Order of Business.
Land (No. 2) Bill, 1952—First Stage.
Military Service Pensions (Amendment) Bill, 1952—First Stage.
Health Bill, 1952—First Stage.
Civil Liability Bill, 1952—First Stage.
Committee on Finance. - Vote 52—Aviation and Meteorological Services (Resumed).
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Coal Statistics.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Wicklow Harbour Survey.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Rural Electrification.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Valentia Slate Quarries.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Hand-won Turf Supplies.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Milk Price Increase.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Motor-Car Insurance.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - G.N.R. Stockholders.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Unemployment at Rushbrooke Dockyard.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Payment of Income-tax.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Pension Increases.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Civil Service Pay Increases.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Bank Closing.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Birr Ball Alley.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Repair of Bog Road.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Erection of Bridge.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Health Bill.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Ballyfermot Welfare Clinic.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - West Cappagh Dispensary.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Health Service Appointments.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Radiological, Pathological and Bacteriological Examinations.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Ballymun Home.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Rehabilitation of Former Tubercular Patients.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Rosaries in Custom House.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Unemployment Insurance Benefit.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Numbers on Live Register.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Wicklow Unemployed.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Acquisition of Tipperary Estate.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Division of County Dublin Lands.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Repair of Kerry Sea Embankments.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Forestry Workers' Wages.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Felling of Wicklow Trees.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Allotment of Turbary.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Promotion of Lotteries.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Chief Superintendents' Pensions.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Finglas and Blanchardstown Garda Stations.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Erection of Offaly Garda Barracks.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Soldiers' Pay and Marriage Allowances.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Army Cadetships.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Military Service Pensions.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Payment of Employees of Defence Launches.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Teachers' Gratuities.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - School Hours.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Ballyfermot Technical School Site.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Acts.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Sailors' and Soldiers' Land Trust.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Rathdowney Houses.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Repair of Offaly Road.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Improvement of Cork Tourist Roads.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Kilkenny Road Workers' Pay.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Local Authorities (Works) Act.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - North County Dublin Regional Water Scheme.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Castletown Water Supply.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Birr Sewerage Scheme.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Cork City Sewerage.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Local Authority Fire Brigades.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Local Elections.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Radio Eireann Orchestra.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Dublin Sub-postmasters' Dinner Hour.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Wexford Sub-Postmaster.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Moore Centenary Stamps.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Ballyfermot Sub-Post Office.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Committee of Agriculture Instructors.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Kilkenny Land Project.
Select Committee on Salaries, Expense Allowances and Pensions of Judges and Justices.
Agricultural Workers (Weekly Half-Holidays) Bill, 1952—From the Seanad.
Vote 27—Agriculture (Resumed).
Question on the Adjournment.
Supplementary Estimates, 1952-53.
Committee on Finance. - Vote 63—Unemployment Insurance and Unemployment Assistance.
Committee on Finance. - Vote 64—Widows' and Ophans' Pensions.
Committee on Finance. - Social Welfare (Insurance Inclusions and Exclusions) Regulations, 1952—Motion of Approval.
Supplementary Estimates 1952-53. - Committee on Finance.
Supplementary Estimates 1952-53. - Vote 6—Office of the Minister for Finance (Resumed).
Supplementary Estimates 1952-53. - Messages from Seanad.
Supplementary Estimates 1952-53. - Adjournment Debate—Report of Civil Service Arbitration Board.
 Do chuaigh an Ceann Comhairle i gceannas ar 10.30 a.m.
An Tánaiste: It is proposed to take business on the Order Paper as follows: Nos. 3, 4, 5 and 7 (First Readings); No. 12 (Votes 52, 63 and 64); No. 11; No. 12 (Vote 6); Nos. 10, 1 and 12 (Vote 27); Questions at 3 p.m.; and, after Questions, Nos. 10, 1, 12 (Vote 27); and then resume the Order of Business as set out, excluding Vote 52.
Breanndán Mac Fheórais: Would the Tánaiste be prepared to allow Private Deputies' time to-night to dispose of the Second Reading of the Workmen's Compensation Bill, if it were thought at an early hour that the business would have concluded.
An Tánaiste: If the business for the session should conclude in time to-night to allow time for Private Deputies' Business, it could be taken, to avoid the necessity for meeting to-morrow.
Leave granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to amend and extend the Land Purchase Acts.— (Minister for Lands).
An Ceann Comhairle: An Dara Céim?
An tAire Tailte (Tomás Ó Deirg): Más rud é nach mbeidh an Dáil ar siubhail an tseachtain seo chughainn, pléidhfear an Dara Céim ar an 4ú lá Feabhra.
Leave granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to amend the Military Service Pensions Acts, 1924 to 1949.
—(Minister for Defence.)
Second Stage ordered for 4th February, 1953.
Minister for Health (Dr. Ryan): I move:—
That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to amend and extend the Health Act, 1947 and certain other enactments.
Mr. Donnellan: Do I take it that this Bill when introduced will be in conformity with the White Paper issued on the subject?
Dr. Ryan: When did the Deputy become an Evangelist?
Mr. Donnellan: I am asking a question. Will the Minister answer it?
Dr. Ryan: The Deputy had better wait and see.
Mr. Donnellan: Otherwise, I will oppose the introduction.
Mr. Sweetman: When will the Bill be circulated?
Dr. Ryan: By the middle of January.
Question put and declared carried.
Leave granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to provide for the amendment of the law relating to the defence of contributory negligence in civil actions and to amend the Tort-feasors Act, 1951. — (Deputies Thomas F. O'Higgins (Junior), John A. Costello, Liam Cosgrave.)
Second Stage ordered for 4th February, 1953.
The Dáil, according to order, went into Committee on Finance and resumed consideration of Supplementary Estimates for the year ending 31st March, 1953.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Government (Mr. Lynch): I think the manner in which the two Opposition  speakers spoke to this Estimate here last night was commendable. If they did not give this present project their full blessing, at least they approached it in a fairly objective manner. Having regard to the former attitude of these Deputies, their former statements, despite the actions of the Government of which they were members, I think it is only to be expected that the statements they made last night should be consistent with the attitude of mind they displayed formerly. Deputy Cosgrave is on record as commending the Minister for Industry and Commerce and his Department, before the change of Government in 1948, for their approach to the expansion of civil aviation. Yesterday evening he felt that if such expansion was to take place, this certainly is not the time. Valuable time has been lost since 1948, and from now on we should make sure that we lose no further time in getting our transatlantic service started, if we are to go ahead with the idea at all. Deputy MacBride, who apparently is also in favour of establishing a transatlantic air service, says that the danger in this case is that we are possibly starting on too modest a scale. He did not agree that such travel should be subsidised, but, on the other hand, admitted frankly that he did not see how such a service could be established other than by Government action.
One of the main justifications for the initial introduction of proposals to establish a transatlantic air service was the ever-increasing number of American tourists coming to Europe and availing of the different air services operating in 1948 and since. Deputy Cosgrave told us yesterday that competition is becoming keener and that there are more air services operating, but nevertheless, as the Minister pointed out yesterday, if competition is increasing, so is traffic, which has increased to such an extent that twice as many from North America travel to and from this country by air at present as travelled in 1951. The figures, as quoted by the Minister, were: 5,600 in 1951 and 10,400 in this year to date. From that point  of view, it would seem that there is room for a new operating company to cash in, so to speak, on the market now available in transatlantic passenger traffic. The time has passed when such criticisms as we formerly heard levelled against this service that it was a luxury scheme, an expensive scheme to gain prestige, can justifiably be levelled against it. Almost every airline in the world is making money at present.
Mr. Sweetman: Give us a list of them before making such a nonsensical statement as that.
Mr. Lynch: It is not nonsensical.
Mr. Briscoe: Every airline on the transatlantic run is making a profit.
Mr. Sweetman: Give us the list and give us the figures.
Mr. Briscoe: I gave them.
Mr. Lynch: Seaboard and Western Airlines, with which Aer Línte propose to join in the carrying out of this proposal, has been one of the most successful companies in the world, and, with that background, we can repose some confidence in the arrangements being made for the establishment of this service. That company has been so successful in its short period of operation that it can now afford to put new super-Constellations in the air and apparently will be making these super-Constellation aircraft available to Aer Línte in the operation of this service.
General Mulcahy: Are these the grounds on which the Parliamentary Secretary measures the success of the company?
Mr. Lynch: I have read a report on their financial progress in the Press, as I am sure the Deputy has.
General Mulcahy: No. We would like some information about it.
Mr. Lynch: I have not got it at the moment, but I will make it available for the Deputy before the debate finishes.
General Mulcahy: If that is all the  Parliamentary Secretary has learned about it from his reading, he is not very convincing when he speaks here.
Mr. Lynch: If I had anticipated the attitude now disclosed by the Opposition Front Bench, I would have come in here fully armed.
Mr. Sweetman: We merely expect an intelligent discussion on it.
Mr. Lynch: I am dealing with it as intelligently as I am capable of, and, if I were allowed to develop my argument on the lines along which I started, I probably would convince Deputies opposite that there is something in the proposal which should commend itself to them. I said that I commended the attitude of Deputy Cosgrave, even though he did not give this proposal his blessing, in examining it objectively. Deputy MacBride similarly examined what he thought should be the basis for establishing an air service, and I thought, from these two speeches, that the approach of the Opposition was going to be different.
Mr. Sweetman: How do you know what the attitude is going to be?
Mr. Lynch: I can only infer it from the interruptions of Deputy Sweetman.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Parliamentary Secretary must be allowed to make his case.
Mr. Sweetman: The Minister asked us to be objective, but the Parliamentary Secretary started off on an entirely different line. Let the Government make up their mind which line they want. We are quite willing to deal with it from either basis.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Parliamentary Secretary must be allowed to make his case without interruption.
Mr. Lynch: I am entitled to make my speech any way I like.
Mr. Sweetman: Let the Minister remember, then, who started the line.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Parliamentary Secretary, I repeat, must be allowed to speak without interruption.
Mr. Sweetman: We shall be delighted to hear him speak.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy does not indicate that.
General Mulcahy: Yesterday it was necessary to ask the Minister quite a lot of questions and the Minister attempted to answer them.
Mr. Sweetman: Very frankly.
General Mulcahy: We are asking the Parliamentary Secretary now, who speaks of the great success of this company, with which an agreement has been made but the terms of which agreement we cannot get, on what he bases his statement that this is a most successful company.
An Ceann Comhairle: Does Deputy Mulcahy not think that the Parliamentary Secretary should be allowed to say that without the continuous interruptions to which he has been subjected since he started?
General Mulcahy: Yes, but he was asked on what he based that statement.
An Ceann Comhairle: He has not been allowed to develop his point and he should be allowed to do so.
General Mulcahy: He indicated that he could not develop it.
An Ceann Comhairle: He must be allowed to make his statement in his own way without interruptions from either side.
Mr. Lynch: I made no attempt to introduce any acrimony into the debate, but apparently Deputies opposite are intent in doing so. I made a statement to the effect that I had read that the airline company with which Aer Línte is associated in this project was a most successful one. Judging by the figures disclosed in a recent Press statement, I think it is, in fact, a most successful company and a company with which it is most desirable that Aer Línte should associate itself, if it must, in existing circumstances, in order to establish this transatlantic service, associate  with any company. I told Deputy Mulcahy that I had not got the Press report on which I based that statement, but would make it available to him and to the House at a later stage, through some other speaker from this side.
General Mulcahy: From what paper is the Press report taken?
Mr. Lynch: I remember reading it last week. The Deputy is becoming very finicky at this hour of the morning. The Opposition, and particularly Fine Gael, ought to get themselves smoothed out as to their approach to transatlantic air services. In 1946, we got Deputy Morrissey's attitude :—
“Speaking for myself, I should like to congratulate the Minister and the Government on the way in which the whole question of aviation has been handled so far and on the initiative, enterprise and, if I may use the word, imagination, shown in connection with that development. On that score I think we certainly have no reason in the world to quarrel with the Minister or with his advisers. I realise to the full its value.”
That was a commendable approach and it was followed up by Deputy Cosgrave who subsequently became Parliamentary Secretary to Deputy Morrissey when he was Minister. Deputy Cosgrave said:—
“The Minister and his Department deserve the congratulations of the House for the manner in which they managed the air agreements and for the extension of air facilities.”
Both these statements are taken from Volume 101, of the Official Dáil Debates. The first statement is in column 858 and the second in column 912. That is sufficiently documented for Deputy Mulcahy.
General Mulcahy: It is much better documented than the other thing.
Mr. Lynch: Nevertheless, we found Deputy Morrissey and Deputy Cosgrave, when they had a say in the matter, adopting a different approach  altogether in the early months of 1948 when this service was abandoned by the then Government. Since 1948, I submit, we have lost considerably by the abandonment of that service. The opportunity was good then. We were early in the field and the traffic was available, and had become increasingly available for the successful operation of the transatlantic air service. It is not yet too late. It is gratifying to know that without a penny piece cost to the taxpayer——
Mr. Sweetman: £457,000.
Mr. Burke: Deputy Sweetman is not able to take it. We are putting the transatlantic air service back again. The Deputy is taking it very badly.
Mr. Sweetman: The Deputy should go out to the Balbriggan widow and she will tell him more about it.
Mr. MacCarthy: That is an uncalled for observation.
Mr. Lynch: Deputy Sweetman stays up too late writing letters to his constituents.
Mr. Sweetman: If Deputy Lynch wrote a few it would do him no harm either.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Chair will have to take very serious notice of the continuous interruptions of the Parliamentary Secretary. He has not had ten consecutive minutes without interruptions since he started to speak.
Mr. Sweetman: My remark to Deputy Burke is in a political sense and not in any other sense.
Mr. MacCarthy: It should not have been made at all.
Mr. Burke: I would expect it of him.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Parliamentary Secretary should be allowed to continue without interruption.
Mr. Lynch: The last interruption was in respect of a remark I made that this new venture was not going to cost the taxpaper any money. Deputy Sweetman said that it was and chose to intervene at that stage. I might as well again revert to past performances  in that connection. Deputy McGilligan, when Minister for Finance, was primarily responsible for the abandonment of the former service. He said, speaking in Dáil Éireann on the 25th May, 1948: “I thought we had got rid of Aer Línte for ever once the decision was taken to close that service down. Apparently some people are still concerned about the closing of the transatlantic service.”
If Deputy McGilligan meant to close the transatlantic air service down once and for all he could, at that stage, having regard to his influence with his colleagues in the Government, not only have closed down the service but have abolished Aer Línte as a company. With that he could have appropriated, I presume, to the Exchequer the £1,800,000 that was available on loan free of interest from the Minister for Finance. Apparently he did not so do. That money was still available to the present Minister if he chose to use it all. He proposes to use only the £450,000 profit which the sale of the Constellations made at that particular time. Therefore, I suggest, as the Minister stated in his opening remarks, that this service is now being established without any cost whatever to the taxpayer. If Deputy McGilligan, as Minister for Finance, had gone the whole hog, abolished the company and appropriated their assets to the Exchequer, it would then become necessary to raise money either by taxation or otherwise. In the event it was not necessary to do so. Therefore, I think there is no doubt that the establishment of this service will not cost the taxpayer any money.
Deputy MacBride suggested that if this venture was not a success there would not ever be another possibility of establishing a transatlantic air service. That indicates that Deputy MacBride is in favour of establishing a transatlantic air service, and he said so last night. He said also that unless that service could be extended to carry traffic across Europe, it would probably not be successful. He also said that, since there were so many companies in existence operating from North America to the Continent of Europe, it was unlikely that very many new passengers would be found to  avail of the Aer Línte service, because the bulk of them would be travelling to Europe, in any case, and would not be interested in changing their airline once they got to Ireland and had to find a different service to take them from Ireland to Europe. He said that what, in fact, would happen was that they would book with the company that could not only take them to Ireland but also, without changing, to London, Paris, Rome or any place else. That is not so. By reason of the fact that we had no air service in operation, many people, who might come to Ireland for a holiday, would merely land at Shannon and leave within an hour or two on the same aeroplane. If they found they could travel by a service only as far as Shannon, they might then stay in Ireland for a few days or a few weeks if they realised they could avail of Aer Lingus or other services to carry them further afield.
I agree with Deputy MacBride when he suggests that, in the case of a person in New York or Boston who goes into an airline office, thinking of taking a holiday in Europe and who finds he can book through to Paris, the likelihood is that he will avail of this. On the other hand, if he goes into the Aer Línte office when it is established in New York and finds that this service brings him to Ireland only, but is informed that we have services available to bring him further afield, it is more than likely that he will spend a little of his vacation in Ireland.
I do not want to dwell upon the value of the American tourist traffic here because I think it is generally accepted. I do suggest that anything which will enhance and increase that traffic is certainly to be welcomed. There is to my mind one matter of regret in this arrangement and that is that the aeroplanes will actually be piloted by the staff of Seaboard and Western Airlines and that our Irish pilots will not have the opportunity immediately at any rate to operate those aeroplanes. In introducing the Estimate last night, the Tánaiste said that he had got numerous letters from some of the pilots who had been trained to fly the Constellations that  were bought originally. Many of these pilots had written to him offering their services again if they could be availed of. It is a matter for regret that at this stage, at any rate, these services cannot be availed of. I know that there are pilots now in the service of Aer Lingus who have sufficient training, in fact almost full training, that would enable them to operate these aeroplanes if the opportunity presented itself. I hope that will not be lost sight of in any future expansion of this arrangement.
I take it the ultimate objective is that we should use these aeroplanes or should operate these aeroplanes ourselves as a nation, that we should secure aeroplanes and man them in so far as it can be done with Irishmen, Irish pilots and technical staff and passenger catering staff. Our record and the record of our pilots in other airlines has proved their ability sufficiently. Some of the most famous international air pilots are some of those who lost their employment as a result of the abandonment of the former transatlantic service. I hope, therefore, that in any development that takes place the intention will be, in so far as we can achieve it, to employ our own pilots and our own technical staff in this operation.
I did not intend to speak at this length. My original intention was, as I said, to commend the manner in which the debate was approached yesterday. I hope the interjections we have had this morning do not indicate a change of mind on the part of the Opposition. The Fine Gael Party, by implication at least, if not by their actions, have in their hearts the proper approach to aviation, if we can judge by the statements of Deputy Morrissey before he was Minister and even when he was Minister. They have at heart, I believe, the proper development of our aviation services. Deputy MacBride has given a similar indication. I feel that at least one member of the Labour Party by his association with air pilots has a similar approach.
I hope the debate will be continued in much the same strain as yesterday's debate. As soon as these services  come into operation I hope the traffic which will enable them to make a profit will be forthcoming. I believe it will be.
I spent a few weeks in America recently and I heard many inquiries being made as to when such a service is likely to be established. It is gratifying to know that in the initial year of the Tóstal and almost coinciding with the inauguration of it we will have such a service. We hope, and it is the hope of anybody who has any progressive outlook whatever as regards this nation, that the service will not only succeed but considerably expand.
Mr. Sweetman: When the Parliamentary Secretary to the Government follows immediately the Minister for Industry and Commerce in a debate of this kind, we are entitled to expect that he will bring to the debate certain knowledge, certain facts, certain statistics, certain figures, that would not be available to the ordinary Deputy. It is regrettable that instead of doing that he merely got up, as was quite clear from the beginning, to make a tub-thumping speech, in the quiet voice in which he always speaks, but nevertheless a tub-thumping speech which would be entirely suitable at a cross-roads perhaps.
When the Minister for Industry and Commerce was introducing this Estimate yesterday, with the exception of one matter to which I will refer and which was obviously put in for the purpose of a political line, that is, the heading which is taken in this morning's Irish Press, that there is no cost to the taxpayer — with that exception, which I think is entirely dishonest, his approach to the problem was a fair approach.
He made it clear that he was putting such facts and figures as he considered proper before the Dáil. I think they were not the facts and the figures that it was proper to put before the Dáil but at the same time I must admit that in putting such information as he did put before the Dáil, with the one exception to which I have referred, he put it forward in an objective way and he asked for consideration in an objective way. That is a fair enough  request and, so far as I am concerned, I will deal with it entirely objectively.
Mr. Lynch: That will be different from your attitude earlier on.
Mr. Sweetman: I came in here this morning prepared to do that. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Government, on the other hand, quite obviously came in here this morning for an entirely different purpose. He came in here this morning for the purpose of looking at it simply and solely from another angle.
Mr. Lynch: What angle does the Deputy mean?
Mr. Sweetman: The angle of going back over the years, looking for quotations in 1946, and so forth.
Mr. Lynch: I had no intention of doing so until I was interrupted.
Mr. Sweetman: The Parliamentary Secretary must have a very interesting cuff-sleeve with quotations on it of 1946.
Mr. Lynch: I have my own file here always.
An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Sweetman must be allowed to proceed in his own way.
Mr. Sweetman: I cannot complain in view of the fact that I interrupted the Parliamentary Secretary.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Chair is complaining of disorder.
Mr. Sweetman: So far as air services are concerned, whether they are across the Atlantic, to England, to France, to Italy or anywhere else, the measure by which we in this Party assess them is very simple: are they worth while to the country? If they are going to be worth while they will have support and if they are not going to be worth while they will have opposition. In considering whether they are worth while we have to weigh whether they will be, in the first instance, a direct paying proposition; whether they will be, in the second instance, an indirect paying proposition or whether they will  merely enhance the prestige of the country, at a cost, or whether they will utilise funds that could be better utilised elsewhere.
I am one of those who like air travel as compared with other forms of travel. Some people do not like travelling by air. I do, from the point of view of convenience, and so forth. I mention that merely to show clearly that, so far as I am concerned, if I thought there was any prospect of success I would be favourably inclined rather than disinclined to a project such as this.
My difficulty about this token Estimate is, first, that I cannot see any prospects and, secondly, that I think that in this plan we are utilising approximately £500,000 — to put it in round figures — that we could utilise very much better elsewhere.
I said at the beginning that in saying that the Tánaiste's approach to this matter was fair enough I had one exception. The exception is that I think it was a politically dishonest move to suggest that it was going to cost the taxpayer no money. Aer Línte is the property of the taxpayer and if Aer Línte has in its coffers £457,000 and that money is going to be spent and is going to be lost, of which, even on the Minister's own statement yesterday, there is more than a chance, then obviously it will be costing the taxpayer something.
To suggest that because money is held by Aer Línte when Aer Línte is the property of the State, the risking of that money is not risking the money of the taxpayer is just a subterfuge that can only be described as politically dishonest. We have got to consider the employment of this money and whether it is desirable to employ it in this way. We have got to consider that against the background that the Tánaiste himself and other Ministers have, during the past nine months, been making it clear that they regarded the capital investment programme of the country as being a programme, the financing of which they found it difficult to visualise. Right from the beginning of this financial year, from the time that the Estimates were published, the difficulty which the Government professed to  find in financing capital works that were considered desirable was a difficulty that was always stressed on many occasions, and it is one that we must consider in relation to the Estimate before us. I have no intention of entering into a discussion on matters which are more appropriate to finance, as to whether the extent of the difficulty in financing the capital programme is as great or greater than the Minister or the Minister for Finance has indicated, but we must consider this project in the factual light of what they have said at earlier stages. We must consider it from the point of view of whether it is worth while investing this £450,000 in this service when we are apparently so short of funds for investment.
When the Minister himself was speaking in this House on the 21st March last, as reported in column 231, Volume 130, he said:—
“The size of that bona fide investment programme is such that it will be a matter of considerable difficulty to raise the money to finance it. If we complicate that task by adding to this investment programme expenditures which can be described as an investment only by stretching that term beyond its obvious meaning, then we shall make the task much harder and jeopardise the bona fide investment projects upon which the Government wishes to embark.”
He came along at a later stage and he stressed again the difficulty of finding the funds that would be necessary for the purpose of dealing with the investment programme within the State. Following that viewpoint put forward by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, we had in the Budget statement a similar line taken by the Minister for Finance. He made it clear in his Budget statement that he was of opinion that there was difficulty in finding adequate assets for the capital investment projects that were considered necessary within the country. Again the Minister for Industry and Commerce, in a debate subsequently on the 3rd April, came along and put forward exactly the same viewpoint bearing out what he had previously  said on the 21st March. I am not going to weary the House by reading quotations from the various statements which the Minister made. The first quotation is adequate because the others followed on exactly the same lines.
It seems to me that, even taking the Minister at his own assessment, the question to be considered here is whether this money can be laid out to best advantage in this scheme or in another scheme. I think that there are many other home investment projects, if there is difficulty in financing all our capital development, which would be far more desirable. It would be far more desirable to expand the production of our land, to expand the building of houses, to expand internal production rather than risk £450,000 on a scheme that I personally believe, for reasons which I am going to show in a moment, will not have a chance of producing an adequate return. The simple issue in regard to this scheme, looking at it entirely objectively, is whether this is the best method of investing this money. As I understand the arrangement that is being entered into between Aer Línte and Seaboard and Western Company, Limited, which the Parliamentary Secretary to the Government described as the most successful in the world, but which has been operating, so far as we can understand from the Minister, freight services only——
Mr. Lemass: Freight services over the Atlantic.
Mr. Sweetman: Yes, so far as the Atlantic is concerned. It seems therefore to be a service in which the experience that it has gained is not necessarily the type of experience at all that is required for the proposed service. The difficulty I really see, however, is that we have got in this scheme the wrong end of the stick. There might be a case for the development of a service such as this, even if it was not going to be a paying proposition, if we were to have the expenditure in sterling and receipts in dollars, if we were going to show perhaps a loss on the profit and loss statement when converted to sterling, if it would mean that there would be an expenditure in sterling  and an income in dollars. It seems to me however that exactly the reverse is going to happen. The heavy end of all the expenditure in regard to this service is going to be in booking, publicity and so forth in America. That is expenditure that Aer Línte will have to deal with and that is expenditure which we shall have to incur in dollars. There will not be the same comparative necessity for advertising and booking expenditure at this end. I accept readily that if people are already in this country and want to fly from this country to America they are more likely than not to fly by a line that is operated in the Aer Línte-Aer Lingus tie-up.
So far as expenditure on publicity in Ireland is concerned it is going to be a trifling amount. It will, of course, be sterlng expenditure. It seems to me that, in order to provide a proper number of fare paying passengers coming from the far side, we are going to have to develop publicity and booking in a substantial way in America, all of which will have to be done with a dollar content. So far as I can understand from the details which have been given to us by the Minister, there is no provision in this charter — because that is really all it is, I think, a charter of the planes — that there will be any feeding service, or that there will be any booking tie-up by Seaboard and Western to help to fill the planes when they are chartered by Aer Línte. That seems to me to be a fundamental objection to the agreement as such.
I would have thought that the Minister when opening this debate would have given us some information about Seaboard and Western itself. Have Seaboard and Western got substantial accommodation in Idlewild? I presume the Minister will confirm that I am right in thinking that, so far as the service is concerned, it will be going into Idlewild Airport and not to New York or La Guardia. I should like to know what accommodation they have in that airport, or are we going to have to get accommodation for ourselves there, and, if so, what it is going to cost us? Is it going to be availible in any substantial way, or is it proposed that we will get Seaboard and Western,  or some other agency, to act as agents for us in the airport where these planes will operate? It would seem to me that, unless you have a satisfactory service at the airport, and a satisfactory service in New York and Boston, you are not going to have any hope of getting traffic, and that it is almost impossible to get a service adequate and satisfactory at the airport which could be sufficiently carried as an overhead by a schedule of the type which the Minister has indicated.
I have no figures at all of the cost of running offices in the airport, whether in Boston or in New York. So far as running at this end is concerned, I do not think it matters because it is going to be a sterling expenditure for us, but, to have any reasonable prospect of getting traffic, we must provide a proper service. The term “service” does not mean the schedule of planes, but facilities by way of information, advice, booking facilities and so forth.
One of the prime things, in my view, against the success of this or any other transatlantic service for us is that all our overheads on booking and servicing, from the passenger end, are going to be set off against the schedules that are running for this country. So far as the other airlines are concerned, they are able to dilute their overheads because the proportion of their overheads that is assessable to the transatlantic line is only a proportion. I am speaking entirely from the passenger end, when I say that the same personnel could largely service not merely a transatlantic schedule alone but the schedules that are coming from other countries and going to other countries.
It is an axiom of business that one of the first things you have to do in any business is to ensure that your overheads can be adequately diluted and adequately spread over as large an area of business as possible. This agreement makes that utterly impossible for us. When I say this agreement makes it impossible, I want to say that this agreement, so far as it has been disclosed by the Minister, makes it utterly impossible. I think we would have been entitled, when asked to risk £450,000 of the taxpayers' money, to have been given information  on that score: to have been given information as regards the dollar content of expenditures, apart from the sterling content, so that we could make up our minds that, even if it was not going to be a book-keeping profit or loss, we would know that it would be in a currency profit or currency loss.
As far as I could understand from the Minister yesterday, he estimated that we would have to get 50 per cent. of all the traffic going to and from this country for it to be a success. The Official Debates are not, of course, yet available, and one can only depend on what appears in the Press this morning. The Press report confirms the impression I got from the Minister's figures yesterday. He estimated that the total number of passenger flights would be 17,000. That would be both ways. It might be 8,500 passengers doing the double flight, or 9,000 going one way and 8,000 going another way. But, next year, he estimated that that figure of 17,000 would go up to 20,000, and that we had to get more than 10,000 of that number in order to show a profit. Where I found myself completely unable to follow the Minister's figures was when he said that, if the numbers dropped below 10,000, they would show a loss of £48,000. Surely, we are not going from the red into the black at the 10,000 figure. I understood the Minister to say that 13,000 passengers would show a profit of some £16,000.
Mr. Briscoe: A profit of £64,000.
Mr. Lemass: The estimated number of passengers for next year is between 20,000 and 25,000.
Mr. Sweetman: I understood the Minister to say it was 20,000. Was the figure £16,000 or £60,000?
Mr. Briscoe: £64,000.
Mr. Sweetman: Over here it sounded like £16,000. If we are losing £48,000 at fewer than 10,000 passengers and making £60,000 at 13,000 passengers, the balancing position is probably somewhere about 11,500 which is 50 per cent. of an expanded passenger flight number up by more than 25 per cent. on this year. I wonder is the Minister  wise in making his estimate that there will be an increase of 25 per cent. in the current year?
Mr. Lemass: There was a 70 per cent. increase this year.
Mr. Sweetman: Yes, but I imagine that it is one of those things which is subject to the law of diminishing returns. I came back at the end of September from New York and Deputy Briscoe came back shortly after me. I came back on a tourist flight. There were 64 seats on the plane and I was one of 13 passengers. I made inquiries from the personnel of that flight and I was told by them that that had been the regular experience for the whole of the previous three weeks, that they were flying practically empty to Europe and coming back reasonably full. If that is to be the position at that time of the year, and I gather the position will be the reverse in the earlier period, then in the beginning of the season you will have your tourist flights reasonably full coming from America and your planes going back to America pretty empty and in the late time of the season you will have your planes from America coming pretty empty and going back perhaps reasonably full, but under this arrangement we will have to pay on a charter basis per flight and therefore we will be in the position, because of the fact that the traffic will be so much a one-way traffic at a particular time of the year, that we will be running flights even at peak periods at a very great loss.
The Minister will agree at once that the reason it is possible for Aer Lingus to operate so successfully is because it has a pretty static type of passenger flights, that when increased schedules are necessary you do not have the necessity for them in a one-way direction. You have your peak period, of course. At certain times of the year you have a very much greater demand for air travel between this country and Great Britain and France, but when you have that demand it is a double-way demand. The real objection to tourist fares traffic on the transatlantic line is that it is a demand which rises in a one-way direction. In the early part of the season it is all from west to east and in the late part of the  season it is all from east to west. No matter how you do it, if you are to operate solely on a transatlantic basis, then you will get an overload on your expenses by flights which are necessary to bring aircraft back again to pick up the peak one-way traffic, and that overload of overheads will inevitably wash out any anticipation of profit so long as you are operating a transatlantic service alone.
As I understand the agreement, which is not before us and we have to depend entirely on the Minister's explanation, we are bound to pay so much per flight. We are bound to charter planes within a certain limited schedule, two being the minimum and six the maximum. But we are not entitled, I take it, to say that we want in the first week of May to charter six planes coming from America and only to charter two going back, because that would obviously be a difficulty from the operating point of view. As I see it, in order to get a passenger payload on the percentages which the Minister has given we shall need to charter planes to bring passengers here in the early part of the year and to charter planes to bring them home in the later part of the year, but we will not have a hope of putting passengers in them sufficient to bear any reasonable portion of the expense.
I thought the Minister would have given us some indication of the Irish landings by the present services. As I understand the position as it is at present at Shannon airport two or three passengers get off a plane and the remaining passengers go on to London, Paris, Rome, etc. The effect of this arrangement, if it is to be successful at all, is that those two or three passengers will not get off those planes but will, so to speak, all be sandwiched into the Seaboard and Western planes. Unless we can sandwich them into the Seaboard and Western planes there is no hope of reaching the figures which the Minister indicated. I think the Minister will agree that that is a fair assumption. That means that we will get the other companies out of the habit of touching at Shannon airport at all. They will not do that unless they have got passengers  to disembark, or unless it will pay them. During a substantial portion of the year it is possible for planes to come across the Atlantic without touching at Gander, particularly in the periods of the year when there are the light passenger loads to which I have referred coming from west to east, although very often coming direct from New York. They do not touch Gander at all. There is a very great danger in this proposal that by sandwiching the passengers that, make these other airlines take in Shannon as a port of call, they will drop Shannon as a port of call. In consequence we will be losing the substantial benefit that we got in respect of the customs free airport through these passengers who are merely in transit, and who have touched down at Shannon because the plane goes there. While there may be a benefit in one direction there will be a greater loss in the other.
I would like also the Minister to have made it clear whether he has considered the very great risk that there is in this scheme that Shannon will be dropped as a port of call by Pan American, K.L.M. and T.W.A. in consequence of this scheme. If the Minister's scheme is to be successful — personally I do not think it will — it must be successful on the basis of taking out the odd passenger that would get off those lines at Shannon in a through trip to London, Paris or Rome. Taking them off would mean that Shannon would be dropped as a port of call from their lines.
Apart from that, I would like the Minister to have given us some indication of what this will mean as a saving or as a loss in regard to the estimate on the upkeep of Shannon. There is no use trying to consider air services purely on the basis of the costings of the operating company. We have had to invest a very substantial sum in Shannon and we have spent a substantial current sum in meteorological and other ground services at Shannon airport. What additional cost will this involve? We must know that cost and add it to the Book of Estimates that will be published and apart from the Aer Línte Company cost, using that word to cover the £457,000 that is involved.
 The Minister should have given us some indication in regard to all these things. I do not think this scheme will show any prospect of getting a profit on it within a reasonable period of time. Nobody would suggest for a moment that you should judge the success of a scheme on the profit it makes in the first year, the second or the third year, but I do not think it will ever show a profit. It will mean, instead, that we are going to risk one of the distinct advantages we have at present that Shannon is a port of call. If we suffer that loss, that other services are not going to make it a stop, we will purchase very, very dearly indeed any prestige we may get under the scheme that is involved here.
When the Parliamentary Secretary to the Government was speaking he said that all airlines running transatlantic services paid. I asked him for the figures. Deputy Briscoe promised he would give them. I hope he will and that, when he is giving them, he will give the breakdown of the overhead, because it is on the breakdown of the overhead that the transatlantic line will fail to be a proposition. Other airlines are able to dilute their overheads by having services to various other parts, so that when the personnel are not necessary for the transatlantic part of the service they are equally able to do work in other respects. They are also able to do something that is perhaps even more important; they are able to ensure that their other services operate as feeders.
There is no suggestion given to us by the Minister anywhere that there will be any feeder tie-in in regard to this agreement. So far as obtaining passengers in the United States is concerned, we are going to go out on our own to get the traffic. In order to go out and get it we will have to spend valuable dollars. The traffic that is going to go from this country will to a large extent go in sterling. We will have to ensure that there is a substantial expenditure with a very, very doubtful prospect of success. We are going to do that at a time when the Minister himself and his colleagues have said, not once but many times, that one of the difficulties that is  facing them is that they cannot see clearly how they will be able to find sufficient funds to finance the capital investment programme.
Is that not a foolish time at which to risk this £450,000 when it is clear and obvious that there are other items of capital investment at home in which this money could be invested with benefit to the Irish people? That, I suggest, is the proper, objective basis upon which to judge this agreement. On that it fails. On any estimate of profits over a long-term period it will fail, because there will not be the arrangements for feeding and there will not be the arrangements for dilution of overhead on transatlantic services which other services and other companies have. It is on that basis that it will be of no real value. It merely means that we will be subsidising at home other people who want to fly. There are other companies that can do it, because they are able to dilute; we cannot do that. Therefore, we would be very much better advised to keep this money at home, to invest it at home, to invest it in such a way that it would increase our production. By doing that, we would bring much greater wealth in the long run to our people than by doing what the Minister has proposed to the House.
Mr. Larkin: It appears to me that when the Minister is in his most amenable form and appealing for an objective discussion, one must be most careful to examine the proposition he is putting up. The discussion so far has been very objective — even the Minister will agree to that — but it is interesting for me to find him lightly brushing to one side all that went before, and suggesting that we should make a new start and forget the controversy which took place in 1948.
We can do that on certain conditions. Those of us who recall that controversy and the reasons why the Constellations were sold at the time also recall that no more unscrupulous and lying campaign was carried on by Fianna Fáil over that incident than has gone on in this country over a long number of years. But we are prepared  to forget that now and start anew. If we intend to discuss the present proposition objectively and on the basis that all of us are anxious to see our economy as a whole developed both internally and in its external associations, and while objective criticism is put forward, it would be as well to ensure that what happened before will not happen again and that we will not have the Minister if he fails to carry conviction in this debate coming in again and pursuing the same line because, if that happens, we cannot deal with problems like this now or at any future time.
In so far as the present proposal is concerned it is noticeable that in this morning's Press the keynote struck by the Minister is the keynote picked upon in the Press. We will have a transatlantic air service and the taxpayers will not have to pay for it. That, of course, is a lot of tripe. First of all, the money we will use will be the taxpayers' money. I understand that the profit on the sale of the Constellations and the original capital loaned has now been made available to the Government as an interest free loan. If we are proposing to provide a sum of £450,000 as our stake in this gamble the money will have to be provided by the State either in the form of a book-keeping transaction, which sooner or later will have to be made good, or in the form of an allocation of some of the money raised in the national loan or out of our actual income from taxation. Wherever it will come from, it is the taxpayers' money and, if it goes down the drain, it is the taxpayers who will lose. We should make that quite clear.
This is not a question of a group of philanthropists coming along with £450,000 and prepared to speculate that sum on the chance that they can provide us with a transatlantic airline. It is we who are doing the speculating and, apart from the question of the merits of the agreement about which we have got merely a broad description from the Minister, there is the condition already referred to in the debate as to the justification of utilising this money in this particular manner in the circumstances which the Minister states  on behalf of his Government have existed here for some considerable time past.
Secondly, there is the agreement itself and all that it implies. It is quite clearly difficult for any ordinary Deputy to try and evaluate the business basis of the agreement. We have been given merely a number of broad figures, the number of schedules, the minimum optimum schedules, the broad estimates, the figures for passenger flights over the last couple of years, the estimate for the coming year, the cost per charter of each flight and the round figures we will be required to meet in so far as our share of the cost of the traffic is concerned for the purpose of either breaking with a profit or breaking with a loss.
Deputy Sweetman, possibly because of his experience as a transatlantic passenger, has been able to go into some more detail than most of us. Possibly other Deputies may be able to do likewise. It occurs to me, and I am still open to conviction in regard to the merits of the agreement, that if there is a gamble in this it is one of the biggest gambles into which anybody has ever been asked to enter. We are being asked to come in on a charter basis into one of the most competitive fields of international air traffic with planes which, while they are safe and probably quite comfortable and quite suitable for various types of passenger traffic, are quite definitely already outmoded.
It is important to bear in mind that when any of us thinks of taking a flight in a plane, even though we are satisfied we will be quite safe, we always get a personal satisfaction out of saying that we travelled in the most up-to-date, modern and scientific plane available. That is all part of the advertising. Here we intend to develop this particular line with a flight of Skymasters, chartered planes, that are even at the moment already lagging behind in their technical development and will be much further behind before this agreement reaches its conclusion. We will enter into this competitive traffic against companies that have not only had long experience  over the years and not merely built up their own fleet but have also built up their own advertising and passengercollecting agencies. They have done that not merely over a considerable period but during a period in which they have been in a position to acquire very valuable experience. We are going to take these people on as competitors and we will do so on the basis that we will take from them one-half of the traffic originating or completing air journeys here in Ireland. To put it mildly, I feel it is a little bit optimistic.
Thirdly, we will do that on the basis of providing a tourist type of ticket. In connection with some of the figures given by the Minister, the plea was made that in replying to the debate he should give us a breakdown of some of them. Quite clearly, when we are speaking of total passenger flights in and out of this country of 16,000 or 17,000 during the present year, rising to 25,000 next year, we must remember that that traffic is made up of various types of flights. All the passengers are not tourist passengers. Some of them will remain first-class passengers. Some will continue to travel on the most luxurious type of plane available. Therefore, of a possible 25,000 passenger flights next year only a certain percentage will be tourist, and it is only 50 per cent. of that certain percentage that we will get.
These are some of the factors that occur to me. These are the factors which throw a good deal of doubt into my mind as to the wisdom of the Minister's proposition. Frankly, I am not convinced that even the Minister himself thinks this is a good proposition. It is remarkable that he skated over a great deal of thin ice and that he left a number of questions unanswered. In dealing with propositions like this we can recognise that possibly there are certain parts of the agreement that it might be difficult to make public and, therefore, we have to take a good deal of what is told to us on the assurance of a responsible Minister. From that point of view, if we were dealing with the proposition in a vacuum and purely as a business proposition, a great many of us would be prepared  to follow it but we cannot deal with it in a vacuum and there are many aspects of it in relation to which we are entitled to ask for consideration.
I pointed out that the amount of money we will make available is the taxpayers' money. It is a sum that is either there available or it will have to be found. Quite clearly, if we are thinking in terms of spending that money we must justify that expenditure. This is not like a man going into a bookie's office and putting down a dollar on a horse for a win. This is a kind of cumulative bet. We will put down £450,000. The Minister says that if that is lost, then the State will not be asked to provide any more money. That will be the finish. I wonder will that guarantee be still alive in three or four years' time. We will then have had the line operating for three or three and a half years. The money will be gone. Will we then have the propaganda machine starting to churn up the idea that we have made our beginning; that it is true that we lost a certain amount of money; that we cannot now go back and that we must dig in and fight and put up still more money? It is all very well giving an assurance now. We have had many assurances from Fianna Fáil in the past and Fianna Fáil has a most uncanny knack of being able to change its position and yet convince itself that it never did change.
If the project, on the other hand, is a success, it will be a success on the basis of an Irish airline established with chartered planes. At the moment they are Skymasters. Under the agreement, they will be replaced in a certain period by Constellations. By that time the other airlines will be replacing the Constellations with jet planes, turbo prop, or something else. Then we shall probably be told that we made a success of this venture, that we have not lost the £450,000, that now we have our feet on the ground we must get in and equip our line with our own planes. A sum of £1,400,000 was lost on this venture the last time: what will be lost in three or four years' time in order to equip that charter line with planes to meet the then competition will, I imagine, run  into the neighbourhood of millions of pounds. I am convinced that once this agreement comes into operation, no matter what the outcome, we will not be able to let go unless it collapses so quickly within 12 or 18 months that no attempt whatever will be made to cloak up the complete failure. If, however, it meets with any reasonable degree of success, we shall be told either that we must continue to subsidise it for a further period or, alternatively, we shall be told that we have tested our ability to run a transatlantic airline, that we have been able to get a certain percentage of the traffic, that we cannot continue to operate with charter planes and that we must now provide our own capital equipment for our own line. That means that we shall have to find large sums of money for the purchase of equipment.
To my mind, these are all entailed in our decision as to whether or not we endorse this agreement. That is why I feel that it is not correct to ask us to discuss this project in vacuo— purely from the point of view of whether the agreement is a businesslike agreement from our standpoint, whether it will provide us with a reasonable opportunity of getting into this international air traffic on the basis of not having to commit ourselves at too great cost at the beginning and, at the end of three or four years, to see what the future possibilities are. As I see it, and it seems to be quite definite as far as the information available from the Minister is concerned, the agreement itself is a most highly speculative undertaking in which — I am speaking subject to correction — most of the cards are stacked against us. I do not agree with Deputy Sweetman that Irish men and women who want to travel to America will automatically travel on a plane which has a tricolour flag and a saint's name on it. I think the Minister is the last person to fall for that particular line of argument. For years past he has been carrying on what, I agree, has been a herculean effort to try and convince our own people to buy Irish goods — Irish goods equal in quality to those which are imported and equal in price. It has been a very difficult and uphill  struggle. I am a bit cynical when I think of somebody leaving Dublin and travelling down to Shannon to make a trip across the Atlantic, tourist class, on a Skymaster plane — which, I understand, is not pressurised — when, alternatively, he can travel tourist class in one of the most up-to-date planes of another company.
I feel that a great many of our people will react in the same way in regard to the transatlantic air flights as they do when they go shopping. We know the position in regard to Irish goods. We know that it is not merely a question of price or quality: there is also the question of the build-up, the name, the reputation and the brand of the goods. Everywhere you go in this country people will talk to you quite casually about T.W.A., Pan-American, K.L.M. and other such air companies. These names, as a result of advertising, now mean a great deal. It will require much more than the patriotic interest of Irish men and women who will cross the Atlantic to convince them — to the extent of at least 50 per cent. of that traffic next year — that they should travel by this Irish airline in preference to any other airline.
Another aspect of the matter is of equal importance. I pointed out in the beginning that if we are to get objective discussion on projects such as this it must be accepted that when there is objective criticism it is not criticism merely for the sake of opposition or for the sake of taking an advantage. It must be borne in mind that we are all interested in developing Irish economy and Irish prestige and that that is not some special type of inheritance of the Fianna Fáil Party. It must be borne in mind that there are other people in this country equally interested in these matters. I am still somewhat doubtful as to the main purpose of entering into this agreement. It seems quite clear to me that for a long time to come we cannot, under the most favourable circumstances, expect anything in the way of a profit on our investment. Therefore, there must be some other intangible attractions and probably we shall hear about them in the course of the debate. I think it is quite clear that one of the attractions  is the question of national prestige — and let us not beat about the bush. We have no objection to it: nobody has any objection to building up the prestige of this country internationally so long as we understand what we are trying to do and what we mean by prestige. I do not see much prestige in putting a fur coat on a skeleton.
Captain Cowan: You often see it.
