such things. I can certainly conceive a situation in which a man might be held up to scorn amongst his fellow-citizens and neighbours, if he had a big property of an industrial type and if he suffered a fire in which his premises and machinery were destroyed, and if he, having recouped himself by an insurance which he had previously taken out on the premises, took these moneys and proceeded to live recklessly and riotously. If he had a family who had any expectation of succeeding to a property of that type, he could justly be criticised for spending what would be called capital moneys on consumer goods.

How did these sterling assets of ours which are called capital moneys arise? So far as £150,000,000 is concerned, they arose during the last war and they arose in this way, that we continued to send our goods out to England, and, as England could not pay us, we let England have the goods “on tick.” The situation has been phrased in a learned paper in this way:

“There was a crippling reduction in various imports of prime importance in the national economy—coal, oil, cereals, fertilisers, machinery, yarns and raw materials of many kinds.”

What happened was that we continued to produce and to send our goods to England and England could not send us the goods simply because she had not got them. Her productive resources had been turned at that time to the manufacture of implements of war. This country suffered very severely [1712] in its economy during the five years these moneys were accumulating and if England had been in a position to send us goods during those years, we would have got in the cereals, the oil, the machinery, the yarn, the fertilisers, and raw materials we were deprived of and we would not have had the £150,000,000 reserves and would not be any the worse for it.

We have these moneys there and it is now solemnly said that the community as a whole is living beyond its means, because it is drawing on these resources. Take an example from a personal point of view: If I were living at a rate which was a few hundred or a few thousand pounds beyond any income I could make in a year, I certainly would be living beyond my means. I can go to the bank and get the bank to arrange an overdraft of, say, a couple of thousand pounds for me. The bank generally does not do that unless it is guarded in two ways. In the first place, it will have some property that can be liquidated afterwards to bring in the £2,000, and possibly £6,000, and secondly, the belief that the person to whom they give an overdraft is of such working capacity and has such prospects that he will be enabled in good time to meet the amount without the liquidation of whatever securities or property are put in against the loan. If I live inside my current income plus £2,000 overdraft, I would be annoyed at anyone who said I was not living within my means. What is to be said of the situation in which I put £5,000 on deposit in the bank and in a year I draw £200 of that and someone tells me I am living beyond my means because I am cashing in on £200 of the £5,000 credit I have? Yet that is what has been said with regard to the country, that it is living beyond its means because we are drawing on reserves.

What were the reserves there for? They were accumulated rather fortuitously, but suppose it had been the deliberate policy to pile them up during the war, what were they for? We have heard of the old phrase “putting by for the rainy day”. Was there ever, having regard to outside circumstances, [1713] such a rainy day and a succession of rainy days as we have had in several months past, with the war conditions and the rearmament causing a demand on certain goods, putting those in short supply and increasing prices? Under those circumstances in this undeveloped country, suffering for many years from under-investment, we are solemnly warned by the banking community that we are drifting—walking, running, rushing, steadily on to destruction— because we are drawing some part of those reserves, in order to finance schemes that have stood the test of every economist's scrutiny as being worth-while schemes and schemes which warrant putting money into on a long-term policy.

I wonder what is contained in the use of this phrase “living beyond our means”, looked at from another aspect. In the early part of this year, certain colleagues of mine with whom I was in touch on this whole matter of capital schemes, expressed to me that they were getting somewhat anxious with regard to the very great demands there were for import goods and it was suggested that a more accurate examination should be made of the special goods being brought in which were causing a gap in the balance of payments, a more careful examination than any we had given to this before. We asked the Statistics Office to break down certain bulk figures there were and to let us have the result of their examination as soon as possible. That was done. The White Paper, of course, omits this table, which was before colleagues of mine and myself—it must have been in the month of March of this year, as I remember that the months of January and February were brought under review by a sort of analogy.

We asked as to the breakdown of what was called the import surplus. There is a very well-known division that occurs in the statistics set out in the Finance White Paper, a division of the imports. They are divided into (1) producers' capital goods ready for use; (2) consumer goods; (3) materials for agriculture; (4) materials for industry, and (5) miscellaneous unclassified [1714] group. I think I can say freely that not one of my colleagues or myself had the slightest trouble about producers' capital goods or the unclassified section. The latter was small and makes no difference, and in any event it was down. The producers' capital goods item was up and we welcomed the increase. The only thing we were surprised at was that it did not increase more. We would have welcomed a still greater increase. In regard to materials for agriculture and materials for industry, again these items caused no perturbation to anyone. The raw materials for industry and agriculture would emerge ultimately as better production. We thought nothing of that and, although the figure had risen, and risen phenomenally, in regard to materials for industry, there was no cause for anxiety on these figures brought before us.

Consumer goods were a category on which we concentrated. Consumer goods are divided into food, drink and tobacco as one sub-head and other consumer goods are the second. As far as the food, drink and tobacco item is concerned, we were very easily relieved of any difficulty in the matter, because it emerged very soon that nearly the whole of the increase we were considering came from the two items, tobacco and tea, the situation being that the merchants with regard to one of those items like to have a two-years' supply in hands and the merchants in regard to the other like to have a year-and-a-half's supply. The stocks were somewhat run down and we allowed them— in fact we exhorted them, and had exhorted them previously—to build up stocks again. Of the £2,000,000 I saw as an increase over a certain comparable period, £.9 of a million was spent in increasing the reserves of tobacco and £1.1 million was spent in increasing the reserves of tea.

That left the other consumer goods and we got a picture that should have been presented through this pamphlet to the people of the country, to let them know that, when speeches are made talking about the extravagant nature of our living and the increase in the standard of living, that does not mean fur coats, jewellery, cosmetics [1715] and guzzling of either foodstuffs or drinks. It means goods regarded as non-durable goods, but certainly, while outside the classification of essential items, not to be regarded as luxuries.

The categories of these goods that came before us for examination where there were substantial increases were motor cars, bicycles, tyres and tubes, repairs and materials for these vehicles. An examination of that showed a good deal of machinery brought in for land development and drainage; and, secondly, a good deal in the way of mechanically propelled vehicles brought in, first of all, for Córas Iompair Éireann and, secondly, for sugar beet and, thirdly, for the remaking of the old store of lorries that had been badly abused during the turf campaign.

There were three or four items looked at together—upholstered furniture and other furniture of wood; carpets, carpeting and floor rugs; general earthenware; and household domestic brushes and brooms. There were big increases in some of these—there was a decline in one item, but over all there was an increase. Earthenware on examination turned out to be washbasins and lavatory pans and a lot of articles used in houses. A general examination of the four headings made this perfectly clear, that these were the things required for the new houses that had been built or were in process of being built. It is absurd to think of running a housing programme aiming at the production of 20,000 or 30,000 houses in a relatively limited period and then expect all those people who had lived in one and two-roomed tenements to come out to the new three and four-roomed houses and then stand looking at the bare walls, in the rooms empty of furniture and carpets.

The earthenware were supplies used for the sanitation of the houses. Once we got that exposed to view, we realised that while we might possibly come to the position when we could not even bring in these requisites for houses, they could not be classified as extravagances or as luxury goods or anything of that nature. There were one or two items of that kind, but they were one or two that made very [1716] little in the total. There was a big increase in wireless sets; there was some increase in clocks and watches; and a very minor increase in toys and games. On the whole, there was nothing in that list to make anyone afraid of the money being expended and nothing to make anyone feel that the money was being expended improperly, if there was money there at all.

When we put, in contrast to what the Tánaiste was so critical of in these imports time and again, what he had done in his time, we can feel a great deal of merit in our programme. When the Tánaiste was in charge of the Department of Industry and Commerce—in 1947 he opened the gates and let in 13,000,000 lb. weight of sweets and chocolate confectionery, costing in that year £1,220,000.

Mr. Dillon:  More power to him.

Mr. McGilligan:  If you think that people are suckers you must give them something I suppose.

Mr. Norton:  From Czechoslovakia, too.

Mr. McGilligan:  In 1948 before the Minister's successor in the Department of Industry and Commerce could get these things stopped 7,719,000 lb. of these things drifted into this country at a cost of £633,000. In one and a half years £1,850,000 was spent on importing sweets, chocolates and confectionery. There was no lamentation in those days about consumer goods and consumer goods of a somewhat luxury type.

Mr. Dillon:  Except by those who had to dump them.

Mr. McGilligan:  I do not feel that there is anything to be aggrieved about or frightened about in connection with the balance of payments. It is a matter that requires watching. As has been said—it was said in the conference I had with my colleagues—although all of these articles might be desirable there might come a point when we simply could not afford them. That point might be reached but we have [1717] not reached it yet. We are liquidating reserves, which we were forced to accumulate over the war period, for a useful purpose. They have been brought in for certain schemes that are a proper object of borrowing, a proper investment for this country, and if we are running down those reserves that is all to the good. If we can get our housing programme and the furnishing of those houses carried through and certain schemes which we had in hand properly attended to, even if we lose all the reserves which we were forced to accumulate during the 1939-1945 period, the country may be no worse off and may indeed be a good deal better.

Again, some day somebody with an inquiring mind may find out who is it who is buying these things. I asked before who is living beyond his means. The allegation, apparently, is that we all are. The second allegation would be that some people are living beyond their means and making other people who have savings liquidate those savings in order to provide for the other man's extravagance. I do not know how that comes about. I understand that in the main—it is quite well known—our sterling assets are held by three types of holder: Government Departments, the commercial banks and private holders. It can certainly be asserted, in so far as the funds in Government hands are concerned, that no part of the reserves have been spent except on stockpiling for Government Departments in an attempt to beat the increase in prices which was going on at that particular time and which went very much worse later on.

As far as the commercial banks are concerned, judging by their policy as declared through their reports and by those of their members who are in the Central Bank, they would not very easily loosen up on the external assets which they have in their control for the purpose of importing luxury goods. We come to the third group. If people who have reserves want to spend them, why should they not do so? Have we not got at least to that degree of liberty in this country where a man, if he has a few hundred pounds and [1718] wants to buy a wireless set with it or improve his house by putting in a wash-basin or by putting in new carpets or furniture, is at liberty to do it? What is the merit in preventing him from doing it? We are getting completely authoritarian if we say that even the owner of savings who has reduced his consumption at an earlier period in order to get those savings cannot put those savings to some purpose which he considers advantageous if not profitable to himself.

The last point is whether there is money available. There is plenty of money available in this country if people only have the courage to go after it, look for it and see if they can get it.

Mr. Dillon:  Hear, hear!

Mr. McGilligan:  A question was asked yesterday regarding the national loans and the answer came in the form of a table. I may be taking him up wrongly, but I understood from one phrase that the present Minister for Finance is inclined to sneer at my borrowing efforts. The general plaint of Fianna Fáil is that I was too successful. The Minister for Finance had a sneer at my last loan and said that it did not fill. Neither it did. In three years, 1948, 1949 and 1950 I went to the public openly for money. I told them what I wanted the money for and I applied successively in each of those three years for very big sums from them: £12,000,000 in the first year, £12,000,000 in the second year and £15,000,000 in the third year. The first was over-subscribed. It appears from the answer given yesterday that that was not the case because it stated that the public subscribed £11,715,000 and departmental funds £284,000, but that is a technicality, because it was stated in the prospectus that the Minister for Finance would apply for so much and the banks and issuing houses said that that was a contract and we would have to apply for a certain amount of money.

More came from the public. I asked the banks to keep out of the ring and said that they were not to grant credit or induce overdraft or ask for subscribers [1719] from abroad. I did not want their help. I wanted to see if I could get it from the public and I got it— £12,000,000 and over. In the case of the second loan the public subscribed £7,697,000 and departmental funds £4,302,000. Again I had said to the banks that I did not want them to interfere. I felt that I could call on them later and I felt that I could even insist on their assisting me at a later point. In so far as the second loan was concerned our view was that they should still keep out of the ring and not allow overdrafts to be run up or go to external customers if they had them or allow a flow of money into the country.

I decided that the citizens only should be asked and only in so far as we could get them. The citizens subscribed £7,697,000 and the Department contributed £4,302,000. In the autumn of last year September, 1950, we went to them for the third time in three successive years That was a pretty big test. We got £10,096,000 from the public and almost £3,250,000 from the commercial banks and from Department funds, £1,634,000

Mr. Dillon:  More shame to the commercial banks.

Mr. McGilligan:  The calculation I made regarding these loans was that we filled £39,000,000 in three years. We got, as between the public and the commercial banks, over £32,000,000, nearly £11,000,000 a year. It was pretty successful going with a war threat around and the Korea affair on at the time. We were just able to fill the last loan in all those unfavourable circumstances. Notwithstanding that that was the success we had. May I point out that the £11,750,000 we got in the first issue the inter-Party Government went for represented the biggest public success ever achieved since this country became a State? My worst loan, the one for last year, where I got £10,096,000, was the second biggest public subscription ever achieved in the history of this country.

The Minister for Finance at present may be perturbed by the fact that in 1933 he looked for a loan of £6,000,000 [1720] and the public subscribed less than £2,500,000. Nevertheless, he had courage and went on and he achieved success. He achieved complete success as far as the conversion loan was concerned. That does not count. He achieved success in connection with the loan that marked the end of the economic war. It was a favourable time for a loan. I think the cattle traders themselves would have subscribed all the millions required through their joy at seeing the economic war ended.

There was the way in which we went to the public—openly. We asked them to subscribe to the loan. We asked them to give us their savings. There is no doubt that the majority of the people who save in this country go for advice either to the banks or to some sort of finance house, stockbrokers, or somebody like that, and they must have advised them that the loans were good because we got these returns. The method that we had was that we held the counterpart fund when we had it in reserve and whatever deficiencies there might be as between the moneys we got from the public and the moneys we required for these capital development schemes, we sanctioned them off from the counterpart fund but used them sparingly. We used them so sparingly that we left the present Government £24,000,000 sterling of the American moneys and that, they tell us, if they have not completely spent it this time, they will have spent it before the end of this financial year has come.

They are the people who talk to us about profligacy and reckless expenditure. They are also the people who talk to us about the inflationary effects of borrowing and they have injected into the purchasing power of the community the whole of the £24,000,000 without looking for a penny piece of savings from the community although that is one of the matters recommended by the Central Bank and one of the points to which we were attentive before we left office.

I suggest that the money is available. If the present Government tell us that they can tax money out of certain [1721] parts of the community, it means that they believe that there is money that the taxpayer in the community can do without without any hardship to himself. In some way or another, we will be told in which of these categories that I have given there is this vast accumulation of purchasing power which would never be missed by the people who now have it but, in opposition to that, I put this, that in all these categories there will be individuals who will have more money than they really need for their day-to-day requirements and, if you gave these people a chance to subscribe savings, you would thereby draw off purchasing power that might be improvidently used if left floating around and not impose any hardship by a hit or miss tax policy which will not get money out of the hands of those who can afford to lose it, but will hit all these other elements in the community who are finding it hard enough to live on what they get for their services at the moment.

Outside of these, there are the banks and, in particular, the Central Bank of Ireland. We are told that it was wrong for this Party to believe that the other Party felt there was any crisis on. When the Central Bank Report came out, the kept editor of the tied Press of the present Government produced an editorial headed: “That Deficit.” It opens in this way:—

“When the Tánaiste, in recent addresses, warned the people of the grave economic situation in which the country was placed Mr. Costello, rushing in to defend Coalition policy, talked about ‘hysteria’ and accused Mr. Lemass of ‘trying to raise a scare’.”

The Irish Press continues:—

“We wonder if he will be as flippant about the Report of the Central Bank?

Then they speak about what the report deals with and there is a lot of talk about the ordinary cumulative balancing of accounts. In the end, they say:—

[1722]“If Mr. Costello is consistent he will accuse them of trying to raise a scare, though no reasonable person could regard their report as anything but sober and objective.”

That is, I think, the only complimentary remark the Governor of the Central Bank can have on his files with regard to the Central Bank Report this year. It comes from the Irish Press, defending the Tánaiste.

This report is “a sober and objective” statement. What does this report require? It speaks of the gap in the balance of payments. It speaks of the dead-weight character of the new debt. It says that the public works programme—we were rather lucky in having it—affords special opportunity for the exercise of a policy of contraction. It says—at least I think the implication is—that that policy of contraction ought to be operated immediately because of the unusually favourable state of employment in the country at the moment.

The public works that are spoken of are criticised as entailing the immediate import of materials and equipment; that they have, through their labour content, created a demand for imported as well as other consumer goods; and they do not promise a return which will give immediate financial return. They think there should be a suitable moderation in the pace of investment and that the currency during the interval of waiting for results should not be jeopardised. They want a Budget balanced at a reasonable level of expenditure and taxation without additional creation of dead-weight debt. They think the present Government should look for a budgetary surplus.

They condemn subsidies because, when you subsidise articles like butter, tea and sugar, you leave purchasing power, which otherwise would have to be diminished in the payment of the economic price of butter, tea or sugar, free in the hands of the people who have the money to be spent on other articles. They think that, while there is a ration scheme at the moment, the situation would be bettered by a more severe ration scheme. They feel it [1723] wise to aim at a reduction of consumption. They say that there is scope also for fiscal measures to curb inflation, balance the budget and restrict improvident spending.

Then there is the peculiar statement that it would be well if there was a bias towards taxing personal expenditure rather than earnings. That is a neat phrase. So to speak, let the blighters have their money for fear they might say that their earnings were diminished but you will see that they will not spend it because you will tax the things that ordinarily they would spend the money on, so that the earnings by which you fool them by leaving in their hands at a sufficient height will not go as far when they come to buy things in the shops.

They have a full page of lamentations over the salaries and wages that have risen over the year and they call for restraint in wage policy and say that budgetary and wage policies afford the main possibilities to preserve the Counterpart Fund and they suggest that it should be sterilised so as to check the flow of new money, its place being taken for Budget purposes by public issues which should also help to absorb idle funds.

They call for rigorous restriction of bank credit and say that

“considered merely as a curb on inflation administrative price control cannot be generally effective while the volume of spendable money is maintained at a high level.”

They ask for an improvement in the savings position—that is put in a perfunctory way.

That is a sober and objective statement of the case, according to the editor of the Irish Press. Was it a parody to say of that report, as has been said, that what the governor and his associates want is a little bit of unemployment and a little bit more emigration than there is at the moment and a reduction in the schemes because that will reduce the spending power in the hands of the community and, if there is not any possibility, as must have appealed to the Tánaiste, [1724] of having wage control, then get something near it—if people are allowed to have their present wages, see that the money will not go as far by raising the prices of the goods?

There is an economist who is unique in his writing because he writes on economics from a rather lighthearted angle. Most people read him. He writes in the Sunday Times. His name is George Shwartz. Talking about a similar situation in England and somewhat similar remedies that the British Government are trying to adopt over there, he says:—

“At least 99 per cent. of the households in this country live within their income either because they have to or, as I prefer to believe, because they know how to manage their own affairs and are self-disciplined enough to do so.”

He then goes on to say:—

“If the nation, that is, the aggregate households of the country, has been living beyond its means it is because the politicians have over-endowed it with purchasing power. Last week's measures—this is England—won't curb that evil. The curtailment of imports merely diverts expenditure to home-produced goods. This will either blow up domestic prices or operate as a claim on goods that should be destined for the export markets. The monetary demand of the community has to be curtailed. Let the Government operate on the supply of money and leave us to effect our own economies.”

I must say that the Governor of the Central Bank and his associates have not confined themselves to saying what Shwartz said, but pointed to seven or eight ways in which the purchasing power can be reduced. The aim of both is the same. There is far too much purchasing power in the hands of the people according to the Central Bank and the economists. The Central Bank report has been brutally frank in pointing out various things. The objective is to take purchasing power away because it is operating across the seas and bringing in a big volume of imports; [1725] that volume of imports threatened to destroy the sterling reserves and, if we get down to the position in 1939, we are lost entirely.

The present Government came here in a mood of fully accepting the Central Bank Report. They were shifted from that ground by their own Ard Fheis, then they were shifted still further and after the speeches in this House they turned tail completely from what they were foreshadowing in all those gloomy speeches of the Tánaiste and his colleagues in October and November. They tell us now that they no longer accept the Central Bank's remedies. They apparently accept the Central Bank's statement of the disease from which the community is suffering. They accept, in other words, the diagnosis of the Central Bank, but they will not have the Central Bank's remedies. Instead of that, they are going to have taxation.

Taxation is the underhand way of doing what the Governor of the Central Bank recommended should be done in a variety of ways. When the taxation comes to be imposed, we will see where it lights on. The Tánaiste told me in 1948, when the Government had thrown overboard the taxes on beer and tobacco, that we had only one tax left because there are only three major taxes, according to him, which can bring in sufficient money to meet any problem in the country and these are, beer, tobacco and income-tax. Presumably, these are the three things to which he will resort when this measure of taxation which the Taoiseach thinks is necessary comes to be operated.

I have said that there is plenty of money in the country. When that is said, it has to be accepted in the circumstances in which the country finds itself. This country is unique in certain things. It is unique especially in the system of banking itself. My colleagues and I met certain representatives of the banks at the end of the year 1949. It was over a simple matter, the financing of a £5,000,000 loan to the Dublin Corporation for the estimable objective of housing. We heard [1726] bankers' jargon for the whole evening. We felt that if we asked for £10,000,000, they would have murdered us. We were lucky that it was only £5,000,000. After a lot of wrangling, some discussion arose about what sterling asset they might sell to raise the £5,000,000 and they announced that it would not be necessary, that it was merely a book entry and the £5,000,000 would be got that way. After the whole argument, after the whole long, wearisome day, we ended by asking what it was desirable to realise in order to get this money for the Dublin Corporation and we were told that it did not matter, that £5,000,000 was nothing; it was an entry on two sides of a banker's book and the whole thing was at our disposal.

That evening we had occasion to point out to them that the banks in this country were in an amazing position. They felt they were doing the right thing in having investments at home amounting to one-third of the money they thought they might at any time be required to produce, of their whole liabilities. On analysis it was discovered that of all the money they invested in this country, about £100,000,000 in a variety of ways, through deposits, etc., they had £14,000,000 worth of investments of which £5,000,000 was held in Government securities. This was our commercial banks' position: as to two-thirds of their way of meeting the liabilities they sought a foreign resort, they sought England. As far as this country was concerned, their investment portfolio was about £14,000,000 or £15,000,000, of which about £5,000,000 or £6,000,000 was Government securities.

At that time the liabilities of the British banks amounted to over £6,000,000,000 and of that £6,000,000,000 over £3,000,000,000 was held by the British banks in the form of Treasury deposit receipts or certain short-term things that came from the Government. They were stuffed full with Government-manufactured credit. Our banks had less than £6,000,000 of Government securities at the time. We were lepers so far as the bankers were concerned.

