Wednesday, 30 April 1952
Dáil Éireann Debate
Mr. Cunningham: As I had indicated when we were adjourning last night, the sum total of the Coalition Parties' speeches before the Budget was that we could go on spending at the rate that the country had been spending hitherto, that there was no need to take stock of the financial situation here, that everything was moving smoothly, that the country was prosperous, that there was no need to introduce more taxation. This line of argument has been continued during the debate on the Budget. All that was needed, according to some Deputies on the Opposition Benches, was an injection of spending power, more borrowing and the putting of more money into circulation.
Everyone knows that whatever money is borrowed and made available in large sums would in itself tend to increase the prices of very many commodities in the State; yet when the subsidies are taken away with the resulting increases in prices we have a general outcry from the other side. Deputy Corish during a pre-Budget speech said that in spite of the statements made by Fianna Fáil in their summing up of the position as they had seen it he did not think that the Budget would contain any severe taxation. He said that for the last six months Fianna Fáil Ministers had  been making scare speeches, that there was no need for them and that even the Fianna Fáil Minister themselves did not believe that a situation existed which demanded corrective measures. We have got what everyone does admit to be a severe Budget.
Mr. Cunningham: I do not deny it; nobody throughout the country denies it, but every thinking person will admit that that type of Budget was needed as a corrective measure for the financial and economic position which has existed and which does exist in this country. The severity of the Budget, the severity of its taxes and impositions, caused merriment on the Opposition Benches even before they were announced by the Minister for Finance. It was a godsend to them and they proceeded to make political capital. They immediately set a campaign in motion throughout the length of the country. They were justified in doing it.
Mr. Cunningham: They were justified as a Party in clutching at any straw that was available, but I think that they have found out by this time that they rushed headlong into the matter without considering what the reaction of the Budget would be on the population of the country.
Mr. Cunningham: In case Deputy Dillon has not been told so, I again tell him that it is a severe Budget. We know it is but we think it necessary. The people in the country say: “Yes, the taxes in some cases are severe and the removal of the food subsidies will mean increases, but it is an alternative to borrowing and to the repayment of large sums in interest on moneys borrowed from abroad.” In a full year the interest payable on the American loan will amount to £1,200,000 which has to be paid back not in our currency but in dollars. There are two aspects to the taxes in the Budget. I have discussed the taxes on tobacco and drink not alone with our own supporters but with those who are politically opposed to Fianna Fáil and they admit that these items could bear the taxes imposed and could even bear higher taxes. There is no grumbling from the people that these taxes are over-heavy.
Mr. Cunningham: Even where there is overestimation, we find that the sum is smaller by the end of the year. In a reply to a parliamentary question the Minister for Finance said that, in 1950-51, there was underestimation to the extent of over £2,000,000 and that in 1951-52 there was still further underestimation to the tune of over £10,000,000. In the 1951-52 Budget, where that underestimation took place, there still was no provision for the Social Welfare Bill which we are told was upon the stocks. This Government could proceed to borrow from external sources. We could get the money from America.
“The United States Government announced on Friday that it will give no military aid to Ireland and it stated the reason. It is the same that it gave for the stoppage of dollar advances. It offered both these on certain conditions and those conditions the Irish Government refused to accept. Until the Irish Government reconsiders its decision, reverses its attitude and agrees to Washington's terms there will be nothing more coming Ireland's way.”
“The agreement was one that would have placed not only the Twenty-Six Counties but their young manhood at the disposal of the United States and Britain and permitted these two Powers to establish bases wherever they deemed expedient on Twenty-Six County soil. The proposed agreement, of course, was drawn up in diplomatic language but in plain words that is what it implies. In plainer words it demands the surrender of Irish sovereignty as the price of obtaining much-needed arms and armaments. The Washington State Department is evidently hoping that the financial position will compel the Irish Government to accept its terms.”
“It was with the intention of making the Irish State independent of such needs that the Government introduced a Budget that will put it on its feet again and enable it to pay its way and at the same time continue to develop and expand....”
General Mulcahy: On a point of order. The Deputy has quoted a comment on documents that are alleged to have passed between the United States Government and the Irish Government and implied that certain demands have been made on the Irish Government and that these demands have a bearing on the Budget which this House is now discussing. Will the Minister for Local Government who is now here undertake to put before the House forthwith a copy of these documents before the debate concludes?
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy is not quoting or purporting to quote from any official document. As I understand it, Deputy Cunningham is quoting an extract from a newspaper article. He is quite entitled to do so.
General Mulcahy: In view of the fact that the extract which the Deputy is quoting from the newspaper article in question implies that certain documents have been exchanged between the two Government and that these documents have a bearing on the presentation of the proposals contained in this Budget, will the Minister for Local Government or the Minister for Finance take cognisance of what has happened as a result of Deputy Cunningham's intervention in this debate? Will either of these Ministers undertake to put before the House forthwith a copy of the documents referred to or will he make a statement informing this House, in a more authoritative manner than by way of an extract from the Derry Journal, as to the situation which is alleged to have influenced the farming of this Budget?
An Ceann Comhairle: As a matter of order, I can only insist if a Deputy is quoting from an official document that it be made available to the House. I understand that the Deputy is quoting from a newspaper. I can only ask that he will give the reference in respect of that newspaper. Deputy Cunningham.
“Without the present Budget, the Twenty-Six Counties would be face to face with the choice of two alternatives—unemployment and starvation or surrender of sovereignty. The Budget obviates both. The Budget will enable the people to save the sovereignty of their State that brave men and women so dearly won, and the people, true to themselves and their past, will take it and work it in that spirit. They have had one master against their will for over 700 years, they are not of their own will going now to sell their newlygained independence to another.”
It is significant that although the members of the Opposition were asked several times by speakers on the Government side of the House what they would have done if they were in government — whether they would have gone on with borrowing or gone on investing the borrowed money, to make matters worse, in foolish schemes such as the mixing of Connemara rock with the Atlantic Ocean and so forth — we have not received any definite answers.
Mr. Cunningham: The Opposition had no answer to the simple question: “Would you have gone on in the manner in which you were going or would you, on being returned to office, continue these taxes or do away with them?” No definite statement has been forthcoming in reply to that question.
I want to refer to what Deputy Corish said at the Labour Conference and, in passing, I might say that that Labour Conference has been noted for another very sound pull-up or full-stop in a certain line of action. The danger signal has been raised. It has pointed out: Thus far shalt thou go but no farther. Deputy Corish is reported as saying: —
The rest of the quotation, which I shall read for the House now, is typical of the rolling phrases of ex-Ministers and others — phrases which have nothing about them except the fact that they are good oratorical expressions. I have heard many very fine speeches from members of the Opposition Parties but, boiled down, they contain very little sound and solid matter. Deputy Corish went on to say: —
“The alternative was a sane and progressive economic policy based on the proper exploitation of national resources and a financial policy derived not from Throgmorton Street via Foster Place but based on the needs and requirements of our economy.”
Mr. Cunningham: Any of these developments I mentioned were frowned upon by the Fine Gael Party. Deputy MacEoin last night referred to the economic war. We can go back to that period and truthfully say that it was then the foundations of many of the existing industries were laid.
Mr. Cunningham: It was then we began in earnest to develop the different resources of the country and to foster new industries. Deputy MacEoin said that there were advantages and disadvantages in connection with the economic war and that the disadvantages outweighed the advantages. This country forgets about disadvantages when it is a question of the well-being of the State. It was not the first time in our history that we had not weighed the consequences when a certain line of action was taken, although that line might lead to severity. We never hesitated to take the necessary steps when such steps were demanded for the well-being of the State.
Mr. Cunningham: Much dissatisfaction was voiced some time ago in regard to dual prices. Dual pricing was most unfair because the large family had to go outside its rations in order to meet the family needs in food — tea, sugar and butter — and had to purchase them at the higher prices. By doing away with rationing we feel that there will be freer and more competitive trading, that the element of competition will enter into the grocery business and that that eventually will tend to reduce prices. While admitting the severity of the Budget, I think it will have a very good effect in bringing home to the people that it is only by our own effort that we shall succeed, that it is only by hard work and more production that this country will eventually be put on a sound footing. I was speaking recently to an Irishman who had returned from Belgium and he said  that in Belgium people did enjoy good economic conditions, that trade was brisk but that people in Belgium worked for anything they got.
Mr. Cunningham: That would seem to be the position in many countries all over the world but in countries where the people are not prepared to work we find that these countries are tugging with all types of financial difficulty.
Mr. Donnellan: Listening to Deputy Cunningham one would imagine that Budget day, the 2nd day of April, had not come yet or that he had not left this House since that date. Surely to goodness, he does not expect any member of the House to believe the statement that he has gone amongst the people of Donegal and that they were quite satisfied with their new burden, that they are prepared to bear even a greater burden.
Mr. Donnellan: Well, that they would not work to a certain extent. We are supposed to be a lazy community; we believe in borrowing anything we can. Deputy Cunningham is a young member of this House; he has not grown up yet politically but, mind you, he has that old harangue of Fianna Fáil about saving the country and selling the country. Is it not extraordinary to realise that it was one Act of the inter-Party Government in the three and a half years during which they were in office, which gave us complete independence in this portion of the country— an Act which Fianna Fáil were afraid to face up to? You can be very sure that the people and the Parties responsible  for that Act would be very far from selling this country under any circumstances. The Deputy also referred to spending. During our time £14,000,000 of Marshall Aid was spent. If it was wrong to spend that grant and loan money, was it not just as wrong to spend the £26,000,000 which we left after us and which they spent?
Mr. Donnellan: I shall go over the list before I am finished. The facts speak for themselves. Since last July we have had individuals going around the country mouthing on behalf of Fianna Fáil, telling the people that there would be a deficit of £20,000,000. I think one of them went so far as to say that there was going to be a deficit of £40,000,000. I have here the report of the Dáil Debates for Wednesday, 2nd April. Deputy Cunningham was in the House on that date and apparently he has not left it since. In column 1129, No. 8, Volume 130, we have the following statement by the Minister for Finance in introducing the Budget:
That looked very well, that the Budget brought in £2.8 million more than was estimated for. In the next column, 1130 of the Official Report, he stated that the total expenditure for the year was £90.6 million and that if one takes £83.9 million from the total expenditure of £90.6 million there is a so-called deficit of £6.7 million. How then can the wordy individuals who were out through the country since last July justify all their mouthings about a deficit of £10,000,000, £20,000,000 and £40,000,000. According to the Minister himself there is a so-called deficit of £6.7 million.
 Deputy Cunningham has not got the political experience that his Minister sitting on the Front Bench has. I want to point out that there is an item of £2.7 million for the stuff called turf up in the Phoenix Park. I do not blame the last Fianna Fáil Government for piling up that stuff there. It probably was necessary, but I do not think it was an item that should be paid for in one year, and I do not believe any honest Deputy will disagree with me when I say that. That expenditure should have been spread over a number of years. We were not responsible for the turf mould in the Park and therefore one can deduct that £2.7 million from the so-called deficit of £6.7 million.
One would imagine that it was yesterday Fianna Fáil took over office for the first time. I want Deputies to appreciate that they returned to power on 13th June last. There is another item here of £845,000 for losses incurred by Córas Iompair Éireann. Fianna Fáil came into power last June. Surely, therefore, we were not responsible for that £845,000 paid to Córas Iompair Éireann to recoup them for losses. That item can also be subtracted from the so-called deficit of £6.7 million. There is another item of £400,000 for replacements to Córas Iompair Éireann. That was paid by the present Government. Surely that can also be deducted from the so-called deficit.
There is another item of £400,000 in relation to the increased price given for fuel by Fianna Fáil since they came into power. I am not saying whether or not it was right or wrong to give that, but I am saying that we are not responsible for that and that can also be deducted from the so-called deficit of £6.7 million.
There is another item of £250,000 for the increased price in relation to wheat. Surely we were not responsible for that since it took place after last June. That can also be deducted from the so-called deficit of £6.7 million. I am sorry Deputy Cunningham has left the House. I thought he would be stunting with his pencil in his hand adding all these figures together. Had he done so he would have found that  the so-called deficit of £6.7 million has very nearly disappeared. Why then the cheap talk up and down the country about bankruptcy, about not being able to balance the Budget and all that trash?
There is a game going on behind this Budget. A few days after the Budget a certain Fianna Fáil spokesman addressed some Fianna Fáil supporters in a certain hall in County Galway. I am sorry Deputy Captain Cowan is not here, or Deputy Dr. Browne, or Deputy Dr. ffrench O'Carroll or Deputy Cogan. I have never said a word about any of them. I do not mind how they vote. I do not mind who is in government. It does not matter who is in government. The only thing that matters is what the Government does. On the 6th April this Fianna Fáil spokesman who claims to speak for the Government when he meets some thugs down in the country, though he does not make the claim here——
Mr. Donnellan: There are a few. This individual made a statement at a so-called Fianna Fáil comhairle ceanntar meeting. The people who were there began to talk about the Budget. They wanted to know what the Government meant by taxing tobacco, tea, sugar, bread and butter. I will not say a word about the pint of porter or the bottle of stout because it is criminal seemingly to talk about such things here. The so-called spokesman said: “It is all right. Let me tell you. We are all right for the next 12 months because we know we are bound to get this Budget through. We have budgeted for £9,000,000 or £10,000,000 more than we require. We know we will carry it in the Dáil. We know that Deputy Captain Cowan, Deputy Dr. Browne, Deputy Cogan and Deputy Dr. ffrench-O'Carroll are bound to vote for us. Let me tell you that the Chief does not like them. He does not want to have them at all if he can do without them, and the idea is that we are budgeting for £9,000,000 or £10,000,000 more than we require and we will have a surplus next year when we will produce  a good Budget and the Chief can go to the country and we can get rid of Cogan, Browne, Cowan and ffrench-O'Carroll.” I can prove that statement was made. I am glad Deputy Cogan is here.
Mr. Donnellan: It was made at a Fianna Fáil comhairle ceanntar meeting by a member of this House. I do not mind how Deputy Cogan votes. I have never belittled him. I have never belittled Deputy Captain Cowan or Deputy Dr. Browne or Deputy Dr. ffrench-O'Carroll. I merely want to let them know now the game that is going on. The idea is to get rid of them as soon as possible. That will be after the next Budget though I am hoping it may be before 10.30 p.m. to-night.
There is a certain amount of humour in this Budget. I am sorry the Minister is not here but I have a cartoon of him which appeared in the Sunday Independent showing him leading the dance. He has done one good thing. He has remitted the tax on dance halls to the tune of £140,000. For three years I had the honour of acting as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance in the inter-Party Government. I am proud of that three years and will be proud of them until I die.
I remember Deputy McGilligan, when he was Minister for Finance, discussing at a certain conference this dance tax which was remitted, I will admit, by Fianna Fáil in 1946. When you remit a tax you generally do it for the benefit of the general public. Fianna Fáil did remit the dance tax in 1946, and they are again remitting the sum of £140,000. But when the dance tax was remitted in 1946, did it go back to the general public? I  submit that the charges remained the same: 3/9, 5/-, 10/- and in some cases £1. But not one penny of that went back to the general public. Every penny of it went into the pockets of the dance hall proprietors, and so will this £140,000 if it is remitted. That is the reason why Deputy McGilligan reimposed the tax when Minister for Finance. He was quite right in doing so. If it is remitted to-day, the benefit will not go to the general public or to the dancers. The charges to them will remain the same. Of course, the little bouncy Minister, as I say, leading a Party dances in here and says: “Enjoy yourselves, I am abolishing the tax.” But I am afraid he is not giving it to the general public at all. He knew who he was giving it to because I have a letter here which was sent out a few days before the election. It is signed by the secretary of the Irish Ballroom Proprietors' Association. I will read a little paragraph from it. The secretary says that they are supporting Fianna Fáil. The letter goes on: —
“The association has decided that the support of Fianna Fáil should take the form of substantial financial help and also that all members, both city and country, should lend a hand in every possible direction to secure the return to power of the one Party who has given the association an indication that they as a Party are opposed to this undesirable entertainment tax on dances.
“It will be appreciated that, in order to have the desired effect, our financial aid must, of necessity, be generous. I may mention that one leading commercial ballroom in Dublin has headed the list of subscribers to this fund with a generous sum of £250”—
Of course, that is where the money has gone, and that is the answer. That is not bribery and that is not trickery any more than the fact that the quiet boys in the next Budget will have a surplus, and can get rid of the lads.
I am now going to refer to another class of stuff that is being given out here. I wonder does Deputy Cogan agree with it? We were members of the same Party at one time. I still happen to be in that Party, thank God. There is a kind of kink displayed in this House when you talk about collecting taxes. Some people seem to have it at the back of their heads that there is a section of people in this community who do not do their part, and that they are the farmers. As a matter of fact, I think I heard some Deputies say that this was a farmer's Budget. Of course, it is. The farmer does not eat any bread; he does not use any butter; and he does not smoke or drink. He does not take an odd half-one or a bottle of stout. He does not take any of these things, and so he is not hit at all. You hear it said that the farmer is not taxed properly, and that he does not pay income-tax.
I want to give the lie to that. The farmer is subject to the payment of income-tax the same as every other citizen of this State. The farmers are not only liable for income-tax but they pay income-tax the same as every other section in the community. We have even some of our daily newspapers writing articles saying that the farmer does not pay income-tax. But I want to ask: is the farmer not subject to the law of the country the same as all other sections of the community? I can tell the House that the Revenue Commissioners would not let him off. They are the very people who would not let him off with one sixpence. They would not let off their own mothers. Therefore, the farmer who is liable for the payment of income-tax contributes his share the same as every other citizen in this State. Having said that, I hope that we will not hear any more about the farmer not paying his share. He has always done so.
Mr. Donnellan: I am afraid the Deputy misunderstood him. You hear a lot of people criticising the farmers, but if they were wise they would shut their mouths. I do not intend to hold up the time of the House any longer beyond making an appeal to the four Independent Deputies. I do not mind how they vote. I do not mind what Government is in power ruling this country. What matters is to have an Irish Government in power, and the way they rule it and how they rule it. I will make an appeal to those four Independent Deputies who hold the reins at the moment, if they do hold them. I have warned them of the position they are in, and of how quickly they will be got rid of when the opportunity comes. I appeal to them as men to walk on this occasion into the Lobby not to cast a vote for the Fine Gael Party or the Clann na Poblachta Party or the Clann na Poblachta Party or the Labour Party, but to cast a vote for the country on this Budget and to save the people.
Surely that Deputy is not going into the Lobby to-night to vote to abolish the subsidies. If he does I am afraid the people will lose faith and I am afraid that this country will turn out in the way that people will not cast a vote at all because a certain programme is put before them to-day and the next day it is quite the opposite.
Fianna Fáil, of course, said they were the people who would retain the subsidies. I have here a pamphlet which was published by Fianna Fáil during the last general election. It  gives a list of commodities and starts off as follows: —
Oh, but, Sir, on the 1st July it will cost a minimum of 3/10. I believe it will cost 5/-. I will not delay the House in connection with this. In reference to this pending division I know that the people of this country are watching and waiting anxiously to see what the result will be. I know that the Fianna Fáil people are watching them there. I was watching them this evening and on other occasions and they were worried to death.
It was a great poker game. You would imagine that there were four aces in it but it was not a full hand. It had to be seen. I appeal to the four Independent Deputies to walk into the Lobby and let the country see that hand. Let the country give their decision. It is not fair to deprive the people of the country of the right to cast their vote. It is on the votes of the people that every Deputy in this House was elected. You are under an obligation to the people and your job is to vote so that the decision will be put before the people and they can decide the issue in a general election within the next 21 days.
I notice in a Sunday paper that a certain question was asked by Deputy McQuillan. The same question was asked by Deputy Dr. ffrench-O'Carroll. The question was that if there was a change of Government would the same taxes be left on or what would be done? That was an intelligent question and I congratulate both Deputy McQuillan and Deputy Dr. ffrench-O'Carroll on it. As Deputy John A. Costello, the ex-Taoiseach, and Deputy McGilligan, ex-Minister for Finance, explained the answer is that there is an overestimate here of roughly  £10,000,000. With a change of Government and with the help of men like Deputy McGilligan again, taxation to the extent of that £10,000,000 could be reduced. That is the answer to the question that was asked.
Finally, I appeal to them and even to the honest Fianna Fáil man — there are a few honest ones left — to go into the Lobby this evening and give the people an opportunity to express their views. There is one reason more than anything else why I ask them to do this. This Budget has sown the seeds of Communism in this country. When next July comes and when the worker in the town with his wife and children and the poor farmer find out they cannot get enough bread or earn enough to provide the little comforts for their wives and families, then is when the seeds of discontent will be sown. It is work of that description that has bred Communism in other parts of the world. It is now being started here. If any Deputy votes for that Budget to-night to become the law of the land I have not the slightest doubt but that he will be sowing those seeds. You will have that discontent and, mind you, you may have some things in this country yet that you will regret you allowed to happen by voting for this Budget.