Mr. Larkin: Neither do I think that there is prestige in flying the tricolour round the world. I recall a phrase which was in use a few years ago: I think it originated in the Fianna Fáil Party. It was: “Green pillar-boxes for green people.” They know what the reference is. There is a good deal of the same psychology in this connection. Let us leave aside for a moment the question of the investment of money inside the country — whether it be on a capital project to provide work for the people, and so forth. If we have money to spend or to invest is there not something much more necessary and urgent than an international airline to America? A short while ago I sought some information from the Taoiseach and the Minister in regard to the operations of our Irish mercantile marine both deep-sea and coast-wise. I also sought some figures indicating the nationality, the registration of the ships, deep-sea and coast-wise, that were carrying goods into and out of our country. The figures were not complete in all cases because the statistics were not available but such figures as were given were not something to take pride in. If we have a sum of £450,000 and we want to build up our national prestige and, at the same time, to justify the expenditure, it would be a lot better to spend that money on buying a number of the smaller types of steamers to engage in our coast-wise traffic — boats that can get in and out of our small ports — and not have Dutch coast-wise steamers trading around the Irish coast and carrying on the trade that we should be doing to such an extent that, even now, they are seriously affecting some of the small number of Irish-owned and Irish-registered ships engaged in that trade. If  we feel that the coast-wise trade does not display our flag sufficiently, why not spend the money on getting a few more boats for Irish shipping — boats that can engage in deep-sea trade — and why not build one of those boats in our own Dublin dockyard? On the basis of what was indicated in the Dáil a week or so ago in connection with the difficulty which the Irish shipbuilding industry has to face in regard to extra prices, why not use some of the £450,000 to subsidise the Irish——
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy seems to be straying from the Estimate, which deals with aviation.
Mr. Larkin: I am dealing with the money.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: We cannot have a discussion on shipping on this Estimate. The Deputy might refer to it in passing but a discussion on the Dublin shipyard has nothing whatever to do with the Estimate.
Mr. Larkin: I have passed from it now. In 1948, when the arguments were developing in regard to a transatlantic airline, one of the viewpoints was that in existing circumstances we could not afford or justify such a large investment in that particular enterprise. We should recall the description of conditions then, a description formulated by Fianna Fáil. In 1947 statements were made by the Taoiseach and by the present Minister dealing with the economic situation. We have now a repetition of exactly the same thing. For the past 18 months it has been dinned into our ears that we are faced with very great difficulties. On top of that there is a very large body of unemployed men and women and the figures have markedly increased during the present year.
While I am quite prepared to look at this agreement from the point of view of national prestige — establishing international channels for our people travelling forward and backward between here and America, the value it is to businessmen and the value in connection with international relations — I have no hesitation in saying that if, as it is clear to me, we are being asked  to gamble £450,000 on this project, I would far sooner gamble the same sum of money in what may seem to be something of an appeal to mob instincts — I would sooner gamble it on the basis of putting 1,000 unemployed men into work at £5 each per week for 90 weeks. Even if we never get a penny return out of it, it amounts to the same thing. We spend money on the basis of the agreement.
If the agreement turns out to be a success, we will immediately have to decide whether we are going to continue either on the basis of acquiring our own planes or entering into a new agreement with the charter company. Alternatively, we may find partial success and it may be suggested we should spend more money until the venture is put squarely on its feet. Once we start to spend money on this that will not be the end of the commitments. We will be tied to something which we will have great difficulty in letting go, particularly if at the end of the period when the matter comes up for review, we are still having the picture presented to us by the Fianna Fáil Government, who will feel they have to stand over their brain child, no matter what the circumstances are. It is a gamble as a business proposal and from the national viewpoint of trying to get into international air traffic. Quite clearly, under present circumstances, if we can lay our hands on that money, we are not justified in gambling it at the present time, with so many urgent calls from our own people here at home many of whom are suffering in a very dire manner because of the existing conditions, leaving aside the question of blame or responsibility for those conditions.
It is suggested that there is something valuable, something that enhances our national prestige, in the idea that the tens of thousands of Irish men and women the Minister hopes will be coming to Ireland for An Tóstal next year will be able to travel in an Irish airline under an Irish flag, as against the picture of hundreds of thousands of our people walking two or three days a week to the labour exchange for 24/- or 30/- a week, but I cannot see the justification there. I would be glad to see it and I have not  closed my mind to this. As far as the Labour Party is concerned, we feel that the Minister has not made a case, either on the basis of the explanation he has given of the agreement as a business agreement, or on the basis of the case he has made for entering into this particular venture at this particular time, or, above all, for the expenditure and possible loss of this sum of money under existing circumstances, when there are so many urgent and more real needs in our own country.
Mr. Briscoe: I am amazed at Deputy Larkin's contribution to this debate. I do not think he knows on which side he should come down.
Mr. Larkin: I have come down against your side.
Mr. Briscoe: The Deputy said he had an open mind and that if he heard something further it might convince him that we should go ahead.
Mr. Larkin: The Deputy has his opportunity now.
Mr. Briscoe: I am suggesting to the Deputy that he has his mind made up, as a result of a most superficial examination of the subject and without any relation to the facts. He started off by saying that he did not want to get back to 1948 — which would be quite objective to the present situation — and yet he used the expressions “as a result of what happened in 1948,”“the lying campaign indulged in by Fianna Fáil,” and similar expressions. He suggested that the scheme was so much tripe, that we were “trying to put fur clothing on a skeleton” and get into the position of “flying our tricolour around the world.” These are the manly, profound suggestions and help that Deputy Larkin has given to his country and his countrymen, to try to get back again to where we were in 1948 in connection with international flying and the employment we give to our people through it. I will come back later to a lot of the things the Deputy said and will remind him of a lot of those things.
I want to approach this in an objective way. I want to say to the Minister that, small as the development is compared with what was anticipated  before, it is bringing us again into the world of international aviation. The discussion so far with regard to the criticism of the agreement has been on the basis of the possible number of passengers that will be carried and whether as a result of the numbers the scheme will have any chance of being successful. I have not heard a single word from the Minister or anyone else as to the possibility of carrying freight. This particular concern has, I think, almost exclusive experience in freight carrying.
Mr. S. Collins: The Minister said they are going to continue to carry freight and we only get the passenger planes from them. I asked the Minister that question.
Mr. Briscoe: We will not get any benefit from the freight carrying as a result of the agreement? Well we will have a possibility of our freight being carried by plane and we may come later to discuss as to where we stand regarding the international convention that exists, both with regard to the fixing of passenger rates and also of freight rates. That has not been touched on at all. We all know that the air companies belong to an association and carry out an arrangement whereunder they do not undercut each other. The particular planes that will be chartered to us under this agreement will be in the beginning solely tourist passenger planes. The number of passengers to be carried is, of course, problematical; it can only be a guess, but the schedule arrangement for the planes — to make two round trips a week, three a week or six a week at the height of the season — does not mean that these planes will be full or that they will be empty. That is something which cannot be arranged because people cannot be marshalled into the position in which they will fly when it suits the company. They will fly when it suits themselves.
However, I am not as pessimistic as Deputy Dillon was in 1947, when he said here:
“I am bound to say that I believe the thing is largely a cod... I venture to swear that five years from  to-day when the rabbits start playing leapfrog below in Rineanna, the masts which are to direct the radio to the United States of America will be converted into knitting machines to knit the wool off the rabbits of Rineanna.”
That prophecy has not materialised and Rineanna, or, as it is now called, Shannon Airport is internationally well known and will continue to be an international airport. We are entitled, if we can, to have our own air service. If it were possible for us to get planes to-day and if we could afford them, I take it that the Minister would consider it wiser and better for us to purchase our own planes, but we know that planes are not available and will not be readily available until circumstances in the international field change. This is the next best arrangement, but planes will gradually become available.
It is wrong for Deputy Larkin to assume that this sum of £450,000 is being gambled, as he put it. So far as I understand, there is a saving clause in the agreement which provides that it can be cancelled at any time within its period of four years, by the payment of a sum of compensation of some hundred thousand pounds. If, after the expiry of 12 months, it shows a severe loss or shows no indications of being a success, in the light of the hopes we have during the period of An Tóstal, it can be cancelled. On the other hand, if this sum is available to subsidise the undertaking for the period of four years, during which period the charter company will have new and better planes, pressurised planes, we may find that it will be worth our while at the end of the charter agreement period to reconsider the whole position and to decide whether we will continue on a charter basis, whether we will continue at all or whether we will have our own planes.
Deputy Larkin said it would be far better to pay unemployed people £5 per week until the money was exhausted, that it would be of far greater benefit to the country than hazarding or risking the money in this way. I am surprised that Deputy Larkin did not think of suggesting to  the Minister, or does not think now of joining with me in suggesting to him, that, although the agreement lays down that the crews working these planes shall be citizens of another country, a way might be found, even on a gradual basis, by which some of our people could be taken in, seconded to the charter company and employed by them, so that when the time did come for us to consider——
Mr. S. Collins: Is the whole scheme not one of trying to take all the people in?
Mr. Briscoe: Deputy Collins is an expert in taking the people in but he does not succeed in taking them all in. I am talking seriously about citizens of our State, efficient air pilots who have already had experience and training in transatlantic operations, and pleading seriously that some means should be found whereunder these men could go into that service and be available to us as key men in the event of our wishing to develop this further.
Mr. Larkin: I agree but we would have to think further about it.
Mr. Briscoe: It is a pity the Deputy did not think of it when he was speaking.
Mr. Larkin: What happens if we bring the men back and the company fails. Will they be out of employment again?
Mr. Briscoe: I said “seconded”. If the Deputy had examined it from the point of view from which he should have examined it he would understand that it would be the proper thing to do if this agreement is concluded.
Mr. S. Collins: Were they not trained in Constellations and not Skymasters?
Mr. Briscoe: One thing on which I can talk to Deputy Collins with some authority, and on which he cannot talk with any authority, is aviation.
Mr. S. Collins: Do not fool yourself.
Mr. Briscoe: I can talk with some knowledge and some authority. Deputy Collins imagines that because some of our citizens who joined the Army Air Force flew a particular type of plane — a warplane — they would never be capable of flying a passenger plane.
Mr. S. Collins: I did not suggest that.
Mr. Briscoe: That is what you are suggesting.
Mr. S. Collins: Not at all.
Mr. Briscoe: The Deputy suggested that a pilot trained in Constellations could not fly a Skymaster.
Mr. S. Collins: I did not say he could not. He would not be inclined to.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Deputy Collins will get an opportunity of speaking later on.
Mr. Briscoe: He might possibly talk law to us, but not aviation.
Mr. S. Collins: You are getting rattled very easily this morning.
Mr. Davin: What experience has Deputy Briscoe?
Mr. Briscoe: I did not say I had experience. I have some knowledge of, and can speak with some authority on, the subject just as Deputy Davin can on railways, although I do not believe he could drive a railway engine.
Mr. Davin: That is a first-class joke.
Mr. Briscoe: That is the very situation we are confronted with.
Mr. Davin: You could drive a plane, I suppose?
Mr. Briscoe: I did not say I could — or that the Deputy could drive an engine.
Mr. Dillon: But he could fly through the air with the greatest of ease, like the daring young man on the flying trapeze.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: And he  should be allowed to speak without interruption.
Mr. Dillon: We are trying to help him out.
Mr. Briscoe: We are supposed to talk objectively about this proposal and I am doing so. It amazes me that Deputies should be so amused by the suggestion that Irishmen should be brought into this scheme as operators.
Mr. Collins: We think that is absolutely right.
Mr. Briscoe: Why, then, does some Deputy not join with me in suggesting to the Minister that he might consider that aspect?
Mr. Larkin: Why did the Minister not put it in the agreement?
Mr. Briscoe: The Minister has not got it in the agreement. It is for us to make suggestions and the Deputy should have been the first to make the suggestion.
Mr. S. Collins: You will get full support for that idea.
Mr. Briscoe: I have made the suggestion and I hope to see it considered. It may be possible that Aer Lingus could second to this charter company, as the Army seconds to Aer Lingus, pilots on occasion, who could get back to their employment if, as Deputy Larkin says, the scheme fails, or they are not suitable, but at least it would give an opportunity to our people to become efficient operators on this run.
Deputy Sweetman talked of his own experience in flying. This State sold its Constellations to B.O.A.C. and they were put on the Australian run. I saw a statement issued by B.O.A.C. that they had made £1,000,000 profit from these Constellations on the Australian run. Deputy Sweetman questioned my statement that all companies operating on the transatlantic route made a profit. They may have made a loss in their over-all operations and some of the profit made on the transatlantic run may have had to be used to subsidise inland or other runs. We have the same situation here, because we  have the City of Dublin buses making a profit and subsidising the loss on the railways, but nobody denies that the buses in the City of Dublin are making a profit.
I wonder whether the Minister will take the opportunity provided by the effort to give a new lease of life to the transatlantic service from Ireland to give some consideration to the terminal building at Shannon. That terminal building is not suitable for the amount of traffic that goes through. I think the Minister mentioned that himself. It is a temporary shack of wood. Deputy Morrissey in this House, in view of the change of policy in 1948, admitted that under the circumstances then existing it was not worth while considering the erection of a proper building but it will become necessary, if our hopes in regard to the additional development of the air service take place, to have extra passenger services beginning and ending so far as this country is concerned at Shannon. Some serious consideration would have to be given to the question of providing accommodation of a permanent nature. Something will have to be done in regard to the terminal building.
Deputy Sweetman spoke at length on what he calls the “peak tourist period”, when you have planes coming in in one direction full and going back almost empty. That is inevitable. There are seasons of the year when all the traffic is inwards. The same can be said in relation to attractions, such as the Horse Show, but when the end of the season arrives and when the attractions are over, all the traffic is again outwards and the planes or ships come back empty to bring the people back. In the calculation of the charges for travelling that must be taken into consideration. Incidentally, overheads must also be taken into consideration. Deputy Sweetman seemed to think that you fix a passenger rate and that everybody goes out and nobody comes back. The matter balances itself out. People who come from America will go home and people who have gone from here to America as tourists will come back. At all events you cannot expect anything other than that you will have a falling-off one way or another.
 I would like to draw Deputy Sweetman's attention to the fact that the company in whose plane he travelled and which came back light, as far as passengers were concerned, was a company which, by its undertaking to hold its licence for this type of flight, has to keep to a certain schedule. It may even be included in the schedule to have planes travelling even though there were no passengers or just one. That is because of the kind of licence they hold to travel.
The situation here is that some thought has been given to the off periods. That is why you have in the agreement for the period of a year two round trips per week. Again, you have three round trips per week and during the peak period you would have trips for almost every day of the week.
Mr. Davin: I wish to ask a question which is not for the purpose of obstruction. What percentage of the travelling public from America to Ireland travel one way by plane and one way by ship?
Mr. Briscoe: That is always done.
Mr. Davin: Do you know the percentage?
Mr. Briscoe: I do not, because it would change from season to season. It would depend on the weather. Many people might take a round ticket and when they got to Europe, because of an accident or weather conditions, they might cancel their trip and go home by ship.
Mr. Davin: You said you knew everything.
Mr. Briscoe: I did not say anything at all about knowing everything. Deputy Davin wants to ask a friendly question and makes it insulting.
Mr. S. Collins: The Minister, in his opening remarks, indicated that there was a discrepancy of 1,000 passengers as between incoming and outgoing flights.
Mr. Briscoe: Again, that is only an estimate.
Mr. S. Collins: These are actual figures supplied by the Minister.
Mr. Briscoe: I am not going to evade questions put by Deputy Davin. I am always glad to have them. So far, I think I have scored off him 99 times out of 100.
Mr. Davin: I can take it.
Mr. Briscoe: You can take it outside. All over the world people are becoming more air-minded. The development of air traffic is on the upgrade all the time. We have only to look at the development in Aer Lingus to see that. A lot of talk has been indulged in about the possibility of loss. Aer Lingus lost a lot of money until it got to its present position. I do not hear Deputy Larkin crying out about that. He would be the first to cry out if it was suggested that Aer Lingus should be put out of business. Aer Lingus is a very good institution. It proved itself to be a success. It has a most efficient personnel from top to bottom and is now making a profit. Is it not possible to conclude that the success which has attended Aer Lingus will also attend the transatlantic air service or must we condemn it as it was condemned in 1948 and now? Surely to goodness it is worth while for us to see whether we can make as good a success of the transatlantic air service as has been made of Aer Lingus.
The agreement is between two parties — the Seaboard and Western Airlines and Aer Línte. Aer Línte hold a licence from this international body to run a transatlantic service but the Seaboard and Western Airlines do not hold any such licence. Possibly if they applied for one they could not get one. I do not think any new licences would be granted. On the other hand, if Aer Línte does not operate its licence after a certain period the licence is cancelled and then we are out altogether.
Mr. Larkin: The gloom is lightening now a bit.
Mr. Davin: The fog is disappearing.
Mr. Briscoe: That is what I am telling the Deputies. I happen to know  that this licence carries with it certain obligations and that you cannot hold a licence in that particular set-up and not operate it. There must be a time when people will say: “Let somebody else in”. Obviously, there is room for another line.
Mr. Larkin: That is a most important piece of information.
Mr. Briscoe: It is the information I am giving you but whether the Minister will confirm it or not is another matter. You have Seaboard and Western Airlines and Aer Línte. Neither of them want to enter into an arrangement where there is hope of some development if there is going to be danger of serious loss. When each paragraph in the agreement was being discussed each side realised that they would have to be as modest as possible. The Minister stated in the House that the limit of his loss would be £450,000. The company cannot afford to lose from its resources. Therefore, we have an arrangement made whereunder the first consideration shall be when will we run these planes.
Breanndán Mac Fheórais: What can the airplane company lose?
Mr. S. Collins: Nothing.
Mr. Davin: Prestige.
Mr. Briscoe: The Deputy from Wexford——
Breanndán Mac Fheórais: Deputy Corish is the name.
Mr. Briscoe: Yes, Deputy Corish. I know him so well I was going to say Deputy Brendan. Deputy Corish has asked me what do they stand to lose? Let him ask the Minister that. Of course they stand to lose something.
Mr. S. Collins: The Minister did not indicate anything that they would lose.
Mr. Briscoe: He hopes that nobody will lose anything. He is not recommending an agreement to this House and damning it by saying that everybody is going to lose.
Mr. S. Collins: He did not indicate  one term of the agreement that militated against Seaboard and Western.
Mr. Briscoe: Seaboard and Western are aeroplane owners and operators and they are chartering to this State planes to run under the Aer Línte title, with the Irish flag.
Mr. Collins: And if we do not carry out the agreement, we pay $100,000.
Mr. Briscoe: We charter these planes on an estimated number of passengers to be carried and we pay them so much per round trip. I do not think that that will be the beginning and end of it as far as Seaboard and Western are concerned. They provide the crews. They pay the crews. Do we know what problems they will have with their crews? Do we know whether their estimate is correct or not about their own employment situation? Do we know what their problems will be in servicing, renewals and repairs of planes? Is not that their problem? Obviously they will have some expense in that connection.
Mr. S. Collins: I will swear that they have allowed a reasonable margin for that.
Mr. Rooney: There is £2,000 for that.
Mr. Briscoe: Deputy Rooney says there is £2,000 that will pay for that. In a year?
Mr. Rooney: No, per flight.
Mr. S. Collins: They are getting 5,000 odd dollars per flight.
Mr. Briscoe: I would suggest to the House that so long as Aer Línte was left in existence by our predecessors, so long as they had this money available, so long as there was a great number of people in the country who believed that we should continue our attempt to make as a permanent feature of the life of this country the extension of our aviation services to include a transatlantic air service we should try to develop the service even though it was impossible to consider the establishment of the service on the basis on  which it had been considered before, when we had in fact bought our own planes and were in a position to employ all the crew from beginning to end and run the services exclusively under the control of this Irish company.
There is talk about prestige. There is prestige attaching to everything. When you print a new postage stamp you print it in such a fashion that you want the world to have an idea of the kind of people you are. You try to make them good productions so as to bring prestige to the country.
I would have liked to have heard Deputy Larkin appealing from the point of view of the personnel. I would have liked to have heard him argue that, whatever faults there are in this agreement, there appears to be one in that respect. It appears to me to be a fault that there is no provision whereby we as the chartering company can arrange to have an intake of suitable personnel so that at the end of this four year period we may consider running the service with our own crews. It would be a mistake to charter these planes and to have them manned all the time by crews from outside. At the end of the four-year period, if we were considering starting our own service, we might have to train crews at great expense.
There was a certain amount of money spent in the training of Irish crews, and I can assure Deputy Collins again that the change over from a Constellation to a Skymaster or from a Skymaster to a Constellation requires only a very small amount of extra training.
Mr. S. Collins: I do not consider that it represents any difficulty but I think it is a retrogressive step to go back to a Skymaster.
Mr. Briscoe: I say that it is retrogressive that we have to continue using D.C.3s by Aer Lingus.
Mr. S. Collins: That will be changed very soon.
Mr. Briscoe: When aeroplanes will be available. D.C.4s will be replaced when the replacements are available.  We should long since have got away from D.C.3s. As a matter of fact they are condemned as obsolete in certain parts of the world.
Mr. S. Collins: They are the smaller brother of the Skymaster.
Mr. Briscoe: D.C.3s and D.C.4s are all of the same family. The fact is that there has been such rapid development in air transport that a type of plane can become obsolete in a matter of 24 hours when something new comes to supersede it in many ways. It is suggested that because D.C.4s were not pressurised people would not fly in them. People would fly in a D.C.4 as against a Constellation if the price difference justified them enduring a little less comfort. That is the only difference there is.
Mr. S. Collins: I can remember flying in Aer Lingus planes when they were a lot worse than the D.C.3.
Mr. Briscoe: So can I. I think I can boast of being one of Aer Lingus's earliest customers, and sometimes their sole customer on a plane from Dublin to London. Advances are very rapid in this field. Let us be sensible. It is suggested to us that we should forget the 1948 episodes.
Mr. Rooney: The Minister said that.
Mr. Briscoe: Deputy Larkin said that he did not want us to go back again on it.
Mr. Larkin: I do not mind but you have gone back on it.
Mr. S. Collins: The £450,000 came from the 1948 venture.
Mr. Briscoe: Of course it did and if the planes had been held a bit longer you might have a lot more than £450,000. The machines were purchased for dollars and sold for sterling before devaluation.
Mr. Dillon: Like the timber that was shipped to Belfast.
Mr. Briscoe: These Constellations were bought with dollars.
Mr. Dillon: So was the timber.
Mr. Briscoe: They were sold for sterling before devaluation.
Mr. Dillon: So was the timber.
Mr. Briscoe: No. The Deputy is making a mistake. Devaluation took place a long time ago. The sale of the timber took place only recently. Therefore, the timber was sold after devaluation. Let us be accurate. I am only answering a question put by Deputy Collins. If these planes had been held in our possession for a short period longer they would have realised more sterling than they did realise and we would have more than £450,000 sterling now to operate with.
We are asked not to go back too harshly on our disappointment at what had been done in 1948. Is it not fair for us to ask those people who did that in 1948 at least to be reasonable now and not to damn for all time the possibility of our having an Irish-operated service from this country to America? Do the Deputies not realise that if we had not Aer Lingus in the period of the emergency this country would have been completely isolated. Do people think that we would have got a plane service put at our disposal during the war? It would have been impossible. If we had not our radio and our means of transport to other parts of the world, we would have been as isolated as Deputy Dillon would have wished us to have been.
Mr. Dillon: I was never an isolationist.
Mr. Briscoe: Deputy Dillon is an isolationist in one respect but not in another. We need isolation because we believe in separatism.
Mr. Davin: How did all the fly-boys come in here during that period?
Mr. Briscoe: Deputy Davin asked how did all the fly-boys come in here during that period? Deputy Davin was clearing them at Dún Laoghaire.
Mr. Davin: The lads who ran away from conscription.
Mr. Briscoe: That has nothing to do  with me. I did not run away from conscription.
Mr. S. Collins: That is one accusation will never be made against you.
Mr. Briscoe: The implication was that I had responsibility for some types who came in here during the war.
Mr. Davin: No.
Mr. Briscoe: Why ask me the question then?
Mr. Davin: You know they came in.
Mr. Briscoe: I knew what came in and what went out.
Breanndán Mac Fheórais: The two of you are always asking questions anyway.
Mr. Briscoe: If the Deputy would take his hand from his mouth, perhaps I might be able to understand what he says.
Breanndán Mac Fheórais: I said that the two of you were always asking and answering questions.
Mr. Briscoe: I am not asking a question, I am answering it.
Mr. Dillon: This has developed into a very illuminating discussion.
Mr. Briscoe: I want it to be illuminating. I believe in a service connecting us with the United States under the control of the State. There is another matter which I want to ask the Minister and perhaps Deputy Larkin might have thought of it also. We are talking of a service from the States to Shannon and to Europe. I happen to know that if our Constellations had not been sold, they could have been used in what was termed a shuttle service. They could have brought people from America to Shannon, and other European companies would have brought them to other parts of Europe. It might be possible in order that there would be less danger of our plans being by-passed because people want to travel further into Europe, to have some shuttle arrangement between this chartered  company and Aer Línte and other companies operating from Shannon, to bring passegers further on into Europe. That could have been done if we had our Constellations. When the Korean war broke out, the American Government commandeered a big number of passenger planes for war service and that position has not been rectified yet. Perhaps if this shuttle service were arranged, it might improve the situation and render less likely a loss on this service. In conclusion I want to ask Deputy Larkin when he speaks about paying unemployed people £5 per week for doing nothing as being a better investment than taking the risk involved in this service, does he remember the people who were dismissed when the other scheme was closed down and when the Lockheed workshops were abandoned? He does not realise apparently that the livelihood of 600 people was at stake in the closing down of these workshops. If we could have continued the personnel of these services in employment, some hundreds of them, would it not be better than paying out £5 per week to them for nothing?
Mr. Dillon: The outstanding feature of our deliberations in regard to this Supplementary Estimate is that we are being asked to approve of an agreement the contents of which nobody knows. I think it is a dramatic revelation that Deputy Briscoe enters the fray in its defence and hopefully inquires whether the potentialities of this agreement for the carrying of freight have been adequately investigated and Deputy Larkin intervenes to say that the Minister in introducing this Supplementary Estimate did so far reveal the contents of the agreement as to say that the company with which the agreement is to be made in America proposes to maintain and continue its own freight service independent of the agreement. So Deputy Briscoe is constrained to drop that part of his argument.
Mr. Briscoe: I did not drop it. It can still be investigated.
Mr. Dillon: I thought Deputy Larkin proceeded, as I certainly did, on the assumption that the first concern  of the Minister for Industry and Commerce when he embarked on these negotiations, was to ensure that Irish pilots and an Irish flight staff would be employed exclusively; we assume that it was because he found he could not achieve that that he had to take second best. I cannot imagine an Irish Minister for Industry and Commerce, negotiating for the establishment of an Irish transatlantic air service, and starting from the position that he did not want Irish pilots or an Irish flight staff. Any practical man such as Deputy Larkin who has experience of negotiations, any businessman such as myself or any rational person, must have a certain sympathy with the Minister who is striving to make this agreement. If he wants to get the exclusive or even the partial employment of an Irish flight staff, and brings this arrangement before the House as the best he could do, I should be astonished if it were conceivably possible that the Minister had not strived might and main to get an entirely Irish flight staff and, if that were not possible, to get a 50-50 arrangement. Therefore, when Deputy Briscoe tells us that under this agreement we should investigate the possibility of having the aircraft staffed by an Irish staff, I think the House might legitimately query the Minister as to how it was possible to proceed to this stage of the negotiations without raising that issue.
Mr. Briscoe: I gave the reasons.
Mr. Dillon: Deputy Briscoe cannot be so innocent as not to know that it would be a brutally offensive thing to make that suggestion to the Minister for Industry and Commerce. Does Deputy Briscoe seriously say to his own Minister that if he did not raise that question of an Irish personnel that he had better——
Mr. Briscoe: I did not say that.
Mr. Dillon: Is that not what Deputy Briscoe's representations amount to? I assume, and I am taking it that Deputy Larkin assumes, that the Minister made every possible effort to get that.
Mr. Burke: A number of Irish workers lost their employment when  the other planes were sold out of the country
Mr. S. Collins: And a number of widows could not sell their oats.
Mr. Dillon: Deputy Briscoe throws a flood of light on all this business. The Minister did not tell us anything of the urgent necessity to make some kind of agreement in order to salvage the operational licence.
Mr. Briscoe: Why did you not extinguish Aer Línte?
Mr. Dillon: Deputy Briscoe has begun to illuminate the whole situation. He has given us more information in a quarter of an hour than the Minister gave us in all the speeches he made.
Mr. Davin: He read the agreement.
Mr. Briscoe: I did not read the agreement. I want to protest against the disorderly suggestion that I had seen this agreement which is a State document. I want the Deputy to be asked to withdraw that statement.
Mr. Davin: It is a tribute to your influence.
Acting-Chairman (Mr. Beirne): It is not a State document, in any event.
Mr. Briscoe: I want the Deputy to withdraw the statement that I have seen the agreement.
Mr. Davin: It is a tribute to your influence.
Mr. Briscoe: You say that I saw it. That is not so.
Mr. Dillon: Deputy Briscoe has thrown a flood of light on these negotiations because he now tells us that he has information that one of the powerful incentives behind the Minister's negotiations——
Mr. Briscoe: I did not say that. I said I knew that any person who was licensed by this international body had to comply with certain things. That is public property.
Mr. Dillon: Deputy Briscoe knew, and the rest of us did not know, that the Minister for Industry and Commerce was under the urgent spur of knowledge that, if the operating licence which Aer Línte holds was not to expire, some agreement had to be made with somebody to get flights operated on whatever terms we could get them operated.
Mr. Briscoe: Or do it ourselves.
Mr. Dillon: Somehow or another flights had to be inaugurated. Now, here we have a flood of light on the whole background to this business. Deputy Briscoe says everybody associated with aeronautics is possessed of the information — that it is common knowledge to anyone in that business. Here, then, was our Minister going into negotiations with a firm long-established in aeronautics, fixed with notice, as Deputy Briscoe tells us, that he was in a strait-jacket and had to get an agreement, the terms of which were to operate flights or lose the licence. Now we know why this agreement is being made. Now we know why there will be no Irish pilots, and why we are to pay for the losses and are not to know what is to become of the profits. We know why, before a flight takes place, the American company has to get a lump sum every time the aircraft leaves the ground. Is it to be £5,000 for one type of aircraft and £10,000 for another? Whether it carries one passenger or 20 passengers or no passengers we are to pay.
Mr. Briscoe: I believe it must carry one passenger.
Mr. Dillon: Or perhaps one mailbag and the mailbag may contain only one postcard. Mails are not deemed to be freight as far as I know. If the Deputy has something to say about mails he might have a helpful suggestion to make to the Minister. But now we know the true genesis of this air agreement. It is, according to Deputy Briscoe, the desperate and necessary step to prevent the operating licence lapsing without the prospect of renewal. That immediately explains to  us why the agreement is not fit for public perusal and why those parts of it which have been revealed are of so remarkably one-sided a character.
I observe and I am sorry that Deputy McGrath, of Cork, has left us. Deputy McGrath intervened here a few days ago with a break in his voice and a tear in his eye to ask the Minister for Industry and Commerce to give the House an estimate of the profits we had lost through not operating the Constellations since 1948 when the Minister was informing the House of the nature of the proposals for operating a transatlantic air service. I wonder did Deputy McGrath get a serious shock when he read the format of the Supplementary Estimate, because the £10 bespoken is not for the operating costs and it is not for the outlay, but it is to meet the losses on transatlantic aeroplanes.
Mr. Briscoe: And certain other expenditure.
Mr. Dillon: The format of the Supplementary Estimate is to meet losses. I am sure that distresses Deputy McGrath. Deputy McGrath often gets distressed and he recovers, but what is concerning me to-day is this: Certain Deputies have pointed out that if we get committed to the terms of this agreement which has been entered into, as Deputy Briscoe has explained to us, in a very exceptional kind of emergency, principally for the purpose of salvaging the operating licence from extinction——
Mr. Briscoe: Do not overdo it. It might be ten years from now.
Mr. Dillon: Deputy Briscoe said that he was telling us what everybody in the aeronautic business knew. They knew all these things but the rest of the population does not know. They do not know their A B and C or two times two. I do not profess to have that intimate knowledge of the details of this business which Deputy Briscoe tells us he has. Mind you, the Minister for Industry and Commerce was not very anxious to hold himself out as being the well-informed expert on this matter that Deputy Briscoe is, because  he did not dwell on this aspect of the present situation at all. He did not tell us what Deputy Briscoe has told us about the licence threatening to perish——
Mr. Briscoe: I did not say that.
Mr. Dillon: ——and that that would leave him handicapped in the whole business.
Mr. Briscoe: The Deputy should try to be a little bit serious.
Mr. Dillon: I am very serious about this because what I see is that, under an agreement entered into in these emergency conditions, the American companies had the opportunity to get everything. They were in a position to demand everything. All they had to do was to hold out.
Mr. Briscoe: There is another side to that, too.
Mr. Dillon: The position is that we are to undertake not only the losses here envisaged, but that we are to become engaged in an enterprise, the annual losses of which will become a charge on the Exchequer of this country. We must remember this, that whenever there is a charge on the Exchequer it has to be paid from somewhere. Every single one of these charges is introduced into this House by the Minister for Industry and Commerce or the Minister for Social Welfare, the Minister for Health or the Minister for Education. Each Minister has to come into the House with his charge which has to be paid, and there is only one source from which to get it, and that is the land. The only way the land can get the means to pay is by selling its produce not on a protected market but on the most competitive, free-trade market in the world.
I warn this House again, that the land of this country is carrying a relatively high standard of social services; it is carrying high educational charges, high health charges and a pretty high standard of living for everyone in this country who is not living on the land. It does not provide a very high standard of living for those who get their living on the land. But, if you go on and add to that burden of cost,  prestige payments made on foot of this agreement and what will flow from such an agreement as this, you will break the camel's back. Deputies speak very eloquently about the Shannon Airport and its triumphant survival. Would any Deputy care to give an estimate of what the cost to this country is of keeping the Shannon Airport open, and tell us what is the net annual loss which has to be met out of our Exchequer every year to keep the Shannon Airport open after we have collected all the fees that we can collect, and after we have collected every penny that we can get from every air company using the Shannon Airport? After we have done all that, what has the Irish Exchequer to put down every year? I do not know.
Mr. Briscoe: It is published in the annual accounts.
Mr. Dillon: The Deputy knows all about this?
Mr. Briscoe: I am speaking with some responsibility and knowledge.
Mr. Dillon: How much does it cost our taxpayers to keep Shannon Airport open after we have collected and brought to account all the fees and all the payments that we collect from every source in respect of services rendered there?
Mr. Briscoe: How much is it?
Mr. Dillon: That is what I am asking.
An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Briscoe might allow Deputy Dillon to proceed.
Mr. Dillon: Then I will address the question to the Minister for Industry and Commerce and ask him to be kind enough to give us that figure for the last ten years so that Deputies may appreciate the significance of the points made by more than one Deputy in the course of the debate. It is not £450,000 we are talking about losing; it is the entry into a commitment which will certainly develop into an annual charge which must ultimately  be met out of the profits earned on the land and from which it will be extremely difficult to withdraw once it has been established as part of our annual services.
I want to make another point which came as a revelation to me. For 18 months or more I have listened to hysterics from the Fianna Fáil Party as to how the Constellations were sold and the proceeds dissipated. The Minister for Finance told us that every hen roost was robbed, that there was not a penny in the Exchequer, that he was at his wits' end as to how to pay the civil servants. Now we discover to our amazement that there was £1,450,000 in reserve which came into our hands in 1948. While we were supposed to be robbing every hen roost, scattering the people's substance, leaving not a penny unspent anywhere, it appears that we put £1,450,000 on one side on which the Minister for Industry and Commerce now can put his hand and without levying a penny on the Exchequer, according to his own tale, enter into all the commitments of this agreement with the assurance that it will cost nobody anything, because, as he said, “my predecessor, the former Minister for Industry and Commerce, left £1,450,000 on one side which was lent to the Exchequer free of interest and now the Exchequer is just paying it back and as a result we can enter into these commitments without risking one penny of the taxpayers' money.”
How do these two stories hang together? Why did the Minister campaign the whole country and persuade the members of his own Party that their predecessors in office dissipated the public store, plundered every reserve, squandered every available penny and then ramble in here casually and say: “We propose to enter into commitments amounting to £450,000, but it will cost nobody anything because our predecessors in office laid it on one side and had it there for us when we wanted to put our hands on it.”
Much as I admired the financial acumen of my colleague, Deputy McGilligan, heretofore, and many is the time I have joked him about the  success with which he laid nest eggs aside and had them available for any emergency that might arise, I confess that that is one nest egg he managed to put by that escaped me, and I discovered many nest eggs and drew them forth. Deputy MacBride often had his eye on Deputy McGilligan's concealed nest eggs, but I do not know that he ever knew of this. It took our successors to discover yet another reserve created for the taxpayers of this country by Deputy McGilligan who has been denounced by these fellows.
Mr. Briscoe: The Deputy did not know that there was £1,000,000 on loan free of interest?
Mr. Dillon: I only learned that yesterday from the Minister for Industry and Commerce.
Mr. Briscoe: How is it you did not know?
Mr. Dillon: I did not know. It was one of the many reserves which Deputy McGilligan as Minister created for the benefit of our people and laid by to have there in case an emergency should ever arise. It was not the only one, but it must be very nearly the only one I did not manage to discover by protracted research while I was his colleague. Look at the cynical laughter of the Deputies who assailed that man as the most profligate Minister for Finance we ever had in this country, who robbed every hen roost, dissipated every reserve, spent every penny. Every penny the Minister has appropriated under this agreement is money laid by by Deputy McGilligan against the rainy day.
Now these Deputies are as proud as a cat with two tails. They are swaggering up and down the Dáil proclaiming that they are about to perform the miracle of negotiating with an American company on the basis that they had to make an agreement or lose their licence. That is what Deputy Briscoe tells us. Without any difficulty they were able to make an agreement which would cost the taxpayers nothing. I never saw any body of people who can more effectively emulate the crow who borrowed the  feathers from the peacock's tail and dazzled his neighbours by walking up and down and waving the three feathers to show that there are bigger and better crows than ever before. They are as proud as a cat with two tails. They are not a bit ashamed of it, although both tails have been supplied by Deputy McGilligan. They would be going around like Manx cats with no tail only for him.
I want to sound a warning in regard to this matter. You are all very anxious to maintain Shannon Airport in existence. You propose to operate a transatlantic line serving passengers desiring to come to Ireland. Supposing you were told that the transatlantic airlines shuttling between Europe and the United States had decided to land passengers at Portland, Maine, or Key West, Florida, would you not think the operators must be daft? Some 90 per cent. of the passengers travelling desire to get to New York to stay there or to depart to other centres, but just for the purpose of vexing them the American companies deliver them at Portland, 1,000 miles north of New York, or Key West, 1,000 miles south of New York and let them get to New York any way they like.
Mr. Briscoe: They would charge for the extra 1,000 miles.
Mr. Dillon: Most of us who go to New York are going there on business. Those who can go to Florida for fun, I suppose will go. I am talking about 90 per cent. of the passengers. Perhaps 10 per cent. might prefer to be delivered at Florida. Some of them may want to go to Portland, Maine, but the bulk of them would want to go to New York. What would you think of an American air company which would state: “We will not take you to New York. We will bring you to Portland, Maine, or to Key West. Florida, but there is one place in America we will not deliver you and that is in New York.” Can you imagine what the passenger would say? “Why will you not take us to New York? Have you not got as good an airport there as in Portland, Maine, or Key West, Florida?” The answer would be: “If anything, we have a  better one in New York.”“Then why will you not take us to New York?” and the answer will be: “Because we just will not.”
What about the people who say: “We want to go and visit Ireland. We have hotel reservations in Dublin and we want to see the beauty spots of the country. Why do you want to deliver us to Shannon? We have trunks and luggage and you tell us we have to get out and drive 120 miles to Dublin?” The answer is: “Yes, unless you can pick up a plane to take you to Dublin.” They say: “We have to shift our luggage.” The answer is: “You will do it and you will like it.”
If there are passengers coming on transatlantic air services who want to fly to Dublin, do you think it is possible to say to them: “We will not bring you to Dublin; you can cycle to Dublin, or bus it or train it to Dublin, or transfer into a local plane or go in a helicopter but there is one thing certain and that is you will not go in the plane you are sitting in. We are going to hoosh you out when you get to Limerick whether you like it or not.” Do you think that is possible? Is that within the sphere of practical politics? Will that contribute to the success of an Irish transatlantic air line?
Mr. Davin: We have silenced him.
Mr. Briscoe: Who?
Mr. Davin: You.
Mr. Briscoe: We are waiting for the sentence to be finished.
Mr. Dillon: I speak with some knowledge on this particular problem. Shannon Airport is kept in operation by our insistence on clauses in a variety of agreements made with other Governments that if one of their planes crosses the territory of Ireland there is an obligation upon it to call at Shannon. We have had to invoke that agreement several times in order to prevent aircraft from over-flying Ireland. On several occasions when the Irish Government had to invoke the terms of that agreement requiring aircraft to call at Shannon the answer the airlines made was: “We do regard  it as a hardship to land at Shannon. Let us land at Collinstown and we will do that most readily. There will be no difficulty about that. We would welcome taking in Dublin.” Then going on they would say: “We do ask to be released from the obligation of calling at Shannon.”
I ask Deputies who believe that these agreements are designed to contribute to the development and prosperity of Shannon Airport to conceive themselves sitting in a booking office in New York, Chicago or San Francisco and telling potential passengers: “Yes, we will be glad to carry you to Ireland but we will not bring you to Dublin. No, sirree! We will land you at Shannon Airport. Out you get and you can go on from there whatever way you like. That is your funeral.”
Mr. Briscoe: What about Corkmen coming to Ireland?
Mr. Dillon: I would say that Dublin would be much more convenient for them than Limerick. Personally, I think the time is overdue when internal air services should be provided between Cork, Dublin and Galway. I do not think that development can be long delayed. As I said before, in regard to transatlantic passengers travelling on American airlines, it is true that 5 per cent. may want to go to Portland, Maine, and 5 per cent. may want to go to Key West, Florida, but we have got to cater for the 90 per cent. who want to go to New York. If there are objectively-minded Deputies in this Dáil they should ask themselves the question: of the passengers booked under this agreement for transport to Ireland, where will 90 per cent. of them want to go? — when you consider the rail facilities for a variety of inland points, when you consider the road facilities for points along the west coast of Ireland, the south, and so forth. Where are all the facilities necessary for people who are going to their own homes in Ireland? Add to those people the people coming to Ireland to see the capital city and to go for trips from thence out to places of interest in the country at large, and picture the booking office that tells them: “We will  carry you to Shannon, but you are going to get out of the aeroplane there if we have to carry you out.” What answer would any of us give if we were asked this question: “You have certainly got a suitable airport at Collinstown. Why will you not bring us there?” Remember we have got to answer them: “We will not bring you.”
Mr. Briscoe: You need a second airport. Collinstown is overworked already.
Mr. Dillon: That is going to be the answer we will have to make.
Mr. Briscoe: You need a second airport in Dublin.
Mr. MacBride: Collinstown is capable of expansion.
Mr. Briscoe: Yes but it is overloaded. Summer season's alterations are in progress for next season.
Mr. Dillon: We are being asked to approve an agreement that nobody will be allowed to see. We have now discovered that our Minister had to enter into negotiations in connection with this agreement while the other parties to it had the knowledge that was common to everybody familiar with aeronautical affairs that our Minister had to make an agreement.
Mr. Briscoe: He had not to make an agreement with them.
Mr. Dillon: He had to make an agreement with somebody and they insisted on a right to carry on as they are doing at present to the very real detriment of any hope Deputy Briscoe had of bringing a freight element into that transatlantic plan. We presume, although Deputy Briscoe appears to doubt it, that our Minister fought tooth and nail to get Irish personnel, Irish pilots and operational staff, but he could not get one. We have to provide the air hostesses and booking facilities. Deputy Briscoe has been making revelations and we are proceeding on the assumption, which I think is a legitimate assumption, that the Minister for Industry and Commerce fought as powerfully as he could to get Irish operational staff employed and  that if he could have got them employed within the four corners of the agreement he would have got them employed. The fact that he has not got them employed is evidence that he could not get them injected into this agreement. Deputy Briscoe says that that is a very reckless assumption. I regard it as sensible.
Deputy Briscoe went on to tell us— he will correct me if I am wrong — that the Minister found himself in the position that he had to operate some kind of service across the Atlantic at a reasonably early date or his licence to operate a service at all would wither away.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy went over all that before.
Mr. Dillon: The Minister has just arrived.
An Ceann Comhairle: It does not matter. You have repeated all that for the Minister and repetition is not allowed.
Mr. Dillon: I thought the Minister would wish to deal with it. I ask one specific question. Perhaps the Minister could give us the answer to it off the cuff. What is the actual net cost after crediting all the fees we receive on operating the Shannon Airport at present? Does the Minister recall the answer?
Mr. Lemass: I would require notice of that.
Mr. Dillon: It is a fairly substantial annual charge. We have at least discovered now, thanks to the good offices of Deputy Briscoe, the real explanation. The Minister is salvaging his licence to operate and he is accepting what terms he can get. I think he is paying too high a price in this agreement for the purpose he has in mind. I think it is a foolish thing to dissipate the £1,450,000 that Deputy McGilligan laid by when he was Minister for Finance to meet some future emergency, more especially as I believe this investment will involve us in a recurrent annual loss which ultimately must come from the land. The Minister has said that he still retains an open mind. He is quite prepared to mend his hand even at this eleventh hour.
 Deputy Briscoe pointed out that an agreement which forbids in effect the operation of a freight service because the other contracting parties to the agreement wish to retain their own freight service and an agreement which forbids the employment of Irish operational personnel is scarcely worth signing. If we add to that that we have to pay £5,000 or £10,000 each time one of these aircraft leaves the ground, with no guarantee at all that there will be any passengers on it and merely so long as it flies to schedule, and if we add to that the prospect of the vested interest growing which will demand the financing of an annual loss in the years to come, whatever the loss may be, I ask the Minister what are we getting out of this? Beyond flying the flag, what do we hope to get out of it? How will the Minister resist the pressure that is bound to grow to permit these aircraft to fly to Collinstown where 90 per cent. of the passengers will want to disembark.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy said all that before.
Mr. Dillon: I have summarised it now.
An Ceann Comhairle: Summarising is not in order.
Mr. Dillon: Upon my word, the more I hear about this the more convinced I am that of all the daft things to which Fianna Fáil have put their hands in the past, and they have put their hands to many daft things, this is the daftest. I would exhort them to turn the £1,450,000 Deputy McGilligan left them to some more useful purpose than the negotiation of an agreement which nobody is allowed to read and which Deputy Briscoe tells us is very much of an emergency character and so full of flaws that he finds it in his heart extremely difficult to support the proposition unless the Minister is in a position to reassure him that radical alterations will be made.
Mr. Briscoe: I must have been asleep when I said that.
Mr. Burke: Deputy Dillon is a past-master in the art of misrepresentation.  I do not know any Deputy who can misrepresent facts so cleverly as Deputy Dillon does. In his speech this morning he cried for the taxpayer, for the people on the land and for everybody in the country. There was hardly anybody for whom he did not shed a tear. Does the Deputy want an airline service? Does he want Collinstown and Shannon squashed completely?
Mr. Davin: He is in favour of Collinstown anyway.
Mr. Burke: Listening to the contributions of the Opposition Deputies one is led to conclude that they do not want the country to progress. We must remain at anchor while other nations are forging ahead. We must make no progress. Every time an intelligent Minister with sufficient vision tries to take the long view and do something progressive the same tactics are adopted by the Opposition. It is no wonder that progress was retarded economically and politically when one hears the short-sighted policy of the Opposition and the narrow viewpoint they adopt.
Mr. Davin: We left you £1,450,000 free and you did not know that until now.