[1727] This policy was all based on a matter we argued before in this House in connection with the Central Bank, the problem of liquidity. The banks sit here, apparently, in a nervous state day after day expecting all their depositors to light upon them in the same week and demand their money back. They feel they must have money at short call. They feel that there is no investment in this country which will provide that margin of liquidity which they think they need to maintain the banking system. Having taken their moneys out of this country, they invested them in the securities of the British Government which has insisted upon the commercial banks over there having £3,000,000,000 out of £6,000,000,000 liabilities in short-dated Government paper. In other words, what the banks objected to us doing in relation to the £5,000,000 investment they accept in the banking institutions in England in which 50 per cent. of the liabilities are covered in that way.

The only person who lives in greater fear than the managers of the commercial banks with regard to liquidity is the Governor of the Central Bank. The Central Bank has a note issue in this country and that note issue has to be backed in some way or other. On the occasion on which we were speaking to the bankers the situation was that there was about £2,500,000 worth of gold bullion and the rest was either short-dated British securities or else sterling balances that had come to their hands. As to the interest they reaped over the whole year on their joint investment, if put at 1.1 per cent. it would be giving them the benefit of the doubt. The governor of the bank cowers in Foster Place expecting that the people will take excursion trains or buses up to his hideout and demand immediately the liquidation of anything in the hands of the governor in order that he should meet them.

Mr. Dillon:  They can do it only in London.

Mr. McGilligan:  That is an important point which the banks here forget. On the face of our note is printed that it is payable at the Bank of England. [1728] You would have thought that, when we went to the point of saying that for every English note which came across we would plank down a legal tender note of our own, there would be some reciprocal arrangement made with England to meet the whole or some part of our requirements. We have tied ourselves to the guarantee that for any sterling that is presented to us we will pay; at least we will give them notes of our own if they want them. We will give them English notes for anything they present here. We guarantee that to them. There is a one-way traffic in that because we cannot get the same appreciation of our situation over there. The central banking system and the system of the commercial banks is so fixed that one can never have the savings of the people in this community invested in the country itself because it is said that investments of a home type and the securities that will develop from them are not sufficiently liquid and one must have what is either cash or near cash in order to meet the banks' apprehensions of a sudden demand.

I have pointed out to these bankers time and time again that the situation that prevails here is unknown in the rest of the world. There is no community that I know of which insists on having so much of the investments that can be made from the savings of the people made in securities of another country. I doubt if there is any country in the world, I doubt if there are even two countries in the world in which that same system—I will use the phrase—of one-sided reciprocity prevails as it does here between ourselves and England. There can be no real development here so long as our banks operate in that way.

Mr. Davin:  It is time that was changed.

Mr. McGilligan:  The position here is that the people who own savings have not formed an investment habit of their own. They only know one method of investment and that is to lodge their money on deposit receipt in a bank. In those circumstances the banks, if they realise and appreciated [1729] their duty to the community, would evolve some machinery whereby they could invest for these owners at home. For years they have recklessly refused to do that and we are then faced with the situation—I know the directors of the Central Bank and the people who run the ordinary commercial banks are men of tremendous influence and men of tremendous ability in regard to banking matters—that the banks get these savings and they must hold them in such a way that they can be immediately at their disposal to a public that may float into them at any given moment demanding 100 per cent, return. In those circumstances, what can be done? Only this: the Government takes that situation in hand, tries to develop and do the investment which ordinarily the owners of these savings would be doing in another country. That is what we tried to do. We tried to do that, relying to a great extent on the savings of the community, asking them to lend to us, telling them what we wanted the money for and getting for them a return which was a good return and a fairly satisfactory one—an average of £11,000,000 a year for three years. As I said before, the schemes were good schemes and the people had confidence in us.

I believe one of the difficulties of the present Government is that they cannot now go to the community for money. They have frightened the people through their gloomy speeches over the autumn. They have made people wonder would it be proper and would it be safe to invest in the country itself. They have talked in terms of the sands running out and of the counterpart funds that have been spent as having been squandered on badly and recklessly thought out schemes.

In those circumstances, one can understand the timidity on the part of the Government to go, as they should go, to our own people looking for their savings, asking our own people who can afford to lend to lend to them and telling them that the money will be well spent and that they who lend will get a well-earned return on their money. Instead of that, they are turning their face towards taxation.

[1730] Again, may I ask who will be taxed? Is the tax one that will be graded so that it will cause least hardship to the community? Will it be a tax that will avoid the old age pensioner, the teacher pensioner, the Army and the Garda pensioner, and the Civil Service pensioner? Will it be a tax so graded that it will not hit the middle-class man who cannot be said to be living beyond his means or to have even a decent standard of living? Will it be so graded as to avoid the agricultural labourer and the employee in industry? Will it be so graded that it will light on, or avoid, the farmer? Will it be so graded that it will light on, or avoid, the owner of industrial property? Which of these classes will be fleeced by this new taxation? Will the tax be measured so that justice will be done and that those who, according to the present Government, are living beyond their means will be made to come to the Government support instead of living in this reckless fashion? Who are these people who will be picked out for the impact of this new taxation.

I suggest to the Government and to the gentlemen who support them that they cannot make a case and dare not make a case to the community for any increased taxation at this particular time on any of the things that are brought forward in this debate. The Minister for Industry and Commerce, the Tánaiste, has told us in a speech he made in Donegal—I notice he pointed out to the people there that some of the things he was projecting were contrary to their previous programme:—

“The significance of the announcement I am now making is that it is based also upon recognition of the fact that our previous efforts were inadequate.”

He winds up, and one can almost hear the deep diapason of his voice:—

“It is the mark of a wise man that he can learn from experience.”

Only a fool requires to be taught by experience. Benjamin Franklin put it [1731] in a different way: he explained that it was a hard school but it was the only one in which folly could be disciplined. If the Minister, and Tánaiste, is going to learn from his past mistakes may I make the comment that no man has a better chance of developing tremendously in his service to this community than himself, because no man has more to learn from mistakes than himself?

But I wish he would not spend so much time making up the reader for his own educational development and that he would get down now to the programme. If he is to learn from all the mistakes he has made in the past, will he let us know now what he intends to do? Will he proceed along the line of gouging taxes out of the community? If he does, he will find himself very soon in another period of retirement in which he can ponder further on fresh mistakes.

Dr. Esmonde:  When this debate started, we were all under the impression that we had a definite crisis before us. Some of us are now beginning to doubt whether we have a crisis at all or whether we have a problem, or possibly we are the most solvent country in the world to-day. During the election, the present Government speakers and their supporters paraded up and down the country and the text and force of their remarks was that we were spending so much money on capital development the country was on the verge of bankruptcy. They did not say one word about the national income or taxation. They could not say much about them because the country was enjoying under the last Government a state of prosperity it had never known before. All classes of the community were enjoying a better standard of living than they had ever known before and they were so doing without extra taxation.

Now we have a change of Government. What do we hear? We hear that we will have to bear extra taxes. I know that this Government has no mandate from anybody to put extra taxes on the people. When the inter-Party Government was in power, it adopted the policy that Ireland was [1732] for the Irish people and that the money of the Irish people was for the use and service of the community at home.

In days gone by, say, 30 or 40 years ago. Britain was the financial source and strength of the world. In those days there was, perhaps, some sense in the policy of suggesting that the money and savings of the Irish people might be invested in Britain and her dominions, but, surely, to-day, with the change which there has been in the world situation, when Britain, once a great nation, is hardly able to feed and keep herself in a decent standard of comfort or give her people proper nutrition, when she is finding it so hard to balance her Budget, is there any sense in the Report of the Central Bank that we should send our money to Britain, or invest it in Britain and her dominions and in other places beyond the seas, rather than bring it back to this country?

I am no financier. I am just an ordinary person who has read the Report of the Central Bank. That report, in effect, suggests that we have been dissipating the assets of this country, and that, in a very short time, in the foreseeable future, we are going to be bankrupt. That report, in effect, suggests that, if I have £1,000 to invest, I should invest it outside this country, because “if you do not” it says “you are dissipating the external assets of the Irish people, and that is wrong.”

The White Paper, which Deputy Norton has so aptly described as the twin brother of the Central Bank Report says: “If you have a thousand pounds invested in England do not bring it home and invest it in Ireland; do not give the Irish people the opportunity of utilising that money for their benefit but leave it outside the country where it is.” That to my mind is antediluvian nonsense. Years ago, as I said earlier, when the British £ and the British Empire, as a whole, were predominant, when they stood out as being financially solvent and had huge external assets, when they had plenty of money and were doing the insurance and shipping business of the world there might have been some sense in doing that, though even then it was false national policy.

[1733] Our policy on this side of the House, in a nutshell, is this: Give the Irish people an opportunity of working, living, and earning in their own country by repatriating our money. I do not say that we should not leave some assets abroad, but, surely, we have not reached the stage when any danger is likely to arise from bringing home our money to develop our own country through afforestation, rural electrification and the development of the land. By developing the land of the country you are going to give to the people in rural Ireland an opportunity of having a better standard of living and of remaining at home. That is our policy in the main, and that is why we disagree with, and when we get the chance will vote against, both the Central Bank Report and the White Paper. If we did not do that, would we, or the members of any Party in this House, be doing our duty to the people who sent us here?

Ireland is a backward and an underdeveloped country. That is not our fault, but it is a fact which we have got to face. Our mineral resources are untapped and their development is only in its infancy. Our industrial expansion which started with the establishment of the State, the major portion of it anyway, has shown a steep rise, but yet we have a long road to travel before we reach full production. There has been a lot of talk about our agricultural expansion from the other side of the House. If there has not been that expansion in agriculture which we all desire it is because of this fact, that, during the five or six years before the inter-Party Government came into power, it had dropped, under Fianna Fáil administration, to the lowest ebb practically since the days of the famine.

There is every prospect of a great expansion in agriculture, due to the land rehabilitation scheme. I prefer to call it the Dillon scheme rather than the land rehabilitation scheme because in years to come, when every member of this House is dead and gone, it will be known to posterity as the Dillon scheme. The Dillon scheme was only just coming into fruition when the change of Government took place. The [1734] full return from that scheme was then only becoming apparent to the Irish people. This Government has now come into power. Let us forget how they came into power, but they are the Government and they owe a duty to the Irish people. We are in a transition stage. The money that was brought back and invested here is only now beginning to make its full effect felt. It is only now that the results of the Dillon scheme—the land rehabilitation scheme—and the home investments policy are beginning to show results, but we have yet a long road to travel before we reach our full development in agriculture.

Are we to get a fair chance now, and are our farmers to get a fair chance? Take the price of artificial manures. How is the farmer going to increase production with prices for fertilisers as they are to-day? We have been told by the Minister for Agriculture that we must increase agricultural production He has told us that he is going to give us price inducements. As a farmer myself, I want to ask, how are we going to get full production, or even maintain the production of previous years, if we have to pay 50 per cent. more for our manures than we paid a year ago? The Government cannot have it both ways. Members of it have said that conditions here are in a bad way. Apparently there is not a crisis now but they still say there is a problem. Some of them, in fact, still say there is a crisis. We say there is not. I think our view is supported by the statement made by the representative of E.C.A. He said that Ireland was the one country in Europe which had shown real progress since the war.

The big insurance corporations which have money to invest, excess money in the way of profits on hands. are happy to invest it in Irish land and in increasing Irish agriculture. Is it not a curious thing that, if there is a farm vacant in the County Wicklow or the County Wexford, even in spite of the 25 per cent. purchase tax, you have people coming from across the water who are prepared to buy those places? Is that not proof positive that they regard this country and the land in it as a safe investment for their money?

[1735] I would ask the Minister to be cautious and guarded in his reply. Ministers have important functions to discharge. The statements which have been made by them, and which I maintain were irresponsible, have had their repercussions up and down the country. What a Minister says is read in the newspapers. In my opinion there was no justification in the world for all this talk we had about a crisis. We are, thank God, on the top of the world. We are the freest country outside the Iron Curtain in the world to-day. We are the most solvent country in the world to-day, and right well the Ministers opposite know that. They ought to have the courage to say it. If they have it will help to undo the harm which their speeches have done in the remotest parts of the country.

It will have the effect, too, of undoing the damage that was done by restricting credit. That had the effect of destroying trade and was an injury to agriculture and industry. I hope that the Minister, when replying, will give the House an assurance that he is going to continue the policy of Ireland for the Irish people, and not the policy of sending Irish money and investing it in outside countries.

Mr. Maher:  I want to make only a brief intervention in this debate. I would like to say at the outset that since this debate commenced a few weeks ago I have devoted all the attention and the time I could in order to acquaint myself with the provisions contained in this Supplies and Services Bill. The debate has been to a very great extent an informative one, and many valuable contributions have been made from all sides of this House, but I conclude that one fact emerges. The salient feature of the debate has been the general agreement on all sides of the House that there exists a problem, a difficulty; whether you call it a problem or a crisis is immaterial. The fact that it is there is generally admitted and that it is capable of manifesting itself in a way most detrimental to the well-being of the Irish people. That being so, I contend that there devolves a duty, a very grave responsibility, on every member of this House [1736] to give all his efforts in a united and unselfish way towards solving this difficulty in a way most advantageous to the well-being of the Irish people.

We have been told by various Opposition speakers that the three and a half years of Coalition administration were three and a half years of unsurpassed prosperity for this State. I disagree entirely with that contention and the reason why I disagree with it is this: I represent what I believe is the biggest constituency in Ireland, a constituency that has many industrial potentialities, that has all the advantages that are enjoyed by other constituencies throughout the length and breadth of Ireland. Yet during the three and a quarter years of Coalition administration not one new industry was established in that constituency despite the fact that great inroads were made on the finances of this State and valuable and generous contributions were available from an outside source. That, in my opinion, is not a very creditable performance and it would not compare favourably with any three and a quarter years of the administration that preceded the setting up of the Coalition Government. I say no flamboyant language can disguise that stark naked fact, that in the three and a quarter years of administration no benefits of a lasting nature were conferred on the workers or on the people of Laois-Offaly despite the fact that our finances were delved into to a considerable extent and that we have committed ourselves to liabilities to an outside source.

It automatically follows, therefore, that there is a big leeway to be made up and I believe that the present Government will make up that leeway. But before it can be effectively tackled or tackled with success people must be made to realise that they have paid far too dear a fare for the make-believe short jaunt they have got on the crest of the wave. They have been told that they can have an easier time, that they can produce less and at the same time consume more. I think, therefore, that the greatest difficulty at the present time is to get the people to recognise the damage that has been caused, because I believe when they recognise [1737] it they will be prepared to co-operate with the Government and with all the Parties in this House in effecting the adjustments that are necessary to place the economic structure of this State back in the fortified position that it held prior to the coming into power of the Coalition Government.

If we are to embark on this course with a hope of success we must first turn to our agricultural potentialities. That is the most important sphere, in fact the only sphere, that we can exploit with a hope of success of development so that we can confer the benefits thus gained to the well-being of our people. We must exploit further our agricultural resources and endeavour, as far as possible, to boost production in this sphere. I do not intend to hackney the already threadbare suggestions that have been made in this regard but I want to emphasise the fact that it is necessary that our agricultural production should be considerably stepped-up if we are to bridge the gap of our present adverse trade balance.

Secondly, and second by the shortest of short heads, I would stress the necessity to decentralise industry. Successive Governments have made feeble and inadequate attempts to provide industries in the rural areas. I say that at this important juncture of our history it is important that more effective and more generous steps be taken in order that industries will be created to give to our people in the rural areas the standard of living that they expect and deserve.

I cannot speak with authority for the whole country but I can truthfully say that there are industrial potentialities in the Laois-Offaly constituency that are worth attention and assistance. We have an abundance of industrial wealth as far as coal deposits are concerned, deposits which, I believe, can be worked on economic lines. I would say that an outstanding impediment or deterrent to the operating of these deposits is the fact that we usually refer to surveys that have been carried out here 30 or 40 years ago by a Government or by an Administration that was totally hostile to an industrial revival. Most of the surveys to [1738] which we have access in my opinion at least are prejudiced and hampered and frustrated rather than encouraged the prospects that I believe are there.

We also have a very great expanse of turf that is capable of being harnessed and of producing our requirements of fuel for the further development of electricity and for the many other essential services to which it can be applied with advantage. I would suggest to the Tánaiste and to the present Government that every effort should be made to encourage development in this direction, so that we can effect the adjustment that is so vital to our well-being in order to stem the trend in the direction of this lopsided economy that is ours, of a country with an ever-growing head being carried on a withering body; sooner or later, and maybe far too soon, the crumble will take place and I think it will then be too late to save ourselves from the abyss of misery in which we may find ourselves. It is therefore most important that serious improvements and successful steps be taken to place industries in the rural areas to help our people to live there in standards that would compare favourably with living standards that are enjoyed in the urban and city areas.

As a country Deputy I should like to make a brief reference to Deputy Rooney's suggestion last night about pigs. The town I come from has the reputation for having the biggest pig fair in Ireland. At a pig fair held there less than a fortnight ago the prices obtaining were the highest on record and in yesterday's daily papers Donnelly's of Dublin advertised for pigs at 264/- a cwt. deadweight. I can remember for the greater part of the last 20 years and that is the highest insertion in the form of an advertisement that I have ever read from the newspapers in this country. That is a record and I think I can defy contradiction on that.

I should like to refer to the price of cattle which is alleged to have fallen in recent weeks. This year is a unique one from the point of view of cattle prices, unique for the reason that in the harvest of every year there [1739] is a seasonal fall in the prices for cattle in the Dublin market. This year that seasonal fall did not take place until recent weeks. The fall is not a notable one and, in fact, present prices for cattle would compare very favourably with the prices in the peak periods of the late winter and the early spring of this year.

Mr. Lehane:  Are you talking about small store cattle?

Mr. Maher:  I am talking about finished cattle. I would also like to make reference to the recession in the textile industry. Workers have been adversely affected by this recession. As I have already stated, the Coalition failed to create a new industry in the constituency that comprises practically the whole of the middle of Ireland — from the Barrow to the Shannon and from Westmeath to Tipperary. Not one new industry was established in this area and, in fact, the industries which had been established there by Fianna Fáil have been imperilled, and the livelihood of the workers employed in them has been endangered by the policy which was pursued by the previous Administration. They allowed in here twice the amount of goods which we would normally require to bridge the gap between our own production and our consumption.

In the year ending 31st August of this year twice our normal requirements were imported under licences which were issued by the Coalition Government. I am not going to blame them entirely for that position, but they must take a certain amount of responsibility for the plight of the workers in the worsted mills in Port-laoighise and in Salts, Ltd, Tullamore, and for their present distress. I do not want to labour this particular point, but I am acting on the information which has been supplied to me.

I want to say to the Tánaiste, in conclusion, that I hope to see a lot of new industries established. When the present term of office of this Government comes to an end I hope that it will not have the discreditable performance behind it that it founded no new industries. Rather do I hope that it can be said of them that they made a [1740] generous attempt to create such new industries in rural areas. I believe that, if plans are effected and if the full co-operation and support that such projects deserve are forthcoming, we will witness the establishment of these industries, and the most needy, the most deserving and the most helpless section of our people will be the beneficiaries. Then we will have made a more effective and a more definite advance towards making this country independent and capable of giving to our people the standard of living which we all desire they should have.

Mr. Davin:  The concluding portion of the speech delivered by Deputy McGilligan here to-night is the most convincing case I ever heard, since I became a member of this House, in favour of the immediate and drastic reorganisation of our monetary machine. I have been coming into this House on Budget day — I do not think I ever missed a Budget day for the past 28 or 29 years — hoping that the Minister for Finance of some Government who would have the old Sinn Fein background would stand for the establishment here of a monetary machine which would, without any obstruction, give every possible assistance to the putting into operation of the economic policy of the Government of the day.

One thing I do regret, having listened to Deputy McGilligan, is that he, when he was Minister for Finance in the inter-Party Government, which was in existence for three years and three months, did not take the step which he appears to be convinced should be taken in order to bring our banking policy, the control of currency and the issue of credit into conformity with the requirements of a progressive Government. If he had taken that essential step he knew he would be doing so with the full backing of the group with which my colleagues and I are associated. It is regrettable that he did no so act. I hope that if he becomes Minister for Finance again in a future inter-Party Government he will take that necessary step which must be taken if the economic policy of the Government of the day is to be put into operation.

[1741] I salute every brave Irishman, whether he be dead or alive, who offered to make, and many of them did make, the supreme sacrifice in order that we should secure the freedom which we enjoy in this part of the country to-day. I salute the present Taoiseach for being one of the leaders who offered to give his life in order that we might secure political freedom. I have been wondering, as I listened to the discussion which has been taking place for the past few weeks, whether a number of men like the present Taoiseach, the present Minister who is sitting in the front bench and the occupants of the Opposition front benches made it their ultimate objective to secure that political freedom so as to enable us to change the uniform of the national Army, the uniform of the police or to bring about other changes of that character which had no effect on the living conditions of our people. Is it not a terrible state of affairs to say that, after the 30 years of freedom which we have enjoyed here since the State was established, the Oireachtas and the Minister for Finance of the Government elected by a majority in this House have no effective voice in fixing the rates of interest, or no policy of control over the so-called Central Bank which dictates the financial policy of the Government to-day?

We, when on the other side of the House, and every Government which has been elected here since the State was established, have taken full advantage of opportunities, having regard to the circumstances existing at the time, to provide the houses that were so badly needed, and which are still so badly needed, for the people living in the cities, towns, and rural areas of the Twenty-Six Counties. Do we realise the extent to which the existing monetary machine, and the existing banking system is obstructing the policy in that particular regard? Is it not a farce, and is it not a shame that the local authorities, as every Deputy in this House knows, have to pay interest at the rate of 3¼ per cent. on the money which they borrow for the purpose of building the houses which our people so badly need? Under [1742] the existing system enabling local authorities to build houses, whatever amount of money is required by way of loan is made available at an interest of 3¼ per cent., and is supplemented by very big grants out of the Transition Development Fund.

The rent of these houses is too high and that is so because of the high rate of interest on the borrowed money and because of the high cost of building. I wonder how many of the tenants of these houses realise that 50 per cent. of the rent which they will be compelled to pay for the next 50 years, at least, represents interest on money.

Surely to goodness, there is a convincing case for a drastic, immediate and revolutionary change in the monetary system so far as loans to local authorities are concerned? My colleague, Deputy Hickey, tells me that there are local authorities who have to pay higher rates. I wonder how many Deputies realise that if you borrow £1,000 under existing facilities at the rate of 3¼ per cent. for the existing loan period of 50 years, at the end of that 50 years you will have repaid £2,030 for the loan of £1,000. The £1,000 represents the cost of acquiring the site, and the cost of the materials going into the building; wages and the legal charges are also included. For that loan of £1,000 gentlemen who operate outside the jurisdiction of this House, but who do their business through the premises in College Green and banks elsewhere throughout the country, get £1,030 for the services of printing the money which is lent through the agency of the Government of the day to local authorities for building houses.

I mention this matter because it is becoming a very serious problem for many of the towns in my constituency. Houses have been built during the last five years in towns and villages in my constituency at what I regard as an excessive cost but the cost, whatever it is, has to be divided in the long run between the tenants, the taxpayers and the ratepayers. The rents of these costly houses built in recent times are now becoming a serious problem for the tenants occupying them. In pre-war days the rate of interest was a [1743] little bit lower but the cost of building was much less than it is to-day.