During 1943 and those subsequent years when I came to Dáil Éireann Deputy MacEntee, the Minister for Finance, was let loose. He was the professional mud slinger of Fianna Fáil. They let him loose in the West of Ireland. There was nothing but Communism then. Everyone was a Communist. I happened to be one according to him. Deputy Davin was one according to him and I think Deputy Cogan was one at that time too.
Mr. Hickey: I believe our greatest need to-day is clear-cut truth on political and industrial matters arising out of this Budget. I have been reading and listening to statements made by the members of Fianna Fáil during the last six months. We were told that if we did not accept this Budget we were likely to lose our independence. To-day we had Deputy Cunningham telling us something similar. We had another statement during the past week that if we did not accept this Budget we could not save the soul of Ireland. I think that is a terrible slander on the men who died for this country. The people who made such statements ought to read the Democratic Programme of the first Dáil in 1919 and be refreshed.
Mr. Hickey: I think it is no exaggeration to say that this Budget has shocked 80 per cent. of our people. I am quite satisfied that it has shocked the Fianna Fáil Party members and their followers as well as everybody else.
Mr. Hickey: As far as Cork is concerned the speeches that have been made have had a very serious effect on the trade of Cork City and, indeed, upon the trade of the country generally. Unemployment is increasing. Can anybody from any side of the House tell me how the 72,000 registered unemployed are going to get the purchasing power to buy their own needs and those of their families? Does anybody ever give it a thought? How are we going to have a revival of trade under the present Budget?
I want to avoid repetition in anything I have to say on this Budget because Deputy Norton, Deputy Larkin and Deputy Corish have very ably put the views of the Labour Party in regard to this Budget. I feel that we  could have a much severer tax on those who are paying surtax. Looking up the statistics for some years past, I find that in 1945-46 there were 4,801 persons paying surtax with an income between them of £15,761,019; that in 1950-51 there were 5,293 persons liable to surtax whose incomes amounted to £17,601,000, or 452 more people subject to surtax. Looking back to see how we are dealing with the people who produce the goods for the sustenance of life, etc., I find that in 1935 there were 2,350 people in this State subject to surtax with a total income of £8,500,000. For the year ending March, 1951, there were 5,293, which means that there were 2,943 more people subject to surtax than there were in 1935. That means that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.
I want to come now to the excess profits tax. Is there anything wrong in putting a tax on the excess profits which are being made in this country? In the year 1946-47, the profits taxable amounted to £15,500,000 and the tax payable was £5,000,000. In 1950-51 the profits taxable increased to £25,500,000. If a severe tax was put on these people it would not cause any great disturbance in the country nor any great hardship to those who are taking these excess profits from our people. I am opposed to indirect taxation. It is a very sinister way of making the mass of our people pay more in taxes than they should be paying. I suggest that the Minister should have a progressive tax such as they have in England, that the higher the income the higher the tax should be.
I now come to estate duties. Is there anything wrong with an increased tax on estates of £10,000 and upwards and a still higher tax on those of a larger amount? I do not see that any hardship would be created by increasing these taxes. Looking up the English estate duty tax, I find it is 83 per cent. as against 53 per cent. here. It was an unfortunate thing that we should drop even the small amount supposed to be got from the dance hall tax. After all £140,000 is not such an insignificant sum as the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs tried to convey to us. Why do we take that so  lightly when the old age pensioner with £1 a week and the widows with orphans have to pay taxes on tea, bread, and sugar? We have very little scruples about these taxes, yet we can throw away £140,000 which could be got from the dance tax.
Is there anything wrong with a purchase tax on luxury goods if we are trying to equalise the burden on the people? The Minister for Justice said recently that in this Budget they were trying to ease the burden on those who are least able to bear it. I suggest that we should put the burden on those who are able to bear it and I hope that will be done before we are finished with this Budget.
Last week, when the Taoiseach was dealing with the question of money, I interjected a remark and he said that he was satisfied that I never studied the money problem at all. He went on to say that we wanted a body that will give an impartial report on money matters and that in the case of monetary control we have such a body. I intervened to say that they have no powers and he replied that they have powers and that they can exercise them in a certain way. He went on to say: —
“I was in at the framing of the Central Bank Bill, and I know the circumstances in operation then. I know my own views in regard to it and I am aware that every power necessary in order that they should do their duty properly was given to them.”
That was the statement which the Taoiseach made on the 23rd of this month. I should also like to quote the statement made by the Taoiseach on the 23rd April, 1942, strange to say, when the Central Bank Bill was going through. I happened to be in the House then and, although he said that he has listened to me for many years and that he was satisfied I never studied the money problem at all, here is what he said about the Central Bank Bill on the 23rd April, 1942: —
“This Bill is not put forward as a Bill that will enable the bank or  the Government effectively to control the volume of credit. It may influence it, and if there is the co-operation it can influence it tremendously, but it is not designed to effect it by coercive measures. It is based on an attempt to get co-operation between the three bodies interested, the Government as representing the community, the Central Bank as being the body that has to manage it from day to day and the commercial banks.”
I ask the Taoiseach or anybody on his behalf to say which of these two statements is the truth. I submit that the Central Bank has not the power to do anything as far as our control of our money and credit is concerned. I ask the Minister for Finance or anybody who speaks on behalf of the Taoiseach to say which of these two statements is right.
That is why I say that this country is very much in need of clear-cut truth on matters of this kind. I heard the Taoiseach saying that we can do nothing except, wherever we borrow the money, we will have to be sure that we will get a return from it. If the banks refused to give the money, does it mean that we cannot do anything with our resources and with our means of production except a profit is being made out of them? I want to be very careful because I know that the Minister for Finance will say something about my associations and views as he did before. I am not concerned with that, because I have no connection with any kind of 'isms. I want to point out to the Taoiseach that the result of my study of the money question and the functions of money is that the natural use of money is to facilitate the exchange of goods. I will go further and say that its true value is, therefore, expressed in goods and not in terms of itself. Again, interest or usury is morally and economically indefeasible because it is a continual robbery of the producers of this country or any other country. All interest comes out of annual production. If anybody of my church says I am wrong in holding that view I will be the first to submit to their teaching. The Taoiseach, the Leader of the Government,  tells me here that I am more concerned about phrases and then, on the other hand, he tells me that our Central Bank had the necessary powers to do all the things to safeguard the integrity of our currency and credit; yet if I went to the Central Bank to lodge a £ note they could not take it from me. They have not the power to do so. When the Central Bank Bill was going through this House we put an amendment down to give them the necessary power. But the Fianna Fáil Party refused to accept it; let it be said, however, to the credit of one member of that Party that he walked into the Lobbies with the Labour Party to support that amendment. The Deputy in question is not a member of the House at the moment.
I would like to say also to the Taoiseach that wealth or its equivalent in money divorced from labour does not increase in value but must decrease. Having that view I am convinced that interest is unnatural and therefore unjust and a robbery of producers' earnings. I know Deputy Briscoe will not agree with me in that because he was worried that the Trade Union Congress, according to a statement, were seeking to have further levies imposed upon a certain number of people who had an income between them of £17,000,000. I am suggesting to Deputy Briscoe or anybody else who has any scruples about that that those people could contribute a lot more to the finances of this country.
Mr. Hickey: I am coming to the Budget speech of the Minister for Finance. Really it is depressing for the ordinary man in Ireland trying to find out where he stands, how the country is being run and who is responsible for all those false statements that are being made. I quote now from a speech of the Minister for Finance then Deputy MacEntee in the Official Debates, column 1783, Volume 121 of 14th June, 1950, when he was speaking on the Finance Bill. He said: —
“In this inflationary situation are we justified in flooding the market with more money because that in fact is what we propose to do when we propose to spend £12,000,000 upon works — whether they are meritorious or otherwise is a secondary matter—which we do not propose to procure out of the available purchasing power of the community?”
“I believe that these provisions will deter investors from investing in our future loans. It is bound to do that, because they see here a proposal to saddle the State with an annual burden of £655,000.”
Of course, he went on to encourage the banks to stand firm against the Government of this country elected by the people to do what needed to be done. Then we had another interesting statement from him. Some time after he wrote an article in the SundayPress under the name of “Diddlum Dandy” and he commenced by saying:—
“We shall begin with the neediest amongst us, the old age pensioner, the destitute widow and the orphan.... The present maximum old age pension payable is 17/6 per week and the maximum rate payable to a widow without dependent children in rural areas is 10/- per week and for an orphan 6/- per week.”
“The purchasing power of the maximum old age pension has been reduced by an amount which is equivalent at the present value of 7/7½d. Coalition money, the widow's pension by an amount equivalent to 4/4½d. and the orphan's by the equivalent of 2/7¼d.”
Mr. Hickey: Yes. I am quoting from the Sunday Press of 13th November, 1949. The reason I am quoting from this is that I think it is strange to have a Minister responsible for our financial position who was capable of writing that article two years ago.
Mr. Hickey: No. Now the Deputy may correct me if I am wrong but that  is not what I said. I said he wrote the article in 1949. It is quite obvious to the Deputy that he was then only Deputy MacEntee.
Mr. Hickey: I am not worried about any individuals. There are so many personal references passed in this House that we never get a chance of discussing important matters in a cool, deliberate manner. He went on to say: —
Is it not strange that before we knew what this Budget was going to hold for us, our Minister for Finance was invited to London by the British Chancellor of the Exchequer for, we were told, an exchange of views? Personally I am at a loss to know why we were to be guided by the British Chancellor of the Exchequer. Our Minister for Finance said that he was going to make a statement on the financial position and that he would co-operate in every way. The British Chancellor of the Exchequer, in introducing his Budget statement said: —
Mr. Hickey: I would be sorry to have it said that I was addressing them otherwise than through the Chair. Deputy Briscoe addressed a remark to me across the House, and I turned aside for a moment to answer him.
In introducing his Budget, the British Chancellor of the Exchequer made the statement I have quoted above, and it is a remarkable thing that the implication in this Budget is that sterling can only be made stronger by making it scarcer.
The bank rate has been increased. I put down a question yesterday to the Minister for Finance asking if the Central Bank consulted him before they put up the rate of interest by 1 per cent. He replied that they had. 1 per cent. increase in the bank rate on a £1,000 house is somewhere between 2/4 and 2/6 per week in rent extra. Everybody is aware the cheapest house that can be built to-day costs £1,500 or £1,600. Because of the increase in the interest rate of 1 per cent. the rent of such houses will go up by 3/6 per week. We are also aware that the interest rate on moneys borrowed by farmers for the purpose of trying to increase production has also gone up. I am interested in finding out where we stand and to where we are being driven as far as our financial bosses are concerned. I am trying to understand the implications of our money system. I never held  the view that money is superior to human beings. However, we are living under a money economy and it is what counts and not men, women and children apparently. Questions have been asked here by me during the past three or four weeks as to the amount of interest we pay for the moneys used by semi-State organisations.
I found that borrowings from the banks on Exchequer bills, public issues of stocks by the Government, land bonds and savings certificates cost £4,283,973 per year in interest alone. For the year ending March, 1951, the local authorities, excluding the harbour authorities, paid £2,013,000 in interest alone; the Electricity Supply Board paid last year £1,125,071 in interest alone for moneys borrowed for the electrification of our country; Tea Importers Limited, about which some pertinent questions were asked to-day, have a big overdraft at the expense of the State and the interest on such overdraft last year was £3,931; Grain Importers Limited, two thirds of our flour milling which is controlled from outside this country, paid in interest last year £87,740. The State had to pay this interest so that these gentlemen could produce the flour and the grain we needed. We have no say except to delegate that power. Irish Steel Holdings Limited in Haulbowline paid in interest alone last year £7,286; the Butter Marketing Committee paid in interest last year £29,207; in interest alone last year for telephone development £86,271 was paid; Fuel Importers Limited paid by way of interest last year £128,115. This makes a total, on interest alone on the moneys borrowed for these semi-State organisations, of £7,764,594. During the week the Minister for Finance was asked if he could say what was the interest paid on our national debt. He said it was £7,354,700. This makes a grand total of £15,119,294.
I am quite satisfied there has been a deliberate attempt from the vested interests and others in this country to keep the masses of our people in ignorance about our money and credit system. Money cannot be found to help the weaker sections of the community  except by removing the subsidies from tea, bread, butter and sugar. Everybody knows the weaker sections of our community exist mainly on bread, tea and sugar. If anybody wants to make sure of that, he can study the nutritional survey made of this country in the past few years.
I think it is a shame that £15,000,000 in interest should be paid in a year to finance semi-State organisations including our national debt. I would ask any serious-minded person on any side of the House what contribution these individuals have made to increase production and what contribution will they make to increase production in the future. Do we realise the interest that is drawn from the community as a result of the operations of our banking system? As I said a while ago the Minister for Finance was worrying about the banks and hoping they would stand firm on the question of lending money to the previous Government— the money which was needed to do the necessary things. I have a record of their figures for the last 26 years, and I am aware that they have drawn in net profits over £36,000,000 on a paidup capital of only £9,000,000. They are the power in this country, and they are the group whom the Minister for Finance was telling in 1950 to stand firm and not to accede to the wishes of the previous Government who were anxious to develop our industrial resources and to increase production of wealth.
Deputy Donnellan was talking about Communism a short while ago. In my view, we do a lot of wishful thinking from time to time in this House about many things. I would like to put on record that it is not bombs or guns or anything of that kind which is going to fight Communism. A properly developed and just industrial system is the only system which will operate against Communism in this or in any other country.
I feel that we should not be spending £1,000,000 more on our defence forces at the present time while the agricultural industry is neglected. The reason why I talk about spending money unnecessarily  on defence purposes is that I read in the Irish Press on 10th August, 1950, the following: —
The Defence Ministry stated that nearly 1,000 tons are dumped in the Irish Sea every week and this might be stepped up to 60,000 tons a year. But it could not go beyond that figure without an additional port.”
Mr. Hickey: It does, Sir, because we are spending money on defence and increasing our Army. If we spent those millions of money on developing agriculture and producing food for our people we would be far more secure from outside sources than we are at the present time. That is why I am quoting that paragraph. We were told here by Deputies, including Deputy Cunningham, about the danger of borrowing money from outside. I think it is necessary to bring home to our people that this country has sufficient money to do anything that is required to be done to develop our resources. If war broke out to-morrow morning I am satisfied that there would be millions and millions of money made available — and the banks would not grouse about it — for military preparations. Yet, we cannot use money for peace purposes, to keep our people from being hungry. We must get our conception of things right. I believe in having an Army and an efficient Army but I think £6,000,000 a year is sufficient to spend on the Army and on defence.
“The International Review of Diplomatic and Political Science  (Geneva) estimates that the money spent on World War II could have provided: £4,000 worth of furniture; a £12,000 house; £20,000 in cash to every family in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Ireland, France, Germany and the Soviet Union.
Mr. Hickey: It does, Sir, because I want to bring some reality into our Budget which proposes to spend money foolishly on defence. To spend more than £6,000,000 for that purpose does not make sense to my mind.
Mr. Hickey: We are discussing ways and means of providing money to run the affairs of this country. We are talking about policy. I say that it is necessary to bring these matters before our people. I do not say all the members of the Fianna Fáil Party, but some members of the Fianna Fáil Party, have made foolish speeches and damaging speeches all over the country, telling us that we must save the soul of the nation and of the things that will happen if we do not accept this Budget. Do we forget the past? Do we forget the sacrifices that have been made for this country? Do we forget the men who went out to face the wealthiest and most powerful empire in the world? In 1952 speeches are made threatening the innocent people of the country that if they do not accept this cruel Budget we will be bankrupt and at the mercy of people outside.
I suggest that we are the most powerful country financially in the world. We are the one creditor country at the moment except the United States of America. I am surprised that people of standing, backing and history of Fianna Fáil should make  such speeches. John Bull's friends could not do better than some of the speeches that have been made by members of the Fianna Fáil Party during the past six or eight months.
Here we are talking about money. I read in the Irish Press of the 22nd of this month that a woman shrieked, fainted, recovered, laughed, shook hands with her friends, all in three minutes, at the Mansion House, when her name was drawn out of the drum, out of 2,900 odd applicants. She was told that she would have to wait a long time yet before she could get a house. I want to tell Deputies, even members of my own Party, that there are people in Cork living in houses the condition of which would shock the finer feelings of people outside this country. Here we are telling the people outside this country that we are asking for mercy. We are telling the people that if they do not accept this harsh Budget and the increase in the bank rate that there will be poverty and misery in the country. Is there any reason why, after 30 years of native government, there should be such a condition of affairs that people are looking for houses? Are we here doing our duty as Irishmen to this weaker section in the community? Whom are we defending when we talk as we do? We are defending the financial interests in trying to apply an out-dated economic system to the changing circumstances of the present day. I hope that from now on we will hear less speeches about the country being bankrupt and that we will get down to doing something in the interests of the people.
Does anybody ever think of what power we have in this House after all our years? We have listened to Deputy Cunningham asking where will we get the money and saying that we will have to stop the lavish spending. What lavish spending takes place?
I have in mind the classes of people we have in this country. I do not believe in classes but let us divide them into three categories. We have a mass of people who are in and out of industry, at small wages, sometimes living on the social services, who have a miserable existence. They do not live; they exist. The average weekly wage of  an ordinary unskilled working man is about £6 5s.
Mr. Hickey: It is a big average. That is over £300 a year. Yet some of those gentlemen to whom I have referred have over £370 a week. They are the 5,293 people who have a yearly income between them of £17,601,262. I find that we have 166,000 old age pensioners; 62,000 widows and orphans; 57,000 persons drawing home assistance. Has the Minister for Finance or any member of the Fianna Fáil Party seriously considered what is the purchasing power of those thousands of people? Are they able to buy sufficient food, milk, clothing or anything else on their present incomes? They have to live on bread, tea, butter or whatever they can get and these are the things that are taxed.
Will anybody tell me how we are to have a revival of trade as long as there are 72,000 unemployed at the labour exchanges? We must face the fact that in order to bring about a revival of trade we must have more equitable distribution of the national income, so that the money will be in circulation. If the purchasing power of the mass of the people is reduced, there will be less and less buying of goods and more and more unemployment.
I regard this Budget as an ill-considered Budget. It is a deflationary Budget and deflation is more serious than inflation, about which there is all the talk. Once you indulge in a deflationary campaign, it will be many a long day before we are back in the position we were in 1950-51. We are in a vicious circle. If anybody stops buying, somebody stops selling. If somebody stops selling, somebody stops producing. If somebody stops producing, somebody stops working. If somebody stops working, somebody stops earning. If somebody stops earning somebody stops buying. There is the vicious circle that we are in. This Budget will aggravate the position.
I do not say that members of the  Fianna Fáil Party are any less patriotic than I am, but, coming from a Party with the record and background of Fianna Fáil, this Budget is a surprise to me and to anybody who has the interests of the country at heart. I say here and now that this Budget is dictated mainly by the financiers and bankers of the country and nobody can convince me that is not so.
There was a statement in the Central Bank Report some time ago which encouraged the Government to adopt a policy of taking subsidies off and they said that there were compensating effects in reduction in consumption. Who is consuming too much? We heard a young Deputy like Deputy Cunningham telling us about our having to consume less and to work harder. He told us about Belgium and said that the reason for Belgium's prosperity was that they were prepared to work for anything they could get. Is that what we are to get from the young men of to-day after 30 years of native government?
We have in Cork two world-wide organisations in Fords and Dunlops, and they can tell anybody that the workers in their factories there can produce as much as, and even more than, any other workers in their organisations in the world. Then we have people telling us lightly that we must work harder and produce more or consume less. Would it not be a good thing to address that to the people who are driving around in the big cars? None of the working class people owns any of the £1,500 or £1,600 cars that one sees in the streets of Dublin and Cork, but one would imagine from all the loose talk we hear that it is the workers who are responsible for our present position.
Let us come now to agriculture. I looked up some statistics about agriculture recently and I find them simply amazing. The statistics show that, over the past 25 years, employment in industry increased from 102,000 to over 200,000 and, over the same period, agriculture output went down. In the past 16 years, the number engaged in agriculture fell from 640,000 to 500,000 — a reduction of 140,000 agricultural workers. Will anybody dispute that,  in losing these 140,000 workers, we have lost 140,000 skilled agricultural workers? We find also that the average age of 200,000 male farmers is 56 years; that two-thirds were over 65 to 70 years of age; and that of 50,000 women on the land, two-thirds are widows aged 61. Is that not something that should set us thinking?
Why are we in that position after 30 years of native government, although the Taoiseach told us, in 1934, that this country could support at least 17,000,000 people, with a higher standard of living than they enjoyed at that time? Yet, after 18 years, we have not reached the 3,000,000 mark, and, instead of being able to keep the young virile elements in our country, they are going all over the world, and particularly to the country next door, to produce goods there and the send their paper money back to this country to inflate our position here and to create the bogey which has been set before us. It is an alarming state of affairs.