Mr. Burke: We have Deputies who are representing the interests of our workers who are against anything of a progressive nature. One Deputy representing the workers said it would be better to give £5 per week to every unemployed man in the country, but he forgot to advert to the fact that when the money ran out the man would still be out of employment. When one hears statements like that one is prompted to ponder on the type of mentality that makes them. Deputies have pleaded here for Irish pilots. They did not plead for them in 1948 when the best of our pilots had to leave Collinstown and seek employment with other airline services throughout the world. There was no weeping then. There is no mention to-day of the people who were disemployed in 1948.
Every attempt that is made at progress is described by the Opposition Deputies as a Fianna Fáil ramp. They  are past masters at misrepresentation and they will be on their feet again down the country with the same misrepresentation of fact. I wish the Minister well in his project. This country owes the Minister a good deal. I hope he will remain with us for many years to come. He has proved himself to be the most competent and the most efficient Minister for Industry and Commerce that we have ever had.
No man investing money in an undertaking expects to get his money out of that undertaking in two, ten or 20 years. It may take him 50 years but when he enters the undertaking he is looking not to the present but to the future. The people who are now misrepresenting the Minister's action on this occasion are the same people who misrepresented the tourist industry in the past and who described our hotels as white elephants. Subsequently they realised that the tourist industry had a value and in time they came to appreciate its worth. If we want to go ahead we must keep in line with other countries and we must keep in touch with world services so far as our airlines are concerned. Their contribution reminds me of the farmer who was advised to get a tractor. When he saw the tractor working he said: “No. We will not bother. My grandfather used the plough and my father used the plough.”
Mr. S. Collins: You mean the horse.
Mr. Burke: “My grandfather and my father used the horse and plough and I think the tractor would be bad for us.” If that unprogressive outlook is to be the dominating factor in the approach of the Opposition to every proposal then I hope the country will realise the position. I hope the country will realise the attitude of the Opposition towards every progressive scheme or project of this nature. I will leave the Opposition to the judgment of the honest-to-God people of Ireland. Some day they will see where their short-sighted policy would lead us.
I wish the Minister good luck in his job. He is doing it well and Ireland will repay him.
Mr. S. Collins: I do not think that  this discussion lends itself to the many gyrations that have taken place during its brief length. I think it is in the best interests of the situation, as it is presented to us by the Minister, to try and approach it basically and factually in an objective way. That is what tempted me in the course of the Minister's speech yesterday to ask a certain question. I do not think that we can completely divorce this present project from a previous project which was wound up by the Minister's predecessor in office. I think we can discuss it not on the basis of national unctuous balderdash such as was given to us by Deputy Burke, not in the spirit of the survival even of Shannon Airport, but purely on the question on what its economic potential is likely to be. I intend to demonstrate in a completely unimpassioned way the reasons for my doubts and for my saying that the Government should not proceed with this agreement. It is naive of the Minister for Industry and Commerce to come in here and to describe this sum of £457,000 — which accrued as a profit as a result of an investment of money directly obtained from the Exchequer — as not being the people's money. In fact, this is one of the few occasions on which I find the Minister for Industry and Commerce not his usual truculent, vehement, assertive self. The Minister for Industry and Commerce has conceived a technique of debate in which, where he has a grip of a problem and a belief in it, even if that belief is erroneous, he can give it that air of truculent assertiveness that can nearly sell a story. On this occasion that particular dominant feature of the Minister's approach is absent. I am suggesting in a realistic way to a man who is capable of a shrewd business assessment that he himself does not believe in this proposition which he has voiced to the House. I am quite sure that nobody is more aware than the Minister himself is of the many dangers and the many punitive clauses contained in this agreement to the detriment of the very venture. It seems chaotic to me.
Possibly the particular chaos that has arisen may find its reality in the unwitting and unguarded admission by  Deputy Briscoe that this agreement was entered into in a difficult situation in which time was running against Aer Línte to maintain this transatlantic operational licence and in which the other party to the contract was aware of the difficulty and was, therefore, able to insist on terms that otherwise would not be considered. If that is so, I think we are very ill-advised and that it is a very ill-judged action to grasp at such an agreement. We have to analyse realistically the minimum number required to give each separate flight a pay load. We should be able to get a clear picture from the Minister as to what loads are likely to be attracted in seasonal peak periods and the likely minimum falling-off in the off-season period. We should have been able to get details to enable us to view this picture in its proper setting. We should know whether there will be a possibility of freight development, whether there will be a possibility of mail-carrying by this line from Ireland to America — whether there are other potentialities behind the bare passenger-carrying necessity — that might encourage us to believe not that this would ever be an economic success but that some day it might attain the stage of being even self-supporting. The Minister is well aware that what is vital to our consideration of this whole scheme is the real likelihood of passenger potential, the minimum number of people that will have to travel on a flight to make that flight remunerative, the periods of the year during which we are likely to have a sufficient number of passengers to make it remunerative and the likely balance in the first year and the second year as against loss. That cannot be done on the broad basis of an estimated figure. It will have to be broken down into the realistic position of letting us know exactly the likely cost per seat on these runs, the maximum carrying capacity of each Skymaster aircraft and whether there is any possibility of insufficiently-filled passenger planes being used to carry either a priority type of light freight mails, or other matters for transport, that might alleviate the strain of cost. If we want to give even a fair run  to this scheme we must know these facts.
The agreement presents itself to me as a rather expedient type of agreement. It has all the characteristics of Aer Línte's being forced into a situation where its back was to the wall.
I am completely ad idem with Deputy Briscoe on one thing, that if we start such a project at all we should start it with Irish personnel. I am going to be fair to the Minister, as I believe the Minister did approach this problem himself in an effort to ensure that Irish personnel would operate these planes. The Minister might be frank to the House and explain to us what difficulties arose or what circumstances forced him to accept an agreement in which you had a hybrid situation, of Irish personnel operating one facet of the line and foreign pilots of God knows what nationality or origin operating the planes. It becomes of really serious import to the general situation and the general approach to the agreement to know what were the activating and motivating influences that caused that acceptance by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. He himself, in his opening remarks, indicated that he was still in contact with many of the personnel who had been trained for transatlantic airflying and who had the certificates necessary and the recognition necessary to allow them to operate within the convention of the licence holder that was operating a transatlantic flight. What was the difficulty that prevented us chartering the planes as planes and operating them ourselves outside the actual charge hire for the planes? Was there any compelling factor that made it more useful to charter on the broad basis of incorporating maintenance personnel, flying personnel, supply personnel and all the various commitments in connection with fuel, spare-parts and so on? Was there some oppressive, weighty reason that forced us to accept that kind of proposition, as distinct from a proposition in which, if we had to charter planes, at least we would be able to develop and maintain the control and management, the general  security and safety precautions of these planes ourselves?
That is the feature that is giving me most worry. I realise that there are two reasons, in the main, behind this scheme. There is a good deal of pique and maybe childish irritation in the Government that the 1948 scheme was scotched. I believe, rightly or wrongly, that a transatlantic airline owned and operated by an Irish company is never likely to be an economic success, never likely to be an enduring economic success, and for that reason the only way one might ever justify its establishment is that of prestige. We are very anxious — I myself personally, and I am quite sure most Deputies — for the development of national prestige where it comes within a reasonable ambit of what the country can afford; but can we envisage a situation where, particularly with the economic difficulties that exist at present, we can justify to the Irish people the seeking of such prestige at this moment and seeking it with transatlantic aircraft that, at their best, can be described as rapidly becoming obsolescent?
There is no doubt at all about it that if the supply of planes were readily available, even to the company with which we are entering into this charter agreement, to substitute alternative planes for the Skymaster, that they would in fact be substituted. From the safety angle alone — and it is time we stressed the safety angle alone — that would be done. Deputy Briscoe purports to know an awful lot about aircraft and I suppose that, with members of his family qualified in this line, he may have a family circle in which there is discussion on it; but he deliberately avoided some inherent dangers that must inevitably attach to Skymaster aircraft, particularly in off-season weather. They are not pressurised; we are told that; they cannot, if the emergency arises, make for the altitude that might get another type of plane out of difficulties that can arise.
It is true that they have a very airworthy and safe record in transatlantic work, but the tendency and the mind  of people approaching air travel to-day can be safely summarised by saying they approach it to get the fastest, most modern and most up-to-date type of aircraft to carry them when they are spending their money on a fare to cross the Atlantic. I do not think that this particular type of plane will create that attraction. I certainly think that we are making a shabby entry into transatlantic air competition, if we are going to make an entry at all, by confining our efforts to the tourist class.
I was wondering if it were not possible for the Minister — even if he was forced into circumstances in which this type of agreement had to be entered into — to ensure at least a plane being made available that would give us a chance of competing in the top-class passenger trade, even if it were only to the extent of one run a week during the off season and two round trips a week during the peak season, thus giving us an opportunity to feel for ourselves in a real way the potential of the first-class passenger trade. There is no doubt about it, that with all the optimistic outlook in the world and with all the bright hopes that we can cherish, on a purely tourist basis we cannot expect to attract anything like the volume of traffic that the Minister says is necessary to make this venture a success. You have to remember that in the tourist season you will have to compete with all the various other companies using a more modern type of planes on tourist runs, too.
I am not taking the view, and never did, that we should damn a thing for the sake of damning it. I want to get from the Minister some kind of a realistic picture in facts and figures that might lead us to the conclusion that ultimately this could become an economic proposition. I would like to know from the Minister the real likelihood or the real probability regarding the date of delivery of the substitute Constellations for these Skymasters. I want to know from the Minister whether or not in the development of this project it is contemplated having a gradual infiltration of Irish personnel into the ranks of the pilots, operators and trained personnel that will operate  these aircraft. I want to know if the State company entering into this contractual obligation has made the necessary arrangement whereby, as vacancies occur, there will be a preferential right to employment for Irish people in the replacement of crews.
This agreement, in general, presents such a lax and loose system of association that it becomes more and more apparent to me that it is of vital interest that the agreement should be revealed in its full significance. Instead of chartering each plane as the situation arises, we are taking a continuous charter which is to run over a number of years and in which we guarantee a minimum number of charters per week and are allowed to move up to a maximum number in the peak season. There is a penal clause in the agreement, as the Minister explained, whereby, if we neglect to do certain things, the axe comes down and we have to pay a fine of $100,000.
I pressed the Minister, and I now press him deliberately, to indicate if there are any safeguards for Aer Línte in this agreement. Is there an assurance that Seaboard and Western Airlines will not cut across whatever minor freight traffic they might be able to operate as an integral part of the passenger service and that Aer Línte will not be prevented specifically from going in for that type of development? Is there a counter-assurance that Seaboard and Western Airlines will not charter planes to a group of people who might ultimately be in opposition to Aer Línte? Let us conceive a situation in which the flight of the Gaels is reversed and a number of Irish people, for the purposes of some international competition or game — something like an All-Ireland Football Final or Hurling Final in America again. Could a situation arise in which Seaboard and Western Airlines could give one of their planes on charter in competition with what might be our tourist line of Skymasters.
All these matters enter into this and it must be analysed — I am trying to do it in a completely non-political way — as a business proposition. Unless these  safeguards are there, the agreement will amount virtually to this: “We will allow you to operate our transatlantic operational licences and we will pay the piper.” If we have not got safeguards of a very strong character to ensure that this is not a one-sided or lopsided agreement, the Minister should be frank and tell us so. If he does so and tells us that these safeguards are not there, the House will be able to look on this agreement in all its naked reality, as an expedient, ill-advised and ill-judged.
It is easy to say here that not a penny of the taxpayers' money is involved. This profit was made as a result of direct subvention of money from the Exchequer to Aer Rianta. The collective decision of the inter-Party Government was that there was not likely to be the potential for an airline, and at that time we were in a better position to judge than now, because there was less competition than now, but, as a result of their scotching the idea of transatlantic airline, a profit of £457,000 accrued to the Exchequer. That profit was made on the people's money and no method of calculation or tricky finance can alter the fact that it is a gain properly accruing to the benefit of the Exchequer in the circumstances which arose.
There is no doubt that, no matter how you may juggle with the idea of its being given back to the Exchequer interest free against a possible future contingency, it is the people's money, earned by way of profit from the investment of the people's money, because every penny piece of the money in Aer Rianta or in Aer Línte was, as the Minister told us, subscribed to the exclusion of the £1 or whatever was the stipulated figure to become a director of the company. No matter what name you give to it, there is going to be a subvention back to this venture of £457,000. Are we using that to the best advantage of the Irish people? That is a problem which is fundamental to the main and basic issue in this argument.
The Minister cannot — and, in fairness to him, let it be said that he did not — hold out any prospect of immense success for this scheme. It is going to be a kind of last fling to see whether it is possible to justify an international airline. I feel, and I say it not in any spirit of political opposition but in a spirit of seeking to estimate its business potential, that, if this scheme were to be operated at all, this is the very way it should not be operated. We are going into a highly competitive field, with not the most attractive type of aircraft, no matter what their safety record may be or what their airworthiness may be. We are going into a trade which is to be a tourist class trade only and which is not going to give you any real idea of the potentialities of a first-class passenger carrying business.
I want the Minister to say whether it was not possible, when negotiating the agreement, to ensure that, if most of the planes must operate on the tourist trade, there would have been some plane available for even one or two round trips per week so as to give us an indication of what the earning potential of first-class passenger operation on the best type of aircraft would be. I feel that this is ill-judged, ill-timed and ill-advised and that we are not doing justice to the idea itself. If Fianna Fáil and the Government believe in the concept of a transatlantic airline, surely they cannot believe that this is the best way to try to break into it?
If this conception is to be carried into effect as a plan it cannot be better done, I earnestly suggest to even the most rabid advocate of a transatlantic airline on the basis now suggested, a basis on which we have penal conditions attaching to our side of the contract, conditions whereby we have to supply all the personnel necessary in connection with booking, and so on, and pay the rents of offices here and there where we propose to establish ticket-selling bureaux. I can readily imagine that these will be necessary in New York, Boston, and perhaps other cities in the United States of America where there is a strong proportion of Irish people.
We have to undertake all that type of expenditure in connection with a  limited type of service, consisting of tourist traffic only, with machines that I venture to suggest, not in any spirit of acrimony or criticism, will be less attractive even to tourist passengers. Like many other Deputies I have spent an occasional summer's evening at Shannon Airport watching planes coming and going. I have seen planes from the scheduled, highly-advertised, high sales-pressured passenger traffic de luxe planes down to the chartered planes of the type we are now discussing. These chartered planes arrive with loads of displaced people or people of that character. I have seen the contrasts between these different types of planes and I come into this House to make the suggestion in an earnest way to the Minister that if a beginning were to be made in this at all, it certainly should not be with the type of plane now contemplated. I would go so far as to say that there would be less opposition to an infinitely larger scheme providing for first-class, front-line, first-rate aircraft and for even greater expenditure, if that were to be Irish controlled, Irish manned, completely Irish in every way, taking the Irish flag, not on a charter basis, round the world but taking the Irish flag proudly embossed on the tails of these planes as a real emblem of an Irish company. I would have infinitely more sympathy with that type of project than this type of back-door project. I am not going to delay the Minister any longer except to say that I believe the Minister should review, and get all the assistance he might need to review this type of contract lest we allow expediency rule this situation and lead us to a commitment unworthy of the effort of any Irish State company.
Dr. Browne: I wish to intervene merely to congratulate the Minister on introducing this proposal. I have been what I can only describe as mesmerised by the extraordinary cavorting of Opposition speakers in recent weeks and months on matters such as this and on the question of whether we should spend money or not spend money. I must confess that it is extremely confusing to anybody who has listened in recent weeks to the profuse  outpouring of a policy in which the dominant motif is: “The money does not matter; we will not mind the cost; we will manufacture money out of thin air.” No more substantial solution was given to us. I was particularly interested in Deputy Cos-grave's contribution. I should like to say that, listening to Deputy Cosgrave, I have always found him a most honest and forthright Deputy, a fearless Deputy in putting forward his views. After you have listened to the swashbuckling declamations of Deputy Dillon on the one side and the perfervid oratory of Deputy Costello on the other, you can recover your balance and find that you have come back to earth once again in the solid and, if I may say so, the fairly unimaginative speeches of Deputy Cosgrave which at the same time can be true to the real political philosophy of Fine Gael policy over the year.
Deputy Cosgrave does not like the spending of money. He would not approve of large-scale —“experimentation” might be a dangerous word to use — investigation of how different Governments in this State might expand different enterprises in order to earn money for the community generally. I could see Deputy Cosgrave doubting the wisdom of spending money on Deputy McGilligan's scheme in years gone by, if they had been together in those years. I could see his doubting the wisdom of spending money on the now accepted very successful Shannon scheme and developments under the Electricity Supply Board. It was no doubt in these days a very chancy proposition. Similarly in relation to most of our other industries. Bord na Móna was an idea which could have been said to hold out a prospect of pouring what, no doubt, Deputy Dillon might have described as millions of money down a bog-hole.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy seems to be wandering somewhat from the terms of the Estimate.
Dr. Browne: I am relating my remarks to the Estimate because the general trend of the Opposition's attitude to the Estimate is that the  money should not be spent as there is no hope of getting a return for it. I was glad to listen to Deputy Cosgrave and to hear him, in that type of honest speech that he usually delivers, give us a true insight into Fine Gael's attitude to the expansion of industry or the expansion of an enterprise of this nature. Deputy MacBride's contribution, oddly enough, was also in support of this objection. His objection was based on much the same proposition, that it would not earn dollars for this country. Consequently, he could not back the scheme.
Now, I think that is an argument which Deputy MacBride, of all Deputies, should be the last to advance because he used many of the arguments which the present Minister would now use in relation to this scheme when he himself introduced the Bill for the setting up of the news agency. I completely agreed with the setting up of the news agency, and backed up Deputy MacBride on it. Even if it were run at a loss, I would back it again if the opportunity were before me. I think it was and is a good idea. That was a proposition which Deputy MacBride had to put before the Dáil. He told the Dáil that it could not be run at a profit, and must continue, probably indefinitely to make a loss, not only in dollars, but in other ways. Therefore, I do not think we can attach too much importance to the seriousness of Deputy MacBride's objections to this particular proposition by the Minister in relation to a transatlantic air service on the conditions mentioned. Again, one might even go so far as to say that the Ministry over which Deputy MacBride had control in the inter-Party Government was a very expensive one and a very necessary one. It could never be said to be what one might call a money making one so far as the State is concerned.
I do not think myself that we should have any fears at all in trying out the proposition which is before us to-day. Deputy Collins, in his contribution, tread on what were to me rather dangerous paths. His suggestion was that, if this was a totally Irish owned  and Irish operated service, he would be prepared to give it more sympathetic consideration. I must confess to a certain degree of culpability with Deputy Collins in admitting the fact that the inter-Party Government did stop the development of such a service. It is not quite fair then to say that I would oppose the proposal of using an American company to run a chartered service, with a particular contribution from us, in the lower personnel level. We are told that that is unacceptable to the Opposition. We were also told that the other totally Irish owned operating service was also unacceptable to the Opposition when it was the Government three or four years ago. Listening to the speeches of Opposition Deputies, one could only take it that any proposition to run a service across the Atlantic, in any form, if put forward by the present Minister, would be unacceptable to them. Their fear of experimentation, of any attempt to expand our airlines, gives one a true indication of the policies of the Fine Gael Government while in office. That attitude of mind comes very close to the attitude with which I became so familiar over my three years association with them.
There was another point made by Deputy MacBride. On first examination it appears quite a good point, namely, that short runs limited to New York and Shannon, New York and Dublin——
Mr. McGrath: And New York and Cork.
Dr. Browne: And New York and Cork if Deputy McGrath and Deputy Corry had their way — that these short runs could not be a paying proposition because of the likelihood that people would like to book straight through from one end of a journey to another. As I say, at first sight that looks a reasonably good point. I think, however, that the Minister is depending, to a large extent, on the Irish-American tourists who are going to come to spend their holidays in Ireland. I think that is a reasonable premiss on which to base this proposition of running a transatlantic service.
 Apart from that I think there is a weakness in the argument put forward by Deputy MacBride to this extent, that Aer Lingus nows runs good feeder services either directly themselves or associated with other companies, such as K.L.M., to most of the other European capitals. I doubt if it would be an insuperable problem to arrange, certainly on this side of the Atlantic, that anyone could book straight through to Stockholm, Paris, or any of the other European capitals. I have no doubt that we can leave it to the Americans at the other end to arrange that New York need not be our terminal in relation to this service. They all know quite well and are glad to take passengers from any service. They are glad to co-operate as much as they can. As Deputy Collins has said, this is a highly competitive business and so they are glad to get passengers from anywhere. Consequently, I imagine that it will be possible for us to make arrangements on the American side, as we have made them to a large extent on this side, for the provision of a straight run through to any of the larger cities in North America.
As far as I am concerned I am completely on the side of the Minister in regard to this development. It is, I think, an even wiser proposition than the large-scale proposition which he had in hands formerly, because the way it looks to me is this: if in two, three or four years' time we find, even with all the thought and consideration which Aer Línte have given to this, that the promises on which they are working are false promises, then, to put it bluntly, we can cut our losses and get out of it. The losses will not be very great compared, say, to the cost of purchasing modern super airliners to run a service such as this.
I am not awfully impressed either with the argument that was made about the establishment of a big headquarters staff. I do not know the details of these things, but I am sure the Minister will be able to clear them up for us. We all know that K.L.M., the Scandinavian airlines, the French airlines and other airlines are running services of this kind, and, consequently there need not be a duplication or a  multiplication of the number of fundamental services which are required beyond booking offices, which I may say are a very pleasant sight in other countries. You could go to our own booking offices and book home on our own planes. That may be a sentimental point, but it is a very pleasant feeling in a European capital or in New York for people to go to the head office of their own country and book their way on what they know to be a first-rate and extremely competently operated service home. That is a small part of the benefits that will accrue. If, however, we do manage to establish this service, after three or four years we may be able to keep it going with our own fully staffed service from the skilled ground staff to the pilots the whole way through. As I said, this is not the proper way to approach this problem. I am afraid I am not impressed by any of the arguments so far put up by the Opposition. I do not think that the Opposition have made a case against the scheme at all.
There is another relatively small point. I was rather horrified at the publicity or propaganda in relation to the development of our air services which was carried out in North America on the last occasion. I do not know whether the Minister was aware of it. It was a most appalling misrepresentation. So far as I can recollect, there were the typical Irish caubeen and the dudeen and I think the pig came in somewhere. That is a point which I hope the Minister will bear in mind and see that they do not put out that kind of nonsense again about the Irish air services. The Minister may have seen the stuff himself, but it was positively shameful. The publicity which is carried out at the moment in America so far as I can see is very good. I am sure that is a small matter which can easily be adjusted.
I welcome this development and I wish it the best of luck. I sincerely hope that after three or four years the Minister will be in a position to come to the House and say: “This has been a successful trial of an experiment. It  is no longer experimental. I believe there are a lot of dollars in it and that it has helped the prestige of the country and has given us an opportunity to expand the excellent air services by Aer Lingus which have set a headline in Europe and which I hope will carry on the tremendous tradition which they have already established in Europe and throughout the North American continent.” I do not subscribe to the proposition that the Dutch or the Americans or the British are capable of doing something which we cannot do equally well and, consequently, I am in favour of the proposition.
Mr. Rooney: Those who spoke in favour of this proposition, apart from the Minister, appear to be more confident than the Minister himself. In his introductory statement, the Minister was rather guarded and careful. He put the proposition to the House timidly. For instance he asked us to support this proposal and to forget the past. He had in mind the transatlantic air service which was stopped by the inter-Party Government. There were very good reasons why the inter-Party Government stopped that service. Many reasons were given at that time for such action. At the moment we have an internal transport system which is being run by Córas Iompair Éireann at a loss. It appears to me that when we have an airline running in a very satisfactory way by reason of good management we are being asked now, in addition to running an efficient air service, to start off running an air service at a loss. We have been asked by the Minister to chance this £450,000 and if it is not a success the scheme will be terminated. His statement was not backed up by a great deal of confidence. He appealed to the House to give it a trial and if it were a failure he would wind it up.
Some people mentioned that this particular service is being introduced in connection with the Tóstal venture next year. Are we asked to chance this £450,000 in order to make the Tóstal a success and get the advantage of the tourist money which this  expenditure might bring? From the details given, it seems to me that if anybody stands to gain by the establishment of this service it will be the Seaboard and Western Airlines and not this country.
I was disappointed that the Minister did not give us particulars of the agreement or the general terms of the agreement. I had intended to ask a parliamentary question to-day to get some particulars regarding the agreement, but I was asked to wait to hear the Minister and not to anticipate him in this matter. Unfortunately, we were not given these particulars. I hope the Minister when replying will give us some particulars of that agreement, especially in relation to certain matters mentioned in the House regarding the negotiations that took place in reference to the personnel who will operate this scheme.
I heard Deputy Briscoe referring to Deputy Dillon's forecast in 1947, when the transatlantic air service was being debated, that rabbits would be running in Rineanna. It is true that rabbits would be running at Rineanna if the inter-Party Government had not made a strong stand and prevented the overflying of Shannon Airport which was contemplated about three years ago. The Minister for Industry and Commerce, of course, also took his part in insisting that the use of Rineanna should not be abandoned in favour of Dublin Airport. At that time, I believe, the United States Airlines wanted us to agree that Dublin Airport would be used instead of Rineanna. If they succeeded in their efforts in regard to that and had not been opposed very vigorously by Deputy Morrissey, who was Minister for Industry and Commerce at the time, supported by Deputy Lemass, as he was then, it is probable that Rineanna would be a forsaken place at the present time.
When the establishment of the Constellations was contemplated in 1947 the main argument for it was that it would bring prestige to this country. “Prestige” was the big word of the time. We should be able to show the world what great people we were, that we could fly our own planes at the  expense of our own people. Remember at the time we were trying to put over this prestige act that our people were on 2 oz. of butter and that there were 100,000 houses needed. If the inter-Party Government at that time put a stop to those proposals I think they were well justified by their efforts to increase the ration of butter and other items of food available to our people and to pursue very vigorously the housing programme. We considered that that would add greater prestige to the country and be of more advantage to our people than the flying of a transatlantic air service which, I think, was to be started at an initial cost of something like £3,000,000. We considered that it would be of better advantage to see to our own people first before organising an air service of that nature for the pure and simple purpose of trying to establish prestige.
During the last few years the services of radio officers have not been required owing to modern developments. I would like to know from the Tánaiste, when he is replying, whether it would be possible in any way to fit those men in in connection with this new service if it is to be implemented. Similarly, there were pilots trained for the transatlantic air service at that time and there again I would like to know from the Tánaiste whether, in the course of his negotiations and in the terms of the agreement, any arrangements have been made to give those men a chance of operating the service if they wish to do so.
It seems to me, according to the particulars so far available concerning this agreement, that all-American crews will operate the service. I had hoped to hear from the Tánaiste the reason why this arrangement was made, the reason why it was necessary for him, if it was necessary, to give that concession to the Western Airline people. It was mentioned that this country would be liable to pay £2,000 for every trip that these planes would make from this country to America. I was wondering what was the basis of that calculation. If we take it that the cost of a passenger travelling would be £100, it means that we were asked to give a guarantee that on every trip there  would be 20 passengers, or if there were not, that we would make up the difference ourselves. Therefore, we would like to know from the Tánaiste if he has figures which would satisfy us that there will be 20 or more passengers on the average travelling on these planes. That might in some way explain, so far as we are concerned, the reason for the guarantee of £2,000 per trip for these planes leaving the country.
I am not going to say any more on the matter at this stage because I feel that the Tánaiste has introduced this proposal as a kind of venture or experiment. He has asked us to experiment with this £450,000 and if the project is a failure, well and good. I have said already that it would seem to me that if there is any advantage to be got the advantage will go to the Western Airlines.
I cannot see what advantage this service will bring to us. Possibly the Tánaiste will put forward the argument that this arrangement will enable us to find out for ourselves whether, first of all, the transatlantic air service which was to be started with little or no prospect in 1948 would have been a proposition in a small country of 3,000,000 people. I wonder is there any country in the world with less than £3,000,000 operating a transatlantic service or a service anything like it. I am asking that question: Is there any country with less than £3,000,000 operating a service of this nature? I would like to be satisfied on that point by the Tánaiste.
General Mulcahy: The Parliamentary Secretary this morning was throwing his mind back to some remarks that were made on transatlantic air services or air services generally about 1946 or so. It throws my mind a little bit further back to 1944 when the Minister had a long term transport policy. We have now passed on ahead eight years on the foundations that the Minister then laid when he formed Córas Iompair Éireann. I cannot help thinking from the proposals that have been put before us to-day that we are now at the beginning  of what the Minister would describe as the beginning of a long-term transport policy in the air. While we are still in the middle of the shocking transport situation in which the formation of Córas Iompair Éireann originally left us; while we have the prospect of having to pay — I think the Minister said — at least £1,500,000 this year to subsidise that body; while we are struggling and facing that demand and at the same time the difficulty which our people are suffering, at any rate in the City of Dublin, as a result of the disorganisation of the city transport; we are asked now to lift our minds on high and to take £457,000, which represents the profit which the former Minister for Industry and Commerce made in selling the Constellations a few years ago, wherever we are going to find that sum to-day, and we are going to throw it into the gamble that the Minister described here yesterday.
Many speakers have indicated the general condition in which we find ourselves now when it is proposed to embark on this new beginning of a long-term policy. The Minister has attempted to give explanations as to why the agreement made between Aer Línte and the American company is not being made public. While the members of the Oireachtas have not been permitted to see the terms of the agreement and while, perhaps, some of us might admit there may be reasons for not disclosing what may amount to certain confidential arrangements made between the representatives of Aer Línte and the representatives of the American company, at the same time the Minister should have made some attempt to sketch out the terms of the agreement, particularly those portions of it that are of a kind we would normally expect to get set out in an agreement such as this. Instead of doing that he has given us some general figures, a number of them brought out as a result of answers to questions put to him, and he has not sketched out in any way the normal paragraphs of the agreement that ought to be disclosed or, at any rate, disclosed to the members of this House before asking them to gamble even the initial £457,000.
 The Minister's action, indeed his whole approach to this matter, is a very extraordinary one and would tend to make the House feel that he is pursuing a somewhat deceptive course. The Minister provides newspaper headlines through his statement here that the taxpayer will not have to pay anything for this and we are thereby more than ever convinced that the Minister is employing some degree of deception. If he has any faith in the proposals that he has put before us and if he thinks this venture is anything like a good proposition from the economic, political or any other point of view there is no reason why he should wrap up his proposals, his views or his manner of dealing with the matter in the House in what appears to be a somewhat deceptive cloak.
It is not true that the normal details of this agreement could not be put down here in a series of positive statements. Those that matter from the point of view of the business arrangements between the American company, on the one hand, and our company here and those that concern us from the point of view of our having to finance this venture should certainly be made available because members have the responsibility of voting on this proposed project. But the Minister has made no attempt to go systematically through the agreement and to outline the general proposals contained in the agreement. He prefers to stand on the ground that this is a private agreement between Aer Línte and the American company. Out of the blue, then, we have Deputy Briscoe's contribution to the debate; he happens to know that Aer Línte has from some international body a licence to carry on transatlantic air flights and that that licence is nearly up and if something is not done about it they are likely to lose it; but he does not know whether the Minister for Industry and Commerce is prepared to come into the House and admit that here. That just slipped out in debate from Deputy Briscoe; he happened to know.
We can understand the phrase: “Nuair is cruadh don chailligh caithfidh sí rith.” If there is anything  pressing Aer Línte or pressing the Minister for Industry and Commerce, or if he is pressing Aer Línte or vice versa, arising out of the fact that a licence exists which may lapse at some time, then the House ought to be told about that and the House ought to be told something further as to the general position with regard to these licences. It has been rather suggested by Deputy Briscoe that if the company with which Aer Línte is making the agreement looked for a licence to-morrow it would not get it although it is also rather suggested that there are such licences available. If there is any particular kind of pressure being brought to bear as a result of that we ought to have some explanation of the situation. If there is that in existence in the present situation, then it marks a very significant omission from the Minister's statement when introducing this Supplementary Estimate because he said absolutely nothing about it.
It was the Minister himself who was responsible for saying on the Vote on Account this year, namely 21st March, 1952, that the Government had decided that the burden of taxation had reached the danger point. The other day we had the Minister for Finance explaining that this country wanting money to carry on its capital development and looking for £20,000,000 could not find that money if it offered anything less than 5 per cent. More than the Minister for Finance are complaining about the scarcity of capital for investment and development purposes. More than he are realising that one has to collect the small savings of the people, the people who are in the economic condition of being able to save, before capital development or even industrial development can be further satisfactorily undertaken.
On the one hand, we are told that taxation is at the danger point and, on the other, we are told that the Minister for Finance must pay an exorbitant price for money. The signs of the times are that the greater part of this capital must be got from the small savings of the people. Yet, here we are dipping our hands into a bag about which nobody had been told anything and out of which we propose to  take £457,000 and blow away £200,000 of that in a development from which there will be no return except the setting up of certain machinery, the greater part of which is held in the United States, the gathering by advertisement and by administrative action of the few thousands of tourist travellers expected to be available during the next three or four years. We must hold £250,000 for losses that will inevitably occur in the first and second year according to the Minister. All that can be done by a simple turn of the Minister's mind in circumstances in which the taxation position is described by him as at the danger point and our adverse financial position is so eloquently portrayed by the action of the Minister for Finance. We are asked here to raise a very substantial sum for a very costly and speculative kind of venture and it is proposed that we will dispose of £450,000 straightaway. The Minister appears to think that he can come into the House and just give a few figures as to what is expected in the way of travellers crossing the ocean in chartered planes.
Progress reported; Committee to sit again later.
Mr. McGrath: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state (1) the quantity of coal held by Fuel Importers Ltd. in Cork Park or any other place in that area; (2) when it was purchased; (3) the amount of rent paid for storage each year since 1947, and (4) whether this coal when stored in the open deteriorates, and (5) when it is proposed to dispose of the coal.
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lemass): The quantity of coal at present held by Fuel Importers (Eire) Ltd. at Cork is 33,121 tons. Of this quantity 3,331 tons were purchased in 1947, the balance of 29,790 tons being purchased in 1951. The amounts of rent paid for storage of fuel in Cork in each year since 1947 are as follows:—
Separate figures for storage of coal are not available as turf and firewood were stored on the same sites as coal up to the end of 1951. Coal stored in the open is subject to deterioration, the degree of deterioration depending on the friability of the coal stored. The coal in question is held as a reserve stock. I am not in a position to say at this stage when the coal will be disposed of.
Mr. Everett: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if the survey and preparation of an estimate for the improvement of facilities at Wicklow Harbour have yet been completed; and, if so, with what result.
Mr. Lemass: The results of the survey of Wicklow Harbour and the estimates of the cost of carrying out certain works there have been received and are at present under consideration. A decision on their application for a State grant will be conveyed to the harbour commissioners as soon as possible.
Mr. Everett: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he is aware that the residents of Johnstown and Arklow Rock are very anxious to have the rural electrification scheme extended to their areas; and, if so, if he will state the approximate date when work will commence.
Mr. Lemass: I am informed by the Electricity Supply Board that it was only very recently that they received a general application for supply from the residents of the area in which Johnstown and Arklow Rock are situated. The applicants have been advised to communicate with the board's district engineer in Waterford who will advise them on how to proceed  with the organisation of the area. It is not possible at this stage to say when development of the area is likely to commence.
Mr. O. Flanagan: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will direct the special attention of the Electricity Supply Board to the need for a rural electrification scheme at Coolderry and Kilcolman, near Birr, County Offaly, as this area could be connected economically and as the demand for electricity is widespread in the parish if he will state when work on the project will be undertaken.
Mr. Lemass: I am informed by the Electricity Supply Board that an official canvass of the residents of the Kilcolman area, Offaly, which includes Coolderry, is at present in progress in connection with the rural electrification scheme. The area will be considered by the board in due course for selection for development. It is not possible at this stage to say when development of this area will be undertaken.
Mr. J. Flynn: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether his Department has received any proposals for the reopening of the Valentia slate quarries; and, if not, whether he will have the feasibility of the reopening of these quarries examined either by the industrial section of his Department or by the Industrial Development Authority and whether the application from an interested group for a trade loan under the Trade Loans (Guarantee) Acts for this purpose will be favourably considered.
Mr. Lemass: There are no proposals for the reopening of the Valentia slate quarries before my Department. The deposits were examined by experts in 1929, and again in 1933, and I am satisfied that a further survey at State expense would not add anything to the available information about them. All the information available will be placed at the disposal of any private interests who wish to explore the deposits. Any application from an interested group for a trade loan under  the Trade Loans (Guarantee) Acts would have to be considered in the light of all the relevant circumstances.
Mr. Palmer: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will request Bord na Móna to arrange for the purchase of large quantities of unsold privately produced turf in the Cahirciveen, Portmagee, Glenbeigh areas, County Kerry.
Mr. Lemass: I would refer the Deputy to my replies on 6th and 26th November to similar questions regarding other areas.
If, in fact, quantities of turf remain unsold in the areas now in question at the end of the season they will be dealt with in the manner already indicated.
Mr. Palmer: Is the Minister aware that these large quantities of turf will be deteriorating in value the longer they stay on the roadside and that last year they were there until the end of March. The private producers of this turf, who really are the small farmers and the workers in the area, require cash as early as possible for the turf they produce. In these circumstances will the Minister endeavour as soon as possible to see that this turf is taken off their hands?
Mr. Lemass: I have replied to the Deputy's supplementary question already. If he is familiar with what has been announced in this regard he will know that the Government have undertaken to take at current market price any hand-won turf remaining unsold at the end of the winter.
Mr. Palmer: Could the Minister state the current market price?
Mr. Lemass: It means the price at that time.
Mr. Palmer: Is the Minister aware that Messrs. Popes & Company, Cork, have offered an entirely uneconomic price for the turf on the roadside?
Mr. Lemass: I think the Deputy would be most unwise to hold out the prospect to the producers that the State will buy any hand-won turf  remaining unsold at prices higher than it will fetch on the market. They would be most unwise to hold their turf back in the expectation that the State will pay more for it later on.
Mr. Palmer: Is that the attitude to private turf production?
Mr. Kyne: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state whether before the recent increase in the price of milk was granted, the Prices Advisory Body was consulted; and, if so, what was the result of such consultation.
Mr. Lemass: The recent increase in the price of bottled milk in the Dublin sales district was authorised by me on the recommendation of the Prices Advisory Body. The body's recommendation was based mainly on increases in labour costs, since the cost of milk distribution in Dublin was investigated at a public inquiry held in July, 1951, and particularly an increase of 12/6 per week in workers' wages paid with effect as from August 3rd of this year.
The Prices Advisory Body reported that in view of the public inquiry held last year, it did not consider it to be necessary to hold a further public inquiry on this occasion.
Mr. Kyne: Will the Minister say if there was any alternative to passing on the price to the consumer? Could it not have been taken out of the profits?
Mr. Lemass: Presumably the Prices Advisory Body fully investigated the position in that regard and based their recommendation upon their conclusion that the additional cost had to be recovered.
Mr. Kyne: Is the Minister aware that they made considerable profits last year even though they sold less milk than in the previous year?
Mr. Lemass: The recommendation of the Prices Advisory Body was that there was no method of offsetting the increased wages except by adjusting prices.
Mr. Lehane: Can the Minister say if a representative of the producers was on the Prices Advisory Body?
An Ceann Comhairle: That is a separate question.
Mr. Desmond: and Mr. Kyne asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he will indicate if the recent reduction in motor-car insurance applies to all vehicles irrespective of the year of their assembly.
Mr. Lemass: The recent reduction in motor-car insurance premiums applies to all basic premiums which were increased from 1st December, 1951. In the case of insuring or reinsuring of old cars, however, the normal practice is for each insurance company to have regard to certain features, including the age and mechanical condition of the car, and such insurance company may charge an addition to the basic premium depending on the age and condition of the car.
Mr. Desmond: Are we to be told that a taximan whose car was first registered in 1937, and who has a clean record, can be informed by an insurance company that he will not get even the 12½ per cent. reduction but, instead, that he will have to pay an extra 5/-or 6/- more than——
Mr. Lemass: It is open to the person concerned to see if he can get a better quotation from another company.
Mr. Palmer: That is a poor solution.
Captain Cowan: A 1937 taxi is not very safe.
Mr. Lemass: The Deputy will appreciate that the car is one year older than it was when it was registered the previous year.
Mr. Everett: So is the driver.
Mr. Lemass: If particulars of a reduction of premium which should have been effected under the direction, and which was not given, are forwarded to me I shall have the matter investigated.
Mr. Larkin: The suggestion is that the reduction of 12½ per cent. is being offset in respect of the no-claim bonus.
Mr. Cosgrave: Is that not an evasion of the terms of the decision given by the Minister?
Mr. Lemass: No. The position in regard to the no-claim bonus is that it is a concession given by a company to its clients. It has no statutory basis.
Mr. D.J. O'Sullivan: So what is lost on the swings is recovered on the roundabouts.
Mr. MacBride: Did I understand the Minister to state that he stands over the evasion practice by the insurance companies in respect of the no-claim bonus?
Mr. Lemass: I stand over no evasion. These insinuations by Deputy MacBride are despicable.
Mr. MacBride: That is the effect of what the Minister has stated. Does the Minister stand over it?
An Ceann Comhairle: Question No. 9.
Mr. Lehane: and Mr. H.P. Dockrell asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether, in view of the fact that he promised last July to introduce proposals for legislation to enable him to compensate Great Northern Railway stockholders immediately after the summer recess and that he has not found it possible now to do so until next year, he will consider paying interest to these stockholders in the meantime.
Mr. Lemass: As I indicated in reply to a previous question on 24th July last, there are no restrictions on stock exchange dealings in Great Northern Railway stocks and any stockholder who may wish to dispose of his holding is at liberty to do so.
I may add that before the decision to acquire the Great Northern Railway was taken the financial position of the undertaking was already such that it was not possible to make any provision  for the payment of dividends on guaranteed, preference and ordinary stocks. It is not proposed to provide money from State funds to pay interest on these stocks.
Mr. Lehane: The Minister promised last July to bring in legislation immediately after the summer recess to enable him to compensate Great Northern Railway stockholders. The Ministers have postponed it and it cannot be done until some time next year. Does the Minister think that, in these circumstances and in view of the precedent which has been established in regard to the Lough Foyle fisheries, interest should be paid to these people? A number of them have gone into debt with the bank — acting on the Minister's guarantee that he would introduce legislation in this connection — to participate in the recent national loan.
Mr. Lemass: I can hold out no prospect whatever of interest being paid.
Mr. O'Gorman: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether, in view of the very serious unemployment prevailing in Cobh and the surrounding districts caused by the recent discharge of a considerable number of shipyard workers due to lack of work from the Rushbrooke (Cobh) dockyard, he will issue instructions to have some ships transferred thereto from the Dublin dockyard where according to reports received there is a considerable amount of work on hands and with which the Dublin dockyard cannot cope.
Mr. Lemass: I have no power to issue instructions in the sense suggested by the Deputy. I understand that there are no grounds for the statement in the final part of the question.
Mr. McGrath: Is the Minister aware that at present the Liffey dockyard are endeavouring to grab the repairs of the Greek ship which has been discharged in Cork and which it had been arranged to repair at Rushbrooke  docks until the strike took place and is he further aware that the trade unions in Cork are going to look upon this as diverted traffic due to the strike if it is being repaired in the Liffey dockyard?
Mr. Larkin: Is it not correct that a tender for the ship to which Deputy McGrath refers was secured by the Liffey dockyard because they tendered at a price under the Rushbrooke dockyard, and the contract was not affected by any strike? Secondly may I point out, with all due respect to Cork Deputies, that at the moment 30 men have been paid off in the Liffey dockyard and there is one boat in for repairs.
Mr. McGrath: My explanation was that arrangements were made to have that ship repaired in Rushbrooke without any tender and that that would have taken place only that the strike took place.
Mr. A. Byrne: Will the Minister endeavour to get a supply of steel to prevent ships going across the water for repairs?
Mr. O'Gorman: As the Deputy responsible for putting down the question, may I say that it does not seem to me to be unfair? The only ships proceeding to Rushbrooke dockyard are ships belonging to Irish Shipping.
Mr. Lemass: No. The great majority of the ships repaired there were foreign ships on tenders secured in open competition with the rest of the world.
Mr. O'Gorman: Perhaps the Minister would repeat his reply.
Mr. Lemass: The Deputy has started an argument by reason of the false information which he has received and to which he referred in his question. He assumed that there was a surplus of ship repair work in Dublin. There is no foundation for that. The ship repairs there fluctuate in accordance with the trade available and work is secured in competition with shipyards in any part of the world.
Mr. Rooney: asked the Minister for  Finance if, to avoid hardship, he will issue the necessary instructions to prevent employers from making further deductions in respect of income-tax from wage packets until after Christmas.
Minister for Finance (Mr. MacEntee): I presume that what the Deputy has in mind is the collection of income-tax arrears of employees by means of deductions which employers are required by the Revenue Commissioners to make from the employees' remuneration. Recovery of arrears by this method flows from a power conferred upon the Revenue Commissioners by the Oireachtas under Section 6 of the Finance Act, 1923, which incidentally was the first Finance Act introduced by the Government of Saorstát Éireann. It would in my view be improper for me to attempt to influence the Revenue Commissioners in regard to any action which they may take to secure the better discharge of the duty imposed on them by law to collect the revenue duly and effectively. The Deputy will in any event appreciate it would not be desirable or practicable to suspend for a number of weeks the collection of arrears in a particular manner. Furthermore, I am not satisfied that hardship arises inasmuch as, in fixing the quantum of deductions, the practice is to take into account the employees' income level and his general circumstances.
Mr. Rooney: Is it not a fact that the Minister has given very strict instructions to the collectors to hound these wage-earners for the amount due in respect of tax, apart from trying to collect it through the employers?
Mr. MacEntee: There is no foundation for that statement. The Minister has no power and no right to instruct the Revenue Commissioners as to how to collect revenue. The law places the obligation and responsibility on them for the collection.
Captain Cowan: Is the Minister aware that there is a considerable volume of opinion that considers that Section 6 of the Finance Act of 1923 is not constitutional?
Mr. MacEntee: You do not expect me to challenge that.
Mr. Norton: asked the Minister for Finance whether he is aware of the fact that income-tax demands are being sent to married road-workers in the County Kildare who are clearly not liable for income-tax; and, if so, if he will state for what reason such demands are being served.
Mr. MacEntee: The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative and the second part accordingly does not arise.
In order to make the position clear I should perhaps add that workers in the employment of the Kildare County Council, to whom presumably Deputy Norton refers, have been sent notices of assessment to income-tax, but not demands. The first instalment of tax for the current year is not payable until the 1st January, 1953. No assessment was raised where a worker was known to be married and not liable to tax. Married workers who have received assessment notices and who have not been granted the appropriate allowances should, in order to claim those allowances, make returns on the forms already supplied to them for the purpose.
Mr. Norton: Might I call the Minister's attention to the fact that notices of assessment have been issued to married workers employed by the Kildare County Council though they are clearly not liable for income-tax? Will the Minister say on what grounds the Revenue Commissioners propose to raise assessments in these cases when they have no information whatever that the persons concerned are liable for income-tax?