In pre-war days, so far as I can gather from figures supplied to Deputies through Parliamentary Questions, the average rate paid by the tenant of a house built by a local authority represented roughly one-eighth of the weekly income of the head of the family concerned. Nowadays, owing to the increased cost of building and the increased rate of interest that has to be paid on loans to local authorities, notwithstanding a very generous contribution from the Transition Development Fund, there are hundreds of young married men who have gone into these newly-erected houses who have to pay, not one-eighth or one-ninth, but one-third or one-fourth of their weekly incomes.

I am asking, and it is a case that can be made by any common-sense Deputy, for the reorganisation of our existing monetary machine. Deputy McGilligan has made a clear case for the scrapping of the Central Bank. I am sorry he did not scrap the Bank, and sack the governor and his colleagues, when he had the opportunity of doing so. I am not suggesting that the governor or his colleagues should be sacked because of any personal dislike for them but I do suggest that the document that has been handed to Deputies through the agency of the Minister for Finance is a disgraceful document. It may not have the same disastrous effect on the credit of the country internally as it is likely to have on those outside the country who read it and who do not understand the conditions under which we operate here. I agree that the question of the reorganisation of our existing monetary machine is a very delicate one. I personally should like to see reorganisation brought about by united action amongst all Parties in the House. It is very desirable that a delicate operation of this kind should be treated in the same way as we dealt with the defence policy during the period of the emergency. It should be an agreed policy just as we agree on the question of Partition or other national or major political matters.

[1744] I read the speeches delivered by the Taoiseach in Cork quite recently, when he attended the jubilee celebrations of the Fianna Fáil organisation, in which he enumerated the many achievements of the Fianna Fáil Party during the period of 25 years since it was founded. The Taoiseach said there was only one major political matter outstanding which he would like to see settled in his lifetime, and presumably in the lifetime of the Fianna Fáil Government, and that was the removal of the Border. Surely this is an equally important matter. Surely we are not to assume that the Taoiseach, with his experience as head of the Government for 16 years, and now as head of the existing Fianna Fáil-Cowan Government, is satisfied that the monetary machine available to his Government is working in the smooth and satisfactory way he would like it to work, and that the Central Bank in a democratic country like this should be independent of the Government of the day. Is there any Deputy who takes an interest in matters of this kind who will assert that in any of the democratic countries of the world we have a bank so independent of the Government as the so-called Central Bank is of the Government here?

Mr. Hickey:  It has no power to do anything.

Mr. Davin:  It has, I am sorry to say, great power to do harm. This country is in the peculiar position that through the policy expounded by the Central Bank, the policy which it operates from day to day, the land of this country, from which all our wealth comes, is worthless to any bank as security for an advance. Is it not a peculiar state of affairs that if a farmer requires money for the development of his farm, goes into a bank and can prove to the satisfaction of the manager of the bank that he is not in any way financially embarrassed, that he owes no money, and if he asks for a loan of a few hundred pounds in order to make the best possible use of his economic holding, he will not get a brass farthing on the security of the land, but if he goes in with a friend who has tin shares, rubber shares or [1745] oil shares in a company operating in a country where revolutions periodically occur, the tin shares, the oil shares, or the rubber shares will be readily taken as security? The land which the man owns will not be accepted as security for one brass farthing.

Since this State was established attempts were made, and successfully made, to establish so-called agricultural credit corporations and, in another case, the Industrial Credit Company. The Agricultural Credit Corporation is no improvement upon the attitude of the commercial banks as far as the requirements of the farmers are concerned, at any rate, or as far as interest charges are concerned. I know decent farmers who were refused loans through the agency of the Agricultural Credit Corporation and who subsequently got them at more favourable terms from some of our commercial banks. Although, according to the Minister for Finance to-day, the Agricultural Credit Corporation has advanced £3,000,000 since it was established so many years ago, it is a fraud on the people of this country. If a State-established corporation is to be worth anything to the farming community it should be in a position to provide money at lower rates of interest than any of our commercial banks. However, it will not be allowed to do so because the board of the Agricultural Credit Corporation has in its personnel representatives of the commercial banks — and dare they do anything that would interfere with the day-to-day operations of the commercial banks or the interest charges of these banks. As far as I know, it would be as well if it were scrapped.

Does the Agricultural Credit Corporation give loans on land free from debt? No. You have to take two or three friends who have deposits in the commercial banks before you will get a loan, under existing circumstances, from the Agricultural Credit Corporation. The Industrial Credit Company also, which is supposed to be a non-profit-making organisation, has refused in cases I know of — Deputy Hickey, if he wanted to, could quote a glaring case of that kind — to put any of its [1746] surplus funds into loans floated by local authorities in this State. This body, created by the Government of the day, prefers to invest its surplus funds in securities far away from this country simply because they get a higher rate of interest from some investment in India or Ceylon or somewhere else than for a loan floated by the Cork Corporation or some other local authority in this country.

Is it not time that the Government of the day and Deputies on both sides of this House put an end to this kind of so-called banking activity and, instead, by a repeal of the Currency Act which created the Central Bank, brought the Central Bank under the control of the Government of the day and responsible to this House through the agency of whoever might be the Minister for Finance in that Government?

This so-called Central Bank serves no useful purpose that I know of except to issue documents of this kind from year to year. I am not going to say anything of a disparaging nature about the personnel of the Central Bank except that I find it very difficult, personally, to understand how it is that two ex-socialists who are members of the Central Bank could come to sign a document of such an anti-national character. There are two very important persons on the Board of the Central Bank who, at one time or another, claimed to be socialists of a different type——

An Ceann Comhairle:  The Deputy must pass from that.

Mr. Davin:  One of them was a socialist of the old Fabian school and the other was a socialist of a much more revolutionary type. These two men were born and reared in two different schools of socialism, and how either of them could sign a document of such an anti-national character is beyond my comprehension.

An Ceann Comhairle:  The Deputy must pass from that immediately.

Mr. Hickey:  They were not socialists.

Mr. Davin:  By Jove, they were at one time. So far as this Party is concerned — and we make no apology for [1747] saying so, though we have often been misrepresented on the matter — there is, apparently, a fundamental difference between the viewpoint of members of this group and that of other groups in this House in regard to the question of banking and the kind of machinery that should be available to one Government after another for the purpose of putting into operation the economic policy approved of by the people. I have no hesitation in asserting that the type of bank that should be here to operate the policy of the Government of the day should be a bank under the complete control of the Parliament elected by the people, and subject from day to day to the financial requirements of the Minister for Finance of the Government elected by this House.

The Currency Act, under which the Central Bank operates, and the whole financial machinery of this country cannot prevent inflation being forced on us from outside. I understand and I am fairly certain that I am correct when I say that whatever amount of British Treasury notes is presented or put into circulation in this country either through the ordinary banking channels or through other sources must be honoured by an Irish £ note. I understand that during the first nine months of the present year almost £20,000,000 of British Treasury notes or British cheques was put into circulation in this country. Surely that ought to be evidence enough to convince those who give any thought to this matter that the financial policy under which we operate, through the Currency Act and through the Central Bank, is such that we cannot prevent inflation being forced upon us if the British Government or the people in Threadneedle Street who dictate the financial policy of the British Government decide to enforce a policy of inflation on the people of this country.

Every Deputy in this House and every Minister of the Government knows perfectly well that many so-called patriotic British citizens — because they objected to the Government in office in Britain for the past five or six years or because they objected to the high taxation imposed upon them — have come over here, like [1748] a lot of “fly boys”, as they are called, and have bought up any amount of valuable Irish property. They have done so to such an extent that I have heard it described by plain people as “a reconquest of the country”. Dukes, earls and admirals, serving and retired, and other “fly boys” who were being caught in the net of increasing British taxation have come over to this country. Strange as it may seem, I understand that some of them say that they object to the increased death duties in operation in Britain. What does it matter to some of these people, once they have passed out of this world, what amount the death duty may be on their illgotten gains? Dukes, earls, ex-admirals, ex-generals, and so forth, are buying up our property and giving no service to the people. They are putting large sums of money into circulation in this country, thereby causing currency inflation which unfortunately, under the present situation, we cannot prevent.

Mr. Hickey:  Do not forget about the stud farms, too.

Mr. Davin:  People who know more than I do about the operations of these people will tell you that many of them have come in here with their high-powered motor cars — and suitcases full of British Treasury notes which did not get into the country through the usual channels. Some of that money has been spent on the purchase of some of the fastest racehorses on our racecourses to-day and some of it has been devoted to the operation of other schemes without coming under the usual taxation code.

Mr. Cogan:  Can we have the names of those persons?

Mr. Davin:  What is that?

Mr. Cogan:  Can we have the name of one of those horses?

Mr. Davin:  I suppose you would back one of them. These two gentlemen have the fastest horses in the country but the Deputy knows more about horses and, perhaps, more about racehorse owners than I do. I certainly will not give their names in this [1749] House. Some of those “fly boys” and some of our Irish citizens do not come under the full influence of the tax officers in the same way as does ordinary John Citizen who works in the Civil Service, the local authorities or in public service corporations. These people to whom I have referred are evading income and other kinds of taxes. I am urging on the Minister who now occupies the front bench to try and convince some of his colleagues to give a little additional experienced staff to the tax officers' section of the Revenue Commissioners, so that they can get after some of the “fly boys” who have come over to this country, and some of our own native “fly boys” who get away from paying proper taxes under the present system. I am told that millions of pounds are being used in a backhand way at the present time in operating concerns. In other words, there are people carrying out certain operations in this country who do not go to the bank for the money for people who work for them. Apparently, they have a big reserve of British and Irish Treasury notes to enable them to operate and carry on their business.

I notice that this matter has been referred to in the British House of Commons both by the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the late Labour Government and by the present Chancellor of the Exchequer. A special income-tax section has been set up by the British Revenue Commissioners in order to track down these gentlemen who are using all kinds of channels through which to escape the ordinary methods of taxation. Through the operations of these people John Citizen has to pay higher income and other taxes because these “fly boys” from the other side and some of our own “fly boys” are allowed to escape through the ordinary methods of taxation.

I do not pretend to be a financial expert, but I have made a careful study, as an ordinary man, of this whole financial business so far as it operates not only in this country but in the country that has exercised such a power over our own monetary policy. There is, according to the Central [1750] Bank Report—and it is quite correct to state it — a big deficit in the balance of payments. Yet, when one goes to make a common-sense study of the reason which led up to that we find— and this is a fact which cannot be denied and is not a question of what Government is or was in office at the particular period or even now — that for the past five or six years or since the last war came to an end we have had to pay, on an average, 400 to 500 per cent. over pre-war prices for the commodities we were compelled to import, whereas, on the other hand, the increased price received by us from our exports does not exceed, on the average, 200 per cent. on pre-war prices. That is to some extent an explanation of the deficit in the balance of payments which should be taken into consideration by the experts who talk on the Government side of the House in connection with our present financial position.

There is a reference also in the Central Bank Report to the hire purchase system that operates in this country. I think that the complete reference, which is not a very lengthy one, is worthy of being placed on the records of this House. The contents of this document are not on the records of this House. They should be for future reference. At page 18, paragraph 23, of the Report of the Central Bank, there is reference to the hire purchase arrangements in this country. The reference is as follows:—

“An increasing volume of private debt arises from the use of hire purchase or deferred payment facilities. The survey conducted by the bank shows that the total debt of this kind outstanding with borrowers rose from £3,381,000 at or about the end of 1949 to £4,304,000 at or about the end of 1950. The increase of £923,000 during 1950 is larger than the corresponding figure of £517,000 for 1949 and the rate of expansion since the first recorded total of £1,789,000 at the end of 1947 has been appreciable.

Part of the capital engaged in this business has been provided from extern sources—”

[1751] I hope Deputies will note that.

“—the amount concerned at the end of 1950 being about £1,732,000 compared with £1,506,000 a year earlier. A further part of the capital consists of accommodation afforded by Irish banks. Excluding firms in which hire purchase formed only a minor part of the business, accommodation of this kind amounted to about £910,000 at the end of 1950, having been about £724,000 a year earlier.

From the foregoing figures it appears that extern capital and bank accommodation together financed over 61 per cent. of the hire purchase business outstanding at the end of 1950, leaving less than 39 per cent. as the portion financed by capital representing domestic savings. This fact adds to the inflationary character of such business.”

I am directing the attention of the House to this aspect of the Central Bank's Report. I feel bound to accept as reliable the figures they have given. At any rate, I have no reason to challenge the accuracy of the figures. I know many fine young recently married couples living in Dublin and in other places outside Dublin who have got themselves into serious trouble as a result of not making a more careful study before taking advantage of this hire purchase system, which is largely, according to the Report of the Central Bank, in the hands of people outside this country. We have young people getting married and making up their minds to buy their house on the hire purchase system. Immediately afterwards they buy their furniture on the same system. If they are foolish enough they will buy a motor car on the hire purchase system. The result of all this is that many of these well meaning hard working, decent and industrious young men and women are in plenty of trouble to-day as a result of having got themselves into the hands of people who operate this hire purchase system here. I want to say solemnly and seriously—I hope there are other Deputies who agree with me —that we should discourage as far as we possibly can the operations of the system in the country. If we are going to allow it to continue we should bring [1752] it under the complete control of some proper body in this country who will operate it to the best advantage of our own citizens.

Quite recently I was listening to a number of people high up in the insurance world talking about their side of the business. The discussion was about what percentage of the people of this country, including the farmers, a good many of whom have their own motor cars, have purchased private motor cars on the hire purchase system. Foolishly—I had not any figures available—I said that it must be at least 50 per cent. I was told by a high insurance expert, who has the figures at his finger tips, that about 85 per cent. of the people of this country purchased their motor cars under the hire purchase system.

Mr. Hickey:  What interest are they paying?

Mr. Davin:  That is bad for the country. I could go into Deputy Hickey's point, too, but I do not want to go into it on a debate of this kind.

Mr. Hickey:  It is over 10 per cent. anyway.

Mr. Davin:  I want to say quite seriously and sincerely that if we condemn the governor and his colleagues in the Central Bank for some of the contents of the report we ought to be deeply grateful to them for bringing about a discussion here and throughout the country which ought to be useful in the days to come, and if, at some early future date, we have a Minister for Finance with the courage to scrap the Central Bank and all its works and pomps and bring into operation a national Central Bank, under the control of the Government of the day, we can thank the people responsible for this report for bringing about that desirable result earlier than it might otherwise have taken place.

In opening the debate on this Bill, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, in reversing the attitude of the Government to the Central Bank Report, dealt with many other matters affecting the Bill's provisions in regard to supplies and services. I want to refer briefly to the question with which [1753] he dealt at column 305, Volume 127 of the Official Reports. He there said:—

“Everybody knows that the subsidised bread ration at present is far more than is needed to meet the reasonable requirements of city dwellers, and is far less than is needed to meet the reasonable needs of dwellers in the congested areas.”

There is going on at present, under the eyes of every Deputy who represents a rural constituency, the destruction of many of the old bakeries which gave valuable employment in the towns and villages, and which until quite recently, until the last year or two, served the needs of the local people in regard to bread supplies. We have a position at present in which the lord almighty in control of the miller bakers of the country is able to get sufficient supplies of flour, not alone to supply the ordinary economic area originally within his sphere of supply, but to send his vans and lorries into the furthermost parts of the country, to the Midlands and the West of Ireland, because he has the flour supplies, and to cut out the local bakers, who cannot supply the needs of the local people.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce does not appear to have any remedy for this. Surely if he still believes, as we assume he does, in the decentralisation of industry, he believes in the maintenance of the small industries which existed in our towns and villages long before he was born. If he is going to allow Boland's and Kennedy's— Boland's, in particular—to get unlimited supplies of flour, much more than they need for supplying people in the City and County of Dublin and the areas normally supplied by these firms and thereby enable them to operate in the towns and villages in my constituency, in Kildare, Carlow, Kilkenny, Longford, Westmeath and many other areas—I have got this from the master bakers and from the workers quite recently—he is going to wipe out of existence many of the small bakery industries which were in operaton long before the oldest of us was born. I appeal to the Minister, who does not seem to realise at present the seriousness [1754] of the position, to give the local bakers a sufficient supply of flour to enable them to supply the needs of the people living in the areas where these industries have been going on for such a long period.

I made representations to the Minister on the matter and I am raising it now at the request, not alone of the master bakers in towns in several of the midland counties and in my own constituency, in particular, but of the bakers who are threatened with the loss of their employment in several towns in my constituency. I accompanied a deputation of colleagues of mine, together with a number of master bakers and some of their workers, to the Department some time ago and I subsequently made written representations to the Department on the matter. A letter which I received from the Minister on 9th of last month winds up by saying: “The Minister regrets he cannot see his way to accept the proposal that ration documents lodged with country bakers should have a higher exchange value than ration documents that are lodged with city bakers.”

An Ceann Comhairle:  Would this not be more appropriate on the Minister's Vote?

Mr. Davin:  The Minister dealt with this matter in his speech and I have quoted the relevant portion of that speech.

An Ceann Comhairle:  It strikes me that it refers to the administration of the Minister's Department which should be reserved for the Vote.

Mr. Davin:  I read what the Minister said at column 305.

An Ceann Comhairle:  That is no guarantee that it is relevant.

Mr. Davin:  I appeal to the Minister, who believes in the decentralisation of industry and who must also believe in the maintenance of the oldest industries in provincial towns and villages, to review the position and to do so for the purpose of giving bakers in provincial towns and villages whatever flour supplies they need to serve the people in the localities where they operate, people who will buy from the [1755] local baker before buying from Boland's, Kennedy's or any other Dublin City baker. I hope that is not an unreasonable request.

We had a number of sarcastic references by the Minister in his opening speech with regard to the famous—or, as he would probably describe it, infamous—price freeze Order which was brought into operation last year. The main complaint made by the Minister and by some of his colleagues, particularly the gentleman who is away in Strasbourg—there is no use in saying much about him when he is so far away —about its bringing into operation was that there was no previous consultation with the senior civil servants. I do not know everything about the operations of the Ministry, but when I was an unrepentant supporter, as I still am, of the inter-Party Government, many things were discovered and made known, and one of the things which I was surprised to discover in regard to the operations of the strong and determined Fianna Fáil Government, led by the present Taoiseach, was that so much of Government policy was allowed to be decided by civil servants in the days when Fianna Fáil were in office. I salute the inter-Party Government and every one of its Ministers for having had the courage and the ability—and ability is no use without a bit of courage—to take their own policy decisions and to tell civil servants, senior and junior, to carry out Government policy as decided on.

Mr. Lemass:  They should have told the Minister for Industry and Commerce as well.

Mr. Davin:  The Minister for Industry and Commerce I include in that, as well as the other Ministers.

Mr. Lemass:  Did he know anything about it before it was announced here?

Mr. Davin:  There have been a few exchanges between the present Minister for Industry and Commerce and his predecessor. I venture to suggest that the Minister sitting opposite now did not come too well out of that part of the discussion which dealt with the operations of Cement Limited. I [1756] hope he will, in his wisdom, for his own sake, refrain from saying any more about that when concluding the debate. He did not come out of it too well. It was made quite clear, and it is now accepted by the principal industrial adviser to the Minister, Deputy Briscoe, that in order to induce this firm to extend the existing cement factories, they had to get an additional 2 per cent. on their capital. Eight per cent. was not enough; they had to get ten.

Mr. Lemass:  What did the banks pay?

Mr. Davin:  Who is paying for the increased 2 per cent.? The building contractors who build houses for the local authorities and automatically that will mean increased rent on those who occupy the houses when they are built.

In dealing with the price policy of the inter-Party Government compared with the so-called policy of the present Government, we know of course that the Minister's desire is to get back to controlling prices through the agency of the Civil Service—not senior civil servants but fairly senior civil servants —in the old Prices Section of the Department. One of the most brazen things ever done by a Party in any election has been exposed here by previous speakers, in the way that those opposite criticised the inter-Party Government for having put 2d. a lb. additional on the price of butter before the last general election. Then, when they come into office themselves, Deputy Tom Walsh, the Minister for Agriculture, as the first thing he is responsible for, puts another 2d. on the price of butter.

Mr. Lemass:  Is the Deputy objecting to that increase?

Mr. Davin:  What does the Minister say about that?

Mr. Lemass:  Is the Deputy objecting to the increase in the price of milk?

Mr. Davin:  Certainly not.

Mr. D.J. O'Sullivan:  They will need another increase, owing to the price of fertilisers.

[1757]Mr. Davin:  The members of this group are satisfied that there was justification for an increase in the price of milk.

Mr. Lemass:  How could an increase in the price of butter be avoided?

Mr. Davin:  It is no secret to say that this group believe in raising the necessary money by increasing the subsidy and paying for it by the taxation of luxury articles or the reimposition of the excess profits tax. That is no secret to the Minister. It is no harm for us to say now—we said it then and it is well known—that we did not agree to putting 2d. on the price of butter. Yet the Minister opposite and his colleagues and every candidate for the Fianna Fáil Party in Dublin City and in the provincial towns made the best possible use of that so far as the women voters were concerned. I am telling the Minister —it is no secret and he must know it, as he is a Deputy for the city—that if the women had an early opportunity of dealing with him for the dishonest way he treated them by increasing the price of butter after he came into office, he would feel the breeze in any general election he may decide to have.

Mr. Lemass:  It was the Danish butter lost the election.

Mr. Davin:  The Minister said:—

“It is true we increased the price of butter by Government Order. We had increased the price of creamery milk to an extent that involved an increase of 4d. per lb. in the price of butter. We decided to carry half that increase upon the subsidy and charge the other half to consumers——”

and then what did he say? I have it underlined:—

“——just as our predecessors did earlier in the present year.”

That is given in Volume 127, column 335, of the Official Report. From the words of our existing Minister, he justifies the increase of 2d. because it was done by his predecessor, although he used up the columns of the daily papers at a cost of £10,000 or £15,000 [1758] to blackguard his predecessor in the previous Government for putting 2d. on the price of butter. Anyone who would make that statement would say anything. However, there will be a day of reckoning.

I just intervened briefly for the purpose of saying that the case made in the concluding portion of the speech by Deputy McGilligan, so far as his relations with the banks at a particular period are concerned, is a revelation and must be a revelation to the members of the House on every side. It must be some indication to them of the power and the anti-national policy adopted by the banks in existing circumstances. Is there not a clear case for a reorganisation of our existing monetary machine? I cannot pick up the reference to it right away, but I hope I am not unfair to the Minister when I say that he himself said, at one stage of a speech I listened to in this House, that there is necessity for the reorganisation of our monetary machine—or our finances, as he referred to them. I hope I will live to see the day when that happens. This is a case where we must have national unity, unity on both sides. The leaders on both sides should make up their minds to agree that there is urgent need for the reorganisation of our monetary machine, in order that it should be made to operate, no matter what Government is in office, the economic policy of the Government of the day.