We have the Taoiseach, the head of the country, telling us that when we borrow money, we will have to make sure that we get sufficient to pay the charges. I remember in 1932 the Taoiseach saying that if he were asked what policy the Irish people should struggle for: “I stand side by side with James Connolly,” and, in 1952, 20 years after, we are told that we cannot develop the industries except out of the savings of the Irish people. I suggest that this Government should be in control of our money and credit. Deputy Declan Costello talked about borrowing from the banks. My view — and I have stated it before — is that I am quite satisfied that we can never borrow ourselves into prosperity.
Why should the Government borrow from the banks or from the financiers on the future productivity of our people? When we talk about issuing money, let our minds be clear on this point on whose credit is the issue of money made? I say that it is clearly on the capacity of our people to produce goods and services. For 30 years a group of national and international interests have controlled our financial system and with it the power to manipulate  our economic life. Why should we not now be in a position to issue money—why should we not talk about £50,000,000?—to put our 72,000 unemployed men at work producing wealth, food, fuel, shipping and land improvement? Am I talking nonsense when I say that should be done? But we cannot do it under our present financial system and until such time as the Government take control of our money and credit, we may talk about it until Tibb's Eve.
I remember reading a speech made recently by the Taoiseach on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Fianna Fáil Party, in the Gresham Hotel, in which he said we are a sovereign State. How can we be a sovereign State when we have to go to the banks, with cap in hand, to ask for money? What money? Paper money, which is issued against something which the people and not the banks have produced.
Mr. Hickey: Probably, from now on. I say in all seriousness to the Fianna Fáil Party that this Budget must be amended, because if not our people will revolt against it in a way very adverse to the interests of this country.
We had the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs yesterday talking to us about crackpot financiers. Of course, I am considered one of them. I wonder what he would call the financial experts to whom he entrusted the money from the Hospitals Trust Funds while the Fianna Fáil Party were in Government previously. When the Hospitals Trust Funds were invested in 1939 we lost £22,150 on the sale of the investments. In 1940 we lost £120,061 on sales of our investments; in 1941 we lost £4,988; in 1944 we lost £15,000 odd and in 1945 £10,000; making a total of £172,834. That was lost on our investments of Hospitals Trust Funds, while we had 460 schools that the medical officers and everyone else condemned as not fit for children and we had thousands of people looking for homes.
That money has been sent out of the country to Ceylon, Rhodesia, Newfoundland and all over the world and to British corporations for 2½ per cent. and 3½ per cent. while the public  authorities in this country had to pay 5 per cent. Then we have the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs coming in here with an air of superiority to tell me and others: “We cannot listen to crackpot financiers saying how the country should be run.” These are the people we have entrusted with our country's finances and these are some of the people who are getting £15,000,000 in interest for the running of the country. We would not trust the Pat Murphys to these things. When I said last week that I was prepared to trust the Front Bench of the Government to deal with and control our money and credit there came an answer from the Taoiseach. He asked if I wanted him to be frank and I said “certainly”. He said that if I were on the Opposition Benches and saw the people that were in the last Government on the Front Benches I would not be willing to give it to them. To whom has he given it?
Mr. Hickey: Last week I went into a post office to send a subscription to New York for a publication to which I have been subscribing for years, but I could not send that 15/- without getting the permission of the Minister for Finance here. I am quite satisfied that he would give the necessary permission — even though he often seems to think I am talking nonsense when I talk about the control of our money — but I know very well that he has to get permission for it from the Bank of England. If it is the case that this is a sovereign State, it is time we should think and talk more seriously. We should not be hurling insults and sneers at each other across the House but should think more of the problems of the people who sent us here than about the next general election.
The Taoiseach wanted to know what is the limit of borrowing. If I asked that question, I know what I might expect from someone who had given it any thought. What is the limit of borrowing? I would suggest that anyone spending money must know what the circumstances are. It must be  based on the lack of man power, the lack of raw materials, the lack of sufficient land. No one can say that we have had enough land improvement. Any farmer on any side of the House will tell you that we are not getting anything like what we should get from the land. The increases quoted in statistics in regard to produce from the land have not been of any great extent over the last 25 years. If we were serious we would be building up our country. We could now be on the crest of the wave, for the world is crying out for food. Here we are with not even sufficient to feed ourselves. We have to go to New Zealand for butter and pay £3,000,000 more for it, to make up the balance that we require. Then we have speeches like that we had from Deputy Cunningham a while ago telling us that this lavish spending must cease.
I listened to many of the speeches made during the last general election in Cork and I would like very much if some of the Deputies who made such speeches would go back and read what they said at that time and think of what is happening to-day. I challenge anyone in the Fianna Fáil Party to state any false statement I made during that election. While I was speaking on the platforms during that election, I was told even by my best friends: “Do not talk so seriously about these matters; talk about the things the other fellows are talking about.” I did not, because I am satisfied that we all have too lively a belief in the gullibility of our people and the patience of our people. This Budget has been brought in here because of the continued patience and ignorance of most of our people. The Governments during the past 30 years, here and in other countries, have been based on the ignorance and patience of the majority of our people. That is what has been happening. We have to develop public opinion and enlighten public opinion. If that were done, we would not have had some of the speeches delivered here from Fianna Fáil Benches and by some of the leading figures of the Fianna Fáil Party down the country Sunday after Sunday.
One thing I would like to say is  that, when any matter of importance to the country comes up for discussion, every opportunity is taken here to prevent people discussing it in a deliberative way. I would suggest that such matters should be discussed in future in a deliberative fashion. There are people on both sides of the House who have done signal service to the country, and no one wishes to take the credit from them, but we are living in a new world now compared to what we were in some eight or ten years ago. We must not forget that the result of the last war has been making the choice of how this country is to be run. Whoever will live to see the results, the mass of the people are thinking more than they did in the days gone by and the things that fitted previous to 1939 in this or any other country do not fit in with the circumstances of to-day. Let the young men on both sides of the House try to apply themselves to thinking of the changes that have taken place. Whether there is another war or not, we know that the last war brought about certain changes rather quickly. There are other forces at work throughout the world. We hear talk of Communism and other 'isms. Communism is just a product of injustice to people everywhere.
It is interesting to note that we had a statement recently from an ex-Minister of the British Government who was sent on a mission to Egypt and reported that of the 20,000,000 in Egypt two-thirds were living on £2 per month. Another gentleman who went on research work to several countries came back to say that two-thirds of the world population were living on an income equivalent to 10/- a week in England to-day. There was a time when we had talk of anarchists as people who attempted to revolt against injustice, but now we have people who are revolting against injustice and they are being called Communists. I repeat that we will not be able to prevent the revolt of millions of people who are living under injustice. We in this country are more in a position than the people in any other country to-day to give the people the things they want. We have the men, the land and the necessary materials to give our people  a decent standard of living. We are not doing it and I say that the reason why we are not doing it is that we are not in control of the money and credit wherewith to develop the resources that our people believe should have been developed years and years ago.
Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Aiken): Deputy Hickey is slightly mistaken when he says that the reason we are not producing all he would like — and indeed all I would like — in order to make our people prosperous and to give them a high standard of life is that there is some conspiracy between the Government here and forces like the Bank of England.
Mr. Aiken: Deputy Hickey said that the reason for the present Budget was that we were driven to it by financiers, bankers and Threadneedle Street and a few other epithets that were suggested by various members of the Opposition groups. Deputy Hickey asked one question, the answer to which, if it can be answered, will give the clue to the solution of most of our problems: why are we importing butter from New Zealand? The reason is not lack of capital, not lack of spirit in our people to work, but the sheer craziness of the last Government supported by Deputy Hickey.
Mr. Aiken: Before we left office we spent money on land improvement and a certain amount of money on the subsidising of artificial fertilisers and lime. The first year the Coalition Government were in office they stopped the farm improvements scheme and the farm buildings scheme and curbed the subsidy on artificial  fertilisers. When they got £40,000,000 of money from the Americans what did they do? Start to produce butter? No. Led by Deputy Dillon they took a ride on the bulldozer to the worst possible land they could get in the country. That is what they did instead of using their brains and money to do what Fianna Fáil had been trying to do, restore the fertility of the soil and bring it up to the point where the land of Ireland would be producing something like what it should produce at the present time. Deputy Dillon found plenty of schemes in his Department ready to go ahead in order to increase agricultural production, for instance the scheme evolved during the war by Fianna Fáil to put as soon as machinery became available all the lime the land required upon it. He threw it out of the window and started tinkering around with lime distribution and he did not even do that until he got the Marshall millions. Deputy Hickey wants to know why we are importing butter from New Zealand. It was because Deputy Dillon and Deputy Hickey went to the worst land in the country and spent millions of money and a lot of energy on it instead of trying to encourage farmers to put lime, phosphates and potash on the soil.
Mr. Aiken: With all the blowing about it Deputy Dillon did when the by-election was coming in Connemara, with all the talk about shipping the rocks and mountains into the sea, all he did in his time was to clear two acres at a cost of £200 apiece, and I will swear that there is not a farmer in the country who would give 50/- for what £200 of the taxpayers' money was spent on. He did not continue with the lime scheme to give farmers with some land in bad condition a chance to increase the fertility of the soil and correct acidity. He stopped  the artificial fertiliser subsidy scheme, the lime subsidy scheme and all the others. If we are ever to stop importing butter from New Zealand, wheat from America and maize from the Argentine, we will have to get down to the job of increasing agricultural production. What we must do is to encourage farmers to take as much out of the soil as the soil of Ireland can give with reasonable care.
Mr. Aiken: Without changing any of the other factors which should be changed, such as improving seeds and the quality of the stock, if we put fertilisers on the land to the same degree as has been done in Sweden during the past 25 years, when they increased the use of fertilisers by 150 per cent., we might expect a somewhat similar increase in agricultural production to that which occurred in Sweden during that period when, as they claim, they doubled agricultural production. We are producing from land, which is on the average as good land as there is in the world, a mere £104,000,000 worth, so if we want prosperity here and an increase in our standard of life we must get agricultural production up.
Mr. Aiken: Industrial production has gone up in the last 20 years by 150 per cent. and we must get agricultural production up in the same way. We must stop this chat about the Bank of England, the Central Bank of Ireland or other banks being responsible for our taking butter from New Zealand.
Mr. Aiken: If we had continued after the war, as Fianna Fáil had started, the campaign to put lime and fertilisers on the soil we would not be in the sorry position of having to import butter from New Zealand.
Mr. Aiken: The inter-Party Government, because the people were dissatisfied with them, gave Deputy Dillon all the money he wanted to carry out a scheme which he explained in very spectacular fashion but which was useless and worse than useless — a criminal waste of money.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I would remind Deputies that the Minister is in possession. He is entitled to speak without interruption and the Chair will see that he is allowed to speak without interruption.
Mr. Aiken: Deputies need not think that they can roar me down or that if they say “no” often enough to something I say it will not be believed by the people of the country. The people know who is telling the truth in these  matters. The people of the country know that the Minister for Agriculture put an end to this crazy expenditure of £60 or £70 per acre on swamps, that he put a limit on the expenditure and confined the activities of the land improvement section of his Department to draining and improving land that would give some return for the money spent upon it.
Mr. Aiken: Deputy Captain Giles has great impudence to talk about the ranchers in this respect. During the first year of the operation of Deputy Dillon's land development scheme it was confined, apart from a couple of small spots out in Mayo, largely——
Mr. Aiken: I was saying, when I was interrupted, that we had put an end to the crazy element in the land improvements scheme and that we had changed around from spending the Irish people's money on the worst land to be found to spending it on land that would give a reasonable return within  a reasonable time. We criticised Deputy Dillon when he brought in that scheme. We asked him why he had not allowed the improvements scheme that was there to go ahead and why put this over-emphasis on the draining of the worst land in the country when the real problem of increasing agricultural production was how to get the farmers to put the lime and fertilisers on the soil as quickly as possible. I was led into all that by Deputy Hickey, who asked why we were importing butter from New Zealand.
About May, 1948, Deputy Costello, the then Taoiseach, said that he was alarmed at the unfavourable balance of payments in the previous couple of years. I shall quote exactly what he said in a few moments, but I want to read now the figures he was alarmed about. From 1940 to 1946 we had a surplus balance of payments totalling £162,000,000. In 1947, the first year in which we could import goods, we had an unfavourable balance of payments or a deficit in our balance of payments of £29.8 million. The next year, 1948, we had a deficit balance of £19.7 million. That, remember, was what Deputy Costello was alarmed at. Although we had added £162,000,000 to our foreign assets in the war years, and it had decreased by less than £50,000,000, Deputy Costello was very alarmed. I shall quote now from a speech made by Deputy Costello in this House on the 5th August, 1948. The reference is column 2146. Volume 112, of the Official Report. In the course of his speech he said:
“When the 1938 agreement was being negotiated the adverse trade balance between this country and Great Britain was such as not to cause any anxiety or certainly very little anxiety. In the intervening period the adverse trade balance has gone to an extent which must cause anybody who thinks about it for one moment or who looks at the figures the utmost alarm for our economic and financial stability.”
He went on to say that the adverse trade balance was one of the problems that gave his Government the greatest possible cause for dismay, and he said  that he would discuss later the methods by which the Coalition Government would be enabled to deal with “that very alarming and very urgent problem.” The very alarming and very urgent problem was how to correct an adverse trade balance over the previous two years of less than £50,000,000 although we had added, during the previous five or six years, £162,000,000 to our external assets.
Why did the Coalition Government change their tune about the external assets? During their first year of office they had a reasonably balanced Budget. They tried not to inflate too rapidly but, with the demands of all the various groups that comprised that Government, and the desire of Deputy McGilligan to keep going until there should be a vacancy on the bench, they decided that they would give everybody everything they asked for.
Mr. Aiken: The result, very naturally, was a very rapid increase in the adverse trade balance. Last year it had mounted to the point where it was £61.6 million — and Deputy Costello is not alarmed at it, although he was alarmed when it was less than £50,000,000 over a period of two years. He thinks there is no cause for alarm that it should be £61.6 million in one year alone.
Mr. Aiken: ——found themselves in difficulties, and wanting to carry on, they had to get excuses for the illeffects of their policy. They developed.  the euphemism for the deficit in the balance of trade and the failure to pay their way in the international trade field, that they were repatriating our external assets, that they were making a capital investment in human welfare and so on. It is all to the credit of a Government that does its best to improve the standard of living of its people and that tries to give them a higher standard of social services within the limits that the community can afford. That is all to be praised, but they should at least take the responsibility of paying their way. What happened during the last two and a half years in which they were the Government was that Deputy McGilligan, then Minister for Finance, gave to the Coalition groups a good time. He sat at the counter, ordered drinks for everybody and told the bartender to put it on the slate, that we would pay when we came back. That is what this Budget is about. We have to pay for the debts of the Fine Gael people.
Mr. Aiken: They had a look at the supply services and they wanted to borrow for some of them instead of imposing taxation. Instead of going out to borrow for increased old age pensions or widows' and orphans' pensions, they decided that they would call some of the other sections of the supply services capital services, and that they would borrow for those. I have no doubt that Deputy McGilligan, as he said yesterday, could reduce taxation by £9,000,000 if he got the opportunity. Of course he could, not only by £9,000,000 but by £90,000,000. Any Minister for Finance who has no scruples about the future of our country could reduce the present tax bill, not alone by £9,000,000 but by £90,000,000. It is no new thing; it has been done in other parts of the world, but if that line of action were pursued here for a number of years it would have exactly the same results as it had in other parts of the world. Most people know about the inflation that took place in Germany after the first world war. Some people have heard vaguely about the inflationary  situation in France but they do not know so much about it, because it is not quite so spectacular as the inflation that occurred in Germany after the first world war when the mark went through the roof and 25 per cent. of the German people lost all their savings.
Unfortunately for the French people, they had the situation where no single Party or group of large Parties has been able to form a Government. They had to take all sorts of people, all sorts of petty groups, to form these various Coalitions since the war. Whenever a Minister for Finance made a suggestion to correct the inflationary situation, to raise money by taxation rather than by borrowing from the Central Bank, one or other of the small Parties would say “no”; the Government went out and the Parties had to play musical chairs again. The result for the French people to-day is that the minimum wages guaranteed by the State will buy less than half the minimum wages guaranteed here by the State in relation to agriculture.
Mr. Aiken: It was not the politicians who were at fault; unfortunately, the French people were not able to give them a reasonably stable and responsible Government. If our people want, they can get a Government here that will reduce taxation over the next couple of years from the figure that we are asking them to pay. They can reduce it by £9,000,000 or £90,000,000.
Mr. Aiken: It was reported in the Irish Times of the 26th April, 1952. The statement was made at Rockcorry, County Monaghan, that they had left no net debt due to the United States  Government. The fact is that at the present time this country owes to the United States Government a sum in dollars amounting to $128,170,000. Deputy Costello, when he landed at Cobh, on his way back from the United States in 1948 said that he had reassured the American people, gave his word of honour and pledged the honour of the Irish people, that every dollar of that would be repaid. Deputy Dillon said there was no net debt but if we were to repay these 128,000,000 odd dollars to-morrow in a bulk sum and buy dollars with our pounds, we would have to raise £45,000,000.
Mr. Aiken: That is the net debt, no matter who spent it or what it was spent on. The point I am at is that there is a net debt of $128,000,000 or £45,000,000, due by this country to the United States which we were pledged by the last Government to repay. What was it spent on? We got it in the form of dollars — 128,000,000 of them. We spent millions of them in buying wheat and maize in order to drown the British in eggs.
Mr. Aiken: We did not succeed in drowning the British in eggs but we drowned ourselves in a dollar debt. The people who are always prating with contempt about our sterling assets, in fact, during their years of office, imposed a dollar debt on this people in order to build up our sterling assets. Where did we spend them? In the first instance they were spent on buying dollar goods. The Minister for Finance sold those dollars to people who wanted to import American goods, American wheat, American maize, American nylons and all the rest of it. The pounds received from the sale of these dollars were paid into the Loan Counterpart Fund and the Minister for Finance then proceeded to reborrow from himself and in that way they were spent by the  previous Government and by this Government. Some of the pound receipts were spent on land reclamation, some in providing loans for houses, some for Electricity Supply Board development and so on and so forth. They were in fact spent for capital purposes of various kinds.
Mr. Aiken: If to-morrow we wanted to repay in a lump sum the £45,000,000 we owe to the United States we would either have to tax the Irish people or get them to subscribe to a loan of £45,000,000 in order to repay that sum. We cannot get it back from the houses that were built or from the lands that were drained, and the only way in which we could repay it would be either through the medium of a loan or by the imposition of taxation to the extent of £45,000,000, because that is the sum we would require to buy the dollars to be repaid.
Mr. Aiken: I am not contesting that at all. Let it be £26,000,000 or £20,000,000 or £30,000,000; the point I am dealing with is — and the Deputy need not try to get away from it — that Deputy Dillon said they had left no net debt in dollars. We still owe the dollars.
Mr. Blowick: The point I want to have clarified is: if acceptance of Marshall Aid would be opposed to the policy of the present Government, why was not the £26,000,000 which we left in the kitty paid back directly so as to lighten the total indebtedness of £45,000,000 to the United States?
Mr. Aiken: The $128,000,000 were spent. If we had had when we came into office last June, instead of a debt  due by the Minister for Finance to himself of £26,000,000, half the $128,000,000, I can assure the Deputy these dollars would have been spent in a different way. In one year we spent, I think, $30,000,000 on importing wheat and maize, most of it to drown the British in eggs in accordance with the promise made by the former Minister for Agriculture.
Mr. Blowick: But why not have repaid the £26,000,000 that were there if it was wrong to spend them? I take it the present Government has spent most of that money, has it not? I am seeking information and I am not seeking it in a contentious way.
Mr. Aiken: Deputy Blowick will have to listen to me almost as patiently as I listened to other people. As a nation, we will pay back the United States of America dollars for the $128,000,000 that they lent us, dollars which were spent in importing maize, wheat and other commodities from the United States.
Mr. Aiken: The Deputy can see the figure in the Budget speech. The figure has already been given. This particular Budget was not unforeseen  two or three years ago by the men in Fine Gael and in the Labour Party who knew something about finance. Deputy McGilligan, the then Minister for Finance, and I had an argument across the floor of the House on the capital expenditure and the items in the Estimates for the Supply Services, and he admitted to me that if this extraordinary capital expenditure did not result in a very high increase in production so that repayments could be taken in our stride, it would be a bit of a headache, as he put it, for some Minister for Finance; it certainly is a bit of a headache for the present Minister for Finance.
Mr. Aiken: I paraphrased, but if the Deputy wants the quotation I will get it for him. The Deputy is comparatively new to the House; otherwise he would have remembered the phrase and he would not have embarrassed his colleague, Deputy McGilligan, by questioning it. I mention that particular point to show that those who know something about finance knew then what would happen. Deputy McGilligan calculated on seeing the Minister for Finance having the headache for his spree from an elevated position on the Bench. That did not happen, however.