Mr. MacEntee: Let me refer the Deputy to a sentence in my reply: “No assessment was raised where a worker was known to be married and not liable to tax.” It is up to the workers who have received these assessments to fill up the form and claim the allowances.
Mr. Norton: The Minister states that no assessment was raised against a worker who is known to be married. I am looking at a notice of assessment served on a worker, a married man with one child under 16 years of age and in receipt of £4 per week. Yet the Revenue Commissioners purport to  say that this man's income was such that an assessment should be raised against him. On what information was the assessment raised?
Mr. MacEntee: This is another example of Deputy Norton's slick tricks. Quite obviously the Revenue Commissioners did not know that that person was married. It is up to a person who is married and who is entitled to a personal allowance at least to claim the personal allowance to which a married person is entitled. He has not done that and that is why the assessment was raised.
Mr. Dillon: It is a logical assumption that if he has a child of 16 years of age he must be married.
Mr. Sweetman: Arising out of the reply, will the Minister make it quite clear, as otherwise his statement might be misread, that even though demands for tax are not made until after 1st January next, appeals against the assessment must be raised within 21 days of the assessment?
Mr. MacEntee: This is specifically stated on the notice of assessment which these individuals have received.
Mr. Norton: Will the Minister say whether the revenue from this income-tax is for the purpose of financing the increase in the salaries of judges and district justices or to finance the new transatlantic air service?
Mr. MacEntee: Or to finance the findings of the Civil Service Arbitration Board. Remember that.
Mr. A. Byrne: asked the Minister for Finance if in order to meet the increase in the cost of living he will recommend an increase in the pensions of all retired Government employees, including Army and Garda pensions.
Mr. MacEntee: As I informed the Deputy on the 6th November, in reply to a parliamentary question, I can hold out no hope of introducing legislation to increase the pensions of retired public officials having regard to the heavy State expenditure which such legislation would involve.
Mr. A. Byrne: Is the Minister aware that, since he made that reply, the  unfortunate pensioners are suffering very great hardships due to the increased cost of living arising from his own vicious Budget?
Mr. MacEntee: I am aware of the fact that any acceptance of the suggestion made by Deputy Byrne would probably result in an increased assessment on manual workers for income-tax.
Mr. Larkin: asked the Minister for Finance if he will state whether, in respect of claims for increases in salaries or wages of lower paid Government employees, consideration of these claims has been deferred pending a decision on the general question of civil servants' salary claims; and, if so, whether he will authorise a payment of a lump sum by way of token increase (similar to those token payments made by some semi-State and private concerns to their clerical staffs) in view of the near approach of Christmas and the considerable help such a payment would be to these employees and their families at the Christmas season.
Mr. MacEntee: I assume that the Deputy's question refers to Government employees who, by reason of the quasi-industrial nature of their employment, do not come within the scope of the scheme of conciliation and arbitration for the Civil Service. As I already indicated in correspondence with the Deputy, I felt it necessary when this question was first raised to defer consideration of it until a definite trend in the wages of outside workers had emerged, and until the Government had had an opportunity of considering the wages position of State employees generally in relation to that trend and to any other relevant considerations.
The stage has now been reached when, I think, that discussions on these matters might be initiated. As soon as the Departments concerned are in a position to do so I shall arrange for them to participate in such discussions.
Obviously, I could not agree to make payments of the kind suggested in the second part of the Deputy's  question, as such action on my part would prejudice the Government's position in relation to these discussions.
Mr. Larkin: May I take it that without waiting for the Government's decision on the findings of the arbitration board he is now prepared to allow discussions in regard to this matter to be initiated without any undue delay?
Mr. MacEntee: Without undue delay, certainly. But time must be given to examine the position. It is hoped when that has been done to enter into these discussions at an early date.
Mr. Larkin: In other words, the Minister will allow them to use the ordinary channels of conference and negotiations?
Mr. MacEntee: Yes.
Mr. Kenneally: asked the Minister for Finance if he has received a proposal from the banks' standing committee to permit of the closing of the banks on Saturday, 27th December next; and, if so, if he will state what decision has been arrived at in the matter.
Mr. MacEntee: I received an informal inquiry on behalf of the Irish Banks' Standing Committee as to what my attitude would be to a proposal if made to me by the committee that the banks be authorised to close on Saturday, 27th December, 1952. I indicated, in my reply, that I would not consider it to be in the public interest that the banks should remain closed on that day and that, accordingly, I would not be prepared to recommend the Government to make the necessary proclamation under the Public Holidays Act, 1924.
Mr. MacBride: Did the Minister take into account the position of bank employees in the country who go home for Christmas? The fact that the banks will open on Saturday, the 27th, means that the officials will probably have to travel back on St. Stephen's Day. In view of the fact that they go home for the Christmas holidays, it would be of tremendous help to them if the banks could be relieved of the obligation of  having to open on Saturday morning, the 27th. I imagine it is true to say that the amount of business transacted in the provincial towns on that day is very limited. I can see the difficulty with regard to Dublin, but it might be possible to permit the banks not to open their provincial offices on that day.
Mr. Dillon: I do not think that any shop in rural Ireland will be open on the 27th December owing to its occurrence this year between St. Stephen's Day and Sunday. I suggest to the Minister that there will be no need for the banks to open in rural Ireland that day because there will not be a living creature in any provincial town who will want to transact business on that day.
Mr. MacEntee: The Deputy is well aware that the proclamation of a bank holiday must apply to the whole of Ireland. I must also advert to this fact, that the banks are there for the convenience of traders, and that a great number of traders would be greatly embarrassed if they had to retain the custody of considerable funds over the week-end period.
Mr. Dillon: Would the Minister consider saying to the Banks' Standing Committee that a token opening by the resident managers, certainly in the rural areas, would meet the requirements of the statute?
Mr. MacEntee: That asks me to assume that what Deputy Dillon says applies universally to the whole of rural Ireland. I am not in a position to act on that assumption.
Captain Cowan: Cannot the banks themselves make arrangements with their staffs as to the number that will return for duty on that day?
Mr. MacEntee: Of course they can.
Mr. O. Flanagan: asked the Minister for Finance if he will permit the local people to use the ball alleys at Crinkle Barracks, Birr, County Offaly, and provide an entrance to them, as the local children and others find them a great benefit; and, further, if he will have the ball alleys repaired by means of a relief grant.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance (Mr. Beegan): The barracks property has already been disposed of by way of lease, and I am not in a position to have the ball alleys made available as suggested.
Mr. O. Flanagan: asked the Minister for Finance if he will state if a grant was made available for the repair of the bog road to turf banks on the Burches bog, Kilmartin, Roscrea, County Laoighis; and, if so, if he will state what sum was spent on this road and whether a contribution was paid by the owner of the bog; and if he is further aware that now that the road is made to the turf banks the owner of the bog will not permit the people to use the road, with the result that public moneys have been expended without results; and, if so, what steps he proposes to take in the matter.
Mr. Beegan: A sum of £980 has been expended on this road since 1942, and the bog owner contributed towards this amount. The road continues to be used by over 100 families; and with the exception of some difficulty that has arisen regarding the use of the road by one individual I am not aware of any attempted restriction of its use. The extent of the use of the road by this individual is, I understand, the subject of a pending court case, and I feel precluded, therefore, from expressing an opinion on the matter.
Mr. O. Flanagan: asked the Minister for Finance if he will state (a) why a grant was not made available to repair the bog road under the bog development scheme to Bogtown Bog, Ballyshear, Cloneygavan, Tullamore, County Offaly, where 83 people use the road for turf haulage; (b) whether the road was inspected; and, if so, with what results, and (c) if it will now be repaired in view of the demand for the use of the road.
Mr. Beegan: I understand the road in question was repaired by the county council in 1951. No representations regarding the matter have been made to my office since. I shall now arrange for an inspection of the proposal, and will inform the Deputy of the decision in due course.
Mr. O. Flanagan: asked the Minister for Finance if he has received representations from Offaly County Council in connection with the necessity for the erection of a 10 ton capacity bridge across the River Brosna at Kilcolgan, near Ferbane, County Offaly; and whether, in view of the fact that his Department proposes to erect a bridge of 3 ton capacity which will not meet the requirements of the local people or the county council, he will approve the erection of a bridge of 10 ton capacity with a contribution from the county council.
Mr. Beegan: Arising out of the need for replacing Kilcolgan bridge in the course of the Brosna drainage scheme, the Commissioners of Public Works suggested to the Offaly County Council some months ago that, instead of reproducing the existing facilities to which the liability of the commissioners is limited, a bridge fit for modern traffic might be provided with a contribution from the county council.
The council have recently agreed to make a contribution and, subject to settlement of details, it is intended to provide the heavier type of bridge next spring.
Mr. Rooney: asked the Minister for Health if he will state the reason for the delay in preparing proposals for a suitable Health Bill for which finance was provided in the 1951 Estimates by the previous Administration.
Minister for Health (Dr. Ryan): As the Deputy should be aware, there has been no avoidable delay in preparing proposals for legislation in connection with the improvement of the health services.
It should not be necessary for me to point out that the provision which he mentions as having been made in the 1951 Estimates by the previous Administration was in relation to the mother and child scheme which the previous Administration abandoned after it had decided to make the provision.
Mr. Rooney: Has the Minister any intention of preparing and introducing  in the House a mother and child scheme?
Dr. Ryan: Will the Deputy vote against it again?
Mr. Rooney: asked the Minister for Health if he will state the reasons for the delay in requesting the Dublin Corporation to provide a mother and child welfare clinic at the recently opened dispensary at Garryowen Road, Ballyfermot.
Dr. Ryan: The making of arrangements for the holding of maternity and child welfare clinics is a matter for the Dublin Corporation. I understand that the appointment of a medical officer to hold clinics at the dispensary at Garryowen, which has only just been opened, is at present receiving the attention of the corporation.
Mr. Rooney: asked the Minister for Health if he will state whether a temporary dispensary has been established for the convenience of Dublin Corporation tenants at West Cappagh, Finglas; whether a caretaker has been appointed; whether a new dispensary will be constructed by the Dublin Board of Assistance, and whether this board will also build a new residence for a dispensary doctor.
Dr. Ryan: A temporary dispensary has been established by the Dublin Board of Assistance at Cappagh Drive, Finglas, and I understand that dispensary sessions will commence next week. A caretaker, who will also carry out the duties of cleaner and porter, has been appointed.
I have approved in principle the erection of two permanent dispensaries in this area. Sites have been selected and the planning of the buildings is proceeding. I have not received any proposal from the Board of Assistance for the erection of a dispensary doctor's residence in this area.
Dr. Browne: asked the Minister for Health if he will state in respect of (1) Dublin Corporation health services; (2) Galway Health Authority and (3) Cork City Health Authority, (a) the  number of established posts at present filled by temporary appointments and (b) in each case the longest period during which a post has been so filled and the post in question.
Dr. Ryan: On the basis of the information available in my Department and obtained from the local authorities concerned, the number of established posts at present filled by temporary appointments in respect of (1) Dublin Corporation health services is 109; (2) Galway Health Authority is “nil” and (3) Cork City Health Authority is “nil.” The longest period during which a post has been so filled in the case of the Dublin Corporation is since the 10th May, 1948, and the post in question is that of inquiry officer.
The figure of 109 which I have just mentioned includes 79 posts in the basic grade of nurse. It is expected that most of these posts will be filled on a permanent basis in the near future  following recent competitions. A number of the non-nursing posts are filled by permanent officers temporarily promoted pending the receipt of recommendations from the Local Appointments Commissioners or the result of competitions held or about to be held.
Dr. Browne: asked the Minister for Health if he will state the number of (a) radiological; (b) pathological and (c) bacteriological examinations carried out on behalf of the Dublin Corporation Health Authority in the years 1950 and 1951 and if he will indicate the total cost involved in respect of each item.
Dr. Ryan: As the reply is in the form of a tabular statement, with your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I shall circulate it in the Official Report.
|No. of exams.||Cost||No. of exams.||Cost|
|(a) RADIOLOGICAL EXAMINATIONS:||£||s.||d.||£||s.||d.|
|(1) Carried out by the Corporation||41,433||9,379||17||4||45,616||10,862||13||7|
|(2) Carried out by outside agencies||4,132||2,578||0||0||3,789||2,364||10||6|
|No. of exams.||Cost||No. of exams.||Cost|
|(b) PATHOLOGICAL EXAMINATIONS:||£||s.||d.||£||s.||d.|
|(1) Carried out by the Corporation||—||—||—||—|
|(2) Carried out by outside agencies||25,886||8,504||18||6||27,966||9,161||5||4|
|No. of exams.||Cost||No. of exams.||Cost|
|(c) BACTERIOLOGICAL EXAMINATIONS:||£||s.||d.||£||s.||d.|
|(1) Carried out by the Corporation||22,585||4,299||3||2||25,772||4,916||9||0|
|(2) Carried out by outside agencies||66||43||10||0||131||89||10||6|
The foregoing figures do not include radiological, pathological and bacteriological examinations carried out in connection with the treatment of patients admitted to non-Corporation Institutions under the Tuberculosis, Maternity and Child Welfare, and School Medical Service Schemes, for whose maintenance the Corporation had accepted responsibility, and who were paid for on an inclusive basis. Separate figures are not readily available for examinations carried out in such cases.
Mr. Burke: asked the Minister for Health if he will state whether he proposes to have a home for old people erected at Ballymun; and, if so, what type of old people will be eligible for admission.
Dr. Ryan: I have approved proposals submitted by the Dublin Board of Assistance for the provision of a home for 400 old people at Ballymun. The board propose to transfer ambulant old persons from St. Kevin's Institution to the new home when provided.
Mr. Dillon: Will the Minister say whether it is intended to operate the home with a lay staff or religious?
Dr. Ryan: I do not know if the local authority has actually decided that at the moment. I presume, however, that it will be in the same method as at present which is half religious and half lay.
Mr. Dillon: Has the Minister considered the desirability of recommending the religious order of the Sisters of Nazareth who undertake that work provided they are given the building and the equipment?
Dr. Ryan: I would like, first, to have the recommendation of the local authority.
Mr. J.J. Collins: asked the Minister for Health whether he will indicate his policy and the action he takes in regard to the rehabilitation and return to their former employment of persons whose recovery from tuberculosis has been medically pronounced, and if he proposes to introduce legislation to give him further powers in this matter.
Dr. Ryan: Deputies are aware of the very large sum spent annually from central and local funds on the care of persons suffering from and recovering from tuberculosis. In the current year the figure amounts to almost £2,500,000. The primary object of that vast expenditure is, of course, the cure of the patient, but a most important secondary  aim is to secure that he or she can again become a self-supporting member of the community.
A very large proportion of the persons who have, medically, recovered from the disease are in a position to resume their former employment and I am glad to say that most employers do all they can to facilitate the return to work of members of their staffs who have so recovered. I would regard the action of any employer who acted otherwise as lacking in humanity and as contrary to the public interest, but while a good case can be made for legislation involving compulsion in the matter, I feel that in cases in which employers fail to act voluntarily in a public-spirited manner, informed public opinion will in course of time compel them in their own interest to act humanely.
The case of persons who, after treatment, are unable to resume their former employments and have to be trained for other work is more difficult. A certain amount of progress has been made by voluntary organisations, to which great credit is due, but the measures which have been taken to date are not adequate, and I have the matter under active consideration.
Mr. O'Donnell: Is the Minister aware that in County Donegal a patient who had recovered from tuberculosis was refused permission by the Department of Agriculture to sit for an examination for a permanent position in the Department simply because he was an ex-tubercular patient?
Dr. Ryan: I should like to get more particulars about that.
Mr. O'Donnell: I asked the Taoiseach about it in this House.
Mr. O. Flanagan: asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will state in reference to a question on 19th November regarding the holding of a crusade of rosaries in the Custom House, (1) if in fact permission to hold this crusade had been applied for to the establishment section of his Department prior to the commencement of the crusade; (2) if the necessary permission was  given by the establishment section; (3) the reasons given to the participants for its later cancellation; and (4) if any official of his Department has been interrogated in writing or verbally as to responsibility for the asking of questions in Dáil Éireann on this matter subsequent to their publication; and, if so, what is the reason for this interrogation.
Dr. Ryan: Permission to use the Department's premises in the Custom House annexe for the purpose was sought over the telephone and was given by an officer of establishment branch who exceeded his authority, and who failed to notify his superiors subsequently of the fact that he had given such permission. As regards the main part of the question, I have nothing to add to the replies I gave on the 19th November to the previous questions on this subject. As to the last part of the question, the position is that certain officers of my Department were requested to give an assurance that they were not responsible for the departure which has occurred in this instance from the recognised procedure for raising matters concerning internal administrative control of the staff of the Department. All of them have given such an assurance.
Mr. Norton: There is a touch of Prague about that.
Dr. Ryan: The Deputy knows all about that.
Mr. Norton: asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will state the number of persons in receipt of unemployment insurance benefit in the last week of November, 1950, 1951 and 1952.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. Kennedy): The numbers of persons paid unemployment insurance benefit in the last week of November, 1950, 1951 and 1952 were 12,972, 18,858 and 19,787, respectively.
Mr. Norton: asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will state the number of persons on the live register  for the last week in November, 1950, 1951 and 1952.
Mr. Kennedy: The numbers of persons registered at local offices of my Department on the last Saturday of November in each of the years mentioned by the Deputy were as follows:— 25th November, 1950, 55,993; 24th November, 1951, 59,898; 29th November, 1952, 68,850.
Mr. Everett: asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will state the number of registered unemployed in each of the employment exchanges in County Wicklow for the latest available period.
Mr. Kennedy: The numbers of persons registered at the local offices of my Department in County Wicklow on the 6th December, 1952, were as follows:— Arklow, 197; Baltinglass, 123; Blessington, 52; Bray, 449; Wicklow, 157.
Mr. Davern: asked the Minister for Lands whether the Land Commission have considered the propriety of acquiring for division the Slattery estate, Moorestown, Cahir, County Tipperary; and, if so, with what result.
Minister for Lands (Mr. Derrig): The Land Commission have no proceedings for the acquisition of this estate, but the matter has been noted for consideration.
Mr. Rooney: asked the Minister for Lands if, in connection with the land recently acquired on the Ward estate, Leestown, Oldtown, he will state (a) whether this land will be divided among local smallholders or migrants or both, and (b) the number of local applicants holding five acres or more and living within a radius of two miles of the estate.
Mr. Derrig: It is not possible to disclose particulars of land division schemes in advance of the allotment of the lands.
The number of applicants holding five acres or more and living within  a radius of two miles of the Ward estate, Leestown, Oldtown, is 12.
Mr. Rooney: Is it not a fact that strangers have been inspecting these lands in Oldtown?
Mr. J. Flynn: asked the Minister for Lands if he is now in a position to announce his sanction for the supplementary grant for the completion of the repair of sea embankments at Calinafercy West (Marshall estate), and Gurrane and Reen (Ventry estate).
Mr. Derrig: The carrying out of further work on the sea embankments at Calinafercy West, Gurrane and Reen is at present under consideration by the Land Commission, and the matter is being dealt with as expeditiously as possible.
Mr. Everett: asked the Minister for Lands if he is aware that men who reside at Bray, County Wicklow, and are employed by the forestry division on lands at Shankill, County Dublin are being paid at the rate of £4 3s. 6d. per week whilst workers who reside in County Dublin and who are employed by the forestry division at Glencullen, County Dublin, are paid £5 3s. per week; and, if so, if he will take steps to have the workers in Shankill paid the £5 3s. per week rate.
Mr. Derrig: Shankill property forms part of Enniskerry Forest, which lies mainly in County Wicklow and in accordance with normal practice, the wage rate paid is the County Wicklow rate. Instructions have been issued for the payment of an increased rate of 90/- per week at Enniskerry Forest effective from 10th October, 1952. Glencullen property forms part of Killakee Forest which lies wholly in County Dublin.
Mr. Everett: Is the Minister not aware that Government contracts stipulate that a contractor must pay the rate of wages in a particular area? In this case the Department are paying less than the County Dublin rate of  wages. If County Dublin men were employed in County Wicklow their wages would be reduced to the County Wicklow rate. In this case County Wicklow men are employed in County Dublin and the Minister should see that they receive the County Dublin rate of wages.
Mr. Derrig: The principle that has been adopted so far in the matter is that when the main part of a forest is in a particular county and two counties are in question, then the rate of wages payable in the county in which there is the larger part of the forest is the level.
Mr. Everett: That is a new regulation.
Mr. Derrig: It is not a new regulation.
Mr. Everett: asked the Minister for Lands if he is aware that a person purchased 30 acres of land at Enniskerry, County Wicklow, and cut down over 100 trees on the holding; and, if so, if he will now state if application was made to his Department for permission to fell the trees and the date permission was granted.
Mr. Derrig: I am unable to identify the case in question from the particulars given by the Deputy. If he will let me have further particulars I shall have the matter investigated.
Mr. Dillon: Might I inquire from the Minister whether the absence of folders from his answers to questions is due to the cold blast of austerity?
Mr. Derrig: On the contrary, there is not the slightest evidence of cold on this side of the House, and we are quite prepared to warm up the Deputy at the first opportunity that offers.
Mr. Sweetman: Deputy Dillon is to be congratulated on having got from the Minister for Lands for the first time in living memory a touch of humour.
Mr. Dillon: I am beginning to wonder if it is only the inspiration I gave. We must hail that gratifying reaction.
Mr. Sweetman: asked the Minister for Lands if he will request the Land Commission to allot turbary in the vicinity of Kildangan to the owner of Folio 2694, County Kildare (R.O. No. 86/1880).
Mr. Derrig: An application for a turbary plot in the vicinity of Kildangan by the owner in question is being considered.
Mr. Rooney: asked the Minister for Justice is he aware that many voluntary charitable organisations are anxious that proposals for legislation be introduced to enable them to raise funds by promoting lotteries on football and horse-racing results; and, if so, if he will make a statement in the matter.
Minister for Justice (Mr. Boland): The question of the amendment of the law relating to gaming and lotteries is under examination in my Department and I hope to have the matter considered by the Government at an early date.
Mr. Rooney: I should like to know from the Minister whether he will take steps to ensure that the people who are operating at the moment will be allowed to continue until this matter is examined?
Mr. Boland: I certainly will not. As a matter of fact, I understand that proceedings are being taken against those who are continuing.
Mr. Cosgrave: asked the Minister for Justice if he is aware that when the last salary increase was granted to serving chief superintendents no increase in pension was granted to retired chief superintendents; and, if so, if he will consider granting an increase in such cases.
Mr. Boland: Certain increases in pension have been granted to ex-members of the Garda Síochána under the Pensions (Increase) Act, 1950, and no  further increases are possible without fresh legislation, which is not contemplated. In the event of there being any revision of the pensions payable to former State employees generally, I shall see that the claims of Garda pensioners are not overlooked.
Mr. Rooney: asked the Minister for Justice if he will make representation to Dublin Corporation and County Council to have the Garda stations at Finglas and Blanchardstown connected with the sewerage mains in the same way as other premises in these localities.
Mr. Boland: Arrangements are being made to connect the Garda station at Finglas with the main sewerage system in that area.
With regard to Blanchardstown, I am advised that a period of about two years will elapse before a public sewerage and water supply will be available.
Mr. Rooney: Could the Minister indicate that when the services are provided in Blanchardstown the barracks will be connected?
Mr. Boland: I cannot guarantee that, but I imagine it will be done.
Mr. O'Higgins: asked the Minister for Justice if he will state when the erection of a new Garda barracks at Mountbolus, County Offaly, is likely to commence.
Mr. Boland: The question of the erection of a new station at Mountbolus is under consideration. I am unable at present to state when it will be possible to commence the work.
Mr. T. Byrne: asked the Minister for Defence if he will at an early date recommend an increase in the marriage allowances and pay of members of the National Army.
Minister for Defence (Mr. Traynor): As I have stated previously in the House, the rates of pay and allowances  of members of the Defence Forces are kept under constant examination. I am, however, unable to say at present when further increases may be granted.
Mr. O. Flanagan: asked the Minister for Defence if he will state if any marks are given in interviews or preference given to applicants for cadetships or to cadets in training for commissions in the Defence Forces who are the sons of either serving or ex-officers; and, further, if he will state the percentage of such successful applicants, within the past three years, who were so related to officers and retired officers.
Mr. Traynor: The answer to the first portion of the Deputy's question is in the negative. An examination of the lists of candidates who appeared before cadet interview boards during the past three years shows that the numbers of cadetships secured by sons of serving officers or ex-officers in those years were as follows:—
|1950—8 out of a total of 43 Cadetships awarded (or 19 per cent)|
|1951—12 out of a total of 31 Cadetships awarded (or 39 per cent.).|
|1952—3 out of a total of 28 Cadetships awarded (or 11 per cent.).|
Mr. O. Flanagan: asked the Minister for Defence when the pensions board will hear claims for military service pensions from members of the Old I.R.A. in Counties Laoighis and Offaly, and if he will arrange for an early hearing in both counties in order that outstanding cases may be disposed of.
Mr. Traynor: The arranging of sessions for the hearing of claims for military service pensions is primarily a matter for the Referee and for the board of assessors. The question of arranging hearings in Laoighis and Offaly will be considered by them in due course. Meanwhile, no indication can be given as to when it will be possible to arrange hearings in these counties.
Dr. Browne: asked the Minister for Defence if he will state if all or any  of the applications received under the Military Service Pensions Act, 1949, have been formally acknowledged to the applicants by his Department.
Mr. Traynor: In the early stages of the administration of the Military Service Pensions (Amendment) Act, 1949, it was the practice to issue acknowledgments in respect of applications received, but the volume of these applications became so great that this practice was terminated in order to obviate any delay in submitting the claims to the Referee or to the board of assessors for consideration.
Dr. Browne: Is the Minister aware that this has caused considerable inconvenience to applicants for pensions under the 1949 Act? I am aware of one applicant who did apply and who assumed his application was in order, who waited for an acknowledgment, but who has since died. His next-of-kin are now informed that his application was not in order and, consequently, they are not able to correct the details, as a result of which hardship is likely to arise. Surely it is a most unusual practice on the part of a Department not to acknowledge applications?
Mr. MacBride: Further arising out of the Minister's reply, would he not consider it undesirable not to send an acknowledgment in respect of these applications, as in a great many cases the applicant's claim depends upon his having sent in an application within the prescribed time? The acknowledgment he receives from the Department is the only evidence which the applicant has that his claim has been made within the prescribed time. If the applicant does not receive an acknowledgment he is then unable to prove that he applied within the prescribed period.
Mr. Traynor: I can well realise that it would be much better if the sending of acknowledgments had been continued but, as I mentioned in the course of my reply, the staff were overwhelmed with the influx of applications. For that reason, and in order to expedite their reference to the Referee and the board of assessors the practice of sending acknowledgments was not continued. If by any chance  an applicant who has not received an acknowledgment is in any doubt about whether his application is in order or not, if he would apply to the Department I would undertake to ensure that he would get an acknowledgment by return. The only alternative to that — and I would be quite prepared to have the Department undertake it — would be to go through something like 15,000 or 17,000 applications and endeavour to find out what they had acknowledged and what they had not acknowledged. It would be an overwhelming task, but if applicants would apply to the Department in order to ensure whether their applications were in order or not, I would undertake to have their inquiry replied to immediately.
Mr. MacBride: These acknowledgments are printed forms. All that has to be done is to fill in the date and the address of the applicant.
General Mulcahy: Could the Minister say what was the estimated period which was assumed would be saved by not sending these acknowledgments and whether that period was in fact saved in each case?
Mr. Traynor: That would be more or less hypothetical. I cannot say whether any time was saved at all or not, but I am quite prepared to admit it was a wrong attitude generally and that it would be much better for all concerned if acknowledgments had been sent out.
Mr. McGrath: Would the Minister indicate in what year this procedure was adopted?
Mr. Rooney: When the inter-Party Government was in office.
Mr. McGrath: In 1949.
Mr. O'Gorman: asked the Minister for Defence whether, in view of the great inconvenience caused to men employed on his Department's launches in Cork Harbour in having to attend at the transport office at Haulbowline, which for many of them is a considerable  distance from their homes, to draw their weekly wages during off duty hours he will issue instructions to have the men paid as they report for duty, or alternatively, paid by cheque direct to their homes.
Mr. Traynor: It has been agreed in principle to pay the men concerned by cheque, and proposals regarding the necessary arrangements have now been referred to the officer in charge of the launch crews affected for discussion with the men. If agreement is reached, steps will be taken to implement the proposals.
Mr. O. Flanagan: asked the Minister for Education if, in view of the hardship being suffered by retired national teachers due to the increased cost of living, he will ensure that payment of the gratuity which it has been decided to grant to teachers who retired before 1st January, 1950, is made as soon as possible, and in any event not later than 31st December, 1952.
Minister for Education (Mr. Moylan): Payment of the special lump sum which it has been decided to grant to national teacher pensioners who retired before 1st January, 1950, cannot be made until after the necessary amendment of the statutory national teachers' superannuation scheme has been prepared and approved by the Oireachtas. It would not be possible, therefore, to pay the amounts in question before the 31st instant. The matter will, however, be expedited as much as possible.
Mr. Palmer: Does it follow that this matter cannot be dealt with until the Dáil resumes after Christmas?
Mr. Moylan: I think that is correct.
Mr. O. Flanagan: asked the Minister for Education if he is aware that following the trial of the extended school lunch hour, many parents are desirous that the former short break should be reverted to; and, if so, if he will consider obtaining the opinion of parents with a view to arranging a  break in the day in each school as desired by the greater number of parents.
Mr. A. Byrne: asked the Minister for Education if he is aware that a number of schools in Dublin have now adopted the school hours 9 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. which are giving entire satisfaction to pupils and parents alike; and, if so, if he will recommend to all other schools where the broken hours are in force the desirability of the adoption of similar hours and so bring to an end the parents' complaint of having to attend the schools four times per day to bring the smaller children to and from the schools.
Mr. Moylan: With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 47 and 48 together.
Subject to the regulations regarding the provision of a minimum period of attendance for secular instruction, the fixing of the school time-table and the extent of the mid-day interval is a matter for local arrangement with the school manager.
As I have already intimated, many parents prefer the dual day arrangement, as it affords the children an opportunity of having a hot mid-day meal at home, but I am aware that others favour the one-meeting school day with a short interval for recreation.
I am not prepared to intervene to the extent of seeking the opinion of the individual parents concerned, or of making a recommendation to managers.
I consider that the managers of national schools are in the best position to appreciate the requirements of parents and pupils in this matter.
Mr. Rooney: asked the Minister for Education whether he has consulted Dublin Corporation regarding the provision of a suitable site on which a technical school could be established for the convenience of Ballyfermot residents; and, if so, with what result.
Mr. Moylan: The provision of a suitable site for a technical school at  Ballyfermot is, in the first instance, the responsibility of the City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee. I am aware that this committee in February, 1951 had sites in this area examined by their architect with a view to having a suitable site reserved by the Dublin Corporation for a technical school.
Mr. O. Flanagan: asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state in reference to his reply to a question of 27th November relative to the operation of the Small Dwellings Acts by the Corporation of Dublin (1) in what district of Dublin the houses were situated which he then stated were outside the city boundary when loans amounting to £61,815 were advanced on them by the Dublin Corporation, (2) whether loans under the Small Dwellings Acts were issued on any other houses, similarly situated, by the Dublin Corporation, (3) the amount of such loans and (4) what disciplinary action, if any, was taken against the official concerned in these latter cases and, further, if in view of the facts disclosed in these cases, before giving his consent to the payment of any further loans under the Small Dwellings Acts by the Corporation of Dublin, he will take the necessary steps to have a public sworn inquiry held into the administration of the Small Dwellings Acts by the Corporation of Dublin.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. M.J. Kennedy) (for Minister for Local Government): The houses referred to at (1) in the Deputy's question are in the Crumlin area. In regard to (2), (3) and (4), I am not aware of any other cases. As to the concluding part of the question, I would point out that my consent is not required to the making by the Dublin Corporation of advances under the Small Dwellings Acquisition Acts.
Mr. MacBride: The question asks if any disciplinary action has been taken. Can the Parliamentary Secretary indicate whether any disciplinary action has or has not been taken?
Mr. Kennedy: Disciplinary action has been taken.
Captain Cowan: It is a matter for the Dublin Corporation.
Mr. Palmer: Has Deputy Cowan a roving commission to answer every question? He is very helpful, anyhow.
Mr. MacEntee: It is quite obvious we now know who inspired Deputy O. Flanagan's question.
Mr. Flanagan: asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state in reference to the reply to a question on 27th November concerning the administration of the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Acts by the Corporation of Dublin (1) whether a signed declaration as to progress is required from an applicant before the payment by the corporation of an instalment or the whole of a small dwellings loan; (2) whether this signed declaration was made in the cases set out as incomplete or nonexistent by him in his reply, either by the applicants or persons acting on their behalf, and (3) whether, if these declarations were, in fact, false the Dublin Corporation will take legal action regarding these attempts to obtain money by false declaration.
Mr. Kennedy: It is my practice to accord local authorities a full discretion in the administration of the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Acts so far as advances to individual borrowers are concerned. The cases referred to in the Deputy's question of 27th November last had come to my notice by reason of the disciplinary action, requiring my approval, which was taken. I was, therefore, in a position to answer the several portions of the Deputy's question of 27th November. I have, however, no further information nor am I prepared to seek it, as regards questions of procedure or proceedings in which, as I have indicated, local authorities have a full discretion as to the action, if any, which they should take. Any necessary review of the matter on those lines is the responsibility of the local government auditor.
Mr. McGrath: asked the Minister for Local Government if he will issue  definite instructions to local authorities who borrow from the local loans fund to make payments of loans under the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Acts to persons covered by any of the six categories set out in his circular No. H.16/52 of 12th November, 1952, as many people are seriously handicapped by delay and doubt as to whether they will be entitled to interest at the rate prevailing prior to 6th October.
Mr. Kennedy: The making of advances under the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Acts is entirely within the discretion of the local authorities, and I am not empowered to instruct them to make advances in particular cases. So far as the rate of interest is concerned, local authorities who borrow from the local loans fund have been informed that in all cases coming within the categories referred to by the Deputy in which they propose to make advances, the rate of interest will be the rate prevailing before the 6th October, 1952.
Mr. O'Higgins: asked the Minister for Local Government whether he is aware that there is considerable dissatisfaction amongst tenants of Irish Sailors' and Soldiers' Land Trust houses with regard to the terms proposed by the Trust for the purchase of their houses and particularly on account of the fact that the purchase price will be determined by the Trust alone and sales will be arranged by means of a lease for a term of years with a prohibition against alienation and whether he will either take up the matter with the British Government or introduce suitable proposals for legislation.
Mr. Kennedy: I am not so aware. The sale of these houses is authorised by recent legislation of the British Parliament to implement an agreement which was the subject of a public announcement on 8th May, 1951. The question of the introduction of legislation here does not arise.
Mr. Davin: asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state (1)  the number of houses erected under the direct labour system at Rathdowney, County Laoighis, during the past year, (2) the total cost of the houses, (3) the cost of the site, (4) the cost of development of the site, (5) the cost of machinery and equipment, (6) the cost of materials, (7) the wages paid to workers, (8) the salaries of engineering and supervisory staff, (9) the annual charge for subsidy from rates and (10) the annual amount paid in rents for the present year.
Mr. Kennedy: The particulars asked for by the Deputy are being obtained and will be furnished to him as soon as possible.
Mr. O. Flanagan: asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state whether a special grant has been applied for by the Offaly County Council for the repair of the road at Bally-common, Daingean, County Offaly, leading to the Catholic church which at present is in such bad repair that clergy and people cannot reach the church; and, if so, if he will obtain a report on the condition of the road, and have the necessary steps taken to remedy the situation.
Mr. Kennedy: I understand that the road to which the Deputy refers is not under the control of the Offaly County Council and I have, therefore, no functions in the matter.
Mr. S. Collins: asked the Minister for Local Government if he can now indicate what sum of money will be available for the improvement of tourist roads in Cork County.
Mr. Kennedy: I have indicated to Cork County Council the conditions attaching to the special scheme for the improvement of tourist roads in the Gaeltacht and congested areas in so far as it applies to that county, and have asked them to submit accordingly a scheme of road works to the value of approximately £50,000 for 1953-54.
Mr. Kyne: asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state the cause of the delay in sanctioning the increase of 8/- in pay recommended in September last for road workers in County Kilkenny.
Mr. Kyne: asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state the cause of the delay in sanctioning wage increases recommended in September last for carters in County Kilkenny.
Mr. Kennedy: With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I propose to answer Questions Nos. 57 and 58 together.
A proposal to increase the basic wages of road workers, including carters, with effect from 14th July, 1952, was received in my Department on 24th September last and sanction to a basic rate of 85/- a week issued on 19th November. There was no undue delay in dealing with the matter.
Mr. Davin: asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state the total amounts allocated to the Counties of (1) Laoighis and (2) Offaly under the Local Authorities (Works) Act, 1949, since the Act came into operation.
Mr. Kennedy: As the reply contains a tabular statement, I propose, with your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, to circulate it with the Official Report.
The following is the statement:—
LOCAL AUTHORITIES (WORKS) ACT, 1949.
NOTE:— In addition to the grants shown above for the years 1950/51 to 1952/53, inclusive, a special allocation was made available for the execution of works ancillary to operations under the Land Rehabilitation Project. The amount of this special allocation in each case was £1,000 in 1950/51 and 1951/52 and £500 in 1952/53.
Mr. Burke: asked the Minister for Local Government if he is aware that residents of the Malahide area are anxious to know when the North County Dublin regional water scheme will be extended to Malahide, as a number of residents complain of the present water supply.
Mr. Kennedy: Contract drawings for the extension of the North Dublin regional water supply scheme to Malahide have been approved, and the submission of the remaining contract documents is awaited.
Mr. O. Flanagan: asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state whether proposals for water supply for Castletown, Mountrath, County Laoighis, have been received in his Department; and, if so, the cause of the delay in sanctioning the scheme, and when it is expected that work will be undertaken.
Mr. Kennedy: No proposals of the nature referred to in the Deputy's question have been submitted to my Department.
Mr. O. Flanagan: asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state the cause of the delay in carrying out the sewerage scheme at Crinkle, near Birr, County Offaly, in view of the fact that the health of the area is endangered by the absence of such a scheme which was to be undertaken some time ago.
Mr. Kennedy: The provision of a sewerage scheme for Crinkle is a matter for the sanitary authority in the first instance. No proposals have been submitted to my Department in relation to the matter.
Mr. McGrath: asked the Minister for Local Government if he will indicate the reasons for delay in proceeding with the sewerage scheme in the south western suburb adjoining Cork City.
Mr. Kennedy: As regards the time which has elapsed since details of this scheme were submitted to my Department in July last, I consider that that period is not unduly long for examination of a scheme of this magnitude. My engineering advisers' views on the scheme have in fact been informally conveyed to the consultant and discussions with him have been proceeding. Official observations on the scheme will be conveyed to the sanitary authority in the near future.
Mr. McGrath: Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that this has been going on now for two years?
Mr. Kennedy: It was held by the corporation for 12 months.
Mr. McGrath: The corporation has nothing to do with it.
Mrs. Crowley: asked the Minister for Local Government whether he is aware that local authorities are finding the upkeep of fire brigades increasingly difficult; and, if so, whether he will seek powers to compel insurance companies to bear some portion of the cost in view of the income they derive from insurances on council properties, if necessary by the introduction of proposals for legislation.
Mr. Kennedy: I am not aware that local authorities are experiencing difficulty in regard to the maintenance of the fire-fighting service. I do not consider that legislation on the lines suggested by the Deputy would be practicable.
Mrs. Crowley: Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that formerly insurance companies operated their own fire brigades, thereby proving the value of an efficient service?
Mr. Kennedy: The difficulty about the matter is that an insured person would be paying for an uninsured person. The rates would go up and the non-insured person would have the same service as the insured person. It is a very difficult proposition.
Mr. L. Walsh: Why should not the Minister keep the rates down as he has done in the case of car insurance?
Mr. Kennedy: It depends on the number of fires.
Breanndán Mac Fheórais: asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state whether he proposes to authorise the holding of local elections next year.
Mr. Kennedy: Under the Local Elections Act, 1948, the ordinary triennial elections of members of local authorities are due to be held in the period from the 23rd June to 1st July, 1953, inclusive.
Breanndán Mac Fheórais: In the question I asked whether the Minister proposes to authorise the holding of these elections next year? Can we take it the elections will be held within this period?
Mr. Kennedy: All I can say is that the Minister does not authorise the elections to be held. All he can do is postpone the elections.
Breanndán Mac Fheórais: Can the Parliamentary Secretary say now if we are to have these elections next year?
Mr. Kennedy: I could not say. I could not inform the Deputy by giving him an answer to a supplementary question.
Mr. Palmer: Beware now. Do not postpone them, anyhow.
Mr. Byrne: asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he will state the number of musicians, if any, who have been replaced in the Radio Éireann Orchestra by non-nationals within the past 18 months.
Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Childers): During the period in question 18 musicians, comprising 14 nationals and four non-nationals left the orchestra. A total of 25 musicians, comprising ten nationals and 15 non-nationals, were recruited during the same period.
Mr. Cosgrave: Is the Minister aware  that some of the nationals who have been displaced are persons with families and their disemployment has caused very severe hardship? In certain cases displaced nationals were subsequently employed by the Hallé Orchestra when it visited Dublin recently and were regarded as satisfactory. In view of the hardship caused, will the Minister now investigate the circumstances of these people's dismissal?
Mr. Childers: All these matters have been investigated. In regard to the statement with relation to players who were employed temporarily for the purpose of a particular concert, may I say that at least one of those players has been engaged with the Radio Éireann Orchestra in a temporary capacity since?
Mr. Cosgrave: Quite recently one individual was dismissed who had had service with the Army during the emergency. Surely such a person should not be displaced by a non-national.
Mr. Childers: Most of the persons dismissed were serving in a purely temporary capacity. They were aware of that fact, and every possible opportunity was taken to make them aware that a time would come when their services would be terminated. Every possible step was taken to make them realise that.
Mr. Cosgrave: Is it not a fact that almost the entire orchestra — in fact, both orchestras — are recruited in a temporary capacity, so that, automatically, they are temporary, but, in practice, experience has shown that a great number of the nationals are being displaced by non-nationals?
Mr. Childers: There are two types of persons playing in the orchestra. The first type is recruited on the basis that their service can be discontinued without notice and the second type are recruited to a more permanent state of employment. There are less than 10 per cent. of the first type in both orchestras combined, and they are employed in a purely temporary capacity.
Mr. MacBride: What length of notice is given?
Mr. Childers: They are given notice for months in advance.
Mr. MacBride: One month?
Mr. Childers: Months in advance.
Mr. MacBride: That they are going to be dismissed?
Mr. Childers: I have given the facts to the Deputy.
Mrs. Rice: If a person has given satisfactory service in a temporary capacity why is he not made permanent instead of——
Deputies: Hear, hear.
Mr. Childers: Players who are satisfactory are appointed permanently. Since June, 1952, we have appointed ten national musicians — which shows that there is no prejudice whatever in that matter.
Mr. Burke: asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he is aware that the sub-postmasters in County Dublin are entitled to an official dinner interval of one hour from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. each day, and that, although the dinner hour is officially recognised, they have to take incoming telegrams during the dinner hour; and, if so, if he will have the sub-postmasters' complaints in this regard examined and steps taken to remedy them.
Mr. Childers: Sub-postmasters are not entitled to close their offices for a dinner interval, but they may be permitted to do so on certain conditions, one of which is that provision should be made for telegraph work. Any alteration in this arrangement would cause inconvenience to the public. A sub-postmaster is not obliged to attend to the telegraph work himself.
Mr. Dillon: Does the Minister seriously say that in rural Ireland the post office is not closed for the lunch  hour? I could not buy a stamp in a post office in any country town between the hours of one and two.
Mr. Childers: I have given the reply to the question.
Mr. Dillon: Does the Minister believe that they are not closed for all ordinary services between the hours of one and two?
Mr. Childers: The practice varies according to the custom of the district in regard to the closing of shops.
Mr. Dillon: I can assure the Minister that, to my certain knowledge, in several towns where no shops close in the middle of the day the post office closes.
Mr. Childers: The number of regulations concerning this matter would be much too long to read out. Subject to certain other considerations, the practice is that which is followed by other shops in the locality.
General Mulcahy: Does the Minister consider that, in view of the delay in the delivery of telegrams to-day, another half an hour would not do any harm?
Mr. Childers: We have not had many complaints from sub-postmasters in regard to that matter.
Mr. Dillon: I have been refused a stamp——
General Mulcahy: I have handed in telegrams to be sent to Dublin, and I have reached Dublin before they arrived.
Breanndán Mac Fheórais: asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs whether he has yet filled the vacancy for sub-postmaster at Fethard-on-Sea, County Wexford; and, if so, whether he will state the names of the person appointed.
Mr. Childers: The vacancy for sub-postmaster at Fethard has not yet been filled.
Breanndán Mac Fheórais: Is the Minister aware that information to the  effect that the name of a Mr. Molloy was supplied by a Deputy of this House to the local Fianna Fáil Cumann?
Mr. Childers: I have no such information.
Mr. Palmer: They are at it again.
Mr. Dillon: What would you expect?
Mr. O'Donnell: asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he is aware of the misspelling of the word “Eire” on the Moore centenary twopence halfpenny postage stamp just issued; and, if so, if he will take immediate steps to have this error rectified.
Mr. Childers: The omission of the accent in “Eire” which I assume is what the Deputy has in mind was deliberate in the interests of artistic balance in the stamp itself and in accordance with a common practice in the printing of Irish in Roman letters for display purposes.
Mr. O'Donnell: What is the precedent for spelling the name of the country as it is spelt on the Moore commemoration stamp?
Mr. Childers: The Deputy will find, for example, that in a well-known newspaper printed in Irish the same precedent has been adopted. He will find that on to-day's Order Paper there is a similar example.
Mr. O'Donnell: So these are to be the precedents for our future stamps.
Mr. Childers: I did not say that. It is for this particular stamp. The precedent can be found in circles well acquainted with the language.
Mr. O'Donnell: Is the Minister aware of the definition of the word “Eire” in Irish dictionaries?
Mr. Childers: I am so aware.
Mr. Rooney: asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs whether he is aware that the sub-post office at Decies  Road has been transferred to Ballyfermot Road to facilitate the sale of milk at the Decies Road premises which were built more recently than the Ballyfermot Road premises and were previously considered unsuitable as a sub-post office owing to their location; further, that residents of Ballyfermot consider the new location inconvenient and unjustified, and, if so, if he will make a statement in the matter.
Mr. Childers: I am aware that the Ballyfermot Post Office formerly situated at Decies Road has been moved to Ballyfermot Road. This is a temporary arrangement necessitated, I understand, owing to an objection to the sale of milk at the former premises. I am not aware that the residents consider the new location unsuitable.
Mr. Finan: asked the Minister for Agriculture if his attention has been directed to Press reports of a statement alleged to have been made by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Social Welfare at Raharney, County Westmeath, in connection with the manner in which instructors under committees of agriculture discharge their duties; and, if so, whether he has investigated the charges made and what the result of such investigation has been and whether, in view of the publicity given to the statement, he will make a pronouncement on the manner in which these instructors discharge their duties.
Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Walsh): I have seen Press references to the statement alleged to have been made by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Social Welfare. I did not investigate the matter as I did not consider it appropriate or necessary for me to do so. These instructors are employed, not by my Department but by the county committees of agriculture.