I hope that, in the very near future, as a result of this discussion, we may have general agreement on that at an early date. Just as we agreed to operate the defence policy during the period of the emergency and just as we have general agreement on all sides on the removal of the Border, surely on this major issue of the necessity for financial reorganisation it is possible to have general agreement. If we can have it, it is about time that the leaders on both sides met and endeavoured to devise a monetary machine that would meet the reasonable requirements of the Government of the day and also of the local authorities that have to operate the Government policy on housing and many other matters.

[1759] We cannot continue in present circumstances to pay the rates of interest that are being charged to farmers through the so-called Agricultural Credit Corporation—4½ per cent.—in order to enable them to make a decent living on the land they own. It is altogether wrong and it is unknown in the history of other democratic Governments, that land, which is the source from which all our wealth comes, should be worthless to a so-called State bank. Drastic changes must be made in the existing machinery and I hope the Minister and his leader, the Taoiseach, will give careful consideration to what has been said on this matter by the Front Bench speakers on both sides of the House during this lengthy discussion. The discussion has served, and I hope will continue to serve, a useful national purpose and to that extent the governor and his colleagues in the Central Bank are entitled to be thanked for the very provocative report that they furnished to Deputies on this matter.

General MacEoin rose.

Notice taken that 20 Deputies were not present; House counted and, 20 Deputies being present,

General MacEoin:  This Bill has in my opinion got very scant consideration in itself. The debate has centred around the White Paper issued by the Minister for Finance, the Central Bank Report, speeches made by certain Ministers outside the House, and so on, but very little advertence has been given to the Bill itself. When one considers that this is an Act which authorises the Government of the day practically to legislate by Order upon any subject, I think that a greater case should have been made for its continuance by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, who introduced the Bill and stands over it.

He should also have given some indication of its relaxation or abolition at some early date or at a date to be mentioned. We all know that when the Defence of the Realm Act was brought in in 1914 by the British Government it was only to be of a temporary nature and was to be abolished as soon as the war was over. [1760] That was 37 years ago but the Defence of the Realm Act is still in operation in Britain and in part of our country. When the Supplies and Services Act was brought in here at the beginning of the emergency it was not to continue indefinitely, but it appears as if this Act is to be left for all time as part of our permanent legislation, so as to give the Government power over every activity in our life. The name “Supplies and Services Act” is much better than “Public Safety Act” or “Defence of the Realm Act”, but remember that it is just the same thing. It is designed to produce a certain system, to do certain things, to enable the Government by Order to increase, say, the price of butter by 2d. or cut it down by 2d., to tell you that you must till more, or do this, that and the other.

I would like to hear the Minister say if it is intended to keep this legislation by Order as a permanent feature of our Administration. Any Order can be made under this Act to do any conceivable thing. The only thing, of course, is that it must be put on the Table of the House. That is a safeguard I admit. It is very essential and has been proved that when it is made use of it can protect the citizen's interests.

A few points arise on this whole crisis situation which has been established by this Government with which I want to deal. The crisis has been deliberately created by this Government for the purpose of discrediting their predecessors in office. I think that they did not realise what the effect would be when they lightly undertook that task. They have done that before at various stages to attempt to discredit the Opposition, or the Government when they were in opposition. They used tactics which, to say the least of it, were not in the interests of the country as a whole.

The whole question of our financial and budgetary situation has been dealt with very fully by the ex-Minister for Finance. I am glad that he bore testimony about the statements made by several people down the country from time to time while this debate was going on and before it. He has stated that we are in a sound financial position [1761] from the point of view both of the Exchequer and of the nation and that there is no crisis or problem that cannot be dealt with in a very easy way.

The question of over-expenditure has been stressed by the Minister as well as by the Central Bank and the White Paper. I think that it would be a mistake on my part to add anything to what Deputy McGilligan said about that but on examining the whole structure of our economy the merest child realises that we are completely underdeveloped. Development in this country was retarded by the oppressor when he was here. Due to the system, the first Administration here were unable to develop the country. Unfortunately—and I say unfortunately deliberately—they adopted the policy which has been announced by the present Government, that is, to pay for everything out of current revenue. We know the furore that came from the Opposition in the House and outside at the colossal expenditure of £20,000,000 taxation. It was an outrage, they said.

When capital expenditure was proposed on the Electricity Supply Board it was almost high treason. Then there was an offensive against the expenditure of £6,000,000 on the establishment of the Shannon hydro-Electric scheme. It was fantastic, they claimed, and should not be tolerated. It was even suggested that the people should rise up in mutiny and stop the Cosgrave Government from going on with such things. Even later, when the Party now in office got into power, a Minister of State, who is Minister for Finance to-day, declared that the Carlow Beet Factory and the Shannon hydro-electric scheme were precious white elephants.

An offensive was made on that capital expenditure then and that Party thought that on coming back into office to-day they could repeat the same story and the people would believe them. A number of them came very near that and did not realise the futility of the argument. Strange as it may seem, the Government are quite determined to carry out capital expenditure but it must be their type of [1762] expenditure only. They are going to have capital expenditure on Connemara. I wish it success and trust that it will achieve the object which it sets out to achieve.

When the question was put to them as to what part of our capital expenditure they would cut, there is none of it that, now, after the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis, they would say they should cut or destroy. They did, of course, attack the Local Authorities (Works) Bill, when it was going through the House. They said that it was not the best type of Bill. Everybody knows that the local authorities (works) scheme has been one of the most successful operations that has ever been carried out in the country. It will be a great pity if for any reason, political or anything else, that scheme should be curtailed, because that would be denying the people a very valuable asset.

The ex-Minister for Finance, Deputy McGilligan, dealt with the question of over-expenditure very well, and pointed out the various articles which come into the category of consumer goods, for instance, enamel and earthenware for houses, for tiles, basins, and so on. For some reason or other, certain people in the Government and certain people in the Civil Service think that these things are not required in a rural community. The Land Commission, even to-day, when building a new house, build it in an obsolete style, without a bath or other amenities, except in very special circumstances, when they are building a house for someone who has surrendered a big farm and a big house.

Every house that is built is a valuable asset. Every shilling spent on it creates an asset. If in 1932 and 1933, until the outbreak of war and even after that, ten times the amount that was spent had been spent on building houses, every house that was built for £500 to £700 would be worth £1,500 to £2,000 to-day, if not more. Capital expenditure of that kind at that time would have created a valuable asset.

If the Currency Commission set up by Fianna Fáil had thought that war was coming in 1939, the report on capital expenditure might have been much different. Many of them say, privately at any rate, that it would have been [1763] and that instead of talking about the value of external assets, sterling assets and all that kind of thing, they would have advocated at that time greater capital expenditure than has yet been visualised. They realise now, but a bit too late, that every £ spent at that time in building, land improvement, afforestation and drainage was money well spent. If money had been invested in creating such assets, to-day there would be savings instead of expenditure.

It is a well-known saying that the parish which is not in debt is not making headway. The correct thing to do is to build schools and halls and thereby create assets. Even though the parish may have to go into debt to do that, they can get out of the debt by hard work.

In connection with the very vexed question of the investment of our money in England, I have heard many statements made as to why the Central Bank or the commercial banks cannot lend money to the people of this country. The chief difficulty seems to centre around the question of liquidity. The money must be available at very short notice. That means that we are back in the days of Queen Victoria. When the Bank of Ireland or the Ulster Bank or the Bank of England issued a note for £10, £5 or £1, they undertook to repay on demand in sterling or gold. A person could walk into the bank and demand his five gold sovereigns or ten, 20 or 100. That was the undertaking, and what they meant by liquidity was the amount of gold they could pay out.

If there was a run on the bank and the bank had to close doors, it was not because they ran out of paper but because they ran out of gold. The ex-Minister for Finance, Deputy McGilligan, stressed to-night a very important point, namely, that when he asked the banks what sterling assets would they have to sell to give the Dublin Corporation £5,000,000, the reply was “nothing”. It was only a matter of book-keeping, to change an entry from one side to the other. No wheat would have to be sold, no wool would have to be sold. None of the things that can be exchanged for [1764] gold would have to be sold. It was simply a book-keeping arrangement. The result is that, to-day, the only demand that can be made on a bank would be for printed notes that the printing machine can turn out in five seconds and that can be passed out to the depositors and the depositors can do nothing with them except bring them back again. If it was gold that they had to give out, it would be a different matter.

That being the case, where is the need for liquidity? Why cannot the money be lent to the Irish people? There is the astounding situation that foreigners have invested over £40,000,000 since the end of the war in this country. They brought it out of England. Why? Because they regard this country as a safe place in which to have their money invested. Yet our own banking system does not think that this country is safe. They think that the only safe place to have it is across the water.

Mr. Lemass:  That was the Government that we had for three years.

General MacEoin:  What?

Mr. Lemass:  It was people like you who were in the Government for three years.

General MacEoin:  Do you know where I was for a few years? I was working, not at the corner of the street. I want to tell you this that in 1938 and 1939, when I advocated the purchase of ships, the present Minister for Finance, who was then the Minister for Industry and Commerce, said that you could not buy them and you could not keep them on the seas.

Mr. Lemass:  In 1939 you voted against storing wheat against a war.

Mr. D.J. O'Sullivan:  Was that the Argentine wheat? That came later, of course.

General MacEoin:  The Minister will not drive me off the track by any nod of his head or any bluff interjection. He has all the technique of the Dublin citizen from certain districts who sticks out his jaw and thinks the country lad ought to close up and go home. You [1765] are not going to do it either by compressing the lip, winking the eye or shaking the head. The Minister will listen to what I have to say, if I am in order and, if not, I will close up and he will cast no reflection as to whether I should have been a Minister or not.

Mr. Lemass:  I am saying that you obviously do not understand the financial problems that you were dealing with.

General MacEoin:  The ex-Minister understands this financial problem, that when the war was about to come he advised his own parish priest to invest his money in building a church. The parish priest said that the cost of building was high and I said: “It is going to be much worse. Spend the money now.” I advocated in this House that money should be spent at that time. I advocated the purchase of ships. I pointed out that one of the advantages would be that it would carry sweepstake tickets.

I mentioned that it would be a good idea to have our own ships, even to carry sweepstake tickets, and I was told they would like to see me keeping the ships on the seas. When the war was on we bought these ships, but it was too late. The financial advisers whom the Minister thinks are the last word in these matters were against the purchasing of them. They were, however, bought later on. The only mistake was that they were not bought sooner.

Mr. Lemass:  What did your Party say when they were bought? Read the Official Report of the debates here.

General MacEoin:  I do not think I should go into what my Party thinks on anything, because if I tried to interpret what my Party thinks I would have as much difficulty as the Minister is having in interpreting what his Party thinks and what they said at every street corner. How could you correlate the three Ministers—the Tánaiste, the Taoiseach and the Minister for Finance? They talked about two voices in the inter-Party Government, but they have spoken in three voices. Then we had Deputy Briscoe lecturing us like the Minister and telling us that we knew nothing about [1766] finance. The next day he had to withdraw statements he made the evening before, but he had the courage to do it. But the Minister would not do that, he would brazen it out.

If this money in the custody of the Central Bank, which started at £4,000,000 or £5,000,000 at the beginning of the war and now runs up to £160,000,000 had been properly utilised even during the war years upon the capital development of our country, we would not have our people emigrating and seeking employment elsewhere. To-day, by curtailing various activities of the previous Administration they are creating unemployment. I trust that they will not let that go too far, that they will stop it. I hope that they will proceed with the purchase of the various capital items required to develop our country, both from the agricultural and industrial point of view, in the way required.

As to the question of liquidity, the amount that was paid on demand in the bank was sacrosanct up to the 1914-1918 war. No sooner had that war come about than that went overboard. John Bradbury settled for all time the question of whether credit should be restricted or not. The British, through John Bradbury, printed 10/- notes, £1 notes and £5 notes and, by an Order made under the Defence of the Realm Act, declared that postal orders were currency. The Labour Party, when they had a strike later on in Limerick, issued a “chip” themselves and, if they had the power of John Bradbury, it would have been as good as these, but they had not. That money was used for the purchase of all materials in this country and Great Britain.

At a later stage, when unemployment was rife in Great Britain, a survey was made and they reverted, not to the gold standard, but a standard. As a result of this survey, it was ascertained that £45,000,000 would put the distressed areas of Great Britain back into production. But the British Government and its financial advisers could not find the £45,000,000. War broke out again in 1939 and they could find £45,000,000 [1767] in an hour and spend it in a day to produce tanks, armed cars, airplanes, etc., for the destruction of mankind.

The whole financial structure here, I regret to say, is based on that British system. When I realise the failure of Governments here in connection with that, I fully appreciate what Collins meant when he said that, not only had we to get rid of the British armed forces here, but to get rid of the infiltration, both financially and culturally, which had been going on for 300 or 400 years. We got rid of the British armed forces out of part of the country, but we have not got rid of that system. To-day we have very efficient and highminded civil servants operating a system that is not a proper one for the Irish people. Unless we can change the whole situation we will not make the headway that we should.

As I said, it was unfortunate that something happened in 1922 which divided our forces. If we had not had that division, there is no doubt that an Irish financial structure would have been built up as well as an Irish Government and we would have freed the country, not only from the British armed forces but freed it financially as well. We would have succeeded in doing what Griffith visualised should have been done at the start of the struggle for independence and at the finish at his death.

Deputy Davin stated that even at this late hour an effort should be made to reunite our forces upon this particular question. We should examine it without Party rancour or without trying to score political points over one another and see to it that our problems are solved. There are many problems: unemployment, emigration, afforestation and other problems that require to be solved. If you had a unified effort by all our people not only in regard to Partition but the financial question and the defence of the country, then we could battle as much as we pleased about other matters, having come to a common decision upon these three matters, which would be of great benefit to the country and to the people. We would be free from any crisis which might arise. No political Party would stage [1768] a crisis for the purpose of getting political advantage over its opponents.

The question of the continuation of this Act is one that should be considered. The amendments proposed were the only amendments which could be put down to enable the whole question of the alleged crisis to be examined. It has been examined and I think the country and the Dáil will be the better for the debate.

Mr. Burke:  I have been listening during the last fortnight to the various contributions to this debate. I must say that every speech made by the Opposition seems to be contradictory.

Mr. Coburn:  You have only just come in. So far as I know you were not listening at all.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  Order! Deputy Burke must be allowed to make his speech without interruptions.

Mr. Burke:  That brings me back to the three years of inter-Party Government during which there was no consistent or unified policy. Hence the present Minister for Industry and Commerce is faced with a very big task. I hope Providence will leave him his health to pull the country out of the mess he found it in when he took office.

General MacEoin:  It will not take him long to pull it out. He will not have long to live.

Mr. Burke:  He did it before and he will do it again. Looking at those nations that have a tradition of self-government it is quite clear that every one of them became successful from the economic standpoint because they tried to develop their own resources first. The first thing the inter-Party Government succeeded in doing was to destroy the economy that had been built up by Fianna Fáil. The economics of a nation cannot be changed overnight. Notwithstanding the fact that we had a number of obstacles in our way we succeeded in building up the economy of the nation in an effort to develop the country both industrially and from the agricultural point of view so as to make our people as self-supporting as possible. In one year the inter-Party Government succeeded in [1769] destroying that economy. Hence, the Report of the Central Bank.

That report can be summed up in three phrases: we must produce more; we must export more; we must import less. There may be a good deal of detail filled in but that is what the report amounts to and it is a grave reflection on the inter-Party Government. We have that state of affairs to-day because the inter-Party Government had no policy. During that Government's régime, on numerous occasions I drew the attention of the Minister for Agriculture to various matters in relation to agriculture. On each occasion he tried to excel telling us about the maize he would import.

Mr. Keane:  And the Balbriggan widow.

Mr. Burke:  He told us about the maize he would import, maize we would get for practically nothing, according to him. We were to have any amount of hens; we were about to drown England in eggs. He did not know the first thing about economics. He only thought he knew.

Mr. W. Murphy:  He got as much for an old hen as you gave for calves during the economic war.

Mr. Burke:  I am sure I credit the honourable Deputy with a sufficient sense of nationality not to play England's game here. The Deputy wants to play England's game in relation to the economic war. We will deal with that later.

Mr. W. Murphy:  I do not see why Deputy Dillon should be the butt for criticism by every Fianna Fáil Deputy who speaks.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  Order! Deputy Burke is in possession.

Mr. Burke:  I am getting under the honourable Deputy's skin——

Mr. W. Murphy:  You can leave out the honourable part of it.

Mr. Burke:  Deputy Dillon started off and in two years he left the country wide open to foreign competition from [1770] the agricultural point of view. The Labour Party was more interested in clapping the then Minister for Agriculture on the back than in making an effort to keep our people at home instead of sending them into a foreign market to manufacture goods there for import here, goods which should be manufactured in this country.

In 1947 we had a very bad harvest and a very bad spring. The Opposition then complained that we had no fuel. The then Minister for Industry and Commerce procured fuel for us, and tried to develop that side of our economy. His successor accused him of having trash above in the Park; he said the turf was bad; something was wrong with the timber. Overnight that side of our economy was wiped out and turf development went by the board. The Minister for Industry and Commerce in the inter-Party Government had not the faintest idea how to carry out the industrial development of the country. The Labour Party had no idea. The Clann na Talmhan Party had no idea. Clann na Poblachta, the brightest Party of all, was supposed to have some schemes. To-day we have the country in a mess due solely to the mismanagement of the last Government and their lack of understanding as to how the country should be run.

Last night I heard a colleague representing County Dublin talking about the economic war. To-day Deputy Murphy talked about it. That is the mentality that has retarded progress. The reactionary Parties constituting the Opposition have retarded progress in the past.

Mr. W. Murphy:  The country is not over the economic war yet.

Mr. Burke:  May I ask you one question?

Mr. Palmer:  You may not.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  If Deputy Burke would address the Chair there might not be so many interruptions.

Mr. Burke:  The Deputy is so subservient he would 1,000 times prefer that we had not the economic freedom Fianna Fáil brought to the nation.

[1771]Mr. W. Murphy:  The worst of it is, we have not economic freedom. We have our independence as a result of our fight for it, but no member of the House can say we have economic freedom. We have not.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  Will the Deputy give more freedom now to Deputy Burke to continue his speech?

Mr. Burke:  Deputy McGilligan came in here and in his usual flippant way tried to give the House some revelation as to what happened when the Dublin Corporation wanted £5,000,000. If Deputy McGilligan believed in what he said here to-day and if he was honest in what he said here to-day when he had no responsibility, when the Deputy had responsibility as Minister for Finance at that time he should have dealt with the position as he found it. He should not have waited all the years until he was a freelance in the Opposition, with no responsibility, when he could just say anything he liked. He said it was a matter of accountancy, of shifting £5,000,000 from one side of the book to the other.

If money matters are like that, and if loans can be got in that easy way, I do not see why Deputy McGilligan was not able to get a lot more loans to do something worth while during the time he was Minister for Finance. He did not do that. He waited until he came in here as a member of the Opposition, and then, in his usual dishonest way, said it was a matter of book-keeping. Thinking people in this nation will have to take cognisance of that fact. You have that terrible political dishonesty of a man waiting all that time to find out what he thought was wrong. He kept his mouth closed about it and said nothing until he came in here to-night and made that statement, thinking that it would cause some embarrassment to the Government. He will not be able to fool the people that way. If the man were honest, he would have made the statement when he was Minister for Finance and would have told the people that the whole money system was completely wrong. But he did not do that. The only warning that he gave to the people in his Budget [1772] last March was to say that they would have to produce more.

The Fianna Fáil policy of national development, again, was curbed in every way by the inter-Party Government. I often wonder how blind the workers of this country were when they depended on the policy of the Labour Party to bring them through. My colleague for the County Dublin, Deputy Dunne, has been putting down questions during the last few days, trying to embarrass the Minister and the Government in connection with things he sees wrong in the county. Every man in this House knows that is sheer political hypocrisy because the state of affairs that we have in the County Dublin to-day was brought about by the doings of that Deputy and of his colleagues in the inter-Party Government in the last three years.

Mr. Keane:  On a point of order. Is it not the democratic right of every Deputy elected to this House to put questions on the Order Paper which he believes are relevant to the conditions prevalent in the country at the moment?

Mr. Burke:  It is, and it is my privilege to criticise that. Will that satisfy the Deputy?

Mr. Keane:  I hope the Minister will answer that when replying.

Mr. Burke:  Deputy James Dillon, when speaking, let another cat out of the bag. He was truthful and honest about it, and said that when they wanted to do stockpiling they sent for the editors of the newspapers to discuss the matter with them. I will say, in fairness, that if there was the danger of immediate war it would be right to do some stockpiling. At the same time, I do not see now why the people who were responsible for that stockpiling should come along and blame us for the situation which their action has created in the various factories throughout the country.

I am dealing with the factories in my own constituency. Deputy Dillon said that they went in for the stockpiling of manufactured goods. That would be all right, I suppose, if war came, but when it did not come we had [1773] a slump and workers have lost their employment. We must, I think, come to the conclusion that the position could possibly have been better handled than it was at the time. If they went in for stockpiling raw materials, these would have enabled us to keep our people in employment, and so we would not have the slump in the market that we have to-day. I put that down to the incompetence of the inter-Party Government. They were incapable of doing anything else.

Great play has been made about price increases. I am sorry that anything has increased in price, but there again it is a legacy that has come to us from the last three years. It is another legacy which we have to put up with. It is international, I suppose, in a way, but it is a legacy of the past three years. Otherwise, we would not have had to do the things which we had to do a month after the change of Government. It is no pleasure to any democratic Party to have to do these things. They are unpopular in all countries and with all Parties, and even with our own supporters, as well as with the Opposition. The whole thing, however, shows the complete dishonesty of the members of the inter-Party Government. The Prices Commission, which is dealing with these matters, is composed of people appointed by the last Government. I am sure they are not going to allow anybody to increase prices unless he is able to show cause. Again, the Minister for Industry and Commerce is reluctantly compelled to face up to another bad legacy of the inter-Party Government. I suppose the unfortunate man will have to try and carry on with that burden.

Take the example of our nearest neighbour nation in the economic field. She has her people on a very low consumer ration. Why? Because her export trade is not good, and she cannot afford, therefore, to give her people a higher ration of consumer goods. At no time during the three years the inter-Party Government were in office did they say to themselves: “We are going to cut down our imports; we are going to produce more and we are going to export a great [1774] deal more.” They talked very glibly in this House, but they had no policy for dealing with these matters. It does not matter whether it is the Fianna Fáil, the Labour Party or the Fine Gael Party that is in office, the only sound policy for this country, as for other countries, is to increase exports and cut down imports. The nations which are successful have done that. We are not going to get away with it if we do not try to do that ourselves. England has years of tradition behind her, and we know that she has her people pinned down to a low consumer ration to-day so as to try to increase her exports. She is doing her utmost to cut imports. Surely she should have experience enough to find some other way out of her present economic crisis if it were possible to find it, but apparently not. The policy adopted by all the Parties opposite is: “Import all you can, you will have a slump on the market and the price of food will come down.” That baby of theirs went by the board. It failed them so much that it is another of the legacies which they have left us to deal with.