Deputy Costello, when Taoiseach, was alarmed at the adverse trade balance and he described it as a very alarming and very urgent problem, although the average was only about £25,000,000 a year and we still had invested abroad £150,000,000 more than we have at the present time. But he  thought it was very alarming. Our assets have been reduced by that sum of £150,000,000, and we are still going through them at two or almost three times the rate which Deputy Costello thought was a cause for grave alarm.
Now, we could continue to give the next Minister for Finance a headache or to give our children a headache or, indeed, to give ourselves a headache a couple of years from now, and carry on spending our external assets at the rate of £60,000,000 or £61,000,000 a year. Let us follow that through and see just exactly what happens. We have I suppose—call it any amount you like— but say £120,000,000 as a sort of liquid reserves which could, if we had the power, be seized from the banks and from the Central Bank funds, and so we could continue to pay in cash out of those funds for a couple of years and carry an adverse balance of £60,000,000. But, at the end of a couple of years — put it at four years if you like—we would have to take some other more extraordinary measures because at that time the external assets in the hands of Government Departments, the Central Bank and the commercial banks would have gone.
We could still carry on, however. We could do as they did in England and as they have done in other countries — make everybody who has £1 or 1/- invested abroad register it and give it over to the Government and get payment in Irish currency. That could be done. If we did that we could carry on for another three or four years — if every person who has shares in some British company, or shares in some American company, or a holding in some British Government stocks were made to sell them to the Minister for Finance for Irish pounds. We could always print Irish pounds to give to them, and we would have these external assets to meet our liabilities in case we had a continuing deficit of £60,000,000.
Now is there any person here, or any sensible person in this country, who would advise a farmer in his own regard to carry on in that way? Is there any sensible person who thinks that we should take no step to reduce, to reasonable proportions, that adverse  balance of payments? Is there any person who thinks that we could go gaily on for another couple of years and then introduce a Bill to enforce the collection of every pound that individuals have invested abroad? As a Government, we do not think that is the way to deal with the situation. As a Government, we believe that, having accepted responsibility from our people, from the voters of the country, for the carrying on of the Government, we should tell them that the continuing prosperity of this country demands that we should pay our way in our external trade. My belief is that if half the crazy nonsense and bombast of the three years that were lost by the Coalition had been devoted to educating our people by encouraging them to build up our production, both in industry and agriculture, we would now be in the position of being able to go ahead much more rapidly in increasing our standard of living.
I do not want to go into all the details of the Budget. It has been dealt with by many other Ministers, and the Minister for Finance, in his reply, can go into some of these points. There was one point, I think, made by Deputy MacBride and, as it affects my Department particularly, I should say a few words about it. Deputy MacBride, speaking at column 376, Volume 131, No. 3 of the Dáil Debates, on the 24th of this month, said:—
“If this Government is seeking to pick a quarrel with the United States of America in order to justify the imposition of this economic policy on the country, it is doing something which is both irresponsible and despicable, and the sooner it ceases that policy the better.”
Now, there are some ruthless individuals who flashed across the pages of history in the last 20 or 30 years, but they are only trotting after Deputy MacBride, whenever his own particular interests are involved. Every thinking person in this country must realise what a dastardly statement that was. If it came from an ordinary back bencher who had lost his head at a cross-roads meeting, no one could blame him very much. We know, however, that people abroad do not  know the circumstances under which Deputy MacBride got into this Dáil and into the last Government. They do not know that the last time the Irish people got the opportunity of voting, he crept in on the 24th count, and they may take him as a man of some importance, having been Minister for External Affairs——
Mr. Aiken: ——and think that his words should be regarded as having some weight, and that he would not lightly accuse this Government of picking a quarrel with America or anybody else. There are people in the countries of the world, people in various countries, who would like to see the United States and this country at each other's throats, but they are not going to see it, and Deputy MacBride or anybody else is not going to provoke such a quarrel between the American Government and this Government. There are probably no two countries in the world whose Governments, and whose representatives, are on more friendly terms than the Government of the United States and the Government of this country.
Mr. Aiken: And nothing that Deputy MacBride can say about it is going to affect the relationship between the two Governments but it will affect, perhaps, some anti-Irish people in the United States. It will be quoted by anti-Irish people in the United States and the American Government will be advised that they should have nothing to do with us or help us in any way in the fulfilment of our national aspirations because we are guilty of picking a quarrel with that Government. We did not say to the last Government that it was for the purpose of picking a quarrel with the United States Government they refused to join the North Atlantic Pact. We did not say to the last Government that it was for the purpose of picking a quarrel with the British they repealed and announced the repeal of the External Relations Act in the manner in which it was  done. We tried to do what we could and if we could not thoroughly and absolutely approve of every action that the previous Government took in relation to external affairs at least we approved of it as well as we could. We went as far as we could. We did not accuse them of picking quarrels with foreign Governments when they were taking the action they did. As I say, thank God the good relationship existing between the American Government and this Government does not depend upon Deputy MacBride's ruthless falsehoods.
Mr. O'Gorman: Having listened to all the speeches in this House and having sat here for three hours yesterday and three hours to-day, I will preface my statements by saying that this Budget has just been about flogged to death. May I just ask the House what has happened to Ireland within the last then months? From a plane of prosperity and plenty we have been plunged into an abyss of gloom and depression. Twelve months ago, before the last Government went out, we were enjoying an era of prosperity with practically full employment for everybody in the country. What do we see to-day all over Ireland? We see nothing but queues lining up at the various unemployment offices throughout the land. Men and women who have not been unemployed for years have been laid off during the past six or seven months.
To me that is an appalling state of affairs. It is a state of affairs which is causing a considerable amount of worry and disturbing seriously the minds of the people throughout the country. This gloom has percolated up and down the country and into the various business establishments throughout the land, with the result that trade at the moment is stagnant. That is certainly causing a good deal of worry to business people who have to pay when they are called upon. It is those people, big and small, rich and poor, who keep this country going with their financial aid. They have to pay their rates and taxes regularly. With rates soaring and taxes mounting I can assure the House, speaking for the people throughout the country, that  the period that lies ahead is going to be a very, very difficult time for the people.
I have asked the cause of all this. Personally I think the start of this gloom was occasioned by men holding very responsible positions in the Government eight or ten months ago. When they assumed control of this country the first thing they told the Irish people was that we were on the verge or the edge of a financial crisis. Such a serious statement emanating from people who held responsible positions naturally had its repercussions down the country. From that moment on there was a considerable drying-up of trade, and business people found it practically impossible to make ends meet.
With that synchronised the restrictions on trade by the banks at the time. When speaking on the Supplies and Services Bill some months ago, I referred to the very serious position at that time. I have since ascertained more information from people with whom I come into contact daily. I do not know whether many of the members of this House have occasion to go to the banks for a loan of £3,000, £4,000, £5,000 or £6,000, but there are people in the country who have got to carry stocks and who have got to keep their shelves full of the commodities the people require. They have to go to the banks. They are sound business people, but having acquired considerable stock, they found themselves temporarily short of cash. In my opinion, no businessman, except the very wealthy man, can do without banks. It is a source of great worry to business people at the present time the way trade has dried up. These people carry large stocks and owe a considerable amount of money to the banks. That is a very serious position, and many people throughout the country find themselves in that position at the present time.
To me this is an appalling Budget. I am sure it is an appalling one to the members who support the Government. I doubt whether any member opposite visualised for a moment that the country would be faced with such a crushing burden. It is a staggering  thing when a man realises that, in a little country of 2,750,000 people, we are asked to budget in the year 1952-53 for £97,000,000. During my trips homeward and down the South of Ireland I have spoken to people of all Parties — people who are strong supporters of the present Government. They have been very seriously disillusioned by the impositions and the severity of the taxes being imposed upon the people.
In the election which we contested last May we were taunted by the present Government speakers about the cost of living at every Church meeting place. There was practically no increase in the cost of living at that time. Any little increase there was, was due to the turbulent conditions in the world abroad in regard to shipping rates and commodities we have to import. The people who listened to those speeches were assured by those who were soliciting their support at that time that if they got back to power the first thing they would do would be to reduce the cost of living to a lower level than it was when we went out of office in June 1951. In retrospect, there is something sinister about that now. I wonder how people with fixed incomes, people with small salaries and the various pensioners who live on a fixed pension which had not been increased for the last four or five years are going to exist. That is a worry to many people and it is a worry to me imbued as I am to see that everybody who lives in this country is assured of a decent livelihood.
On the day before the last polling day in May of last year — 11 months ago now — every paper in Ireland was emblazoned with the picture that I remember very well. I refer to her as the good lady and the haggard housewife. It was an excellent advertisement of Fianna Fáil. It possibly cost £7,000 or £8,000 but they could afford it. We could not possibly afford it.
We in Fine Gael do not try to buy votes in that way or to woo support from people by giving them promises which we are incapable of fulfilling. We went before the people promising only one thing, that if they put us back as a Government we would do our best for them. We did not tell them we would reduce the cost of living. We told them we would do our best for them. I realise as well as any Deputy that in the world in which we live it is hard to control things. Perhaps they are outside the control of any Government. Any Deputy opposite must admit that we did our part to keep the cost of living static during our three and a half years of office. Now look at what it will mean for the housewife when the 1st July comes. Let the people who enjoy cigarettes or a pipe of tobacco or a “ball” of malt pay for them. But the father of a family of five or six with £5 10s. or £6 a week will have to pay 9d. for the 2 lb. loaf, 3/10 a lb. for butter and 5/4 for a lb. of tea, as well as increases in various other essential commodities which are necessary in an ordinary Irish homestead. That will be a serious problem, one in my opinion which will sow the seeds of a very great social upheaval in this country.
How are people to meet increased demands for wages in the present state of trade? Employers know that they should do more for their employees, but with the recession in trade they are unable to do more. I know of people who are keeping on employees and trying to give them a living because they do not want to let them off, and yet they are not making the profits to pay them. We glibly talk here about millions, but for the unfortunate people who have to live very hard the future is ominous with the terrific burden and drain on the family budget that the figures given to us by the Minister for Finance some weeks ago will entail.
 Perhaps the best barometer as to how trade is going is the Stock Exchange. Look at the way the values of the people's investments have dropped in the last ten or 11 months. I know people who invested their hard earned money over many years in Irish companies, and who were actuated with the one idea of giving Irishmen a chance of living in their own land. What do we see now? The capital which they have invested has in many cases shrunk by half. That is a very serious problem for people who were actuated by love of their country and anxious to see Irish workers in employment and kept at home.
I am anxious to see Irish factories progressing. I also feel that nothing in the nature of a manufactured article should be brought into this country which can be produced here. It is a great credit to the factories we have that they can produce practically everything we want here. It is not right for any Government, whether Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael or any other, to state that they had started factories. No Government has started any factory here. The factories were started by people who had the desire and the anxiety to see their country do well. Any factories started during the last 20 or 25 years were started by people who had the business acumen, the foresight and the necessary capital to invest in these factories. This country must always be grateful to these pioneers, as I shall describe them, as many of them have left behind them monuments to their memory that will stand for very many years to come. It is the duty of any Government to ensure that any factory which is started should get adequate support. As I said, the vast majority of these factories, and I know quite a considerable number of them, are doing their best and it is our bounden duty to ensure that they will be kept in production.
We have some of the finest factories in Ireland in my constituency of East Cork. Most of them were started by one of the greatest industrialists this country has ever produced, the late Mr. William Dwyer, a man whose memory should be enshrined in the  minds of the people. I should like to pay him that tribute as one who was very closely associated with him in those days. He was Ireland's leading industrialist. He was a member of this House for some years and the pity is that many men of his calibre are not left behind. He was most anxious to see that every Irishman should be employed at home.
What is the position to-day? Several of these factories in Youghal, Midleton and Cork are working on half-time. That is a sad commentary on our present position. Owing to the gloomy utterances of Ministers, people got nervous. An anxious tension was created throughout the country by talk of a crisis eight or nine months ago. People with money, when they hear responsible Ministers giving vent to such gloomy utterances, are entitled to pull in the purse-strings somewhat. I regret to say that many men and women who are very skilled in their profession or occupation are leaving Ireland and seeking jobs across the water. Every day I have somebody coming in to me for a reference as to character and capability in a particular type of employment. That is a pity and I am sorry to see such a thing happening in this little land.
Turning to the Budget, it takes £97,000,000, or practically £100,000,000, to run this little country which has only 2,750,000 population. This is a staggering blow and one which, in my view, the country cannot afford. Living for everybody on the side of the street at the present time is a serious problem. They have to pay their way. Those residing in the towns throughout the country have to keep their doors open from 9 o'clock in the morning until 6 or 7 o'clock in the evening to the traveller, the rate collector and the income-tax collector. I am speaking authoritatively when I say that there is a shrinkage in trade as a result of which the outlook for most people is rather ominous. Deputy Maguire, speaking in this House last night, stated that the previous Government existed on false promises and make-believe.
 Where do the false promises come in now? We did not tell the people that we would decrease the cost of living by 10 per cent., 15 per cent. or 20 per cent. We told them we could keep it static. We did not make false promises either in our constituencies or in this House. The present Minister for Finance has made certain promises which were not strictly in accordance with the truth. That is a parliamentary expression, and if I said otherwise, I might be ruled out of order. The Minister said that, if returned to power, his Party would not increase the price of drink. Over the past 25 or 30 years, since this State assumed control of its own finances, there is no body of men in trade who have got a greater crack from all Governments than the publicans. They winced somewhat, but they bore up to the impositions heaped upon them in days gone by. Now, however, as a result of the last Budget, I believe that many publicans throughout the land will be put out of business. I know of publicans who were desirous of selling their premises within the last three or four weeks — decent, licensed premises that were worth £1,600, £1,800 and £2,000 six or eight weeks ago. They would not fetch £50 at the present time, because anybody would know that they would not provide a living.
Deputy Cunningham stated to-day that the taxes imposed on drink were not over-heavy. He is a Donegal Deputy. He stated that he discussed the matter with publicans in his constituency and that they said the trade could bear more. The people in Donegal must be very wealthy, certainly much more wealthy than the people in my constituency residing in towns such as Youghal, Fermoy, Mitchelstown, Cobh and Midleton. I have with me here a rather interesting document which will have a bearing on Deputy Cunningham's statement. I assume the Deputies representing my area also have it in their possession. It is a letter which I received on the 10th April, 1952, from the Cork and Munster Licensed Trade Protection Association. It runs as follows:—
“At a massed meeting of the Vintners of Cork City and County,  convened by the Cork section of the Licensed Vintners' and Grocers' Association, held at the Victoria Hotel, Cork, on Tuesday, April 8th, the following resolution was passed unanimously: ‘This meeting of Cork City and County Vintners”’,
“‘supported by representatives of the trade from Dublin, Limerick and Waterford, and representatives of our employees’ union in Cork City, protests at the penal and discriminatory taxation on beer, spirits and tobacco imposed in the Budget, and at the proposed reduction in the food subsidies.
We believe these increased taxes will cause unemployment in the brewing, distilling, bottling and allied trades in Cork and throughout the county and among employees in public-houses and other licensed establishments.”
“‘The consumer of our national beverages, while always willing to share an equitable proportion of any burden demanded in the national interest, has been vindictively selected to bear an unwarrantable and inequitable proportion of the increased taxation raised in the Budget....’
That is a very strong letter from a very reputable body of people who love their country as much as any Deputy in this Dáil. These people are being crushed out of business. I feel candidly that the Government, in selecting that particular body of people for the imposition of taxes, have put their two feet into it, so to speak. That is a mild way of describing the position. It was also said by a Deputy on the other side of the House last night that business people have no headaches at the present time. I am not too sure who that Deputy is, but I have a feeling  that he is in the House at the moment. Of course, he is not a businessman himself.
Mr. O'Gorman: I can assure the Deputy that the people who live on the side of the street throughout the country have a bigger headache now than they ever had before, and that if he came down to my constituency he would be a busy man prescribing for headaches.
Mr. O'Gorman: The seriousness of the situation will be brought home to the people in July next when the Government slash subsidies to such an extent. Why do they not do this over an extended period? Why select the year 1952-53 to slash them so severely? Let us be perfectly frank with one another. It is all very fine for Ministers and Deputies in this House. To-morrow will be pay day for us all, and Ministers and Deputies will get their cheques, but the people who pay us our monthly cheques have no cheque at the end of the month to ease the burden that is being placed on them by this severe Budget. They are the people who pay us all, and they are the people that, I fear, this House very often forget. But the day is coming, and coming soon, when this country will throw up its hands and shout “peccavi” because of the way money has been lashed around in this House.
I am sorry that the Minister for Finance in the introduction of this Budget should select this year to make a saving of £6,668,000 on subsidies. That is going to fall very hard on the people in the towns and villages of my constituency and I am worried over them. I am worried over the people who are living on the side of the street. This is going to have its repercussions on everyone. I know there are Deputies on the opposite side of the House who are as worried as I am about it. I am certain that deep down in the minds of the Deputies supporting  the present Government they are seriously perturbed over this, but they cannot say a word. They are bound hands and knees. They are tied up and cannot say a word. I realise that.
I often wonder about the Deputies in this House whom I have heard being so vociferous in their denunciation of the last Government. You know them well. If the inter-Party Government had brought in that Budget “May God and His Blessed Mother look down on top of us all.” On every platform throughout West Cork, the constituency which Deputy Seán Collins represents, Kerry, Meath or anywhere else, I can imagine what would be said. I thought one time Fianna Fáil prided itself on being, and so they claimed, the poor man's Government. I can remember elections in 1927, 1932, 1933 when I was speaking —at a time when I never thought I would be a member of this House—for candidates for the Party that I have the honour to be supporting, seeing on all the walls: “You can trust Dev.”“Fianna Fáil—the poor man's Government.” The paternal solicitude they have shown to those followers by the taxes imposed in this Budget is remarkable. They certainly have shown their kindness to the people who put them there for so many years. I feel that if the people of the country get a chance they will seize the opportunity to voice their opinion. The ordinary man and woman in the street have put up with a lot for the last 20 or 25 years. It is my view that they will put up with it no more. We have just reached the zenith at which the people will make themselves felt.
Speaking at Cork on May 12th, 1951, Mr. Lemass said: ‘A Coalition Minister has said that Fianna Fáil, if elected, would increase tax on beer and tobacco. Why should this tax be necessary? There is no reason why we should reimpose these taxes.”’
 A slight difference in 12 months. Speaking at O'Connell Street, Dublin, on 29th May, 1951, the night before the general election, the present Taoiseach, Deputy de Valera, as reported in the Irish Press of 30th May, 1951, said in regard to subsidies:
“They will only talk of the pint but I would remind you that we brought down the price of tea from 4/10 to 2/8 a lb., and the price of flour down by 1/- a stone or £1 a sack, and the price of a 4-lb. loaf from 1/1½ to 1/-, and we brought down the price of sugar from 6d. to 4d. a lb. Butter was subsidised by us. So also was fuel. £15,000,000 was being provided by us in order to keep down the cost of living.”
The subsidies were on at that time and the removal of the subsidies will cause a vast jump in the ordinary householder's budget in Ireland which, in my opinion, she will be unable to meet. Publicans, too, will suffer severely under the new Budget. They will require increased capital to lay out on stock if they are able to sell any. Under the new Budget, when the prices of spirits and alcoholic beverages come under the hammer, they will get no extra profit; yet the publicans will have a bigger outlay to secure the same amount of stock. If a man has, say, £5,000 worth of stock before, it is probably going to cost him an extra £1,000 now. That means that he has to invest more to provide for the necessaries for his trade. He gets no extra profit. That is unfair. The same applies to tobacconists. These are the two businesses that have got the biggest wallop up to the present. The major wallop will come on July 1st.
We hear a lot of talk in this country that we are advancing into the welfare State. We read comments in various newspapers and elsewhere that we are drifting very quickly towards it. Under  this Budget, I do not think it is into a welfare State we are drifting but into a shocking state for everybody.
There is one item in the Budget which I regret to see considerably reduced. As one who has to depend for the major portion of his living on the farmers of Ireland, and one who is closely allied to them in every way, I regret to note the clip in the land rehabilitation scheme and the water supplies to agricultural holdings scheme. In the 1951-52 Budget of the then Minister for Finance, Deputy McGilligan, there was £2,500,000 provided. Under this Budget that has been cut to £2,033,906 — a reduction of £466,094. I am sorry that that is so because I think nobody will deny that this country owes more to the farmers than to any other section of the community. Every one of us, whether we be businessmen, professional men or anything else, depend on the farming community. The major part of our income comes from the land of Ireland. Thank God the day for the Irish farmer has come at last. He has had his crucifixion for many years. I do not think that even the most bitter opponent of the inter-Party Government will deny that that Government did everything possible to raise the status of the Irish farmer for all time.