The services of these instructors are available to any farmer who applies for them. If any farmer has a complaint to make about an individual instructor he should address it to the  committee of agriculture, whose duty it would be to deal appropriately with the matter.
I should perhaps add that instructors have, in many instances, to call repeatedly on individual farmers on whose holdings demonstrations, experiments, or poultry stations happen to be located.
Mr. Dillon: Is it not part of the Minister's statutory duty, and does he not maintain a staff actually to ensure that the services required to be given to farmers by county instructors are so given? Is it not a fact that these inspectors have perennially reported to the Department that the instructors are doing not only all they are expected to do but more than it is reasonable to ask them to do? Has the Minister not four inspectors for that purpose? Perhaps the Minister would reply. He says he has no responsibility.
Mr. Walsh: It is a matter for the committees of agriculture.
Mr. Dillon: No, no. Has the Minister not four inspectors?
Mr. Walsh: If there are any complaints to be made they should be made to the committee of agriculture.
Mr. Dillon: Is the Minister not responsible for the due performance of the duties devolving on the county instructor and does he not maintain an inspector for that purpose?
Mr. Walsh: Yes. There have been no complaints.
Mr. McQuillan: Is it not a fact that the implication in this question is that a Parliamentary Secretary cast a serious slur on the agricultural officers in regard to the way in which they carry out their duties? Will the Minister make a comment on the unjust charges which that Parliamentary Secretary made against agricultural officers?
Mr. Walsh: That is another question.
Mr. McQuillan: That is what the Minister was asked in this question. He was asked if he had any comment  to make on the charges made by the Parliamentary Secretary. It is not the first occasion on which this Parliamentary Secretary has made wild and unsubstantiated statements.
An Ceann Comhairle: Question No. 72.
Mr. O. Flanagan: asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will state (i) how many units of machinery are at work on the land project scheme in County Kilkenny; (ii) the date on which the units commenced work, and (iii) how many contractors have work on hands.
Mr. Walsh: As to (i) and (iii) in the question, I would refer the Deputy to the reply given on 3rd December to a question by Deputy Sweetman regarding contractors and machinery operating under the land project. As to (ii) in the question, various units of machinery were made available for County Kilkenny from February, 1950, according as the work demanded.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach (Donnchadh Ó Briain): I move:—
That, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the Order of the Dáil of 9th December, 1952, the Select Committee on the salaries, expense allowances and pensions of the judges and justices do consist of twelve members, of whom four shall form a quorum, and that the following members be appointed to serve on the said Committee:—
Minister for Justice, Parliamentary Secretary to the Government, Deputies Denis Allen, John Belton, Harry Colley, Peadar Cowan, Maurice E. Dockrell, Patrick J. Hillery, Michael Hilliard, Seán MacEoin, Daniel Morrissey and Ted O'Sullivan.
An Ceann Comhairle: Is the motion agreed?
Mr. Dillon: Is there any precedent for that procedure?
An Ceann Comhairle: It is within the power of the House to amend that motion if it so desires.
Mr. Donnellan: Would we be right in saying that they failed to get 154 Why did they fail?
An Ceann Comhairle: Is the motion agreed?
Mr. Dillon: All I wanted to know was what happened.
An Ceann Comhairle: Will Deputies dissenting please indicate their disagreement by rising in their places? If there are more than five Deputies  dissenting, it will be necessary to have a division.
Nine Deputies rose.
Breanndán Mac Fheórais: We should like merely to be recorded as dissenting.
Mr. Donnellan: Vótáil.
Mr. Norton: May I make a submission? I think it is rather customary to ring the bell and then put the question.
An Ceann Comhairle: That is when there is a division.
Question again put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 87; Níl, 19.
Blaney, Neil T.
Brady, Philip A.
Browne, Noel C.
Collins, James J.
Corry, Martin J.
Crowley, Honor Mary.
Davern, Michael J.
de Valera, Vivion.
Dillon, James M.
Dockrell, Henry P.
Dockrell, Maurice E.
Doyle, Peadar S.
Hillery, Patrick J.
Kennedy, Michael J.
Lehane, Patrick D.
Little, Patrick J.
Lynch, Jack (Cork Borough).
Maguire, Patrick J.
Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
O'Gorman, Patrick J.
O'Higgins, Thomas F. (Jun.).
Rice, Bridget M.
Ryan, Mary B.
Sheldon, William A.W.
Walsh, Laurence J.
Kyne, Thomas A.
Murphy, Michael P.
Tellers:— Tá: Deputies Ó Briain and Killilea; Níl: Deputies Donnellan and Mac Fheórais.
Question declared carried.
The Dáil went into Committee to consider an amendment from the Seanad.
Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Walsh): I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in the following amendment:—
In page 3, line 13, “or if any of those five week-days is a Church holiday and the worker either does not work on that day or completes less than nine hours of work thereon”, inserted before “he shall be regarded”.
On the Report Stage of this Bill in the Dáil I gave an undertaking or a promise that I would consider the question of church holidays. I put forward this amendment in the Seanad where it was passed. I am now asking the Committee to accept it. What the amendment means is that whether a worker works on a church holiday or not, he will now qualify for his half-day. The original provision was that he had to work 45 hours in the week before qualifying. For instance, if an employer was to regard the hours that the worker was absent attending a church service in the morning, these might be deducted from his working week and so he might not qualify for the half-day. That position is now rectified under this amendment.
Mr. Dunne: What it means is that if he gets the church holiday he still qualifies for the half-day?
Mr. Walsh: Yes.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment reported and agreed to.
Ordered: That the Seanad be informed accordingly.
The Dáil, according to order, went into Committee on Finance, and resumed the consideration of Supplementary Estimates.
Mr. J. Flynn: When the debate on the Estimate was adjourned, I was expressing the opinion that our people in Kerry welcome this proposal. I would like the Minister to consider some points which I desire to bring to his notice. I am aware, from what the people have told me, that they now have confidence in this scheme so far as small holdings are concerned. I find from the official list that the number of applications from Kerry sent into the Department was 750 while the number which the Department have agreed to take up is 35.
In Mayo, which is a county somewhat similar to ours, I find that 250 schemes have been agreed from a similar number of applicants. That bears out the statement I made earlier, that so far as we in South Kerry are concerned the scheme is not working out as it should. My colleague, Deputy Palmer, or if I may describe him as my sparring partner, made the case here yesterday that Fianna Fáil objected to this scheme because it was introduced by Deputy Dillon. That is not the case at all. Our people would object to it in any case because it was not working out as we thought it  would. We would be prepared to give Deputy Dillon all the credit that is due to him if the scheme were a success.
There are certain ideals and ideas involved so far as certain aspects of this land rehabilitation scheme are concerned. It could be a very good scheme if approached properly and handled in the right way. My experience of the officials in County Kerry was not very happy. Without saying anything against them personally, I think their approach from the small farmer's point of view was hopeless.
I ask the Minister when dealing with this question of contractors also to be very careful. Employing contractors is all right if there is competition and if you have a sufficient number of them who will compete against each other. Then the farmers will get the benefit. But the danger I see in it is that it may result in a combination by a group of people to do something which would upset the whole idea behind the Minister's proposal. There is one fact that he must be aware of, that in my county if a contractor is given the right to operate in a certain area he will take very good care that he will work for the larger farmer at a high price in preference to going to a congested district where he will have to work for a number of smallholders at perhaps a lower price. These points are very well worth consideration. I ask the Minister so to arrange this scheme that that could not occur.
There is no doubt but that the scheme as visualised by the previous Government could have been a good scheme, but very expensive machinery was employed. I know one or two cases in County Kerry where there was a breakdown in the machinery and men were left idle for days and weeks by the people in control of these larger machines which were being worked by the Department at considerable cost to the people concerned.
Great play has been made about the Minister's proposal to sell the machinery. I suggest that the Minister could get hundreds of offers from practical farmers and farmers' sons, who will purchase this machinery and work it as it should be worked, not in the  haphazard way in which it was being worked. It is well known that when machinery is being operated by a Department of State there is an inclination always to assume that if there is a breakdown it will be made right at the expense of the taxpayers, and that you need not care very much about the depreciation of the machinery. But if you get practical farmers' sons, who will purchase the machinery or lease it from the Department, you will have very good work done at lesser cost than it has been done heretofore, and in a more satisfactory manner for the people concerned. The great thing I see about the Minister's proposal is that it will give these farmers' sons such an opportunity. They have some capital and would be prepared to invest it. I know several of them in my own county who would be prepared to avail of the Minister's offer, and purchase or lease this machinery for operation in their own county. That would mean a wonderful advance when contrasted with what has been happening. We had no machinery down there. We could not get any machinery.
Look at the expense of sending officials round the country examining holdings and preparing maps, etc. That seemed to be a grand thing on the surface but, as I said before, of 750 applications only 35 were accepted. These inspectors come along at considerable cost to the taxpayer and they might be operating for the next five years. The people were laughing at the way in which the scheme was working out. I am not aware of how it worked in other counties, but I am giving a true report as to how it worked out in my district.
Reference was made by several Deputies to the cost per acre. Everyone is aware that the cost, when the scheme was being operated by the Department, worked out on an average of £50 per acre, while all the farmer doing the work himself could obtain was approximately £20 per acre — £9 10s. to be exact. There is no play-acting in this proposal I have to make. Deputy Palmer stated yesterday that the Fianna Fáil Party were play-acting or playing politics. This is a sound business proposition. I suggest that it could be done in this way. The  Minister could strike an average between the present cost of £50 per acre and the £20 per acre allowed to the farmer and increase the amount to the farmer to £35 per acre. That may appear an exorbitant demand. But when you consider the cost of inspection and all the work which had to be done by the Department in connection with doing the work themselves and the fact that it cost the Department £50 per acre while the farmer doing the work himself got only £20, it would be only justice to the farmer that he should be given £30 or £35 per acre for doing the work. I make that suggestion to the Minister on behalf of the people I represent.
In regard to the ground limestone scheme, we are aware that it is difficult to handle limestone in the congested and mountainous areas. As we have local limestone deposits in South Kerry of excellent quality, it might be possible for the Minister at some future date to give facilities for the establishment of a small plant down there, say, in Killarney or Kenmare district. Quite a number of people would be prepared to invest capital in that if they got the proper facilities and encouragement to do so and it would be better than bringing the ground limestone from Buttevant to Ballin-skellings or places like that. I think it will be more economical and less costly to the State to have all these areas developed from a centre located in the areas I have mentioned. I am aware that there are farmers and business people who would have invested in such a plan and tried to make headway in regard to it but they felt they could not compete against a system that was able to deliver ground limestone from outlying places like Buttevant or Cahirciveen. It is only natural to expect that a State-controlled scheme would be more comprehensive; it would be very difficult for the local people to compete against it and it would be unfair to expect them to do so.
Whilst paying every tribute we can to the Minister for the introduction of this scheme and giving full credit to him for the way in which the scheme is planned and the intention behind it, I would like to go further and examine  the snags or the deficiencies in the way the scheme works out so far as we are concerned.
There are certain areas where smallscale drainage works can be undertaken under this land project and this machinery will play a very important part in that connection. I have mentioned on several occasions in the House, areas where the Minister for Agriculture could lease out machinery through the Board of Works or alternatively co-operate with a view to carrying out these small drainage works in certain districts. It would be a great advance instead of waiting for a number of years for a larger drainage scheme to operate. I have a particular case in mind where we were asking the Land Commission to prevent flooding and erosion of land. We pointed out to the Land Commission that the excavation and removal of a sand deposit and the diversion of the river itself to its proper channel would be a great saving to the farmers and that the necessary machinery could be very usefully lent from the Board of Works to the Land Commission.
Also in connection with the Department of Agriculture I would like to see a system operating where, whether the machinery was owned by the Department of Agriculture, by the men working under the Department or by contractors, if the Land Commission decided to carry out certain development works in certain areas, the machinery would be available as time went on for that purpose. If there was an understanding between those three Departments, the Board of Works, the Land Commission and the Department of Agriculture in regard to the drainage of the smaller areas, great progress could be made in that direction.
I believe this matter should be approached in a practical way and not by playing politics as did Deputy Palmer. He did not approach this question in the proper, business like or practical way. Deputy McQuillan and Deputy Seán Collins did approach it in a practical way. It is a matter we should all approach on its merits because it is a vital scheme to our small-holders in the different counties As I  suggested before, if this machinery is leased out to small farmers' sons and to farmers' sons in any district, it will result in great work being done and steady progress being made. I again thank the Minister for this proposal.
Mr. W. Murphy: As one of the Deputies representing County Clare, a county to which this scheme had been most applicable and a county which, for the little that had been done in it under the scheme, had shown very good results, I believe it is my duty to stand up here to-night and pass a few simple remarks as to what I think about the change-over which is now about to take place. I will commence by saying that since I came into this House a year and a half ago I always felt and still feel that the outlook so far as the agricultural industry in this country is concerned is very optimistic indeed. My reason for saying that is that as the months and the weeks had been passing by since I came in here, I always looked upon it as a grand thing that no matter what other phase of policy we disagreed on, there was one thing we all agreed on and that was that the agricultural industry of this country had pride of place in this House, and that we believed that no matter what emergency this country might have to go through, the agricultural policy was the one and only policy that would pull us through.
For that reason, I feel it is a pity that at this stage any change should occur in the working of that policy, particularly in a scheme such as the land reclamation scheme which certainly had furthered the agricultural industry a great deal and, if I may say so, added a few more cogs to the big wheel of that industry. I certainly felt disappointed sitting down here last night listening to some of the sarcastic and, I might say, caustic remarks which had been passed on that scheme by some of the Deputies from the Government side of the House.
I feel it very much, particularly as I do not believe they were genuine in their sarcastic remarks about a scheme which has done so much for the Irish farmer. One of them went so far as to style it “Dillon's Baby”. I do not  disagree with that description because every Deputy knows that Deputy Dillon is the father of the scheme. I would like to remind Deputies who call it “Dillon's Baby” that they must have had some vision of the future career of the baby, because there is no doubt about it for the past 18 months they have taken good care, in the words of the old song, “To keep walking that baby back home”.
In the same breath in which he criticised the scheme one Deputy boasted they had got more work out of the baby in the last 18 months than the father of the baby got during three and a quarter years. One of them congratulated the Minister on bringing private enterprise home to the farmer. I believe that private enterprise so far as the farmer is concerned is and must be at all times in his own farmyard. Believing that, I shall look forward to seeing how the private enterprise now being introduced by parting with this machinery to contractors will affect the life of the farmers.
I think it is a pity that a scheme such as this, a scheme holding out some ray of hope to the Irish farmer, should be in any way jeopardised. Under the scheme the farmer saw looming before him the day when he would stand on his own doorstep and see the land that was his father's before him brought back into productivity. More important still, he could see the day when his son would be no longer anxious to fly from the land, but would say to himself: “There is something here to work for, and there is something here to live for”, and that boy would stay at home on the little farm, work it and live on it, and enjoy the amenities which none of his predecessors enjoyed.
The Minister should bear in mind, when disposing of this machinery, that he is not the owner of the machinery. Neither is it the property of the Department of Agriculture. If the Minister believes he can further the interests of the Irish farming community he should state his objectives clearly and he should stay his hand until such time as he has put his ideals before the people, told them what he intends to do and how his intentions will benefit them. The  Minister referred to bigger grants for the farmers. What machinery does he intend to set up to put these grants into proper working order? We all know that the one thing the farmer lacks to-day is manual labour. The farmer of to-day is lucky in that he lives in a mechanical age, and he has a substitute in machinery for the manual labour that he lacks. Until such time as the Minister puts the facts clearly before the people he will not dispel from their minds the impression that it is not the machinery that is being sold but the Dillon scheme.
Mr. Lehane: I do not want to approach this Supplementary Estimate from a political point of view. We have had a lot of sound and fury and a lot of political angling in connection with this Supplementary Estimate. That is a pity, because the land reclamation scheme is one of very great importance to the country as a whole, and I congratulate the Minister on introducing an increased Estimate for this very important work.
On every occasion during the past four or five years the farmers have been told by city Deputies that they had got £40,000,000 for land reclamation. The facts are that in some years they got £100,000 and in some years a couple of hundred thousand pounds. Despite the fact that the Minister has now introduced this Supplementary Estimate, only a small proportion of this £40,000,000 is being expended on this very important work.
There is no doubt that the land needs reclamation, and the greater the delay the slower we will be in increasing production. The Minister, in taking the initiative and increasing the grants in the smaller schemes and the amount available for contractors, is doing something to ensure that part of that £40,000,000 will go to the farmers and help the drive for increased food production.
Unlike other Deputies, I am not worried about the transfer of this machinery to private contractors. No State body can operate a machine as effectively as an individual in the country who knows the conditions in the country. It is impossible for a State  organisation to shift machinery here and there and to get the personnel that understands the conditions so well as those who live in the country understand them. There are many people in the rural areas to-day for whom there is no room on the land. This will provide them with a useful opportunity of getting employment.
Deputies on both sides of the House have pleaded for the private lorry owner, and have spoken of the invaluable service he can give in the rural areas. The private contractor can give the same service as the private lorry owner. He can give a much more efficient service than any State-operated body. In handing over these machines the Minister should take steps to ensure that they are not collared by some group, some trust or some organisation which wants them for purposes other than that of land reclamation.
I suggest to the Minister that he should have some tie on all these machines and that there should be an obligation on whoever gets them to operate them solely for land reclamation work so long as there is work to be done in that sphere. As an inducement or as a help to people in areas where the work requires to be done. I think the Minister should continue the system of giving grants in respect of these units of machinery so as to ensure that they are used for the purposes for which they were bought.
I should like the Minister to give us an undertaking that in the levelling-up of the amount paid on the smaller schemes against the amount paid on the bigger schemes there will not be any reduction on the bigger schemes which are described, I think, as B. schemes.
I should also like the Minister to tell us whether the getting rid by the Department of this machinery absolves the Department in any degree from the carrying-out of work which they should undertake where a farmer elects to have the work carried out by the Department.
I am glad to see that the demand for ground limestone is increasing though it requires to be increased much more rapidly. However, before limestone  is put out in the quantities in which it should be put out, facilities must be made available for spreading it on the land. There is no point in taking loads of ground limestone and throwing them on the side of the road four or five miles or a mile or even half a mile from the farmer's premises and expecting him to load it, if he can load it, in winter time and to spread it on the land.
I hope the Minister will be quite consistent in his attitude. If the Minister's attitude now is to get rid of these machines that are being operated by a State body I hope he will follow that logically and will not hand the matter over to a monopoly, to chaos in excelsis, which is Córas Iompair Éireann, or to some other body which will be quite inefficient in their handling of it and thus prevent farmers from benefiting from it.
Mr. Cafferky: It is seldom, if ever, that a Vote of this kind comes before the House which is not generally approved and welcomed. I believe that most Deputies—even some on the Government side of the House—are in a dilemma on the question of how the Minister is going to dispose of the machinery. I will be quite frank about this matter. A short time ago, at a meeting of our little organisation in Mayo, the land rehabilitation scheme was discussed very thoroughly and a suggestion was made something on the same lines as that put forward by the Minister. That suggestion was put forward by delegates at that meeting — ordinary farmers, young and old. I must say that, having been present at the meeting in County Mayo, I was rather surprised to come into this House and hear the Minister put forward similar suggestions — especially the suggestion in regard to increased grants in relation to Section A of the land rehabilitation scheme. We approve of that very much. We think it will go a long way towards helping the farmer to avail of the land rehabilitation scheme.
There are very few farmers in the West who avail of machinery. The work is mostly done by hand even on 40, 30, 20 acres down to ten, five and two acres. The big obstacles in the  way of our availing of the land rehabilitation scheme are the need for arterial drainage and the reduction in the amount of work done under the Local Authorities (Works) Act in connection with the cleaning of small rivers and drains. A lot of the land in County Mayo is waterlogged. We are all only too conscious of the position there in regard to the River Moy and its tributaries. The relief which the Local Authorities (Works) Act brought can hardly be measured. It is a pity that over the past 18 months that work has now been brought almost to a standstill. I know many farmers who have applied to the Department of Agriculture to avail of Section A of this scheme and who have been told that they cannot be considered because there is no fall for the water from their land.
The increased grant will, I think, be an incentive to the farmers to avail more readily of the scheme. They will be more anxious to carry out the work themselves. I should like to refer to my dilemma if this matter is put to a vote. I should like to support the Government on this Supplementary Estimate but, before doing so, I must get some information from the Minister as to how this machinery will be disposed of. What guarantee have we that a certain type of farmer will not, so to speak, be put at the back of the class? Take a man with £10,000, £15,000 or £20,000 worth of machinery. There are two, three or four farmers in a locality — one with 100 acres of land and the others with less. It is quite natural that the man with the machinery will go to the farmer with the 100 acres. It may be that the gentleman who purchases this machinery will consider only the larger applicants, to the detriment of the smaller ones. When we vote on this matter it will not be a political vote. It will be a serious vote from one angle, and from one angle alone — the utilisation of this machinery. If we could get some information from the Minister in the course of his reply as to how he will dispose of this machinery — who is going to buy it, whether it will be dispersed throughout the three provinces, whether in fact he has any purchasers in mind, or what he is going  to do with it — it would help us in our decision. The Minister has not given any indication in that respect. Therefore, though it may be said that in opposing this Supplementary Estimate we are opposing the larger grants to the small farmer, we shall have to vote against it though that is not our reason for doing so.
Breanndán Mac Fheórais: You have an amendment.
Mr. Cafferky: The amendment by Deputy Sweetman.
Breanndán Mac Fheórais: That is on the question of the machinery.
Mr. Cafferky: That position must be made clear. I want Deputy Corish to understand that we know that we are voting on an amendment tabled by Deputy Sweetman and dealing with the machinery aspect of the matter.
People down the country know very little about the business that is transacted here in the Dáil and our object in voting against this Estimate could easily be misrepresented or misconstrued. The Minister may have the best intentions in the world and his proposals may turn out better than any suggestion coming from this side of the House, but we fear that will not be so. For that reason the Minister should make clear in the course of his reply how he intends to dispose of this machinery. If he is unable to give some guarantee that the small farmer will not be left out in the cold, or that he will not give some consideration to their place in the community we are bound to oppose the suggestions of the Minister for the disposal of this machinery.
I should like to remind the Minister, seeing that this Estimate deals with lime, fertilisers and land rehabilitation in general, that there is a grievance in the West of Ireland in regard to the fact that when applications are made to the Department, some of the applicants are kept waiting for a year or 18 months. That is not due to any neglect on the part of the local officers. From what I know of them they are very courteous and very keen in their desire to help farmers but there is definitely a delay somewhere as a  result of which some applicants have to wait a year or 18 months before their applications are considered. At the same time, I am prepared to admit that in the past year or thereabouts things have been speeded up. The suggestion has been put forward that during the term of office of Deputy Dillon, who initiated this scheme, as much work was not done as in the last 18 months but it is only natural that the scheme could not make the same progress in its infancy as when it was properly organised. He had to organise the whole thing and it had to grow gradually. It is quite natural that as the years go on this scheme will expand and that it will be possible to expend a much greater sum of money upon it.
Deputy Lehane said that erroneous statements had been made from time to time to the effect that £40,000,000 had been handed over to the farmer. The fact is that the scheme is to cost £40,000,000, but naturally that is not going to be expended within six months, a year or five years. I think Deputy Dillon suggested that it would take about 20 years to utilise all this expenditure but, even if it takes ten or 15 years, it is money that will be well spent and it is bound to produce good results in the long run.
We feel that the land of this country requires the type of help that is suggested in this scheme. There is a considerable area, running into 3,000,000 or 4,000,000 acres, that could be reclaimed and brought into productivity if the land were properly drained and if lime, fertilisers and essential ingredients were applied to it. The scheme should be a big success in the years to come. We cannot expect results immediately, but I have no doubt that in ten, 15 or 20 years the money sunk in the land will produce good results. The scheme will also provide much needed employment. I know that even amongst the small farming community, the scheme has provided employment for a number of young chaps in these areas. They have gone around taking a couple of acres here and there on a piecework basis.
I should like some information from the Minister in regard to Section B of the scheme. Will the work be given out  by tender? Supposing I have machinery and apply to the Department for a contract for the rehabilitation of 100 acres, how will that work be set to me? Is it by tender in competition with somebody else?
Mr. Walsh: Yes.
Mr. S. Collins: Under Section B, does the Department direct where they are to go?
Mr. Walsh: Not necessarily.
Mr. S. Collins: But you can do so.
Mr. Walsh: If the plans are ready. It is a question of what plans are ready.
Mr. S. Collins: We shall say that a scheme comes into the Minister involving the rehabilitation of 60 or 70 acres. That may be spread over three or four holdings. Has the Minister the right to say that priority should be given to any one holding?
Mr. Walsh: That is usually governed by the time the applications are made. If you had an application from a particular area, and two or three other applications came in, in order to avoid the expense of transferring the machinery to another area we might direct that the work should first be completed in the area in which the machinery was already operating.
Mr. Cafferky: Deputies have been asked on a number of occasions to explain how these schemes are given to contractors. They are not advertised. Suppose you have an application for the reclamation of 100 acres from each of ten applicants, no advertisements are inserted in the papers setting out that 1,000 acres are to be reclaimed and inviting tenders for that work.
Mr. Walsh: That could not be done. It would be quite impracticable to transfer the machinery all over the country in that way.
Mr. Cafferky: If the machinery is handed over to private owners, how are you going to deal with that problem?
Mr. Walsh: I shall deal with that in my reply.
Mr. Cafferky: Farmers down the country feel that a good deal of money is being wasted and that if the work were allocated on a contract basis, as a result of tenders in the same way as other public work such as the building of houses or hospitals, you would have people coming forward to tender on a competitive basis and in that way a scheme could be carried out for perhaps two-thirds of the amount which the Department is now prepared to allow without advertisement or without competition. That aspect of the matter has been put up to me by farmers who got 20, 30 or up to 100 acres reclaimed. They maintain that the amount paid the owners of machinery is exorbitant and that the Department is paying out too much money altogether. They suggest that the work should be allocated by tender and let the best horse jump the ditch.
We welcome the proposal to expend this £1,500,000 on the development of our agricultural industry, and we are fully in agreement with the Minister in increasing the grants under A Section of this scheme. That is a proposal that was long overdue. It will provide a great incentive to the small farmers to employ their sons and neighbours on these schemes. Our only difference with the Minister and his Department is as to how this machinery is going to be worked when it leaves the hands of the Department. We have failed to get a guarantee from him that the farmers will be protected and that there will be fair play for all, such as was the case when the Department's officials were in charge.
Mr. M. O'Reilly: I think it has been fairly evident that Deputy Dillon succeeded in making a fair mess of a very important Vote. I am sure he did not do so intentionally, but because he had not studied the question. Deputy Sweetman succeeded in creating a lot more confusion by putting down an amendment to reduce the Vote by £10. Deputy Cafferky also created a certain amount of confusion by his speech. The strange thing is  that the whole of the Opposition agree that this is a good scheme, an excellent scheme. Nobody appears to have any objection to it. Deputy Dillon's real objection seems to be that the Government decided that it was time to drop State ownership or State control of these machines and to have the work done by individual effort.
Mr. S. Collins: That is the only point of difference.
Mr. M. O'Reilly: I think we are all agreed that individual effort is the correct thing. The Opposition is agreed on that. Is it not a pity, therefore, that we should have spent so many hours discussing this Estimate? Deputy Dillon succeeded in damaging himself. The same is true of Deputy Sweetman. I think that was uncalled for. We here could not oppose this scheme because it was Fianna Fáil who originated it. Deputy Dillon, in his time, developed it, and we in turn increased that development. It is now to be developed to a still greater extent by getting contractors to do the work. I am not at all satisfied that there is going to be a mad rush by capitalists or others to buy this machinery. Already, we have contractors who hired out machines for threshing, reaping and ploughing. You will have the same position in regard to this scheme. We have quite a number of young men with capital who will be inclined to take these contracts. We all know that the reaper and the binder is beginning to fade out, and that the combine is taking its place to a very large extent. The same will happen with regard to this scheme. A lot of people who understand machinery will get employment.
I should like to refer to one point that has not been mentioned so far. When we reclaim all this land there will be a good deal of drainage. I wonder what the position will be when that drainage needs to be maintained? I observe that some of it at the present time requires further maintenance. Is there any compulsion on the farmer to maintain it or will the State come in again and do it? A good deal of this reclamation work was done years ago, but the rivers and the drains have now  filled up. It is true that they had no pipes then. Now, we have to go back again on that work. I should like the Minister to tell us what steps are to be taken to maintain this useful work when it is completed.
I have seen the results myself, in a number of cases, of work done under the Local Authorities (Works) Act. There was a lot of money spent on it, but there is no maintenance work being done. They got the water to run with the main stream and some of it to run in the opposite direction. The result is that as regards some of those rivers on which work was done, they are now nearly all closed in again. One farmer told me that that was not doing him much harm, and that he would not put a shovel to it. I want to know will steps will be taken to maintain these schemes when they are completed.
I think it is a pity that we had the confusion which was created by Deputy Dillon. He stated that we meant to scrap this scheme entirely. I think, in view of the fact that the Supplementary Estimate makes pretty substantial provision for the further development of the scheme, that such a statement as Deputy Dillon's was very damaging. From the political point of view, perhaps it has been of advantage to us. All the Opposition did was to succeed in creating a bit of confusion in their own ranks. It was only this morning that a man who, I think, is favourable to Deputy Dillon, asked me: “How did he start that bit of confusion in regard to such an important business as this?” The farmers regard this as a very important scheme, and if we succeed in carrying it out efficiently and properly then I think it is going to bring inestimable advantages to the farmers.
Mr. J.J. Collins: I do not intend to delay the House on this Estimate. It has been under discussion for 11½ hours. It could have been disposed of, in my opinion, in half an hour. I desire to strike the same note as my colleague, Deputy M. O'Reilly, the note that it is perhaps just as well for us that we had this long drawn out discussion on this very important Estimate.
When the Minister had concluded his opening statement the Estimate was  received with open arms by Deputy Seán Collins, but immediately Deputy Dillon saw that there was something peculiar, something tantamount to corruption in it, he started a hare. That is one of the old tricks which the same Deputy has used in this House over the last nine or ten years. Immediately Deputy Dillon started that hare, we had Deputy Sweetman moving his amendment to reduce the Estimate by £10. Perhaps it is just as well that the discussion should have gone on for the last 11 hours. It is admitted now, on all sides of the House, that we are in favour of the land project scheme. There may be some difference of opinion as to whether the sum mentioned by the Minister is too large or too small. I listened to a lot of Deputies speak about machinery. It seemed to me that they knew nothing either about machinery or the scheme.
Deputy Sweetman insinuated that there was something very sinister in the mind of the Minister when he sent some units of State machinery down to Carlow and Kilkenny. I know that in Limerick and Kerry there has not been a single State unit of machinery. The extraordinary thing is that in one rural area in West Limerick over 6,000 miles of pipes have been laid without the use of machinery by contractors, who only employed manual labour.
It is just as well that we should have a discussion on the disposal of this machinery, because I believe that where we had a State unit of machinery operating the cost to the farmer concerned was far in excess of what the cost would be if the work was done by either manual labour units or by private contractors. So far as private contractors are concerned, I believe that they should not be assigned to any particular area. It would be bad for the scheme in general to have in a particular defined area only one contractor, because the work will not be done on a competitive basis.
In West Limerick there are some private contractors who have machinery. Deputy Cafferky asked the Minister how the contracts were arranged. So far as I know, when  the Department officials have a scheme ready for a particular farm they invite contractors to tender, and I have no doubt that the lowest tender is accepted. That is being done on a competitive basis. When this machinery is being disposed of and allocated, there will possibly be a long waiting-list of people looking to buy it. The Department should not take the view that one unit should be assigned to a particular area, because the person concerned will be given a monopoly and the right to demand a high price. Competition should be the keynote of this.
I suggest to the Minister that when men make application to be recognised as contractors who are prepared to employ manual labour they should get the preference. I must say, to the credit of these men who do the work by manual labour, that they are paying a good wage to the workers. A wage of £6 a week is being paid in my area to workers employed by contractors under this scheme. The solution of this problem of the shortage of labour is that if you pay men well they will work well and stay with you. In Limerick, where such schemes are being operated, not alone are the workers satisfied, but the farmers are satisfied.
I am glad that the Department have decided to get rid of State control of this machinery and to pass it on to private enterprise. I believe Deputy Dillon was very ill-advised when he went in for the large units, the heavy tractors and all the heavy paraphernalia that goes with them. From the 1st October to the 1st April, when this machinery goes into some land which needs draining, it is too heavy and destroys the land. A lot of the valuable sub-soil is dragged out on to the road.
Heavy machinery in this country is completely out of place. It requires also a large organisation to work such a heavy unit. The small and lighter type of machinery would suit from 60 to 65 per cent. of the farmers. Unfortunately, Deputy Dillon went on the wrong lines when he went in for heavy machinery. It would remind you of Duffy's Circus going into a bog and not coming out any more. There is  too much of that type of machinery. The smaller type of machinery would be the best type for the work which this Government have in mind and which possibly the last Government had in mind to a great extent.
Of all the speeches I have listened to in this debate the most contemptible was the speech delivered by Deputy Palmer when he said that Fianna Fáil clubs will do this, that they will nominate so-and-so and that they must have their way. I do not blame Deputy Palmer because he is the product of the early training he got outside this country.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: That does not arise.
Mr. J.J. Collins: He looks upon brother Irishmen with a certain amount of suspicion. He has the old “peeler” mentality. I resent that being applied to the Fianna Fáil organisation.
Mr. Dillon: The Deputy is not worthy to blacken the shoes of Deputy Palmer.
Mr. J.J. Collins: I think the charge of corruption which he tried to level at the Fianna Fáil organisation, that they would turn a matter of such national importance as this into a racket, was a contemptible one. Such a thing was never contemplated by our organisation. With others, I should like to congratulate the Minister on the statement he made that under Section A. of this scheme he intends to give an increased grant to farmers to do the work themselves. A good many people were inclined to avail of the grants available under Section B. Farmers should be encouraged to operate as much as possible under Section A and do from 10 to 15 acres. I am pleased that the Minister proposes to give them encouragement by way of an increased grant.
Mr. Crotty: I agree with Deputy O'Reilly that this is the most important scheme ever entered upon in this country. I disagree with Deputy Collins when he says that it should be done by hand, that we should go back to the spade. My opinion about the change in the plan is that the Government are definitely out to finish the  land reclamation scheme. My opinion is that they have not the courage to come out into the open and say: “We will reduce the scheme this year and the next year and finish it the year after.” They have done that in connection with the operation of the Local Authorities (Works) Act. They have cut it down each year. I know that some Ministers do not agree with the scheme and have never agreed with it but they did not think it was popular to say so. Instead of being prepared to adopt the unpopular rôle and saying that this scheme should be finished with, they alter it and say that they will hand it over to contractors.
The former Minister for Agriculture who initiated the scheme gave every facility to contractors to come in under it. Deputy O'Reilly stated that there are young men with capital who would buy this machinery. Did not the former Minister make full provision for any of these young men under which they would get a one-third grant, a one-third loan, and only have to put up one-third of the money themselves? What more provision could he have made than to hand over the machinery to them free, gratis and for nothing? There is not a big number of contractors in the country doing this work. In my county a large amount of work has been done. But I heard the present Minister at a meeting down there stating that he was not in favour of the scheme. That was in a parish where the farmers are very pleased with the work which is being done under it. The Minister stated in 1951 during the last election that he was not in favour of it. He has not the courage now to say that in this House, because he thinks it would not be popular. Some of the other Ministers have the same feeling about it. They think that this is a nice way out of it. In my opinion, this will be the last Estimate brought in for the land reclamation scheme.
I would like the Minister to say, too, when replying, if he is going to sell this machinery in complete units or if it is going to be sold in small sections so that the machinery would never be of any further use in the land reclamation scheme. Furthermore, I would like to know if he is going to make loan facilities available to people to  buy these units of machinery. Perhaps when we have that information we may change our opinion somewhat. Certainly I feel that the Minister should come out openly and say: “We are going to get rid of the scheme for the next few years. We have our minds made up as to what our policy will be but it is not popular to say so.”
Mr. Walsh: We have been flogging this Supplementary Estimate for the past 11 hours. The reason for it, in my opinion, is because of the confusion that has been created in the minds of Deputies by Deputy Dillon. I suppose he thinks that land reclamation in this country was his child and because I, in some way or other, tried to interfere with the white-haired boy it was necessary for him to send his satellites into this House to spew like venomous reptiles.
Mr. S. Collins: On a point of order. Is it proper for the Minister to refer to a Deputy as a reptile?
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Deputies should not be referred to as reptiles.
Mr. Walsh: I did not refer to them like that.
Mr. Crotty: On a point of order. I was not speaking to Deputy Dillon about this scheme. I came into the House to say what I thought was right.
Mr. Walsh: I am not denying anybody the right to come in and criticise.
Mr. S. Collins: The Chair has ruled that the Minister should withdraw certain references. Did the Minister withdraw them or not?
Captain Cowan: The Chair did not so indicate.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Chair pointed out that Deputies should not be referred to as reptiles.
Captain Cowan: He said they spewed like reptiles.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Minister said he was not referring to them as reptiles.
Mr. Walsh: To return to the Supplementary Estimate, let us approach it as  it should have been approached in the first instance. I came to the House looking for more money. I thought there might have been criticism from one angle and only one angle, and that was on the question of fertilisers. I thought that possibly somebody might have stood up and said I made a mess of it; possibly he might have been justified in saying something like that if there were not reasons for what has happened regarding fertilisers. Deputy Dillon knows the history as well as I do, and the history is that away back in 1950, when he was Minister, we were unable to produce sufficient fertilisers here for ourselves. Because of that he made an arrangement to import a certain quantity, and that quantity was in the neighbourhood of 100,000 tons. In that year fertilisers were cheap and there was no difficulty in getting them. The Korean war had not started, the shortage of sulphur had not occurred, and consequently there was no difficulty in getting all the superphosphate we needed at a price. One hundred thousand tons were imported and a good percentage of them sold.
When I came into office in June, 1951, I found there were about 18,000 tons of superphosphate in this country. These phosphates at the time were costing something over £11; they were imported at £9 8s., and there were transport costs charged on them, and so forth. I had to review the position then regarding the importation of fertilisers for the following year, and we had been warned by F.A.O. that there was going to be a shortage of superphosphate in 1951. F.A.O. published the return from every manufacturing country but, due to the Korean war, due to the shortage of sulphur because it was being employed in other industries for the manufacture of war materials — and war, of course, in the minds of many people, was far more important than the manufacture of superphosphate — there was a difficulty in getting them, number one, and they were a higher price, number two. Actually the price went up by 60 per cent. and what could be imported in 1950 at £9 8s. was in 1951 costing £16 0s. 11d. per ton. We were unable to control that; it was outside our control. What we did do was to import  40,000 tons at that price. We paid the handling charges at the ports, the transport of them inside, and that cost us more money.
Then, in order to give us the opportunity of getting rid of the manures at a uniform price, we married the two prices, because we could not distribute 18,000 tons all over the country. There would have been a favoured few, whether wholesalers or retailers, even whether or not they were farmers, that would have been getting 18,000 tons at a reduced price, and every farmer or retailer who would not be in a position to go into the market at that particular time for the want of capital, for one thing, for want of storage or something else, would have been at a disadvantage. Consequently, we married the two prices.
We found last year that we were unable to sell all these fertilisers. It was not merely in this country that happened. It happened in the Six Counties and it happened in Britain, that there was a reduction in the use of fertilisers in 1951, even though in Britain and in the Six Counties there was a subsidy. We discovered, as well, that we had an agitation here against the use of fertilisers, an agitation against the production of beet and wheat, in many of the counties. However, at the end of the season, we had 55,500 tons; we were under commitments for the sugar company, and it is because of that I have brought in this Supplementary Estimate for fertilisers. Anybody who has gone through the paper I have circulated knows the reason why that has to be done.
As regards ground limestone, it is a different matter. Here is where we have burst the bottom out of the Estimate. We have spent more on this Estimate than we thought we could spend last year, and I hope that this year the quantity will represent about 50 per cent. of what it is going to be in 1953. There is nothing this country needs more at the present time than lime.
The country has been surveyed and it is estimated that we now need 12,000,000 tons of lime. In the future  we will need from 1,000,000 to 2,000,000 tons per annum. I am considering a plan which I will put before the House in the near future in order to help in the development of ground limestone production. I hope when this scheme comes before the House that it will not be received in the same manner as the reclamation scheme is being received. I hope it will not be treated with the suspicion with which that scheme is being treated. I am charged with responsibility in this House and I am charged with responsibility in the country and it is because of that responsibility that I hold that I will utilise the moneys voted by this House to the best advantage and that is why I am making this change in land reclamation.
Breanndán Mac Fheórais: Before the Minister leaves the subject of lime, would he detail the arrangements for the distribution of lime to small holders like cottage holders?
Mr. Walsh: I think that will come up in the scheme.
Mr. Dillon: Would the Minister tell us is he in a position to say anything about the finances from the Grant Counterpart Fund that it was originally intended to use in connection with this scheme?
Mr. Walsh: I have already told Deputy Sweetman how that stands. It has to await a meeting of Congress. There seems to be a lot of confusion about land reclamation and land rehabilitation. People talk of land reclamation here as if it was something that came into existence two or three years ago and that it was only when machines went out into the bogs and the knocks to clear away the furze, the briars, the whitethorn and the blackthorn that we had land reclamation. We all know that is not so. We know reclamation has been going on for the last 12 years. It was carried on under the farm improvements scheme. If there is now a change from the spade to the machine, is that not a natural development? How many tractors had we on the land 12 years ago? We had 1,400. To-day to have 14,000. Is not that a  fair indication of the mechanical age in which we are living? Has not the same thing happened with regard to transport? The old methods of transport have disappeared and we are again in the mechanical age there. No matter what Government was in power it was a natural development when war terminated to go in for machinery. Irrespective of whether it was Deputy Dillon or I who happened to be Minister for Agriculture we would have had to introduce machinery if we intended to continue with land reclamation.
Mr. O'Leary: You are going to sell it now.
Mr. Walsh: Let us see what was happening during the years Deputies tried to skip over and tried to pretend that we were not doing land reclamation. It is not necessary that I should give separate statistics for every county but over the period 1940-1949 there were 132,348 acres reclaimed at a cost of £645,471.
Mr. Dillon: Over what period?
Mr. Walsh: Over the nine years from 1940 to 1949. There was £454,000 spent on the cleaning of water-courses. Fencing cost £240,000 and there were 242,000 people obtaining grants for the purpose of reclaiming land. In 1949 a new scheme was introduced and machines came into operation. We started out by retaining the old scheme under the guise of Scheme A, and we developed a new scheme described as Section B. Section B was at first purely a machine scheme. It has developed since then. The only good feature about Scheme A that was not in the old farm improvements scheme was the opportunity given to the farmer, if he was not in a position to put down the cash to reclaim his land, of going to the Land Commission and having it added to his annuity.
In the other scheme grants were given and I think there was an unfair approach to the old farm improvements, whether it was deliberate or not, because the grants were not equated. The farmer who was prepared to carry out his own work was not given the same financial benefit as  was given under Section B and, because of that, we have had all the applications from all over the country coming in under Section B.
Mr. Dillon: I take it the Minister is speaking figuratively. There were a good many applications under Part A, too. It is not true to say that all the applications came in under B.
Mr. Walsh: The financial arrangements were not as beneficial under Section A. There was a large number of applications under Section A, and I am sure the House will be surprised to learn that more work has been done under Section A than has been done under Section B, notwithstanding the fact that we have machinery carrying out the work under Section B.
Mr. Rooney: That contradicts the Minister's own statement.
Mr. Walsh: It does not. For the past two or three years Deputies on these benches have been taunted by the Opposition every time agriculture has come up for discussion: “The reclamation of land and the rehabilitation of land is our scheme; you are trying to kill it; you are doing your damnedest to kill it.” Where is the evidence that we have killed it? Is not the evidence all on the other side? Does not the evidence show that we, who started the reclamation of land, have given the scheme every chance? We have developed it, and for the first time in the history of this scheme the bottom has been burst out of the Estimate I am getting from the House.
Mr. O'Higgins: And the machinery has been sold.
Mr. Walsh: There is no necessity for the taunts about the machinery being sold. There has been no selling out up to now, but there will be selling out.
Mr. O'Higgins: That is what we object to.
Mr. Walsh: If the Deputy knows anything about agriculture he will have to agree that I am doing the best thing I can do for the farmers who want their land reclaimed.
Mr. O'Higgins: Stuff and nonsense!
Mr. Walsh: I will give the figures. When I came into office in 1951 there were 34,336 grants approved. To-day there are 61,168 grants approved. The acreage at that time was 150,000. It is now 283,000. The amount of cash grants involved in 1951 was £771,000; it is now £1,519,000. Now this is an important point: out of the 34,000 there were 8,836 cases certified for payment. In a year and a half we have put on to that 18,538, making a total of 27,000. We have not been idle. We have been carrying on the work. We have given it every chance to discover whether or not it was a successful scheme.
I think the best proof of our interest in having land reclamation carried out is the figures which I will give in a few moments. The total cash grants payable from the 1st June, 1949, to the 13th June, 1951, amounted to £154,079. These moneys were paid by my predecessor. Since I came into office I have paid out £474,180 in 18 months. Who stands up now and tells us that we killed the scheme or tried to kill it? That was under Section A. Under Section B, we have reclaimed 37,000 acres during the existence of this scheme.
Mr. O'Leary: Why not continue doing it, instead of selling the machinery?
Mr. Walsh: Because we can do it much better and faster. Let me give the figures again.
Mr. M. O'Reilly: Do not repeat them.
Mr. Walsh: I will, because we have to educate them.
Acting-Chairman (Mr. MacCarthy): The Minister may not be interrupted.
Mr. Walsh: We have not the figures up to date, but I will give the June figures. In June last, according to information obtained from district officers, of 17,800 acres, on which work had been completed, 10,600 acres had been dealt with by contractors and the balance by the Department's  machinery. The estimate for this year — that is, up to the 31st March — is 37,700 acres, and 25,000 acres of that will be carried out by contractors, leaving a balance of 12,700 acres to be done by the Department. Two-thirds of the work under Section B of the scheme has already been done by contractors. I want the three-thirds of it to be done by them because I believe that it is a better way of doing it.
Deputies have stated that the small farmer has not a chance if the machinery is taken away from the control of the Department. Let me give the figures of what we have up to the present. These figures can be verified. I issued this circular in mid-October. The information is to be found in columns four and five and it is very easy for Deputies to discover whether I am right or wrong. The total acreage, where the work had been completed or was in course of completion, at that time was 35,603. The number of applicants doing that work was 1,803, giving an average of 20 acres. That has been the average that has been done by machinery — 20 acres. I heard Deputy Giles talk about the unfortunate small farmers of Meath who had to get this machinery in to reclaim their lands. The unfortunate small farmer in Meath is a man of 61 acres because that is the average for the county.
Captain Giles: Nonsense.
Mr. Walsh: That is the average. I have supplied the figures.
Mr. Palmer: May I ask a question?
Mr. Walsh: Sit down.
Acting-Chairman: Order, please.
Mr. Walsh: I will give the House the averages for all the counties. If you think that the small farmers are going to lose under my scheme——
Mr. Palmer: May I ask the Minister a question?