Mr. Palmer:  You are making a good job of it.

Mr. Burke:  We cannot work miracles. I can assure Deputy Palmer that, given an opportunity, we will make a jolly good job of what we are endeavouring to do and that we will pull the country out of the undesirable condition in which the inter-Party Government left it.

In 1948 Fianna Fáil made £85,000 available for mineral development, which is a very important development. I would like to find out, and I am still pressing to find out, what the mineral resources of our country are worth. The very first act of the inter-Party Government when they went into office was to cut out that £85,000 altogether. We succeeded in getting some technical machinery to deal with this matter, because, if there are any mineral resources in the country, we should be able to find out at this stage where they are, the extent of them, and we should take all the steps necessary to [1775] get them developed for the benefit of this country.

Mr. Palmer:  You had 16 years to do it.

Mr. Burke:  We had 16 years and we did a good deal in 16 years.

Mr. Palmer:  A good deal of harm.

Mr. Burke:  We did a good deal of beneficial work for this nation during our 16 years in office, which included the war years. We had only one year of genuine peace during those 16 years. I would refer Deputy Palmer to the period when he and his Party were playing the game of trying to defeat this nation during the economic war and telling the country that Fianna Fáil were doing wrong. Due to the policy of Fianna Fáil we were able to help our people and to give them the highest bread ration in Europe during the war years.

Mr. D.J. O'Sullivan:  It was the farmers who did that.

Mr. Burke:  The help which was given by the Government enabled the farmers to provide the food.

I have been wondering recently what would have been the position of the country if it were allowed to drift for a few more years in the way it has been drifting during the last three years. I have been asking myself if the inter-Party Government had any policy at all, any real policy, and I have concluded that they had not.

Mr. Blowick:  Why did you steal it so?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  Order.

Mr. Burke:  It is pleasant to be able to amuse other people and it is nice to hear them laugh at their own mistakes. I say again that the Fianna Fáil Party will try to get back to its old economic policy for the country and will attempt, as time goes on, to rectify the mistakes and the blunders that have been made by the Opposition. If given an opportunity, I am sure we will succeed in building up the economy of this nation again. The Tánaiste said to the inter-Party [1776] Government when he was sitting in the seat now occupied by Deputy Blowick: “We are leaving office and we have given the country over to you on a sound financial basis. I hope that when you are giving it over to us that you will give it to us in the same position.” The Central Bank did not make any adverse report in 1948.

Mr. Palmer:  What about the Córas Iompair Éireann uncashed cheques— £500,000 worth—and all the rubbish in the Park?

Mr. Burke:  You should tell that to the inhabitants of the turf areas in County Kerry. I am sure they would be delighted to hear you calling the turf in the country “the rubbish in the Park.” The more I think of the mistakes of the inter-Party Government and the more I reflect upon the damage which they caused in the economic and political life of the country during the past three years, the more I hope that posterity will forgive them. If we are given the opportunity we will lead this country to a sound financial position and create such employment as is necessary for our people. We hope to export more food, to produce more, to import less and to continue with our social services, with housing and with the various other schemes which we have decided upon and to which we have committed ourselves.

We hope to build up this nation as it should be built, upon the traditions of a Christian State, so that every man can have a home, a job, and the wage which befits the conditions of a Christian country, a wage which will enable him to have a proper standard of living and to rear a family. This is what we are going to do if the people will give us the opportunity. We hope that we will not have from public platforms again all the misrepresentation, all the eyewash and the complete political dishonesty which we have witnessed in this House over the past few weeks.

Mr. Lehane:  I think that during the last three or four weeks we have had a lot of shadow boxing in the House. I feel that there is very little difference between the Government and the Opposition. Both the Tánaiste and [1777] Deputy Costello admit that we have a problem. I also believe that we have a problem. The inter-Party Government started its life with the policy designed to reduce expenditure, to economise and to increase social services. However, when they had been in power for a little while they decided that the mad spending policy of Fianna Fáil was the most popular policy, and the inter-Party Government proposed to adopt that mad spending policy. They decided “As much as they can spend, we can spend better,” if that is the popular policy. The reports that have been presented to representatives of this House have indicated that the deficit will be somewhere in the region of £80,000,000 this year.

Mr. Palmer:  A deficit of £80,000,000?

Mr. Lehane:  Yes, in the balance of payments.

Mr. Keane:  What about the £1,500,000?

Mr. Lehane:  It has been noted that there will be a deficit of approximately £80,000,000 in the balance of payments, that is apart from the commodities we export, apart from the charity we get from emigrants whom we have to send out to earn money, apart from the income that is given by tourism and from the income that we get from home investments. I think that presents a problem.

Mr. MacBride:  That is more than what even the Department of Finance estimate. They put it at £69,000,000 and I think that is exaggerating in itself.

Mr. Lehane:  Deputy MacBride may correct me but I certainly have seen the figure in an official document where it said it may be as high as £82,000,000.

Mr. MacBride:  That is from the Irish Press leading article.

Mr. Lehane:  No, it is not. That, to my mind, represents a problem and I agree with the Tánaiste and with Deputy Costello that that presents a problem for the country. It is rather the position of supposing you had a [1778] farmer who was producing so much and found that in order to carry on for the year he had to sell teas to cyclists passing the road; he had a relative, an old age pensioner, living in the house from whom he had to collar his £1 a week; he had some old aunt who had investments in England and he was taking that to run the farm and in addition to that he had to draw on capital for a considerable amount of money. I would not worry so much if that £80,000,000 deficit in the balance of payments was invested in a sound capital investment in this country that would give return at a future date, but when we look down the list we find that there is approximately £22.8 million spent in a period of eight months on textiles and apparel, and we have the situation existing in the country to-day where the employees in our textile factories are out of employment or on short time because we imported practically £23,000,000 worth of textiles and apparel in a short period of eight months. We have imported approximately £5,000,000 worth of butter and sugar in the same period of eight months, commodities which we could, with proper inducement and given a proper agricultural policy, have produced within this country. We have expended £8,500,000 in the same eight months on motor cars, on vehicles, of which about £750,000 was on tractors. While we have expended practically £23,000,000 on textiles and while we have heard a great deal about the land reclamation scheme and the fertilisation of the land, we have imported £1,500,000 worth of fertilisers which are a prime need in this country and which would be a sensible capital investment.

We have also had the advantage of Marshall Aid, and I am not too happy at all about the position of liquidating the external assets we have and creating other external assets. I seem to remember reading some time the history of Egypt and England, and where the Egyptians came to England, borrowed £5,000,000 the first time, some other millions the second time, and further millions at a later date. Eventually, because Egypt borrowed this money England got control of [1779] Egypt, and they were able to get the wealth of Egypt directed into their own coffers because the Egyptians were such fools as to let themselves go into debt to the British at that particular time.

We have had Marshall Aid from America; we have used that and we were thankful to get it. But I do not like the Americans sending over people here dictating to us as to how we are to use that money, telling us when we are to use it, where we are to use it, and making them our bosses as the Egyptians made the British their bosses in the past.

We have heard a great deal about the question of expansion in agriculture. We have been told that agriculture has not expanded, and industry has expanded in the same period. We have even seen a document issued by the trade unions patting themselves on the back because industrial production has increased, and agricultural production has not increased to the same degree. Let us look into that for a moment. First of all, the price of butter in the importing countries——

Mr. Keane:  On a point of order, in regard to what Deputy Lehane says about certain people patting themselves on the back, was it not stated that whilst the trade unions——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  That is not a point of order. Deputy Lehane must be allowed to make his speech.

Mr. Lehane:  While the trade unions were patting themselves on the back because they claimed they had increased production in industry and deplored the fact that agricultural produce had not increased, it is well for us to look at the very rational and general point of view. One point that I have mentioned already is that we are able to expend £23,000,000 on textiles and wearing apparel in eight months and we are only able to expend £1,500,000 on fertilisers which everybody agrees are very badly needed in this country. On the other hand, the point I was making when I was interrupted is that the price of butter in the importing countries is 529/1, that is 35 per cent. higher than the price [1780] of butter in this country. The price of a gallon of milk in England is 2/10 per gallon. That is the price the producer gets. But the Irish farmer is expected to produce butter at 35 per cent. below the price of butter in the importing countries. He is expected to sell his milk at 1/4 a gallon as against 2/4 or 2/10 a gallon in England and across the Border. That is one side of it. The late Minister for Agriculture told us that 2d. was a good price for an egg. At the same time, the British Minister for Agriculture and the Northern Minister for Agriculculture stated that the price of an egg should be at least 4½d. He fixed the price of an egg in the Six Counties and in Britain at the minimum price of 4½d. while our Minister for Agriculture maintained that 2d. was a good price here. Any respecting hen along the Border counties that has any respect for her progeny would flap over the Border and lay the 4½d. egg the other side.

Let us take the industrial side of the story. We have industries in this country producing commodities in a highly restricted and highly protected market where there is a protective tariff of from 35 to 50 per cent.

On the one hand you have the agricultural producer asked to produce commodities at considerably less than the producer across the Border or in Great Britain and then you have the industrial producer given a protection of 35 per cent. or 50 per cent. on the commodities he produces. We know that the price of the new Austin car in England is £325 and that when you buy that car in Ireland the price goes up to £440.

In addition to that, we have an artificial restriction on the output of Irish agriculture. The price of the hides of cattle, which the farmer raises, are deliberately depressed to a very considerable degree. The price some time ago for hides that could be smuggled across the Border was 4/6 per lb. It has come down to a somewhat lower figure since but by an Order of the Government here, you can get only 10d. per lb. for the hide of an Irish beast if it is killed in this country. If that beast is exported and killed in [1781] the Six Counties or in England, the hide will be worth three or four times as much as if the beast were slaughtered here.

I agree that Deputy Dillon when Minister for Agriculture did make a small differentiation in regard to certain types of cattle that were slaughtered here for a specific purpose. He said that we should get at least half the price for which the hides were value on the other side. We have the position also that the price of our pigs is artificially depressed. The Border was opened by Deputy Dillon—and more power to him—at a time when the bacon curers of this country were holding the bacon producers up to ransom and were turning the pigs away from the factories saying that they could not take them and had not room for them. Then when pigs were exported across the Border, the bacon curers came around crying and appealing to the Government and unfortunately the Border was closed again. The fact that recourse was had to these artificial means of depressing the price of certain agricultural products while at the same time you artificially increased the output of the urban industries does not make me wonder that industrial production, for a limited highly restricted market, has increased, while agricultural production has remained almost static.

You have on the one hand Governments, Ministers and boards increasing the cost of agricultural production and introducing measures that are hampering production and making it more difficult to produce the commodities that we were in the habit of producing. Side by side with that, you ask us to produce, at a lesser price, as Deputy Dillon did some time ago when, on the question of butter production, he boasted in this House that he had increased the costs of production and labour charges by 33? per cent. Other charges and rates had increased, yet Deputy Dillon said that any farmer who could not produce milk at a reduction of 2d. per gallon, was an ignorant, lazy and indolent fellow. When you had that position, I am not at all surprised that agricultural production did not develop to the extent that it [1782] should have developed and to which it would have developed if factors that were hampering increased production were not permitted by this House.

We have heard a good deal about industrial exports. In the Journal of the Manufacturers' Association, published this month, I think they claim to have exported £9,000,000 worth of industrial goods. I went through the returns for the eight months to which I am referring, and the principal industrial exports for that period were:-Drink, which is a by-product of agriculture of course, £3,500,000 approximately; woollens about £1,000,000; cotton, which of course was re-exports, practically £500,000, and leather and boots £750,000. Why in the name of goodness should we not be able to export £1,000,000 of leather and boots, considering that we get the raw material for our tanning industries at about one quarter the price our competitors have to pay?

Still, that tots up to only a very small proportion of our total exports. The position is that agricultural exports, on which the first lien should be to buy and pay for the requirements of agriculture, are being prevented from doing so and agricultural exports are being used to pay for consumer goods that are being used by the urban population or the nonagricultural population. I think that is wrong.

I think that, unless we get down to fundamentals on this question of agricultural production, we are not going to achieve the level of agricultural production that is called for from all parts of this House. Everybody knows that the usual phrase is: “The old farmer.” Nobody apparently has ever seen a young farmer. We shall have to get down to facts and remember that the economy of this country depends on the wealth that we can produce from the first six inches of our soil. Unless we take steps to see that those who are engaged in that industry are able to produce at an economic price, you will not have increased production. You cannot on the one hand impose charges on the industry and on the other hand look for cheaper commodities.

[1783] I appeal to the Minister to put the policy of decentralisation of industry into practice. We are sick and tired of hearing both this Government and the previous Government paying lip sympathy to this question of decentralisation. We find at the same time that everything is being dragged up to Dublin. We find that the big dockyard for the repairs of ships is being established in Dublin. Every new factory of importance has its location in or near Dublin.

Reference has been made to the land reclamation scheme. I think if we are to reclaim land in this country we require adequate quantities of phosphates. I would prefer to see in the statistics of imports £23,000,000 spent on the importation of phosphates and £2,500,000 spent on the importation of textiles, rather than have it the way it is, which is the other way about.

We have heard a lot of people talk on this question of high finance. I think that there are few people in this House or in the country who really understand the question of the creation of credits and debts or the printing of these I.O.U.s called bank notes. The Government and the House as a whole should decide to find out for themselves what the position is. They should find out who is getting the rake-off on these book entries that create or unmake credit. I think that the present Government and the previous Government are equally culpable as far as the Central Bank is concerned. The directors of the Central Bank were appointed by the present Government. They were confirmed in their appointment by the previous Government. The previous Government did not take the effective means that Deputy MacEoin suggests to-night should be taken or that Deputy Davin suggested earlier should be taken.

This is a matter which is affecting the welfare of the country as a whole and it should be dealt with, not on a Party basis with the Opposition trying to score points against the Government and the Government trying to score points against the Opposition. It is a matter that should be discussed by the House. If necessary, a national [1784] Government should be formed or a pact should be made for the purpose of discussing the question to see if we cannot do something to ensure that the whole manipulation of credits and currency will be hammered into a form that will be of benefit to this country and to the people of this country only.

I do not think the amendments would achieve anything. The Bill is for the purpose of giving authority to the Government to continue certain things that the Government have already been authorised to do. It would cause considerable inconvenience in the country if these temporary powers were not vested in the Government in the future. I do not see much purpose in these amendments. I do not think they would achieve anything and, therefore, I do not see any point in voting for them. I appeal to the Government and to the Opposition to stop shadowboxing, to get down to facts and to try to do something in the interest and welfare of the country.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Deputy Gallagher.

Mr. O'Hara:  Is the Minister due to reply at 9 o'clock?

Mr. Lemass:  Yes.

An Ceann Comhairle:  There is an arrangement that the Tánaiste will be called at 9 o'clock and that the vote will be taken before 11 o'clock. My difficulty is that about a dozen Deputies offer themselves. It is obvious that the Chair cannot call all Deputies between this and 9 o'clock.

General Mulcahy:  At Question Time to-day I think it was understood that I would wind up, as far as our Party was concerned, before the Tánaiste replied.

An Ceann Comhairle:  I was anxious to call Deputy Mulcahy but——

Mr. Gallagher:  If the Leader of the Opposition wishes to take the half hour which is now left, I am quite prepared to give way to him.

General Mulcahy:  Deputy Lehane has suggested that both the Government and the Opposition should stop shadow-boxing and get down to the facts. I can quite appreciate a person [1785] looking on in a general kind of way and, even to-night in this House, making that suggestion. What are the facts? This Government came into office in June last. Beyond asking them to deal with the ordinary financial business and to get the Estimates through, they were allowed to go into recess from 19th July until 31st October to examine the facts of the situation and to undertake their very responsible and perhaps very difficult duties.

By the time we reassembled after the Summer Recess the position was that— instead of having examined the facts of the situation and prepared to meet the Dáil for the purpose of dealing effectively with any problems that required to be dealt with—prominent members of the Government had gone throughout the country, not only trying to create a scare with regard to the economic position of the country, but also endeavouring to blacken the political and general reputation of the men of all Parties who had left office.

Those of us on both sides of this House who are able to look back over the general history of this House, and who realise the way in which the establishment of this Parliament and the conduct of this Parliament has affected the lives of our people, cannot but be dismayed at the spirit in which the Government are approaching their responsible duties at the present time and particularly at the use they have made of the long recess that was given to them by this Parliament in order that they might adequately face up to their responsibilities. Following the attempted scare, following the publication of the Central Bank Report and following the White Paper of the Minister for Finance, we were told in speeches by the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and other members of the Party that this country is in a very difficult situation. The Tánaiste has indicated that the country has about 12 months in which to save itself and that the fight for economic freedom is still on.

Anybody who, since the formation of this House, has lived in any kind of close connection with it, is perfectly well aware that the difficulties that faced this country in the meantime were not economic difficulties but were [1786] political difficulties—and political difficulties in which the Fianna Fáil Party, now celebrating its jubilee, has persisted in creating for this country over the last quarter of a century. In the past, political difficulties were created for this country by an external Government and the economic situation; the economic energies of our people and the resources of our people got no chance of being properly developed because of the existence of these political difficulties. Our people's energies were dissipated by the various divisions which it was possible to have established in this country by an outside Government. The very same type of dissipation of energy and division of our people has been persisted in in this country since the Fianna Fáil Party was formed.

Instead of making use of the long Recess that was given the members of the Government to go quietly round to see what the situation was to see what were our trade difficulties, our financial difficulties and any other difficulties that might arise out of the world situation, they simply have concentrated on their own policy of blackening the characters of anybody who differed from them. They persist, at the present moment, in the line they have taken on so long that they are the only one Party and one group in this country that are fit to be called nationalists. Everybody else is dishonest. The acme of their attempt to brand those who do not agree with them politically and who attempt to show that they were financially wrong, politically wrong and misleading the people in every way has been reached by them in their recent attempt. The discussion that has taken place has been long. Many people have objected to the length of it but, in fact, the Fianna Fáil spirit has now been brought to bay. I hope that the Tánaiste who has been able to change his steps so completely between the time he made speeches outside and the time he made the introductory speech in this House, will be able to change his step again.

Deputy McGilligan has dealt very exhaustively with the misrepresentation in regard to, first, the budgetary situation as far as he planned it; secondly, the position in regard to the [1787] external assets and the position in regard to the general use of credit in the building up of our development programme. He has dealt with those matters very completely but the Minister, and particularly those who sit behind him, must be very well aware of this, that whereas those who lead them are out to confuse the public mind, to withhold facts and to be devoid of any kind of understanding of the economic situation and economic plans, the Government that sat in office from 1948 up to the beginning of this year set out to see that every scrap of information that dealt with our trade finances and possibilities was completely examined and made available in the publications that are published.

There is no aspect of our taxation; there is no aspect of our budgetary situation and there is no aspect of our trade situation that has not been fully examined and published in every conceivable way that the public might want. We suggest that the present Government, having been brought to bay now and having been exposed before this House and the people with regard to their attempt both to confuse the economic situation and to misrepresent the achievements, the plans and the general husbandry of the late Government, should change their step a bit and realise, if they want to talk in terms of achieving freedom to-day, that the freedom that was achieved in the setting up of this House was not achieved by any one Party or any one man. It was achieved by the full co-operation of our own people in our own generation taking the spirit of our people in the past and making sacrifices, not sacrifice of life or money but sacrifices of further subordinating their own interests to the general national co-operation to see that our sovereignty was established. In the same way, the financial and other difficulties that have to be dealt with in the modern situation can only be dealt with by a complete and clear looking at the facts and by a complete understanding of all those matters that have been bandied about with here for the purpose of confusion.

I suggest to the Tánaiste and the [1788] Ministry that they are just endeavouring to obscure the people's minds so that they can get a further grip on the machinery of Government without the informed criticism that would expose their general intentions of simply governing for the sake of governing and taking possession of power in order that they might serve the interests of Party rather than those of the nation. The attitude we take up is that there are various functions to be performed by various sections of our people. They all dovetail into one another. The bankers, the commercial community, the farmers, industrialists and workers all have a function to perform in this State. They have to perform their functions with complete confidence in one another and a complete understanding of what their functions are. Instead of endeavouring to split the people and confuse them, it is the duty of the Government to complete the clarification of the economic and financial situation of our people, particularly to the Parliament.

Every aspect of both the work that was being done by the last Government and every aspect of our budgetary situation has been belittled and condemned. The Minister for Finance has endeavoured to show that the people have no confidence in the financial operations of the last Government and he has used most outrageous terms in suggesting that, when the last Government was appealing to the people for loans to carry on the work of development, the people showed no confidence in them. In speaking on the 14th November last, the Minister for Finance stated:

“... for sheer, unblushing audacity and misstatement that assertion of Deputy Costello's cannot be surpassed in this House. It is true that an issue of 3½ per cent. Exchequer Bonds was made in the year 1950 for a sum of £14,850,000. The general Irish public subscribed £8.7 millions to that issue.”

Deputy McGilligan has dealt adequately and fully with that and he has shown that the biggest loans asked for by the last Government were adequately and fully subscribed by the people who had perfect confidence in [1789] giving their money for the general development plans the last Government had undertaken. The situation is that fully outlined plans were laid before our people at the beginning of the last Government's term of office. We were interfered with by the fact that sterling was not convertible at that time and we had to be assisted by the convenience of being given a dollar loan and grant from the United States.

In the Country Study for Ireland published by the Economic Co-operation Administration in Washington in connection with the European Recovery Programme, the general lines upon which the last Government considered the economy of this country should be run and its development fostered was given full publicity. On page 2 of that publication, it states:

“The Government of Ireland has prepared realistic and ambitious plans for the recovery and development of the country over the next four years. The essential elements of the programme are as follows: (1) The improvement and intensification of agricultural production; (2) the expansion of Ireland's relatively undeveloped industry; (3) a carefully planned programme of national capital development, including extensive reafforestation, land drainage and reclamation, expansion of domestic fuel and power-production facilities and electrification. Gross investment including private capital expenditure is expected to total 20 per cent. of national income; (4) measures to improve the balance of payments position particularly with respect to the dollar area.”

These plans were fully exposed to the public and fully exposed to the American authorities who were undertaking to give dollar facilities to this country on loan for the purpose of carrying on until the convertibility of sterling had been re-achieved. In the examination of that programme, it was perfectly understood that the balance of payments had to be preserved, and it was clear that the best way the balance of payment could be preserved was to develop our agriculture and our agricultural exports. At that time and [1790] in the general view of it, it was understood that there would be a possibility that imported feeding stuffs would be available, and, that being so, that there would be a satisfactory development on our poultry and pig side which would enable us to have a differentiation in our agricultural exports, and that, while we would still be dependent in a large way on exports related to cattle and sheep, our agriculture would be fully developed and every branch of production would be possible. It was then understood that, if it was not possible to get cheap feeding stuffs from abroad, the incidence in the development of our production would be on the grass-fed animal.