The vast increase in the valuations and in the rates is a matter which is causing serious concern to the people throughout the country. This is the session in which we allocate money for the various services. I desire to emphasise that the people of the country are very worried about the considerable increase in valuations and rates that has taken place in respect of many premises throughout the country. Take, for instance, a person who, through his own ability and hard work over a period of, say, 15 or 20 years, has amassed a sum of, in round figures, £1,000.
If the frontage of his business premises is old and not in keeping, perhaps, with the frontages of other business premises in the street, and he puts in a decent glass frontage to his  own premises and does away with the old 12 or 14 pane window which his grandfather put in 50 or 60 years ago, the next thing that happens is that his premises are revalued, the valuation is increased, and he has to pay higher rates. The old valuation on his premises may have been £15 and, after revaluation, the new valuation may go up to £40. I submit that that is grossly unfair. There has been a terrific rise in rates throughout every county—particularly the poor rate, for which the local councils are not responsible. A man who improves the appearance of his business premises is conferring a favour on his town. He is brightening the appearance of his premises. He is not enlarging his premises or the frontage of his premises in any way. His valuation is trebled just because he has put in a new frontage—and with the higher valuation comes an increase in his rates and in income-tax. I often wonder how the people can stand up to it all. There is no encouragement or incentive to any businessman to improve his premises because, if he does do so, it means that he will have to pay increased rates and taxes. What is the use of talking about it? Body and bones, we belong to the State. From 9 o'clock in the morning until 6 or 7 o'clock in the evening, when you close your business premises, you are working for the State and only for the State. Is that not true? Can anybody deny it? Whether a man works on the land or in business or on the side of the street, he is working for the State.
Mr. O'Gorman: It is a most unfair system. I know business people who have almost been crushed out of their way of living. It is bad enough to have to put up with an increase of £15,  £20 or £30 in the valuation of a premises but then, on top of that, there is the increase in rates and income-tax.
Some months ago the Tánaiste and the Minister for Finance went to London for a conference with the British Chancellor of the Exchequer. If my memory serves me well, I read in the Irish Press at that time that our Ministers were going over to London and that they held trump cards in their hands which they would play well and that no damage would be done to this country. Since these Ministers have returned from London, this House has heard nothing about what transpired at the meeting with the British Chancellor of the Exchequer despite the fact that numerous questions were asked in that connection by the Deputies on the Opposition side of the House. It strikes one very forcibly that our Ministers were given their instructions in London to row in with Britain in her policy of making sterling scarce. One infers that from this Budget: we got no explicit answer to our questions which we addressed to the Government. One must infer that this Budget represents an effort to bring about deflation. In my opinion, deflation would have worse effects than inflation: I do not know whether my colleagues would agree with that statement. I think that this Budget is more or less on a par with the British Budget, though it is not quite as severe as the British Budget. The inference, again, is that our Ministers were told that Ireland was an open door for the export of sterling—and that means the importation of goods.
I think that this is a shocking Budget. It is a Budget that will impose terrific hardship on many of the people, and I feel that there is no need for it. There is no denying that Ireland was one of the strongest  creditor countries in Europe. We have a standard of living here which is our own, one which I hope we shall always be able to live up to. I do not see any reason for this austerity Budget, a Budget framed and shaped on the lines of that of a country that has been through two very difficult periods in its history. I refer to Britain. It is no pleasure to any Irishman at the present time to say that England is a debtor nation. She must be, because she has fought in two world wars in the last 30 years, and now she is paying for them. We had not to fight any war, but we are put in the same category as if we, too, were a debtor nation. When the full impact of this Budget is felt, I think many people will find themselves debtors instead of being creditors, as they have been for many years.
We are informed from reputable sources, and it has been stated by ex-Ministers, that when the inter-Party Government went out of office last June there were $26,500,000 in the kitty. Seemingly, from what the Minister for Finance has stated, they have disappeared. I heard him state a few weeks ago that they went to pay our debts. I think it only fair that he should divulge to the people of the country what these debts were. Nobody pays a debt unless he knows what the nature of that debt is, and we have not been told what these debts were. Nobody beyond the Minister at present knows what they are, and I think he should not withhold that information from this House or the people of the country who are anxious to ascertain it. We are the mouthpieces of the people. We are sent here by the people, be they big or small, rich or poor, to do our best for every one of them, and the smallest man in the land is as entitled to that information as the biggest.
We come now to what I consider the greatest insult of all in this Budget—I emphasise the words “the greatest insult”—this miserable pittance of 1/6 per week offered to the old age pensioners of Ireland to compensate them for the increase that must naturally ensue in the cost of living. If I had my way, no septuagenarian would be offered such a miserable pittance as  21/6. It is a sad commentary on the generosity of those in charge of the finances of the country that men and women who have given of their best for 60 years—many of them have been working since they reached the age of ten—should now be offered the miserable increase of 1/6 per week. Why, I am sure any Deputy would give 1/6 to a poor old songster singing “The Rose of Tralee” on a Saturday afternoon outside any of our shops. He would deserve it at any rate. May I suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Social Welfare that more should be done for people who have reached the evening of their lives, people around whom the shadows of the next world are already being cast, shadows from which there is no escape? Some effort should be made to brighten the remaining days of their lives; certainly they should be made far brighter than is being done in this Budget.
Mr. O'Gorman: I do not wish to be drawn into any controversy. The Deputy, I am sure, will realise, as one who is himself getting on in years, like the people whose cause I am advocating, what it is to have to live on 21/6. He would not like to have to live on that amount himself, if he lives for the next 25 years, as I hope he will. These people should not have less than 30/- a week. I was glad to hear Deputy Hickey say, some short time ago, that no Government in this State had yet done enough for the aged, and I agree with him. I am making this appeal to the Minister: let him cut his cloth according to his measure in other ways but let him increase by 2/6 or 5/- per week the allowances to these old people who have not very long to live. If God spares us, we all hope to be old some time and I should be sorry to  find, when I reach the age of 70, that I had to live on 21/- per week. I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will draw the attention of the Minister to my appeal in that regard.
On this Budget, one could keep talking for another hour but I think I have covered all the main points. Let me say, in conclusion, that the day seems to have arrived in this country when there is no incentive to people to work. People are being crushed out of existence by excessive taxation. I am authorised by the people living in the five principal towns in my constituency —Cobh, Fermoy, Midleton, Mitchelstown and my home town of Youghal— to protest vigorously here in this House, the Parliament of the country, against the severity of this Budget. I am as sure as I stand here that it will smash many people. People are already being driven to distraction in having to pay increases in their rates, rents, etc. I think it is a sorry day that we, in a country with a population of only 2,750,000, are being asked to pay over £100,000,000 to run the country. We will have to cut our cloth according to our measure in the future. I just repeat that this Budget is causing people a terrific amount of worry. I am certain that it will put a considerable number out of business. Why astute politicians, such as Deputies on the opposite side of the House are, should cut their throats, politically speaking, passes my undertaking.
I believe that if the Taoiseach to-morrow morning called for a dissolution of the Dáil some of you would get such a shock as you have never had before in your lives. When dealing with such an enormous sum as £100,000,000 of the people's money I think the people should be given an opportunity of deciding whether or not they will stand for this Budget. Not one of us wants to wander around the country for the next five or six weeks roaring our lungs out. Nevertheless I believe the people should be given an opportunity of voicing their opinion. They are our masters. It was the plain people who sent us here and, be they north, south, east or west, it is they who should decide on this Budget. If you give them that opportunity I am confident as to what their answer will  be; it will not be acquiescence in the Budget presented to us by the Minister for Finance a few weeks ago.
Mr. McQuillan: On a point of order. I want to register a protest as an Independent Deputy. I understood there was to be an equal opportunity given to all Parties. I have sat here since the debate opened to-day and speakers from both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael—back benchers—have been called and no opportunity has been given to an Independent Deputy to express his views. I consider an Independent Deputy of equal importance with any back bencher on either side of the House. I think it is unfair to call in turn speakers from the two main Parties and ignore Independent Deputies. Remember, Independent Deputies carry a lot of responsibility at the present moment.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Chair endeavours to call Deputies from all sides and to present all viewpoints. So far the Independent Deputies can make no complaint inasmuch as they have been called. The Parliamentary Secretary.
Rúnaí Parlaiminte an Aire Talmhaíochta (Gearóid Mac Pharthaláin): Ní raibh sinne ag iarraidh tadhg an dá thaobh a dhéanamh. Ní raibh sinne ag iarraidh gach rud a dhéanamh ar son na ndaoine bochta agus ag fáil locht sam am gcéana maídir leís an méid airgid a bhí a sholáthar chun díol as na seirbhísí go léir. Rud eile dhe murach gur thit an tón as cúrsaí eacnamaíochta an domhain dhá bliain ó shoin is cosúil go mbeadh an Ríaltas chomhdhrongach i gcumhacht fós. Anuraidh ní ligfeadh an Rialtas, agus go mór mhór an tAire Talmhaíochta, Meastachán na Roinne Talmhaíochta faoi bhreith na Dála ar eagla go mbuaifí air. Is cosúil go raibh sé cinnte go mbuaifí air mar bhí feirmeoirí sa Dáil ina choinne mar nach bhfaghadh táirgeoirí an bhainne a thuille airgid i gcóir a gcuid bainne. San am gcéanna bhí an tAire Talmhaíochta sásta dul  go dtí an Danmhairg agus an tSéalann Nua chun im d'fháil in ionad tuille airgid a thabhairt d'fheirmeóirí na hÉireann chun bainne a sholáthar.
Bhí ar chumas an Rialtais airgead d'fháil ar iasacht ó mhuintir na hÉireann agus ó Mheirice i bhfoirm Marshall Aid. Agus ó bhí an cás amhlaidh ní raibh aon ghá lena thuille cánacha a chur ar mhuintir na hÉireann.
Gearóid Mac Pharthaláin: Tiocfaidh mé chuige sin agus míneoidh mé cén fáth. Is cuimhin linn, agus is cuimhin le muintir na hÉireann, gur theip ar an Rialtas airgead d'fháil nuair a bhíodar ag iarraidh crícheanna inmholta a chur i bhfeidhm, scéimeanna chun fostaíocht a chur ar fáil agus aroile. Ní fhéadfadh Bardas Chathrach Bhaile Atha Cliath £5,000,000 d'fháil chun tithe a thógáil le haghaidh muintir na cathrach. Ní fhéadfaidís ach an deichiú cuid den airgead sin d'fháil—leath-mhiliún púnt as £5,000,000 a bhí de dhíth orthu.
Gearóid Mac Pharthaláin: Ní raibh ar chumas na bPairtithe sa gComh-Rialtas praghas an bhainne d'ardú. Agus cad a tharla ansin? D'éirí dreamanna áirithe as an Rialtas. Ní raibh airgead acu chun praghas breise a thabhairt do na feirmeoirí.
Gearóid Mac Pharthaláin: Tá a lán cainte ann anois i dtaobh na cánacha a bhaint de na rincí. Is maith is cuimhin liom féin an t-ologón a cuireadh suas nuair a chuireamar cáin ar na siamsaí i 1947—ar na suíocháin sna cinemas. Cad é an difríocht i bprionsabal atá ann?
Gearóid Mac Pharthaláin: Pé scéal é, fríth na coimisinéirí amach nach rabhamar ach ag chur airgid i bpócaí daoine cliste áirithe sa tír seo. Rinne an tAire Airgeadais sa Chomh-Rialtas athrú maidir leis an geáin ar na siamsaí agus d'fhág sé hallaí saor ó cháin sna h-áiteacha is lú ná 500 líon daoine. Cad a rinne na daoine cliste seo, lucht na gcumann golf, na chambers of commerce agus mar sin de, agus gach dream eile? Chuireadar a gcuid rincí ar siúl sna hallaí a bheadh saor ón geáin. Sin iad na cleasanna gur baineadh feidhm astu. Maidir lem Dháilcheantar féin, má tá na Coimisinéirí Ioncaim ag dul amach ar chigireacht go dtí damhsa thiar i gConamara ar an Domhnach—is ar an Domhnach is mó a bhíonn na rincí ar súil—chosnódh sé trí nó ceithre oiread an méid cánach a gheobhfaí fear a chur amach ó Ghaillimh chun an chigireacht sin a dhéanamh.
Má thagann an tAire airgeadais thar n-ais arís agus má chuíreann sé an cháin i bhfeidhm athuair beidh an t-ologón i bhfad níos mó ná mar a bhí sé i 1947 nuair a cuíreadh an cháin sin ar na cinemas agus beidh tuille gleo agus rí-rá le cloísint. Níl sé ar intinn agam bheith ró-chainteach ná rócháinteach. Sé an rud ba shontassaí i dtaobh na díospóireachta seo na hóráideacha fada a deineadh.
I would like to register a very strong protest against the remark made by Deputy Donnellan in his speech, a remark which impugns the honour either of a Galway Deputy or of the Taoiseach. Deputy Donnellan certainly put the lie on somebody. From whatever source Deputy Donnellan got the information that a Galway Deputy made a very disparaging and belittling remark in relation to four Independent Deputies, that source of  information is not to be relied on and the statement is in fact not true.
Mr. Bartley: It is an extraordinary thing that what is being done in other countries—some of them not very far away—to meet a situation such as we have to deal with here should be the subject of praise in certain organs of opinion in this country that are opposed to the present Government. I have here a cutting from a newspaper, to wit, the Irish Independent of 8th April, praising the good results that are already noticeable from the heavy imposts which were placed on the British people by Mr. Butler's Budget:
“...a great improvement has been made since Mr. Butler's Budget. The full effect of the remedial measures will not be felt until the late summer. In the meantime, however, there are many signs that confidence in sterling is being restored. It seems that international traders who fought shy of holding sterling are now being forced to buy it, and at an increasing price, in order to cover their commitments.”
It is a strange thing that the steps being taken in other countries to meet a similar situation should be praiseworthy while similar steps taken in this country to meet the same situation are  regarded as the reverse of what is wise and proper. I think that in itself shows up the dishonesty of the sustained attack launched by that paper against the present Budget.
Mr. Bartley: Deputies on the Opposition Benches have said that there is no comparison between this country and the countries that were actually involved in the war; countries that were involved in war have to bring in severe Budgets to meet their particular situation. Now that statement would be all right and possibly acceptable if our memories were not quite so long and if we did not now remember what happened to ourselves here because of a small war, still going on in a part of the world more remote from us than any international crisis that took place in the past ten years. As soon as the American army suffered a very severe reverse in Korea the bottom fell out of the economic set-up here.
Mr. Bartley: It is very strange that the war in Korea should have knocked the bottom out of the situation here with one fell stroke. A complete blanket freeze, to use the then Tánaiste's description of it, was imposed on prices; but, so many exceptions to it had to be made, that in a short time the number of exceptions far exceeded the number of items affected by it, and in the end it had to be abolished altogether by Deputy Lemass when he took over.
We had the statement that was made by the Leader of the Fine Gael Party. He took, as his main line of attack against the Budget, that there had been overestimating. I think we can deduce from his statement that, if he had to meet the situation, in principle, in any event, he would do what we are doing. He just differs in detail from what we have done because he realises that there is no way out of the situation other than the way we are now dealing with it. We attacked the  position more courageously and, so to speak, made the drawing of the tooth less painful, so that the people will suffer considerably less than if the hesitant methods of the inter-Party Government had to be applied to it.
Mr. Bartley: As regards the statement that there was over-taxation, without getting myself tangled up in the niceties of high finance, I should like to look at the problem from the point of view of the man in the street and what he thinks about this £9,000,000 or £10,000,000 of over-taxation. He tells you that the previous Minister for Finance, a year ago, budgeted for an estimated expenditure of so much, and that at the end of the year he found that his expenditure had, in fact, exceeded his estimate by in or about £10,000,000. The statement of the Leader of the Opposition, therefore, would be taken by the man in the street, if, in fact, there is any foundation for it, in this way—that the precaution which is being taken now is a wise one, in view of what happened last year and that, if, in fact, last year's experience is repeated, well, then, a slight prodigality in taxation would have been justified.
In any event, he would also apply this reasoning to it. He knows that the Minister for Finance has said that his total requirements in money this year will be about £140,000,000. He knows that, to cover that huge bill, taking in all capital expenditure, he will, in fact, have to borrow money from the Irish people. The man in the street would ask: “What is the use of talking about £9,000,000 or £10,000,000 of over-taxation if, in addition to what the Minister has to raise in taxation, he has to go, hat in hand, to the people to raise another £25,000,000 or £30,000,000?” There is a great deal of sense in what the man in the street thinks about it. It is all very well for the politician to tell the man in the street that there are two different financial systems, one, the taxation that is to be raised for the supply services, and the other, loans for capital expenditure. The man in  the street does not see that. He knows that the Government wants £140,000,000 and that two methods of getting it are being devised, one taxation and the other borrowing.
I was listening to the Leader of the Labour Party last week on this question of the removal of subsidies on food. He said that he looked on the subsidies as a subsidy to wages and that that was the reason why he stood for the retention of the subsidies. That was a most extraordinary statement for any Labour man to make, but it passes all comprehension when it emanates from Deputy Norton of all people in this House. We know what he said about the profiteers when he came in as Tánaiste. He said that he had seen the accounts of these boys, that he knew how they had got away with the swag and that, in fact, they should have been put behind the bars for their criminal activities. As Tánaiste, in spite of that knowledge, which he said was based on his inspection of accounts and documents, he stood over the subsidy to wages, thereby allowing the employers who, according to him, ran away with this swag to benefit to the amount of the subsidy. The employers also, of course, gained by the subsidy on food which they themselves used, so that they had it on the double. Deputy Norton said that he stood for the subsidy on wages when those people, according to his own estimate of what they had been doing, were not alone able to pay an adequate living wage without any subsidy from the taxpayer but could, in fact, give handsome bonuses twice a year. I think that that was a most extraordinary admission for the former Tánaiste to make and is one of the best justifications there can be for the removal of the subsidies.
I would like to refer to the question of the flour subsidy and its effect on people in the poorest parts of the country. Deputy Blowick last night referred to it and called myself to witness that his constituency and mine are places which are very much affected by the question of food subsidies. He indicated, and it was quite true, that these people do not have a  substantial meal in the middle of the day of meat and vegetables and that, in fact, their main sustenance is bread and tea. That is true. He wanted to deduce from that that the subsidy on flour was going to be a very heavy impost on those people.
Mr. Bartley: The fact about flour is this, that since the two-price system was introduced, there has been a continuous complaint in those parts of the country against its unfair effect on the poorest people. They have pointed out to me and to others that the ration of 4 lb. of flour lasted only two days. I should explain to the Dáil that most of them have not the advantage of living near a town where baker's bread might be got. Therefore, they had to try to subsist on the 4 lb. of flour which is the ration they got at the rate of 3/- a stone, and which they consumed in two days. The 4 lb. of flour worked out, I think, at about 10d. for the two days. For the other five days of the week they had to buy what they called the Government black market flour at 7/- a stone and that put a further imposition on them of 5/-, so that their purchases of flour under the two-price system for a week amounted to 5/10. That is a consumption of one stone of flour——
Mr. Bartley: I am speaking for the people who have to work. I am not suggesting that people who do not have to work or to do hard, manual labour would consume that quantity of flour. But the average working man in those districts consumes one stone of flour per week because it is his main sustenance. It costs him 1/- more than it  will now cost him when the subsidy is removed.
Mr. Bartley: He will now get his ration of flour for 4/9½. In any event, I want to tell Deputy Blowick that the Fianna Fáil Deputies were commissioned to have the two-price flour business done away with as quickly as possible, and it has been done away with as quickly as possible.
Mr. Bartley: Deputy Blowick brought the Fianna Fáil Deputies to task for, as he said, going about the country and telling the people about the heavy load of debt which the inter-Party Government left on the country as a blister. He denied categorically that there was any such debt. He asked us to say what it was.
Mr. Bartley: In the year 1949, there was a borrowing of £16,087,000; in 1950, there was a borrowing of £20,836,000; in 1951, there was a borrowing of £3,775,000, and not a penny of it has been paid back.
Mr. Bartley: An ex-Minister of the inter-Party Government ought to be better informed than I am about that. In any event, it has been spent on commitments entered into by the inter-Party Government, some of them entered into after the polling had taken place in the general election.
Mr. Bartley: The fact is that the money was borrowed from the Americans to the extent of £41,000,000 and not one penny has been paid back. We spent some of it on commitments entered into by the inter-Party Government.
Mr. Bartley: I want to tell you that I am not getting away with it—there it is. I should like to tell Deputy Corish that the Trade Union Congress has had the grace to publish a document as to the accuracy and fairness of the statisticians in producing the figures. They have not impugned the honesty of the people who compiled the figures.