Acting-Chairman: If the Minister is prepared to give way.
Captain Cowan: The schoolmaster.
Mr. Palmer: Is the Minister referring to Government machinery?
Mr. Walsh: Yes.
Mr. Palmer: The Minister will admit that when the machinery will be worked under contract, it will be entirely different.
Mr. Walsh: Let me give the figures. Take Carlow, for instance. The average done by machinery in Carlow is 31 acres. In Cavan, the average is 22 acres, Clare 20 acres, Cork 18½ acres, Donegal 12 acres, Dublin ten acres, Galway seven acres, Kerry 23 acres, Kildare 31 acres, Kilkenny 26 acres, Laoighis 26½ acres, Leitrim 11 acres, Limerick 21 acres, Longford 17 acres, Louth 20 acres, Mayo 13 acres, Meath 61 acres, Monaghan seven acres, Offaly 20 acres, Roscommon 21 acres, Sligo ten acres, Tipperary 23 acres, Waterford 20 acres, Westmeath 22½ acres, Wexford 25 acres and Wicklow 18 acres.
Mr. Rooney: Are they contractor's figures?
Mr. Walsh: Where are the small farmers there who availed of the machinery in the past? They had not a chance.
Mr. Davin: That is only an average.
Mr. Walsh: The reason is that the grants given to them were too low. My scheme is different altogether. I know that if we were depending on the machinery we have at the present time it would take not ten but 15 years to cope with all the land we have available for reclamation. The farmer who would do it under Section A of the scheme is not able to hire a contractor or a plough. He is not able to hire a plough to cut a drain for him. He has to do it by hand. If he had to hire a plough he would have to pay for it out of his own pocket. The grant is too small. He cannot afford to buy the pipes. If the grants are equated so that he is enabled to do a job on four or five acres and if there is a plough in the district he will hire it—and if he has to remove scrub he will hire a bulldozer to do so. We will advance him the money there and then to pay  for his tractor and his plough. He will not have to wait until the completion of the job.
Mr. Allen: Will you give the grant in advance of the completion of work?
Mr. Walsh: Yes.
Mr. Dillon: The grant?
Mr. Walsh: Yes, the grant. We must have it certified——
Mr. Palmer: In advance?
Mr. Walsh: In advance of the work being completed.
Mr. Rooney: That has been going on all the time.
Mr. Walsh: It has not. The work had to be completed and certified.
Mr. Palmer: What about the man who is away and who does not do the job?
Mr. Walsh: Clear your brain, for goodness sake. It is public money.
Acting-Chairman: I would ask the Deputies to let the Minister finish his statement.
Mr. Palmer: We are trying to be helpful.
Mr. Walsh: The chief argument is that the small farmer is not going to get an opportunity to reclaim his land. My argument is that he has a better opportunity of having his land reclaimed. If we were depending on the machines which we have in the country at present the land of this country would not be reclaimed for the next 20 years — even by increasing the grants under Section A of the scheme — because we have not the distribution of manual labour nor the contractors.
I am going to be critical now. We have Government machinery here. I say this as a businessman and farmer. The man who conceived the idea of buying machinery and putting it out into the country without a depreciation fund or a maintenance fund or a service fund was not fit to occupy the position of Minister for Agriculture.
Captain Giles: Now you are talking.
Mr. Walsh: There was no depreciation fund. This machinery was bought but how was it to be maintained? The cow was to be milked — and the cow was the taxpayer in this case.
Mr. O'Leary: Why did you not do it for 16 years?
Mr. Walsh: The cow was there all the time. There was no provision for the servicing of the machinery. Then, at the end of five or ten years, the taxpayer would have to dig again into his pocket——
Mr. Dillon: No servicing, and you are going to sell it?
Mr. Walsh: That was bad business. Why was it bad business? It was bad business because the scheme would not be so attractive if it had not all these amenities——
Mr. Dillon: The Minister said there was no servicing of this machinery.
Mr. Walsh: No provision for the servicing of it.
Mr. Dillon: Was there not a large provision for the servicing——
Mr. Walsh: Who paid for it?
Mr. Dillon: It was paid for out of the Exchequer.
Mr. Walsh: Yes, the cow that was milked every year when the Budget came in here. Was it not only a continuation of “Come day, go day, God send Sunday”? The glaring effect, as far as this scheme was concerned, was shown up here——
Mr. S. Collins: The Irish taxpayer was milked by machinery.
Mr. Dillon: But there was service?
Mr. Walsh: There is no danger that the land will not be reclaimed. As I have said, Fianna Fáil were the fathers of the reclamation of land in this country. Deputy Dillon came in at a time when that scheme needed to be developed. He developed it and he gave us the machinery. I have worked that machinery, but I find that I can work it more economically and give better results by asking the House to  give me the supplementary Vote to do that.
Mr. Hughes: To sell it.
Mr. Walsh: I am selling the machinery to contractors who are prepared to do this work. Let Deputies on the far side not think that I am going to sell the machinery to people who are going to put it to other uses.
Mr. Hughes: What guarantee have you that they will not?
Mr. Walsh: I have at the present time applications here from people all over the country——
Mr. Davin: Of course you have.
Mr. Walsh: ——who are ready to reclaim the land. At the present time, we have machinery being worked by contractors who are given facilities under the land project scheme.
Mr. Hughes: Can they not do with the machinery what they like when you sell it to them?
Mr. Walsh: It is a matter for me to see that they will not do so.
Mr. Hughes: How will you prevent them?
Acting-Chairman (Mr. MacCarthy): Once more I have to ask Deputies not to interrupt. They will have an opportunity of putting any questions they wish to ask at the end of the debate.
Mr. Walsh: We have 16 large units working in the country.
Mr. Palmer: Deputy Briscoe will buy the scrap.
Acting-Chairman: Deputy Palmer has interrupted three times already. I have to warn him that he cannot continue with these interruptions.
Mr. Palmer: I asked questions.
Acting-Chairman: They are interruptions. The Chair will decide what is interruption and what is a question. If the Minister does not give way it is an interruption.
Mr. Davin: On a point of order, if the Minister moves five yards from his  normal standing place is it not provocative?
Acting-Chairman: I think he has every reason for it.
Mr. Walsh: Deputy Davin cannot take it. That is the trouble. We have 16 large units——
Acting-Chairman: I must insist on order in the House.
Mr. O'Leary: Can we not——
Acting-Chairman: When the Chairman gets on his feet, it is usual for other members, in the interest of order and decorum, to keep their mouths shut.
Mr. Dillon: That is a most unusual way of laying down rules of order and decorum.
Captain Cowan: This is a very serious matter affecting the country and the Minister is being treated with contempt by Deputies.
Deputies: Sit down!
Mr. O'Higgins: Are we going to be advised by Deputy Cowan as to how we should look after the interests of the people?
Acting-Chairman: I ask Deputies kindly to preserve order.
Mr. Walsh: As regards machinery worked by existing contractors, we have 16 large units comprising, generally speaking, crawler tractor, drainage plough, excavator and ancillary equipment; five other contractors approved for large units who are working excavators while awaiting delivery of crawler tractors and other equipment; five medium units, that is, single excavators or a medium-sized tractor and ancillary equipment; 44 small units, that is, Fordson tractor and Barford tractor and rotavator, tractor and winch, rock-drill, compressor, etc., tractor and mole plough. We have also applications for the purchase of machinery awaiting sanction under the scheme.
Mr. Davin: How many?
Mr. Walsh: We have 13 existing contractors who have submitted applications for the purchase of further machinery to the value of £52,000.
A Deputy: And they have been refused.
Mr. Walsh: They were not refused.
Acting-Chairman: I would again appeal to Deputies to allow the Minister to proceed without interruption.
Mr. Walsh: We have applications for new contractors for 11 large units comprising machinery and ancillary equipment to the value of £90,000; medium units comprising machinery to the value of £10,000, and 11 small unitstractors and Barford machines, tractor and which, etc. — comprising machinery to the value of £13,000. The total value of machinery represented by applications on hands is, therefore, £165,000. These are people looking for machinery who are prepared to go and reclaim the land of this country, and why should we import machinery if we have that machinery here ourselves? I was surprised at the way in which Deputies on the far side talked about Government schemes. I was not aware that they had turned “pink” or that they had become Socialists. Deputy Cowan put his finger on the trouble when he said that the Front Bench of Fine Gael had turned “pink”.
Mr. Davin: He understands all about it.
Mr. Walsh: Anything could happen to the members of the Fine Gael Party, seeing that they have gone out in the last few days on the recruiting platforms. I want to point out, and I believe it as a person who looks after my own business, that I can do my own business better than anybody else. I believe that any individual farmer can do his own business better than any group, whether they be civil servants or other people. I do not know whether people in Fine Gael are bereft of their senses seeing that they have changed so much from their opinions in the past, but I am a firm believer in private enterprise, and I  believe we could do far better if we had more private enterprise in the country. It is because of this belief that I make this recommendation to the House. We want to give an opportunity to small farmers to produce more, to reclaim land and to drain land, and to let farmers' sons who are able to put up £500, £1,000 or £2,000 get into this work. People of that type will work possibly harder than other people would at this particular work, and we should get more land reclaimed. I am giving an opportunity to the farmer to go and pay these men for doing the work. He had not that opportunity before because the grant he was getting to reclaim his land was not sufficient to enable him to pay for the machinery he might bring in.
Mr. Davin: He will pay himself.
Mr. Walsh: I am not going to take it from Deputy Davin that the farmers will refuse to pay. Farmers have met their responsibilities as well as any other section of the community. That is my scheme. I am commending it to the country, and I have no doubt that if I went down to any area in the country and put this scheme before the farmers they would accept it. When Deputy Browne was speaking in this House last night, I told him that the scheme I am putting before the House was the one he had suggested. He was the one person that saw that I was doing the proper thing. I suppose, however, he will be flayed alive if he does not vote against the Estimate. As I say, this Estimate has been before the House for 12 hours. There was no necessity for such a long debate. I know that Deputy Dillon is as interested as anyone else in having the land of this country reclaimed and brought into productivity.
Mr. O'Leary: You do not always say that.
Mr. Walsh: He criticised this scheme because I was dividing into Section A and B. I have already said that I did not know whether it was with deliberate intent he attacked Section A because it was a continuation of the Fianna Fáil scheme. Possibly that was his motive in doing it — I do not  know — but I had as good a right to believe that as anything else.
We have been flogging this Estimate for 12 hours. I am responsible for doing this job in Agriculture, and I believe that I am going to do a better job in the future than I have done in the last 18 months. I have spent more in that period than my predecessor spent in two and a half years. I believe that when, please God, I come to the House next year I will be able to say that I have spent more than I spent in 1951-52. I commend this Supplementary Estimate to the House.
Mr. MacBride: May I ask the Minister a question in regard to the workshops established for servicing and, I think, annual overhaul of this machinery? There was, I think, a central workshop set up which employed 30 or 34 fitters and mechanics to overhaul the machinery annually. Is it the Minister's intention to disperse that workshop as well, or will it be maintained for servicing this machinery?
Mr. Walsh: We will not maintain it, but I think that other Departments of the Government may.
Mr. MacBride: Other Government Departments may?
Mr. Walsh: I hope so.
Mr. MacBride: Do you not think that it would be advisable to maintain it?
Mr. S. Collins: In the course of my speech I asked the Minister whether he could give an assurance of continued employment for people who might come back to Ireland to work this heavy type of machinery here.
Mr. Walsh: The only assurance I can give is that there is trained personnel working on these machines at the present time. It is very difficult to get trained personnel. These machines are going to be utilised for the purpose of draining land, and the machine cannot travel without a driver. I take it that those on them will have no difficulty in finding work.
Mr. Dillon: I think the Minister may have inadvertently stated that no provision for maintenance was made in connection with the machinery operated by the Department. I wonder  would he be good enough to clarify the position. Am I not correct in saying that there were two qualified mechanical engineers who constantly travelled with and inspected the machinery for maintenance, that there was an adequate central depot for maintaining every machine working on the land project, and that, in fact, the machinery working on the land project was maintained at a very high standard of maintenance?
Mr. Walsh: I stated that there was no financial provision made for the maintenance of this machinery, and neither was there. The machinery belonging to the Department went into competition with the contractors. The contractor had to maintain his machines, to service them and to replace them. In the case of these machines, there was no fund or funds in the Department for that purpose. When they undertook to go into competition on a job with a contractor they should have put themselves on his level. It would be only fair to him that they did not hold an advantage over him as far as servicing and replacements were concerned.
Mr. Dillon: I want to put it to the Minister that so far as the machinery in the keeping of the Department is concerned, it was amply maintained, and no loss accrued to the State through failure to maintain it. Is that not correct? Will the Minister say if that is not correct? Will the Minister not say that the machinery owned and operated by the Department was, in fact, fully maintained and serviced at all times?
Mr. Walsh: At a cost to the State.
Mr. Dillon: But it was maintained?
Mr. Walsh: At a cost to the State, but without any provision having been made for it.
A number of Deputies rose in their places.
Acting-Chairman: There must be a limit to these questions.
Mr. Davin: On a point of order. Is  it not fairly reasonable that pertinent questions which were addressed to the Minister should be replied to by him? Surely we are entitled to ask a question.
Acting-Chairman: What I said was that there must be some limit to them.
Mr. Rooney: Does the Minister propose to sell this machinery in complete units and to the highest bidder or what does he propose to do?
Mr. D.J. O'Sullivan: The Minister stated that some applications were received from new contractors recently asking for grants for the purchase of machinery. Is he aware that a man in my home area who applied for such a grant was informed by the Department that such grants had now ceased as the Department was under the impression that there was a sufficiency of machinery in the country to cope with the work that was being done by the contractors?
Mr. Walsh: We have not refused any contractors. The answer to the Deputy's question is to be found in the introduction of this Supplementary Estimate. The position is that we had not the money.
Mr. D.J. O'Sullivan: May I ask whether that application will be dealt with retrospectively?
Mr. Walsh: We will reconsider all applications now.
Mr. Killilea: May I ask the Minister whether he can give us any information regarding the quantity of clay pipes available here, and will he say what is the position regarding them?
Mr. Davin: May I ask the Minister would he mind giving the House, and the country particularly, the total original cost of the machinery which it is now proposed to sell, and the estimated value of that machinery to-day.
Mr. Walsh: The total value of the machinery held by the Department at present is £360,000. That was the purchase value of it. We have not had that machinery revalued yet. Neither have we decided on the means for its  disposal. The country and the House will know when we are disposing of the machines, as well as the system which we are going to adopt for their disposal.
Mr. Dillon: Does that include the cost of the maintenance workshops?
Mr. Killilea: The Minister did not answer the question I put to him a moment ago regarding the quantity of clay pipes available here and the position in regard to them.
Mr. Walsh: That question was asked last night, and I am sorry that I overlooked giving an answer to it. The total quantity of pipes needed in a year is about 20,000,000. We are producing about 5,000,000 of these clay pipes here at home. It is hardly necessary for me to give the names of the firms manufacturing them, but perhaps I had better do so. The following are the names with the estimated annual production:— Slane Brick Company, 2,400,000; Kill-o'-the-Grange Pottery, Dublin, 200,000; Brook Pottery, Arklow, 1,500,000; Courtown Brick Works, 500,000; Fleming's Fireclays, Athy, 500,000, and Carley's Bridge Potteries, Enniscorthy, 100,000. In addition, we are using a quantity of concrete pipes. The use  of these, of course, depends on the type of soil. They cannot be used on acid soil. Consequently, we do not use as many of these as we do of the clay pipes. The following are the particulars in regard to the concrete pipes, and of the estimated annual production:— Ballina Flax and Concrete, Limited, 600,000; Banagher Tile Company, Limited, 600,000; Kevin E. Martin, Banagher, 600,000, and Irish American Pipes, Limited, Naas, 2,000,000.
Mr. Lehane: When the Minister disposes of this machinery, will he retain control over it to see that it is operated only for this scheme?
Deputy Blowick rose.
An Ceann Comhairle: I am afraid we are having a debate all over again by means of question.
Mr. Blowick: I only want to ask how does the Minister propose to exercise control over the machinery when he sells it? If I buy a machine I can drive it into the nearest bog hole.
Question put: “That the Estimate be reduced by £10 in respect of subhead (M) 9—Land Rehabilitation Project and Water Supplies.”—(Deputy Sweetman.)
The Committee divided:— Tá, 55; Níl, 72.
Byrne, Thomas N.J.
Costello, John A.
Crotty, Patrick J.
Dillon, James M.
Dockrell, Henry P.
Dockrell, Maurice E.
Doyle, Peadar S.
Esmonde, Anthony C.
Hession, James M.
Kyne, Thomas A.
Lynch John (North Kerry).
Madden, David J.
Murphy, Michael P.
O'Gorman, Patrick J.
O'Higgins, Thomas F. (Jun.).
Palmer, Patrick W.
Rogers, Patrick J.
Blaney, Neil T.
Brady, Philip A.
Browne, Noel C.
Calleary, Phelim A.
Collins, James J.
Corry, Martin J.
Crowley, Honor Mary.
Davern, Michael J.
de Valera, Vivion.
Hillery, Patrick J.
Kennedy, Michael J.
Lehane, Patrick D.
Little, Patrick J.
Lynch, Jack (Cork Borough).
Maguire, Patrick J.
Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
Rice, Bridget M.
Ryan, Mary B.
Sheldon, William A.W.
Walsh, Laurence J.
Tellers:— Tá: Deputies P.S. Doyle and Palmer; Níl: Deputies Ó Briain and Killilea.
Question declared negatived.
Supplementary Estimate put and agreed to.
Mr. Norton: Yesterday I gave notice of my intention to raise to-night the subject matter of a question which I addressed to the Minister for Finance on the subject of the Civil Service Arbitration Board. I understand it is necessary formally to mention the matter in the House to-day so as to be permitted to raise it to-night, and I now do so.
An Ceann Comhairle: I will communicate with the Deputy.
Mr. Rooney: With your permission, I desire to raise the subject matter of Question No. 37 on to-day's Order Paper on the Adjournment.
An Ceann Comhairle: I will communicate with the Deputy in regard to the decision I reach.
Captain Cowan: Do I take it that there will be an adjournment debate or are these simply matters that will be raised to-day and to-morrow?
An Ceann Comhairle: These matters are being raised in the usual way.
The Dáil, according to Order, went into Committee on Finance to consider Supplementary Estimates for the year ending 31st March, 1953.
Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Ryan): I move:—
That a supplementary sum not  exceeding £317,900 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in the course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1953, for Expenses in connection with Unemployment Insurance (including Contributions to the Unemployment Fund), and Unemployment Assistance (9 Edw. 7, c.7; 10 & 11 Geo. 5, c.30; 11 Geo. 5, c.1; 11 & 12 Geo. 5, c.15; 12 Geo. 5, c.7; No. 17 of 1923; Nos. 26 and 59 of 1924; No. 21 of 1926; No. 33 of 1930; Nos. 44 and 46 of 1933; No. 38 of 1935; No. 2 of 1938; No. 4 of 1940; No. 3 of 1941; No. 20 of 1943; No. 23 of 1945; No. 37 of 1946; No. 17 of 1948, and No. 11 of 1952).
I am submitting to-day two Supplementary Estimates for my Department for which it is necessary to obtain the approval of the Dáil before the Christmas Recess. They are for unemployment insurance and unemployment assistance and widows' and orphans' pensions.
Deputies will remember that I stated, when the Second Stage of the Social Welfare Act, 1952, was before this House, that the additional cost of this measure as it then stood to the Exchequer in the present financial year was estimated at £2,000,000. The Bill was subsequently amended in Committee to provide for increased weekly payments to recipients of old age and blind pensions, and to recipients of unemployment assistance. These increases were estimated to cost the Exchequer a further sum of £762,000 in the present year, making the total additional cost to the Exchequer in the present year of the Social Welfare Act, 1952, as passed by the Oireachtas, a sum of approximately £2,750,000.
The two Supplementary Estimates now before you provide for part of that sum to the extent of £929,100. The remainder will be provided in further Supplementary Estimates which will be submitted when the House reassembles in the New Year.
The bulk of the amount required under the Supplementary Estimate for unemployment insurance and unemployment assistance is in respect of  the increased payments of unemployment assistance amounting to £274,250. This amount is required to meet the increased weekly rates of unemployment assistance which have been payable since the 25th June, 1952. These increased rates, along with a relaxation of the means test, have resulted in a substantial increase in expenditure over the amount originally provided.
Mr. Norton: Would the Minister mind taking the Supplementary Estimate for widows' and orphans' pensions first?
Dr. Ryan: I have no objection to both being discussed together.
An Ceann Comhairle: Very good.
Dr. Ryan: Under the Social Welfare Act, 1952, the cost of widows' and orphans' non-contributory pensions becomes a charge on the Exchequer from the 5th January, 1953, the appointed day under the Act, and provision for this cost, £450,000 in the present financial year, is made in the Supplementary Estimate now before you. The other item in this Estimate, £403,178, is the reimbursement by the Exchequer to the Widows' and Orphans' Pensions Fund of the cost of increases provided by the Social Welfare Act, 1952, for both contributory and non-contributory pensions in respect of periods before the appointed day.
There is a saving against that of £241,978 in the payment from the Exchequer to the Widows' and Orphans' Pension Fund for the year 1952-53. This sum represents the proportion of the total original provision for the year (£1,027,000) proper to the period from the appointed day (5th January, 1953) to 31st March, 1953. The existing Exchequer grants to the present insurance funds will be replaced after the appointed day by a single contribution from the Exchequer to the new Social Insurance Fund.
I want in particular to bring out the three figures, the £450,000 which was the cost of the widows' non-contributory pensions which will from 5th January become a charge on the Exchequer; the £403,000 which covers  the extra amount in pensions provided by the Act but, against that sum, there will be a saving of £250,000 on the original £1,000,000 which will not be payable by the Exchequer.
Mr. Norton: I do not think these Supplementary Estimates call for comment inasmuch as they are the natural development of the legislation passed by the House earlier this year. There is one matter, however, to which I would like to direct the Minister's attention in relation to widows' and orphans' pensions. It has come to my knowledge, and I am sure to the notice of other Deputies as well, that in consequence of the increases which have been granted, especially to widows and orphans in respect of non-contributory pensions, local authorities have proceeded to reduce the amount of home assistance payable to such recipients. I have come across cases where, for example, persons in receipt of widows' and orphans' pensions had from the local authority amounts varying from 8/- to 10/- per week. In consequence of the increase in the amount of the non-contributory pension granted under recent legislation the local authority has cut in and in many cases halved the amount of home assistance or reduced it to not more than 25 per cent. in a number of cases.
It was the clear intention of the House when enacting the legislation governing this matter that whatever increased benefits were to be paid should go to the widows and the orphans in recognition of the fact that the previous allowances were inadequate, and that these deserving people were entitled to a higher rate of pension, especially in view of the substantial increase in prices under the last Budget. It is most unfair that any local authority should utilise such an increase in pensions by this House for the purpose of saving expenditure on home assistance, particularly in view of the fact that even the increased allowances could not be said to be adequate having regard to present price levels.
I know the Minister is not responsible for the administration of home  assistance. I know that is a function vested in the local authority under the Public Assistance Act, 1939, not merely in individual cases but generally as well. It is not unknown, however, for the Minister to give a direction to local authorities as to what he thinks might in equity be done, and I would ask him to look into the matter with a view to telling local authorities that they ought not to use the modest increases in pensions as a justification for slashing home assistance and inflicting thereby a consequentially heavy burden on those who necessarily must rely on home assistance in order to supplement the inadequate pensions payable to widows and orphans.
Mr. O'Higgins: In so far as the Supplementary Estimate moved by the Minister is necessary to carry out the agreed declared policy already embodied in legislation, there can, of course be no objection to it. I join with Deputy Norton, however, in the point he has raised in relation to widows' and orphans' pensions. That has been a serious matter over the last eight months, and I think the same remarks can be made with regard to the effect of increased unemployment insurance benefit and unemployment assistance.
When these increased payments were before the House it was the declared policy of the Minister that they were intended in some way to alleviate the serious burden imposed on their recipients as a result of the last Budget. They were intended, as the Minister told the House and the country, to offset increases in food costs. In the administration of these increased benefits in the last eight or nine months we find that there has been a consequential reduction in home assistance and, if I might refer to it in passing, in the payments made by the Minister for Defence by way of special allowances under the Military Service Pensions Acts. That has had a very unfortunate result because it has meant that the recipients of these benefits have not only exactly the same amount of money as they had before the increases were authorised by this House but with the same amount of money they have had to  face the Budget increases in the price of food. Accordingly, very real hardship has been caused to them. I appeal to the Minister to consider this problem. He should in the near future endeavour to alleviate the hardship caused to these people in so far as that is possible within the resources of the State.
Captain Cowan: I, too, support the suggestion made by Deputy Norton. When the increases came into effect we found that, in Dublin, this reduction was being made by home assistance authorities. I do not know what decision in a general way the board of assistance in Dublin took in regard to it but I know that, in regard to the individual cases to which I found it necessary to draw attention, the amount of the deductions was refunded. That happened as far as Dublin was concerned. Whether it was general in application I do not know.
From information which I have received. I understand that other home assistance authorities throughout the country have been acting in the way mentioned by Deputy Norton and Deputy O'Higgins. This House was anxious, when we approved of the increases, to bring some measure of happiness into those homes. It certainly was a cruel thing for the home assistance authorities to come along and reduce the amounts they were paying and so deprive those people of the increase that the law of this land permitted to them.
While home assistance authorities are, to a large extent, self-governing and run their own organisations, I think the Minister might indicate to them generally — perhaps it has already been done by the Minister but it may have been overlooked—that there should be a more generous interpretation of their responsibility under those Acts. There has been too much of what I might term cheese-paring. That cheese-paring has undoubtedly inflicted severe hardships on a section of the community that is not fitted to bear those hardships. I urge the Minister to ensure, in so far as he can, that there is a more generous and a more liberal interpretation of the regulations  by the home assistance authorities and their officers.
Mr. McGrath: When the Social Welfare Bill was passing through this House I drew attention to the fact that rents under the differential rents scheme would probably be increased by the assessment of benefits received under that Bill. I was told that that was a matter for the local authority. I put down a question to the Minister for Local Government on the same matter asking that the increased benefits under that Social Welfare Bill should not be assessed as means in calculating differential rents and the Minister for Local Government told me that it was a matter for the local authority. I raised the matter with the local authority. Of course, the local authority is the manager. My arguments did not bear any weight with him.
There is also the case of people drawing tuberculosis benefits. When the national health was increased the benefits were abated to such an extent that they were actually lower than they were before they got the last increase. The Minister should draw these matters to the attention of local authorities. I know that the local authorities have the doing of these matters but certainly home assistance, tuberculosis benefits, differential rents and other matters should not be affected in such a way as to leave the recipient without a substantial share of the increases awarded under the Bill. I hope that now, that the Minister's attention has been drawn to these matters, he will deal with them.
Mr. Byrne: I join in the appeal made by Deputy Norton to the Minister that, when he is replying, he will say that he will recommend local authorities and boards of assistance not to take into consideration the increases which the people got through the various Acts and not to avail of these increases as an opportunity to reduce the benefits which they received from the boards of assistance. It has happened in Dublin. I want to be fair to the officers in Dublin City. When their attention was drawn to the fact that it was undesirable and unfair that, because of the increased benefits, they should reduce  the allowances in any way, they restored them. I understand that the officers will go into the matter if anybody feels that he has a grievance.
I join with Deputy McGrath in drawing attention to the matter of the tuberculosis domiciliary benefits, that is, the treatment of people at home for which the local authority and the Government go 50-50 in the expenses. When the national health benefits were increased, the Corporation and the local authority reduced the benefits to those people.
It is not right or fair that, when increases are given by the Minister under one Act, a local authority or Government Department should benefit by reducing some other benefit which these people receive so as to bring the figure down to a certain level. I appeal to the Minister to make it clear that it is not his desire that advantage should be taken to reduce the benefits to people because of increases given by him in his Department.
Mr. Davern: Those Deputies who have drawn the Minister's attention to the fact that local authorities have unquestionably reduced the home assistance because of the benefits which the Social Welfare Bill of 1952 conferred on some recipients deserve to be complimented.
It seems very strange to me that when county managers and local authorities start to economise they begin, in the first instance, to economise on the unfortunate poor of this country—and nobody can be poorer than those who are in receipt of home assistance. My recollection is that the Minister made it very clear in a previous announcement that it was not his desire that there should be any such reduction in home assistance. Notwithstanding that announcement, I agree with other Deputies who have spoken that reductions of a substantial nature have been made. If the Minister has not already full powers in this connection, I hope he will ask the House to give him powers to prevent local authorities from economising at the expense of the poorest people in this country.
Mr. O'Leary: Hear, hear!
Mr. Hickey: To substantiate what has been said, I want to say that I think we do not realise sufficiently what those people have to contend with. Unemployment assistance for a man in Cork City as well as in Dublin is 18/- a week. He receives 10/- for his wife and 5/- for each of the first two children. That makes a total of 38/- per week.
Now let us analyse what that means. It means 9/6 per week per person. Dividing that by seven days a week, it gives you 1/4 per day. These people are entitled to three square meals per day for seven days of the week, but that means that they have only 5d. per meal for these three meals. I am emphasising this matter because I am satisfied that if people gave it any thought they would not tolerate it for a moment. That, as I say, means 5d. per meal for three meals for four persons.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy realises that these are statutory provisions.
Mr. Hickey: I do, Sir. Some allowance has also to be made for rent, for fire and for light. What is there left for food when all these necessaries are provided for? The same remarks apply to unemployment insurance recipients where the allowance is only 12/2 per week. How is it that we draw the line between the unemployed man who is in receipt of unemployment assistance and the man who is drawing benefit on stamps? Does it not mean that we are punishing a man for being unemployed? The longer he is unemployed the more we are inclined to punish him, although he has no control whatever over the conditions of his unemployment. Why again should a widow whose husband dies while he is not in benefit have less by 6/- per week than a widow whose husband was in benefit at the time he died?
An Ceann Comhairle: Can the Minister by an administrative act raise that amount? This is a statutory amount and the Minister cannot by administrative act alter it.
Mr. Hickey: The time has arrived when the Minister or somebody else in authority must face up to these anomalies and change them. I am quite satisfied that members of local authorities are as sympathetic as anybody else in these matters, but the fact is that they have no say in these matters. The city manager or the county manager dictates policy to them. It is for the Minister to issue an instruction that county managers and city managers should pay more heed to the suggestions of members of local authorities who are elected by the people. In the case of income-tax there is an allowance of £60 for each child.
An Ceann Comhairle: I am afraid the Deputy is travelling away from the matter under discussion.
Mr. Hickey: I accept your ruling but I say that the conditions under which the recipients of unemployment assistance and unemployment insurance have to exist are disgraceful and the time has arrived when every member of the House should consider the matter more realistically than they have been in the habit of doing for some years past.
Mr. Rooney: I want to put one question to the Minister regarding this matter. The Social Welfare Bill carried through last year provided for what we are discussing here to-night. In the meantime, we had the Budget. As a result of that, old age pensioners got an allowance of 1/6 per week in addition to their pension. I should like to know from the Minister whether, in addition to the adjusted amount which will be payable to widows next month, will he also give them that token in regard to the cost of living of 1/6 per week?
Mr. O'Leary: I, like a number of other Deputies, am a member of a local authority living in a community of poor people. Some people to-day find it very difficult to exist notwithstanding the increased benefits about which we hear so much. Some people actually lost by the Social Welfare Act and some of them have had to have their allowances subsidised by home  assistance. We are told that is a matter for the county managers. I think that where people go to the county manager or to the home assistance officer and try to get a subsidy for a man who is on his second period of national health insurance, the Minister should see that that is granted.
He said in introducing the scheme that he would not interfere with any allowance the local authorities were giving to these people. To-day, in my constituency alone, there are 4,400 people who will not be allowed free boots. Is that not a nice state of affairs after all we hear about our great social welfare schemes? The people are getting less this year in vouchers for boots from the local authorities than heretofore. These are matters with which local authorities are confronted every day in the week but when we try to make representations, we are told that it is a matter for the county manager. I would ask the Minister to give instructions to these officials to carry out the wishes of the local authorities as far as possible.
Dr. Ryan: The principal point that was raised was that when increased benefits were given to widows and others, such as people in receipt of unemployment assistance, the local authority took advantage of that to cut down home assistance. As Deputy Norton pointed out, I have no power to interfere with the local authority either generally or in any particular case in regard to home assistance. The 1939 Act was specific on that point and the House that was here at the time made sure that the Minister would not interfere in the case of home assistance. Deputy Norton admitted that but he said that, in spite of it, Minisers had from time to time given a directive, or if you like advice, to local authorities. I agree with the Deputy that that is true. I did make my views known to the county managers when this Act went through, that whatever extra benefits were given to widows, home assistance recipients or old age pensioners that they should have that extra benefit.
The county managers in their reply to that stated that they were taking  note of the circular, but it is impossible to find out whether they have carried out that advice to the letter or not. Again, as Deputies know, home assistance is granted entirely on grounds of need. If the officer who goes around reports to the county manager that on account of getting a little more in the way of pension the need is not so great, then I think as the law stands, harsh though it may seem, the county manager is bound to take note of that and in some cases to give less than was given before. I know that some county managers can interpret the law very strictly and, perhaps, some of them very liberally. You may have a different interpretation from various county managers. As far as the law goes, I think that a county manager who is of a scrupulous type might hold that he was not permitted by law to give as much as before.
We have three Deputies who are members of local bodies on the benches opposite. I am quite sure that if they were to vote more money to the county manager that he would distribute it in the way of home assistance, because in that case he would have got a directive, as it were, from the local authority to spend a certain amount of money—more money than he had spent before. I think that any county manager would be capable of spending that money in the best possible way.
As regards the question of special allowances, which was raised by Deputy Hickey and others, I know that there has been a certain amount of complaint. The Social Welfare Act is now almost six months in operation. When I got these complaints in the first month or two, I naturally came to the conclusion that the administration of the service was not running as smoothly as it would later, and felt that in the course of time these things would be made right. In all cases, I should say, I communicated with the Minister for Defence and asked him to look into his part of this while I looked into my end of it. We tried to get things made right in that way. I must admit, however, that these complaints have been persistent, even though, as I say, the Act has been almost six months in operation.
 Some time ago I came to the conclusion that there are some defects in the system, and that it will be impossible to get smooth running until we get rid of these defects. I spoke to the Minister for Defence about it and he agrees with me. We are having the matter examined, and are hoping to be able to remove whatever barriers there may be so as to have the declared intention of the Legislature carried out as far as the recipients of military pensions, wounds pensions or other special allowances are concerned.
Deputy Hickey spoke of the low rates of unemployment assistance. Deputy Byrne also complained of low rates in some of these cases and Deputy Rooney complained that widows had got no benefit for the extra taxation. I want to remind Deputy Hickey, Deputy Byrne, and Deputy Rooney that these things are all paid out of taxation, and so I do not think that these Deputies are very sincere in their concern for the old age pensioners or the recipients of unemployment assistance or the widows when we see the reluctance with which they vote us money to pay them. They will have to admit that when we brought in the Budget to pay for all these benefits they fought every line of it.
Mr Hickey: Not on that.
Dr. Ryan: Of course you did.
Mr. O'Leary: That is not so.
Dr. Ryan: That is what Deputy O'Leary, Deputy Hickey and Deputy Alfred Byrne did. If they had succeeded, the old age pensioners would not have got anything, because they did prevent us getting the money.
Mr. O'Leary: That is not true.
Dr. Ryan: Did you not vote against it? All those Deputies voted against the income-tax relief for the lower paid people when we made it fairly stiff for those in the higher income groups. They all voted against that proposition, and tried to save the rich from paying the income-tax which we proposed. We were taking the income-tax off the rich people in order to give more to the widows and the old age pensioners and they voted against it.
Mr. Rooney: You voted against the increase in 1950.
Dr. Ryan: What increase? I did not vote against an increase in pensions. I voted for an amendment to the Bill in 1950—an amendment based on the Bill that I had brought in myself. That is all Deputy Rooney knows about it. Deputy Rooney knows that, with the help of Deputy O'Leary and Deputy Alfred Byrne in the Division Lobby, they deprived us of the money to increase the old age pensions and the widows' pensions.
Mr. Hickey: Do not be making a Party matter of it.
Dr. Ryan: Deputy Hickey wants us to give more to the old age pensioners, but he will not let us get the money to do it. That is the sort of Party matter that the Labour Party want. These Deputies go down to their constituencies and say to the old age pensioners and to the widows that they are not getting enough, and at the same time say: “We will give those fellows no money to do this.” That is what it comes to, and that is what has left the Labour Party where it is.
Mr. O'Leary: Not at all. You are able to twist everything.
Mr. Hickey: I would expect better from you.
Dr. Ryan: I am giving those Deputies a little bit of advice. I think they have a soft corner in their hearts sometimes, and maybe Deputy Hickey, Deputy O'Leary and Deputy Alfred Byrne would like to see the old age pensioners getting more. It is not enough for them to say that. They must give us the money to do it. What they have been doing is playing the big fellows—the popular men in the country, telling the people what they are going to get for them, but then when we come along to get money they will not give it to us. They tell us that we are taxing the poor man's pint. Have we not been hearing that for the last four years?
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputies must allow the Minister to proceed without interruption.
Dr. Ryan: Deputy Hickey wants to give more to the old age pensioners but he does not want a man to pay more for the pint. He wants to get the two, but he cannot get the two.
Mr. MacBride: What about the ballroom proprietors who got the £140,000?
Dr. Ryan: The £80,000 was about .01 per cent. of the amount that we give out in social services in a year.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Budget is not now open for discussion.
Dr. Ryan: That is true. I want Deputies to give me this money to carry out the good work that I am doing for social welfare.
Question put and agreed to.
Dr. Ryan: I move:—
That a supplementary sum not exceeding £611,200 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1953, for payment to the Pensions Investment Account (No. 29 of 1935), and to the Widows' and Orphans' Pensions Fund (No. 22 of 1946 and No. 11 of 1952), and for Widows' and Orphans' Non-contributory Pensions (No. 11 of 1952).
Question put and agreed to.
Dr. Ryan: I move:—
That the Social Welfare (Insurance Inclusions and Exclusions) Regulations, 1952, proposed to be made by the Minister for Social Welfare and laid in draft, sanctioned by the Minister for Finance, before Dáil Éireann  on the 4th day of December, 1952, under sub-section (6) of Section 4 of the Social Welfare Act, 1952, be approved.
As regards this Order, I do not think that Nos. 1, 2 and 3 give any difficulty, and so I can go on to No. 4. We are including, for the purposes of insurance, court messengers. They are a very small class, and are in the peculiar position that they are neither established civil servants nor have they what might be regarded as a contract of services. It is considered by the Department of Justice that they should be entitled to the ordinary benefits of the social welfare scheme, and, therefore, we are including them for all benefits.
The second point about No. 4 has to do with those who are employed by way of manual labour in any employment, but whose remuneration is over £600 a year. The present law will continue until the 1st January next. At present national health insurance, unemployment benefits and widows' pensions apply to all manual workers— it does not matter what the earnings may be—and it applies to non-manual workers up to £500 a year. I should say that when we were drawing up this Act the Government decided that the ceiling should be raised from £500 to £600 for non-manual workers, but, owing to a certain amount of confusion, I suppose, that particular provision would appear to apply to manual workers also, although that is not very certain legally. To put it on the safe side, anyway, it has been provided here that manual workers will be included irrespective of earnings and non-manual workers up to £600 a year where there is a contract of service. I come now to Section 5, that is those who are excluded. I think that we will not have much difficulty with regard to the first three, that is coroners or deputy coroners, public analysts or superintendent registrars or registrars of births, deaths and marriages. They have always been excluded.
As to paragraph (d) “persons pursuant to the provisions of Section 25 or Section 34 of the Public Assistance  Act, 1939,” the employment here referred to is the work which may be required from a person as a condition of the granting of general assistance to that person by a public authority. Personally, I do not think there is any such think being done now, but it may be in some very few cases. Deputies who are as old as I am will remember that many years ago if a man went to a workhouse for his night's lodgings he had to work in the morning to pay for it, but I think these conditions have largely disappeared from our institutions. In case, however, there is any work to be done, as is being done by inmates in county homes, who do a bit of work around the grounds, it would not be regarded as a contract of service.
Section (e) is “sick or disabled persons, with a view to the rehabilitation of such persons”. In answer to a question to-day I stated that there had been a certain amount of good work done in this country by voluntary organisations for the rehabilitation especially of tubercular patients. I was not satisfied that this task could ever be adequately done by voluntary efforts, and that some help will have to be given to these voluntary organisations. Those who have read the White Paper on the health services will notice in one paragraph that the Government are giving consideration to this matter. In such cases, at least in the early stages, the work done could not be regarded as under contract of service and, therefore, insurance would not apply. Of course, when they get regular work, even though it may be only part-time, as it would be in most of these cases, and they are paid a regular wage, they would then enter into the class where a contract of service would be applicable.
The next is contract of service for apprenticeship; contracts for services where the employment is of one person and is by way of manual labour and personal services given by the employed person. It is intended to exclude all contract work of a general nature such as building contracts. Subparagraph (ii) is designed for the case of the individual carter who has one horse and cart and does work for a  local authority or, for that matter, for anybody else if it is by contract. At the moment there is frequently difficulty in deciding whether or not such a man works under a contract of service and by leaving such contracts for service within the scope of the Act it is hoped to make all such carters insurable.
We go on to say that we leave out ministers of religion, a person in Holy Orders or a person living in a religious community. As Deputies will realise, there are clergymen working under contracts of service; for instance, those who are teaching, but the great majority do not work under a contract of service and in all probability some of these people would come under the definition of having less than £600 a year. It would be so difficult to decide who comes under the Act or who does not that it is thought preferable and, I think, with the approval of the great majority of those concerned, that they should be all left out. I think the definition here covers them all because it gives those in Holy Orders, ministers of religion or persons living in a religious community. Those in teaching orders, like the Christian Brothers, would be excluded from the Act.
Then we leave out also those who are registered or provisionally registered as medical practitioners. Under an Order made recently by the Minister for Health it will be necessary for those who qualify in medicine in the near future to do a year's further training in a hospital. They will be provisionally registered during that time, but they will certainly be paid less than £600 a year. If this were not put in these persons would have to pay their contributions during that 12 months, but it is unlikely that they would come within the definition afterwards and it would be rather senseless, therefore, to make them pay contributions for that particular year when they are not likely to derive any benefit afterwards. Of course, the same would apply to dentists. That covers the various classes included in this Order who are either brought into insurance or excluded.
Question put and agreed to.
 The Dáil, according to order, went into Committee on Finance and resumed consideration of Supplementary Estimates for the year ending 31st March, 1953.
Mr. Rooney: When progress was reported on this Estimate I was referring to the fact that the policy being pursued by the present Government was reducing the value of money, that the purchasing power of the pound was falling and that in consequence a difficulty was being experienced by people of limited incomes. It has become obvious to anybody studying events in this country, and I am quite sure to the Minister and the Government, that we have reached a stage where overtaxation is obvious when it is related to our national income.
There is a limit to which we can go in the matter of taxation and the fact that revenue has fallen below expectations proves that we have reached a stage of overtaxation in relation to the national income. The law of diminishing returns has begun to apply with the result that the expectations of the Minister are not being realised. I understand that the revenue from beer, spirits and tobacco has fallen something like £2,000,000 below the expected revenue. Similarly, taxation from other sources will fall below expectations when we have reached the stage of overtaxation.
Down along the line that policy is having its effect because consumption is being deliberately reduced by the policy of the Government. People could eat more butter at 2/8 per lb. than they can eat now at 3/10, similarly, they were able to eat more bread at 6½d. a loaf than they can now eat at 9½d. a loaf. Again wage earners whose incomes have become taxable find themselves being hunted from pillar to post in an effort to collect from them income-tax. Particularly at the present time, before Christmas, it is an undesirable practice and the Minister should take some steps to  alleviate the position for many people, particularly in view of the fact that there is a very evident recession in trade and many traders look forward at this time of the year to gaining some advantage from the Christmas festival.
Evidence also of the policy being pursued by the Government, to the detriment of the nation, are the increasing hordes of unemployed. We heard to-day, in reply to a question, that the number has increased by 14,000 since this time two years ago when the inter-Party Government were in control.
The adverse trade balance was referred to by the Minister on many occasions. He tried particularly to blame the inter-Party Government for the unbalance in our trade for the year 1951. We remember, however, that the present Government held office for more than six months of the year 1951 and apparently no effort was made to put that balance right if they thought it was wrong. It was well known to the Government how trade stood because a White Paper was prepared in August which was made available to the country and it contained there a forecast of what the figures were likely to be at the end of the year. However, no action was taken if it was considered necessary to correct that position.
Mr. MacEntee: You denied that the situation was grave.
Mr. Rooney: We proved to be correct.
Mr. MacEntee: You were wholly wrong. You are now trying to get out of your responsibility for misleading the country.
Mr. Rooney: I want to say, too, that the total amount of unbalance for the year calculated by the Minister and given to the House was £61,000,000.
Mr. MacEntee: £62,000,000.
Mr. Rooney: £62,000,000. If we examine the figures we will see that for  the last six months of the year, beginning July, the unbalance amounted to £49,500,000, and it is obvious—you can see the difference between the £62,000,000 and the £49,500,000—that the unbalance really occurred during the period of the year when the present Government held office.
The floating this year of the national loan of £20,000,000 has probably upset the finances of this country for a very long time. It will probably result in a succession of difficulties which will be met through the years whilst this loan is having its effects. It is probable, for instance, that the local authorities will find it necessary in future to pay more dearly for the money that will be made available to them in connection with the building of cottages for labourers in the rural areas and for the working classes in the cities and towns. Already it is having its effects upon people desiring to build their own houses. People who are regarded as white-collar workers with limited incomes, incomes of £500 a year and less, some of them with £350 a year, now find those increased interest charges beyond their capacity. The result is that they are now prevented from making any effort themselves to improve their living conditions and to provide a home for themselves.
They must resign themselves to the conditions under which they are living now, however objectionable they may be. They must resign themselves to pay rent for a house they do not own or a room in some place rather than try to establish homes for themselves, owing to this increase in the interest rate. The increased offer of 5 per cent., of course, has reduced the market value of stocks in respect of which 3 per cent. to 3½ per cent. was payable.
All those things are having their effect, and the result is that we have unemployment and emigration. Increased numbers of people are leaving this country, and they are able to take up employment in England. Apparently there is plenty of work for people in England. The argument has been put forward that the position is much the same in other countries so far as trade is concerned and that  there are difficulties in trade outside Ireland, but that argument is scotched when we look across the water and see that there is a strong demand for labour there, and that our workers, if they become unemployed here, can emigrate from here and secure employment across the water. It is obvious that the policy of the present Government is not the right one. It appears to be based on the financial policy adopted by Great Britain. The financial policy adopted by Great Britain is that of a great industrial nation. A similar policy applied here is being applied to a nation that depends on agriculture and not on industry for its prosperity, its standard of living and its requirements in the matter of having an exportable surplus. The volume of manufactured goods which we have to export is not such as to offset the difficulties being caused. We have to depend on the expansion of agriculture and the export of an agricultural surplus for our economy, but, in the meantime, there is being applied here a financial policy designed for the needs of a great industrial nation and a great exporting nation.