There is a problem there of feeding, and the Minister for Industry and Commerce has been rather scathing and critical with regard to the amount of foreign feeding stuffs imported last year. If the position is that we have to depend upon our home feeding stuffs for the production of poultry and pigs, there is then a problem of costings, which can only be decided in co-operation with our agriculturists and with those who are technically qualified to deal with agricultural economic problems and to see what has to be done in order that we can have home feeding stuffs that will enable us to produce both pigs and poultry at a cost that will enable us to export them.

There is there a problem that can only be satisfactorily dealt with by consultation, and by consultation with well-informed technical advice. It cannot be solved by bandying about political insults at public meetings, or by bandying about here would-be national policies as against policies which are supposed not to be so national. Every aspect of our approach to that matter is fully documented and the Minister for Agriculture and the Government generally are fully aware of our approach to agricultural policy.

The Minister for Agriculture, in connection with what was the main approach of our general agricultural development, that is, the rehabilitation of our soil, when speaking to the South Tipperary County Committee of Agriculture, [1791] rather let slip that he proposed to depart in a somewhat radical way from the approach which Deputy Dillon had to the land rehabilitation scheme. He indicated that the moneys that would be available for the scheme would be made available for the better lands that could be looked to, to produce an immediate return. There was a certain amount of criticism of that, and the situation was supposed to be obscure until the Taoiseach spoke during this debate. He indicated that the first lands that were going to get the benefit of the work to be done under the scheme were the good lands, that the marginal lands would next be dealt with, and then the submarginal lands.

I want to submit at this time, when the Government are complaining so much about the flight from the land and about emigration from the country generally, the people to whom there should be brought such benefits as engineering and science can bring to get the best use out of the soil, which is the greatest of our national resources, are the people living on the marginal land. The first piece of land dealt with under the land rehabilitation scheme in South Tipperary was a piece of land which, because of its nature, was not included as tillage land, when, in the case of the farmer concerned, an assessment was being made of the amount of tillage he ought to do during the war. It was not regarded as tillable land at all, and was excluded from consideration. That land has since produced a crop of wheat which is substantially above the average, and it has been an example and an inspiration to the people of South Tipperary in relation to what engineering and science can do.

That is what is wanted at present. The people who are living in marginal agricultural circumstances are the people who have to be shown that they can stay on the land and get a substantial living from it. The people on the good land have a certain amount of time. They can live, and many of them in present circumstances can live well, and can afford to wait, if necessary, to see their less fortunate neighbours assisted, so that it seems to me [1792] fantastic to hear the Government bemoaning the conditions that are driving people from the country and then bringing the substantial services that are available under the land reclamation scheme to the people who generally are better off.

That is only one of the aspects of ministerial policy which shows that they have been more occupied in endeavouring to confuse the situation for political purposes than in sitting down around a table, by themselves or with their advisers, to work out how financial and other policies can be applied to strengthen our economy. The whole approach of the Tánaiste and of the Minister for Finance with regard to how they are going to deal with the development and construction problems which require to be dealt with shows again that they have no conception of how the credit of this country could be used in order to build up and strengthen our people.

The Tánaiste—probably it slipped on him—when his tongue was running, gave a certain reflection of his feelings and of the atmosphere in which his consultations had being going on. He indicated his belief that you could not develop a country by credit, you would have to develop it by cash. He rather changed his step on that, but there is no good changing your step without it being made perfectly clear to those who are carrying on the business of the country—our farmers, our agriculturists and our workers—what exactly the approach of the Ministry is to this general question of credit. A number of aspects of this were fully discussed when the Central Bank Bill was being passed through this House.

An Ceann Comhairle:  It is time to call on the Tánaiste.

General Mulcahy:  The Tánaiste, I understand, wanted an hour and a half.

Mr. Lemass:  I would like to get the 9 o'clock arrangement, but perhaps the Deputy would finish in two or three minutes?

General Mulcahy:  If the Tánaiste will give me five minutes, it will do. We had this position of the use of [1793] credit, particularly in relation to housing, when the Banks' Standing Committee refused in 1945 to grant a loan of £2,000,000 that the Dublin Corporation then wanted. The Report on the Housing of the Working Classes in Dublin, at paragraph 494, on page 168, said:

“Negotiations took place with the Banks' Standing Committee on the matter of raising £2,000,000 by the issue of stock, but in January, 1939, it was intimated to the Corporation that the banks could not underwrite a public issue. The reasons given were:—

(1) the uneconomic character of the housing programme, aggravated by the high level of building costs; and

(2) the magnitude of the sums required for the Corporation's five-year programme of public works.”

Paragraph 5 said:—

“Negotiations still continue, and in April, 1939, an issue of £1,500,000 of 4 per cent. stock at 96 was put on the market.”

Now, when the implication of that was discussed at that particular time on the Central Fund Bill, on the 14th March, 1945, the attitude of the then Minister for Finance, then Deputy Seán T. Ó Ceallaigh, was that the bankers were commercial men and must make a financial success of their institutions in the interests of their shareholders. He said:—

“They have their obligations to the community, just as the bricklayer, the engine driver, the farmer and everybody else has responsibilities. But I do not see that the banks are obliged to run themselves into bankruptcy, even to build houses for the Dublin citizens, very necessary as that work is.”

That was March, 1945.

During the time of the last Government we saw the banks refusing to provide accomodation for the Dublin Corporation. The Government had discussions with them and they undertook to give them, by way of great concession, a loan of £5,000,000 at 3½ [1794] per cent. at par. I want to say that the banks, on a loan of £5,000,000 at 3½ per cent. at par, are making £80,000 profit on that transaction. The Department of Finance would probably say they were making £60,000 on that transaction. When we had to discuss with the Banks' Standing Committee their refusal to help the Dublin Corporation to build houses and when we got them to agree, we got them to agree to nothing that was bankrupting them.

We got them to agree to a proposal that, in my opinion, brought them in a profit of £80,000 and, from the point of view of the Minister for Finance, would at least bring them in a profit of £60,000. If they had given the loan on terms that they were suggesting themselves originally to the Dublin Corporation, they would have made a lump sum profit of about £435,000 as a bonus at the end of the loan period, and they would make an additional £15,000 a year profit in between.

I just mention that in order to show that there is a problem there with regard to our credit, first and foremost as regards the creation of credit, why and when it is desirable to create it, the terms at which it should be created and a number of other questions on our liquidity, the investing of our money, the backing of our money in England, and the general question of the danger line in our external balances. These cannot be bandied around at crossroads nor be made the subject of mutual political insults between Parties. These are leading nowhere from the point of view of achievement, and it is undermining the credit and capacity of our own people. There is a machinery, and there must be got a machinery for that, and the only effective way in which we can get that machinery is by dropping the kind of tactics that have been pursued by the Government during the recess and getting down, as Deputy Lehane says, to facing facts. I resent the suggestion that Deputy Lehane makes that the Opposition are shadow boxing in their discussions on this particular occasion. We have taken an insidious attempt and an insidious attack on our people's credit, and have brought it to a standstill.

[1795] As regards those who want to talk of the necessity for having a foreign legion of Irish money out in Britain, I would refer them to paragraph 30 of the “Ireland—County Study”, published by the Economic Co-operation Administration, which says, with regard to our sterling assets:

“Most of the Irish holdings are in liquid forms of fixed monetary value—deposits in British banks, British Government debt, and other gilt-edge securities. It is not likely, therefore, that the pre-war holdings have significantly appreciated as a result of the wartime price increases. The contrary is true of foreign-owned assets in Ireland.”

The foreigner can take his assets here and have them accumulate and grow in value; but our credit has to be based on the amassing of our financial resources in Great Britain, where they depreciate. The very foundation on which the credit of this country is supposed to rest, from a currency point of view, is in a depreciating place; while the foreigner can come in here with his money and apparently get a certificate from the American administration people that he, at any rate, knows where to put his money. They are matters that require to be effectively and fully gone into.

We laid the policy of that in the setting up of the Central Statistics Office and in all the work that was done by it. We did it in a spirit of co-operation with other Parties, with the leaders of every other Party in the House except those that regard themselves as above and beyond all Irishmen and Irishwomen. Political work was being done and factual work was being done to inform our people, to educate our people and to strengthen our people. No people can progress, just as no individual can progress, except they make use of their credit and credit is based upon their capacity and upon their opportunities. We have plenty of opportunities and plenty of capacity and no political trickery will be allowed by our people to destroy our country's credit.

Mr. Lemass:  The Deputy is exceeding his five minutes considerably.

[1796]General Mulcahy:  I am sorry, but I appeal to the Tánaiste to take another somersault.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Before I call upon the Tánaiste to conclude I should like to recapitulate the arrangement. The Tánaiste will now be called upon to conclude the debate. If a division is desired a vote will be taken not later than 11 o'clock. The Adjournment will be until 10.30 a.m. to-morrow morning.

Mr. Lemass:  In the course of this long debate it was agreed, I think, that we have a problem, but it cannot be said that we got within any reasonable distance of an agreed statement of the problem as Deputy Lehane desired. In that circumstance it may be no harm to go on to an impartial authority for a statement of it. In a newspaper this morning extracts were published from the report made by the Chairman of the Executive Council of the O.E.E.C. on the internal financial difficulties of member-countries, including Ireland. In his remarks upon Ireland, he said that there were two immediate tasks to be faced. They were, he said:—

“First, to limit the rise in prices, and, second, to deal with a balance of payments deficit which has more than doubled over the last year.”

Referring to the prices rise, he said that it could be attributed directly to the rise in import prices and that the second important influence must have been the increased price obtainable for Irish agricultural products. He also said:—

“The effect on prices of the increase in wages in the industrial sector was only partly offset by the effect of increased output per head.”

He went on to say that price control will in itself not bring the rise in prices to an end. Then on the second of our problems this is his comment:—

“The continuation of the present deficit of the balance of payments will lead to a rapid using up of external assets. By one means or another, measures will, therefore, have to be found to reduce the overseas deficit.”

[1797] In the course of his general comments upon similar conditions prevailing in most West European countries, he said that unless we can control the inflationary tendencies then our wages, salaries and savings will be in danger. He went on to say this:—

“Unless by some means or other the Governments can bring these inflationary tendencies under control, none of the fair words that are being said about wages, prices and defence will make any conceivable sort of sense.”

That I describe as an impartial and objective statement of our problems, and I think I can say that it coincides exactly with what members of the Government have been saying outside and inside this House.

I know that Deputies opposite have suggested that there is some conflict of viewpoint between Ministers upon the problems but no Deputy succeeded during the course of this four weeks' debate in producing extracts from the speeches of Ministers which demonstrated such a conflict to exist. There is no conflict and it is perhaps desirable to get that allegation killed first. Deputies opposite may be disappointed that there is not but it happens to be a fact. It is, of course, true that we are not always in complete agreement upon all details of policy. We have many arguments among ourselves as to the practicability of various projects and a number of inter-departmental wrangles as to the place where pet departmental schemes should have in the Government's general programme, but we are all pulling in the same direction, unlike our predecessors, and that is why we are going to get somewhere. Deputies who hope that any internal dissension upon main lines of policy will disrupt this Government or bring its work to ineffectiveness are likely to be disillusioned. May I say that anything members of the Government have said in relation to these problems in the past few weeks or the past few months is not in conflict with what we have been saying for the past three years either.

We have got a problem. Most Deputies who contributed seriously to [1798] this discussion admitted it. The question is what we are going to do about it. Are we just going to sit around howling or are we going to organise ourselves to overcome it? This problem of ours has been stated by the Chairman of the Executive Council of the O.E.E.C. in precise terms. I want to repeat my personal conviction that it is not due primarily to external circumstances but to the internal financial policy which we have been following.

The problem has two features. First of all, it has produced this tendency to use an undue proportion of our available financial resources to purchase abroad goods which we could quite well make for ourselves or do without and a consequent dissipation of the reserves that we require to keep for the purchase of capital equipment necessary to rectify our economic position if that is to be done in time.

The second feature of this problem of ours is the prices situation. We must get our prices position stabilised. If we do not do that we will have to face increasing unemployment. I would emphasise in that connection the need for prices stability. There are some Deputies who will appreciate that a sudden or undue downward movement in prices could produce just as many economic problems and difficulties as an upward movement.

Let me deal briefly first with the question of prices. Deputies have spoken in this debate as if the Government were increasing prices for the love of it. I said in moving the Second Reading of this Bill that I regard myself as being as keenly alive to political effects as any other Deputy in the House. I know, as every Deputy in the House supporting the Government knows, that every time an increase in controlled prices is authorised the Government carries an additional political burden. I want to say this, that on no occasion since I became Minister for Industry and Commerce in June last have I sanctioned an increase in any price until examination of the proposal convinced me that the alternative to increasing the price was decreased production and rising unemployment.

I know that people who have to bear [1799] the burden of increased prices do not always appreciate what might be the consequences of not increasing them, but Deputies here should understand that there are consequences of refusing to increase prices where increased costs justify that course just as there are political consequences of letting them go up.

I want to say this about price control, what the Chairman of the Executive Committee of O.E.E.C. said, that price control alone cannot keep prices down. The purpose of price control is to prevent prices rising unnecessarily and it cannot now, nor could any extension of it, achieve more than that. The work of keeping prices down—and I have stressed the importance of that work in connection with the maintenance of the level of employment—requires much more than price control. It requires a general understanding by all sections of our people, by farmers, by manufacturers and by workers, that any further increase in prices can result only in decreased production and increased unemployment. I want to say to those who represent these sections of the people —and this applies particularly perhaps to the farmers—that because of these difficulties of ours, because of the problems we are now facing, they must seek to improve their position in future more by increasing production than by increasing prices.

I think I can say with confidence that, in the general effort to stabilise the price situation and to secure the economic benefits which will come from that stabilisation, the Government will do its part, but what the Government can do can be made completely ineffective unless there is general public co-operation as well.

Like some Deputies who spoke in this debate, I want to try to get away from the airy atmosphere of higher finance and economics and down to brass tacks, but there are some aspects of the questions that have been discussed here for the past few weeks in connection with which it is necessary to get some clear statement of the facts, some more general understanding of the realities of the position.

We have got external assets. By [1800] that we mean that private individuals, commercial organisations, commercial banks, Government statutory boards, Government funds and the Central Bank have money held in British securities. Deputy MacBride has been asking questions about the amount of these securities held by different Government organisations, the point of which I do not understand. It is not denied that there are external assets. The question which, I take it, has to be decided here is what is the best use we can make of them to the extent that they are available at all for national development purposes. Will Deputies get one elementary fact clear? You can repatriate these external assets in the form of goods only. They cannot be repatriated in any other way. Suppose the Agricultural Credit Corporation, to which Deputy MacBride was referring at Question Time to-day, sold its British Government securities, what would be the effect?

Either they would sell them in England and get British currency notes in exchange for the Government bonds or sell them here and transfer ownership of them from themselves to some other Irish organisation or bank. The repatriation of these assets, in the sense in which that term should be used, means using them to buy goods in Britain and the transshipment of those goods here. When Deputies talk about repatriation of assets, I want them to think of ships tying up at the North Wall, bringing cargoes, and the question we have to decide is what should those cargoes be.

We can reserve these assets, if we think it good policy, to buy the generating equipment, the ships, the machinery, the raw materials and all the physical things we need for the development of our natural resources, or we can use them, as we are using them now, to import, unnecessarily, goods that we should be making at home or goods that we could do without.

I want to urge that the time has come when that question must be decided because the available resources of this country, all that we can hope to secure out of current savings in the next few years and all these accumulations [1801] of past savings which these so-called external assets represent, will not be sufficient to finance the purchase of the capital equipment which we will require to obtain if we are ever going to get into the position in which we can have economic security here, the ability to pay for current imports by current exports, and, unless we can get into that position, then, as I have stated on many occasions, not merely will our economic security be in jeopardy but our political independence as well.

Why has the Government been talking about the possible need to increase taxation? Deputy McGilligan spoke here to-day in justification for the Budget which he introduced in May last, the day before the Dáil was dissolved for a general election, and he tried to convince the Dáil that that Budget was sound, that it provided for sufficient revenue to meet the charges that are properly to be met out of tax revenue. I am not going to get into an argument with Deputy McGilligan or anyone else about details of Budget financing, but I want to put this on the record—I went to those who are responsible for keeping the Exchequer accounts and asked them for their estimate of the extent to which the revenue likely to be secured in this financial year would fall short of the outgoings in respect of services which Deputy McGilligan would agree were properly chargeable against tax revenue.

Mind you, Deputy McGilligan's definition of the charges properly to be met from tax revenue might not agree with mine but, taking his definition of those charges, it has been estimated by the Government's advisers, the people who are responsible for giving the Government information on these matters, that the Budget this year will show a deficit on that basis of approximately £4,600,000.

Mr. Morrissey:  They say that annually.

Mr. Lemass:  About one-half of that deficit will be due to Supplementary Estimates which have yet to be passed by the Dáil. May I make it clear that I am not including therein any [1802] payment which must now be made in respect of old undischarged liabilities for fuel subsidy or for Córas Iompair Éireann or any other service, but am including only services which it was known at the time the Budget was being prepared would arise during the course of the year. As to the other half, it is due to the plain fact that the total tax revenue, even though it has proved to be higher than Deputy McGilligan estimated, will fall short of the charges coming due for payment.

I am not referring to that solely for the purpose of criticising Deputy McGilligan's Budget. I am referring to that fact so that the Dáil will understand that in the next financial year, if the present level of Government spending, the present array of Government services, has to be maintained, more tax revenue will be required. It may be that an expanding yield of existing taxes will make it unnecessary on that basis to alter any existing tax rate but, if that does not prove to be the case, if the estimated yield from existing taxes falls short of the amount required to cover the cost of these services, then, either we will have to impose new taxes or contemplate the cutting down of some of these services.

Secondly, this Government is committed to increasing Government spending upon some services. We contested the election upon the basis of a policy which involved increased Government spending under various headings. We took office in the Dáil on a programme which involves increased Government spending on various services, and if that expansion of social welfare, health and other Government services is to be achieved, then, over and above the revenue required to maintain the present level of services, other revenue will be required and that will necessitate additional taxation.

Now, that is a choice for the Dáil and Deputies can make that choice as freely as they like. They cannot have it both ways. They cannot have expanded Government spending on the public services and refuse to provide the money to pay for them. They cannot have lower tax rates and at the [1803] same time demand higher Government spending. But there is a third reason and it is the reason to which I am most anxious to direct the attention of the Dáil.

It has been suggested here that there is no limit to what the Government can borrow for investment purposes. In fact, Government spending on capital account in recent years has averaged about £30,000,000 per year; but the Government has succeeded in raising by public borrowing an average of £10,000,000 per year. Over and above the amount raised in that way, there were other Government borrowing through the Post Office Savings Bank and through other sources which, when added to the revenue from social welfare contributions available for investment, brought the total amount that the Government was able to secure by borrowing to about £15,000,000 per year.

It is clear, therefore, that we cannot maintain an investment programme at the present level of £30,000,000 per year without resort to inflationary methods of finance to some extent. I am not objecting to that. I think that to some extent we are justified in putting new money into circulation despite the inflationary effect of it, provided we are getting at the same time the expansion in output here which will in due course have an offsetting effect. But if we are to go ahead with this national development programme, with the construction of houses, hospitals, electricity generation stations and all the things which we have mentioned here, we have to get the money somewhere. If we cannot get it by borrowing in the normal way, and if there are objections to financing it in an inflationary way because of the resulting effect on prices and the balance of payments, there is again no alternative except to decide whether we will secure the money by taxation or drop the expenditure altogether.

When introducing this Bill I urged that the House should face up to the plain fact that we cannot have things every way. We cannot have higher Government spending with lower taxation. We cannot have rising costs and rising wages and lower [1804] prices. We cannot have higher prices for milk and at the same time get a lower price for butter. Everybody who has to approach these issues seriously has at some stage to make up his mind on which side he will come down. Is he going to urge that the Government should minimise its activities and reduce its demands upon the national income, leaving national development entirely to the haphazard activities of private enterprise, or is he going to favour an increase of Government investment and make it possible to have it by making the necessary resources available to the Government?

I have implied—and here again I am referring to this matter solely for the purpose of clearing up some obvious misunderstandings amongst Deputies opposite that our external assets are not fully usable for national development purposes. Deputy MacEoin said that we can always solve our financial problems by printing more banknotes. Other countries have tried that and learned to rue it. Perhaps one difficulty in this country in getting a wider understanding of these financial issues is that we have not had a bank failure for 100 years. They had bank failures in the United States 20 years ago. We never had a tearaway inflation such as brought ruin to so many countries after the recent war.

We can, of course, provide a currency for internal use by means of the printing press. We can print as many notes as we like and shove up our prices as we like and then distribute more money to offset the increases. In fact, it is true to say that a currency for internal use need not be backed by anything except public confidence. So long as the farmer will take MacEoin notes for his wheat or the worker take them in return for his work, then that system can be maintained. But we have to buy things outside the country. You may persuade the Irish farmer to take MacEoin bank notes for his wheat, but you cannot persuade the Canadian farmer to do it. You may persuade or compel an Irish worker to take these MacEoin notes for his week's work, but you cannot compel a worker in an English foundry producing some machinery that we require to accept it.

[1805] If we are to have international trade, we must have behind our currency some external assets, or if we have not external assets, we will have external liabilities. Many countries have external liabilities. By a difficult and painful process they negotiate lines of credit with other countries, that is to say, fix the limits to which they can buy goods without paying for them. But it is obviously desirable and necessary in our circumstances that we should have external assets, that we should be able to give some assurance to the people selling goods to us that the Irish currency they get in payment of them or the Irish bank draft can be changed into the international currency they require. That is why the Central Bank has to keep external assets in liquid form.

Mr. MacBride:  To the extent of 100 per cent.?

Mr. Lemass:  Deputy Mulcahy said that we should try to get an agreement as to what is the danger line in the utilisation of these external assets for development purposes. The mere admission that there is a danger line is of considerable value.

General Mulcahy:  I am not admitting that there is a danger line near us.

Mr. Lemass:  I shall deal with that. Let me get this clear. If we are to have international trade, we must have some arrangement to ensure that those who sell goods to us can get in return other currencies than ours. That is why every central bank in the world maintains external assets. That is why the British Government, watching their external assets running out, have imposed the most drastic restrictions on British imports and the most drastic restrictions on consumption in an effort to save them. No doubt it would be to our advantage to have gold instead of British Government securities as a backing for our currency. But we cannot get that, and there is no means by which we can get it.

There are Deputies who urge that we should have dollars instead of sterling. That might be an advantage [1806] if we could get them. But we cannot get them. My mind goes back to the time when the weakest currency in the world was the dollar. I remember in 1936, when we were discussing this matter, the sterling exchange rate of the dollar was cut by 50 per cent. overnight, and everybody in the world was trying to get sterling assets. However, the point I want to get over to the Dáil is that we have put upon the Central Bank the obligation to maintain sterling assets or some other foreign assets, as an assurance to those who sell goods to us that when they get payment for these goods they can convert an Irish bank draft into currency usable in international trade.