Mr. Bartley: I am sorry, but they are a great help to me. Deputy Hickey referred to the profits made by certain classes of income-tax payers, and indicated that certain classes of the community had raked in £17,000,000 and that that accumulation of wealth had increased to £25,000,000 a few years subsequently. He said that we abolished the excess corporation profits in 1946 for the benefit of this very class of people, but he did not tell us why the Inter-Party Government, in which the Labour Party was represented, did not reimpose the excess corporation profits tax when they came in to rake off the sum which he said should have been raked off these colossal earnings for the benefit of the general taxpayer. The fact is, of course, as Deputy Dillon in an interpolation this evening told Deputy Cunningham, that neither we nor the  Coalition Government had the means of borrowing that existed before the collapse in Korea, and that is why the change of Government took place at that particular time, I presume. In other words, the strength of the Fianna Fáil Party had to be commissioned to do the unpopular thing. We are doing that without having our tongues in our cheeks. We are going to the people——
Mr. Bartley: We are going to the people to tell them why it must be done. Deputy Morrissey wants us to dissolve the Dáil and go to the country now. He does not suggest that we should give even as much time as will give the political Parties a chance to put their election organisation into shape, because, by the time that will be done, the people will probably have found out the truth. He knows well that when the subsidies are removed on the 1st July and the new prices come in, the housewife, when she makes a comparison between the new prices and what her present outlay is, will find that, in respect of a number of items, there will be very little difference. I know of parts of the country where the difference will be in favour of the new arrangement after the 1st July, as I have indicated in regard to flour.
Mr. Bartley: It is not true to say that people were able to do with the amount of goods which they got on the ration. Everybody knows that they had to buy what they call Government black market sugar and flour and so on, and that the prices of these things were much higher than they will be after the 1st July. After all, in my constituency, country butter was being offered at 4/- a lb., and a great deal of it was being bought. One may ask why butter is scarce. Deputy Hickey mentioned that. I do not know the answer, I am afraid, but it seems to me that creamery butter, subsidised by the taxpayer, was sufficiently low in price to induce a great many people  who had the means of producing butter themselves from going to the trouble of doing so, and, therefore, they bought it in the shops. If the new conditions alter that situation and have the effect of increasing the production of butter other than creamery butter, I think that the price will eventually drop.
We know that the spending of foreign assets at the rate which went on for the last year or two could not last more than two years. If I accept Deputy MacBride's estimate of the foreign assets at £400,000,000, and if I put against it the foreign holdings here in Ireland, which are estimated at £175,000,000, I get a net holding by this country of £225,000,000 sterling of external assets. Of that £225,000,000 only half of it is under the control of the Government here. The rest of it is the property of private investors; in other words, no one has the right to touch it. Therefore we have the half of £225,000,000, and at the rate at which we have been buying—there is a £60,000,000 deficit—it is obvious that these foreign assets under the control of the Government would have disappeared in two years. My guess is as good as Deputy Morrissey's and his is as good as mine as to what the position would be when that had taken place.
Mr. Bartley: My guess is as good as Deputy Morrissey's and his is as good as mine as to what would happen to our £ when that position had been reached. I suggest to Deputy Morrissey that if that position had been reached two years hence the Irish £ would then buy 17/- worth of goods in England. I do not mind so much about  the man who goes off to England with a pocketful of Irish pound notes and gets only 17/- worth of goods to the £. What I am concerned with is that in the non-tillage areas along the western seaboard, where the people depend on the sale of 2-year-old cattle, it is obvious that immediately there would be a drop of 15 per cent. in the value of those cattle if this check had not been applied which is now being applied; it would have been too late for the people to find out that we had a right to deal with this question in a different way; the harm would have been done. But we are now taking steps in this Budget to see that it does not take place and that that 15 per cent. drop in the value of the only thing which those small farmers have to sell will not take place.
Mr. Bartley: So intelligent are they that all the bulldozing machinery that was sent into Connemara when a Dáil vacancy took place in 1951 had not the slightest effect, and we increased our vote in the last election.
Mr. Bartley: You cannot bulldoze them with bulldozers down there. Deputy Blowick is the Deputy who harps on the national debt, and he must know it has been increased by £77,000,000 between foreign and home borrowing. This year we must start paying interest to the Americans, and the amount is put at £1,200,000. That will be a continuing debt, of course, until we have the principal cleared off.  The service of the national debt has been increased by £2,000,000 by all this borrowing.
In any event, I said I would not be as long-winded as the other speakers. The debate has been noticeable for the length of the speeches, but I am quite satisfied to go back to my constituency as soon as the people have had the chance of digesting this Budget, and I am quite sure that the new cost of living and the new food prices will add rather than retard the digestion of them.
Mr. Bartley: They will have a great deal more, and it is a tribute perhaps to this Party that, when there is a serious job of work that requires courage and tenacity and, above all, faith in the people, to tackle, the country has to go back to this Party to find a solution for the problem. We are applying that solution now, and in a year's time we will have a very good story for the people.
Mr. McQuillan: I do not intend to be as long-winded as many of the speakers on both sides this evening. I have sat here since the debate started this evening, and having listened to a repetition by each speaker of what some other individual had already said in the last week or ten days in this House, I presume that quite a number of speakers on both sides of the House are mainly concerned with speaking for local consumption.
Some of the things I have to say will be used against me, no doubt, on various platforms in my constituency, but in view of the fact that I had the honour of being elected as an Independent Deputy, it is only right that I should here in this House give my views as an Independent irrespective of whether, in so doing. I lash the Opposition or the Government. The position with regard to people in the rural areas for whom I speak to-day  is this. They are puzzled and bewildered over the ordinary facts of economics, things that they have thought very little about for years past. The position reminds me of a story I told outside this House of the American judge who was given the job of investigating the breach of the antitrust laws in America by several of the banking concerns. At the start of the investigation he said: “I do not know a great deal about this question of finance. Lead me gently through the maze.” After 18 months' investigation, he complained bitterly that he had been led into a fog. That is the position with the people of this country to-day. They have been led into a fog with regard to our financial position both by the Government and by the Opposition. On the one hand, we have statements from the Government, and responsible statements from Mr. de Valera that a sum of £15,000,000 must be found to balance this Budget.
We have heard statements from the ex-Taoiseach and from the ex-Minister for Finance that there is at least £9,000,000 over-taxation in the Budget. Who are the people going to believe? I am not going to suggest for a moment that either Deputy Costello or Deputy McGilligan are irresponsible men. However, somebody must be making a mistake if such a gap exists in the estimation of the Opposition, and if the Government estimate that a gap exists with regard to the bill that must be met. I am not in a position, as an Independent Deputy in this House, to find out, even yet, what the exact position is, but I am going to accept it, even at its worst. Suppose that I accept, as an Independent Deputy, that the sum of £15,000,000 must be found and must be faced up to, I want to make it clear in this House that I believe that the method adopted for the finding of the money is completely wrong. In the words of the Taoiseach: “This Budget is necessary, because the people are living beyond their means.” To whom does he refer? Is he referring to the small farmer, to the mediumsized businessman or to the labourer in the West of Ireland or in any other part of Ireland? Does he suggest that the 72,000 unemployed in this country to-day are living beyond the means of  the country or that the people who have had to emigrate were living beyond the means of the country? The position, as I see it, is not that the people are living beyond the means of the country, but that the Government are spending beyond the means of the people. If things are as serious as the Government would have us believe, and if the hair-shirt is necessary, then that hair-shirt should be put on that section of the community which is best able to bear the burden. I maintain, in so far as this Budget goes, that it has failed to do that.
I do not like having to quote at any time what people say in this House, or elsewhere, but it is sometimes necessary to do so. The Minister for Posts and Telegraphs is reported in the Irish Press as saying:—
“Fianna Fáil managed to survive two financial crises—the economic war, when prices were low, and the recent war, when prices were high. They still believe people will trust them to survive the present crisis.”
I am not worried about the survival of Fianna Fáil. I am worried as to whether the people will survive Fianna Fáil. If Fianna Fáil did one thing by this Budget it is this: they have put the final nail into their coffin as a large, prominent political Party in this country. I do not know what the alternative is going to be. I am not one of those who is satisfied that the alternative is to put out tweedledum and put in tweedledee. Let nobody in this House or outside it be deceived for a minute into thinking that things under the inter-Party Government's reign were 100 per cent. perfect and that everything in the garden was lovely. I am going to admit, for record purposes, that when I came into this House as a raw young Deputy in 1948, that I believed every word I said on the platform with regard to election promises. I have discovered, after four years in this House, that the path of every political Party in this House and outside it is strewn with broken political promises and that, in so far as all Parties in this House are concerned, none of them have a clean record when it comes to telling people  what they propose to do when elected. I feel that if a good example is not set by men in high position in the country, both in Opposition and in Government, and that if they are prepared to tell the people before being elected to this House, they will do certain things and then fail to do them Irish public life will be a filthy thing in years to come. Promises have been broken by members of the inter-Party Government and by sections of that Government, and promises have been broken equally forcibly by members of the present Government. These broken promises have been mentioned here in this House, and I do not now propose to go into them in detail.
Let us examine the background of this Budget. I would like to say that I resent very much the statements in the daily newspapers and in the Sunday papers to the effect that everybody who opposes this Budget is a traitor to Ireland, and that this Budget is now being imposed for the sole purpose of saving us from being bought by the American and British moneylenders. What is the true position? In the mental institutions of this country there are poor, unfortunate people who believe that they are Napoleon or Henry the Eighth, or some such person. That is a form of mental weakness, but it is no worse than the weakness shown by members of the various Governments in this country when they say that they have power to control the financial and economic position of this country, when that power lies outside this country at the present time. All the talk by Deputy Aiken and the other speakers on the Government Benches is not going to convince the people once they have faced this Budget. I am going to say here now the people who have welcomed this Budget are, first of all, the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, the British Minister for Munitions and Defence, the Bank of England and, here at home, those engaged in industry. The latter are the only section in this country who have, so far, raised their voices in praise of this Budget. The leading article in this month's issue of Irish Industry says:—
“In our view this Budget is both  courageous and realistic.... Of course all who were, or are, enjoying their share of that living beyond income will pour their wrath on the Minister because he has attempted to stop that spending spree, because he has endeavoured to induce them to live within their incomes, because he has removed some of the means utilised to live at other people's expense.”
At the end of the leading article they issue a warning to the Minister, and say that they hope that it will not be long until special provision is made with regard to the income-tax code for wear and tear on machinery, and for renewals of machinery in industrial concerns.
That particular group are also very appreciative of the fact that a sum of at least £4,500,000 to £5,000,000, which could be and should be extracted from them in the form of excess profits tax and corporation tax, has not to be paid by them. Here again the present Government must carry responsibility for not facing their duties in that regard, just the same as the inter-Party Government must take blame for failing to reimpose the excess profits tax which for three years in this House, Deputy McGilligan, the then Minister for Finance, threatened to do. It is tweedledum and tweedledee as far as both of them are concerned.
We are all aware that the countries of Western Europe are re-arming and that, in order to safeguard their countries, various Governments have decided that guns must come before butter. We must bear in mind the fact that the majority of European countries on either side of the Iron Curtain went through a very severe time during and since the last war— and these remarks apply equally to Britain. We, in Ireland, did not suffer the same disadvantages. We were not invaded. We had not to send men abroad or to pay for munitions. Despite these facts, however, the people of this country are being taxed as though we were gearing ourselves for a tremendous war effort.
 The British Government have decided that guns must come before butter and that the ordinary luxuries must be cut out. Various firms that turned out commodities for export now find that, as a result of the increase in the bank rate—the increased rate on overdrafts —they will no longer be in a position to export to the same extent as formerly. The reason why the British Government decided on that increase in the bank rate was to ensure that those firms producing commodities on a non-war basis would be forced to dismiss their staffs so that these staffs would, in turn, be absorbed into munition works and industries of that nature in Britain.
We have adopted the same policy as Britain with regard to the banks, but with a notable exception, which should prove to the Deputies of this House how little control we have over credit or finance. The British Chancellor of the Exchequer made his Budget statement and one of the secrets of that Budget statement was the matter of the bank rate. It was a secret up to the last moment. It was announced by the Government as a Government decision—not a decision of the banks. In Ireland, the decision was taken by the commercial banks, though they had the decency to ring up the Government and tell them that they were going to do it.
We have adopted the very same policy as the British Chancellor of the Exchequer adopted in his Budget. We have adopted the hair-shirt with them —but Britain has given more benefits in the form of children's allowances and income-tax reductions than our Minister for Finance has given this country. The British Chancellor of the Exchequer softened the blow to a much greater extent for the ordinary and the poorer sections in Britain than our Minister for Finance did for our people in Ireland.
In the course of his speech, the Taoiseach asked whether, if the British found that their house was on fire and used a fire extinguisher to put it out, and if we also used a fire extinguisher to put out a fire in our own house, we were doing wrong to put out the fire in that way? He argued  that that proved that it was not wrong for us to adopt the same financial policy and the same cures as the British. I should prefer to put it this way.
Britain is suffering from a serious economic illness and we are suffering from an illness too. If you like, both countries are suffering, but the complaint is different. If you give the same treatment for different complaints you are likely to kill one of the patients. The cure that is suggested in this Budget for this country is worse than the illness. I do not propose to enter now into a comparison of the various bank rates in Britain and in Ireland. However, I think it is the duty of every Deputy who speaks in this House to suggest suitable alternative action.
I consider that the Government made a very bad mistake in failing to take the opportunity of reimposing the excess profits tax. Further—I do not intend to go into this matter now, because it has been referred to many times during the course of this debate —I think the Government was unwise to remove the dancing tax. I know that, in the case of the proprietors of a certain ballroom—they are a limited company—it will mean that this year they will get back £4,500. Not one penny of that £4,500 will go to the Exchequer or to the dancer: it will go to pay off the cost of building the hall. I do not think that that is right. Other Deputies have said during the course of this debate that a purchase tax should have been imposed on luxury goods. I suppose that the Minister explored every avenue to obtain revenue and that, in some instances, he found that action would not be feasible.
Let us come back again to the matter of the hair-shirt. If a hair-shirt policy is to be imposed on the people of this country, then the members of this House should set an example in that respect. If the ordinary individual in this country is going to get the works in the form of taxation, I see no reason why the members of this House, who are imposing that taxation, should not get  the works also in that respect. Further, why should this small country have an establishment in the Phoenix Park which is costing our taxpayers £50,000 or £60,000 per annum? If that is not living beyond our means, I do not know what is.
I see no reason why luxury goods— champagne and that type of drink— should be allowed into this country. A new-rich class has sprung up and they are to be seen drinking liqueurs and cocktails and other expensive drinks in the fashionable bars in our big hotels throughout the country. In addition to these people, a large number of British tourists come here and spend quite a considerable amount of money mainly on high-class drinks and cigarettes.
The Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, Deputy Childers, said in the course of this debate that the people of this country are spending too much. He took the cost of the champagne and the cocktail and added it to the price of the pint. In other words, he put on to the ordinary individual what is actually being spent by the boyo who can afford to go to the luxury hotel. He averages that cost per head of the population and says that we are spending too much per head of the population on luxury goods. To remedy such a situation the Government turns round and taxes the pint and cigarettes, which are not really luxuries. I have no objection in the world to the price of the pint going to 1/-. I think it could have been done and should have been done, and I would vote for it. Further, I think that cigarettes could bear 2/- for 20, and I would vote for that proposal too. I want to put myself on record as saying that if I had the privilege of being returned again to this House I would vote for such an increase, but not to the extent of 2/4 for cigarettes and 1/3 for the pint. I do not think it is reasonable for any Government to penalise the ordinary worker in this country by a savage tax on these small luxuries, as they are so described.
A certain solution was suggested by the Trade Union Congress recently. They say that they accept the figure of £15,000,000 as being the sum which it is necessary to raise by additional  taxation. They are not disputing the figures given but they ask why should the Government decide to take the whole £15,000,000 this year when the burden is too severe on the people. Take, for example, what happens in this country or in any other country when one person owes another a sum of money. The man who owes the money may offer half the amount to his creditor and that creditor will say to him: “I will take half what you owe me this year; pay me the rest next year, but in between work hard until you are in a position to pay the remainder of the loan.” Why should we not likewise spread this big burden of £15,000,000 over two years? If it was not possible for the Government to do so, it might be no harm at this stage to leave our Budget unbalanced.
I think it a disgrace that Deputies who have come recently into this House should be criticised by older Deputies for daring to speak on questions of finance. One would imagine that one should have a beard a foot long before one would be entitled to speak on questions of finance or to say a word about what are called the economists of this country. I think Fianna Fáil will realise before many years are out that they have pursued for too long, year after year, the policy outlined by orthodox economists and financial experts. It is that policy that has left this country in the position in which it is to-day, with 74,000 on the unemployment list, 30,000 emigrating each year and with our factories on short-time. I, for one, will not accept the advice of the so-called orthodox experts.
I think it was Deputy Bartley mentioned the dangers that would have arisen if this country had not been tied to sterling—if we had slipped the link, as Deputy Mulcahy described it —with regard to farmers in the West who go in for a great deal of cattle-raising. It was said that as a result of any such change our £ would be worth only 17/- in Britain. Let us, on the other hand, take the position that arose in 1951 as a result of the Korean war and devaluation. Import prices rose by 48 per cent. in the first few months, while export prices went up  only by 14 per cent. Everybody knows that most of our exports are agricultural products. Was there any attempt made by this Government to put the case to Britain and elsewhere: “We are paying an increase of 48 per cent. on goods imported. Surely we are entitled to an increase of more than 14 per cent. in the price we receive for our exports”? Nobody seems to have made a protest of that kind and that is one of the things that has caused this disequilibrium in the balance of trade—the excess of import prices over export prices.
However, the solution of our problems in this country—I am not going into it very deeply now—lies in an agricultural policy of a right type. Let nobody on the Opposition side or the Government side state that they have got such a policy so far. It has got to come in this country because there has been no improvement in the last 30 years worth talking about. I think the position of this country is unique amongst civilised countries to-day. You have a dwindling population, a constant rate of unemployment and a large emigration rate. Side by side with these you have huge investments in Britain at a low rate of interest, while here at home in Ireland we have practically no money for capital development, and such little money as we have is made available only at a very high rate of interest.
Let Cumann na nGaedheal, as they were, and Fianna Fáil as they have been since 1932, picture this. When the history of this country comes to be written they will have a lot to account for for their stewardship of 30 years in this country. I am not going to criticise them for one moment on the question of the Treaty. The men who fell out as a result of the Treaty, I think, were the finest men available. They were sincere and they really believed they were doing the best possible for the country but the Civil War left a curse on the country to the present day in that it has taken the people's minds off economic issues. The sight of a flag is enough, as far as one can see, to get them going. Political Parties have played on that time and again at every election and  have succeeded in turning the people's minds from economic issues. I am glad to say that in recent times there has been an improvement in that respect and economic questions and the agricultural industry are now receiving more attention on political platforms.
The real problems that have to be faced are emigration and unemployment and no effort is made in this Budget to do anything about solving them. So far as I am personally concerned, the most serious aspect of the Budget lies in the portion dealing with the money to be made available for capital development purposes. The Minister in his Budget statement has not made clear where he intends to get the £35,000,000 that he thinks essential to carry out the capital development programme in the coming year. He has suggested that he will get so much from Post Office savings and so much by raising a national loan. Between these two sources, he thinks he may get a sum of £18,000,000 or £20,000,000 but he has still to get £15,000,000. How is that money going to be raised? I think the country must have a guarantee that there will be no let-up in schemes of capital development such as housing, afforestation, hospitalisation, drainage, electricity and turf production. I think these are the main items in our development schemes. Some of them must be cut if that sum of £15,000,000 is not available to the Minister. Of course, if the Minister were not such an orthodox financier, the way is clear for him to get that money. Again at the risk of being laughed at in this House for daring to discuss financial matters, may I say that part of the policy of the Party to which I formerly belonged dealt with finance and I think the policy of the Party at that time was an admirable one? I regret very much that the leader of that Party has not the guts or the courage to stick to that policy.
An Ceann Comhairle: The position of a Minister and of the Government may be relevant, but the position of a leader of a Party who is not responsible for the Budget is not relevant, except in so far as what the leader may have said about the Budget.
Mr. McQuillan: It has been said by many Deputies that the directors of the Central Bank and the structure of the Central Bank are such that the best possible work is not being done in the national interest. I have always held that view in connection with the Central Bank. Here is where I feel sorest with the last Government, that when the time came to reappoint the directors of the Central Bank, members of the inter-Party Government who had believed sincerely that they should not be reappointed, allowed them to be reappointed.
All our troubles are now being blamed upon the policy of the Central Bank. The fact remains, nevertheless, that the inter-Party Government were responsible for reappointing the directors of that body, and I do not think they can get away from that, because the people are not quite so easily gulled or misled, and their memories are not so short as some people think they are.