The time has come when the Minister must change his attitude in relation to policy so that the measure of prosperity enjoyed by our people during the three and a half years in which the inter-Party Government was in office can be won back again and restored, and so that those who have lost their employment during the past 12 months and, indeed, since the present Government took office, will once again find themselves in productive work.
Mr. Gallagher: Listening to the Opposition Deputies and watching their antics since the by-election in Dublin North-West they give the impression that, because they succeeded in retaining the seat, all their sins should be forgiven them. One sees some of them wandering through the corridors like a dog with two tails. I do not think they should be let get away with this. I do not think we should forget their past. I believe it should be brought home to them very forcibly that the present  position is not all the doing of the present Government.
Last week Deputy McGilligan, in the course of this debate, said that the difference between him and the present Minister for Finance was that he, Deputy McGilligan, when Minister for Finance in the inter-Party Government, did not listen to his departmental advisers and that Deputy MacEntee does. In making that statement I assume that Deputy McGilligan was referring to the events of May, 1951, when presumably against the advice of his departmental advisers he deliberately eliminated from his election Budget expenditure amounting to close on £12,000,000. Deputies in opposition should not overlook that fact now. For my part, I have every intention of making sure that it is not forgotten.
Presumably Deputy McGilligan took the advice of his colleagues in Government and not the advice of his departmental advisers. It has since been revealed that Deputy McGilligan's colleagues agreed to make heavy cuts in their Estimates so that he would be in a position to bring in a popular Budget. They were assured, however, that they would be allowed to bring in Supplementary Estimates in the autumn after the general election. Unfortunately for them their scheme did not work and they were caught out.
Mr. Rooney: We would have had to have Supplementary Estimates for our social security scheme.
Mr. Gallagher: They were told that if they did not agree to this subterfuge the taxes on beer and cigarettes would have to be reimposed and that would be politically embarrassing when making speeches at election time. Their little scheme failed and they were caught out. During the short time I have been here I have never heard any Minister for Finance boast that he does not listen to the advice of his departmental advisers, and I think Deputy McGilligan would be well advised to refrain from drawing further public attention to that last disreputable transaction of the inter-Party Government, a transaction that has brought no credit to the State.
 Deputy Rooney and other Opposition Deputies make the point that the falling-off in private house-building is due to the increase in the rate of interest. The rate of interest only increased from the 5th October this year and the falling off in private house-building has been going on for the last 12 months or so. The blame for that cannot, therefore, be laid upon the Government because of the increase in the rate of interest.
Mr. Hickey: And on who else?
Mr. Davern: You increased the rate of interest from 2½ to 3¾ per cent.
Mr. Gallagher: I take it Deputy Hickey was here in 1929. Certainly some of his colleagues were. The rate of interest in 1929 was higher than it is now, but Fianna Fáil were not in power then. It is nothing new to have the rate of interest at that level. There is no use in talking about housing if the money is not there to build houses. Of the £20,000,000 loan floated by the Minister £12,000,000 will go into housing. One cannot have it both ways. Local authorities are clamouring for more houses. People making application under the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Act are clamouring for houses. If we are to satisfy the demand for houses we must get the money and £12,000,000 of the recent loan will go into housing. That will certainly keep the building drive going. The building drive was initiated by Fianna Fáil and I give the inter-Party Government full credit for continuing that drive. It has been asked why, if the loan was such an attractive one, was it not subscribed immediately? It has been stated that it was not fully subscribed until the very last day. We know the record of the previous loans. They were flops. I take it in the case of the recent loan the Minister took the advice of his departmental advisers and other experts who knew the trend of the money market. Bearing in mind the previous flops experienced by the inter-Party Government——
Mr. Rooney: We got £39,000,000.
Mr. Gallagher: ——the Government  had to get the money for housing and other matters.
Notice taken that 20 Deputies were not present; House counted, and 20 Deputies being present,
Mr. Gallagher: I was talking of the £12,000,000 loan that was needed for housing, and I was paying a tribute to the Coalition Government for carrying on the good work of the housing programme started by Fianna Fáil.
Deputy Rooney is still waddling through the corridors like a dog with two tails, saying that I am looking for practice on the hustings. He might get the shock of his life on the hustings. He might find that he might not get in so comfortably in County Dublin as he thinks. The people realise that we now have a responsible Government in office. They realise that the rake's progress in the form of the Coalition Government was responsible for our present position. In our present Ministers we have men who do not shirk their responsibility, and who put the facts of the country's finances before the people in an honest manner. They would not attempt at any time to fake a Budget. They would not advise their colleagues in other Departments to cut down their departmental Estimates and tell them that they could bring in Supplementary Estimates later. That is not a Fianna Fáil practice, because it is not an honest practice. We claim, and rightly so, that the last disreputable transaction of the Coalition Government was bad, and we shall never follow such a line. It was a dishonest transaction and one which the people of this country now realise is the cause of our present position.
A great deal of ground has been covered on this Estimate as well as on the Supplies and Services Bill. I will conclude by congratulating the Minister on making a determined effort to bring the country's finances back to their proper state for the welfare of the people.
Mr. Hickey: It is regrettable to hear Irishmen attribute unworthy motives to fellow Irishmen.
Mr. L. Walsh: I hope you will not do it.
Mr. Hickey: I will not. We read in the newspaper last Sunday that this country is in pawn. I do not know of any country whose security is appreciated more by people outside it than this country. I will prove that by quoting some statements on the recent loan made by people who, Deputy Gallagher seems to think, count in this country. A Dublin stockbroker said that more British and Dominion interest was displayed in this loan than in any previous issue and that amongst the first subscribers was the National Mutual Life Assurance Company of Australia. Another important man said that never was a national loan offered at such magnificient security and remunerative rates. He went on to say—and the Irish Press did not print it—that the country had never before been so prosperous or had such a favourable future before it as it has at the present time, that they had become politically mature.
Mr. Allen: Thanks to Fianna Fáil.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Will Deputy Hickey give the reference?
Mr. Hickey: The Irish Times of the 24th of September, 1952. I suggest to Deputy Allen that I am trying to approach this matter in an honest way and not for the purpose of comparing the policy of different Parties in this country. I can tell Deputy Allen that there are thousands of decent men, women and children living in slums and rooms that any country worthy of being called a Christian country should not tolerate. We read in the newspaper a short while ago that houses which were condemned in 1910 are still occupied by people in County Limerick. For goodness' sake let us stop Party politics and talk about how our people are faring under the present system.
Mr. Gallagher: If what you say about houses which were condemned in 1910 and are being still occupied is true, then it is a crying shame.
Mr. Hickey: Let me tell Deputy Gallagher——
Mr. MacEntee: Why did the Coalition Government not change that?
Mr. Hickey: I am sure that any Coalition Government—no matter who might be in it—would have done a better job in 16 years than the Fianna Fáil Government did in that time. I will answer the Deputy who asked the question. In a village in County Limerick 198 families are living in houses which were condemned some years ago by the medical officer of health. There is no water service, except two pumps belonging to farmers, to supply water to the village. The local doctor says that every drop of the water must be boiled by the people so as to avoid sickness. Some of the houses in the village to which I have referred have been condemned since 1910.
Mr. MacEntee: And there was a Labour Deputy from Limerick in the Coalition Government and he said never a word about it.
Mr. Hickey: The Minister's interruptions will not put me off my stride. I am talking of facts. We know that we are not in control of matters over which we should be in control and that that is what is wrong with the country. We have heard it said that money is coming into this country at a rate that would stagger the imagination. The same man said that if there was some hope of an early reduction in the bank rate money could be circulated more freely and that he felt that the success of the loan was already assured. Why, therefore, should any Irishman take it upon himself to go around the country talking about our insecurity? I have here the leading article in the Irish Press of the 24th September, 1952. It says, on the subject of the floating of the loan:—
“There is plenty of money in the country. Much of it would continue to go across the Channel, or wherever interest rates higher than have been available until now are to be earned....”
I suggest to Deputy Gallagher and to every Deputy in the House, and even to the highest man in the country, that it is a shocking state of affairs that £61,000,000 are in the Post Office Savings Bank and that of that £61,000,000, £37,000,000 is invested  in British securities to-day. Over £6,000,000 of it is in British securities at 2½ per cent., £13,000,000 of it is in British securities at 3 per cent. and over £10,000,000 of it is in British securities at 4 per cent. Some of those investments in Britain are in war stock. A remarkable fact is that a large sum is invested in British transport and in British electricity—and yet we have to pay 5 per cent. here for bringing electricity to our people. I would expect any sensible man to try to find out what is wrong with the country rather than to waste his time trying to score Party points.
Mr. MacEntee: What else are you doing?
Mr. D. Costello: He is making an honest speech.
Mr. MacEntee: Deputy Hickey did not tell the House that it was under Deputy McGilligan that these investments were made in British electricity stock.
Mr. Hickey: I will quote what the Minister said about our country and how we stand.
Mr. MacEntee: Make your honest speech and tell who is responsible for these facts.
Mr. Hickey: The Minister for Finance stated, when the loan was floated, that it was a safe investment and that in these uncertain times there is, truthfully, no place like home. He said that investors would not only share in the national development created by the money so invested but would also secure a handsome return. He asked: “What investment in the world to-day offers such a handsome return coupled with security?”
I would ask the Minister for Finance how much of the money subscribed to the loan was subscribed by vested interests outside the country who will never devote an ounce of energy towards any national project here. We had one foreign insurance company applying, in the first instance, for £250,000 worth of an allotment and they doubled that later. We had another company applying for an  allotment of £150,000 and they also doubled that later. We are now being asked to increase the rate of money borrowed for housing by 2 per cent. We in Cork are building houses costing from £1,600 to £1,650 each. A 2 per cent. in the bank rate in the interest of a loan of £1,600 involves an increase of 12/4 per week in the rent. How, then, does Deputy Gallagher or anybody else expect us to swallow the assertion that the increase in the bank rate does not affect housing? Of course it does affect housing. I want to come to a more serious matter.
Mr. Gallagher: Housing is a very serious matter.
Mr. Hickey: What could be more serious, but we are not dealing with it in a serious manner. Anybody who suggests that the increase in the bank rate does not affect it is not making a serious contribution towards a solution of the problem.
Mr. Gallagher: My point was that £12,000,000 of that money was going into housing. What is wrong about that?
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Deputy Gallagher has made his contribution, and he should allow Deputy Hickey to make his without interruption.
Mr. Gallagher: It is not my habit to interrupt anybody unnecessarily.
Mr. Hickey: The Minister stated, as reported in column 2047 of Volume 134:—
“I am one of those people who, in these matters, speak with reserve and speak only with an assurance that what I say with regard to financial expectations will in due course be realised.”
I am trying to find out if that is so, and I am asking the Minister to hear what I have got to say. On the 13th November, 1949, the present Minister for Finance stated in an article in the Sunday Press, under the heading of “Diddlum Dandy”, that “in one 12 months devaluation had cost the people of this country at least £120,000,000.” Speaking here in this House on the 12th March, 1952, Deputy Dillon made the following statement: “Our sterling assets now, and there are nearly  £450,000,000 of them, have lost in the last 48 hours very nearly enough to meet the deficit of Deputy MacEntee's Budget.” What I am asking the House is whether these statements are correct? I am asking the Minister, when he is replying, to let us know did we lose £120,000,000 in 12 months as a result of devaluation? If so we should cease to be tied to the British £. If the statement that we lost £120,000,000 in one year because we are tied to the British £ is true, it is time that we broke adrift from a money system that is depreciating the value of our money to that extent.
There is a good deal of talk about the Central Bank. I have my own views about what is suggested in the Report of the Central Bank but I want to point out that the Central Bank has no power whatever. I should like to ask Deputy Gallagher what part did the Central Bank play in floating the loan of £20,000,000? Was it heard of at all and why was it so silent? Is it not obvious that it has no power? I know that some of the statements made by directors of the Central Bank were entirely contrary to the advice that we should get from such an institution. Will the Minister tell us whether the Central Bank can lend money to the State or to the public authorities? Can the Central Bank do what the Bank of England can do in England—control the rate of exchange? Has the Central Bank power to create credit or power to accept deposits from anybody? I suggest that they cannot. The Central Bank cannot accept £5 or £100 from anybody who has it to deposit. Why? What important change in our financial system has been brought about by the establishment of the Central Bank at all? These are matters that affect the country and that are used to keep us where we are and to prevent us from dealing with housing, drainage or with any of the national problems we desire to tackle. I think it is true to say that the Central Bank cannot in any effective way deal with our financial problems. Therefore we must bring in a Bill here to give the Central Bank the necessary power to deal with our money and credit.
We have a situation in Cork at the moment in which we have an overdraft  of £750,000. That has been given to us at ½ per cent. less than the usual bank rate. The city manager says that he wants £1,000,000. Where are we to get it? I suggest that we are like so many children in this House that we have no power, and must accept the dictates of the bankers and moneylenders. I think it is a scandalous state of affairs to think that we have money in our savings banks and in the post office invested in English securities and war stock at a very low rate, while we have to pay over 5 per cent. for money to build houses. I happened to be at one time Lord Mayor of Cork when we floated a loan. We offered it at 4 per cent. at par on the security of Cork City, or the security of what is known as the city estate. What happened? No bank in the whole of the Twenty-Six Counties gave us one shilling. I came up here to Dublin, deputed by the Cork Corporation to interview the Credit Corporation, with a view to getting the money. We met the chairman of the board of that corporation and he told us that he would give us £100,000 at 4 per cent. if the loan were issued at 98½ per cent. We offered to take it at 4 per cent. at par, but he would not consent to that. The result was that we did not get a shilling. He told us that we would not succeed in floating the loan at that figure. I asked why, seeing that there was no safer investment than a loan of the Cork Corporation. What do you think the answer was I got from a man who was paid to look after our investments in this country? He said: “They are getting 7 per cent. for it in Abyssinia”. The result was that we did not get a shilling from the Credit Corporation to build houses for our people in 1939. In 1948 or 1949 a further loan was floated in Cork City. On that occasion we got only £80,000 from the banks, the insurance companies gave us £75,000, and the public contributed £75,000; the State had to make up the balance. That is how the banking system is dictating our policy in this country. I was surprised to hear Deputy Vivion de Valera state here that we were compelled to invest the money in the Post Office Savings Banks as it is invested at present. It is bad enough to know that the banks  have over £200,000,000 invested outside the country, but worse to learn that money which should be used here for housing and other productive undertakings, is invested by the Minister for Finance in British securities at 2½ and 3 per cent.
This is a matter which should seriously be discussed in this House. There is not much to be gained by arguing as to who is responsible for the present position, whether it is Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael or the inter-Party Government. The matter is one that demands serious attention. Why should the Electricity Supply Board be compelled to pay £1,125,000 in interest last year alone on the money it requires to give us electricity? In the five-year period up to 1946 the rate-payers of Cork have paid in interest charges £56,000 per year, while in each of the years from 1946 to 1951 they had to pay £70,540 in interest alone. The result of that is that there is a municipal debt of £21 10s. 2d. on every man, woman and child in Cork City. I can tell Deputy Gallagher that the municipal debt in the City of Dublin is £36 2s. per head of the population.
In the face of that situation are we to sit here and talk across the House without trying to root out the evil that is in our midst and the people who are responsible for it? I have seen people living in houses in Cork City and in the rural areas under shocking conditions. That is so to-day, even though we have had native Governments here for the last 30 years. I suggest that we had better do something to get rid of those evils and stop all this talk about Party politics across the floor of the House.
Mr. D. Costello: During the last few weeks the figures which have been made available to us demonstrate what has been occurring in the Irish economy over the last year and portion of this year. An examination of the statistics which are now available is necessary in order to understand what has been happening, firstly, over the last 18 months since the change of Government, and, secondly, as an indication of the future line of policy which has to be taken in order to  remedy the very difficult situation that presents itself to the Dáil at the present time.
These figures show that since the change of Government there has been a 15 per cent. reduction in industrial employment, that there has been an increase of 10,000 in the number unemployed and an increase of 13 per cent. in the cost of living. We had hoped that the Minister for Finance, when introducing this Supplementary Estimate, would have given us some idea of Government policy for dealing with the very serious matters which the country is facing at the present time. We hope that, when he is replying, we will get some indication of how the Government proposes to raise the employment level in the country, of how it proposes to deal with the trade recession and so bring back industrial production to what it was last year, and how it proposes, if it proposes at all, to maintain and, if possible, reduce the cost of living.
I think that these figures demonstrate that there has been a remarkable change in the economy since last year. I think it is more than a coincidence that the deterioration in our economy took place with the change of Government last year. I believe that the cause of the marked deterioration in our economy was due, firstly, to the violent attacks which the Minister and his colleagues made in the autumn of last year on the credit position of this State, and, secondly, that it is due to the restrictions which were put on that economy, due to the Minister's Budget in the spring of this year.
I think it is important to remember what the Minister and his colleagues were saying in the autumn of last year. I do not intend to weary the House with quotations, but the House and country are now well aware of how members of the Government were declaring that this State was on the verge of a great financial crisis. The work “bankruptcy” and the words “the country was in pawn” had been used previously. The whole credit position of the State, as well as confidence in the financial structure of the State, were being attacked by the Minister and his colleagues. The  country was being informed that very urgent measures were required in order to remedy the situation.
Those speeches were made in the early autumn of last year. They were continued throughout the winter and into the spring, and so it is well to look at the figures which demonstrate what was happening in the Irish economy last year. Last year in the Irish economy and over 1950, unemployment decreased; there was a 30 per cent. increase in gross domestic capital formation and there was a 7.2 per cent. increase in industrial production. It would appear from these figures that there was no need for any great concern as the country appeared to be developing very favourably. Unemployment was going down and industrial production was going up. The figures which seemed to give most concern to the Minister and his colleagues were those relating to the balance of payments. In giving an estimate of the deficit in that year the Minister merely gave the dark side of the picture and failed to give the picture which I have given now—a developed economy, increased domestic capital formation and reduced unemployment.
We said last year that there would be a very great deficit in the balance of payments. We said that it would be an extraordinary deficit, but that it was nothing to worry about because it would be unusual. We pointed to three facts which we repeated time and again and which were denied time and again by the Minister and his colleagues. We said, first of all, that the deficit in the balance of payments last year was being inflated, firstly, because the terms of trade had moved against this country, and that, due to the post-Korean inflation, there was a very great rise in import prices. We pointed to the fact that the decline was already commencing when we spoke in the autumn of last year. We said that the decline would continue and that it was unnecessary to panic about it. Secondly, we attributed the large deficit, which we all knew would occur in the balance of payments, to the fact that there was large scale stockpiling last year. We were laughed at and told that there was no such thing as  stockpiling going on last year. The third matter we pointed to was the fact that agricultural exports would expand, given time, and that there was no urgency in the situation—that the circumstances of the situation last year were exceptional and would right themselves in the course of time.
What is happening? The figures are now available and they are incontrovertible. These figures show that last year there was in increase in import prices by no less than 22 per cent. There was an increase in export prices of only 14 per cent. In other words, the terms of trade moved heavily against us last year. The figures now available show that the trend is now reversing itself and there is a marked decline in import prices.
We also said last year that there was a certain amount of stockpiling going on which would inflate the import requirements of this country last year. It is interesting to look at page 13 of the Irish Statistical Survey which bears out what we said. At the bottom of the page it says:—
“The upward trend in import prices continued in 1951 and was the chief factor responsible for the increase of £123,000,000 in the trade deficit.”
I should have said that this particular quotation demonstrates the first argument we made, that the rise in import prices last year was the chief reason for the large trade deficit in our balance of payments, and that is borne out in what the statistical survey says. We also said that there was stockpiling, and even the Central Bank Report, at page ten of the recent report, grudgingly admits that it went on to a significant extent to the spring and summer of 1951.
Deputies will recall that one particular line which the Government took in the autumn of last year was that the country was going on a consumer spree, that the country was living too well, that it was living beyond its means. The figures now show that, in spite of the great increase in imports last year of £123,000,000, that great increase was due primarily to import prices. There was only, in fact, 4.9 per cent. increase in imports last year over the year  before. In view of the fact that the Government said that this country was living too well and consuming too much, it is interesting to see the figures for consumption last year, which show that it went up by 2 per cent. and no more over 1950.
Probably the most interesting and important figures, however, have been made available to us in the capital account of the balance of payments, for there we see how the deficit of £61.6 million was made up. The Minister has been accused, and I think rightly, and certainly it is right to level the accusation at many of his colleagues and many back benchers of his Party, of equating the deficit in the balance of payments with a reduction of our external assets. We have had many speeches from the Government Benches pointing to the great deficits in the balance of payments over a number of years, equating these deficits with a drop in our external holdings, when, in fact, nothing of the sort occurred. The Minister, in his Budget speech, at column 1123, Volume 130, says as follows:—
“This deficit is no isolated phenomenon. We have had deficits every year since 1947, and the cumulative total is now roughly £150,000,000, thus virtually offsetting the external assets built up during the war years. We cannot say, however, that having, in effect, used up our war-time accumulation, and reduced our gross external reserves to less than two year's purchase of imports on the present scale, we shall now automatically settle down to living within our means. There is, unfortunately, no reason to think so, nor for believing that the balance of payments will right itself spontaneously. The opening months of this year showed virtually no improvement. Therefore, the necessary corrective measures for dealing with this urgent situation cannot be postponed...”
The charge that we make against the Government is that they did take urgent measures in their Budget and did ensure that the deficit in the balance of payments would be corrected  as much as it was possible by Government policy to correct it by reducing the purchasing power of the State; that they did take these measures in their Budget, but that they were unnecessary and that they brought about a great deal of hardship and the decline in our economy that I have indicated. The Minister appears at any rate by his remarks to be equating that £150,000,000 deficit in our balance of payments which he estimated to take place over those four years with the drop in our external holdings of that amount and the figures demonstrate quite clearly that that is not correct.
It is rather interesting to see the recent report of the American experts who would appear to have accepted the Government's line in this particular aspect of our balance of payments, because at page 17 of that report, after dealing with the amount of investments available for what they call repatriation, they go on to say:—
“The remaining £150,000,000 that might be considered as available for repatriation threatens to be soon exhausted at anything like the current rates of withdrawal which are estimated at over £30,000,000 in 1950 and at almost £70,000,000 for 1951.”
In fact, there was no withdrawal of £30,000,000 in 1950 and no withdrawal of £70,000,000 last year. It is clear that there have been deficits in the balance of payments for 1947, 1948, 1949 and 1950. They amounted in all to £88.9 million. Let me repeat that those deficits were not financed by a drawing down of our external holdings. In fact, these deficits were financed as to £36.9 million by drawing on the American Loan account, and as to £51,000,000 by the inflow of foreign funds into this State and the total reduction of our external assets, that is to say the external assets of the banking system, of private individuals and of the Government, were only reduced at most by £1,000,000 in these four years.
Last year this deficit of £61.6 million was not financed by a drawing down of our external reserve by £61.6 million. It was financed as to £8.7 million of it by American Aid, as to £15,000,000 of  it through the inflow of foreign funds into this country, and the drop in our external holdings of the banking system, private individuals and the Government amounted to £37.9 million.
Some time ago the total amount of our external assets was estimated at about £400,000,000. That estimate is from an authoritative source, from an authoritative spokesman of the Department of Finance. The only criticism I have seen of that estimate of £400,000,000 which was then the estimate for external holdings in 1947, was that it was too low and various estimates have been given that our holdings were as much as £450,000,000 in 1947 and maybe £500,000,000. The interesting thing is that they certainly were not below £400,000,000, inasmuch as the experts to a certain extent got a rough idea of what these external holdings were. That was the position in 1947. Since then there have been deficits in the balance of payments which, from 1947 to 1951, amounted to £150.5 million. On the Minister's arguments, as stated in his Budget, on his arguments as stated in the House last year and throughout the country, he appeared to state and I think believed erroneously that because there were these deficits our external holdings were down by £150.5 million and, therefore, this country appeared to be on the verge of losing all its external assets. In fact, the capital account of the balance of payments showed that these deficits for five years were financed as to £45.6 million by American Aid, as to £66,000,000 through the inflow of capital into this country, and there was a total drop in our external holdings for these five years of £38.9 million.
Therefore, as far as we can judge, our external holdings are now certainly over £350,000,000 and probably well over £400,000,000. That is the country that is facing bankruptcy; that is the country that has to take drastic steps to reduce consumption; that is the country that is living beyond its means. That was the interpretation of the figures erroneously made by the Minister and the reason for the fierce impositions that he put on in his recent Budget.
It is quite clear from the Minister's  statements, inasmuch as there is any logic in the Government's case, that the last Budget was aimed at reducing the balance of payments. If the Minister believed, as he appeared to believe, that this country was in this parlous state, he would have had a duty to do something by means of the fiscal machinery under his control to bring about a lesser deficit if possible this year. Our complaint with the Minister and his policy is that he has carried out a financial policy aimed to reduce consumption in this State so as to relieve the balance of payments situation which we believed did not require the drastic attention which the Minister's policy gave it in his Budget.
I believe that the difference between the policy of the present Government and the policy of the Opposition is the different values it puts on the problems which face the State. We have, at the present time, a very urgent unemployment and emigration problem; we have a grave long-term problem of endeavouring to raise agricultural and industrial production; we have the grave problem of trying to develop and increase the capital assets of this State; and we also have—and we have always admitted it—a balance of payments problem. But we have not subordinated all these problems to endeavouring to right our balance of payments.
We believe that the increasing of capital formation in this State, the reduction of unemployment, the cessation of emigration, were things which should primarily be aimed at before the balance of payments required any urgent attention. We believed that we could afford to run deficits in the balance of payments for many years because we had this very large accumulation of external assets which we were entitled to use up to develop our country, having been forced to save these assets during the scarcity of the war years.
It does seem to me that the Minister and his Party have treated the deficits on the balance of payments as the visitation of an evil god whose wrath can only be appeased by bringing offerings of more unemployed, a  greater number of emigrants, lower production and higher costs. I think we can say to the Minister that no matter how much the high priests of this strange new cult may rend their garments and tell the populace they are endeavouring to keep them from further sacrifices in appeasing the further wrath of the gods, the populace now sign for a new dispensation and the high priests will soon be looking for a job.
I said that I believe that the trade recession, unemployment, increased emigration, the drop in industrial production and the other symptoms of the decline in our economy have been the result of the Government's policy over the last 18 months. I should have said they were only partly the result of Government policy or largely the result of Government policy. Another factor has played an important part in bringing about the trade recession which this country is now experiencing. It is interesting to see the magnitude of that trade recession which has shown itself in the drop in agricultural production, which has shown itself in the drop in the number of employed persons and which now has shown itself, more strikingly, perhaps, in the figures which have recently been published by the Central Bank. Those figures show a decline in loans and advances over the last few months and whereas loans and advances from the commercial banks in this State stood at £120.9 million on the 31st December last year, they declined to £118.6 million on the 15th July this year; they declined further to £115.7 million on the 19th August of this year; and they declined still further to £113.8 million on 16th September this year. I do not think it would be wrong to say that the decline will continue and will show itself in the figures when they are published of the loans and advances in the last few months.
As I say, the attack on the credit position of the State, the attack on the confidence in our whole financial structure which the Government made last year, and the Budget which was introduced this year played a large part in creating the circumstances which these  figures demonstrate exist. Another factor which must be taken into account was the rise in the bank rate which occurred in the last few months. It does appear to me not to be unreasonable to suggest that an item such as credit should be every bit as much subject to the vigilance of the Prices Advisory Board as, say, an item such as motor insurance. I would like to see the rise in the bank rate demonstrated before this advisory board as being necessary in the circumstances of this country.
I agree fully with Deputy McGilligan in his remarks on this Estimate of a few weeks ago when he commented on the role that the Central Bank must play in helping to develop the capital formation of this State. I believe also that the commercial banks themselves should assist in developing capital formation in Ireland and that the holdings in Irish Government securities should be greatly increased in order to help us to develop our land, our industries and to give employment in the manner which this country requires.
We, I think, have made it quite clear to this House and to the country that we are opposed to the restrictionist policy of the present Government, that we believe in the expansionist policy which was carried on over the three and a half years of the inter-Party Government. We believe we should have the co-operation of the banking system in the development of our country and that the private sector of this community should be encouraged as much as possible, if necessary by amending our tax code, to develop the capital assets of this State.
We also believe that our requirements are so great and so urgent that that private sector of our community is not sufficient in itself to give us the capital formation that the country requires. We believe the State itself should undertake, in a manner in which it has done so during the last three or four years, large-scale capital formation. It must be appreciated that with that policy goes the necessity for a large-scale campaign to increase savings. It must be appreciated that the only way in which that large-scale policy of capital formation can be carried out is  either through current savings or through disinvestment abroad.
If we embark on a policy, as I believe we should, of large-scale capital development, and if our home savings prove to be insufficient for that purpose, then the only way by which that large-scale capital investment can be financed is by disinvestment abroad. We are prepared to face that. We are prepared to face deficits in the balance of payments in order to develop the capital assets of the State at home.
In my opinion these are the matters urgently requiring our attention. These are the matters to which the attention of the Government should be directed. The stress that has been put on the deficits in the balance of payments has, in fact, blinded the Government to our real and urgent problems. It is the problems of unemployment, of low production and emigration that are of graver urgency than that of merely balancing our external payments.
Deputy Hickey adverted to the situation that exists in Limerick in regard to housing. It is advisable very frequently to get the clear picture that lies behind the cold figures given in the statistical statements available to us. It is important to realise what a 15 per cent. reduction in industrial production means. It is important to realise what a 10 per cent. increase in unemployment means. We who have had to deal with many people—young men and middle-aged men and young girls who were in good employment up to last year and who are now because of the deterioration in our economy out of employment—feel that the unemployment situation calls for drastic remedies. We can but hope that the Minister and his colleagues will realise that these are the really urgent matters requiring Government attention.
I believe these problems call for courage and foresight; above all they call for an understanding of the economic affairs of the country, qualities that I believe are sadly lacking in the present occupants of the ministerial benches.
Mr. Cogan: I agree with Deputy Hickey that this is a very important  debate. A survey of our financial position and of our financial prospects is the most important survey a Parliament can undertake. Because I agree this is an important debate I would say to Deputy Hickey and to those who think like him that they should endeavour to define a policy of their own instead of blindly following in the footsteps of the chief Opposition Party. If the Labour Party has a policy capable of solving our economic and financial ills and if they think, as Deputy Hickey appears to think, that there is some solution to these problems, let them go out on their own now, revolt against Fine Gael and become an independent Labour Party and not merely a small pink patch on the tail of a blue shirt. Let them follow the example of Clann na Talmhan. Stung by the views of Dr. Ó Briain they revolted against Fine Gael and walked into the Division Lobby to-day against it. Let others show their independence in the same way as I have always tried to display my independence here.
This is a serious debate. Because it is a serious debate it should be treated seriously. The Minister came in here determined to lay before us the true facts of our financial and economic position. When he opened the debate what had we on the front bench of the Opposition? We had a complete formation of all the shadow Ministers —some of them shadowy enough— mobilised together to heckle and shout down the Minister instead of listening to what he had to say and subsequently meeting his arguments in a responsible and reasonable way. I was shocked at the reception accorded to the Minister's statement by those who claim to be responsible members of the Opposition front bench. I noted in the Official Report the interruptions recorded, although the number recorded does not give the completed picture. I took a note of the barrage put up against the Minister with a view to preventing him making his case.
Mr. D.J. O'Sullivan: Did anybody ever say the Minister was a senile delinquent?
Mr. Cogan: It will be a long time before Deputy O'Sullivan reaches the stage when he can be regarded as even a juvenile delinquent because he is nothing more than a helpless infant, and if he has mislaid his bottle I hope that somebody will go and get it for him. The Minister was interrupted close on 250 times in the course of his speech. On 250 occasions attempts were made to shout him down. Those do not represent all the interruptions by which the Opposition sought to prevent him making his case. I was struck by one particular interruption that came, I think, from Deputy Morrissey.
Deputy Morrissey was one of the leaders in the campaign though one would imagine that he has been long enough in this House to have a little more sense. The Opposition may have thought they were doing a fine job of work but, if they could see themselves as others see them, they would have been ashamed of themselves. They looked like nothing but a little bunch of grey-headed schoolboys who had made up their minds to be unduly naughty. In the course of this campaign of interruption Deputy Morrissey sought to shout down the Minister when the Minister referred in respectful terms to the head of the Government. I do not know on what ground Deputy Morrissey claims the right to prevent a Minister from referring to the head of his Government and attributing to him the very high motives that have always inspired him. I assume an attempt is being made by the Opposition to claim that, because they know the head of the Government is universally respected, the economic and financial policy of the present Government is not the policy of Eamon de Valera, the present Taoiseach. I think that anybody who studies this matter carefully will acknowledge that the whole financial and economic policy of the Government since 1951 bears on its face the imprint of the mind and the character of a man whom I can only describe as the greatest national leader that Ireland has ever known.
Mr. D.J. O'Sullivan: Can the Deputy  recall describing him as “King Herod?”
Mr. MacBride: Has this got anything to do with the Central Bank?
Mr. Cogan: He is responsible, in the main, for the fact that we have for this nation to-day an economic policy designed not only to maintain this nation's freedom but to ensure that it will never again be in danger. It is clear to every thoughtful citizen of this country that the ship of State is being directed on a sound course——
Mr. O'Higgins: To the rocks.
Mr. Cogan: ——and that it will not again be allowed to drift aimlessly or to sink ignominiously in shallow water.
Captain Giles: It is on the rocks.
Mr. Cogan: It was very nearly on the rocks. I am coming to that. In the course of his speech, the Minister referred to a Budget statement that was made by Deputy McGilligan when he was on the point of leaving office. Deputy McGilligan introduced a Budget which everybody knows was faked and based on Estimates which everybody knows were cooked. He made that Budget statement at a time when the Government had come to a decision to dissolve. They had come to the conclusion that, with Marshall Aid cut off, they could not any longer hope to maintain the pretence of having an economic, social or financial policy. While the Minister was delivering his Budget statement in the House his colleagues were actually getting out through the back window and heading for the country. In the course of that Budget statement Deputy McGilligan indicated that the position of this nation in regard to our external balance of payments was very grave and that, in the interests of the nation, it was desirable that corrective measures should be taken. It was noticeable that when the present Minister for Finance proceeded to quote the statement of the former Minister for Finance, Deputy McGilligan, the barrage of interruptions rose to its highest pitch. The front bench of the Opposition may not have been willing to hear the present Minister but they  were even more unwilling to hear the words of his immediate predecessor quoted in this House. I think that it would be well if they could hear a little more of the statements made by Deputy McGilligan before he left office. These statements have been quoted in this House, some of them by me.
Notice taken that 20 Deputies were not present. House counted and 20 Deputies being present,
Mr. Cogan: I can well understand Deputy Giles' reluctance to hear the statement made by his own Minister for Finance before he left office. His speech in introducing the Budget of 1951 was a gloomy speech. Certainly it was gloomier than anything that was heard after he left office from the Ministers who succeeded him. That was not, however, an isolated expression of opinion on Deputy McGilligan's part. We remember that, in introducing the Vote on Account in 1951, he opened what later turned out to be a very prolonged debate with a doleful picture of the economic and financial position of the country at that time. In Volume 124 of the Official Report, column 789, Deputy McGilligan, the then Minister for Finance, said:—
“The disturbing feature, of course, is the deficit in the balance of payments, particularly when that is marked by the great increase in consumption here, especially when that great increase in consumption is attached to the non-essential goods.”
I should like those words to sink into the minds of the Deputies on the Fine Gael Benches. Deputy McGilligan continued:—
“The continuance of such a situation for any period would be highly dangerous. It would jeopardise the policy, popularly I think, approved of, to repatriate sterling assets but repatriation of sterling assets is only of use if they are used solely or mainly for investment and development. If the development policy must be continued, that policy can only be continued without danger if the savings of the community are increased. They can be increased if people refrain from expenditure on non-essential goods. There is a  tremendous margin over what was spent in 1938. There is plenty of slack to be gathered in.”
Who, then, was the first Minister to stand up in this House and say that the people of Ireland were eating too much, were drinking too much and were consuming too much? Was it not the Minister for austerity, Deputy McGilligan, of the Fine Gael Party? Those words are on the records of the House and fortunately they cannot be effaced.
Mr. O'Higgins: Nor can the reference to “King Herod's head” or the reference to the “senile delinquent.”
Mr. Fanning: Deputy O'Higgins finds it hard to take it.
Mr. Cogan: I suppose it is better to leave poor Deputy O'Higgins alone.
Mr. O'Higgins: I should like the Deputy to take me on.
Mr. Briscoe: A man who cannot coin his own phrases should not quote other people's phrases.
Mr. O'Higgins: I should not like to coin what Deputy Briscoe coins.
Mr. Cogan: As far back as 1949 the then Minister for Finance, Deputy McGilligan, was gravely alarmed about the economic and financial position. He realised—I suppose it was only natural for him to realise it: he was in a position to be well-informed in regard to financial and economic matters—that the position was dangerous even as far back as 1949. Speaking in the Seanad in March, 1950, on a motion on the monetary policy of the State, Deputy McGilligan said, as is reported in the 25th September, 1951, be rejected, put 143:—
Official Report, Volume 37, column
“But sending that money into circulation, through the hands of the community, into which the money must get when expended, has, of course, a very definite inflationary effect. Unless it were to lead to an immediate production of goods—and very little of this money as expended in this way is to lead to an immediate production of goods—there is bound to be inflation. So, at once, while I  am pursuing this desirable course of making a tremendous increase in capital development, do not forget the other side, that I may be weakening the value of the Irish £ and, with the high rate at which Government expenditure is running, our capital account and current account, and with our situation in respect of balance of payments, I am not too sure. We are not too strong, possibly, to present ourselves to the outside world and claim that our £ is better than the £ English.”
He goes on to say:—
“Senator O'Brien has said he agrees that one may take the risk and, even though in the short run what you do may have an inflationary effect, it may be necessary to take the risk in order to get certain desirable objectives achieved. We have weighed that risk and have taken the risk but it is not a very happy side of our situation and it may be that the investing public has surveyed the position and come to its own conclusion and maybe that was why subscriptions did not roll in for the last loan in such volume as they might have.”
There you have a realistic exposition of the position as it existed under the inter-Party Government. I think it is necessary to dwell upon this because the whole case which the Opposition Party have been trying to build up over the last 18 months is that there was unprecedented prosperity in this country when they were in office and that the position was absolutely secure from that point of view. They were seeking to convey to the Irish people in April, 1951, that the whole country was flowing with milk or honey or, at least, oozing with milk and money but Deputy McGilligan's statements are on record and they show that no such happy position prevails. They show that there was in the minds of those on whom the financial responsibility rested a feeling of grave anxiety, a feeling that culminated in the sudden termination of the inter-Party Government and in the decision, when Marshall Aid was cut off, to go to the country in the hope  that they would be relieved of the responsibility of office or else would have a sufficient majority to be able to face the difficulties that they knew were upon them—the retribution that followed on such a reckless and wild policy.
It must be remembered that the inter-Party policy had never any basis or any sound guiding principles. The inter-Party Government came into power or, at least the largest Party in that Government came into power, with a policy clearly stated of cutting down taxation and at the same time cutting down expenditure. We heard a great deal in the early stages of the inter-Party Government about the McGilligan axe and about retrenchment but after some months that policy was discarded.
The McGilligan axe was taken out and quietly buried in the garden and the views and the wilder expedients of Deputy MacBride and Deputy Norton were put into action. That policy which was substituted for the coherent policy of cutting down taxation and expenditure at the same time was a policy of cutting down taxation as far as possible but of increasing expenditure by every possible means and of seeking to use the aid that was given to us so generously by the United States to finance that policy.
The plan of action, as we know, was to spend as much as possible with a view to buying popularity and to raise every penny that could be raised by every conceivable form of borrowing. Thus we had the borrowing of $130,000,000 from the United States and the raising of three National Loans within a very short period. It is significant that confidence in the then Government was so weak that two of these National Loans collapsed. The point I am making now is that there was a deliberate policy of meeting current expenditure by borrowing.
Mr. O'Higgins: To pay Fianna Fáil debts.
Mr. Cogan: Deputy McGilligan remitted taxation to the extent of £6,000,000 in his Budget of 1948 and he did not reimpose any of that taxation. Later he went to the country for a loan of £12,000,000, which he secured,  and immediately after he secured it he proceeded to use that money to meet current expenditure which should have been met out of taxation.
Mr. O'Higgins: Would the Deputy care to name one instance in which the loan of 1948 was used for current expenditure?
Mr. Cogan: I have much better than that. I intend to quote Deputy McGilligan's own words in respect to the manner in which he applied that loan. Speaking on the 26th November, as reported in column 124, here is what Deputy McGilligan said about the way in which he used the loan he raised in 1948——
Mr. O'Higgins: He used it to pay your debts.
Mr. Cogan: He said:—
“When I first borrowed £12,000,000 from the public—I want this by way of contrast—and after that loan had been successfully floated, I felt in my innocence that I had a fairly easy time for some months ahead. I remember investigating at one time how this big sum of £12,000,000 was to be spent. The first shock I got was when it was hinted to me that I had not anything like that sum in hands because a big amount of debt was left by the previous Government and had to be liquidated. Fortunately, I did not appreciate how serious the weight of that debt was until I had asked for and got a return. The return showed me that I had barely £500,000 free. The rest had to be spent on liquidating the debts that Fianna Fáil left in 1948. One of the big items was what was displayed in this House as a great effort on the part of the Fianna Fáil Government in 1947. They raised what was known as a Transition Development Fund. As that was presented to this House, it was raised from ordinary taxation. However, if anybody investigates the finance accounts for that year they will find that whereas the £5,000,000 Transition Development Fund was put in as something to be raised out of the ordinary taxation, the accounts for that year were in a  deficit to the extent of almost the whole of the £5,000,000. I think £250,000 was not a deficit.”
Mr. O'Higgins: What does that prove? That I was right and you were wrong?
Mr. Cogan: It proves that, being over nine months in office and having remitted taxation to the extent of over £6,000,000——
Mr. MacEntee: That is what it proves.
Mr. Cogan: ——the then Minister for Finance had to proceed, in order to meet current expenditure, with a loan borrowed from the public on the pretence that it was for national development work.
Mr. O'Higgins: Do you think that current expenditure represents Fianna Fáil debts?
Mr. Cogan: It proves an admission, for one thing, that the then Minister had been nine months in office before he understood the financial position. It proves that he remitted six million in taxation and introduced a Budget in 1948 in which he did not impose any additional taxation, and then proceeded to raise a loan. He did all that without examining the position in regard to current expenditure.
Captain Giles: And still you voted for him. That is the funny part of it.
Mr. O'Higgins: The present Minister has been there for 18 months and he does not understand it yet.
Mr. Cogan: That is a good point which Deputy Giles has made. I put the inter-Party Government into power to govern this country as a responsible Government but not to buy popularity by wasting and sabotaging the national financial position. I watched for three and a half years, and particularly the last two years, in cold anger while the inter-Party Government instead of building up and strengthening what I would describe as the inter-Party position, were playing pure Party politics. During their short term they were seeking to buy popularity at any price, regardless of the permanent injury that they might do  to the economic and financial structure of the nation.
Mr. O'Higgins: You got in on Fine Gael votes the last time, but will not the next time.
Mr. Cogan: The Fine Gael Party, at the last election, went to my constituency and fought like tigers to get me out, but did not succeed. They brought an army of lawyers and barristers there. They sent even the coroner from County Kildare to the constituency in order to get me out and failed. I am not going to waste time on that.
Mr. O'Higgins: I have a cheque book.
An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy O'Higgins will probably contribute to this debate, and will have an opportunity of traversing everything Deputy Cogan says. He ought to allow Deputy Cogan to make his statement without interruption.
Mr. Cogan: Deputy O'Higgins is one of those people who cannot take his medicine. He knows that the whole case of the Opposition Party against the present Government is founded on three main things.
Mr. O'Higgins: Cogan, Cowan and Browne.
Mr. Cogan: The first is that the deficit in the balance of payments did not cause any good reason for anxiety. That was one. I think I have demolished that by showing that Deputy McGilligan was even more anxious about the position, or appeared to be as anxious about the position as the present Minister for Finance. He tried to prove that there was no necessity to impose additional taxation this year in order to balance the national accounts. Deputy Costello, Senior, came into the House and started to do sums with pencil and paper. The result of his “sums” was to try and prove that this year the present Government were budgeting for at least £10,000,000 more than could reasonably be expected to be the expenditure for this year. We do not hear anything about that now. Deputy Costello has  not come into the House since the Budget debate to tell us that the Government are raking in too much money to run the various Departments of State and to meet current expenditure. The Opposition Party seem to have run away completely from that case.
The last point they have tried to concentrate on is that the Government borrowed at an excessive rate of interest in the case of the recent loan. I was interested in that particular point. I wanted to see how the borrowing of the present Government under the recent loan compared with the borrowing of the inter-Party Government under Marshall Aid. I tabled a question with a view to eliciting information on that point because I was anxious to see what was this country's indebtedness under the Marshall Aid Loan. I am not going to weary the House by reading the full reply which I received. I found that 30 years hence, when I suppose most of us will be beginning to feel the weight of years— when, I suppose, Deputy MacBride will be flourishing a beautiful white beard and when Deputy O'Higgins, Deputy O'Sullivan and Deputy Rooney will have laid aside their rubber feeding bottles and will have reached an adult outlook—we will be paying, under Marshall Aid, $9,000,000 per year to repay the debt that was incurred by the inter-Party Government. That sum of $9,000,000 will have to be sent in dollars to the United States. It will not do to send sterling. We will have to send that sum to the United States either in dollars or in goods. Thirty years hence our ships will be ploughing the Atlantic ocean carrying supplies of our choicest goods, if we have not the dollars, to the United States in repayment of the Marshall Aid Loan.
When this matter was referred to before, Deputy Dillon said: “Well, if you did not approve of Marshall Aid why did you spend the balance of sterling that was left when the inter-Party went out of power? Why did you not send that back to the United States?” Is it not clear to anyone except Deputy Dillon that the United States are not interested in sterling? They required dollars, and the dollars  had to be borrowed. What did the present Government find when they came into office?
They found, on one side, that the dollars had been borrowed and that they had been spent on the importation of goods from the dollar area. They found, on the one hand, a heap of goods that had been imported from the United States. Does anybody think that the United States will take back these goods, that Uncle Sam is interested in nylons or in mouse traps? Would the United States be prepared to re-import goods which they had exported to this country? This Government found a balance of £20,000,000 in sterling in the Counterpart Fund, but against that were debts and liabilities amounting to far more, to over £30,000,000 which had to be liquidated immediately within this financial year in which the present Government took office.
Let us not hear any more about the wonderful ingenuity—I suppose there was a certain amount of ingenuity in it—and let us not hear any more about the financial genius that was displayed by the inter-Party Government during their period of office. All they did was to seek to buy a little popularity by spending as much as possible without incurring the odium of raising the money. The head of the present Government has imprinted on the national financial policy his strong, firm and honest principles. He has done just as the honest farmer will do. The honest farmer will seek to balance his accounts, and the present head of this Government has sought to ensure that this nation's accounts are balanced.
The farmer who spends more than the income from his farm must inevitably go down to bankruptcy and ruin. The nation which spends more than it can earn must inevitably go down to ruin and decay. It is the policy of the Government and of the distinguished head of the Government to ensure that this will not happen, that the independence of this country so dearly bought will not be bartered away and that our children and children's children will not have to experience degradation and  slavery as a result of the policy of an incompetent Government in this country designed for one purpose and one purpose only, enabling them to purchase cheap popularity.