Mr. MacBride:  There is no obligation on the Central Bank to maintain foreign investments. That was amended in 1942.

Mr. Lemass:  I am not talking of a legal obligation, but the practical consideration which forces the Central Bank and every other central bank in the world to do it. That makes it necessary that Central Bank assets should be in liquid form, because if somebody sells us a cargo of wheat, there is no good offering him the deeds of a house in Tipperary. He has to have something which he can take back to the country where he wants to spend it. That is why the Central Bank must have external assets in liquid form so that the obligations which we undertake in international trade can be discharged. Every country in the world maintains through a central bank a sufficient pool of external assets to finance international trade and those who do not have external assets have external liabilities. In this country we are trying to avoid getting into that position.

Let me say this. I am not enamoured of our Currency Acts. I would much prefer a far more flexible method of maintaining the relationship between the Irish and English £. But the process of changing these Acts is likely to be both difficult and dangerous and I think the House should realise that. We have got eight commercial banks here, five of which have their head offices outside the State and three of which are doing ordinary branch banking [1807] outside this State. The process of introducing and passing a Bill through this House is a long one; on this subject it would be likely to be controversial also and there is no means by which we could prevent, if public alarm was aroused over the provisions of such a Bill, an exodus of funds from our Irish banks, an exodus so drastic that it would force the immediate curtailment of bank advances within the country and bring our trade to a standstill.

That is why I think those who profess to desire a change in our currency laws are unwise to talk in the manner in which they do talk. I have looked back over the whole history of this State since 1922 and asked myself was there any time during that period at which public opinion would have favoured an amendment of this Currency Act, a change in the system of regulating the exchange value of our currency. It could not have been done during the economic war. Not merely were political conditions here completely unsuitable for any such change, but we know how the Deputies opposite would have opposed it and how their general tactics would have provoked the alarm which would have produced the dangers to which I refer. It was physically impossible during the war years. There was one period, and one period only, when it might be said that public opinion was favourable to a change in these Acts; that was immediately before or after the devaluation of the British £ in 1949, but the Government then in office did not take the chance.

Mr. MacBride:  Oh, now. Public opinion is ripe for it now.

Mr. Lemass:  I do not agree. On the contrary, I think that these financial difficulties that we are now discussing would make it undesirable to make that move now. At the present time if the link with sterling to which reference has been made in this debate was broken and our Irish £ was allowed to find its own value vis-á-vis the British £, having regard to our very heavy adverse trade balance it is certain that the Irish £ would move to a discount. In fact, arrangements [1808] which are now in force to maintain the £ in parity with sterling make a better contribution than any other measure now operating to maintaining a reasonable price level here because if the Irish £ went, as the adverse trade balance suggests it would go, to a discount with sterling, not merely would our import prices rise but export prices would rise also; our exports are mainly foodstuffs, the internal prices of which are determined by export prices, and there would, therefore, be an immediate all-round increase in the cost of living.

That would produce economic difficulties here of a major kind, difficulties which might either force the Government to adopt far wider measures of control than it would like to have or, alternatively, create a situation in which a further devaluation of the Irish £ vis-á-vis the English £ would become necessary. If we had a different system in force of regulating the relationship between the Irish and English £, not the automatic system which now secures that result without any special effort of our own, but one which required effort on our part, we would be exerting ourselves and adopting every possible device to secure the maintenance of our £ at parity with sterling if we could.

Mr. Dillon:  This is like Alice Through the Looking-Glass.

Mr. Lemass:  One of the issues raised in this debate of which I am also anxious to dispose is the contention made by Deputy Costello and other Deputies opposite that the previous Government, the Coalition Government, initiated something which they called an investment programme, or a capital Budget, or a general scheme for the development of national resources. In the course of this debate they have professed themselves to be concerned lest the policy of the present Government would interfere with that investment policy, that capital Budget idea of theirs.

I want to say that claim is bogus— completely bogus. There was no investment policy initiated by the Coalition. The so-called capital Budget was, in the main, a device of Deputy McGilligan's to conceal the fact that [1809] he was borrowing to meet the cost of various charges which previously had been met from tax revenue. I propose to endeavour to demonstrate the truth of these assertions of mine because I think it is important that that should be done. It is important, first of all, to get a clear understanding in the House, if possible, of the Government's problem; and, secondly, to get an equally clear understanding of what a proper investment policy constitutes.

May I remind the House, however, that, in relation to investment in Irish national development, there was a sharp change in coalition policy about half-way through their term of office. The Fine Gael section of that Coalition came into office on a policy of economy and retrenchment. Within the first month of their being in office they shut down upon a number of the capital development projects which were then in progress and they maintained that policy of restricting capital investment on Government account for about 18 months. It was only half-way through their term of office, towards the end of 1949, that the U bend occured in their policy; they began to realise the political advantages of talking about a capital Budget and an investment policy. Let us examine, however, in relation to this capital Budget enunciated by Deputy McGilligan in his Budget statement this year the extent to which it refers to projects which were initiated by the Coalition.

Mr. Dillon:  You would not tell us about the ones we shut down.

Mr. Corry:  What about the Formosan sugar?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  Order!

Mr. Lemass:  Let us examine the extent to which the Coalition increased or curtailed investment on these projects, or the extent to which they failed to extend investment which was urgently necessary and which could have been undertaken in their time with far greater ease and at far less cost than it can be done now.

Mr. Dillon:  Like the constellations.

Mr. Lemass:  This capital Budget of [1810] Deputy McGilligan's, as set out in his Budget statement of May 2nd of this year, covered the following heads: Housing, public health, agricultural development, electricity development, turf development, the telephone system, schools and other State buildings, afforestation, fisheries, minerals and mineral development, transport, and industrial credit.

Mr. Dillon:  Pretty good.

Mr. Lemass:  In the previous year there was a similar capital Budget presented. In case Deputies have forgotten, let me remind them that expenditure upon capital projects in the Coalition's final year fell short of the Budget Estimate by no less than £10,000,000. There did not appear to be much drive behind the capital investment policy of the Coalition when they were left at the end of the year with £10,000,000 unspent upon the capital projects which had been enunciated in the Budget statement. Let us take housing and health. I will say, and I want to be quite frank in this matter, in respect of their activity in housing and health services, I think the Coalition did good work. I think that of all the activities that they undertook, they are less open to criticism in respect of their activities in these fields than in any other. I pay my personal tribute to the Ministers concerned, Deputy Keyes and Deputy Dr. Browne, who undertook their responsibilities in these matters with considerable enthusiasm.

Mr. D.J. O'Sullivan:  And Mr. Murphy.

Mr. Lemass:  The same applies to the late Deputy Murphy. In relation to housing and hospital development there was in fact no holding back. But I want the Dáil to realise that all that development was based upon legislation which was passed by Fianna Fáil. The basis of all the housing activities during the three years of Coalition Government was the Act which we discussed here in 1947 during the previous Fianna Fáil Administration. I will admit there was an amendment introduced to that Act which improved it in detail, but the basis of the whole [1811] housing drive was Fianna Fáil legislation.

I do not want to endeavour to make Party capital out of that. I am trying merely to demolish this contention, that housing activities or health development services, were something that began with the Coalition. I saw in the newspapers yesterday a photograph of the opening of a new housing scheme at Athy in County Kildare by the Minister for Local Government with Deputy Norton, Deputy Harris and Deputy Sweetman in the picture. I would like to think that that was symbolic of our attitude to housing development generally.

Mr. Sweetman:  I am afraid the Minister did not see Deputy Sweetman in the picture because the photographer missed him.

Mr. Lemass:  That spoiled the photograph. But, let me point out to the Deputies opposite, in case they have forgotten it that when the capital Budget for 1950 was before the Dáil there was an estimate for expenditure on housing which was not realised to the extent of £3,000,000. There may have been a reason for that but in so far as there is a suggestion that more could have been done in that year the facts seem to indicate it. The same applies to the development of our health services, the basis of which was the legislation which was passed when Fianna Fáil was previously the Government.

Let us get to agricultural development. This is, I think, the main claim of the Coalition Government, that they started the land reclamation scheme. Let us see how well they started it.

Mr. Dillon:  The land rehabilitation project.

Mr. Lemass:  Call it the land rehabilitation project or any other name you like. There was voted for the purposes of that scheme or project in the financial year, 1950-51, the last year in which the Coalition was in office, a sum of £3,100,000. That was the estimate of the then Minister for Agriculture of the extent to which that scheme could be implemented in that year. There was spent on the land [1812] rehabilitation project just one-sixth of that amount. There was a total expenditure of £569,000, and more than half of that went in salaries to officials and in other administrative expenses, and only the smaller part of it in actual payments to the farmers benefiting under the scheme.

Mr. Dillon:  Deputy Smith says that five times as much work is being done now.

Mr. Lemass:  There has been the suggestion made here that the present Government is curtailing land improvement work.

Mr. Dillon:  It would not dare to.

Mr. Lemass:  If you will tell us why you dared to do so then perhaps we will understand your motives a little more. The scheme, as formulated, was divided into two parts.

Mr. Dillon:  Four parts.

Mr. Lemass:  A couple of them did not function at all. The two parts that functioned, and one of them, the best part in my opinion, is based on the Fianna Fáil farm improvement scheme. There has been a suggestion in this House that no work was done on land reclamation or farm improvement until this land rehabilitation project sprang complete from Deputy Dillon's brain.

Mr. Dillon:  Who so suggested?

Mr. Lemass:  It has been frequently suggested in this House.

Mr. Dillon:  By whom?

Mr. Lemass:  By several Deputies on the benches opposite. I want to point out that there was, in fact, a farm reclamation scheme undertaken by the Cumann na nGaedheal Government as far back as 1931. It was extended and carried on by Fianna Fáil until it was replaced by the Farm improvement Scheme later. Under the Farm Improvement Scheme there was spent, actually spent on land reclamation and field drainage, a sum of £645,000, on the construction and improvement of water courses £454,000, and on other improvements £240,000, making a total of £1,340,000, which is more than [1813] double all the expenditure on farm improvements in the three years in which the Coalition Government was in office.

Let me tell the House the story of the ground limestone project. It is quite interesting. This idea of producing ground limestone and arranging for its distribution to farmers at a subsidised price began with Fianna Fáil. In the year 1947, a State organisation, Mianrai Teoranta, was instructed by the Fianna Fáil Government to prepare plans for the establishment of ground limestone plants for that purpose. They prepared plans for the establishment of some 24 uniform plants scattered around the country. These plans were completed when the change of Government took place in 1948. The only question left open at that time was whether the fulfilment of the plan should be left with Mianrai Teoranta, or whether a new statutory organisation should be set up for the purpose, but the plans were completed in every detail.

Mr. Morrissey:  What happened then?

Mr. Lemass:  They were torn up by Deputy Dillon.

Mr. Dillon:  That is absolutely untrue.

Mr. Lemass:  I knew that the Deputy would start interrupting. These plans were there.

Mr. Dillon:  They were not.

Mr. Lemass:  They were sound comprehensive plans.

Mr. Dillon:  They were not.

Mr. Lemass:  They were torn up by Deputy Dillon and forgotten.

Mr. Dillon:  That is untrue.

Mr. Lemass:  There was nothing whatever done in connection with ground limestone until Mr. G.H. Holmes came here from New Zealand and said that the development of Irish agriculture required more than anything else the application of ground [1814] limestone to the land, and so Deputy Dillon decided that he would have to do something about it, even after discarding the Fianna Fáil plan. He did something, I will admit. He got in touch with the Irish Sugar Co. and he told the company that the job was theirs, that he wanted them to acquire, set up and operate limestone-grinding plants and to carry out the Fianna Fáil scheme, with this difference: that instead of it being entrusted to a separate organisation it was to be undertaken by the Irish Sugar Co.

The Irish Sugar Co., in fulfilment of that direction from Deputy Dillon, ordered five grinding plants and these five grinding plants were delivered at the North Wall, Dublin, to the order of the Irish Sugar Co., but when they were still lying at the North wall Deputy Dillon got a new idea. He rang up the Irish Sugar Co. and said that he had decided to leave this business of ground limestone to private parties.

Mr. Dillon:  That is absolutely untrue.

Mr. Lemass:  They had to sell three of the grinding plants for re-export and the other two were brought down and installed in a quarry at Buttevant.

Mr. Dillon:  There is not a scintilla of truth in that.

Mr. Lemass:  Let me tell the whole story. If anybody wants to have an inquiry into the facts they can. That is how the matter then stood, the limestone to be provided by a number of private producers and to be sold by them at a price which covered their costs. Then Dr. Paul Miller, the head of the E.C.A. mission, made a public statement in which he said that he was prepared to agree to an allocation from E.C.A. Grant Counterpart Funds to subsidise the sale of ground limestone to farmers. That statement having been made in public, Deputy Dillon had to do something about it, because everything stopped waiting for an announcement concerning the subsidy. Deputy Dillon made up his mind, and he got in touch with Córas Iompair Éireann on Tuesday, February 27th. He told Córas Iompair Éireann that, [1815] as from the following Monday, they were to be responsible for the transportation of all the ground limestone produced in the country, that they were to charge nothing for it, and that they would be recouped, out of E.C.A. funds, their actual outgoings. Córas Iompair Éireann said that they had not any organisation to do it, or the vehicles that would be wanted for the job. Deputy Dillon, in his Napoleonic way, said that the job was theirs, and so Córas Iompair Éireann went to those private firms which were producing and distributing limestone and said: “You keep doing it and when you have told us how much you have transported we will pay you for doing it.” That might have worked all right except for one slight snag which arose.

Mr. Dillon:  That is wholly untrue.

Mr. Lemass:  The Irish Sugar Company which had been transporting limestone at 10/- per ton and selling it spread on the land at 30/- per ton, refused to fall in with the arrangement to hand over its lorries to Córas Iompair Éireann to participate in the scheme. The position then remained unchanged until Deputy Corry asked a question as to why the limestone scheme was not operating around Buttevant. Then something had to be done about it. I will not weary the House with details of all the discussions. First of all, Deputy Dillon proposed to the Irish Sugar Company that they should stop carrying limestone and undertook in effect to pay them 2/- for every ton that they did not carry.

Mr. Dillon:  That statement is untrue.

Mr. Lemass:  Córas Iompair Éireann naturally were not satisfied. The sugar company would not agree with that and so Deputy Dillon went to Córas Iompair Éireann and he said to them: “I will pay you——

Mr. Dillon:  That is a deliberate falsehood.

Mr. Lemass:  It is not. You can have an inquiry into it if you want to.

[1816]Mr. Dillon:  I charge you now with telling a deliberate falsehood.

Mr. Lemass:  Let me finish my story. After the sugar company refused that proposal Deputy Dillon went to Córas Iompair Éireann and he offered to pay them for not carrying the sugar company's limestone. Córas Iompair Éireann were still being paid for not carrying it up to July of this year when Deputy Tom Walsh, now Minister for Agriculture, ended that arrangement.

Mr. Dillon:  That is a deliberate falsehood.

Mr. Lemass:  It was estimated that the land of this country required the application of between 1,000,000 and 2,000,000 tons of ground limestone per year. Do you know how much it got because of this mismanagement—85,000 tons. Under the ground limestone scheme, which was to involve the application of 1,500,000 tons per year, only 85,000 tons were distributed because of this extraordinary arrangement which I have described, and which resulted from three changes of mind by Deputy Dillon.

Mr. Dillon:  That story is a deliberate falsehood.

Mr. Morrissey:  Will the Minister allow me to ask a question? The Minister, in the course of his statement referring to ground limestone stated that Mianraí Teoranta had complete plans prepared.

Mr. Lemass:  Yes, that is right.

Mr. Morrissey:  I was Minister for Industry and Commerce for three years and neither Mianraí teoranta nor anybody else ever enlightened me of the fact that such plans were in existence.

Mr. Lemass:  No, but they enlightened Deputy Dillon.

Mr. Morrissey:  The Minister knows that if such plans were made by Mianraí Teoranta they would have to come to the Minister for Industry and Commerce for approval.

Mr. Smith:  They were in my office before I left it in 1948.

[1817]Mr. Lemass:  Yes, they came to me, and I agreed that their application was to be a function of the Minister for Agriculture, and I transferred them to him. Deputy Smith saw them and I saw them.

Mr. Morrissey:  I want to make this perfectly clear, that the fact that these plans were in existence was never brought to my notice as Minister for Industry and Commerce for over three years.

Mr. Lemass:  I will accept that. Let us turn to the next item.

Mr. Dillon:  May I ask the Minister a question? Does the Chairman of Córas Iompair Éireann endorse the story that you have told here?

Mr. Lemass:  If the Deputy likes I will read a departmental minute on the matter?

Mr. Dillon:  Does the chairman endorse the story you have told here?

Mr. Lemass:  I have not discussed it with him.

Mr. Dillon:  Will you ask him to endorse it?

Mr. Lemass:  Anyone can study the file.

Mr. Dillon:  Will you ask him to endorse it?

Mr. Lemass:  I will, when he comes back from America.

Mr. Dillon:  You know it is a falsehood and it is a shame to utter such statements here.

Mr. Lemass:  The next item was electricity development. May I suggest that as an indication of the extent to which the Coalition Government undertook investment in electricity development that we still have electricity rationed and will have to continue with that rationing for five years. No new electricity generating station came into use during the past three years which was not planned and under construction when the Fianna Fáil Government left office in 1948. There was no new electricity station sanctioned during that [1818] period except two new stations in Dublin and Cork, designed to burn coal.

Mr. Dillon:  They are very substantial exceptions.

Mr. Lemass:  In relation to turf development, there was a very welcome change of mind shown by my predecessor in that matter. I had recollections of the pre-war hostility of the Fine Gael Party to the whole idea of turf development and I expected that hostility would be reflected in their actions in 1948. I am glad to say it was not. There was no new development but no halt was called to the development in progress.

The next item is telephones. Might I summarise what was done in telephone development by pointing to the fact that there are 5,000 people awaiting telephones who cannot get them and also to the fact that of the expenditure provided in the capital budget for telephone development, a sum of £500,000 was still unspent at the end of the year.

Mr. Corry:  What did you do with the money?

Mr. Dillon:  How many got telephones?

Mr. Lemass:  Telephone development has been going on for 40 years. You are not suggesting you started that. What I am setting out to prove is that all this talk of an investment programme is nonsense. The Coalition did nothing that was not begun before their time. They curtailed and messed up part of it and in any case in which they expanded it——

Mr. Dillon:  We did not invest in not giving the people telephones. We invested in giving them telephones. Tell us how many we gave.

Mr. Lemass:  The next item, schools and buildings, involved routine expenditure not calling for any comment. In regard to afforestation I do not pretend to a technical knowledge in that regard but a thorough mess was made of the afforestation programme. Everything was concentrated on the idea of making a show and not on making plans for a long-term policy on sound lines.

[1819]Mr. Blowick:  Why did you cut down on the target we had set of 25,000 acres?

Mr. Lemass:  Because the land was not there.

Mr. Blowick:  The land was there and the plans were there. Tell us why you cut down on them.

Mr. Lemass:  At least Deputy Dillon's voice is pleasanter than that. In regard to mineral development there are some Deputies who know that one of the first decisions of the Coalition Government was to stop mineral development until political difficulties were caused for Deputy Everett in Wicklow and it was restarted on a limited scale.

Mr. Morrissey:  That is not true.

Mr. Lemass:  Did not Deputy McGilligan say in his first Budget that he was stopping it?

Mr. Morrissey:  It was stopped for re-examination and restarted on a bigger scale.

Mr. Lemass:  It was one of the schemes mentioned in the Coalition Budget as being stopped for economy sake. It restarted for a while and at the very end it was stopped again in May last. The Department of Finance refused to pay up the last expenditure required in regard to the scheme at Avoca. It stopped until June when we started it.

Mr. Morrissey:  You are spending money on property to which you had no title.

Mr. Lemass:  We had as much title to it as you had. Now let us have an examination of the capital investment in transport. Let me start off by dealing with harbour development. One of the first decisions of the Coalition Government was to stop harbour development and the interdepartmental committee set up to consider applications from harbour authorities for grants towards the capital costs of improvements was dissolved in March, 1948, and remained dissolved until political difficulties of [1820] a few Coalition Deputies produced a decision to bring it into operation in September, 1949. Then some limited progress was made but not much money was going out.

Shipping. Twice during the three years of the Coalition term of office the Board of Irish Shipping came to my predecessor, Deputy Morrissey, and asked for a policy. They wanted to be told whether they were to buy more ships or sell ships or to carry on as they were. Twice Deputy Morrissey drafted a memorandum and went to the Coalition Government to ask for a declaration of policy on shipping and twice, according to the records, that memorandum was withdrawn from the Government agenda without decision. Is that denied?

Mr. Morrissey:  How many contracts were placed for new ships before you came back to office?

Mr. Lemass:  The first thing I saw was a protest from Deputy McGilligan, as Minister for Finance, against the action of Irish Shipping in taking the initiative in buying ships——

Mr. Morrissey:  How many?

Mr. Lemass:  They were ordered by Irish Shipping on their own initiative in defiance of the Coalition Government and the very last act of Deputy McGilligan as Minister for Finance, according to the record, was to protest against this action of the Board of Irish Shipping and to demand a reversal of their decision.

Mr. Cosgrave:  We ordered the ships.

Mr. Lemass:  You had nothing to do with it.

No capital advances were made to Córas Iompair Éireann, although I admit that some capital liability was incurred during the term of the previous Government. Deputies will have read a letter in the newspapers recently from the National Union of Vehicle Builders saying that about 60 complete Diesel rail cars were ordered from works located at Park Royal, London. The trade union says that these Diesel cars could have been constructed, so far as body work was concerned, [1821] in Córas Iompair Éireann's own workshops.

Mr. Morrissey:  What do you think?

Mr. Lemass:  So far as I am concerned, that is the only capital investment upon internal transport services which was incurred during the previous Government's term of office.

Mr. Morrissey:  What about the five Diesel engines costing £80,000?

Mr. Lemass:  Those are rail cars, not Diesel engines.

Mr. Morrissey:  I am speaking about the Diesel engines.

Mr. Hickey:  It would be a pleasant thing for us if we knew who was telling the truth. I was more than surprised when the Minister told us that there was no order given for ships during the term of office of the last Government.

Mr. Lemass:  Let me make this point clear. Twice during the term in office of the last Government, the Board of Irish Shipping, Limited, came to my predecessor and asked for a policy on shipping. Twice my predecessor drafted a memorandum and sent it to the Government asking for a declaration of policy on shipping, and twice that memorandum was withdrawn from the Government agenda without a decision.

Mr. Morrissey:  How many contracts for existing new ships were placed before you came back to office?

Mr. Lemass:  These contracts were placed by the Board of Irish Shipping, Limited, without any direction from the Government.

Mr. Morrissey:  They told you an untruth if they told you that.