When the Minister is concluding, I would like him to explain clearly, for the benefit of the House, where he intends to get the remainder of the money required to finance the capital development programme. A sum of £35,000,000 must be got and, as an Independent Deputy, I want to know how the Minister proposes to get that money. I do not want to be told four months hence that the money is not available, that we must cut our coat  according to our cloth, and that we cannot go ahead with capital development works, because the necessary finance is not there. The position is bad enough. In relation to business, in particular, the position is almost desperate. I hope it will not be made any worse by any hold-up in the capital development programme.
The Government can reduce expenditure in Government administration. There are a number of places where reductions can be made. I will give one very important illustration. Between 1948 and 1951 the administration of one Department cost two and a half times more than it cost in 1947. I refer to the Department of External Affairs. What has that Department to show for the increased cost of administration? I do not mind increased cost where good results can be shown, but I certainly see no good results there. As a result of action taken by the former Minister for External Affairs, our foreign debt is now bigger than ever it was. I will give the figures.
In 1948 we imported goods to the value of £21,000,000 from E.P.U., and we exported goods to the value of £6,000,000. In the last few years the “Paris Correspondent” entered into several trade agreements with various countries on his visits to Strasbourg, to Rome and elsewhere, with the result that to-day the adverse trade balance has grown from £21,000,000 to £35,000,000, and we have not exported as much as £1 more in the three years. I have nothing to say against trade agreements. I think it is a very fine thing to have these agreements, but one should always ensure that one's own country should be the one to benefit under these agreements. I certainly would not like to be described as a “first class commercial traveller” for any European country.
I sometimes feel that speaking here is a waste of time, because one can do so very little to change the situation. The House has practically become a talking shop, and the people who really control our destinies from the cradle to the grave are outside the House. I will give a quotation to bring that point home to the members of this House in an endeavour to show what  people outside think of Parliament. Here is what the founder of the international banking house of Rothschild and the father of the gold standard had to say: “Permit me to issue and control the money of the nation and I care not who makes its laws.”
When a Deputy talks about our having control of credit, or the Central Bank having control of credit, I cannot believe that that Deputy knows the first thing about finance. I would like to make suggestions, but I do not feel very hopeful about their acceptance. There is now little or no difference between the principles of the two major Parties. Both have a conservative view on finance and industry. Nothing divides them except the labels attached to the Parties, and the bitterness that has persisted over the past 30 years. I think it would be a grand thing if before the older generations disappear—and they are disappearing fast both inside and outside the House —they would make up the quarrel that started 30 years ago, and sit on the one side of the House, and let the others line up here to air their views on economics and the future of the country. I suppose that is too much to hope for.
I came across a note in a paper recently in relation to a conference that takes place annually in France. It is called the Annual French Social Week. We copy Britain very often. Perhaps it would be no harm if we copied France in this. For the 29th annual meeting this year the subject for discussion before the meeting is: “Wealth and Poverty, the Increase and Distribution of the National Income.” During the week in which the conference takes place, bishops, priests, Government officials, including the Inspector-General of Finance—I take it he corresponds to our Minister —Labour leaders, industrialists and others will discuss from the Catholic viewpoint various proposals for solving the present economic ills of France under such headings as the distribution of taxes, social security, public finance and the instability of purchasing power.
Some such conference would appear to be necessary in this country, and I would appeal to the various Parties  here to consider the desirability and the urgency of holding such a conference. The economic ills of this country cannot be remedied overnight. One cannot solve unemployment and emigration in two years, but an attempt must be made now to set in operation a train of events that will finally put an end to emigration and unemployment. I want to put on record now a few statements made by prominent men, and their views with regard to unemployment and emigration.
“The persistence of unemployment and emigration over a long number of years is evidence that the illness of Irish economy is deep-rooted and of so fundamental a character that it is quite ridiculous to talk about a short-term cure.”
“When the Free State Government decided to tie up its currency and to permit the Irish banks to maintain their English entanglements it destroyed at one blow the greatest benefits secured by the Treaty.”
That was Deputy Lemass in 1931. I quoted his views which were practically similar in 1949, when he said that the roots of unemployment and emigration went back a long way and could only be solved by what he had stated in 1931: “Control here in this country of our currency and finance.”
I am not going to put on record what Deputy MacEntee said because I think other Deputies have done so already in connection with his statements made years ago. I have no  criticism to make of a man changing his views as years go on, but what I cannot understand is a complete reversal of policy. Surely if those men believed 20 years ago that it was absolutely essential for this country to have more money available for capital development then they could not have changed their viewpoint about the method of getting that money in nine, ten or 15 years. But the more Parties change in this House the more the old policy remains, and until such time as we have a Government that is willing to face up to its responsibilities in connection with finance and currency our major root evils of unemployment and emigration will not be solved. They certainly will not be solved by irresponsible politicians, either members of the inter-Party group or otherwise, who now, when they see the people vexed and disturbed by the Budget, are prepared to go down the country and promise them the sun, moon and stars just in order to get back into power.
There are some individuals in the world to-day who believe in socialism, but there are individuals in this House who have no policy but that of opportunism. That is what has given a want of confidence to the people. I am speaking seriously on these matters, and I defy contradiction by any member of the inter-Party group on that because I have proved by my actions during the past 12 months that, if I believe in a principle on something, I am prepared to fight for it, and that I am prepared to take the verdict of the people on it. I took it at the last election. I took the chance of going before them as an Independent and I was lacerated and slandered, right, left and centre, by certain members of the inter-Party group. I was misrepresented, but I did not let that weigh with me. I felt that I had promised something in 1948. I had not changed my views in the meantime, like the political organisation to which I belonged, which ratted not only on its comrades but ratted on the Irish people.
Before I sit down, I would like to put a question to the Leader of the Opposition. Recently, on paper, I gave the Leader of the Opposition an  opportunity of expressing to the country what the inter-Party Government would do, if returned to power, in connection with certain of the penal impositions in the Budget. I am not satisfied, and neither will the country be satisfied, with the answer that is typical of politicians, that when you are asked a question you ask another in return. The position at the moment is that the Leader of the Government has said that we need £15,000,000 to balance the Budget. The Leader of the Opposition and the former Minister for finance, Deputy McGilligan, have both declared that there is overbudgeting to the extent of £9,000,000. Who are we going to believe? Who must the ordinary man down the country believe? What is he going to think? Is he going to be at the beck and call now of people in politics who do not give twopence as to what they tell him as long as they can convince him sufficiently to get his vote.
That is the trouble. But now is the time to put on record what the Leader of the inter-Party group is likely to do, what policy he is likely to put into operation. I should also like to hear from the members sitting on my left what their views are with regard to the food subsidy, the butter subsidy and the bread subsidy and perhaps the tax on beer and cigarettes. There is no use in those people holding back what their views or their policies are until after the election when they are back here in this House and then saying: “Oh, we cannot do it now that we are in the saddle again.”
I am making these statements here now. I know for a fact that, within a fortnight, there will be portions of my speech cut out specially by members of this House and will be planted in the local newspapers in order to misrepresent what I say here. It has gone so far that members of this House, with their sense of irresponsibility and the lies they are prepared to tell, put in a paper in the form of a letter—one member—that I was against and that I was for this Budget because I had not cast a vote against it so far. That is the sense of honesty and decency that we have in prominent men in public life to-day. But, be my time long  or short in this House, I shall waste no opportunity in or out of it in exposing that type of deception. I want to have from the Leader of the Opposition, or from some prominent member on the Front Bench Opposition, even a general statement as to what they may do if there was an election and they got back to power.
Personally, as far as I am concerned, I think that the implications of the Budget are very serious for the country. I think it would be a tragedy to allow the risk to be taken of the Budget being passed. I am afraid of what the consequences will be in 12 months' time. I have gone around my own constituency and around Galway constituencies. I wonder do Fianna Fáil Deputies realise the serious position many business people are in to-day with regard to trade? I am only saying this in order to bring home to them my own views. I am certain that things were never as bad. The trouble is that, under this Budget, there is no increase in purchasing power given to the ordinary man and woman. They will not be able to buy an extra suit of clothes or a pair of shoes to replace the pair they bought last year, because the amount of money that is being taken off them in that direction will have to go to buy food. There will be less money available for the purchase of such essentials as clothing, footwear and so forth. Other Deputies have mentioned that in many factories at the present time workers are on short-time and some on half-time. That position will get worse, so that, from that point of view, I would urge, even now, that the Government would be doing a great thing if they were to reconsider some of these impositions. Some of them have not yet come into operation. There is the old saying that “half a loaf is better than no bread”. Would it not be better to put on again the subsidy on bread and butter and make the position easier by degrees? I would appeal to the Government, before it is too late, to make some announcement in that respect. If they are not willing to do so, let us have from the inter-Party group what they have to say on the matter before the final vote is taken.
Captain Giles: I have sat here for the last eight or nine days listening to this Budget debate. I am glad that it is now coming to a close. There was confusion but there is still just as much confusion. This is a Budget with a kick in it. It has given a kick in the teeth to the ordinary man. There is a further kick in it and that is the kick in the pants it will give to the Fianna Fáil Party. Bad and all as the Budget is it may be a blessing in disguise, for it will make the people realise who controls the destiny of this country. Is it the people here or the bankers from abroad who control our destiny?
I am satisfied that the people are shocked at this Budget. They will not take it lying down. Fianna Fáil have gone one step too far. They have spent 30 years creating endless confusion in this country. They have endeavoured to show that they and they alone were the saviours of this country and if given the destiny of Ireland all would be well. The people gave them the destiny of the country for 17 years and what do they tell us to-day? They tell us that the country is down and out and that it is only by putting on hair-shirts that we can save it. That is a grand state of affairs after 17 years' experience of the so-called patriotic Fianna Fáil party.
They now have the effrontery to tell the people to tighten their belts. Have the Taoiseach and the members of Fianna Fáil made any efforts to tighten their own belts? They have not but they ask the people to tighten their belts but the people will not take it. This Budget may be the turning point in Irish history. It is a clash of ideals. It brings to the forefront that it is the people who count. I stand for the people all the time. Fianna Fáil stand four-square for the bankers.
This Budget is an offshoot of the British Chancellor of the Exchequer and our own Minister for Finance is a twin brother of the British Minister for Finance. Unfortunately, people have to say hard things in this House in order to direct attention to certain things.
I have known the Fianna Fáil Party almost from 1921 up to 1952. They  have gone the full circle. They started in 1922 as a most vigorous, progressive and extreme revolutionary Party who believed they had the ideals of an Irish Ireland at heart. When they came into power in 1932 they performed a half-circle and forgot most of the promises they made from 1922 to 1932.
Where do we find them in 1952? What, now, is their position? Instead of being the revolutionary Irish Party, the Party of nationalism, they are now nothing more than a Tory Party. They have forgotten the plain people. They have turned their back on them and are now rubbing shoulders with bankers and financiers and with those who wear white shirts and tail-coats. Ireland is suffering as a result and the sooner Fianna Fáil realises they are traitors to the Irish people the better it will be for this country. They have gone the full circle. They have gone back to where they stood in 1932 and in the years previous.
They called us traitors and pro-British. We now say that they are the traitors and they are pro-British. The people say that also. This Budget was dictated by Britain. Ireland was always a pawn in Britain's war game. She is a pawn to-day. When there is poverty and financial stringency in Ireland Britain gets her cheap recruits. Britian is preparing for war to-day. She has always put the squeeze on poor old Ireland. To-day we could defy her to put on that squeeze but what do we find? Instead of Britain putting on that squeeze she has asked the Minister for Finance to put it on, and mean and sulky as he is he did it and well he knows it. It is a pity he did not catch the train he missed in 1916. If he had not done so he would not now have the power to make the Irish people the pawns of Britain to-day.
He tells us that our country is in dire need, that she is insolvent and bankrupt. As a result of the three years of inter-Party Government, I am satisfied that big things can be done for this country. Over these three and a half years of inter-Party Government we had almost full employment and a huge housing programme. The lands of Ireland were reclaimed and money  was spent where it should be spent. What is the position to-day? Fianna Fáil is now in power, and they are back at the same old game of wanting more money. They should work the plan of the inter-Party Government and stop worrying about bankers and financiers. They should give our people work, open the bogs and drains, and build houses for our people. They should stem the tide of emigration, and give this country a chance, but they will not do so.
I would not mind a severe Budget. I did not expect a great Budget. No, I expected a rather bad one, but I did not expect a savage Budget, and neither did the people. This savage Budget will be thrown back in the face of Fianna Fáil by all the people, and even by their own supporters who are up in arms all over the country. One could hardly call a Fianna Fáil cumann together at the moment. The people would not even allow them up on a platform to speak outside a chapel gate. There is callous indifference to the underdog in this country.
I agree that, in war time, subsidies are imposed to cushion the people. When the war is over, however, it is wrong to take off the subsidies overnight. They should be taken off over a long period of years. The subsidies must come off here because Britain has asked them to be taken off in order to save Britain's sterling. The people have to pay increased prices for their bread, butter, tea, sugar, tobacco and beer. What is Fianna Fáil trying to start in this country again? The curse of Cromwell is back on our country again. Economic misery and despondency is the cry of this Budget. I ask the people to fling it back into the face of Fianna Fáil. They should bring in a Budget more in keeping with the traditions of the Irish people.
I say that the Irish people will always do the right thing if given half a chance. They are not given half a chance under this Budget. They put a 4/- or 5/- tax on the old age pensioners and offer them 1/6 as a bribe to keep them quiet. Shame on Fianna Fáil. The old age pensioners are given 1/6 with one hand and 4/6 is taken from them with the other.  The old age pensioner knows where he stands. Fianna Fáil know very well that 1/6 is an insult and it would be far better if they had never offered it.
A few shillings have been offered by way of children's allowances, but what I want to see is a balanced economy. I do not want sops. Give the people honest wages. Give them employment. Give them houses and give the farmers good prices for their stock. Let them rear their families in their own way. Do not give sops and bribes in order to confuse the people. Our fathers before us reared us without any of these sops in good times and in bad times. Thus were reared the men who fought from 1916 to 1921. I was one of those men, and we cleared this country of the swine who held it for over 700 years.
Now it must be doles and sops, not for the purpose of helping Ireland but for the purpose of buying votes. I say the curse of Cromwell is on this country. What else can it be when we carry on like this after 30 years of Irish Government? After our terms in prison, the taking of police barracks and risking our lives, after lying in ditches and crossing over the country at night, after joining the Republican Brotherhood, is that what we are offered by Fianna Fáil, the men who caused confusion and trouble from 1922 to 1952? £60,000,000 or £70,000,000 has been squandered that could have been spent for the benefit of the people. From 1922 to 1952 we had economic wars, confusion and trouble and job hunting. That is what the country has got for the money that was squandered.
The inter-Party Government, which was in power for three and a half years, brought unity and peace, opened the gaol gates, carried out a housing programme, gave full employment and almost stopped emigration. We are told that they brought our people to bankruptcy when they were giving work to our people and building houses for them. It was good money well spent in the right way. The Fianna Fáil Government spent £60,000,000 or £70,000,000 and caused endless confusion for 30 years. If that was not heading for bankruptcy I do not know what was. The inter-Party Government  in three and a half years spent money in draining the land, building houses and giving the people employment. If that is heading for bankruptcy I do not know what good finance means. If Fianna Fáil had any “guts” they would carry on the work which we were doing and bring about peace and plenty. Instead of that, their Ministers go over to Britain to meet the Chancellor of the Exchequer. One of the Ministers came back by air and the other by boat because they would not talk to each other. They came into this House afterwards and made contradictory speeches. The Minister for Industry and Commerce spoke in different terms from the Minister for Finance. That shows that the rift is there. This Budget if it is passed, and I hope it will not be, will get them the greatest “kick in the pants” they ever got.
Mr. Coburn: Since this discussion on the Budget started I thought it was a great pity that the Taoiseach did not follow the example of his opposite number in the Parliament across the water. I refer to Mr. Churchill, who, when he assumed office, made himself familiar with the conditions as they then existed, and proceeded to set out his views in a memorandum, a copy of which, it is reported, he sent to his predecessor in office, Mr. Attlee, incidentally, as far as I can learn, saying to Mr. Attlee: “It is no use in your blaming me or I blaming you. That is the position of affairs as I have found them. Let both of us start off from scratch and do the best we can for our country and for the common good.” That was a wise and honest statement. It was the act of a man who put country before Party.
Unfortunately, in this country, the Taoiseach took a different line of action. With the full support of his Ministers, and, I presume, the Deputies who support him and his followers in the country, he set out to belittle the work of his predecessors, the ex-Ministers and, of course, the members who comprised the inter-Party Government. For the past nine months, I am sorry to say that ex-Ministers were held up to the people  as men devoid of character, honesty and integrity, men who dissipated the financial resources of this country, men who spent the people's money without caring one thraneen whether value was given for the expenditure of such money; in short, men who left the country in a bankrupt position.
I regret very much the line of action pursued by the Taoiseach and his Ministers during the last nine months. The extraordinary thing about the attitude of the Government during the last nine months is that those people who now charge the last Government with reckless spending when they themselves were in opposition for three years twitted the then Government for their failure to spend more money. For example, Deputy Lemass, now Minister for Industry and Commerce, as reported in column 1916 of the Official Report of the 2nd May 1951, speaking on the Budget said:—
“The Government came in here last year with an Estimate providing for an expenditure of £14,000,000 on houses. But they did not expend that amount. Instead of developing the housing programme to the full extent of the £14,000,000 provided in last year's Capital Budget, the total expenditure fell short of that figure by £3,000,000.”
“Do Deputies opposite realise how great that failure was? Do they understand that of the £3,100,000 provided in last year's Budget for the land rehabilitation project only £566,000, one-sixth of the amount, was expended?
Do they understand that of the money provided in last year's Budget for hospital development, for the provision of dispensaries, clinics and other projects of that kind, £417,000, less than one-fourth, was expended, that of that £417,000, only £104,000 left the Exchequer?”
They are the words of the present Tánaiste, then Deputy Lemass, who has tramped the countryside for the past nine months criticising the previous Government for their reckless expenditure. I am sorry to have to say that for more than three years— from 1948 to 1951—the members of the present Government did everything in their power to thwart and make impossible of achievement the policy that was pursued, propounded and adumbrated by the inter-Party Government.
With regard to the Budget proper, let me say, at the outset, that I am not going to lay the sole responsibility for the introduction of this Budget on the shoulders of the Minister for Finance. The introduction of this Budget is the collective responsibility of the Taoiseach, the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the other Ministers as well as of each individual member of the Fianna Fáil Party. I hope that those who support this Budget will have the moral courage, when confronted down the country with its implications, not to hide behind the fact that it was the Minister for Finance or the Minister for Industry and Commerce who was responsible for it. I am approaching this Budget from the point of view of one who made no promises during my 25 years' membership of this Dáil.
I approach this Budget from the point of view of one who always believed, practised and kept before his mind the definite precept that a man shall earn his bread by the sweat of his brow, that a man shall do an honest day's work for an honest day's pay and that that policy, and no other, can make this, or any other country, prosperous. Therefore, I approach this Budget believing that we have arrived at a time when those two great virtues—truth and honesty—which go to make people great are practised, and that we can hope to hear something of the truth and something of the honesty  in so far as the provisions of this Budget are concerned when the Minister comes to reply.
I know perfectly well, and there is no use in hiding the fact, as far as this country is concerned, having only a population of less than 3,000,000 that unless we increase production and increase our capacity to increase more and more than we have been doing for the ten or 15 years preceding the last three years, we cannot continue to enjoy the same standard of living we enjoyed during the last three years. I make a present of it to the members of the Government when I state that Deputy McGilligan, when introducing his Budget last year, made it a condition, in so far as our capital expenditure is concerned and in so far as our balance of payments is concerned, that we must increase production and save more. He made those points perfectly clear, which showed that he was not and is not the reckless spender which the present Government thinks he is, and said he was during the past nine months.
I listened to the Minister making his Budget speech recently and I felt that there was a note of anxiety running right through that statement. First of all he dealt with agriculture and said that that industry had not increased very much during the past four or five years. He said, I believe, that it had only increased by 3 or 4 per cent., notwithstanding the fact, as has been stated here by the Minister for External Affairs, that a great deal of money was expended by the former Minister for Agriculture during his term of office. I do not want to dwell on this aspect of the Budget statement because we can deal more fully with it when the Estimate for agriculture comes up for discussion in this House. I feel that the Minister for External Affairs must not have been paying much attention to the work of the Department of Agriculture or else that he must have ignored the notes which he received from his colleague, the Minister for Agriculture, setting out month by month the number of acres that have been attended to, re-fertilised and even drained during the past three years, or  he would not have made the statement which he made here to-night. In fact, close on 200,000 acres have been rehabilitated—land that was of very little use prior to the introduction of the land rehabilitation scheme. If one only puts an average value on this land of £5 per acre, which is low in view of the price paid for land at the moment, especially for conacre, one will find that five times £200,000 is £1,000,000.