In the course of the past year, valiant efforts have been made to expand this nation's economy. Every item of legislation introduced in this House has been designed in that direction. The speeches of the Minister for Agriculture and the Minister for Industry and Commerce have been not gloomy but hopeful and confident speeches. Both of them have emphasised the fact that this nation can expand production both in agriculture and industry if obstructionist tactics are not allowed to impede the nation's progress.
At the outset I said I had sympathy with Deputy Hickey's point of view. I have often felt that something should be done in regard to the whole question of banking and credit. I would appeal to the Minister to do something more in regard to that. I have no use for mere escapism in dealing with questions of this kind. Propositions which are not backed up by a sound, clear-cut, definite plan for financial and economic reform are merely a form of escapism. I think Deputy MacBride has indulged in that form of escapism. He was a monetary reformer, and so was Deputy McGilligan. They were monetary reformers before they came into office and they have become monetary reformers again since they left office. During the period they were in office they left that policy in abeyance.
I suggest to the Minister that it would be a good thing not to set up another banking commission composed of bankers, but a Select Committee of this House to investigate the whole financial position, the whole position in regard to credit and banking and report to this House how these problems can be solved. They will not be solved on the lines which Deputy MacBride suggested, the lines of putting up plausible theories designed to win a little popular support, theories which can be discarded immediately Deputy MacBride succeeds in gaining office. His hopes in that respect are  not very bright. His Party is finished. Like the Cheshire cat it has disappeared leaving nothing but a grin behind it. I hope we will not have to witness any more of the kind of tactics he pursued in the past. I hope that he will now have learned his lesson and will adopt a more responsible attitude towards our economic and financial affairs.
Mr. MacBride: One of the drawbacks of having to sit out a speech of the nature of the speech which has just been made is that one's mind is inclined to wander away from the speech that is being made and to look at old Dáil reports. While Deputy Cogan was talking, I was thumbing through the Dáil debate which took place when the Marshall Aid loan was being discussed by the House on 1st July, 1948, and, believe it or not, I found that Deputy Cogan congratulated me on the agreement that we had made.
Mr. Cogan: Not on the way you spent it.
Mr. MacBride: I thought the Deputy was attacking us for putting the country in pawn. At column 2043, Deputy Cogan is reported as saying:—
“I congratulate the Minister for External Affairs for having entered into this agreement with the United States.”
He went on with a eulogy of the United States:—
“We seek, more or less, the cooperation of that great nation in doing the thing which the American nation thinks ought to be done—that is, to increase our output and thereby put ourselves in a position to help other nations by our exports, and thus contribute to the general wellbeing and prosperity of the other nations who are linked up directly in this agreement.”
Mr. Cogan: You did not do that.
Mr. MacBride: Then he gave us a great eulogy of the ties of friendship we had with the United States:—
“This nation has had the strongest ties of friendship with the people of the United States. The United States have contributed in a very large measure to helping this country in her struggle for independence, just as people of our race have helped the struggle for independence in the United States and in building up that great and free nation.”
I will not bore the House with more quotations from the many platitudes of Deputy Cogan on that occasion. As Deputy Cowan is sitting nearby it might be well to remind the House that Deputy Cowan did not escape from Deputy Cogan on that occasion. This was the day when this House without a division, without any opposition from these benches, agreed to the agreement for a loan without any speech from the Deputy who is now the Minister for Finance. Deputy Cogan referred to Deputy Cowan on that day and said:—
“Deputy Cowan has delivered a very remarkable speech and I think a deliberately mischievous speech. He talks about the United States ‘flooding this country with a mission’, about their having certain rights as to how we balance our Budget or conduct our affairs here, but he did not tell us what would happen if the enemies of the United States were to take control of the country and of all Western Europe.”
These were Deputy Cogan's views on that occasion. He went on to say:—
“There are many ways of facing a question of this kind, many ways of advancing arguments in favour of proposals without saying definitely, clearly, and in a forthright way what you mean, but we all know what Deputy Cowan wants. He wants to spike this agreement, and if other nations were to follow the line which Deputy Cowan suggests this nation should follow we know what would happen. There is not much that this small nation can contribute to the strength of the Western European nations.”
Captain Cowan: It is a pity the House did not support me in that.
Mr. MacBride: Let us give credit where credit is due. If any section of this House wants to accuse the then Government of having put the country in pawn to the United States of America, let me remind the House that there was no division on that agreement, that the only Deputy who got up to oppose it or criticise it in any way was Deputy Cowan.
A Deputy: There was a division in Clann na Poblachta.
Mr. MacBride: There was no division in Clann na Poblachta because the Deputy was in a minority of one.
Captain Cowan: He was expelled from Clann na Poblachta.
Mr. MacBride: As we are discussing Marshall Aid and as the Minister has so often found it necessary to seek to cast a slur on the United States inferentially by suggesting that this country by some provision or other is in pawn——
Mr. Briscoe: That is not so.
Mr. O'Higgins: We heard him in Manor Street.
Mr. MacBride: ——as he suggested even in Dublin that the future of the country was at stake because of the American elections, let us have a look at the same Dáil Report and see what the Leader of the present Government said on that occasion.
Mr. MacEntee: The Deputy is in a mood for making mendacious statements.
Mr. MacBride: Let us see what his Leader said on that occasion, speaking, presumably, with the full authority of his Party. The Minister for Finance was silent on that occasion; he did not even think it worth his while to address the House in connection with that agreement. The Taoiseach, Deputy de Valera, as he then was, spoke in regard to Marshall Aid and in regard to a loan. I am quoting from column 2059, Volume 111 of the Dáil Debates, of the 1st July, 1948:—
“With regard to ourselves”
—he had discussed before that the general position of Europe—
“we have a very serious situation here, too. Capital development is required and we have not the means of getting the capital equipment necessary from the sources in which it is available.”
I would like to emphasise those words. That is a fair statement of the position as it then was, that we needed capital development, that we had not the resources to carry out that capital development from the sources from which it might have been available.
“We want to get it if we possibly can and the only way apparently is by the provision of dollars from the United States of America, provision either by way of loan or a grant.”
That was Deputy de Valera's contribution on the question of taking a loan from the United States then. Deputy de Valera, the Leader of the Opposition, as he then was, had expressed some worry as to our ability to repay the loans that we might get in dollars.
Mr. Briscoe: For capital purposes.
Mr. MacBride: For capital purposes or other purposes.
Mr. Briscoe: For capital purposes only. Read it again.
Mr. MacBride: All right. For capital purposes, if you like. I will deal with that in a second.
Mr. Briscoe: It is not a question of “If you like”. That is correct.
Mr. MacBride: I will deal with it now. At that time no dollars were available. A few months before the Government, of which Deputy de Valera was then Taoiseach, had entered into an agreement in London to limit drawings from the sterling area reserve.
Mr. MacEntee: No.
Mr. Briscoe: In connection with Marshall Aid.
Mr. MacBride: No, but in connection with our ability to obtain dollars.
Mr. MacEntee: No.
Mr. MacBride: If the Deputy has any doubt about it let him refer to what Deputy de Valera said on that occasion. This position has been grossly misrepresented by different Deputies in the House. It is just as well that we should know what we are talking about. In November, 1947, Deputy de Valera attended a conference in London.
Mr. MacEntee: Would the Deputy now quote from Deputy de Valera?
Mr. MacBride: I am going to quote. As a result of that conference certain agreements were entered into. If I am not mistakn there were sharp differences of views at the time between the then Minister for Finance and the then Tánaiste in regard to this particular provision; nevertheless, this provision was embodied in the agreement— Ireland's dollar requirements—and this is the text of the agreement:—
“It was agreed that the Irish Government, with a view to conserving the dollar resources of the sterling area, would effect substantial reductions in their drawings of dollars from the dollar pool for the period 1st October, 1947, to 30th June, 1948, bringing the net requirements to £14,000,000 plus Irish dollar earnings. This sum would be further reduced in the event of non-dollar wheat being procurable instead of dollar wheat. Expenditure in other currencies will also be kept to a minimum during the period.”
That was the text of the agreement, and that is what the Taoiseach, as he then was and now is, said in regard to this.
Mr. Briscoe: Was that agreement in relation to borrowed money?
Mr. MacBride: No. It was worse; it was in relation to our own money, to our own investments, to the investments of this nation in Britain, to our own money which we could not get and which the British Government refused to hand over at this time and insisted to the then Taoiseach that  there should be an agreement limiting our rights to draw from our own moneys which we had foolishly, stupidly and madly, over a long period of years, sent over to England and accumulated there.
Mr. MacCarthy: That is not correct.
Mr. Briscoe: Come to the Marshall Aid.
Mr. MacBride: Let us see what Deputy de Valera then said with regard to this. I am quoting from column 1822, Volume 108 of the Dáil Debates of 13th November, 1947:—
“On the 20th August last we received a communication from the British Government pointing out that they were limiting the convertibility of sterling. They indicated that the drawings on the available dollar resources had been increasing at an accelerating pace and that it was vital that what was left should be conserved to the utmost extent. They expressed the view that this was a matter of concern for all the countries in the sterling area and that it was desirable that those countries should come together to consider what action might be taken to see that the demand on dollars should be restricted to the extent that was obviously necessary. We considered the communication. We realised that it was a matter of concern to us that confidence should be preserved in sterling and that it was desirable that the remaining dollar resources should be utilised to the best possible advantage.”
Those were the reasons advanced by the then Taoiseach for the signing of this agreement. It had been agreed that our right to draw from the sterling area reserve of dollars was to be limited to the sum I have indicated during that period.
Mr. MacCarthy: Plus what we earned, plus $14,000,000 more.
Mr. MacBride: Plus what we earned.
Mr. MacCarthy: Plus $14,000,000.
Mr. MacBride: No. Please, Deputy, let us get the position clear.
Mr. Briscoe: 14,000,000 dollars, plus what we earned.
Mr. MacBride: Would the Deputy like me to read it again?
Mr. MacCarthy: I heard it.
Mr. MacBride: Let us be clear about it. It was limited to a net requirement of £14,000,000, plus what we earned.
Mr. MacCarthy: That is what I said.
Mr. MacBride: The Deputy said $14,000,000.
Captain Cowan: £14,000,000 in dollars.
Mr. MacEntee: Representing $56,000,000.
Mr. MacBride: A short time ago the Deputy was acting as Chairman and was very indignant if anybody so much as said “Boo”. He is now sitting in the House and if he wishes to make a speech I am sure we will be very glad to sit it out and listen to it.
Mr. Briscoe: That was the position for nine months.
Mr. MacBride: That was the position until June, 1948, when we took office. Deputies talk lightly about borrowing this money from America. Remember, it was a borrowing to which they agreed. It was a borrowing to which their Leader agreed on their behalf here in this House. It was a borrowing upon which there was not even a vote or a division challenged.
Captain Cowan: Did we in fact get any dollars?
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Deputy MacBride is in possession and he should be allowed to speak without interruption.
Mr. MacBride: Let Deputy Cowan play with his toy army and his propaganda of one kind or another and stay out of this debate.
Captain Cowan: It is very perfect debating.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Order!
Mr. MacBride: He can claim that he was the only member of this House who opposed Marshall Aid and who opposed the taking of a loan or a grant from America. I make him a present of that.
Captain Cowan: He was right then, as he is often right.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Order!
Mr. MacBride: If his friends in the Government now want to follow his lead and adopt his policy, I make them a present of that. What was the position then? We talk as if the borrowing of dollars was unnecessary. How were we going to buy the oil, the tobacco——
Mr. Cogan: The cheap maize.
Mr. MacBride: ——the wheat and all the other commodities that we subsequently purchased from the United States of America unless dollars were made available to us? When I came into office Deputy de Valera, as Taoiseach, had already attended a conference in Paris and signed an agreement there. He had attended an O.E.E.C. conference and signed an agreement. A White Paper was published setting out a list of the imports we require from the United States of America under the Marshall Plan and one of my first acts on coming into office was to eliminate from that list a number of goods we considered it was not necessary to import. The list which was then prepared included coal and other commodities of that nature. The situation had changed and they were no longer required. One of my first acts as Minister for External Affairs was to examine that list and eliminate certain items from it.
In view of that would the Deputies on the Government Benches now stop playing Party politics? In view of their own act and of the acquiescence over three years how can they now accuse us of having put the country in pawn to the United States of America? How can they indulge in innuendoes of a type that might come from Deputy Cowan in relation to the danger of American imperialism here? Surely they should have a better sense of  responsibility than to pursue that particular line of conduct. I did think that the Minister would refrain from following that line of conduct, though he made some very unwise and rash statements in the beginning which might be considered to be damaging to our relations with America but I thought he had abandoned that line of country since. I think there are limits to the methods to which even hard pressed politicians should resort.
So much for that. Coming now to the overall economic position I find it difficult to discuss the Central Bank and the report of that body in the way in which they should be discussed because of the deliberate, or perhaps genuine, misconceptions that seem to exist in the minds of some members of the House. I often find myself in the difficulty of not knowing whether a Deputy is saying something which is obviously incorrect with the knowledge that he is doing so for the purpose of playing Party politics or whether he is labouring under a genuine misapprehension as to the position. That is one of the difficulties I find in dealing with the economic and financial position of the country.
Let me put an analogy to the House. If a fire breaks out in a house and there is somebody in the House the occupant has to break the windows in order to attract attention. I have felt myself over the last three or four years to be in the position of somebody trying to attract attention to a grave danger. I felt I had to throw bricks at the plate-glass windows of the Central Bank in order to focus attention on what I considered to be one of the major evils of our political and economic organisation. I think I can say that I have succeeded to a large extent in drawing attention to the issues involved. I welcome the discussions that have taken place. I realise that there is a good deal of educational work still to be done in order to make people appreciate the issue.
I appeal to the members of the Government to realise now that the whole position will have to be reviewed and dealt with. The tide has turned. It is no longer possible to dismiss me as an  irresponsible or to say that I do not know what I am talking about, that I am trying to make mischief, that I am talking nonsense. The Minister for Finance should admit to himself that those days are gone and that he is now faced with these problems and that they are problems which must be dealt with.
I welcome the suggestion made by Deputy Vivion de Valera earlier in this debate. The suggestion was echoed to some extent by Deputy Cogan but, coming from Deputy Cogan, it means nothing. Coming from Deputy de Valera it carried a certain weight. The suggestion was that a small all-Party Committee of the House should be appointed to examine the position of the Central Bank and our overall financial position. I think we would get results from the appointment of such a Committee.
I think that would be a wise step to take. I appreciate that any serious examination and any serious reorganisation of our internal monetary system and our external monetary relations with the British Treasury would require careful investigation and more or less the unanimous agreement of the different sections in the House. I realise only too well that it is very easy to misrepresent the position and to depict any change as a dangerous change. Therefore, I would welcome the formation of a committee of this nature. I do not know whether Deputy Major de Valera was talking with the authority of his Party or was merely throwing out the suggestion as a personal suggestion. I know that many other members of the Government Party feel gravely disturbed by the position and do not, frankly, understand the position. Nevertheless, until some step of that nature is taken it is necessary to deal with the position as it now is. I welcome the constructive approach to these questions by Deputy J.A. Costello and Deputy McGilligan who accept now the position that there is a need for a complete revision of our existing monetary policy and organisation. I welcome them because I feel that the more agreement we can have on these questions in the House the better
 In the course of his speech in this debate, and also on other occasions, Deputy J.A. Costello put forward a number of specific proposals that would have my complete support and agreement. For instance, he advocated the provision of a national investment board that would be charged with the task of providing an outlet for moneys which we normally export from the country. He also made a number of suggestions concerning the provision of a money market and a security market here.
These are constructive suggestions. If I am not mistaken, some of these suggestions have been endorsed by members of the Government Party in the course of the debate. I think some of the Deputies sitting behind the Minister actually appealed to him to take some steps in that direction. I hope, therefore, that when the Minister is winding up this debate he will not adopt the attitude which he has so frequently adopted in this House of seeking to use the situation for Party purposes or seeking to avoid issues by making personal attacks of one kind or another.
I said a few minutes ago that it was no longer possible to dismiss lightly the proposals and the criticisms made by myself, by Deputy Hickey and by other members of this House on the economic position of this country because the people are beginning to understand the issue more clearly and because, too, other parties who could not be suspected of being ultra-progressive or of being irresponsible have also come to a stage where they share our viewpoint on these issues. Quite apart from that, however, we have had a report recently—a much publicised report—from a number of American businessmen, economists and experts who carried out a survey of our industrial potential. They cannot be accused of being affiliated with Clann na Poblachta or with any particular political Party in this country. These men carried out an independent investigation. True, possibly, they did not have as long a time or as full an opportunity to examine the position of this country as one might desire. Presumably they are experts who are used to  dealing with such positions. They made their examination and came to certain conclusions. Unfortunately, a sufficient number of copies of this report were not available to enable every member of this House to obtain a copy for himself. Indeed, I gather from questions asked in the House that even the newspapers were not able to obtain copies of this report. I should like to draw the attention of the House, therefore, to some passages in this report.
Mr. MacEntee: Before the Deputy proceeds to do so, may I say that I understood that I would be given a few minutes in which to reply in order that this debate might conclude to-night, to meet the general wishes of the House?
Mr. MacBride: I understood that too, but I understood that that was at the stage when it was thought that I should have an hour.
Mr. MacEntee: 40 minutes.
Mr. MacBride: Unfortunately, Deputy Cogan spoke for quite a long time.
Mr. MacEntee: Go ahead then.
Captain Cowan: Have we to adjourn at 10.30 p.m.?
Mr. Sweetman: Yes.
Captain Cowan: Some arrangement should have been made to continue the debate.
Mr. MacBride: Would it not be possible to sit a little later to-night?
Mr. Sweetman: Notice must be given by 8.30 p.m.
Mr. Davin: We could sit by agreement.
Mr. MacBride: Would the Chair not accept short notice?
Mr. Sweetman: We are perfectly agreeable, if it is permissible.
Mr. MacBride: I do not want to take an unfair advantage of the Minister.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach (Donnchadh Ó Briain): Is there not a question on the Adjournment at 10.30 p.m.?
Captain Cowan: Could we not take that to-morrow?
Mr. MacBride: The motion on the Adjournment?
Mr. Davin: Yes.
Mr. MacBride: Would that be possible?
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: If the House is in agreement, if the Deputies who have submitted the question are agreeable and if the question can be postponed.
Mr. MacBride: That means the motion on the Adjournment?
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Yes.
Mr. MacBride: Does the Minister wish to conclude the Estimate to-night?
Mr. MacEntee: I understood that that was the desire, in order to dispose of the programme before the House. I do not know what the position might be in regard to taking a vote.
Mr. Sweetman: That is what I am not sure of, either.
Mr. MacBride: I do not want to stand in the way of any agreement.
Mr. Sweetman: That is gone. Deputy Cogan took 35 minutes instead of 15 minutes.
Mr. MacBride: How long does the Minister want to reply?
Mr. MacEntee: If the Deputy concludes and allows me to move the Adjournment, I will not take more than 20 minutes or half an hour to-morrow morning—or, if you like, I will forgo the right of replying and we will have the division to-night at half past ten.
Captain Cowan: Would 15 minutes not do the Minister?
Mr. MacBride: I will give way any time. I will sit down now if it will convenience the House and the Minister. I shall get another opportunity later on.
Deputies: You will.
Mr. MacEntee: I am grateful to the Deputy and I will avail of that offer in five minutes.
Mr. O'Higgins: That is on the basis that we shall have a division to-night.
Mr. MacBride: In view of the discussion which we have just had, I shall not read out the extracts from this report which I had intended to read. I want to say, however, that these experts realised that our present monetary situation and relationship with Britain was completely inconsistent with our national aspirations and was inconsistent with a policy of development which, I presume, Deputies on both sides of this House wish to see achieved. Running throughout this report are criticisms of the Central Bank policy—of the policy of the commercial banks—whereby our earnings and savings are invested outside the country. I am sorry I cannot read these extracts to the House. I think Deputies should seek to obtain a copy of the report and to study it. It deserves careful study.
The motion which I put down has been criticised on a number of scores by Deputies from the Government side —on the score that it was a tricky motion and that it was not clear. I do not think there is anything tricky or that is not clear in the motion. In the first two paragraphs, I ask the House to declare that the report of the Central Bank is not a report of its proceedings and that the report which the Central Bank issued was issued by them without authority. Any Deputy who reads that report of the Central Bank will agree that it is not a report of the proceedings of the Central Bank. Any Deputy who reads the report will have to agree that it is clearly a political document advocating political views, advocating policies which ought to be determined by this House. I object, and if Deputies have any self-respect they will object, to any conclave of bankers, or of civil servants seeking to dictate policy to this country. They have done so over a number of years to the detriment of the country. As a result of the banking  policy which has been pursued over a great number of years we have built up investments in London, moneys which should be utilised for the development of this country. As a result of that we have unemployment here. Of course so long as we continue to export the earnings and the savings of this nation and invest them outside the country, the country will remain undeveloped and we shall have unemployment. Of course, if we have unemployment we shall have emigration. That is inevitable.
It is those issues which I would appeal to the House to consider and examine objectively. I would ask them to resist the temptation to make Party capital on one side or the other. There is no use in coming along and saying that I was Minister in a Government for three years and that I did not change the financial or monetary system. Of course I did not but it was not a Clann na Poblachta Government. I went to the people in 1948 on a clear-cut policy but I did not get the support of the people. Of course I was not able to change the views of the other Parties or of the main Party in the Government but I am glad to say that by now all Parties on this side of the House are agreed on the fundamentals of the situation. The only people who will not agree on the fundamentals of the situation are those sitting on the opposite benches. Let me say this in defence of the Fianna Fáil Party, that apart from the Minister who is now sitting on the Government Front Bench, most of the other members of the Fianna Fáil Party in their hearts agree with our policy but for Party reasons they will not admit it.
Mr. MacEntee: Deputy MacBride has founded the case for a change upon a report prepared by foreign experts. I want that to be kept in mind. It has been alleged that this serious problem of the deficit in our balance of payments was a figment of my imagination, some sort of bogey-man conjured up by me in order to frighten the bad boys of the Opposition. I am going back to quote Deputy MacBride's authority. I have the report here and it is termed: “Industrial Potentials of Ireland; an appraisal.” It was prepared by the  American experts, the Ibec Technical Services Corporation, under the E.C.A. project initialled by our predecessors. Here is what these experts say about the position as they found it when they came here in the middle of 1951 just as the Coalition Government was going out of office—I am quoting from page 17:—
“Now that E.C.A. loan assistance has been discontinued, difficulties threaten to present themselves in acute form. It is estimated that Ireland's sterling balances at the end of 1951 were of a dimension approximating £300,000,000. Something like £54,000,000 of this amount is needed for coverage of Irish currency. Private investments abroad at that time were estimated at about £100,000,000 but this could hardly be drawn down except by the voluntary action of the investors or through official direction, entailing a degree of coercion that is hardly compatible with democratic procedures.”
I notice Deputy MacBride has left the House. The report goes on:—
“The remaining £150,000,000 that might be considered as available for repatriation threatens to be soon exhausted at anything like the current rates of withdrawal which are estimated at over £30,000,000 in 1950 and at almost £70,000,000 for 1951. Meanwhile an even more vexing problem is presented by the dollar area accounts of Ireland as may be seen from Table 17.”
Later, in that report at page 19, we have this warning:—
“There is no doubt but that it would be possible and desirable for Ireland to ‘tighten its belt’ with respect to imports of consumption goods.”
Again they state on the same page:—
“If there is any virtue in paying attention to storm warnings it would appear that the above evidence points to trouble of hurricane dimensions against which there is no safe anchorage in Irish ports.”
So much for the American experts.
Here is what the European experts, drawn from France, Britain, the  Netherlands, Belgium, the United States and other countries had to say about the position here as it existed when we took office in June, 1951:—
“The price inflation in Ireland has been appreciable.... There are two serious tasks to be faced, first, to limit the rise in prices and second, to deal with the balance of payments deficit which has more than doubled over the last year.”
They go on to say—I am quoting from “Financial Stability and the Fight Against Inflation”, an O.E.E.C. report issued in November, 1951:—
“The net sterling assets of the commercial banks fell by £22,000,000 between June, 1950, and June, 1951. By one means or another, measures will, therefore, have to be found to reduce the overseas deficit.”
Then they go on to say:—
“The combination of problems outlined above places Ireland in a very difficult position. It should be possible to take direct measures to expand exports but this would probably go only a short way towards solving the external payments problem.... The reduction of the balance of payments deficit will inevitably entail a reduction of expenditure, in order to bring it into line with the national income. This will call for strong fiscal measures on the part of the Government, and a high degree of co-operation and restraint on the part of all sections of the community.”
That is the justification for the policy which we have pursued, pursued in order to save the country from the “trouble of hurricane dimensions” which the American experts warned us was coming. That was the justification for the measures which we have taken in an effort to solve these critical problems. It was not only because the Central Bank's criticisms of the policies pursued by our predecessors happened to be in accord with these experts' views that these measures were undertaken, but because our own good sense, our good judgment and our knowledge of public affairs dictated the same course.
 Let me get back to Marshall Aid. Deputy MacBride, who is an expert at misrepresentation, has advanced his own Party view, quoted the Taoiseach in order to bolster up his own Party case. Deputy MacBride pretends he wants a non-Party approach to these problems, but all his efforts have been devoted to keeping his own Party alive. Deputy MacBride has tried to place his Party above all others in Ireland. Despite all his efforts, however, it is now reduced to himself and his faithful Sancho Panza. I beg Deputy Tully's pardon. That is a jocose remark. Everybody who knows Deputy Tully's national record will know that he has been a gallant soldier and I do not want him to be offended by anything I may have said.
I want, however, to come back to the question of Marshall Aid. Deputy MacBride quoted from a speech by the present Taoiseach, when he was Leader of the Opposition, made in the Dáil in June 1948, when he gave reasons why he was not prepared to oppose the proposals which the Government of the day were setting before the House. He said that he admitted quite frankly that when we were in office in 1947 we found that we needed capital for capital development, and that we had not the foreign currency resources to provide that capital equipment: that we could not get it unless we had dollars and therefore we were not going to oppose the plan which the then Government was setting before the House because we regarded it as of vital importance to get the capital equipment.
However, how was this sum of $146,000,000, which was obtained from America, spent on capital equipment? Out of that total of $146,000,000 a sum of $15,000,000 was spent on raw materials for industry; $10.8 million were spent on machinery, vehicles and equipment; $35.7 million were spent on tobacco imports; $13.3 million on petroleum products, while there were spent on wheat and on coarse grains which we could have produced for ourselves at home no less than $66,000,000. That was not expenditure on capital equipment but on consumption goods which we were trying to persuade the  Irish people they could provide for themselves from their own land by their own industry.
Deputy MacBride endeavoured to draw some analogy between the course which had been pursued by his predecessors in 1947 and the Government of which he was a member in relation to this question of dollar resources. What did we do? We did not borrow foreign dollars. We went to the British and said: “We are entitled to get our share out of the dollar pool,” but they said: “There is a very critical problem there, and you are as concerned as we are to ensure that the sterling which you get for the goods you sell to us will at least retain its purchasing power.” We quite frankly admitted that was the problem, but we said: “We are entitled to get our share of the dollars anyhow.” We did agree to restrict our share to £14,000,000 or $56,000,000 for the period from November, 1947 to June, 1948. We were to get out of that sterling pool $56,000,000, and, in addition, we were to have our own dollar earnings, which were mounting at that time at the rate of $20,000,000 a year. That is to say, we were to get $76,000,000 without having to pledge the resources of this country to the United States of America. We were to get them because they belonged to us; we owned them, and the British acknowledged our right to get them.
That was the position. But what happened in regard to Marshall Aid? The Coalition went over to negotiate the 1948 agreement. Let me remind the House how differently we dealt with them when they were negotiating with the British and of the manner in which they have dealt with us ever since 1932? We did not try to queer the pitch for them; we were not even severely critical of some of the bargains which they made. We may have been remiss in that, but there was one thing we had made up our minds on. We were going to give them a chance and not going to make their negotiating  position with the British any weaker by any criticism at that time. What happened? Remember, the British had conceded our right to draw dollars from that pool. By agreement, the amount was limited, but our right to draw from it was conceded. What happened then? They were compelled, when they went over to enter into these negotiations on the Marshall Aid loan to agree to this:
“The Government of Ireland will use their utmost endeavours to obtain the maximum amount of aid available under the E.R.P. with the object of ensuring, so far as practicable, that their recourse to the sterling area pool for hard currencies will not involve any ultimate drain on the pool.”
That agreement was entered into by Deputy MacBride who was then Minister for External Affairs, by the then Taoiseach and by Deputy Dillon. What does that mean? Deputy Cogan has told the House—that we shall be paying back $128,000,000 for the next 30 years, and that, at the final stage of that repayment, the annual burden on this country will be of the extent of $9,000,000 a year. That is the difference between the manner in which we approached our financial relations with the British Government and that in which our immediate predecessors approached that problem.
I want to say this—I do not want to be misunderstood—that I deny I have criticised American foreign policy. I have no right to do so. But I have pointed out to the people of this country, and I am entitled to do it, that with international tension mounting higher, it behoves us in this country to put our own house in order, and to ensure that we shall not be under obligations, financial or otherwise, to any Power outside this State.
Question put: “That the Vote be referred back for reconsideration.”— (Deputy Mulcahy.)
The Committee divided: Tá, 58; Níl, 67.
Blowick, Joseph. Carew, John.
Costello, John A.
Crotty, Patrick J.
Dillon, James M.
Dockrell, Henry P.
Dockrell, Maurice E.
Doyle, Peadar S.
Esmonde, Anthony C.
Hession, James M.
Kyne, Thomas A.
Lynch, John (North Kerry).
Byrne, Thomas N.J. McAuliffe, Patrick.
Madden, David J.
Murphy, Michael P.
O'Gorman, Patrick J.
O'Higgins, Thomas F. (Jun.)
Palmer, Patrick W.
Rogers, Patrick J.
Blaney, Neil T.
Brady, Philip A.
Calleary, Phelim A.
Collins, James J.
Corry, Martin J.
Crowley, Honor Mary.
Davern, Michael J.
de Valera, Vivion.
Hillery, Patrick J.
Kennedy, Michael J.
Little, Patrick J.
Lynch, Jack (Cork Borough).
Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
Rice, Bridget M.
Ryan, Mary B.
Sheldon, William A.W.
Walsh, Laurence J.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Doyle and Breanndán Mac Fheórais; Níl: Deputies Ó Briain and Killilea.
Question declared negatived.
Vote put and declared carried.
Motion by Deputy MacBride that the Report of the Central Bank dated and negatived.
 Progress reported.
Supplementary Votes Nos. 6, 27, 63 and 64 to be reported.
Reported accordingly and agreed to.
An Ceann Comhairle: The following message has been received from Seanad Éireann:—
Seanad Éireann has accepted the Pensions Bill, 1952, without recommendation.
Seanad Éireann has accepted the Finance (Excise Duties) (Vehicles) Bill, 1952, without recommendation.
Seanad Éireann has passed the Expiring Laws Bill, 1952, without amendment.
Mr. MacBride: On a point of order. I understand that the Minister for Finance, while replying, commented on the fact that I had run out of the House. I would like to state I was called out of the House on business and one of those who called me out was a Parliamentary Secretary.
An Ceann Comhairle: I take it that is a matter of personal explanation.
Mr. Norton: I gave notice of my intention to raise on the Adjournment the subject matter of questions which appeared on yesterday's Order Paper. The particular questions related, Sir, to the report of the arbitration board on a claim for increased remuneration by Civil Service staff organisations. I raise the matter to-night in view of the fact that the Dáil is adjourning to-morrow and because the adjournment of the Dáil has a very direct relation to the subject matter of the question.
I would like to make it clear, at the outset, that, in raising this matter, I am concerned only with endeavouring to get the Government to recognise the obvious merits of the issue which was raised in yesterday's questions. The report of the Civil Service Arbitration  Board affects thousands of lower-paid grades in the Post Office and in the Civil Service generally, but it affects also thousands of other workers who are employed in the local authority service and who are engaged as industrial employees in the Government service. In addition it affects a great number of employees of semi-State organisations. All these people have been looking forward to receiving increased remuneration under the report of the Civil Service Arbitration Board. They were looking forward to an increase particularly in view of the approach of Christmas and the inevitable higher domestic expenses which are a characteristic feature of Christmas.
I would like briefly to review the position in connection with this matter of Civil Service arbitration. On the 3rd and 4th of last month the Civil Service Arbitration Board met in public and heard a claim for increased remuneration submitted by the staff organisations. Their claim for an increase in pay was argued before the board. The Minister's representatives made a case against the grant of any increase whatever. The board having sat for two days and heard the case for and against an increase, then went into private session, and, according to the Minister's reply yesterday, he received a report from the Civil Service Arbitration Board on the 18th of last month.
The Civil Service scheme of arbitration provides that the report must be disclosed to the Dáil before it is released and if the report is not disclosed to the Dáil before the House adjourns to-morrow, then, presumably, if the terms of the scheme are adhered to there will be no declaration of Government policy in respect of the report of the arbitration tribunal until the House resumes on the 4th February, and there will be no payment of any increases in wages or salaries until after the Dáil has learned the terms of the arbitration tribunal's report. It is because of that fact, that the scheme provided for a disclosure of the report to the Dáil before it was published, that this matter assumes all the more urgent proportions. If the Government  persist in withholding the report to the Dáil until the House reassembles in February next, that is another way of postponing the application of the increases until a substantially later date.
The Government has got this report for the past three weeks. Having regard to the lapse of that period of time, it is not unreasonable to ask that the report should now be released and the Government attitude on the report made known. I do not think I am expecting anything unreasonable of the Government in asking them to adopt that course, particularly when we had this declaration of policy from the Tánaiste on the 12th May, 1951, on the subject of arbitration and arbitration awards. The Tánaiste, speaking then, said:—
“It has been suggested also that Fianna Fáil would terminate the arbitration systems which had been set up for civil servants. He did not know if those systems had worked to the satisfaction of public officials. They seemed to have delayed rather than facilitated the adjustment of salary rates. But if the Civil Service organisations were satisfied with them they were quite prepared to allow them to operate unchanged and would give effect to any wage or salary increase resulting from them.”
Let me emphasise the last few words. Fianna Fáil would give effect to any wage or salary increase resulting from the hearing of claims before the arbitration board. All I am asking the Government to do in this matter is to give effect, not merely to the report of the tribunal set up to deal with wage claims in the Civil Service but to implement as well the declaration of policy made by the Tánaiste, presumably on behalf of the Government, in May last year.
The lowly-paid staffs have looked forward and are still eagerly looking forward to a declaration of policy on this matter from the Government. They are looking for an early announcement of what increases will be granted to them and when they will  secure those increases in order to compensate them for the substantial rise in the cost of living which has taken place for the past 18 months and in particular during the past six months.
Again I come back to a statement made by the Tánaiste on, I think, the 4th of this month at the Fianna Fáil Ard-Fheis, in which he said Fianna Fáil deliberately decided to cut the subsidies and to allow prices to reach what he described as a realistic level. He said he recognised then and that the Government recognised that prices would go up consequent upon the slashing of the food subsidies but that they felt that wages could be adjusted to meet the increased level of prices and that the Government was not unprepared to have wages adjusted in order to meet the rise in the cost of living.
I am merely asking the Government now to implement in respect of those whose claims were considered by the Civil Service Arbitration Board the Government's declaration of policy made in May last year and the recent declaration by the Tánaiste as to the necessity for adjustment in wage and salary levels consequent upon the increase in price levels. That policy has been recognised by private employers and by local authorities. It has been recognised by semi-State bodies. The Minister for Local Government has sanctioned increases in wages for employees of local authorities. The Electricity Supply Board has already granted increases to its staffs paid out of State provided moneys. The Government is underwriting Córas Iompair Éireann losses in order to meet increases in wages granted to the staff of Córas Iompair Éireann. Every day in the week we read of awards made by the Labour Court, by a Government-created organisation and with a Government-appointed chairman, all in recognition of the fact that the increase in price levels necessitates an increase in wages in order to enable workers to adjust their living costs.
Surely the Government cannot hope in justice or in equity to remain indifferent to what is happening in the adjustment of wage levels outside and I am concerned in raising this matter  especially with the position of the lower paid grades in the Post Office and in the Civil Service generally. I am concerned with the fact that the wages of postmen, telephonists, clerks, part-time postmen, messengers, cleaners, sorters and the engineering staff do not provide them with a margin with which to meet the substantial increase in prices. Persons in the same wage class and in the same salary earning group in private employment, in private State employment and in semi-State employment have already in a great many cases had their remuneration adjusted upwards in order to meet the increase in the cost of living.
On what reasonable grounds can the State claim immunity now from responsibility for increasing the remuneration of State employees? The Government has a way out in this matter, if it is not prepared to announce to the House before it adjourns to-morrow its attitude to the arbitration board award. The arbitration scheme is not a statutory scheme and the Government is not restricted by any statutory inhibitions in the scheme of arbitration now in existence. The present scheme provides that there should be a disclosure of the report to the Dáil before the document is released for general publication. The Government is also bound to tell the Dáil what it proposes to do. But there is, of course, nothing to prevent the Government in agreement with the staff side of the Civil Service Arbitration Board, or the staff side generally, suspending that part of the scheme which provides for disclosure in the first instance so that the Government may be in a position to release the report and to implement whatever increases are provided for in the report without waiting for the House to resume on the 4th February next. No difficulty will be experienced with the staff side if the Government decides to adopt that method of enabling it to deal speedily with the report when the Dáil adjourns.
I want to make one request to the Government. Here is a report of an arbitration tribunal which affects the wage standards of thousands of lowly paid workers who would, if they were  employed by private employers, have already got an increase in wages. In all justice the Government cannot withhold the increases from its workers for whose wage standards they are responsible. I put it to the Minister for Finance, to the Government generally and to the Fianna Fáil Party that they should look at this matter in a broad, understanding and sympathetic way. They ought to adopt the decent, the honourable and the honest course, and that course is to release the report to-morrow, announce its provisions to the Dáil and indicate at the same time what action the Government intends to take to give effect to whatever increases are recommended in the report of the arbitration tribunal.
Outside employers have given increases. Local authorities have done so. Semi-State bodies have done so and I cannot understand on what grounds the Government pretends that there is no responsibility on it to do the same, especially in view of the two declarations of policy made by the Tánaiste on the subject.
This is a matter which calls for adjustment by the Government in the same way in which the Labour Court is adjusting claims every day in the week. The Minister will have an opportunity to-morrow to show that, having submitted the case to arbitration and having put forward the strongest case he could against any increase in wages, he is now prepared to take the proper course if the case, notwithstanding all his efforts, has gone against him and an award has been made. In fairness to the staff and in all decency the Government ought to accept the award. Even now I prefer to think that that is the intention of the Government and I hope that the Minister, when concluding, will be able to say that he has secured Government sanction for the publication of the report and that we will have an early declaration of the Minister's and the Government's intention to honour whatever recommendations are contained in the report.
Mr. MacBride: I wonder could the  Deputy give us an indication of the time-table of the proceedings. On what date was the arbitration claim heard?
Mr. Norton: On the 3rd and 4th of November, and the report was presented on the 18th November.
Mr. D. Costello: I appreciate what the Minister said in reply to the questions put down by me, by Deputy Cosgrave and by Deputy Norton yesterday that the principle enshrined in all this involves a very grave problem for the Government. The Government has had three weeks, however, in which to consider this problem, and in justice to the many civil servants vitally affected it should now make known what action it proposes to take. It should make known its decision also in justice to the many thousands of other workers whose salary scale will be affected by the Government's action in this matter.
It is quite clear from the Minister's attitude, and I only hope that he will dispel the impression as soon as possible, that he intends to avail of the three months the scheme allows him in which to lay the matter before the House. It looks as if the Government intends to treat that three months as a maximum period and to come into the Dáil on the 18th February next with the report. I sincerely hope that will not be the case and that the Government will to-morrow make known its decision one way or the other.
I believe, like Deputy Norton, that there does appear to be a prima facie case for an increase in the salaries of civil servants and other allied services. Whether the Government intends to give that increase or whether it decides it is not possible to give it, the important thing from the point of view of the many thousands vitally affected is that the decision should be made known one way or the other and the Government should not rely on what is regarded as a maximum period of three months in order to withhold from these people a decision governing all their future prospects.
Mr. O'Higgins: In view of the speech made by the present Tánaiste  on the eve of the last general election I think we may assume that the award contained in the report of the arbitrator will be honoured by the Government because, if it is not honoured, there will be a serious breach of faith on the part of the Government in relation to those whom it is intended to benefit by this arbitration scheme. The only question that arises is: Will it be honoured? It would appear from the Minister's reply yesterday that he is seeking to gain time by taking advantage of the miserable three months allowed under the agreement in order to defer payment until the Dáil reassembles in February next. That kind of heel-tapping will not commend itself to the people and I join with other Deputies in urging the Minister not merely to honour his bond in the letter of the law but to honour it also in the spirit of the present Tánaiste's speech on the eve of the last general election.
Minister for Finance (Mr. MacEntee): Nothing exemplifies the protein personality of Deputy Norton so much as the audacity with which he has raised this matter to-night and with which he referred to a statement made by Deputy Lemass on 13th May, 1951, as supporting the case he is now making, to urge the Government to take impetuous and ill-considered decisions in relation to this particular matter. Deputy Lemass, speaking on the 13th May, 1951, said:—
“In regard to the machinery which has been set up by the Government of which Deputy Norton was a member, they seemed to have delayed rather than facilitated the adjustment of the salary scales.”
That suggestion was well-founded because this machinery which was set up—a trial period—first began to operate on the 1st November, 1950. It was only over 14 months later—after the boys had been kept talking at the conciliation level—that a disagreement was recorded and it was decided that the matter should go to arbitration. Then, on the 22nd February, 1951, the matter went to arbitration. The report of that arbitration was not forthcoming until more than three months later— the 24th May, 1951. So, for that 18 months, where there was one Christmas intervening—Christmas, 1951——
Mr. Rooney: That is wrong.
Mr. MacEntee: ——Deputy Norton, who wants to come here before the civil servants in the guise of Father Christmas, waited for these 18 months and did nothing—in the end it was us who had to do it. The arbitration proceedings were carried on and strung out in order to avoid——
Mr. Norton: On a point of order. These dates given by the Minister and these periods are grotesque. They are just false.
Mr. MacEntee: They are not, Sir. I have them here.
Mr. Norton: They are false.
Mr. MacEntee: Eighteen months elapsed before any report emerged and before any conclusion was reached in regard to the whole of these proceedings. How did we deal with the matter this year? The first claim was presented to us in mid-July last. As soon as the matters could be set in order there was a meeting of the Conciliation Council and a disagreement was recorded on the 11th August, 1952. The discussions at conciliation level were not strung out by us for 18 months because we were sincere when we decided that arbitration would be granted.
Mr. Hickey: You abolished the food subsidies.
Mr. MacEntee: Five weeks later, on the 24th September, the arbitration claim by the civil servants was presented to us. On the 20th October— less than a month later—a counter-statement was funished by us and the public hearings were held on the 3rd and 4th November. The report was received by us on the 18th November. What has happened in the meantime? This Government has been battling in the Dáil against a continuous policy of obstruction and opposition. During that period what Government could give serious consideration to this matter which affects, not merely the  thousands of civil servants but, as I pointed out yesterday, the hundreds of thousands of taxpayers. When we honoured the award of the arbitrator in 1951 we were not able to do it without imposing burdens on the taxpayer. The amount of the award and the consequential grants which followed it amounted to over £3,600,000, approximating to the amount which we saved, if you like, in the reduction of the food subsidies. That is what the last arbitration award cost the taxpayers of this country. When we had to do that, in order to meet that last arbitration award, what thanks and gratitude did we get from Deputy Norton?
I will now quote from column 1541 of the Official Report, Volume 130. During the debate on the general Budget Resolution, Deputy Norton is reported at that column. He said that we were imposing on the people
“the toughest Budget yet experienced in their history, because this is the toughest Budget the Dáil has ever seen. It is the toughest Budget the people have ever had to experience.”
Deputies: Hear, hear!
Mr. MacEntee: And what helped to make that Budget tough?
Mr. Norton: The Minister's speech.
Mr. MacEntee: The £3,600,000 which, as a consequence of the last arbitration award, we had to ask the taxpayers to raise. The Deputy who made that speech and who knew that to the extent of £3,600,000 he and his Government were responsible for it, comes here to-night and tries to impel the Government, without having had time to consider the award, without giving due consideration to it, to announce a decision in the matter. I have been accused by Deputy O'Higgins of breaking faith with the civil servants in regard to this matter. What was my attitude when I met the civil servants? I am now going to quote from the report of the discussions which I had with the staff assosiations and which was printed in the April number of the Civil Service Review of this year.  Here is what I did say, as is reported in that journal:—
“The Minister, in dealing with the Exchequer protection clause, said that a very difficult situation had been created during the trial year by the general pay finding and the consequences of this finding were lamentable from the point of view of the public finances. The Minister for Finance would, for the future, have to be in a position to determine whether he could accept such an arbitration finding in the current year or not. The Minister might not have the money available to meet the finding and it would be most undesirable that he should be called upon to go into debt in order to pay the increases.”
Mr. MacBride: The Minister has money for the transatlantic airlines.
Mr. MacEntee: Paragraph 25 of the report reads:—
“The Minister said that the last arbitration finding had had to be met, as a temporary arrangement, through borrowings. He could not guarantee——
I was speaking in March, before the introduction of the Budget.
——that there would not be a public outcry when, following the forthcoming Budget, it became necessary to meet it by other means.”
We had to meet the result of that arbitration award out of taxation this year and we will have to meet any decision which we will come to in regard to the new award which is presented to us out of taxation next year. Because I am going to deal providently and prudently in regard to public finances I am going to make quite certain that this award and all the consequences that will flow from it will be carefully considered before I make any recommendation to the  Government in regard to it and before the award is presented to the Dáil with the decision of the Government in relation to it. That is the position. We have to consider not merely the thousands, as Deputy Norton has said, of public officials and public employees who may be affected by this award but its reactions on the public finances as well. That is the principle on which the scheme is founded.
Mr. Norton: Lowly paid.
Mr. MacEntee: The Government have the fundamental duty of considering the interests of the general body of taxpayers of this country, of the community as a whole, and of deciding for ourselves whether trade and industry and, in particular, agriculture, will be able to shoulder the burdens which the arbitrator's award might impose upon them. That is the duty which is laid upon us by the very terms of the scheme. I intend to honour and discharge that duty. I regret to say that that is not a duty which was accepted and honoured by my predecessors. On the contrary, when they knew this award was forthcoming, and what the results of it were likely to be—following the headline set by the then Minister for Health, the then Minister for Social Welfare and the then Minister for Local Government— what did they do? Instead of coming and presenting that award to the Dáil, instead of remaining in office and having their Budget discussed in the light of that award, when the Dáil would be able to see what provision had been made by our predecessors to meet the commitments in regard to it, which undoubtedly would arise in that year —they precipitately dissolved the Dáil in order that they might be relieved of their obligations to civil servants in that regard.
Breanndán Mac Fheórais: Give it to Western Seaboards, Ltd.
The Dáil adjourned at 11.10 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on the 12th December, 1952.