Mr. Lemass:  The next item on the list is industrial credit, but that item was struck off, as no money was provided for it. Let me, in that connection, make some reference to industrial development. I would remind some Deputies opposite that their policy in that regard was to keep down capital investment on industry. [1822] May I remind you of some projects— the chassis factory at Inchicore and the wagon shops at Limerick and other projects which were in existence in 1948 and which were summarily killed by the Coalition.

Mr. Morrissey:  What about the £500,000 expenditure in Glengariff?

Mr. Lemass:  The decision to stop that was taken in April, 1947, as I told Deputy Collins only last week, in reply to a parliamentary question.

The machinery which was needed for the chassis factory at Inchicore was sold abroad at a fraction of the price which it would now cost us to buy it.

Reference was made to cement. I do not want to discuss the merits of Irish Cement, Ltd. I can testify to my own knowledge that my predecessor, Deputy Morrissey, was as anxious as I am to get increased cement production undertaken in this country. Ultimately, he reached a stage when he thought he was going to achieve that but then something happened. Other projects began to come up.

Mr. Cafferky:  The Local Authorities (Works) Act.

Mr. Dillon:  Ten per cent. shares are being issued at 30/-. God be with the days when they were being issued at 20/-.

Mr. Lemass:  The first project was put forward by a gentleman to whom I shall refer as Deputy McGilligan's friend, because he pressed my predecessor to have this project examined. This gentleman offered, in brief, that if he were given a monopoly of the sale of all cement in this country, if Irish Cement, Ltd., were agreeable to sell all their cement through him, if, in addition, he was given the right to import and to sell all the supplementary supplies of cement and if, in the course of a couple of years, he made £2,000,000 profit he would invest the money in a new cement factory. Deputy Morrissey summarily rejected that project when he got to know its details, although it delayed progress because it had to be examined on the request from Deputy McGilligan.

[1823]Mr. Dillon:  Is it suggested that Deputy McGilligan suggested it?

Mr. Morrissey:  That is a very serious charge. If this is the version of the proposal which is being given by the Minister—he has not read it out—it is not the version which was given either to me or to the Government.

Mr. Lemass:  That may be so. That is the proposal as summarised. Let me say that I am not suggesting that Deputy McGilligan understood the nature of the proposal which he was pressing. The point I am making is that because the Government were hunting around for some alternative——

Mr. Cafferky:  It is not right to say that Deputy McGilligan recommended it.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  Deputy Cafferky must cease interrupting.

Mr. Lemass:  Listen to “Red Joe”.

Mr. Cafferky:  Never mind “Red Joe”.

Mr. Lemass:  I do not want to give that impression. What I said was that the implementation of the plans for the production of cement was delayed because the Government were hunting around for some alternatives. I will indicate the only alternatives they found so that the House will understand their character.

Mr. Morrissey:  This is an important matter. I am asking if it is suggested that Deputy McGilligan acted improperly.

Mr. Dillon:  It is a deliberate attempt to assassinate Deputy McGilligan's character.

Mr. Morrissey:  The project which he is trotting out was never put in this form before me, Deputy McGilligan or the Government.

Mr. Lemass:  The scheme was for the establishment of a central sales organisation which would market all Irish cement and imported cement. The company would do the marketing, [1824] and the commission attached to the imported cement would be granted to the company in return for that concession.

Mr. Morrissey:  In return for that concession the factory would take in commissions for any cement that was directed through it.

General Mulcahy:  Does the Minister suggest that Deputy McGilligan was not bright enough to see through that?

Mr. Lemass:  Another proposal which delayed action for six months was this: a gentleman came along and said he was prepared to put up a proposal for cement production. He never did and he was never heard of again. Then there was another which was more interesting still. A new cement factory was built in Belgium. The company which built it had an old one on their hands which was built in 1905. They were quite willing to sell it here——

Mr. Morrissey:  Did anybody offer to buy it?

Mr. Lemass:  ——a factory which was manufacturing cement on the same principle as was used in the time of the Pharoahs. My point is that the examination of these alternative proposals delayed action in expanding cement production here for over a year and a-half. And these were the only alternatives which emerged.

Mr. Dillon:  The only delay was the 10 per cent.

Mr. Davin:  What about your 10 per cent?

Mr. Lemass:  As far as I am concerned I had no objection to the payment of 10 per cent. on Ordinary shares in any major Irish industry. I am surprised to learn that any Deputy opposite has.

Mr. Dillon:  In a monopoly?

Mr. Lemass:  Many major Irish concerns, such as Jacobs, Guinness, Rowntrees, Dunlops, the Irish Independent, the Irish Times and all the commercial banks, paid dividends on their Ordinary shares in excess of 10 per cent. during the Coalition term of office.

[1825]Mr. Dillon:  None of them are monopolies.

Mr. Lemass:  The Deputy can start a cement factory if he likes.

Let me say something which will help Deputies to understand the difficulties we have had to meet in the industrial development drive in the past 15 or 16 years. I was responsible for the original effort to get Irish cement and, later, responsible for the legislation passed by the Dáil. I remember in those days, when we were trying to initiate an industrial development drive, the bitter hostility and opposition we received from every vested interest in this country. Because the country's commercial organisation was based on Chambers of Commerce composed mainly of selling agents for British firms, they had a certain influence in the commercial world and they used that ruthlessly to try to prevent industrial development. They had their spokesmen in the Dáil, as Deputy Dillon will remember.

Mr. Dillon:  I was opposed to exploitation by the cartel.

Mr. Lemass:  When the first issue of a prospectus for Irish Cement Ltd. was made in 1936, so strong was the campaign of hostility to Irish industrial development that not a single Irish stockbroker would put his name to that prospectus. However, the industry was established and it succeeded. I told them that if they earned sufficient to enable them to make a payment of 10 per cent. on their Ordinary shares, I would not regard that as excessive. In fact, I do not think they have done so up to the present but in the circumstances I would not have regarded such a payment as excessive.

Deputies will have seen in this morning's papers the circular issued by the company to its shareholders concerning a new issue. The terms of that issue are worth noting, when one considers the circumstances which existed in 1936, because their new shares are now going to be issued at a premium of 10/6 and, despite that, they will attract money. So far as I [1826] am concerned, I simply told them that they had to raise the £2,000,000 of new capital required on the best terms possible. By that I meant the best terms on which they could get an underwriting contract, and I think they have done fairly well in that regard.

Let me say that if we are going to get industrial development here, if we are to get a number of private persons to sell their foreign securities and invest the proceeds in Irish industrial development, we shall never succeed in doing it if we are going to impose restrictions such as will always make it more profitable for them to leave their money abroad rather than bring it home.

Mr. Morrissey:  I agree, but do not put them in the position of dictating to you what the terms will be.

Mr. Lemass:  There was no question of dictation.

Mr. Morrissey:  There was.

Mr. Lemass:  There was a discussion as to the terms of an issue that would be attractive to investors. I allowed them to put up their views on this, but, in the end, I passed the responsibility on to the company by saying that they must see that they got the best underwriting contract possible. I think if they succeed in raising the new capital on the terms proposed, it will be very satisfactory. It will mean, in addition, that the price of cement here will be substantially lower than it is at present.

Deputies have got to make up their minds also—and this remark applies to the Labour Party as well as to members of Fine Gael—that if we are to get out of our present difficulties we must have a substantial increase in output. Deputies have spoken about certain observations made in regard to the land reclamation scheme and the desirability or otherwise of concentrating, for the time being, on one type of land rather than on another. I have no technical knowledge and no particular views on that matter but I do ask the House to understand that our problem of getting increased production is urgent and that we have got so [1827] to direct our activities that increased production will take place next year, if possible, or the year after. We have neither the time nor the resources to work on a more leisurely basis. The net effect of the Coalition agricultural policy was that while all through the years since the end of the war, Western Europe, as a whole, increased its output of foodstuffs by 22 per cent.—in Britain they have increased the output of foodstuffs by 50 per cent.—only in two countries has production been below the pre-war level. We are one of these countries and Austria is the other.

Mr. Dillon:  What did you leave us? Production had fallen to 89 per cent. of the pre-war standard when you left office—the lowest since Brian Boru fell at Clontarf—and in three years we brought it up to 99 per cent.

Mr. Lemass:  The Deputy must remember that 1947 was the worst year ever experienced in the whole of the northern hemisphere. We were extraordinarily lucky to get any produce sown in that year, not to speak of getting it harvested. Why not take 1946 and make a comparison with that year? It was a fairly normal year, even though we had to mobilise the Civil Service and the Army to save the harvest. What is the use of arguing on the basis of a comparison with the war years? If you want to claim that you did better than we did during the war, I grant you that, but I say that in 1949 and 1950 opportunities of expansion were missed, some of them missed irretrievably. Whatever was responsible for that—I think frequent changes of policy are more responsible than anything else—we have got to remember that in directing our policy in future we must aim at getting expansion in total production quickly.

Mr. Dillon:  Keep your nose out of it and you will get it.

Mr. Lemass:  That applies to industry also, but in the case of industry, we cannot get an expansion of total output except through the medium of private enterprise. Private enterprise is capable of moving not merely faster than any State organisation, but of [1828] moving over a wider front, but if we are going to have any substantial expansion by private enterprise, we have got to give every encouragement to those who are going to undertake that.

Mr. Dillon:  Irish Ropes got the encouragement of an open market and they are making a good profit.

Mr. Lemass:  In that connection, I want to refer to what has been called the trade recession. Deputies who have been making speeches on this subject, and who suggest that the curtailment of trade in drapery goods and in certain other products, is due to any speeches made here or any statements contained in the Central Bank Report, clearly misunderstand what is the real cause of it. This trade recession is world-wide. Whatever factors are causing it are operating internationally. Deputies will have seen last week where the Bishop of Derry called for prayers in the churches that the unemployment in the shirt factories in Derry might soon cease. The shirt factories of Derry are closed down. Woollen mills in Bradford are closed, and the curtailment of trade in that industry extends right across to the United States of America.

Mr. Dillon:  What mills in Bradford are closed?

Mr. Lemass:  A number of them. I received recently the monthly letter on economic conditions issued by the National City Bank of New York—the letter for the month of November. In it, they point out that the demand on factories is no longer augmented by stock building to any extent. The merchandise in stock will be drawn upon, adding to the supply of consumer goods. The forward commitments of department stores have been little more than half what they were last year.

Mr. Hickey:  Does that mean that workers are producing more than they did in former years?

Mr. Lemass:  That is not my interpretation of it. It means that the expectation of a “cease fire” in Korea and the talk of peace negotiations between the East and the West, have caused people to cease supplementing [1829] stocks as they otherwise would, in the expectation of lower prices. Let me deal with that matter. I think those who are curtailing or postponing the placing of orders for supplies for delivery next year, in the expectation of a fall in prices, are leaving out of account the extent to which Governments now can control raw material prices levels and the measures which they can take and are taking to prevent any market upset by reason of price fluctuations. The Government here will take whatever measures are within its power and which are necessary to maintain a position of price stability. The problem here is complicated by the fact that, simultaneously with the factors which are affecting trade all over the world, we have the problem of liquidating the abnormal stocks that were imported in the first half of the year.

Mr. Dillon:  I thought we did not stock-pile at all.

Mr. Lemass:  You did. You stockpiled manufactured goods—a policy of which I am very critical. I hope I will be able to work out some method of organising and financing the stock-piling of essential raw materials and of maintaining it until international circumstances indicate that it is no longer required. Certainly, however, a policy of stock-piling manufactured goods was bound to create this problem some time. In the case of goods made of wool, we have the problem now. In the case of other goods, the problem has not yet arisen. We have already taken measures to restrict imports. The import quotas have been considerably reduced and in some cases tariffs have been raised. I want it to be known that in respect of woollen and worsted cloths there will be no quota at all for the next quota period. Any manufacturer or trader who is waiting on the possibility of getting imported supplies during that period would be well advised now to contact the agents of the Irish mills and get their orders accepted.

Mr. Dillon:  Then God help the ready-made trade.

[1830]Mr. Lemass:  It has agreed to the arrangement, being quite familiar with the difficulties and anxious to help in solving them. We cannot escape from this situation without difficulty but I am certain we can minimise the difficulty.

Reference has been made to the restriction of bank credit. I merely want to say in that connection that there is no truth in the statement made by Deputy McGilligan here this evening when he purported to read from the Central Bank Report that the Central Bank advised the commercial banks to restrict credit. That is not what they said at all. They said precisely what Deputy McGilligan said in his Budget statement of May last——

Mr. Morrissey:  No.

Mr. Lemass:  ——that the banks should not advance credit for speculative or unnecessary purposes. If there is any evidence that, due to a misinterpretation of the position or of their instructions, any bank officials are restricting credit legitimately required for normal trade and for desirable purposes, the Government is prepared to take action to change that situation. I admit that it is a situation in which the Government should be slow to intervene, but we could not contemplate a position in which Government decisions on policy could be nullified by action taken somewhere else. We are in agreement with the view expressed by Deputy McGilligan and by the Central Bank that, because of the heavy drain upon bank funds involved in the financing of present stocks, higher than normal and dearer than normal, it is undesirable that credit should be extended for unnecessary or speculative purposes—but for the normal functioning of trade and for facilitating the developments which the Government regard as desirable, we consider that it is the duty of the banks to give whatever facilities are required and we understand that they will do so.

Mr. Morrissey:  That statement fully justifies this debate.

Mr. Lemass:  I made that statement in introducing the debate.

Deputies:  No.

[1831]Mr. Lemass:  It is very similar to what I said when introducing the debate. I may not have used exactly the same terms.

Captain Cowan:  Three years ago I raised the question of the restriction of bank credit.

Mr. Dillon:  When it did not arise.

Mr. Lemass:  May I suggest to the House—and I will finish on this note —that to some extent we in this country use credit wastefully. Deputy McQuillan spoke about the farmer going to the fair, selling four cattle, using half the proceeds to buy in four more and putting the other half in the bank. He said nothing at all about the farmer dropping in on the shopkeeper on the way to the bank and paying something on his account. If we could make it generally known that those who have shop debts and who can afford to reduce them or to pay them off should do so, we would not merely ease the position of a number of traders but we would make quite a substantial contribution to the restoration of normal conditions. That is only something upon which we can give advice and it may not be taken in many cases. If we could get some general movement of that kind among our people——

Mr. Dillon:  Is that an instruction to the country shopkeeper to put in the sheriff?

Mr. Lemass:  No—and I hope the Deputy will not represent me as saying anything of the sort.

Mr. Dillon:  It sounded damn like it.

Mr. Cosgrave:  Your advice is sound ——

Mr. Lemass:  So far as the Bill is concerned, Deputy MacEoin asked if it was still necessary.

Mr. Crowe:  On a point of order, is the Minister aware that the farming community is six months of the year in debt and that the only good months for them are the months May, June, July and August?

[1832]An Ceann Comhairle:  That is not a point of order.

Mr. Lemass:  We should recognise that the country traders are, in fact, the farmers' banks and finance their production.

Mr. Crowe:  It is a pity that a lot of politicians do not understand the position in which the farming community find themselves.

Deputies:  Hear, hear!

Mr. Lemass:  There is one thing I do understand and that is the reason for this Bill. I have been asked why it is necessary to carry on these emergency powers. Everybody in the House recognises that in present circumstances it is necessary to have powers of price control, rationing, the regulation of imports and exports, the control of exchange transactions and similar powers and that it is undesirable that we should incorporate many of these powers in permanent legislation because we can at least hope we will not require them permanently. To the extent to which these powers are required permanently they should be secured under permanent measures. We started that process in 1947 and we may continue it next year but the need for the Bill is beyond question.

Mr. O. Flanagan:  What about the cost of living, now?

Mr. Sweetman:  Did I understand the Minister to say that before leaving office in 1947 there were plans in his Department and in that of the present Minister for Local Government, Deputy Smith, for 24 limestone grinding plants to be erected in different parts of the country?

Mr. Lemass:  There was a complete report from Mianraí Teoranta, on that subject. I am not sure whether the number of plants was 20 or 24——

Mr. Sweetman:  That does not matter at the moment.

Mr. Lemass:  ——but it was for a [1833] number of uniform plants in different parts of the country.

Mr. Sweetman:  Was it due to excessive modesty—or what— that neither the Minister nor Deputy Smith has ever mentioned it to us before? We are now being asked to believe it. Why were we not told of this before?

[1834]Minister for Local Government (Mr. Smith):  It was mentioned and it was actually referred to in the House.

Mr. Keane:  On a point of order——

An Ceann Comhairle:  I am putting the question now.

Question put: “That the words proposed to be deleted stand.”

The Dáil divided: Tá, 67; Níl, 62.

Aiken, Frank.
Bartley Gerald.
Beegan, Patrick.
Blaney, Neil T.
Boland, Patrick.
Bourke, Dan.
Brady, Philip A.
Brady, Seán.
Breen, Dan.
Brennan, Joseph.
Brennan, Thomas.
Breslin, Cormac.
Briscoe, Robert.
Browne, Noel C.
Buckley, Seán.
Burke, Patrick.
Butler, Bernard.
Carter, Frank.
Childers, Erskine.
Cogan, Patrick.
Colley, Harry.
Collins, James J.
Corry, Martin J.
Cowan, Peadar.
Crowley, Honor Mary.
Crowley, Tadhg.
Cunningham, Liam.
Davern, Michael J.
Derrig, Thomas.
de Valera, Eamon.
de Valera, Vivion.
Duignan, Peadar.
Fahy, Frank.
Fanning, John.
ffrench-O'Carroll, Michael.
Flanagan, Seán.
Flynn, John.
Flynn, Stephen.
Gallagher, Colm.
Gilbride, Eugene.
Harris, Thomas.
Hillery, Patrick J.
Hilliard, Michael.
Humphreys, Francis.
Kennedy, Michael J.
Lemass, Seán.
Little, Patrick J.
Lynch, Jack (Cork Borough).
McCann, John.
MacCarthy, Seán.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
Maguire, Patrick J.
Maher, Peadar.
Moran, Michael.
Moylan, Seán.
Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
O' Reilly, Matthew.
Ormonde, John.
O'Sullivan, Ted.
Rice, Bridget M.
Ruttledge, Patrick J.
Ryan, James.
Ryan, Mary B.
Sheridan, Michael.
Smith, Patrick.
Traynor, Oscar.
Walsh, Laurence J.


Beirne, John.
Belton, John.
Blowick, Joseph.
Browne, Patrick.
Byrne, Alfred.
Cafferky, Dominick.
Cawley, Patrick.
Coburn, James.
Collins, Seán.
Corish, Brendan.
Cosgrave, Liam.
Costello, Declan.
Costello, John A.
Crotty, Patrick J.
Crowe, Patrick.
Davin, William.
Dillon, James M.
Dockrell, Henry P.
Donnellan, Michael.
Dunne, Seán. [1835]Mannion, John.
Morrissey, Daniel.
Mulcahy, Richard.
Murphy, Michael P.
Murphy, William.
Norton, William.
O'Donnell, Patrick.
O'Gorman, Patrick J.
O'Hara, Thomas.
O'Higgins, Thomas F. (Jun.).
O'Reilly, Patrick.
Esmonde, Anthony C.
Everett, James.
Fagan, Charles.
Finan, John.
Flanagan, Oliver J.
Giles, Patrick.
Hession, James M.
Hickey, James.
Hughes, Joseph.
Keane, Seán.
Keyes, Michael.
Kyne, Thomas A.
Larkin, James.
Lynch, John (North Kerry).
McAuliffe, Patrick.
MacBride, Seán.
MacEoin, Seán.
McGilligan, Patrick.
McMenamin, Daniel.
Madden, David J. [1836]O'Sullivan, Denis.
Palmer, Patrick W.
Redmond, Bridget M.
Reidy, James.
Reynolds, Mary.
Roddy, Joseph.
Rogers, Patrick J.
Rooney, Eamon.
Spring, Dan.
Sweetman, Gerard.
Tully, John.

Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Ó Briain and Hilliard; Níl: Deputies Sweetman and D.J. O'Sullivan.

Question declared carried.

Second Reading agreed to.

An Ceann Comhairle:  When is it proposed to take the next stage?

Mr. J.A. Costello:  We would be prepared to give all stages this day week. We must see if there are any amendments to be put in on the Committee Stage.

Mr. Lemass:  The Seanad has to get the Bill before Christmas, but it should be all right this day week. We can put it down for Tuesday?

Mr. Cosgrave:  It would still be earlier than last year.

Mr. Lemass:  Very well, Wednesday.

Mr. Dillon:  One can speak on the Fifth Stage—and I will do so, at great length.

Mr. J.A. Costello:  I would suggest finishing the Bill on Wednesday. It could be ordered for Tuesday, finishing all stages on Wednesday.

Mr. Dillon:  With respect, might I make a submission? A series of falsehoods, in my judgment, has been studiously alleged. I should like respectfully to claim the right to reserve an opportunity to deal with those falsehoods in detail; and I beg the Leader of the Opposition not to give the Government an undertaking which might be used by putting up members of the Fianna Fáil Party to blather, to prevent us from exposing the falsehoods that were alleged.

Mr. Lemass:  Do not be absent, then.

Mr. Dillon:  Oh, boy, I will not.

Mr. Lemass:  Have an inquiry.

General Mulcahy:  Lest it might transpire that it would not be in order to discuss, on any of the subsequent stages of the Bill, the falsehoods referred to, I would like to mention that: in case that, this matter having been now raised, it might appear that, when they were not dealt with on further stages of the Bill, the falsehoods were accepted, as not being able to be discussed.

Mr. Dillon:  I hope I made it clear that I will refute them.

Mr. Lemass:  We would welcome the opportunity.

General Mulcahy:  I want to safeguard those against whom falsehoods have been alleged.

Mr. Lemass:  No falsehoods have been alleged. I can substantiate anything I said.

Mr. Morrissey:  Can we have an undertaking that, in the meantime, the records will not be altered?

Mr. Lemass:  The Deputy can be certain that, if necessary, the records will be produced.

An Ceann Comhairle:  The next stage, for next Tuesday?

Mr. Norton:  I suggest that, as this session has still a fortnight to run, as far as this Bill is concerned, the Committee Stage be taken on Wednesday, on the understanding that we finish the Bill next week.

Mr. Lemass:  Very well.

[1837]Mr. O. Flanagan:  Might I inquire what they paid for the five votes they bought to-night?

Mr. Lemass:  The Deputy is an expert in that kind of transaction.

Mr. Cogan:  Reference has been made to falsehoods——

An Ceann Comhairle:  Could I have a definite decision as to when the Committee Stage will be taken?

Mr. Lemass:  Next Wednesday.

[1838]General Mulcahy:  With no guarantee of it finishing then.

Mr. J.A. Costello:  Then I am released from my offer.

Mr. M.P. Murphy:  Will we get a chance of speaking on it then?

Ordered: That the Committee Stage be taken on Wednesday, 5th December.

The Dáil adjourned at 11 p.m. to 10.30 a.m. on Thursday, 29th November.