Now we pass over from agriculture to industry. Again I noticed that the Minister had not very much to say nor had he very much hope of increased production in so far as industry is concerned. In fact, I thought it was slowly bearing in on the Minister and those associated with him that this policy of self-sufficiency is not going to be the success which they thought it would be when that policy was initiated. It is with regret I must say so, because no matter how much we may differ in some matters—and we do differ in many things—there is one thing we must agree on and that is, we all wish for the success and for the development of Irish industry in so far as it is humanly possible. I must emphasise the fact this evening that in regard to industry in this country stagnation in many parts of that industry has already set in. I remember well in this House many years ago when that man who has been styled the reckless Minister for Finance, Deputy McGilligan, issued a warning as far back as 15 or 20 years ago that in so far as the setting up of industry in this country was concerned, taking the long view, his advice was: “Hasten slowly because, remember, the setting up of a factory is one thing; the keeping of that factory in operation is another”. To-day I am sorry to have to say that there are hundreds of young men unemployed who are skilled in a particular form of industry for whom there is no alternative employment. That position exists to-day and I know of no more serious blow to a young man who has just married and is full of hope  than to find that his means of livelihood is being taken, as it were, overnight from him. Might I express the hope that that position in industry is of a temporary nature?
I want to give this warning to those who think there is a need to set up a factory here, there and everywhere, not to forget the fact that in this little country there are less than 3,000,000 people. Unless you are able to export, as the Minister for Finance has stated, as the Minister for Industry and Commerce has stated, unless you are in a position to meet competition in the external market many of our native industries must decay. Some of us on this side would be called saboteurs in certain quarters for saying that but expression has been given to these views by the present Minister for Finance and by the Minister for Industry and Commerce.
There is another aspect of this Budget that I personally would like the Minister to explain a little more fully and that is in connection with capital expenditure. Does the Minister agree that we should have capital expenditure? I consider he does because he has provided for it. Members of the Government state again that money was spent recklessly. Let us state here in unequivocal terms how that money was spent. As far as I know, it was spent on the provision of houses. A large part of it was spent on the extension of rural electrification, the provision of hospitals, and so forth. If there was a little waste here and there, that is nothing new in this or any other country. The then Minister for Finance, and the members of the inter-Party Government took the view that it was better to spend portion of our external assets here than have those assets deteriorating in foreign countries. It was a good policy provided always, as the then Minister emphasised, that we increased production; in other words, that we earned as we spent and that we did not spend more than we earned. That is logic and that point was emphasised at that time by the Minister for Finance.
Now the Minister thinks fit to impose taxes on butter, tea, beer, spirits and bread. So much has been said about  those taxes that I do not intend to weary the House by going into them or endeavouring to point out how severe some of these taxes will be on large sections of our people. There is one thing against which I want to make my own personal protest and that is the proposal to do away with the tax on dancing. The income derived from dancing is in the neighbourhood of £120,000 to £140,000. Some of the Ministers referring to that sum treated it as a rather trivial amount. Might I put this question to the Minister for Finance and the Deputies who sit behind him? When did this country become so prosperous as to belittle a sum in the region of £120,000 to £140,000? When did a country with less than 3,000,000 people, depending almost exclusively on agriculture, become so rich that it could make little of £120,000 or £140,000?
Let us examine for a moment what could be done with £140,000. Assuming that it is £140,000, you could build 140 cottages at an average cost of £1,000 a cottage; they could be divided into three or four equal parts and handed over to county councils like Donegal, Galway, Mayo and Leitrim and thus be given to poor people, who at the moment have no houses or who are living in houses, the rent of which they find is very difficult to pay. You could point to those houses as cottages that were erected without creating any hardship on any section of the people of this country. If you did not choose to do that, you could, if you so desired, make it a part of servicing a loan possibly of £2,000,000.
I am not an expert financier but I think that about one in 20 nearly provides the interest in sinking fund for any sum, however great or small. You could then build 2,000 houses, assuming they cost £1,000, and that your loan was in the region of £2,000,000, and you could pay for it each year by the revenue derived from rents. If you did not choose to build a number of houses you could select any suitable scheme in any part of the country. Take, for instance, the matter of coast erosion. You could spend that £140,000 on building ramparts to minimise the damage done by the sea to the land along our coast. If you did not choose  to do either of these things you could devote £40,000 of the £140,000 to keeping the Greenore branch railway line running. I would recommend that action to the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he were here now. He himself said that that line was run at an annual loss of about £40,000. If he took the action which I have recommended he would still have £100,000 left to spend in other directions. The Minister for Finance will, no doubt, convey that suggestion to the Minister for Industry and Commerce. Since the Greenore line was closed, from 90 to 100 men have been put out of work. People in the little towns of Omeath and Carlingford have felt the want of the railway facilities which they enjoyed for such a long number of years. The number of tourists who visit these towns has dwindled almost to vanishing point since that railway was closed. I think that that would be a very useful purpose to which the proceeds of the dance tax could be applied.
It has been argued that the cost of collecting the dance tax does not make it worth while. People who make such statements have not studied the position at all. What is the procedure with regard to the payment of the dance tax? In the areas where the tax applies, all that has to be done is to send to the post office for the number of stamps which they think they will need for a particular night. We must bear in mind the fact that the dance tax did not apply in areas which were a certain number of miles from the nearest town, and in which the population was less than 500. The dance tax was confined almost exclusively to large centres of population such as Dublin City, Cork, Limerick, Galway and other provincial towns. Therefore, there is no use in arguing, as the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs argued, that the collection of the dance tax involved so much trouble it is hardly worth while. The dance tax was very easily collected, and on the figures submitted by the Minister it brought in something in the region of £140,000, which was well worth getting. But it is not the amount that is at stake. It is the principle of the thing. How, in the name of goodness,  can you reconcile your action in imposing extra taxes on beer and cigarettes, or in reducing the subsidy on bread, and in taking off the tax on dancing. I am sorry to say that, owing to certain matters which were mentioned in this debate, I am afraid the people who will benefit by the remission of this tax will be good friends of the Government in power— and these people are the dance hall proprietors. Remember that those who are attending the dance hall will not benefit by the remission. That tax was being paid by the dance hall proprietors during the past three or four years, and its remission amounts to a good deal for some of them. I am sorry that the Minister thought fit to take off that tax in this Budget, in view of the fact that this year he has to raise an extra £15,000,000 in order to balance his Budget. The increased taxes have come at a very inopportune time. I am not here to magnify the position and to say that things are worse than they really are.
I think there is a very big recession in all trades and industries in this country at present. Whether that is directly due to the Budget I cannot say, but certainly the recession exists. I think the recession can be attributed not so much to the introduction of this Budget as to the speeches which were delivered by the Taoiseach and his Ministers during the period preceding this Budget. There is no necessity for me to reiterate what has been said here already. However, I mix a good deal with the general public—with business people, industrialists, artisans, tradesmen, labourers and farmers big and small—and I have never heard so many complaints about the state of trade as I have heard during the past four or five weeks. Consequently, I fear that the impact of this Budget will be very severe. I think it would have been wiser if the Minister had more or less spread over two or three years what he is trying to accomplish in one year. The result may very possibly be that he will receive less revenue under the increased tax than he got under the old tax. Consequently I, for one, feel that there was no necessity for this severe taxation and that  the workers are being asked to carry too much of the burden. I feel that the country as a whole is against the Budget, but I hope and trust that, no matter how the vote goes, things may improve so as to make it less difficult for the ordinary people to bear the great burden of taxation that it is now proposed to impose on them.
Mr. Killilea: For three weeks now we have been listening to speeches from the opposite side of the House— very unscruplous speeches—telling us the type of Budget this is. For practically four weeks there has been a whirlwind throughout the country of speakers from the Opposition trying to stampede the people and to rush them into the belief that Fianna Fáil are out to rob, loot and plunder them and put them on the high road. All this is not being done just for the benefit of the country. All this is not being done an effort to help the people of the country. All this is being done because the Opposition are making a desperate effort to hoodwink and fool the people into letting them back or getting them back by hook or by crook to become again the Government of the country for another three years to carry out a policy equally disastrous as the one they carried out for the three years they were in office. The three years they were in office. Lying statements, dishonest statements have been made.
To-day in this House Deputy Donnellan, who has yet, as far as I can understand, to learn to tell the truth, made a most untruthful statement. Deputy Donnellan, for the purpose of trying to break this Government, for the purpose of trying to mislead honest people who helped to smash the Coalition Government, who helped Deputies on this bench to show up the type of work they were doing behind closed doors, made an untruthful statement. I am not surprised because I have been listening to statements from this individual for many years. I know the type of propaganda that this individual is capable of circulating by way of a whispering campaign. To-day Deputy Donnellan stated:—
“This individual made a statement to a so-called Fianna Fáil comhairle ceantair meeting. The people who were there began to talk about the Budget, they wanted to know what the Government meant by taxing tobacco, tea, sugar, bread and butter....”
“Let me tell you we are all right for the next 12 months, because we know we are bound to get this Budget through. We have budgeted for £9,000,000 or £10,000,000 more than we require. We know we will carry it in the Dáil. We know that Deputy Peadar Cowan, Deputy Dr. Browne, Deputy Cogan and Deputy Dr. ffrench-O'Carroll are bound to vote for us. Let me tell you that the Chief does not like them. He does not want to have them at all if he can do without them, and the idea is that we are budgeting for £9,000,000 or £10,000,000 more than we require and we will have surplus next year when we will produce a good Budget and the Chief can go to the country and we can get rid of Cogan, Browne, Cowan and ffrench-O'Carroll.”
I have contacted every Fianna Fáil Deputy from County Galway since that statement was made to-day. I  have their word that no Deputy from any of the constituencies in Galway made such a statement. I am also informed that no comhairle ceantair meeting was held in any constituency except my own. I did address a comhairle ceantair meeting in Glenamaddy, which is not a hole. It is a town where quite a number of very respectable people reside. I addressed a meeting there——
Mr. Killilea: Such a statement was not made by me or by any person who was present at that meeting. I think that on the basis of that repudiation, the Deputy who made this unscrupulous, scurrilous statement should withdraw it.
Mr. Killilea: I have taken this down as it appeared in the Official Records of this House and I do not want the Deputy to be allowed to change these words now. I have the statement here, word for word.
Mr. Killilea: It is easy to make a statement like this and then, when you hear it cited against you, try to get back to twist it, but the twisting is coming to an end, and when people go through the book and find that you made a speech such as that——
Mr. Killilea: I will not allow Deputy Donnellan, or any other speaker from any other place, to come along and throw aspersions on me. I was first elected in 1927 by the people in County Galway, and they have kept their confidence in me ever since that date, because they are satisfied that I have, at all times, honestly represented them, and I have no hesitation in saying that if to-morrow morning I was to meet any individual in my constituency face to face in an individual contest, I have no doubt as to what the result would be, and I have no doubt but that the people of Galway would again repose in me the confidence they have reposed in me over the last 25 years.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Order! I would remind Deputies that Deputy Killilea is in possession and should be allowed to speak without interruption. If Deputies continue to interrupt they will have to take the consequences.
Mr. Killilea: Up to last May money was being squandered all over the country for one purpose and one purpose only; it was being squandered for the purpose of trying to put back into office a Government which had just called a general election. I saw what happened in the Board of Works.
Mr. Killilea: I think the things to which I am referring are some of the items of expenditure which have forced the present Minister to bring in this type of Budget. I think it is that reckless expenditure—the money spent and squandered for the purpose of trying to get the inter-Party Government back into office—that we have to meet to-day.
Mr. Killilea: We are charging incompetence and squandermania. If we went over the whole of that three years we might be able to point our finger at thousands of items similar to those I have mentioned.
A number of problems have to be faced up to in this Budget. I listened  to the criticism in relation to the remission of the tax on dance halls. I think it was in 1946 the Fianna Fáil Government removed the tax on dance halls. I think it was Deputy McGilligan who subsequently imposed the tax in places where the population was over 500, if I am not mistaken. If Deputy McGilligan was such a wise man and the financial wizard of the inter-Party Government, I wonder why he dropped the tax in the rest of the country?
Mr. Killilea: Was it not because it was impossible to collect the money? Was it not because the tax was forcing people to become dishonest because they were making every effort to avoid it by hook or by crook? Deputy McGilligan introduced a tax on dance halls where the population was over 500 and we now find that the same thing applies to them.
Mr. Killilea: Anybody who reads last week's edition of The Kerryman will find there a report of a certain dance held in Dingle. Some fishermen held a dance there. They were subsequently charged with evasion of the tax and I read that witnesses were taken from Limerick. I do not know what the distance is but it must be over 100 miles.
Mr. Killilea: Witnesses were brought from Limerick down to Dingle to prove the case. I wonder what profit had the State out of that trial for tax evasion? There are similar cases all over the country. I do not believe that dance hall proprietors should get off scot free. I think they should be just as liable to tax as any other section, but I do not want any Government to maintain a tax on commercial dance halls which the proprietors can pocket and out of which the State gets nothing. That is what has been happening in most of the dance halls.
 I do not think the removal of the subsidy from tea makes much of a difference. The same applies to sugar. In so far as flour is concerned, a good portion of the $128,000,000 borrowed by the previous Government was used for the purchase of wheat subsequently milled into flour instead of being put into work of a capital nature. Subsidised flour was the cheapest cereal on the market. It is the cheapest cereal on the market at the moment and it is therefore used extensively for animal feeding. That is well known to many Deputies. If we are to economise and save dollars in order to pay back the debts incurred on our behalf one of the ways in which we can save will be by the removal of the subsidy on flour which will ensure that flour will no longer be used for animal feeding but will be consumed entirely by the human being.
We had something similar in connection with butter which, I think, was first imported here by the previous Government. While we were importing that butter, and at the same time paying a high subsidy on it so that we might be able to put it on the tables of the people of the country at a reasonable price, everyone, I think, will admit that enormous quantities of butter were being sent out of the country and that it was being pushed across the Border.
Mr. Killilea: Yes, butter subsidised by our own people. I think we have now arrived at the stage when the people in England and those in Northern Ireland will not be so anxious to secure our butter when it is going to cost them about the same price or perhaps a little more than what they are paying for it in England. I know, of course, that at all times they will be anxious to get a commodity which they have not got themselves. At the same time I believe that we should not go on subsidising butter to feed people outside of Eire.
Mr. Killilea: I remember that when the supplementary Budget of 1947 was introduced a number of comments were made which I listened to at the time. Amongst the things that we did at that time, and for which we never got any credit, was to increase the subsidies on tea, sugar, butter and flour. Now we have been told during the last three weeks in this House that the people of the country are grumbling, that this Budget is cruel, unjust and unnecessary and that the removal of the subsidies is a terrible crime. The other night Deputy Norton was very loud in his condemnation of the removal of the subsidies but on the 15th October, 1947, when we increased the subsidies, he thought so little about them that he said this at column 435:—
“The high-light of the documents put before us, is, I take it, the subsidies to reduce the prices of tea, bread and sugar. I think these are sham reductions. I do not think they made any perceptible contribution to relieving the plight of the ordinary working people to-day and they make a less perceptible contribution in the circumstances in which they are offered. I took the trouble of trying to calculate hastily what the reductions in the prices of tea, bread and sugar means to a family of six people. Let us examine it, and let us see what contribution it makes to the domestic budget of these families. Let us see what they will pay, on the other hand, for getting these reductions. Let us see how little the whole contribution is in their ordinary day-to-day or week-to-week lives. A family of six, consuming 2 oz. of tea per week... will, under this emergency Budget, save 1/7½ in the week. If they consume 4 lb. of bread per head per week, they will save 1/6, and if they consume ¾ of a lb. of sugar each per week they will save 9d. At the end of the week this family of six will have saved 3/10½.”
A family of six at the moment, as a result of the increases which we are giving in family allowances, will receive something in the neighbourhood of 9/- or 10/-. If the figures which Deputy Norton gave in 1947 hold  good, then surely they must hold good to-day. Therefore, I submit that there cannot be a lot in the statements which are being made in connection with these things.
When we came back to office, we had to face up to a lot of realities. I listened to Deputy Blowick last night delivering one of the usual speeches that come from his Party—a bag-of-wind speech. He repeated, time and again, the question: “Show us what debts we left.” The Minister, in his Budget speech, told us of all the borrowing that went on. Does not Deputy Blowick call that a huge debt? I fail to see what useful type of propaganda that could make for Deputy Blowick or for anybody else. Everyone is well aware—they were aware of it during the last election—that one of the reasons why the Party opposite were put across the House was because of their borrowing. The people clearly understood that they had left a huge debt for some generation to pay, or perhaps it would be better to say a number of generations. Of course, they had promised everything to everybody.
Deputy Norton, at that time, told us that we were to have a social security scheme overnight, but when the Estimates for his Department were examined we could not find a trace of any provision for such a scheme in them. We were told that we were going to have increases in old age pensions, but, again, when the Estimates for his Department were examined we could not find that any provision had been made for such increases. It was the same with regard to widows' and orphans' pensions and children's allowances. Everything was to be increased, but we found that no provision had been made for those increases in the Estimate.
We have not merely promised those things, but the fact is that, shortly after our return to office, increases in old age pensions were put into operation. No provision had been made for them by the people who had talked about social security schemes. The money to meet those increases in old age pensions had to be found by the present Government and the present  Minister for Finance. I might give a big list of other items which the people opposite talked about, but for which no provision whatever was made by the previous Government. The bills, however, arising under them have come along and we have had to honour and meet them.
I just want to mention one item in connection with the subsidies that I passed over. An effort has been made to improve the land of this country. One would be led to believe that the only people who ever thought of land reclamation were the last Government, just the same as one would be led to believe that they are the only people who ever thought of hospitalisation or anything else. Fianna Fáil had all those schemes in operation before ever the Coalition Government was formed. Those schemes would have gone ahead and this country would not be in the debt it is if Fianna Fáil had been given an opportunity of putting those schemes into operation.
Land reclamation is one of the things which we had in operation for many years. Everybody knows perfectly well that, because of the war and the situation created here as a result of the war, we were unable to import the necessary artificial manures in order to put the heart into the land that was taken out of it during the years of the war. For that reason, subsidies were given for artificial manures, but the Coalition Government decided to withdraw the subsidies just because it was a Fianna Fáil idea. No matter what project was taken up by Fianna Fáil, it should not be left in operation. The result, of course, was that they had to provide an alternative, and the alternative took the form of an announcement made at the county committee of agriculture in Galway by the then Minister for Agriculture, Deputy Dillon, who said he was going to remove the rocks of Connemara and throw them into the sea. That started the land reclamation scheme. When somebody said to him: “If you remove one rock in Connemara you will find only another”, he replied that he would keep on going until he found the soil.
Mr. Killilea: I think it was a crying shame to have to withdraw those subsidies, and the farmers who stood behind the Government and supported them in withdrawing those subsidies were not acting in the farmers' interests. It was not the farmers' interests which concerned them but the offices that were secured when that Government went into office.
We started capital development. It was Fianna Fáil who first introduced a rural electrification Bill. All the Coalition Government had to do was to give full effect to it when electrical equipment became plentiful. Everything else was prepared and ready.
Mr. Killilea: Last year the then Minister for Social Welfare, Deputy Norton, sent out a circular in which he advised and almost pushed people into producing a three years' supply of turf. We now find that there is no need to cut any turf. We have a lot of turf lying on our hands and no effort was made by the Coalition Government to get a market for that turf. Deputy Blowick has a lot of turf on his hands in Mayo which he cannot get shut of. Deputies from Roscommon have turf all over the place because Deputy Norton advised the council that is run by Clann na Talmhan to put three years' supply of turf aside. They would nearly cut their throats so long as the order came from that side of the House.
Mr. Killilea: We heard a lot of talk about the muck in the Phoenix Park and the turf dumps throughout the country. No effort was made to give that turf to the people of Dublin. They badly needed it last winter although it was not a bad winter.
Mr. Killilea: It would be very interesting if we had a full and detailed explanation of the Coalition Government's management of the fuel position in Dublin. Turf may be described as perishable, but I certainly cannot say that of timber. Timber, to my mind, only becomes a good fuel when it becomes seasoned, that is, when it has been felled for about two or three years. We have been criticised because we are making an effort to meet the debt that was incurred during the years of the Coalition Government. We are making an effort to pay it honestly and pay it immediately. They sold the timber in the Phoenix Park at £1 a ton or much less and, believe it or not, it was not the poor people in Dublin, in whom Deputy Alfred Byrne is so terribly interested, who got it. No. It was put into lorries and brought to Kildare, Cork, Galway and to every county in Ireland, and sold for £4 or £5 per ton to the people there.
Mr. Donnellan: On a point of order. During the course of the debate, Deputy Killilea made an accusation against me. He stated that I made a  statement that a meeting was held in a “hole” in County Galway. I knew well, Sir, that the word I used was “hall”. I had occasion to call to the Editor of Debates and the word used is “hall”. I ask the Chair for protection, and I ask that Deputy Killilea should withdraw that statement. I seek the Chair's protection.
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